Whether you have a product or a service to sell, someone has to write a description, write the copy for the web pages, perhaps a sales letter or a series of classified ads, a press release to announce availability, articles to help with promotion, emails for the autoresponder and then there's those important little pay per click ads. Not to mention the blog to contend with.
Now, let's take a look at the whole process in more detail, by referring to a typical example of an 'Internet product'.
We all know that one of the best products to sell online is information. So let's say you want to create an information product such as an ebook. An ebook could be about absolutely any subject whatsoever. If there's an identifiable market in which to sell it, then it's probably worth the effort.
So you decide to write an ebook of some 40 or 50 pages. Next you need to decide how you're going to promote it. The most usual method is via a website with a long sales page. So after spending about two to three weeks researching, writing, proofreading and editing your book, you're now faced with the most important aspect of all. The web page sales letter.
Should you go for long copy or short copy? Well let's settle for something in between and say 2500 words. That should take 2 or 3 days to get right but be prepared to rewrite most of it if it doesn't pull in the results.
What about offering a newsletter subscription? It makes sense to write up a series of 'salesy' emails masquerading as a newsletter to capture those prospect's who are always expecting something for free... and to build your list of course. So let's say you knock out 12 emails of around a page each. That will probably involve a couple of day's work at least.
Now you have to market your website, so get ready for some more writing. A press release announcing the launch of your new product is a good idea, so there's another hour's work. A great way to get your website noticed and visited is through article submissions, so write up 4 articles. That's another day gone.
Now you need to advertise your website and product, so you'll need to put together some clever solo and classified ads. You could spend another day creating and submitting these. What next?
Ah! Those costly little pay per click ads. The smaller the ad the more specific you have to be and above all the more creative and imaginative you have to be. Let's spend a day on this. Okay are we ready to roll? It has now most likely taken more than 4 weeks of almost continuous writing to get to the final stage.
Let's hope you did everything right and you start making sales. If within the next few weeks you haven't, you'd better call in a professional copywriter.
A seasoned copywriter with real marketing experience can turn the whole show around and restore your faith in your online business venture.
But at least you will have got an insight into the world of a copywriter and hopefully professional copywriters will have earned your respect. Unless you actually have a go at writing all the necessary copy yourself, you cannot possibly appreciate what the job involves. And if time is an issue, don't even bother to get started.
The fact is, copywriting is a skill that not everyone can easily master, and in which only a handful of people will ever excel. It demands imagination, creativeness, vision and artistic flair. A good copywriter should not only fully understand the selling process, they should also be able to comprehend the emotional triggers responsible for that all-important impulse buying.
Copywriting itself is neither an art nor a science, but falls somewhere between the two. Yet a degree in either subject is not a qualification, which can be recognized as meeting the full requirements of the job. The attributes of a professional copywriter can be identified and to some extent even listed, but can never truly be transferable.
An artist may be able to teach his student to paint, but if they were to both paint the same subject from memory, the results would very likely be infinitely different. The artist, like the writer has an ability to capture the mood, the emotion and the setting of the subject and interpret these in his own unique way.
Like painting, copywriting is something that anyone can have a go at, but the masterpiece will inevitably be produced by the master of his craft.
Like the saying goes, it's 'horses for courses'.