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Copywriting is written content conveyed through online media and print materials. Copy is content primarily used for the purpose of advertising or marketing. This type of written material is often used to persuade a person or group as well as raise brand awareness.
Copywriters (known as continuity writers in broadcasting) are used to help create direct mail pieces, taglines, jingle lyrics, web page content (although if the purpose is not ultimately promotional, its author might prefer to be called a content writer), online ads, e-mail and other Internet content, television or radio commercial scripts, press releases, white papers, catalogs, billboards, brochures, postcards, sales letters, and other marketing communications media pages. In book publishing, flap copy and jacket flap copy are terms for the brief summary of a book which often appears on the inside of the book's hardcover dust jacket; back cover copy is similar, often briefer text placed on the book's outside back cover; catalog copy is another book summary maintained in a publisher's catalog of published books. Copy can also appear in social media content including blog posts, tweets, and social-networking site posts.
Most copywriters are employed within organizations such as advertising agencies, public relations firms, company advertising departments, large stores, marketing firms, broadcasters and cable providers, newspapers, book publishers, magazines and creative agencies. Copywriters can also be independent contractors who do freelance writing for a variety of clients, at the clients' offices or working from their own, or partners or employees in a specialized copywriting agency. Such agencies combine copywriting services with a range of editorial and associated services that may include positioning and messaging consulting, social media and SEO consulting, developmental editing, and copy editing, proofreading, fact checking, layout, and design. A copywriting agency most often serves large corporations.
A copywriter usually works as part of a creative team. Advertising agencies partner copywriters with art directors. The copywriter contributes in creating an advertisement's verbal or textual content, which often includes receiving the copy information from the client. The copywriter is responsible for producing compelling and persuasive content and the art director has ultimate responsibility for visual communication and, particularly in the case of print work, may oversee production. Although, in many instances, either person may come up with the overall idea for the advertisement or commercial (typically referred to as the concept) and the process of collaboration often improves the work.
Copywriters are similar to technical writers and the careers may overlap. Broadly speaking, however, technical writing is dedicated to informing readers rather than persuading them. For example, a copywriter writes an ad to sell a car, while a technical writer writes the operator's manual explaining how to use it. Famous copywriters include Dashiell Hammett, Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy, Robert Collier, William Bernbach, Lester Wunderman, and Leo Burnett. Many creative artists spent some of their career as copywriters before becoming famous, including James Patterson, Bob Newhart, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Peter Carey, Dorothy L. Sayers, Eric Ambler, Joseph Heller, Terry Gilliam, William S. Burroughs, Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, Lawrence Kasdan, Alan Parker, Murray Walker, Fay Weldon, Philip Kerr, Shigesato Itoi and David Burd. (Herschell Gordon Lewis, on the other hand, became famous for directing violent exploitation films, then became a very successful copywriter.)
The Internet has expanded the range of copywriting opportunities to include web content, ads, emails, blogs, social media and other forms of electronic communications. Writing for the web is very different from writing for other media, tending to be more succinct than traditional advertising. Other stylistic nuances also come into play. It has also brought new opportunities for copywriters to learn their craft, conduct research and view others' work. The Internet has also made it easier for employers, copywriters and art directors to find each other.
As a consequence of these factors, along with increased use of independent contractors and virtual commuting generally, freelancing has become a more viable job option, particularly in certain copywriting specialties and markets.
Web copy may include, among its other objectives, the achievement of higher rankings in search engines. Known as "organic" search engine optimization (SEO), this practice involves the strategic placement and repetition of keywords and keyword phrases on web pages, writing in a manner that human readers would consider normal.
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- Communication design
- Landing page
- List of copywriters
- List of former copywriters
- Search engine optimization
- Swipe file
- Web content development
- Website content writer
- White papers