As a direct marketer, you may have used advertising to promote an offer in a magazine, newspaper, radio, or television. If that’s the case, you then have asked for (or written) advertising copywriting for those campaigns. So let me ask you… were you able to tell if your copywriting was effective?
As an AWAI-trained direct response copywriter, I have found two articles that answer the question “what is advertising copywriting” and let you know what separates good from bad ad copy.
I found the first article at Learn.org, and it’s (appropriately) titled “What is Advertising Copywriting?”. This article offers an overview of the advertising copywriting field. It presents key facts about being an advertising copywriter – such as median salary, required education, and critical skills – as well as how strategy, execution, and creativity play a role in the effectiveness of the ad. “What is Advertising Copywriting?” is part of a Communications FAQ series on Learn.org.
The second article comes from the AWAI (American Writers and Artists Inc). The report, titled “What is Copywriting?” mostly revolves around the career you can build by acquiring the copywriting skill. But it defines copywriting as “the process of writing advertising promotional materials” and presents you with a variety of ways to apply copywriting skills.
Based on the information from the articles mentioned above and my experience as a direct response copywriter, I have produced three points I believe answer the question, “what is advertising copywriting?”:
To understand advertising and make the best use of your copywriting and designing resources, you first need to get what advertising is: salesmanship. And multiple salesmanships at that.
Advertising works as a salesperson. The only purpose of your advertising is to produce sales – either via one-step or two-step marketing. But the one advantage that advertising has over your sales team is that it can communicate to large audiences repeatedly. Advertising comes with a risk, though: send the wrong message, and you can turn millions of people off your product or service.
In his book “Scientific Advertising,” Claude Hopkins explains that for advertising to work, it must present its message while being persuasive and exciting. So, to write compelling advertising copy, you must ask, “would this sentence/paragraph/letter help my sales team sell my product?” or “can I sell my offer using this copy?”. If the answer is “yes,” apply it to your advertising. If the answer is no, then toss the copy aside.
Measure your advertising copywriting to the standards of your sales team. If you can do this effectively, your advertising will turn into a super salesperson. And you will see an increase in sales without putting in too much effort.
Regardless of whether you are writing a newspaper ad or a PPC campaign – apply the basic principles of copywriting (get attention, communicate, and persuade) to deliver your brand message.
People are always looking for one of three things: to learn, to discover, or to enjoy. It doesn’t matter if what catches their attention is on a tablet screen or the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Audiences will gravitate towards what they find interesting, regardless of medium.
Just look at the lines in a supermarket. I’ve seen many people (including myself from time to time) put away their phones to read whatever a trashy magazine presents them. The people going away from their phones and into the magazines has nothing to do with technology. It has to do with content – offering people content that they want to read for information, education, or entertainment.
When you write your ad copy, always keep in mind the basic principles of copywriting. Look to get the market’s attention with an eye-grabbing headline and spark their interest with an engaging lead. Then awake their desires with promises and benefit-oriented body copy. And finally, present the audience with an offer they can’t refuse.
For advertising copywriting to work, you need an irresistible offer presented with a clear call to action and a deadline to add urgency to the offering. But that’s not enough – you also need a measuring method to know which campaigns are working and which are not.
Business (unfortunately) carries many variables that we cannot control. That’s why it’s not a walk in a park. You can’t just create a campaign for a product and send it out, expecting 100% success. There will be elements getting in your way that you can’t manipulate. Thus, you need to see how those elements affect your market. And, therefore, how those variables affect your campaigns.
You can write a fantastic ad – carrying a lot of emotion and a simple CTA. But your market might be going through a recession. Or a particular world event occurred that prevents them from buying now. So, how do you know your market is responding to your ad if you don’t track its success?
Find a way to measure responses for your advertising; that’s how you’ll know the copywriting is working.
Starting today, you should use advertising copywriting to promote any offer you have. You should also not worry about whether to use it in print or online because it works on both mediums. And you should make sure to track the success of every campaign to understand how the copy is working.
Do you have a comment or question about what is advertising copywriting? Leave a comment explaining your side of things. And if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them!