What Exactly Is Copywriting?
What exactly is copywriting? If we are to deconstruct the term, we shall find that it is one of the most creative writing genres. The Oxford Dictionary describes a copywriter as “A person who writes the text of advertisements or publicity material.” The Cambridge Dictionary, however, is a little restrictive when it defines a copywriter as “someone who writes the words for advertisements.”
The process is not that simple though. In addition to being an accomplished writer, the copywriter needs to have a unique vision that can make the advertisement catchy and attractive. To put it in very simple terms, copywriting involves the creation of text for promotional materials. Copywriters craft the written materials for advertisements, billboards, brochures, catalogs, websites, emails and multiple other platforms. The text that is created in the process is known as copy.
How Does Copywriting Help?
It needs to be understood here copywriting primarily deals with inciting the audience into buying a service or a product or an idea. While editorial writing involves the creation of interest, copywriting focuses on engaging the target audience. It wouldn’t be injustice done if we were to say that a copywriter is often called a ‘salesman in print’.
When a copywriter writes a copy, there are certain approaches that are adopted to draw the attention of the prospective consumers. It is essentially something that caters to either the customers’ needs or wants or interests. These factors are collectively known as advertising appeals. The seven primary appeals could be given in the form of pointers given below:
- Humour Appeal: In this case, the copywriter tries to connect with the funny bones of the customers to create the necessary impact. The idea is to create a favourable impact on the prospective customers. The ingrained humour in the copy might make the customer remember the concerned product or the idea or the service. Eventually, this might result in enhanced sales. We can take the example of an advertisement for Bose Headphone which shows that a person is so engrossed listening to music through his earphone while boating that he is not aware that he is approaching a water gorge. Almost an impossible proposition, it does incite laughter.
- Music Appeal: In this case, the copywriter inserts music between words to soothe the customers and bring them to action. Music is one of the primordial elements that attract human beings. It has been proven by multiple research studies that the possibility of brand retention when music is used is stronger than the possibility of brand retention when music is not used. Thus, an effective copy intelligently uses the services of music along with words. As a distinct example, we can cite an Amul advertisement that talks about the multiple benefits of drinking milk. The accompanying song and lyrics became extremely popular. The popularity can be gauged by the fact that the song almost turned into a national anthem.
- Scarcity Appeal: Widely used, copywriters often point at the scarcity of something and invite the customers to take action so that they ‘don’t miss out on something’. There is a primordial human instinct that propels customers to scamper for something that is rare. Scarcity appeal cleverly uses this psychological trait to sell an idea or a service or an idea. We can cite the examples of discount advertisements to drive home the point. Most of such advertisements come with the disclaimer that the offers are applicable only for limited time periods. This spurs the customers to flock the respective brand stores to claim the benefits before the stocks end.
- Rational Appeal: A rather popular way of writing a copy, the copywriter in this case makes his presentation based on valid logic and rational facts. It is the most common appeal used in advertising copies. This harps on the inevitability quotient and convinces the customers on genuine factors. In order to get a clear understanding of this strategy, we can take the example of Domino’s Pizza publicizing a change in its pizza crusts. It purely talks about how the new crust is better than the earlier one and why customers should now check it out. Customers who like straight talk get influenced by such advertisements.
- Emotional Appeal: At times, the copywriter might as well tickle the emotions of the prospective customers. This strategy works more often than not. Human beings are emotional by nature. There is an increased possibility of convincing a prospective customer if emotions are used with a correct sense of timing. To exemplify this appeal, we can cite some outstanding advertisements by British Airways. One of such advertisements talks about the evolving relationship between a British female flight attendant and an elderly Indian lady. These advertisements explore the brighter side of humanity and incite the customers to take positive steps.
- Sexual Appeal: Sex indeed sells! An enhanced sexual orientation to the copy often attracts customers to the extent that they start taking actions. Globally, the usage of sexual stimulus has incited customers to come and buy or use a given service or a product or an idea. Gillette, a men’s safety razors brand, has used the concept of sex multiple times to drive their point home. In fact, most of these advertisements harp on the fact that men have become more handsome after using Gillette razors. Across multiple countries, advertising strategists have used the concept of sex to sell.
- Fear Appeal: Fear appeal is something that a copywriter creates in order to incite a real or a perceived threat of not using a product or a service or an idea. Again, fear is one of the most intrinsic human tendencies. If the same could be elicited using an advertising copy, there is nothing like it. A lot of advertising campaigns across the globe have made use of fear extensively. A lot of the insurance companies use this concept to sell insurance products. Medical insurance products are sold mostly by using inciting fear amongst the prospective customers.
However, it isn’t enough just being good with words in order to be a successful copywriter. Not only should one be excellent with words, his/ her sense of timing and placement must also be impeccable. However, there are certain basic strategies, which if followed, could go a long way in ensuring that one becomes a crafty copywriter. Let us look at the strategies one by one:
- The copywriter must know his/ her customers. Before starting with a copy, the copywriter has to ensure that he/ she has conducted a substantial amount of research to have found out what the customers want and aspire.
- The copywriter should not ever make any content error. In copywriting, any error is considered to be unpardonable.
- The copywriter must give his/ her customers enough reasons to act the way he/ she wants them to.
- The copywriter has to ensure that he/ she doesn’t sound self-indulgent because if he/ she does, he/ she is in for trouble for sure.
- The copywriter should not ever go for the marketing bluffs or else he/ she stands to lose his/ her credibility.
Having said whatever we did, the art of copywriting can’t really be put in a caged form. In order to be a copywriter, one needs to innovate constantly and come up with out-of-the-box ideas. However, if one has the requisite talent, it can always be professionally honed at a media school. The rest, as they say, depends on will and determination.
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