What is ‘copy’ and ‘copywriting’?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - copywriting

There are many approaches to creating copy that makes an impact on your audience. There have been many copywriting greats who have made their own contributions to the craft of copywriting and each has built on the work done by the last.

The dictionary definitions of copy and copywriting

According to the Merriam Webster[1] Dictionary, ‘copy’ has a number of definitions. However, for our purposes, the term refers to “text, especially of an advertisement”. The Oxford Living Dictionary defines ‘copywriting’ as “The activity or occupation of writing the text of advertisements or publicity material.”

People – especially in the journalistic world – refer to ‘copy’ as the text that they publish. However, copywriting does not encompass all forms of writing. A piece of copywriting serves to inform, educate, incite action and/or sell something to a customer. This purpose differs from content writing, technical writing, and public relations writing:

  • Content writing is designed to inform or educate a person about a particular concept while copywriting always functions to sell something.
  • Technical writing functions to explain how something works while copywriting promotes products and/or services.
  • Writing for public relations is about informing, persuading or changing perceptions about a particular item. This differs from copywriting as the goal of this practice is to sell.

Digital marketing and the need for copywriting

With the arrival of digital marketing, in particular, content marketing, the need for generating copy for publication has increased ten-fold. Writing articles has become no longer just about demonstrating thought leadership in a particular area.

The articles and written content that you put out for your business are indeed there to inform as well as educate people about your business but they are also there to act as virtual salespeople for your business when you’re not able to.

What is a thought-leadership article?

Thought leadership pieces still form a powerful part of many marketing strategies.  By definition, this type of content means that you are an authority in your niche with something interesting to say. It suggests that your thoughts, as well as insights, are valuable, worth sharing and that individuals want to engage with, discuss and share what your ideas are.


Writing thought leadership articles is a form of content marketing where you are able tap into the talent, skill, and passion inside your company, or from your community, to always answer the most significant queries on the minds of your target audience on a specific topic.

Thought leadership means that you provide the best as well as deepest answers to your customers’ biggest questions, in the formats your audience enjoys consuming.

In other words, thought leadership pieces function to show your expertise in particular areas. These pieces are combined with subtle sales techniques so that what was originally merely a vehicle for companies to express their know-how in a particular area is now a powerful sales vehicle.

Writing effective copy is both an art as well as a science. It’s an art as it necessitates creativity, a sense of beauty in addition to style — a specific aptitude, mastery and unique knowledge. Artistic advertising gives you the opportunity to create content marketing that’s not merely practical and persuasive, but awe-inspiring as well as breathtaking.

Writing effective copy is also a science as it exists in the world of testing and failure, development, breakthroughs, education and consistency. Scientific advertising gives you the opportunity to develop an idea, and then test it. It’s how you know if your content marketing is working.

Get in touch with the Digital School of Marketing

If you want to discover more about effective copywriting, then you need to do our National Diploma of Copywriting. For more information, please follow this link.

DSM Digital School of Marketing - Copy Writing