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What is Copywriting and Why Does it Matter for My Creative Small Business?

Reading time: 7 min.

“What exactly IS copywriting?” ⬅ email I get in my inbox a lot, fielded nearly as often as the “Before I knew what you did, I thought you could help me with copyrighting my business” comment I get when I go to conferences. 😉

First things first: It’s okay if you aren’t quite sure what I do, okay?

(Pretty sure my dad doesn’t either.)

To be honest—and if you’ve heard me speak, you’ve heard me say this—I was a SOLID week or so into serving on the Delta Air Lines account team at a full-service communications firm before I realized that when my boss talked about the “imagery and the copy,” she meant the words.

Ohhhhh. Got it!

What is copywriting and why does it matter for your creative business- Ashlyn Writes

Pre-Mad Men, this was a bit harder to explain, but Don Draper’s helped us copywriters out a bit. And now, it’s my joy to watch entrepreneurs—specifically creatives—come alive, walking into their passions, starting businesses and blogs, slinging cameras, serving brides, baking cookies, coaching clients, printing stationery, or opening fitness studios …

… and get to serve you as a copywriter.

Read on to learn:

  • The #1 thing every bit of copy should do
  • 8 types of copy copywriters churn out
  • Why you SHOULDN’T hire a copywriter to write #allthethings
  • 14 ways to get started with DIY copywriting today

And more.

Hit it!



First things first: What IS Copywriting?

So what is copywriting? Well, you can spout off all the different kinds of writing, I betcha: Storytelling. Journalism. Poetry. Tech writing. Rhetoric. Scriptwriting. Ghostwriting. Journaling-for-my-eyes-only writing. Thank you note writing.


Copywriting is a paramount piece of marketing, both online and offline.

In a nutshell, it’s the art and science of your brand’s voice on purpose. It’s the wording that comes alongside your images with meaningful brand messaging to coaches a conversion.

Often, it’s simple and effective … but don’t fall into thinking that always translates as “short.”

You’re writing copy for your creative business when you draft emails, write your website, tweet, caption a ‘gram, post a blog and headline, and so on and so forth.

“Every element of copy has just one purpose—to get the next sentence read.”

-Joe Sugarman

I love that quote, and it’s 100% —allllll the way down your offer and “contact” or “buy” button (that guy’s name is the “call-to-action” button, more on that in this blog post).

Copywriting Tips- Ashlyn Writes

After you understand that, you can see why you need to drill into making sure each element is perfect, from …

  • A strong, compelling headline
  • The immediate focus on the benefit for your reader/client/customer, so they stay put and keep reading
  • The promise that you make to them
  • Bits of proof and data that speak to the rational side of their brain


Oh—and you’ll spot compelling copy with its hallmark of features and benefits (more on how to extract those below).

Related: 6 Copywriting Myths You need to STOP Believing Right Now

What Are the Types of Copywriting?

A copywriter collaborates with businesses and brands to pen the custom content needed to fill the lorem ipsum gaps.

There’s *probably* about as many definitions of types of copy to be written as there are copywriters to pen it, so I’ll just give you a run down on the types of copywriting we do:

✖ Content marketing, like blogs and downloads: You’re not used to this at all as a creative business owner, right? 😉 Typically, this writing is juiced up with SEO styling so it appears in search results. (You can learn more about the differences in Copywriting vs Content writing here!)

✖ Websites and product descriptions: Combo that SEO styling with strategy and conversion focus for a digital hub, and voila.

✖ Emails: Duh. Newsletters, sequences, launch funnels. As digital marketing grows, copywriters have to be just as dangerous with the strategy of a campaign’s email funnel mapping, too.

✖ Social media posts: Duh, again.

✖ Scripts: Think jingles, TV ad scripts, radio scripts, and more—copywriters are responsible for these, too.

✖ Ads: Power-packed phrases appear alongside print and digital advertisements (haayyyyyy, Facebook!)—and someone’s gotta make sure those words elicit action.

✖ Printed-y things: Brochures, client magazines, pamphlets, etc.

✖ Press releases: Eh. I included this one because some do, but to me, that’s not a copywriter’s job. That’s a publicist or PR practicioner, but usually their skill sets are the same. And I’m not just saying this because I used to be one. Well, both.

Most of all us lean on briefs (project outlines, not your hubs’ undies), do a mix of a few of these copywriting services, and keep copious swipe files.


What Can Copywriting Do For Me?

Simply put, copywriting keeps the lights on.

And this is why I think it’s really, really important you learn to DIY it well.

Your visuals sing, your copy converts. Tells your story. Makes the sell.

While 90% (some studies say 93%) of information is digested visually, it’s copywriting that clearly communicates the sell.

I mean, can you imagine if your “work with me” page just included your portfolio of work and a contact form? An extreme example, and maybe a pretty webpage, but hopefully you can start to see why copy secures the sell.

“We are word hummingbirds, able to deftly turn & twist language to fit perfectly into small spaces. Need a concept explained in 10 words? We’ll do it in six. We make bank brochures sing. We write headlines that make people click links. We make brands sound a thousand times smarter than they are.”

-Mark Duffy, Copyranter

Smart copywriting clears the clutter, connecting you with your ideal client.

