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What copywriting IS, and what it ISN'T.

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by Charismatic Mannequin, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. #1
    Okay, I've seen about 3 million threads in the past 3 days worth of posting, all making the same mistakes. It drives me crazy as a copywriter, so I'm going to clear a few things up, and hopefully have this stickied on the copywriting forum permanently.

    Okay, first things first...what copywriting IS.


    What IS copywriting?


    Copywriting is "salesmanship in print", a term coined by John E. Kennedy sums it up best. Copywriting is writing designed for one purpose, and one purpose only: To get people to READ it, and to get people to BUY whatever it is that you're selling.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    Sales letters, landing pages, email newsletters, leaflets, brochures, website product description or website copy, anything that is going to directly influence people into buying your product(s).

    Copywriters aren't just people who enjoy writing (although if you're like me, you DO enjoy it!). They are trained in writing persuasively, with the customer in mind, combining persuasive skills, English skills and psychology in order to produce the best results for your business, and improve customer conversion rates.

    Have a product that just isn't selling? How about a service you're trying to promote? Then what you need is a copywriter. They're built to get whatever it is you have, sold.


    Now, onto...

    What a copywriter ISNT

    This is where a lot of people get many misconceptions about what a copywriter is, and more often than not, they're wrong!

    A copywriter does NOT produce content (well, any copywriter that's worth their salt doesn't), articles, blog posts, etc. That's for content writers, NOT copywriters.

    The difference between a copywriter and a content writer is a million miles apart. One provides articles and consistent content, while one writes something that SELLS your products.

    On another note, copyrighting and copywriting are also different. The former is to do with possession of property, while the latter is what I have been discussing throughout this post (a salesman in print).


    Why are copywriters so much more expensive than content writers?


    First thing, the process that copywriters go through to produce a piece of copy is completely different from what content writers go through. Copy usually takes days, if not weeks to produce. It includes vast research into products, customers, psychology, business background and so on. Content writers take about an hour to produce content (I should know, I used to be one!)

    On top of that, copywriters produce pieces of work that are purely designed to absolutely line your pockets with money. Copywriters can increase your sales by 100%, 500%, sometimes even numbering into the thousands.

    Let's talk numbers...

    You have a product selling at 10 dollars. You're only selling 10 a month (that's 100 dollars a month). Now, you find a copywriter, and he charges you 1000 dollars for a sales letter, or some other writing in order to sell your product.

    As a direct result of that copy, your sales increase to 100 a month (that's 1000 dollars a month). See the difference? You make the money you paid the copywriter in one month, and then continue to profit. Hell, depending on the product, your sales could increase even more (100 sales a month is a pretty low figure, to be honest. Depending on the product, you could/should be selling thousands - think about that...tens of thousands a month - isn't that 1K worth it now?)

    Hiring a copywriter, you need to think of that cost as an investment, rather than an expense; because if the copywriter you hire is any good, they'll make you so much more money that you paid them.



    Just a few thoughts and misconceptions I wanted to clear up. Hope this helps!



    Ben Palmer-Wilson
    (If you want to get in touch for more info, or about some work you need doing, email me at benpalmerwilson@live.com or skype me: ben.palmer.wilson)
     
    Charismatic Mannequin, Mar 1, 2012 IP
    imdenisejones likes this.
  2. DreamingBig

    DreamingBig Well-Known Member

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    #2
    Excellent post. Many people actually do not understand the difference between content writers and copywriters. There are still some experienced content writers that can indeed do copy-writing upon request but the pay might be a lot more since they are use to just doing content writing.
     
    DreamingBig, Mar 2, 2012 IP
  3. mediacurse

    mediacurse Active Member

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    #3
    Now that was a nice sales pitch. Of course, what I have noticed, is the fact that very many *copywriters* offering their services, don't know about it yet. So while the client might know what he's ordering, the *copywriters* might not know what they are offering.

    Partly, of course, a good content writers needs also to be kind of a copywriter. A good content writer needs to be able to write the article so that the reader would not lose interest towards reading the article until the very end. A good content writer doesn't need to sell a product, but his own article to the reader. Just my 2 cents to say that everything is not that black and white and million miles away from each other. But generally speaking, I do agree with you.
     
    mediacurse, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  4. ContentBros

    ContentBros Peon

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    #4
    Good post, I think one huge problem is that a lot of clients don't understand the difference between copywriting and content writing. I charge $5.25/500 words for content writing but a vast sum more for copywriting, yet my clients seem to think I'm being unreasonable for doing so. How they expect to get good quality copywritten material for $5.25/500 words is crazy, especially if it increase their sales.
     
    ContentBros, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  5. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Notable Member

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    #5
    I'm in advertising based in North America. The rates pertaining to advertising material (copy/scripts/news releases etc.) at least over here is:
    $350-$500 per page.
    $750-$1,000 per project for brochures.
    Or $75-$150 per hour.
    The differences I've cited generally reflect on the experience or reputation of the writer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
    Spoiltdiva, Mar 10, 2012 IP
  6. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #6
    You'll need to charge more than that to pay the fines when we sue you for trademark infringement (waiting for your 'site' to go live...come on, copycat, get a move on).
     
    contentboss, Mar 11, 2012 IP
  7. ContentBros

    ContentBros Peon

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    #7
    Even posting threatening messages on a Sunday - do you not have friends and family that you can spend your weekends with?
     
