Every good marketing strategy is built on the framework of strong copywriting. It’s what gives life to goals and ideas and turns them into actionable assets. Bad copywriting leads to an underperforming campaign and a loss of investment, time, and opportunity.
This reality creates a high demand for expert copywriting strategy and skills to fill billboards, magazines, social media calendars, email inboxes, ads, direct-response mailers, sales call scripts, etc. The opportunities are endless.
Over the last few years, the general awareness of what a copywriter does – and this skill’s potential for high earnings – has increased significantly as more and more of the world transitioned into operating online.
And with AI writing assistants making a splash, the need for well-researched, high-quality content became even more critical.
Mastering the various types of copywriting, including understanding the nuances of short form vs long form content, and knowing where they will have the most impact is crucial for the consistent growth of any brand.
Copywriting is the art of persuasion. Its purpose is to massage the consumer’s desires, pain points, and goals to inspire them to take action. But it’s more than just pushy sales.
Good copywriting uses psychological principles to connect with consumers on a deeper level. To spark that little voice inside to start asking questions, make plans, and, eventually, commit to taking action.
Not unlike how a therapist asks strategic questions, copywriting should change the way you think about something. To engage the emotions and make you feel a certain way. It takes you on a journey from point A to point B, highlighting the benefits and features along the way.
Some familiar psychological concepts that activate an emotional journey in your copywriting include:
- The Validity Effect: Repetition, repetition, repetition. The more the audience hears an idea or fact, the more likely they will remember and believe it. This recall and belief primes the pump for future action.
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Others are experiencing the benefits your audience wants. Why not them? Show them how they’re missing out on the experience, benefits, results, etc., that others just like them are getting right now.
- Goals and Future Positioning: Play into the future goals of your audience. What do they want LATER that they need to start working on NOW in order to make it happen? Show your audience what their future could/should look like and remind them of their own goals.
- Storytelling: Humans can’t help but be storytellers in one fashion or another. They want to be delighted and entertained. This makes anyone more likely to accept that they’re being sold to. (Think of those radical campaigns like Squatty Potty and Poo-Pourri. Those products sell like ice cream in Texas on the 4th of July because the story creates a strong connection with viewers.)
- Social Proof: This tactic overcomes uncertainty and fear of taking action. They need to see others making a move and experiencing the benefits they want themselves. This gives them confidence in their decision to part with their money.
- Urgency: Don’t give your audience an excuse to push off what you really want them to do now. Giving them a reason to act now is one of the most effective strategies to push your conversion and revenue goals higher and higher. Deadlines, timers, limited quantity, seasonal offers, cart closing dates, etc., are all ways to activate action now rather than later.
With these and other psychology tactics in your back pocket, strong sales copy can increase brand awareness, conversions, and sales. But the written word isn’t the only medium for it.
Copywriting is also embedded in videos, graphics, radio jingles, and dynamic content like webinar scripts. Every connection point with your audience is real estate you must invest in with strong copywriting to elevate your marketing efforts and increase your sales.
What Copywriters Do
A powerful copywriter isn’t “just a writer.” And they don’t “write copy.”
Copywriters are nerdy researchers, skilled communicators, and clever wordsmiths. They work hard to deeply understand various target audiences and craft targeted messaging that sparks a meaningful connection.
They learn about who the audience is, what’s important to them, what the desires are behind their goals, what would make them act now, and what kinds of assurances would be most effective.
A good copywriter will study customer motivations and create offer and sales copy to match. They will effectively communicate the benefits of any product or service to make the conversion or buying decision a no-brainer.
They conduct detailed competitor research to properly leverage any USP or UVP (unique selling point or unique value proposition). Copywriters are adept at finding and amplifying brand nuggets and creating powerful messaging that advances the brand’s credibility and desirability across many types of copywriting.
Top 10 Types of Copywriting
Different copy works best in different channels. This is an overview of the different types of copywriting you may need to hire or learn.
