What is Copywriting? Types and Formulas of Copywriting
Whether you’re aspiring to dive into the copywriting field and become a copywriter yourself, or you want to write the copy for your own product, service, or website, this article is for you. We define copywriting in short, show types of copywriters, elaborate on copywriting types and techniques, guide you step by step to write your own copy, and compile some of the famous copywriting formulas used by experts worldwide.
Guide to the Article
- What is copywriting in short?
- Types of Copywriters
- Copywriting Types
- Tips for Better Copywriting
- How to Structure Website Copy for a Website
- Copywriting Formulas for Titles
- Copywriting Formulas for a Blog Post
- Copywriting Formulas for Call to Action
- Copywriting Formulas for Social Media Content
In one sentence, copywriting, as the name obviously suggests, is the skill of writing a copy for the purposes of advertising a product or a service.
By advertising here, we mean all the forms of marketing for a product or a service on every possible marketing channel.
That’s why copywriting appears wherever there’s an audience, and that’s basically EVERYWHERE:
- in the streets,
- on the internet,
- on mobile phones,
- on TV and radio,
- in newspapers and magazines,
- and inside of your head 😀
Copywriting is a creative, and somehow fun, job to do, even if you’re not a copywriter yourself.
You might need to come up with different copies for a product you’re marketing for, a service you provide, a website you launched, or even a blog you’re maintaining.
You could also need to write marketing copies for your small startup company, like the “About Us” section or some product descriptions.
Yet, you can always hire a copywriter!
The Freelance Copywriter
Recently, the freelance copywriter job has become very known and thousands of skilled, creative soles are taking it as a career.
A freelancing copywriter has to be skilled in a broad range of copywriting techniques , because businesses hiring a freelance copywriter are very likely asking the poor soul to create all their material as needed: website content , brochures , emails , product descriptions , presentations , invitations , press releases , and social media content .
On the other hand, some freelancers choose to specialize in one form of copywriting (long copy , short copy , product description , etc.) or to write for a particular industry or sector.
Older, and more experienced, freelance copywriters tend to develop a broad knowledge of different business sectors, which makes them grasp a new client’s requirements very quickly.
A good copywriter also needs to develop knowledge in project management and consultancy, since many clients (who hire freelancers) may have little to no marketing experience.
Some businesses sign a long-term contract with the freelancer and others prefer the job-by-job basis.
Freelance copywriters come from different backgrounds, some were in other relevant industries like marketing or journalism, some are just people who found themselves talented in writing, and others have been once full-time agency copywriters and decided to set free.
The Agency Copywriter
An agency copywriter works as a full timer where his/her skill is of use: marketing, PR, digital, or copywriting agencies.
Agency copywriters are also required to deliver high-quality content in different forms as per the client’s request.
Freelancers worry about the pressure of delivering creative ideas and high-quality content under the pressure of the clock, and the management. Full timers reply that they do not have to spend much time in other tasks other than writing that might take their minds away from being creative, like marketing and hunting for new clients, following up with them, and doing the finance part themselves. The argue is endless.
The agency copywriter is usually briefed by an account handler, or perhaps a designer, and will produce whatever the client requires, which is slightly different than what an in-house copywriter does.
The In-House Copywriter
Large organizations have their own marketing departments and need the services of a bunch of full-time in-house copywriters.
An in-house copywriter works with only one client, which is a great advantage in the sense that this copywriter will develop a brand’s tone of voice in depth and enjoy a productively close working relationship with their internal clients (those who use their copy and brief them on requirements).
As usual, there are two sides for every story. Some argue that working as an in-house copywriter and dealing only with one client may limit one’s opportunities in terms of selling different products or working in a range of media.
What do you see, from your point of view, is common between all types of copywriters ?
Yes, you’re correct.
In order for a copywriter to succeed and find their way in this wide field, they need to be versatile, diverse, and knowledgeable about and skilled in ALL types of copywriting.
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There are different directions and schools in dividing types of copywriting into categories.
Also, copywriting types are so many to count, and they are updated everyday with new types added and others merged and so on.
