What types of copywriting can I do?
So, you’ve decided to try your hand at copywriting and now you’re wondering what different kinds there are. Well, the good news is there are several types of copywriting you can try. Which is great because if you find that one does not agree with you, simply switch to another. Of course, like many copywriters, you can combine them if you find more than one kind you like. This has the advantage of allowing you to apply for lots of different jobs, increasing your portfolio and improving your chances of gaining further work. The more flexible you are at copywriting, the better.
What is copywriting?
First, it’s worth taking a look at what the term ‘copywriting’ actually means. Essentially, it covers any copy that’s written to advertise or market a product or service. The copywriter’s aim is to get the reader to do something – that could be request information, sign up to an email list or, the ultimate goal, buy a product! When you read through the descriptions below, you’ll realise you’ve been reading the work of copywriters for years!
The different types of copywriting
There are lots of different kinds of copywriting and what you’ll use depends on what you or your employer hope to achieve. The types of copywriting you are most likely to be familiar with are:
- direct mail – the letters that drop through your letter box offering some kind of special offer or product. The former is usually time sensitive i.e. you need to apply or buy before a certain time to get the special offer price
- print advertisements – these appear in newspaper and magazines, they can be any size, from tiny 20 word ads to full page spreads. If you think you’ve not seen these, pick up any magazine, for example ‘Vogue’ or ‘Heat’ or ‘FHM’, and flick through the pages; they are saturated with these kinds of ads
However, this is only a fraction of what copywriters produce. They can also be involved in creating:
- online advertisements – the electronic equivalent of print ads, with the advantage of being able to add animation, sound etc. There’s some difference in formatting, but the basic principles are the same
- emails – these are an electronic version of direct mail, again there are some formatting tweaks, but the principles remain the same
- television and radio commercial scripts and jingles – that annoying jingle that sticks in your head for hours on end is written by a copywriter and TV ads are something most of us are familiar with these days. Copywriters are responsible for these too
- press releases – these usually announce the arrival of something new, such as a course or product, and are sent for publication to newspapers and magazines. They are also published on the websites – see Writers Bureau Press Releases – of the company concerned
- billboards – these are generally used by larger companies who can afford the cost of hiring a billboard and often feature larger versions of ads that appear in magazines and newspapers, but can also be specific ad campaigns designed for a larger format
- online and offline brochures, leaflets and catalogues – these can be for pretty much anything you can think of, including:
- product catalogues for large supermarkets or shops – e.g. Argos, B&Q, Tesco etc
- leaflets containing contact and product information for local businesses and services, such as taxis, take-aways, restaurants, plumbers, electricians, gardeners, beauty salons and so on
- prospectuses for universities and colleges – see our Complete Copywriter Course prospectus
- social media posts – this can include posts for social network sites such as twitter or facebook or blog posts
Copywriters are often asked to create copy for websites. However, if the copy is intended for information purposes only, it should really be classed as content writing. This kind of writing aims to improve the rankings of the website by search engines so has search engine optimisation (SEO) as a primary objective.
In truth, most copywriters do a mix of the writing described above – see Day in the Life of a Copywriter. And anyone wanting to work full-time as a copywriter should try to master as many of these as possible to increase their chances of finding work.
If you think copywriting could be for you and you’ve not already done so, why not have a look at our – Complete Copywriter Course prospectus.
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