Selling with words

What is copy writing anyway? Isn’t it just about basic grammar?

No. Many people are confused about what copywriting is. Perhaps it’s the word writing that muddles things up. The moment you say writing, people assume it’s all about using pretty words and correcting grammar. These things do count. But that is only a fraction of the story. Copy writing is about selling with words.

Branding is more than a logo

The words you use — in your sales copy, on your website, in your consumer-facing communications and so on — will tell people something about your brand, the quality of your products and services and the way you do business. You need to make sure your copy is saying the right things about you. In the same way that a graphic designer will create a logo that embodies your brand identity, a good copy writer will sell your brand and your values with every word they use on your behalf.

Persuasive writing

As copy writers, our job is to use words to persuade the reader to buy. At its most functional, this could mean tempting a shopper to buy a product in an online shop. But equally it could mean persuading the reader to trust our client’s credentials, expertise or ethics. Each type of selling calls for a distinct tone or style of writing. The copy writer’s first skill is to understand what is driving the sale: is it an essential household item? Or is the purchase fulfilling an unspoken emotional need? The next skill is to match the tone and style of writing with the kind of selling that needs to be done. Professionals know when they can bend or break the rules of grammar and what effect that will have. Lastly, the copy writer will choose words with precision to push the argument forward. So — in the end — a copy writer is a marketer. Writing is simply the tool.

Don’t try this at home

We all learn to write at school. So it’s tempting to imagine that when business calls for the written word, anyone can do it. This is a mistake. As with graphic design, copy writing is both an art and a skilled craft. Copy writers learn their craft and perfect it over many years. Copy writers know what words will work in any given campaign — and why. Don’t trust this vital part of your brand to just anyone. Trust a professional to sell with words.

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