Direct Response Copywriting
An immediate and measurable response is the ultimate goal of direct response copywriting (DRC). This consumer-focused approach is usually laced with a killer combination of a no-brainer offer and a strong value proposition, followed by calls to action that they can’t ignore.
If you want people to take immediate action, you have to do two things, or both: Create an exclusively emotional choice or provide so much assurance that they feel safe in their decision to take action. Direct response copywriting asks for immediate action and relies heavily on both emotive capture and social proof.
With the immediacy of action, this type of copywriting also offers unique opportunities for testing and creating a feedback loop. Examples of how direct response copy is usually deployed include snail mail, landing pages, and pop-up windows.
Copywriting that focuses on businesses is more complex. You’re not just speaking to one consumer who can make a snap decision. You must communicate with everyone in an organization, from line-level staff and management to C-suite executives and stakeholders.
Thai requires a multifaceted copywriting approach that addresses the unique needs of every potential checkpoint.
- Line-level staff care about how easy something is to use.
- Management cares about efficiency and production.
- C-suite executives and stakeholders care about profitability and a return on investment (ROI).
Each checkpoint in the ladder will require unique messaging that addresses their concerns and activates their desire for a certain outcome. If an organization is considering a software update, the copywriting must curate a relevant conversation from all angles.
You can’t tell the CEO it’s easy to use because, frankly, they don’t care about that. But they do care about how it will affect the bottom-line revenue projections. But by communicating how it improves efficiency and thereby increases production, they begin to see the benefits.
B2B copywriting is one of the most in-demand types of copywriting because of the nuance and skill it requires to make that connection at multiple levels. The B2B copywriting asset library is one of the most extensive and includes:
- Email sequences
- Website copy
- Video scripts
- Podcast scripts or ads
- Pitch decks
- Public relations (PR) pieces
- Case studies
- White papers
- Books and e-books
- Social media
- Press releases
- Media kits
Any and every brand needs brand copywriting. This type of copywriting is the cornerstone of brand identity and messaging. Like logos for branding, brand copywriting is what makes a brand memorable and creates a familiar association.
This copywriting channel is the polar opposite of direct response copywriting. You’re not after immediate results, but rather, your goal is to achieve or continue a long-term strategy to be THE BRAND that comes to mind when a certain product is desired. As such, it’s generally more suitable for larger, more established brands whose image is critically important.
Consider Nike’s “Just Do It” messaging. It communicates the passion of their target market to work hard, keep going, and never quit. After decades of consistent, successful marketing, you only need to see the swoop to think of the phrase.
Another example is Fever Tree’s tagline: “If ¾ of your drink is the mixer, drink with the best.” This short but impactful message causes one to stop and think: “I’ve never thought of that before” or “What am I really paying for?” Familiarity leads them to unconsciously connect Fever Tree with “the best.”
Another long-term strategy, content marketing, is a high-touch strategy that creates an omnipresence for your brand. Ahrefs reports that 82% of marketers actively invest in a solid content marketing strategy and that 51% of those marketers post some form of content every day.
The prime driver behind content marketing uses a vast library of copy and content deployed at multiple steps along the sales funnel that all point in the same direction.
- Blog articles
- Sales page
- Sales page
- Social media posts
- Link in bio
- Landing page
- Landing page
- Link in bio
- Digital PR pieces
- Product Page
- Product Page
And the list goes on – but all roads lead to conversion.
Of course, you must first create that library of resources, copy assets, and web pages to make it all work harmoniously together. A comprehensive and long-term content marketing strategy focuses on a flood of high-quality content associated with:
- Your brand
- Your products and services
- Your market or audience
- Your niche
- Niche adjacent resources
While these resources are part of a larger marketing strategy, the individual pieces will not be copywriting, per se. They will be value-driven pieces that offer relevant and insightful information to educate and engage the audience at multiple touchpoints.
