Episode 423: Copywriting With Todd Jones – What is Copywriting?

Show Summary

Rob Cairns talks to Todd Jones in their bi-weekly segment “Copywriting with Todd Jones”. about What is copywriting?

  1. What is copywriting?
  2. Components of copywriting.
  3. What makes good copywriting?

Show Notes

Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here and today I’m here with my good friend Mr. Todd Jones with her segment writing with Todd Jones. And this is really our first episode. We did an intro last couple weeks ago. Hey, Todd, thanks for joining me again.

Copywriting with Todd E Jones. OK, I can hear you.

Ohh that’s that’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Yeah. That’s like LA night, but Todd Johnson.

So. So I think of. Series is like this is a series of building blocks and one of the things we talked about in the intro was what is really copywriting and what does that mean? Where do you want to start?

Yeah. So like I said in the intro, people in in the copyright community can get into debate about this.


The the the. Well, first of all. Let me tell you what I think. Copywriting is OK and not everybody’s gonna agree with this, but I think for business purposes it’s it’s fine. You’re writing is a general term used to refer to written content for business purposes. So you’re nurturing a lead. You’re persuading a lead, or you’re selling a lead. That is the way I define copyright now. So people in The Who are who are more. On the sales persuasion side of copywriting, will will create a distinction between that and what we like to call content writing or in the content. Marketing a lot of. Blog posts and that kind of thing. I don’t do that so much for for one reason, there’s a blurring of lines between the two, in my opinion now. You know need to have some what I would call copywriting skills to do to be a better content writer. If you don’t have those skills, you’re going to be mad or average content writer. That’s my opinion. So I don’t differentiate between the two, but I understand why some do. And typically when it comes to value in terms. Of what we’ll get. Writers. They tend to get paid more because they’re when they say closer to the bottom of the funnel, closer to the sale, so they they tend to pay web copywriters, e-mail copywriters, funnel copywriters, those types of the landing page sales page copiers, they tend to pay them more money because they are closer to the sale. And have a bigger impact. Act content writers usually don’t get paid as much, but I think they’re extremely important. Both of them are extremely important, and so I don’t want to make the distinction. I think I’ll use copywriting as a general umbrella term for everything under copywriting, so I don’t know if that helps or not. Then I have subsets underneath that. When we go through.

Those here push.

  1. I’m going to start with direct response, copywriting. Now when I say direct response copywriting before I started doing copywriting I had no idea what that was but many people remember the show Mad Men and Mad Men was about Don Draper and his merry married group of men and women who did mostly ad copywriting. That’s what people think about, but I think a direct response, copywriting in general is usually you know. You and I have done this. Had this in our lifetime, but maybe not everybody has. You remember you get those? Those mail, not e-mail mail pieces of mail that are basically formatted like a newsletter or a cell or a letter. But they’re basically a sales letter or a sales new letter newsletter. I I know people who do that, who have had a very successful career doing that. So you write the sales letter, the OR the newsletter, and usually it’s for financial products. A lot of times supplement type companies will use them as well, so it’s very fascinating to me and this to me is the precursor to what I believe. Referred to as conversion copywriting when she come on and see about 14 years ago doing conversion, copywriting for software as a service companies and she used direct response writing principles. The stuff you get from Olby and Dan Kennedy, those guys you use those principles and apply them to website copywriting. The landing pages or web copy you know of your regular pages, those kinds. Things and which kind of took off and she’s kind of discipled a whole bunch of people now and most of them are in the sass space. Also she did a lot with e-mail copywriting and e-mail copywriting. That is similar, only they’re way shorter than those sales letters and newsletters would be getting the mail. But sometimes they would be a sequence of 10/12. Emails or what? Ever. And if you if you write the web copy, you write the copy for the ad because we at this day and age, we still do ads, we just do them digitally, right. If you write the follow up newsletters you you have become what they would call a a funnel copywriter. You you write something for every part. Of the funnel. So there that is, those are the more I guess I will say skilled copywriting. The the more sales oriented, copywriting. You’re you’re really there to persuade. You’re trying to move them closer to buying, making decisions, that kind of thing now. We’ll go with script copywriting, which is not really my Forte, but I know people again who have done script copywriting. That’s just for video and audio. Again way out of my comfort zone. I I like to shoot from the hip a little bit more and then you have advertising, copywriting which of course is what Mad Men. Did you has sales page copywriting which I’ve already talked? You have website copywriting which is essentially what you’re doing and writing what I call the brand pages. That’s what my friend Ann Smarty would call the the brand pages with your home page. Your about page, probably your service page and each service type you have and then some, you know brand. High pages that you have on your website and then you would have. Then there’s a a kind of a blurring there. Here with what you might call SEO copywriting to a degree, you have these, especially if you’re a product company, a product business, you have a product. I have a laptop, I have a black laptop, I have a red laptop, I have a green laptop and each of them have different features. So you’re writing a page for each one of those. He’s very SEO driven. You’re trying to get the right things in there. So that is one aspect of SEO copywriting, but it also. Part. Landing page copywriting as well, so it’s not just, you know trying to get stuff in there for that, then you have what I’m going to bring up the rear with, but it’s probably one of my favorite parts of copywriting. The content marketing and the content writing. And again there’s a lot of overlap with some of these actually. Even with this. You know copywriting because a lot of people to.