So, to be frank, there isn’t a one-and-only guide to copywriting types .
What we can do in this article is to briefly explore the main and most common types of copywriting out there.
Sales copywriting is on the top of the copywriting types list because of its utmost importance and wide usage in almost all aspects of marketing.
It includes text on adverts, advertorials ( online and offline ), product descriptions, and category descriptions.
In order to produce a sales copy, the copywriter needs to master a few skills:
- the ability to read the audience minds and see into their subconscious,
- the knowledge of what appeals to a specific audience,
- writing creatively and persuasively,
- squeezing a lot of details into short, to-the-point phrases,
- breaking down hard and complex information into easy and simple words,
- researching the subject matter inside out,
- and drawing with words a picture in the reader’s mind about the product and how it’s going to change their life.
A sales writer shouldn’t sound cheesy; they better sound true, decisive, and friendly.
Any online content should be optimized for SEO ; SEO-friendly content is easily found on search engines by visitors and that’s what every online business seeks.
As an SEO copywriter, you should be able to:
- get into the minds of your client’s typical customers,
- do extensive research about the search terms people use to find the product they’re looking for online,
- employ creativity and insight,
- and balance the use of your keywords so that neither the reader nor Google finds your piece of article abusively stuffed with keywords in meaningless sentences.
The role of web copywriting is to build a relationship with the customers and to tell the story of a product; this comes in the form of blog posts, articles, and long social media content.
When you give your reader a piece of writing that’s both insightful and interesting, they’ll be encouraged to share and interact.
Examples for content that’s educational rather than promotional are how-to videos, tutorials, tips and tricks, etc.
The easier the copy the better. People do not like to struggle reading a piece of content no matter how well educated they are. You can always check the complexity of your article and its readability score on many websites for free, such as readable.com.
White papers, user manuals, and guides are all forms of technical copywriting. It’s a type of copywriting that’s not intended to sell, but to explain in simple words how a product is used in details, covering every small feature of it.
A technical copywriter is a hybrid of a technician and a writer. They are not necessarily experts in the field they’re writing about, but they sure are willing to do tons of research before digging in the writing part.
Television and radio ads are examples of creative copywriting. It doesn’t entail much of writing, but is does take a lot of time and effort to come up with a line, a slogan, or a script that appeals to the psychological and emotional part of the audience and at the same time is in line with the client’s vision, standards, and tone of voice.
This type of copywriting can be socially dangerous if the creative copywriter doesn’t consider and adhere to moral standards and cultural taboos. Today’s crowd is intolerant, harsh, and more critical than ever!
Content that is intended to represent an organization to the public in any way falls under the PR copywriting. Press releases and statements are examples of that.
A PR copywriter’s job is to portray a company in the best light possible. This can be achieved in positive events as raising awareness of a new product or service, and on other negative events as in negative publicity to control damage as much as you can.
That was all about the most popular copywriting types and how they are different but at the end of the day the same in their core. Whether you’re a copywriter yourself, thinking of becoming one, or reading to write your own copies yourself, you’ll probably need to sharpen your skills and brush up on them a little for a better copy the next time 😉
We are not talking here about the basic tools and skills a copywriter must have, which are spelling, punctuation, grammar, and native-like language sense of the target audience being written for.
We are here for the extra skills that make an excellent copywriter, the tips and tricks for a better copy to come. Then later in the article, we compiled some of the best-known copywriting formulas to engage your readers.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. How do they think and where do they hang out?
Respect your audience in every copy you’re writing and don’t skip that part.
Always ask for feedback and be open for constructive criticism.
Make people care so that they could relate to what you’re describing.
Keep your copy short so that it’s pleasant and engaging to read.
Practice the craft in every possible way to build a strong portfolio and gain tremendous experience.
Understand the brief you get from your client and try to meet the requirements as closely as possible to minimize the number of revisions you’ll need to do before it can be fully approved.
Evaluate your content by asking yourself the following: is my content simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional?
To sum up on these tips for better copywriting , re-read your copy with the eyes of the reader, not yours. How do you like your story? Do not be afraid or too lazy to change everything if you don’t. And always remember, practice makes better.
