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What is Creative Copywriting? (Complete Guide)

what is creative copywriting?

There are many misconceptions about what constitutes creative copywriting. Some people think that all copywriting is creative copywriting. However, there are actually two types of copywriting: creative copywriting and technical copywriting.

Creative copywriting is intended to drive action, such as purchasing a product. Technical copywriting, on the other hand, is intended to transmit information as thoroughly and efficiently as possible.

While these two modes may sound similar, there are many important differences, such as the target audience and the types of content created. Creative copywriters and technical copywriters generally have very different backgrounds and career paths.

Read on to learn more about creative copywriting and how it differs from technical copywriting.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

  • The two types of copywriting

  • Creative copywriting

  • Technical Copywriting

  • Types of creative copy

  • SEO content

  • Sales pages

  • Emails

  • Social media posts

  • Print and digital ads

  • Broadcast ads

  • What is not considered creative copywriting?

  • Instructional manuals

  • Grant writing

  • Corporate communications

  • Becoming a creative copywriter

  • Final thoughts on creative copywriting

The two types of copywriting

Most experts agree that there are only two main types of copywriting. There are also two main career paths in the field. Those who want to be copywriters must choose one of these paths early on in their careers. Some may work as a freelance copywriter in both field to see which they prefer.

Creative copywriting

Creative copywriting is intended to inspire desires in those consuming it. The consumers of creative copywriting can be businesses. This type of copy is called businesses-to-business (B2B) copy. However, most people think of business-to-consumer (B2C) content when they think of creative copywriting.

Whether creative copywriters are writing B2C content or B2B content, they must understand their audience so that they can figure out how to drive actions. Creative copywriters must be able to predict what their audience's pain points (problems that could be solved by the right product) are and figure out how to create copy that illustrates how their product or service can take care of these issues. This may sound fairly straightforward, but it's not that simple.

People are bombarded with so much promotional copy (ads, SEO pages, social media posts, etc.) that they just tune out the majority of it without thinking. This is where the creativity is essential in creative copywriting.

Not only must the copywriter figure out how to respond the the audience's pain points, they must do so in an entertaining and attention-grabbing fashion. Otherwise, their hard work will go completely unnoticed.

Creative copywriters are often poets or fiction writers in their spare time. These professionals have a natural talent for writing creatively. In addition to simply having talent, creative copywriters often study the successful work of others in their profession.

This enables them to get the most out of their natural talent. It should be noted that creative writing is difficult, if not impossible to teach. Copywriters who do not have a knack for writing creatively may want to pursue a career as a technical copywriter instead.

Technical copywriting

The purpose of technical copywriting is to impart information. Creativity is not only unnecessary in technical copy, it can actual be detrimental. This is because creative copy can be misunderstood. Good technical copy is clear, informative, and precise.

Technical copy is rarely written with consumers in mind. Instead, the intended audience is often businesses, government agencies, or a company's own employees. When technical copy is written with consumers in mind, it is often intended for professionals who will use the product or service in their work.

Perhaps the only exception to this would be instructional manuals for consumer products.

Types of creative copy

SEO content

SEO content, such as this page from CNET, is intended to get traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs). Such content is focused on a specific keyword or keywords in an attempt to rank near the top of the SERP for those terms. This content is often monetized through ads and affiliate links, as is this page.

SEO content is unique as a type of creative copy because it is not explicitly promotional. If there is an explicitly promotional portion of the piece, it is often a call-to-action (CTA) at the very bottom that entices the reader to purchase a product or service.

However, SEO copy is intended to seem informational. Good SEO copy does indeed include a great deal of useful information.

The intent is not to help out the reader by giving them the information that they need. SEO copy must include a great deal of valuable information because Google and other search engines rank informative pages more highly than promotional pages.

There are some copywriters who specialize in SEO copywriting and little else. This is because the unique challenges of SEO copy are best handled by specialists.

It takes practice to find the right balance between being informative and being promotional. If the copy is not promotional enough, readers will not be inspired to purchase the product or service. If it is not informative enough, it is unlikely to rank highly in the search results.

Sales pages

I will teach you to be rich sales page

Sales pages, such as this example from Instapage, are distinct from SEO pages. Some sales pages target certain keywords to try and get traffic from SERPs. Most sales pages, however, rely on direct traffic.

This means that a visitor has clinked a link that took them directly to the sales page. This link may have been from another page on the same website or from another website.

Instead of SEO content, which strikes a balance between being informative and being promotional, sales pages are purely promotional. It is common for SEO pages with information relative to a company's product or service to lead visitors to a sales page.

thistle sales page

Once readers get to this page, the sales copy will explain the product's unique selling proposition or propositions, attempt to overcome any last-minute resistance to purchase, and enable the customer to take action directly on the page.