Content writing and they they called it SEO copywriting and I think it was to leverage themselves and position themselves as more valuable than the average content writer. Partially so you have the content writer, and then there’s. A whole whole. Host of things we can talk about with. That I won’t get into. Do they? But content writing, you know, you know you not been in the business long enough that we remember that what I said in a little article I wrote the other day. The secret sauce for companies 14 years ago and writing blog content that was secret sauce because you would you would you draw Google and other. The searches in and they would rank your stuff higher and then of course it became. Ohh what can I do to rank? Higher and the purpose of content writing became and this is a problem I think we have now. We’ve come at this crossroads, but it became only about ranking and getting higher in the rankings. And I think it’s more there’s more of a purpose than that. Including persuading people to take action. There’s a whole lot of things that that content marketing, content writing can do, and it’s changed a lot over the years. And if you remember. The other thing we have that’s going on is more companies are online now, right? So there’s more people and there and now in, in the workforce across the globe, we have 4 generations. That are in the workforce right now. They all see things differently, especially when it. Comes to content. Yeah, baby boomers. If Gen. X, that’s. Me. You have millennials. Who is now starting to be, you know, in the field for 10-15 years. And you have now you have Gen. Z and they all consume content differently. They all see it differently. 10 years ago, Mark Schaefer wrote an article called Content Shock. Or that was about content shock. It was about. This coming place where we were going to be and he felt like it was happening then and I think he had where we have all this content, just more content than there is people to read it. And we really have gotten there. Yeah, we would really have gotten there now and AI using people using AI to create content has only added to that content shop. So anyway, that’s my spill about copywriting. As you can see, I kind of mix all that together.

I was.

Again, my copyright friends would probably hiss at me. We’re doing that. I mean you use copywriting as a general. Term for all of these things. And and then that’s. How I divide them up? There’s a lot of overlap with all of them, I think. So there’s my long answer.

And I and I. And I would agree with it. It’s interesting when you talk about the people that consume content because. You and I have talked about I’ve been at a couple marketing seminars, one recently from the folks at Ken to post for those who don’t know like USPS in Canada and they did a Gen. Z focused on Gen. Z because they’re the up and comers and the reality is Gen. Z doesn’t have the attention span that you and I do. Todd, they’re attention. Fans are lower. It shows in content, it shows in relationships. They treat relationships, romantic relationships like they’re disposable. It’s just really interesting looking at that generation is.


