To embark on a career as a copywriter, you first need to understand exactly how it differs from regular writing. It doesn’t help that the word “copy” is sometimes applied to writing of any kind that is intended for publication. A newspaper journalist may be congratulated by his editor for producing “great copy”; a draft novel will be scrutinized by a copy editor before being sent for printing.
In a way, newspapers and novels are copy in that the desired result is that they are purchased. However, the content of that copy does not directly advertise the publication, and this is where it cannot be considered copywriting in the sense that this book is using the term i.e. producing words that sell.
Copywriting is the use of words as promotional tools. They can promote a person, a business, a product, an opinion or idea, and they can appear on TV, radio, websites, in direct mailings, brochures, press releases, catalogues, on flyers, billboards or via any other kind of advertising material.
A copywriter’s job is to persuade the reader, listener or viewer to take action, which usually means parting with some money in exchange for a product or service. Alternatively, it may be used to promote a certain opinion, or to dissuade people from subscribing to a certain point of view.
One huge area for copywriters to plunder these days is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is content written for websites with keywords tactically dropped in at given intervals. This is designed to rank the website more highly on the various search engines so that more potential buyers will find it on a related search.
You can learn the skill-set for copywriting. The only real proviso is that you possess a reasonable grasp of the English language so that you can express your thoughts in a way that will not cause anyone to double-take. Copy that causes confusion or that looks or sounds unintelligent will be distracting. This should not be a problem for most people because copywriting is not about using complex language. The most powerful advertising messages are often the most simple.