    ContentBros, Mar 12, 2012 IP
  8. lilyjin99

    lilyjin99 Peon

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    #8
    Thanks for giving such a wonderful tips which is useful for me as well.
     
    lilyjin99, Mar 12, 2012 IP
  9. Sam Gilmore

    Sam Gilmore Peon

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    #9
    Good and informative post. I absolutely agree with statements about "What a copywriter ISNT"
     
    Sam Gilmore, Mar 15, 2012 IP
  10. XTCHost

    XTCHost Greenhorn

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    #10
    I am sure you are right, how could you be wrong?

    By writing "something" that sells and puting it live on a web page would, to me, have been adding content to that web site. How would you then describe that "something" (content).

    For example, I am looking to promote my web site selling some weird and wonderful gadget and get backlinks for the site. I ask a copywriter to write me "something" to sell that Item and post it on other sies as what? An article, maybe a blog post even, but it will still be content on that site or should I say part of that sites content.

    Sorry, I seem to have missed the whole point?
     
    XTCHost, Mar 15, 2012 IP
  11. Alex jones

    Alex jones Member

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    #11
    A wonderful written and researched post. There is a huge difference between the two but we often mix it up.
     
    Alex jones, Mar 15, 2012 IP
  12. SEO Content Demon

    SEO Content Demon Active Member

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    #12
    One more thing I would like to add here... Please let me know if I am correct with my opinion.

    In fact, writing a sales copy with the positive points of the products is rather easy but what a copywriter should be aware of, how to crave the negative points in a way that they are not potentially harmful. Additionally, blurring the separator between positive and negative aspects should also be main concern.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
    SEO Content Demon, Mar 15, 2012 IP
  13. BuriedAlive

    BuriedAlive Peon

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    #13
    I've been writing content and I never tried doing any copywriting stints because I know they are different. For one I haven't really tried my hand on writing specifically to sell a product or service. But I admit I get confused at times because like one of the comments states, and as I have witnessed so many times myself, some clients tend to think they're interchangeable.
     
    BuriedAlive, Mar 16, 2012 IP
  14. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #14
    I would say that much of the difference between the two has to do with the level of research required.

    To write an article or essay about doggie doors, you would research about the doors in general, maybe do some keyword research and then write the piece.

    To write sales copy for XYZ doggie doors, you have to research: the doors in general, XYZ, what makes XYZ better (and worse) than the competition, what the competition is doing that XYZ is not to sell their doggie doors, interview the client to help determine their USP, what people who buy doggie doors are looking for...

    Only then do you begin thinking about approaches to the overall sales pitch and how to write the piece.

    Writing essay-style content on doggie doors should take no more than a few hours. In contrast, writing sales copy for doggie doors can take days just gathering information.
     
    YMC, Mar 16, 2012 IP
  15. Charismatic Mannequin

    Charismatic Mannequin Greenhorn

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    #15

    Precisely right. This is what sets content and copywriters apart. :)


    Ben.
     
    Charismatic Mannequin, Mar 16, 2012 IP
  16. willM

    willM Peon

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    #16
    Nice thread.

    Most people confuse between copywriting & content writing.
     
    willM, May 31, 2012 IP
  17. NathanielFletcher

    NathanielFletcher Peon

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    #17
    You bet?! This is one of the best posts I have seen till date and is sure of help. There are many who have such misconceptions and this post surely clarifies all the doubts that people could have in this regard. Brilliant work! :)
     
    NathanielFletcher, Jun 4, 2012 IP
  18. staveros

    staveros Greenhorn

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    #18
    :)

    A post that is what it describes...does exactly what it says on the tin!!
     
    staveros, Jun 7, 2012 IP
  19. Justin Mandel

    Justin Mandel Greenhorn

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    #19
    Great post...everyone searching for an article writer should read it to know the difference :p
     
    Justin Mandel, Jun 8, 2012 IP
  20. Junie

    Junie Peon

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    #20
    This is actually a very good post, beginner copywriters and potential clients should find it very useful. However, I think you oversimplified the work involved for content writers. Technically a copywriter is a type of content writer. The workflow involved is not "THAT" vastly different for copywriter and a content writer, there are a lot of similarities. I'm saying this because I'm a copywriter and a content writer. I usually charge the client based on the scope of the project, budget, and the difficulty level. I mostly charge my clients around the same rates for content and copy. Sometimes it might be $5 per 350 words other times its $5 per 100 words. If it's a task that involve too much research (spanning multiple days) and something too time consuming then it will be an hourly rate. Main steps involved in copywriting and content writing are very similar, at least for me:


    1. Research (can be topic research, audience research, customer research, product research, trend research, plot research for short stories and so on)
    2. Brainstorming (putting together all the ideas and picking out the best one to use in writing)
    3. Composition (Composing content with materials from brainstorming, target audience, and goal of the content all in mind - whether it is copy or just article about rainforests)
    4. Proofreading and Revisions

    Anyway, as for people posting in "Copywriting" forum without making any distinction between content writing and copywriting, it's most probably because there isn't ant "Content Writing" forum on the "Business" category. :)
     
    Junie, Jun 9, 2012 IP