What is copywriting? This question has plagued the marketing industry since the earliest days of the information age – think the late 1990s and early 2000s here. With so many still active marketing professionals with experience on both sides of the information age, the definition of copywriting often depends on who you ask.

In the strictest sense of the word, ‘copy’ is any form of written text produced exclusively for marketing purposes. Prior to online marketing, most copy consisted of ad copy. It was things like newspaper and magazine adverts, billboard signs, text written for promotional leaflets and brochures, and the like. Written text that would be used within television and radio adverts was considered copy too.

Copywriting in those days was fairly straightforward in principal. It was a matter of creating copy that got people excited about a particular product or service. The best writers could get a very effective message across in just a few sentences.

What is Copywriting in the Modern Era?

The implementation of the internet as a public commodity has forever changed how we view copywriting. Today, copywriting for the information age is still centred around marketing, but it is not limited to direct sales. In other words, copywriting now includes things like blog posts, marketing e-mails, social media posts, and even press releases.

What is copywriting, then? In short, any kind of writing created for the express purpose of marketing a business or organisation is considered copywriting. The difference between pre-internet and modern copywriting is that writers have to pay attention to search engine optimisation (SEO) in addition to getting people excited about a product, service, or company.

One could argue that the information age has made copywriting more difficult. Effective copywriting certainly requires additional skill sets that were not needed prior to the information age, that’s for sure. Why? Because the information age has given us a lot more media to work with.

It used to be that there were only about a dozen different media requiring copywriting. Those included many of the things listed above: newspapers, magazines, etc. Today, a conservative estimate suggests more than 100 different kinds of media including business websites, social media, e-commerce platforms, pay-per-click ads, and on and on.

In Summary

What is copywriting? Copywriting is, at the end of the day, any form of writing intended for marketing purposes. If you are writing something for the purposes of informing people about a company, an organisation, or specific products or service on offer, you are writing copy.

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