- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 09/9/2009
- Writing for the Web
Online business owners often underestimate the role of copywriting when they develop their websites, blogs and other Internet marketing promotions. If you haven’t studied copywriting yourself, you may not know what you can and cannot expect from copywriting. You may not even be sure what copywriting is or why you need it. To begin, service professionals sometimes confuse “copywriting” with “copyright.” Copywriting refers to content on your website. Copyright refers to the legal protection of works of authors, composers and publishers. It’s easy to believe copywriting resembles creative writing. In fact copywriting is completely different from creative writing, journalism, legal writing, scientific writing and technical writing. Business owners who excel at these forms of writing often think they can write website copy too. When their websites fail to deliver results, they realize that they need to learn copywriting or hire someone who has studied copywriting.
At the other extreme, many online marketers believe copywriters can rescue an ineffective product that doesn’t meet the needs of the designated target market. They sometimes believe copywriters can take an incomplete idea and develop a sales letter. In fact, copywriting begins with identifying
the target market, recognizing benefits that your service will deliver, and communicating benefits in a context the target market will appreciate. Another myth is that copywriters are primarily writers. Therefore, when hiring a copywriter, business owners often are surprised to find that many copywriters do not come from English departments. Copywriting requires a unique combination of sales and writing skill. Many top copywriters come from backgrounds in hands-on sales. Some never finished college, while others have doctoral degrees. Some business owners think copywriting is just about manipulating words. They call a copywriter to ask, “Can you just tweak a few words for me?” In fact, top-level copywriters pride themselves on creating messages and content strategy. Business owners can get frustrated after a copywriter “makes a few changes” and then nothing happens.
Finally, the hardest lesson to learn is that copywriters target your prospective clients. Often you as a business owner will be uncomfortable with the copy written by a professional, especially if it’s edgier than you expected. But when you test the copy, you will almost always be surprised at the results. You may need to make a few changes after the copy goes live, but many business owners enjoy a surprising surge in revenues, profits, and clients after their copy gets a professional makeover.