Are Copywriting and Business Writing the Same?
There are a lot of similarities between copywriting and business writing. Business writing is all about conveying business-oriented information in a clear and compelling way. That could be in an internal proposal, newsletter article, memo to staff, or product documentation.
Many copywriters also do business writing, and often do it well. However, many good business writers are bad copywriters. Business writing requires the ability to organize and articulate information in a logical and clear way. Copywriting requires those skills plus the ability to write words that engage readers (or “prospects,” as they are called in marketing lingo) on an emotional level and convince them to believe or do something.
Here is a typical example: You want to write an ad that persuades novice welders to adhere to a particular safety guideline. A business writer might write the following headline:
Turn on the acetylene valve before turning on the oxygen.
Otherwise, an explosion may occur.
That line certainly conveys the information accurately and clearly. But take a look at what happens when a skilled copywriter takes a stab at crafting the headline:
“A” before “O” — or up you'll go!
Both present the same information. But which one is more memorable and impactful? Which one surprises, triggers your emotions, and paints a vivid picture you won't soon forget? The answer is obvious.
Good copy appeals to the prospects' intellects and to their belief systems. While the main job of business writing is to explain and inform, the main job of copywriting is to sell.