The fact that you’re reading these words right now could be attributed to any number of things. Maybe you’re here because a social media post piqued your interest. Perhaps you’re at work, researching agencies for potential rebrand. Or maybe you’re standing in line at the supermarket, phone in hand, reading the results of a spur-of-the-moment search on the difference between “copyrighting” and “copywriting.” It’s confusing, I know.
Regardless how you ended up here, though, your path was laid out for you by the same communicative device: copywriting itself.
What’s copywriting? “Copy” is any text used in a marketing, advertorial, or–yes–branding capacity. Copywriting, then, is the creation of that text.
Copywriting is everywhere, from the jokes on the back of your cereal box to the announcements on the billboards on the side of the highway. But nowhere is the power of copywriting more evident than in branding.
Everything from the definition of your brand to the ways it engages its customers depends on copywriting. In a very real sense, the quality of your brand is determined by the quality of its copy. To see why this is the case, let’s take a look at three areas of branding that rely on copywriting the most.
At the hub of every brand are a handful of ideas jam-packed full of meaning. We typically refer to them as the Brand Compass, but “core messaging” is another common description that gets at just how central these concepts are.
Its purpose, vision, mission, values, and strategic objectives are the very essence of your brand. They’re the foundation upon which everything else is built. Each of these tenets plays a critical role in defining who your brand is, why it exists, and how it engages with the world.
The strength of your core messaging—and, by extension, the framework of your brand—is contingent on copywriting. The more clearly articulated your core messaging, the easier it is to understand. The more compelling your core messaging, the more likely it is to inspire.
Its voice is the way your brand communicates with its audience. Driven by brand personality, your brand voice carries the all-important message you hope to deliver to your customers. Defined by style and tone, it both is created by and exists within copywriting.
Good copywriting creates a brand voice that is differentiated, relatable, and persuasive. It humanizes your brand, transforming it from a product or service into an emotional, idiosyncratic entity that your customers can identify with.
Whether through social media, television advertising, or marketing collateral, it’s not the brands with the loudest voice that get the most customers. It’s the brands whose voices are unique, intriguing, and compelling. And it is the copywriting that makes the difference.
A Google search on the phrase “content is king” returns half a million results. This is a testament to both the fact that this phrase is interminably trite and that in the modern era of branding and marketing, content does in fact rule. Audiences can no longer be bothered with empty promotional messaging. Usefulness is the yardstick by which your brand’s communications will be measured. And guess what infuses your initiatives with usefulness?
Copy is the tender in the bartering agreement between a brand and its customers. In exchange for my attention (and potentially my business), says your customer, you must give me free of charge a block of content that is either entertaining, solves an ancillary problem, or both—content that is, in a word, useful.
Copywriting determines both criteria of content’s usefulness. Humorous or emotionally stirring copy decides whether content is engaging and entertaining. The articulateness of a proposed solution establishes its effectiveness in remedying an ancillary problem. An idea may be singularly, knock-your-socks-off amazing, but only copywriting determines whether or not it is useful.
For how critical it is to the quality of your brand, the great irony is that copywriting is one of the most under-valued services in the branding continuum. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t require any fancy software or programming to do it, many companies think they can take it on themselves.
To be sure, there is some copywriting that often can be handled in-house. If you’re serious about developing a superior brand experience, however, the vast majority of your copywriting should be done by a professional. From your core messaging to your content initiatives, the quality of your copywriting is integral to how your brand is perceived. Do you want that perception to be a fragmented, sub-par experience, or do you want it to be a cohesive, compelling account, the quality of which is matched only by your products and services?