Yeah. And, you know, I think you’re you, you you cut for every person, every business, when you, when you’re dealing with content or anything else really you you come to a point where, like, OK do I create valuable content no matter how long it is or do I do I cheapen the content so that that Gen. Z. And but the reality is there’s this as well. Gen. Z, all of us will binge watch show. It was binge watching as a thing now it wasn’t 14 years. Ago, but now it’s. A thing right? I’ve binge watched and and I binge watch for me, that’s like watching something once a day. I binge watched all the narco series on Netflix. First, Narcos and Narcos, Mexico, they were they were free season each three seasons. Each. Three seasons each, and for the most part I watch 1A day. And that binging for me, a lot of people will binge, like overnight. I have watched a four episode series on Netflix before. That’s about the most I’ll do in one night. I’m not a big binge watcher. We all binge watch. Something that 30 minutes an hour.

What we all do.

And the reason we do Rob is because it’s entertaining. It keeps our attention. That should be. That should be something we think about when we do our content. If your content’s boring. It doesn’t matter. Who they are, they’re going.

To stop reading, I’m actually. Binge binge watching two shows right now, one is the show called Drive to survive. For those who don’t know, that’s the Netflix series about Formula One. I’m about 3/4 of the way.

No, I saw that. Yeah.

Through the season. And it’s if you ever wanna look at Formula One, it’s a great way and the other is my favorite TV show called The Voice. For those who don’t know, the voices coming up next week at the time of this release, actually it will be already. The finale will have happened, and the way I consume the voice is I tend to let four or five episodes build up on the CTV app. So CTV is a Canadian network and then I go and watch.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Hmm.

All five episodes in one night or two nights and be done with it. So even I’m guilty and people say, how can you binge watch? Is it any different than watching a four hour sporting event live? Or is it any different than watch reading a book for two hours? It’s the same.


Idea. It’s just different content.

You’re well. I’ll give you a couple more examples of this. My mom and they come out with Farmer wants a wife? Yeah, my mom. I’m not going to tell you how old she is, but she’s in. Her 70s she grew. Up on a farm now, I was a small farm in the 50s. They don’t make farms like this anymore. Really a family farm? They barely got by. That kind of thing. But she was extremely interested. So she watches not only watches the show. She watches podcast YouTube about the show, about the people on the show. I’ve never seen her do that before my life and it’s like astonishing to me. And if she misses one, she’ll go back and watch. It on YouTube. So that that’s a good one. And then you and I both have been guilty of watching the WWE paid live event. Right. Yeah. So wrestle mania. I sat down about 3 Saturdays ago and watched. Maybe it’s two Saturdays ago and watched backlash, which was in from. Right. I had no intention to watch it. I knew it was in the middle of the day. I knew I was gonna be doing stuff, and I thought if I want to watch it, go back and watch it later cause you can something Peacock, right? Some. Peacock. I can watch back, go back and. Watch it later, but it’s just so happened I was there. And it was starting and I was done with what I was doing. So I sit down and watch it, you know, that’s about 3 or 4 hour event to watch. And so but then they got all this WWE content, World Wrestling Entertainment, in case you wonder. I’m talking about they have all this WWE content.

Yes it is.

On there you can get lost in that and I have done that before as well. Got lost in it.

It’s a never ending cycle. I mean, Netflix just signed two big sports deals, one with the NFL, the NFL to to do NFL Sunday games starting this year and starting next year. They’ve taken over Sunday afternoon baseball from NBC is going. So that’s just the future.


Oh yeah. Yeah.

What makes it?

And WWE2. Yeah, of course. That’s rock one, so.

Golden world. Worldwide, it’s a good copywriter, Tom.

