What Is Copywriting?

Maybe you've noticed it. You can hardly open your in-box or  get on Facebook without being bombarded with ads about how to “make a million dollars” in a ridiculously short time from home. Working part-time. In your pajamas.


Here’s the big problem with those ads: in many cases, they’re true!

There are thousands of people making boatloads of money every day on the Internet. Many of those people make their money by teaching others how to make money themselves.  And if you're wondering how you might get some of that money for yourself, there are hundreds of programs teaching you how to develop a product, build a Web site, and attract traffic to it. Some are really good. Most aren’t worth the hard drives they’re printed on.

There’s one key element that most of those teachers are missing, however…

  • One element that will make your online venture a huge success or a crashing failure.
  • One element that most people ignore, or take for granted, or think that they don’t need to learn.
  • One element that has consistently remained the most important sales factor in the marketing realm for over a century.

That element is: copywriting.

So What Is Copywriting?

In 1904, an unknown copywriter named Joseph E. Kennedy was sitting in a saloon.

He scribbled a note and sent it upstairs to Albert Lasker, one of the most powerful men in the advertising world at that time.

The note said, “I can tell you what advertising is. I know that you don’t know.” He had no idea that Lasker had been searching for the answer to this question for seven years.

Lasker’s curiosity was sparked, so he met with Kennedy, who told him the three-word definition of advertising: “salesmanship in print.”

This meeting changed Kennedy’s fortune—within four years, he was making well over six figures as Lasker’s chief copywriter. The nature of advertising was also forever changed.

I believe the same definition applies to copywriting.

Copywriting is simply salesmanship in print.

It's vitally important to your success, whether you realize it or not.

In the coming days, I have a few posts planned to help you understand and implement good copywriting practices. If you take my advice to heart, these practices could make a big difference to your bottom line.

Meanwhile… here's a question for you: what has been your level of experience with copywriting up until this point?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • My team and I have been talking a lot about copywriting over the past few months as we’re starting the promotion of our new product. I think copywriting definitely requires a decent level of skill – but most importantly it requires understanding the needs and characteristics of your audience. I think this is why it’s so important to really nail down your target audience before beginning the journey or blogging, offering a service or product, etc. Thanks for this post – never heard it described in such a simple way!

    • Justin, you are absolutely right: it’s all about your readers/audience.

  • I’ve been studying copywriting for five years. I’ve been writing copy for myself and clients for about four-and-a-half.

    Most of the money work in copywriting is research and headlines. If you nail those, the rest of the copywriting job is easier.


  • Ray, thanks for sharing. Before I knew who you were, I thought copywriting was about getting legal ownership over something one creates.

    Being that what I do is mostly visual, I have let the pictures speak for themselves. “A picture is worth a thousand words”, but not always a thousand dollars. I think that by adding copywriting along with the artwork, it will help to build credibility and sell and sell the pieces on another level.

  • Jason Dixon

    I have only recently learned what copywriting is through your blog and have become very curious to learn more. I am in sales and most of our work is one on one but some of my other projects I am planning will be more writing intensive so I am soaking up this content as much as I can. Thanks Ray!

  • Bee Johnson

    I’ve been learning about copywriting for about 5 years. Always learning, scared to branch out and get clients. I used it on the job all the time as I wrote ads, newsletter articles, and special promotions. Now I want to be a Copywriter for my own business. I am reading every single post you offer. The help you offer for those of us who are learning, is amazing. Thanks.

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