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Your online presence starts with great copywriting.
Copywriting. It’s that one little word that means everything to your online content.
It influences the quality, style, type, and length of your content, and even where you rank in Google. It has the power to majorly bump up your expertise and online presence (yessss!), or it can be the deciding factor that sinks both into obscurity (😱 the horror!).
It all starts with copywriting. 📝
Unfortunately, a lot of people are confused about what “copywriting” means. Some common questions we hear include: What is copywriting, exactly? How is it different from content writing? What are the different types of copywriting services? What are some great copywriting examples?
Ready to hear the answers? We’ve got them.
Want to chat more about your needs and our services?
Copywriting Services Versus Content Writing Services: What’s the Difference?
First things, first. Let’s define “copywriting.”
Copywriting is used interchangeably with the term “content writing,” but that’s not entirely accurate. To understand the difference, you need to know what “copy” and “content” are, and why they’re not the same thing.
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting services involve writing copy.
Copy applies to anything written with the intention of moving the audience to action. When a copywriter writes copy, they use techniques to persuade the target readers to do something that will profit the brand.
Here’s a copywriting example from Trello. The bits of copy explain the tool’s features/benefits and make you want to try it.
What Is Content Writing?
Content writing involves writing content.
Content applies to any piece of text written with the intention to inform, teach, entertain, or guide readers on a particular topic.
Here’s a content writing example from our own Write Blog. This content teaches you how to optimize blogs in WordPress.
So, where does the confusion about copywriting vs. content writing spring from?
Generally, people get confused about the differences because the two can (and do) overlap.
For example, a content writer employs copywriting techniques when they craft a compelling call-to-action inside an informative blog post.
Take the EW blog above – it includes copywriting at the end with this exact technique: a CTA.
A copywriter takes on content writing skills when they infuse their copy with valuable information and education for readers before moving on to the persuasive pitch.
Looking at another example from Trello, check out how the writing in this guide is educational (it teaches you how to use the tool). Yet, it also persuades you how cool Trello is at the same time:
Let’s be real, here: Only the most skilled online writers can effortlessly combine the two disciplines (copywriting services and content writing) without it seeming forced or overly sales-y.
Knowing the differences as well as how and when to use each skillset is a delicate balancing act that not every content or copywriting service writer can achieve.
What Do Professional Copywriting Services Look Like? A Guide + Examples
As you can see, copywriting is a little more complicated than just writing for the web.
It’s broken down into multiple disciplines and types. Some copywriters specialize in specific disciplines, while others focus on general, jack-of-all-trades work.
Here are the major copywriting segments, defined, plus examples of good copywriting.
1. SEO Copywriting
Above all, SEO copywriting services aim to get your web pages ranking in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
SEO requires copywriting techniques beyond using keywords wisely – it also needs:
Solid, user-targeted writing (especially in key places like headlines and meta descriptions).
Good linking practices (to both on-site and off-site sources).
Knowledge of the way online readers read.
In general, web SEO copywriting is split into two forms:
Product description copywriting, and web content writing. Let’s explore both.
Product Description Copywriting
Product descriptions are an essential part of selling anything online – whether it’s your dog walking services, your hand-poured candles, or your SEO software.
A good product description helps the buyer understand the product, figure out if it meets their needs, and answers any questions they have about it. It also tells them important product details like size, weight, color, style, and more.
A sample of product description copywriting we point to over and over comes from ModCloth. They do a great job of describing the clothes and accessories they sell in terms of what their target buyers need/want to hear:
Web Content Writing
Getting your web pages to rank with Google AND your audience is the goal of web copywriting services like content writing.
This doesn’t apply only to blogs, but also to landing pages, product pages, sales pages, and any other type of content you include on your site.
For instance, this page listing all of Moz’s free tools is currently ranking in organic position #2 for the keyword “SEO tools”:
2. Blog Copywriting
Technically, blog copywriting and content writing are interchangeable. As we said, this is what confuses people the most about both disciplines.
To make it easier to understand, just think of blog post copywriting as a hybrid between content writing and copywriting.
It uses skills from both areas – informing, educating, or entertaining the audience while also persuading them to take some sort of action (which can be as simple as encouraging them to download a freebie or as complicated as persuading them to sign up for a paid course).
Keep in mind: the persuasion part isn’t the main goal. The main goal with content is ALWAYS to fulfill an audience need, i.e., a beneficial purpose.
Here’s another good blog copywriting example from the Write Blog – it informs you about Google’s June Core update (content writing) while sprinkling in some relevant nudges to check out our services (copywriting):
3. Marketing Copywriting Services
We’ve come to the traditional role of the copywriter: marketing copywriting services.
This is the Mad Men-esque idea everyone has in their heads about what a typical copywriter does, and what copywriting services entail.
