Why is Copywriting often confused with Copyright?

Copywriting is a word often confused with copyright.  Let us clear up the confusion.

We all know about copyright.  In your writing assignments in school, you are aware that to copy someone else’s work, such as essays, plays, songs poems, paintings, photographs or any type of material, is illegal without permission.  In the United States on July 30, 1947 this law was enacted to protect people who are the original authors of any material as mentioned above.  They maintain exclusive rights to whatever they produce or create.  The law expires 70 years after the author’s death or 95 years after publication.  After that time, the works become public domain, that is, they can be used without penalty or requesting authorization.

The term “all rights reserved” is written on the material produced.  This informs the public that it is copyrighted, it is a protected intellectual property with ownership rights.   The law describes ownership rights and the terms and conditions in the event it is used without the owner’s consent.  It describes the unauthorized duplication of any material and the royalty to be paid if authorization is permitted.  Some owners consent to use their work without penalty, but consent must be requested.

When I think about Copywriting, on the other hand, Peggy Olson from the TV series Mad Men comes to  mind.  She was the first female copywriter of the firm Sterling Cooper since World War II.  When her writing skills became known in the firm she became a candidate for writing Ads for the goods offered by Sterling Cooper’s clients.  Her secretarial days ended and she became the  star copywriter for Sterling Cooper.

According to BBC.com/reel/video/p0db2xwf/, the origin of advertising came from a poor potter, Josiah Wedgwood in the 19th century.  He understood how to attract a desire for his goods.  He found the perfect audience who would be his potential clients and marketed his goods to their tastes.  The power of his marketing programs was perversive enough to even appeal to the queen.  When he attracted the queen’s attention his confidence soared, and he went on to form his Wedgewood Company in 1759 to attract an upper class clientele.  Wedgewood is still to this day a marketable product.  It is claimed the marketing techniques used today such as direct mail, money-back guarantee, free delivery, celebrity endorsement, illustrated catalogues and 'buy one get one free' were the practices started by Josiah Wedgewood.

But fast forward to 1948 when David Ogilvy founded Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency in New York.  Today he is known as the “Father of Advertising.”   His campaigns focused on how to “persuade prospects, influence readers, and create memorable evergreen contents.”

Advertisements are found everywhere - on billboards, browsing the internet, phones, newspapers, magazines, social media, YouTube, TV, movie houses and more.  These Ads are written by copywriters who collaborate with web and graphic designers to craft persuasive and compelling messages to attract consumers.  Their messages are written with the intent to take action.

Like Peggy Olsen they can work directly with a business which means they are conformed to a specific product or service, or the business may have clients with a range of different products or services.  Other copywriters choose to work freelance.  Working freelance, though less secure in financial stability, gives them the option to choose the product, the service or even the client, as well as it has the advantage of working at their own pace.

Special skills of the Copywriter - The client decides what he or she wants and the copywriter will satisfy the client in the following form:

To craft content in the voice of the client.  This means that the copywriter must be versed in writing with many voices, different tones and styles to match those of the client he or she represents.  Clear and concise scripts.  These should be informative and engaging in order to target the specific audience.  An eye for detail is important to capture the audiences' interest.  Research, the majority of the copywriter's work is done by extensive research.  Their skills even extends to editing, proofreading and understanding the use of SEO to maximize reach.

Why is research important?

It is the foundation upon which the copywriter will learn about the product or service, to investigate who the prospective audiences would be, to study and understand their  needs, desires, habits, motivation, pain points, to be able to address those areas and target those specific audience.  Research is also done on audiences' search criteria which can be found on google.  This helps to choose the words and phrases which align with those of the audiences'.  It indicates which audiences to reach out and target.  Research is also done on competitors to help gain a competitive advantage.

In conclusion, copyright and copywriting are totally different from each other. There should be no confusion.