The act of copywriting should not be confused with copyright registration. Copyright refers to the official registration of patents, intellectual property and brand logo usage rights. Copywriting is the creative process of conceptualizing advertisements and marketing devices such as events and other platforms promoting brands or services. In fact, I’m copywriting right now! All pieces of informational or text utilized to persuade or describe a product, brand, company or service should be seen as copywriting.
Copywriters are tasked with conceptualizing or “hatching” the big idea. Coming up with a creative concept that sells is a very involved and innovative process. It’s more than just writing a few words and is much more complicated than churning out a quick headline and a few paragraphs of body copy. In advertising, copy refers to the text, or words, used in an advertisement.
The body copy is the actual paragraphs of supporting text adding additional facts and benefits to the headline and greater concept. Where a television ad is concerned, the body copy would manifest in dialogue, the announcer’s script, the tagline or punch line, so the words are no longer delivered through text, but they are verbally recited.
Good copywriting features the so-called “Golden Thread”, the one characteristic that brings cohesion and a level of uniformity to an advertising campaign. The Golden Thread makes an ad instantly recognizable as part of a greater campaign and enables the audience to develop a framework of reference regarding the advertised brand and its values. “Got Milk?” and “Just do it!” are great examples of copywriting legend. These concise phrases are now associated exclusively with their brands. That’s the magic of copy.
Copywriting speak includes phrases like concept and copy, concept crafting, conceptualization, proofing, layouts, color proofs, and final signoff. Then there is also on-strat and off-strat, creative review, traffic, status and creative awards. There’s much more that goes into outlining an advertisement, website copy or commercial than anyone knows unless you are in the industry or are spending hours writing it yourself.
Although we generally refer to people who write books as authors, they still write copy and in the truest sense of the word they are copywriters, too. Today, most commercial writers write copy projects much smaller than the time-consuming and disciplined genre of books, so we will stick to calling them authors.
Communicating by the written word can be a most effective way one can transfer creative, detailed and concise information while enhancing a brand’s messaging. A good copywriter can make all the difference between a successful campaign and a losing one.