  1. It explains your “why” and unique story.
  2. It makes your client feel emotionally heard and seen.
  3. It reassures their pain and fears.
  4. It makes you show up in Google. 😉
  5. It tells your client what to do next.

The School of Styling Ashlyn Carter speaking about copywriting

I believe in copywriting because I believe in making what matters happen, and I believe there are a lot of women like me out there with big dreams and calls. There are stories to be told. Ideas to communicate.

Your story in word-form doesn’t need to be perfect as much as it needs to be shared.

So yes, I think you need to learn how to do it, too.

How to Get Started with Copywriting

First of all, I believe that you CAN learn to DIY your copy, and you shouldn’t have to hire a “me” for everything—save your pennies, pull me in for the launch sequence campaigns, multiple ad split tests, and hero image headline when your conversions are down.

You CAN do it if you’re willing to invest the time and energy into learning the craft.

Here are 14 ways to get started today:

  1. Keep it simple with clear, concise, conversational words.
  2. Fudge the grammar at times (one-sentence paragraphs, sentences that start with “and” or “but,” etc.)
  3. Whip out the bullets and numbered lists, too.
  4. Master your headline. (click here for a tutorial on that, and swipe 35 headline formulas in The Copy Bar here.)
  5. Focus on the reader—it’s not about you, and you’re going to have to “kill your darlings” a bit. Here’s post on how to write to one person at a time.
  6. Show credibility often: think experts, stats, data, numbers, testimonials, references, etc. Watch my YouTube tutorial on how to get better testimonials here!
  7. Give the features and benefits. Here’s how:
    • First, write down every “feature” of your package, service, or offer (ex. 4 hours of shooting, 6 mock-ups, 3 rounds of edits).
    • Second, ask why that’s important.
    • Third, ask why THAT’s important (and why is it important for your client, customer, or reader).
    • Fourth, ask why that matters—pro tip: at this point, you’re usually dealing with your reader’s emotions.
    • Finally, when you mention a feature in your copy, tell me that emotional “why” next to it … that’s why it REALLY matters to me as the reader!
  8. Sell with story and emotion. Watch this video on my YouTube channel—How to Craft Your Brand Story + examples!
  9. John Lennon your writing: ahem, “Imagine …. ” 😉
  10. Employ power words—Grab 16 swipeable phrases to use in your website copy here.
  11. Aim for clear over clever, every time.
  12. Make your reader the hero of the story—read up on that in my post here!
  13. Revise like a pro … and here’s my 4-step process here.
  14. Learn SEO—Ben Turner’s $49 course right here is my favorite resource for creative industry types! No affiliation, I just love it!

Give those a whirl before you hit “post” or “send” next time, and you’re on your way to becoming a stronger writer.

Consider taking a deep dive into some of the free resources online—I hope I’ve made it helpful by giving you tons of tools over here! Between my YouTube channel, blog, and free resource page, you’ll find tools specifically geared for creative industry entrepreneurs to help you grasp the psychology and basics of words that convert.

Got a little bit to spend? Check out The AW Shop to swipe some of my templates, some starting at $9!

AW Shop Graphic- Ashlyn Writes


Or, you can invest in a more comprehensive training—my Copywriting for Creatives program is designed to help you master your message and write your website and opens 2x a year. I’d LOVE to welcome you inside!

Click here to sign up for the waitlist to get more information about Copywriting for Creatives — it opens in less than 30 days! 🙂

I KNOW that was a lot—if you’re just dipping your toes into entrepreneurship, next time you start to write, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. When I read it aloud, does it sound like something my best friends would say is “me?”
  2. Did I clear the clutter, kill my darlings, cut OUT words to cut TO the chase?
  3. Did I end strongly, whether it’s a to-do for the reader, or punchy final thought?

Bottom line: if you take care of your audience, eventually, they’ll take care of you, ok? I promise. By starting to study up on copywriting to support your images, you’ll be separate from a saturated industry.

I hope this post has served you as a helpful crash course in copywriting tips, and on how to hone and nail persuasive writing for your creative business!


Find Your Brand Voice Guide- Ashlyn Writes



What is copywriting and why does it matter for your creative business- Ashlyn Writes

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

“What exactly IS creative copywriting, and why do I need it as a creative entrepreneur?” I hear it a lot — and I don’t blame ya. I didn’t really even know what copywriting was until I realized that was my exact job working in marketing for Delta Air Lines! Keep reading to find out what copywriting is!


comments +

  1. Wangui says:

    That was an informative piece. I am currently incorporating some of the tips…

  2. Chrissa says:

    Hi Ashlyn, great article. As a copywriter myself, I had a chuckle when I read that you get asked a lot on what a copywriter does – I’m glad it’s not just me!! Beautiful website too 🙂

  3. […] post What is Copywriting and Why Does it Matter for My Creative Small Business? appeared first on Blog from Ashlyn Carter | Launch Expert & Copywriter for […]

  4. […] Copyblogger – What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting The Startup – Why You Need to Stop Editing While You Write Ashlyn Writes – What is Copywriting and Why Does it Matter for my Creative Small Business? […]

  5. Mona says:

    Thanks for sharing all these helpful tips. You’re a very talented person that runs a creative business and write your own copy. Congrats!

    As editors read manuscripts with fresh eyes, an external copywriter can help you get a fresh perspective and improve your copy with their professional feedback.

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