Learning how to do all of these things without being too pushy or losing the customer's interest takes a good creative copywriter. Just as a creative copywriter may specialize in SEO copywriting, others will focus on sales copy exclusively.


Email campaign template

Email campaigns, like this sample from Freshworks, are yet another type of creative copy that a creative copywriter can specialize in instead of being a generalist. Email campaigns are different than SEO pages or sales copy in that writers often know many details about their readers.

PRO TIP: Write your email copy for one person, not many. This will make your copy resonate better with your list.

Email copy is also unique in that it needs to not only convince the target audience that it includes valuable info, but also computer programs. Otherwise, the copy will go unnoticed.

Google email spam

The worst thing that happens to an email campaign is for it to end up in the spam folder. If this happens, the copywriter's hard work will never even reach the target audience. Thankfully, the email programs that send emails to the spam folder are better understood now than they were in the past.

Email copywriters now have a good idea of what they must to do to keep their work from ending up in the spam folder. For example, it is common for promotional emails to be rerouted to a spam folder if they do not include an unsubscribe link.

It is now standard for email marketing programs to automatically include an unsubscribe link in all their templates. This reduces the number of email that end up in spam folders.

A creative copywriter working on an email campaign must grab the reader's attention immediately. The most important aspect of this is the email's subject line. Without a head-turning subject line, it is unlikely that the reader would even open the email.

The email must keep the reader's attention if they do open it. This is why promotional emails usually feature bright colors, large font sizes, and striking images. Finally, a promotional email must quickly transition to a CTA, which often implores the reader to visit the company's website.

Email copywriters can have a major impact on a business by building hype for a product launch. The copywriting and framing of the offer are arguably more important than the design of the emails.

Social media posts

Social media post example

Social media posts like this example from Adobe, are often intended to go viral. This is why a creative copywriter who writes social media posts is often focused on creating the most entertaining copy possible rather than selling a product or service.

The idea is that a social media post from a corporate account will enhance brand recognition if the post is shared by numerous members of their target audience. This is cost-effective, because the company does not have to spend time and money promoting their content.

However, some corporate social media posts are fairly straightforward ads that explain the USPs of a service or product and attempt to incite the audience to purchase it. These posts usually include a link to either an online store or a company's website so that the audience can complete the purchase.

Facebook Ad Example

When companies create this kind of social media post, they often pay the social media service to promote the post to many users. These posts are common on Facebook and Twitter.

Print and digital ads

Banner Ad Example

The image above is an example of a digital banner ad from Wordstream. This one of several types of digital ads that a creative copywriting may write. Other types include text ads or pop-up ads.

A good creative copywriter should be able to work in both print and digital mediums. Print ads may include ads in magazines, newspapers, and fliers.

These ads are similar to digital ads in that the focus is often a single tagline intended to grab the reader's attention and motivate them to purchase the product or service. Both types of ads also commonly include an eye-catching headline.

Broadcast ads

Broadcast ads example

These ads air primarily on radio and TV. In the past, it was the dream of many a creative copywriter to write broadcast ads. Broad cast ads were considered to be very prestigious.

However, there are fewer copywriters working with broadcast ads today. This is because fewer people, especially among the coveted 18-34 age group, are watching TV. Also, fewer are listening to the radio.

This trend seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future. However, broadcast ads can now be found in new media like livestreams and podcasts.

What is not considered creative copywriting?

Instructional manuals

Instructional manuals example

Instructional manuals are the quintessential example of technical copywriting. These manuals are not intended to promote a product or service, as the reader will have already made their purchase.

However, it is common for instructional manuals to include creative copy on the front or back cover. This copy often encourages the reader to purchase another product or service from the company.

A creative copywriter usually writes this copy. A technical copywriter creates the actual manual.

Grant writing

Grant writing example

Grant writing is not considered to be copywriting. Grant writers are usually specialists who do not write creative copy or technical copy.

There are some similarities, as grant writers must convince a reader to give their organization money while creative copywriting focuses on convincing the reader to make a purchase. However, it is rare for a creative copywriter to even dabble in grant


Corporate communications

Corporate email exampe

Communications writers are not considered copywriters. These writers often specialize in internal communications. For example, they may write a message about employee benefits that is sent to all of a company's employees.

Becoming a creative copywriter

The process to becoming a creative copywriter often starts with a college degree. Many future copywriters who work on the creative side major in English or creative writing. This ensures they have experience as a creative writer before they graduate.

Many future technical copywriters major in STEM subjects. Some may minor in creative


Many writers start by working as a freelance copywriter. This can enable them to get the experience they need for full-time positions.

Final thoughts on creative copywriting

Creative copywriting encompasses a variety of different mediums, from digital to print to broadcast. It is intended to motivate action from those who consume it.

Creative copywriting can be contrasted with technical copywriting, which is intended to inform the audience. Other types of writing like grant writing and corporate communications are also not considered to be creative copywriting.

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