Someone asked me the other day, “What is a copywriter?” It was a new term to them, which made me realize it might be an unfamiliar term to a lot of people, probably even some of the people who need to hire them for their business. I explained that a copywriter is someone who writes the words that help sell products and services. In a nutshell, that is correct, but there is more to it than that.

First of all, let’s clear up the confusion between copywriter and copyright. Copyright is a protection for creative works that prevents other people from using their work without permission. It covers all kinds of creations: books, songs, movies, poetry, paintings, etc.

A copywriter is the person who uses words to sell goods and services. So, a copywriter’s work is copyrighted, but I am not a copyrighter.

Copywriting is a specialized style of writing. It is both an art and a science. Copywriting is a little bit of science that is backed up by statistics and analytics, a psychological understanding of what motivates and influences people to act, an ability to understand the mission of a business, and a lot of creativity.

A copywriter may write advertisements, commercials, websites, emails, white papers, reports, news releases, books, magazine articles, blogs, brochures, and the list goes on.

What makes a copywriter indispensable to businesses is the skill in which those words are used. A copywriter knows which words help influence, entertain, entice, explain, and sell. They know when and where to use those words to create the biggest impact.

A good copywriter knows how to use words effectively to persuade a customer to take an action. The action may be to sign up for an email, order a product, use a coupon, visit a store, share with a friend, or any number of calls to action.

They also know how to use a conversational tone to reach the customer, and how to change that voice and tone depending upon the business they are writing for. They know how to find the true benefits of any business or product and how to show customers how it can change or improve their lives. They also know how to write subject lines and headlines that grab readers’ attention and entice them to read the copy that follows.

Copywriting also requires good collaboration and oral communication skills to enable the writer to work with a business and understand their needs. This mix of skills is what allows a copywriter to help a business increase their sales. Strong copy can pay for itself many times over.

All writers are not copywriters, but all copywriters are writers. In short, a copywriter is the magic behind successful advertising and marketing campaigns. If you are reading basically anything besides news or fiction, you are likely reading copy written by a copywriter.