As you’d imagine, a marketing copywriter might work on the following projects:
– Comes up with ad copy and slogans
– Writes conversion copy (or direct response copy) that aims to get the customer to buy right here, right now
– Writes ads for multiple channels, including web, TV, direct mail, and magazines
One of the most common jobs for a marketing copywriter is whipping up persuasive, engaging Facebook ad copy, like in this ad from Quip:
4. Creative & Storytelling Copywriting
Stories hook human brains. It’s no wonder some of the best copywriters infuse their copy with stories to make whatever they’re selling zing off the page.
Copywriting services and storytelling merge in these examples:
At Express Writers, we use storytelling copywriting to explain how our online writing agency gets your content created, edited, and back into your hands:
5. Technical Copywriting
Got a product or service that’s technical and difficult to understand? That’s what technical copywriting is for.
A technical copywriter has a deep understanding of your industry, but can take that understanding and put it into engaging, readable language for the everyman or woman. E.g., they take hard-to-understand concepts and make them understandable.
A technical copywriter is, therefore, your best friend if you work in SaaS, tech, web development, or another industry with techy language that can veer into gobbledygook.
For example, this article from How-To Geek tells you (or any person who owns a computer) how to find your Wi-Fi password through multiple avenues:
And here’s an example of a complicated SaaS (software as a service) described in simple terms that anyone with basic computer knowledge will understand:
The right technical copywriting service will:
Simplify what your product does without dumbing it down.
Explain industry concepts clearly.
And, finally, lead your audience to enlightenment and understanding!
What Makes a Good Copywriter?
You understand what copywriting services are and why they’re necessary. Now, onto the next big question:
What makes a good copywriter? What skills should they have to produce stellar copywriting material? 👩💻
1. Writing Skills & Experience
No, you don’t need a college degree to be a great copywriter. However, you DO need plenty of experience with the written word.
- A good copywriter knows their way around a blog post, a web page, an ebook, an infographic, and other content formats.
- They’re comfortable creating all kinds of content.
- They write clear and readable prose, and make complex topics easy to understand.
On top of that, they need an ability to engage the reader, including:
- Writing compelling, eye-catching headlines and openers
- Making the words and ideas flow seamlessly throughout each piece
- Avoiding filler words and phrases
- Using the right vocabulary and style for the target audience
- Crafting useful conclusions
Usually, these skills come with years of writing practice, not to mention tons of reading (for fun!) on the side.
2. A Reader-Focused Mentality
A copywriter who isn’t reader-focused won’t do your content any favors.
Because, when copywriters lose sight of the target audience, they start writing for the wrong people. Hint: Content isn’t for your brand, your peers, or even for you. Content is FOR users.
That means your copywriter needs to be, essentially, the reader’s advocate, making sure the copy or content addresses their needs, pain points, questions, and desires.
3. Research Wizardry
The right facts, sources, or data can turn a good content piece into a great one. Competent copywriters understand the necessity of research and will find the information they need to back up a piece.
Copywriters penning blogs should also have a firm grasp of how to cite and link to sources in their writing. This is a huge piece of the puzzle of establishing the client’s authority and positioning them as a trustworthy source of information.
4. SEO and Digital Marketing Knowledge
SEO and digital marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly. (One without the other just doesn’t make sense.)
An online copywriter is going to be writing web content. That means SEO knowledge is essential for positioning that content – no matter what it is – to rank. Period.
Additionally, a good copywriter needs some online marketing knowledge to guide them. They need to know the lingo (CTAs, conversions, H1s, related keywords, and metas all come to mind) as well as how to write for internet users and online formats.
5. Specialized Expertise
For some industries, you can’t write copy or content without expertise and specialization gained from experience and education in those particular fields.
A general copywriting service won’t be able to write about niche topics like financial advice for retirees 55 and over, troubleshooting a cult-favorite video game for teens, or workouts for new and expectant mothers.
Sure, a general copywriter can give it their best shot, but they won’t have a deep understanding of the competitor market for the industry in question, or the right vocabulary to use, or even the pain points of the target reader.
In other words, a generalist will not be able to plumb the depths of a specialized industry topic. That’s why most expert copywriters eventually choose a specialist niche and focus on gaining the knowledge and authority necessary to write with aplomb in that area.
For example, this blog on average churn rates for SaaS is full of details only an expert would know to include:
In specialized niches, relevant expertise is essential for a copywriter.
Let a total newbie (say, some random writer you found on Upwork) write those niche blogs, and you’re in for a world of trouble.
An unqualified writer will be a disaster in general, for any brand in any industry, because they won’t have the necessary skills to write strategically and intentionally.
Copywriting Services Don’t Have to Be Complicated
So, you need professional, online copywriting services for your brand or clients.
You need a good copywriter (or team of copywriters) who can plumb the depths of your industry and emerge at the surface carrying the pearls of wisdom your readers want & need.
How do you find this magical copywriting service?
You just did. 🎇
At Express Writers, we have a pool of vetted, expert copywriters (only 2% pass our tests) at your disposal. From general copy to specialist content and everything in-between, we can take care of it.
Our writers’ specialties include finance, medical, legal, tech, video games, arts & entertainment, B2B marketing, travel, health & wellness, and more. 🧐
Let us handle your copy and content! We’ve got this.