If you’re creating your own website with ExpandCart , then this part is for you. We’ll give you a step-by-step guide to structure website copy for your own website.
Step 1: Determine Your Commercial Pages
A website’s commercial pages are pages that are closely connected to revenue, like the homepage, features page, pricing page, and, if found, the page of comparisons with other competitor products.
They are the most important pages to your website’s visitors, so you better create high-quality content that drives conversions.
Let’s take ExpandCart’s pricing page as an example; look how detailed and informative it is.
Comparison pages make a great example as well for content for commercial pages that convinces clients into making a purchase decision.
Step 2: Determine Your Content Pages
A website’s content pages are pages that educate potential customers about your products and how they can be of great benefit for them.
Content pages have different formats, like guides , infographics , checklists, templates, and so on.
So how do you know what content exactly suits your business ?
Insert your “head term” into the tool to see how people are using it or searching about it to get inspired.
A head term is a term that explains what your business is about, the core of what you’re selling or offering. So for an online website that offers writing courses for all levels, a head term would be “ copywriting course .”
From there, you can get ideas from what people type into search engines, for example, “copywriting online course for beginners” and so much more keyword ideas.
The trick here is to decide which ones you can target based on your internal capabilities, budget, and business goals.
Which takes us to step 3.
Step 3: Which Pages to Create First
Now that you have decided on your commercial and content pages, you need to prioritize the pages you have to create first based on the potential and the importance of these pages.
Whether you do this job, or the agency you’re dealing with, grade your pages on how high or low its business value is and balance them out.
Step 4: Pages Creation
It’s time to start copywriting those pages you settled on, whether commercial or content.
First, choose the channel you’re going to use to generate traffic for your website, whether paid traffic, search traffic, or referral traffic. For startups, use paid traffic so that people can find you quickly, but at the same time make sure your pages are SEO-friendly so that people can find you organically as well.
Second, choose the way of creating copy for your pages, whether you have an in-house writer or you’ll hire a copywriter. Think carefully of your needs and budget and decide if you’ll build a team of in-house writers that work for you full time (those can be found on Wuzzuf and LinkedIn) or if you’ll hire the services of a freelance copywriter or contract with a copywriting agency on a job-by-job basis (those can be found on Fiverr, Upwork, and Clutch).
Step 5: Test Your Copy
Put your copy to the test to see how effective it is to the target audience and people react with it.
Elements you can test on your website include headlines, sub-headlines, call to actions, title tags, meta-description, and some more.
Test your page’s CTR on Google to find out how effective your title tag and meta-description are.
How many people click your Call to Action button shows how effective it actually is.
Step 6: Update Based on Results
Based on the testing results, and as time goes on, you got to optimize and update the content on your pages. The market is growing, your product is changing, and customers are becoming more aware; that’s why update is inevitable.
Update the information you’re providing, present the features of your product differently, and conduct regular content audits.
Your pages should be always optimized based on test results and target audience needs and change in attitude.
By now, you should have a clear vision of how to structure and create copy for your own website. To take it even further, we have compiled for you some of the best copywriting formulas that have proven to be effective and successful with people no matter what the content is.
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- Who Else (Does) ……?
This formula includes the reader in the title and creates a sense of personalization.
Example: Who Else Loves the New Store’s Features?
- The Secret of ……
This formula creates an emotional response because doesn’t everybody love to know super-secret information that nobody else does?
Example: The Secret to a Healthy Life
- Here is a Method That is Helping (Target Audience) to (Benefit You Can Provide)
This formula tells your readers you have a way to help them and add benefit to their life.
Example: Here is a Method That is Helping Bloggers Write Better Openings
- Little-Known Ways to ……
This formula taps into a sense of scarcity, because people love to be one of the few who know the insiders of something.
Example: Little-Known Ways to Scout Your Competitors
- (Do Something) Like (World-Class Example)
This formula plays on the human nature aspiration to be better and successful like world-class individuals.