These assets help you build trust and credibility with your target market. A natural byproduct is that you also become a shareable source and authority in your space.
Email is anything but dead. Hubspot shared that 77% of email marketers have seen a measurable increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.
Email is one of the only marketing channels, apart from SMS campaigns, where you can engage in 1:1 interaction with each prospect. You can send unique and specialized offers and resources to each prospect based on how your list is organized.
Social media can’t offer the same connection. They may follow your account, but when you post, you can only hope they see it. Even with paid advertising, there’s no guarantee any one particular prospect will see or engage with it.
Strong and consistent email marketing campaigns or sequences also help you build and retain subscribers’ trust and often result in a significant ROI.
Public Relations Copywriting
PR copywriting, or digital PR, is one of the more premium types of copywriting in today’s market. It requires a specialized approach to messaging that doesn’t overly promote but informs while still leaving a positive impression.
There are different types of PR copywriting, from press releases and guest posts to linkable assets. It’s a way to share about your company, your values, your mission, and your services without actually selling anything.
You may find PR copywriting useful when you launch a new division or new offer, hire a new team member, create a new product, partner with a charity, host or conduct an interview, or hit the podcast circuit.
If you want PR copywriting to offer a high level of credibility in today’s marketing landscape, each piece must be well-crafted and curated for the highest possible impact. PR copywriters are in high demand for brands looking to scale brand awareness and enhance their authority in their market.
SEO content copywriting works hand in hand with a content marketing strategy. The focus is to get content and copy assets ranked as high as possible on search engine results pages.
Using targeted keywords and long-tail key phrases in all of your content is what makes a successful content marketing strategy. Each piece will have a greater chance of ranking higher and attracting organic search traffic.
Like its partner, content marketing, SEO copywriting is one of the long-term types of copywriting. It’s more than simply stuffing keywords into content. It’s skillfully making the keywords and search terms more relevant to the prospect.
Once again, the theme here is quality and value over quantity and volume. Anyone can whip out keyword-stuffed blurb just to try and fool the AI crawler bots that compile the list of search results. But if it’s a poor-quality resource that doesn’t actually solve a problem for the prospect, you could get dinged by Google and get buried in the rankings.
Social Media Copywriting
This type of copywriting is more nuanced and complex, as what works for one platform may not work for another. Each social media platform has different parameters, goals, and challenges to adapt to. Knowing where your customer spends their time will help you focus on which platform should get most of your attention.
However, it’s one of the greatest opportunities for copywriting to make an impact on your market. This is due to a growing user base and also because it’s the daily hangout space for all types of audiences.
Every business, from major corporations and boutiques to personal brands and freelancers, should be using social media copywriting to their advantage. This is another opportunity to put your long-term content marketing strategy to good use by linking to long-form content, using keywords in your posts and hashtags, and sticking to topics in your wheelhouse.
While there may be a smaller market share for technical copywriting, this only makes it that much more valuable. Technical copywriting focuses on the science, technology, and medical fields for resources like manuals, guides, white papers, and case studies. Technical copywriting requires some level of subject matter expertise, skillful research, and experience.
Those who are familiar with the topics or who perform their services with the expertise in question are not always prolific writers as well.This is where copywriting services come into play. It’s often difficult for specialized niches to find qualified individuals for this type of copywriting. Working with an experienced agency offers brands easy access to a wide range of experienced technical copywriters who can be trusted to deliver top-quality resources.
Use Experience (UX) copywriting focuses on creating or enhancing a positive user experience. Usually associated with a website, it could also be beneficial for software, tools, and any dynamic resource.
The principles behind holistic, UX-forward assets emphasize the importance of creating positive interactions with their users and inspiring positive feelings. UX copywriting guides the user along the navigation and sales experience by making the process as easy as possible.
HOW your prospects accomplish what they need to do when interacting with your materials is critical to the impression they hold of your brand. This type of copywriting is closely related to the technical elements of web design and navigation, but most of those features need copywriting to help the user move through the website or software.
