5 Misconceptions About Copywriting (#1 is my favorite)
I started off as a creative writer.
Actually, I was a writer who wrote feelings and opinions down on a page, published it, and called it creative writing.
As you can imagine, some tough feedback ensued, and I was at the crossroads of quitting or learning how to be a great writer!
I chose the latter.
I "googled" how to become a great writer. There were SO MANY results to choose from. Everything from worksheets, to books, to coaching, to writing programs. It seemed like everyone was trying to sell me on their process. It was pretty overwhelming.
Then, another question came....Who writes these sales pages? Why was I attracted to some and put-off by others?
My query's results sparked an interest in understanding sales pages...I then found copywriting and my love for writing powerful messages that grow businesses and help customers find the solution to their problems.
I used to have some pretty harsh misconceptions about copywriting. The five misconceptions below were top of mind when I entered the field...before I knew just how essential copywriting is for businesses and consumers.
1. Copywriters slap words on a page
I'll start with my favorite misconception about copywriters.
When I meet with clients for the first time, they rarely know what copywriting is. They don't really see the point in hiring someone to write for them because it's just words, right?
Copywriting is both a science and an art. We use formulas that create specific outcomes and only write the copy once we have performed extensive market research about your ideal clients.
Our job as copywriters is to get to the heart of your message.
What are you really trying to say?
What do your ideal clients really need to hear?
A good copywriter spends more time talking to your ideal clients about their strengths, pains, problems, worries, and values than they do writing the actual copy.
Why is this important?
Copywriters are in the business of building relationships between a business and its ideal customer. More specifically, we help guide consumers to the brand, service, or product that would help solve their problem best.
It takes a great deal of empathy, humility, and time to understand the deeper parts of your audience and how they could benefit from your product or service.
Thus, slapping words on a page rarely leads to anything substantial. In fact, using a non-scientific/non-empathetic approach to the copy you use to represent your business can damage credibility and authority in your area of expertise.
2. Copywriting is just sleezy, fear-based sales
This one makes my heart sink because I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of fear-based and threatening sales tactics. I was sour toward all things sales for years! As an advocate for self-determination and self-agency, I couldn't stand people that used sales manuevers to exploit and prey on the vulnerabilities of others.
I wanted to find a better way. I wanted to find a loving, strengths-based process for writing conversion copy that respected a prospective client's choices.
Enter love-based copywriting by Michele PW. She created a love-based copywriting system that doesn't use fear or shame. Instead, it uses love and respect to support people through a decision-making process that fits their needs.
Love-based copywriters, like myself, choose to leverage pleasure and strength over fear and shame in conversion copy. Michelle is honest that using love-based copywriting will not result in instant sales.
That's because instant sales isn't (the only) point!
The point is building trusting relationships that naturally result in ideal clients buying/using your services or products.
I use love-based copywriting with all my clients.
3. Any writer can also be a copywriter
I totally thought this was the case when I started copywriting.
I was so wrong.
There are definitive differences between a novelist, a poet, and a screenwriter. Each has their own unique skills that take them from mediocre to steller.
Copywriting is no different.
As stated above, copywriting uses psychology, social science, and performance data to write a piece of content that leads to a specific outcome.
Copywriting uses some creativity, but it comes in building trust and relationships with an audience. The copywriting process involves a deep dive into the psyche and heart of ideal clients; accessing their pain, worries, values, and strengths to direct them to the product or service that could help remedy their problem.
A significant amount of consumer research, data collecting, and empathetic understanding goes into the process of writing excellent copy.
As copywriters, we can take bits and pieces from the more avant-garde expressions of writing to make words lift off a sales page or website. However, it doesn't replace the solid research necessary to create outcome-oriented copy.
4. Copyright and Copywrite are the same
They are NOT the same thing.
"Copyright" literally means the right to copy. Over time, it has come to mean the exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners to protect their work and intellectual property.
Essentially, suppose a person comes up with a process, system, product, or other tangible item and goes through the legal process of declaring rights to the copy. In that case, they can put that cute little © sign to let others know they can't steal their stuff.
If they do, they are subject to legal action.
One can use a copywriter to write the content of something that will be later copyrighted.
5. I can do copywriting myself
I don't think this is a misconception as much as a preference.
Most business owners, especially solopreneurs, private practice owners, coaches, or small 2-3 person boutique businesses, have a small marketing budget and may choose to write their own copy.
There are benefits to writing your own copy...
1. it's in your voice, and no one knows your business better than you
2. it doesn't cost you money
3. you may enjoy the process and can use it as a creative outlet
4. your co-workers all contribute to content creation, so copywriting doesn't all fall on your shoulders
I would also say that there are stresses to writing your own copy...
1. it's a lot of work, and the time commitment is high
2. you are emotionally invested in your business and want to talk about how great it is (because it's truly awesome), but people want you to talk about them, not yourself
3. objectivity for your own business is challenging
4. you may want to use your precious time and energy elsewhere (like helping your clients or creating new products)
This is where outsourcing for a copywriter can be supportive of your business. Not only do copywriters know what to look for to assemble compelling copy, but they can also do it in half the time someone who isn't trained in how to write copy can do.
Think of copywriting as one of those delegated tasks that clears your schedule and lifts the burden off your mind.
You probably use a financial person to keep track of your money. Why not use a specialist in writing conversion copy to help you bring in that money?
Want to talk more about how a copywriter can help you? Connect with me!