Example: Become a Professional Football Player Like Mo Salah
- AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
This is one of the most-known formulas for writing a blog post , and it stands for:
- Attention: Getting your reader’s attention
- Interest: Generate interest and curiosity
- Desire: Provide something they desire the most
- Action: Get them to take action
- PAS: Problem, Agitate, Solution
This is a simple and highly effective copywriting formula , and it stands for:
- Problem: Provide a problem you know your readers have
- Agitate: Use emotion to agitate the problem, making it seem worse
- Solution: Offer the reader a solution to the problem
- AAPPA: Attention, Advantage, Proof, Persuasion, Action
This formula is simple to adapt to any situation, and it stands for:
- Attention: Get the reader’s attention
- Advantage: Offer something of advantage to them
- Proof: Prove what you say is true/trustworthy
- Persuasion: Persuade readers to take the advantage that’s so valuable to them
- Action: Get them to take action
- PPPP: Picture, Promise, Prove, Push
This is the 4 Ps copywriting formula, used in storytelling to create an emotional connection with the reader, and it stands for:
- Picture: Paint a picture through storytelling to create a desire for your offering
- Promise: Show the benefits you promise to deliver on
- Prove: Prove this through case studies, testimonials and other evidence
- Push: Get the reader to take action through careful encouragement
- FACE: Familiar, Audience, Cost, Education
This is an ever-successful formula and here’s how it works:
- Familiar: How familiar is your audience with your blog? Do you need to build on that familiarity to generate trust?
- Audience: Who makes up your target audience?
- Cost: How much does your product or service that you’re offering cost?
- Education: Do you need to teach your audience anything first before closing in on your offer?
- TPSC: Text, Placement, Size, Color
These are the four key elements you need to consider when creating a call to action button:
- Text: Your text should be clear, short and direct. It should also offer value while creating urgency
- Placement: Your button should be in the most logical place, preferably above the fold.
- Size: It shouldn’t be so big that it distracts the reader, but not so small that it’s overlooked
- Color: Use color and whitespace to make your button stand out from the rest of your website
- RAD: Require, Acquire, Desire
This formula takes into account the 3 things that must happen before anyone clicks your CTA, and here’s how it works:
- Require: Give your readers the information they need before the CTA
- Acquire: Make it easy for them to acquire the CTA
- Desire: Make them desire what your CTA offers
- I Want Button
This is a straightforward formula for a call to action button, where you use:
- I Want ______
- Get Button
Star the text for your button with “Get”, followed by what your readers will get if they click it, for example:
- Before – After – Bridge
“Creating an online store needs experience. Imagine creating one in 24 hours with all built-in features. Here’s how.”
Before: Here’s your world
After: Imagine what it’d be like, having Problem A solved
Bridge: Here’s how to get there
- FAB: Features – Advantages – Benefits
“Shipping and payment options to get your products everywhere fast and grow your business”
Features: What you or your product can do
Advantages: Why this is helpful
Benefits: What it means for the person reading
- The 4 U’s
“Webinar every Sunday. Be one of the few who meet e-commerce experts and get answers to all pressing questions. Limited seats.”
Useful: Be useful to the reader
Urgent: Provide a sense of urgency
Unique: Convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow unique
Ultra-specific: Be ultra-specific with all of the above
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To Sum Up,,,
Let’s recap together what have been covered in the article.
Copywriting is an art and a talent, that can be sharpened by study and practice.
There are different types of copywriters, some do all types of writing and others prefer to specialize in one or two copywriting types . At the end of the day, they all share the talent to craft words that stir emotions and direct thinking.
A thorough study of copywriting types makes you understand what content exactly you need for your project.
Experts usually give us their tips and tricks for better writing so that your next copy is always better than the previous one.
If you follow some simple steps, you can easily create all the copywriting you need for your own website. It’s no big deal, but it does need effort and time.
And to make things easier, you do not have to re-invent the wheel all over again. Stick to one of the known copywriting formulas that suits your needs and purpose for writing so that your success is guaranteed and your copy makes the echo you desire among your target audience and fans.
Feel free to leave us a comment or contact one of our team for any questions or support.