Where To Deploy The Different Types of Copywriting
Knowing what you need is only half the equation. Knowing how to use it is where you start to make real progress.
The website has long been the global storefront for brands of every size. Knowing how to leverage website copywriting can increase the odds of conversion. Complex SEO site mapping strategies aside, the core pages of a website are the homepage, the about page, the services or sales page, the process or “how it works” page, and a page for frequently asked questions.
The homepage should clearly communicate a top-level view of everything your brand is and does, with clear navigation and a few reviews sprinkled in. The About page should create a meaningful connection that shares the brand’s mission, values, and founding story.
Services or sales pages should communicate who you help, how you do it, and what sets you apart. Here is where to include social proof, testimonials, and any “featured in” credentials. You want to overcome potential obstacles and inspire them to act while they are on the page.
A process or “how it works” page is especially beneficial for service-based businesses, subscriptions, software as a service (SAAS), or anything that isn’t as simple as “buy and ship.” Explain each step of the process and highlight unique features, perks, or benefits that set you apart.
Many brands overlook the FAQ page, but it’s a copywriting gold mine. Here, you can leverage more keywords for your SEO strategy, answer common questions without getting an email about them, and take advantage of additional opportunities to elaborate on the virtues of your brand or products.
Copywriting for products is one of the most specific and detailed types of copywriting. You’re using a small amount of real estate, in either a description or product label, to communicate only the most essential data.
Product copywriting is often when on-the-fence buyers will return to, again and again, before making a purchase. This is your shot for no-holds-barred promotion and your best-selling copy.
Direct Response Copywriting
As mentioned previously, direct response copywriting aims to get an immediate response. For digital marketing strategies, this could be an ad that promotes event registration, a landing page or pop-up box that encourages the viewer to join an email list, or a social media post pushing product sales. Whatever your desired conversion is, DRC is designed to get it now.
Advertising comes in many shapes and sizes. From billboards and printed media ads to TV commercials and social media ads. They all have a unique approach that requires skilled copywriting.
Billboards are designed to say very little but still have a high impact. Social media ads can say much more and move the prospect further along the sales funnel faster. All ad copywriting must be carefully crafted to compel the viewer to immediate action.
Using Creative Copywriting
The creative copywriting approach offers an opportunity to stand out from the noise of the competition. Rather than the standard approach of “you need this now, here’s why,” creative copywriting tells a story, paints a picture, and makes you laugh.
Take Brooklinen’s apparently accidentally leaked email about their Black Friday sale. (Pictured below.) The geniuses behind their marketing division used creative copywriting and a clever strategy to get ahead of the seasonal competition. And, by all reports, it was hugely successful.
Then there’s Moosejaw, the outdoor apparel and equipment store famous for unconventional copy and humorous marketing. Below, their brand character, Maverick Mandy, is featured in a snapshot from their Instagram account, pouring water down her pants with a caption to match.
And in the entertainment space, we have the popular game, Cards Against Humanity. Their website is full of copy that’s as outrageous as you’d expect and maybe more. Rather than the traditional FAQ section, they’ve turned it into a barrel of laughs that’s actually helpful under the shameless heading, “Your Dumb Questions.”
Obviously, a quirky brand voice and humorous, irreverent references won’t work for every brand. But there’s no reason you can’t put your own spin on something that fits your brand and your market to launch a truly creative campaign with clever copy.
Copywriting Makes The World Go ‘Round If You Do It Right
Every copy asset in a store or business is an opportunity to make an impact on the buyer that inspires them to buy from you. Every brand uses copywriting at some level. To truly harness the power of copywriting, consider taking copywriting courses. These courses can provide you with the tools and techniques to craft compelling copy that resonates with your audience. Try various copywriting strategies out and discover what works best for you. Then, do it over and over and watch the results roll in.