• By: Lisa Manyon www.writeoncreative.com 

    What the Heck is Copywriting Anyway?

    I’m asked this question often and there seems to be some confusion about what copywriting is.

    So, I hope to shed some light on the subject of copywriting vs. copyrighting.

    Copywriting, by definition is the act (I call it art) of writing advertising, marketing or promotional copy.

    Let’s break it down further.

    Copy is the written word used in your marketing materials. Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero said it best when she explained that copy is the DNA of your marketing efforts. Take a moment to think about that and the importance of good copy may become a little clearer. Strip your marketing, advertising and promotional materials of all words and what do you have? If you’re serious about projecting a good image for your business, you’ll have a slick looking graphic layout. Even though pictures are supposed to be worth a thousand words, pictures alone cannot adequately sell your wares.

    Many say that content is king. I believe content is QUEEN and your strategy is KING. Your content moves your customers towards the sale and explains the ‘what’s in it for me factor.’ Copy is very important, indeed. Copy allows you to tell your story in a way that motivates and brings results.

    Confusing the art of copywriting with the act of copyrighting is a common error. As I pointed out earlier, copywriting is the art of writing copy. Copyrighting is the act of claiming formal ownership of a piece of writing, usually via the US Copyright office.

    Even a particular yellow page company seems to be confused about that. I’m pretty clear about letting people know what I do. I indicate the same thing in all of my marketing and advertising as a part of the branding and positioning process: Write On ~ Creative Writing Services POWERFULLY communicates business messages to get results. We do this via articles, marketing strategies and copywriting.

    Apparently the art department at the yellow page firm didn’t think that I know what my company does and decided to change the term copywriting to copyrighting.

    Imagine my surprise when my already approved copy was changed by an artist without my consent. I’m still waiting for my refund because I got a little fired up when people kept calling me to help copyright their work. That isn’t what I do and of course, to be polite, I explained what I really do when people called and I sent them to the US Copyright website. After a few of these calls, I used the power of words to write the yellow page company’s corporate office and request a refund.

    Oddly, the calls about a service I don’t provide, in some twisted way, are proof that people do use the yellow pages. And, I’m a firm believer that placing an ad in the yellow pages is an important part of the marketing funnel for some businesses.

    Luckily most of my referrals come via word of mouth from satisfied customers and from internet marketing. Therefore, I won’t be renewing my yellow page ad. Sorry to digress with a small tangent. I know that everyone makes mistakes and I’m not trying to be a bully. The story was just a great illustration of how people are still confused about the meaning of copywriting, as well as an aside about editing.

    Did you know that a similar situation happened with L.L Bean’s Back To School Catalog? A misprint of a toll free number appeared with the prefix of 800 instead of 877 because a rogue employee ‘just knew’ all toll free numbers started with 800. That mistake was rather costly as L.L. Bean had to do some fancy footwork to purchase the misprinted number from another company (a guesstimate of six figures). Ouch!

    While we’re on the subject of copywriting, here’s another question I get. Some people have asked why my business is named, Write On ~ Creative Writing Services. It’s a valid question because the word ‘creative’ throws people. They think of fictitious work or even a wildly artsy fartsy kind of person. I can understand that but the fact is I am a creative thinker. Not only do I write promotional, marketing and advertising materials, I brainstorm fantastic marketing ideas, write articles, create marketing strategies that generate profits and I’m the first to admit that writing copy takes some imaginative approaches to get results. The bottom line is I do all types of writing (technical, business, promotional, copy and from time to time, I dabble in a bit of fiction …) and I do it all with my own creative touch. My customers appreciate professional creativity (visit the ‘Client Comments‘ section on the Write On Creative blog to see what they’re saying). Oftentimes, it takes a fresh approach and some creative ingenuity to give a project an admirable jump start, especially when brainstorming marketing direction.

    What’s fueling your writing efforts? Need some help? Grab your FREE Copywriting Action Plan here.

    Lisa Manyon is "The Business Marketing Architect" a content and copywriting strategist for mission-driven entrepreneurs. She's the creator of the NEW marketing model for success (as seen in Inc. Magazine) that's changing the way people market today. She specializes in powerfully communicating your marketing message to increase results via Manyon Marketing Web Makeovers, website copy packages and content strategies to effectively market your business. She offers a free Copywriting Action Plan and marketing resources on her award winning blog. Her consulting and coaching is known to help produce million dollar results www.writeoncreative.com/blog


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