What Is Copywriting Anyway?

Thinking of becoming a copywriter? Let’s back up a sec and discuss what is copywriting anyway?

Note: If you’d prefer watching a video about this topic, I’m embedding one below from my Ask the Copy Bitch YouTube channel.

At its simplest, copywriting is any writing that helps promote a product, service, or cause.

THAT’S A BASIC DEFINITION. I’ve made it deliberately broad. You will encounter different definitions (usually much narrower ones). And you will encounter people who disagree with mine.

Don’t get too hung up on which definition is most correct, and here’s why.

The folks who hire you are going to have different definitions, too. Especially small businesses. They might call you a website writer. Or a blogger. Some might call you a content marketer. Many will simply refer to you as a “writer.” And that’s OK.

After all, the “writing” part is the common denominator.

And yes, the writing you do has a purpose, which is to ultimately help promote and sell the client’s product, service, or cause. Think of that as the umbrella purpose. What falls underneath can be narrower.

For example, the purpose of the emails you’re writing might be to get folks to register for a client’s webinar. The purpose of the blog post you pen might be to engage people at the (jargon alert!) top of the sales funnel. The website content you write will have different purposes, depending on the page—home page, landing page, about page.

That’s why I take a broad approach when defining what copywriting is (and what copywriters do), especially for copywriters who’re just starting out.

If you freelance, you’ll likely do various types of writing, especially in the beginning. Some writing will be more conversion-centric, meaning the goal is to get people to convert into a sale (or, at least, a lead). Other writing might be about building engagement (think social media posts). If you work as a copywriter for a company, the company itself will define what you do.

If you look on job sites, titles vary:

  • Copywriter
  • Marketing writer
  • Content marketer
  • Content writer

Some titles might be incredibly specific, such as

  • SEO copywriter
  • Website copywriter
  • Email marketer
  • Direct mail copywriter
  • Radio copywriter

Oftentimes, the title “copywriter” or “content marketer” will ultimately include all the different types of writing. Why? Because today’s writers need to wear many hats. You need to write website copy, email copy, direct mail copy, advertising copy, social media copy, and long-form copy (think guides/white papers).

That’s why I opt for a broad definition when answering the question “what is copywriting”?

So don’t get too hung up on official definitions. Just know that copywriting is a type of writing that businesses and organizations use to promote their business and organization—and the products, services, or causes they’re “selling.” And that to accomplish this goal, you’ll likely need to write various types of content.

Got more questions?

Like, how to start a copywriting business, how to get clients as a freelance copywriter, and the like? Check out my Ask the Copy Bitch YouTube channel or read other articles on my Ask the Copy Bitch blog.