Ohh man, I think you caught me off guard with that one. I think you gotta be curious. Investigative. Gotta be somebody who’s blocks who will search and research. You know. Joanna, we will say something like it’s more more science than art. I think she’s right. But at the same time, I think we have let too much art get out of copywriting. I’d like to see more of it back in it. But you got to be. I mean, I always say that there’s three phases really to any kind of project and you can apply it across the board. But in copywriting, you have research, right? You start with research, then you have the strategy in the middle like. Then with based on your research, this is the strategy you want to use and you have the execution you got to be able to do all those things. So you got to be able to research, you got to be able to, you got to be able to talk to people because. They they think that AI is gonna shortcut research and I just, you know, I’m. I’m yet I I hesitate. I have a friend who’s a a a a great researcher for copywriting. And I wanna ask her, but I’m afraid she’s going to like, you know, beat me up or something for asking her. But I’m like. You know, just to get her take on this. But she teaches people how to do research for copywriting. And I mean, you know the the temptation, especially when you’re in larger business, is to use AI because there’s all this data out there, right? But the data may not be your customers. You gotta reach your customers. So the story I love to tell the most is my coffee shop owner. I’m Scott. I it’s not to Scott. He trains his entire staff this way. You walk in, especially if you’re a regular. Hi, Todd. You want to pull over today? You want your usual? You know? I mean, that’s how it is. He knows his customers. Hey, I know you had a baby last week, you know. I mean, he it’s. But you only get that with conversation and relationship. And of course, when you’re a product, when you run a product that has 506 hundred, 700,000 users, you can’t do that. Yeah. So if you’re you’re in a situation like that, you gotta do actual research. That means surveys. That means getting on a call with somebody and ask questions. Not easy to do. A lot of people don’t want to do it. Many of us are introverted. We sure don’t want to do it, but you’ve got to be able to understand here and understand. Peoples store. Sorry, so you know the the the writing part is a skill that you can learn. And as Kaylee Moore said on Twitter the other day, or X, whatever call these days, there are lots of formulas out there. You know, you can just fill in the blanks and a lot of in a lot of cases, that’s true. You can just feel we all have our favorite copywriting formulas, right? Every every copywriter does. And so you can. But but you you get the information. You build your insights and then you use that and you start using the formula to write stuff. It’s not always about writing the most poetic, although sometimes that comes into play. I think you’ve got to be flexible. You got to be willing to try something different because the reality is not just with the copyright or business. Business, whatever your business in you’re in, unless you’re in a category of one, you have noodles and noodles. I’ll use that oodles and noodles of comps. Mission. So for every web designer, there’s 250 more for you know, whatever your business, you’re you’re in.


There’s tons of you, and they all look the same. Somebody on LinkedIn today called the lemonade stand principle, and I I’m I’m losing credit on this. Unfortunately, I can’t remember who said it, but it was really fascinating. You’re on. You’re honest St. and there’s lemonade stands lined up and down the street. But how? Somebody will tell you apart. And when the world of business out, you know, not lemonade stand wise you know he’s he talked about doing hanging out new banners and all that kind of stuff to attract people’s attention and that’s what you would do for a lemonade stand. But for an average business you’ve got to find what your competitive. Advantage your competitive edges and lean into that and build your brand on that, and so a copywriter should be able to help you do that if you’ll let them work with you to find that competitive edge. And in this day and age. Your differentiator, one of the best things you can use, that’s actually your story. That’s that’s one of your best. There’s some other things I think as well in in an age which is increasingly automated. I think your customer experience can be a huge advantage for you. And I have a friend who is probably the foremost. Expert on customer experience and a lot of. Brittany Hodak. She was on Shark Tank and she’s a got a well. She’s a, you know, the CX queen, if you ask me. And so, you know, there you gotta find what you’re competitive edge is. I like to use the word edge. I know your book is competitive advantage but. I like to use edge find your competitive edge and lean hard into that to create differentiation so that you don’t look like every other business in your industry. I’m sorry it’s rambled on there.

That’s OK. There’s, you know, Todd mentioned the book. So the book he refers to is called the inside advantage by Robert Bloom. It’s a big red cover and that talks about making your business different and standing out and not fighting the proverbial race to the bottom. So that’s really one thing it talks about. And the other book.

Yeah. Yeah.

Since we’re talking about copywriting, which is content, I like to throw out, there is Andy crested edino. His book, his handbook that he’s thrown out as Todd, shows it up, called content chemistry it to me.

I’ve read every page of it.

So have I and to. Me. It’s one you have.

Just kidding I. It.

It’s one of the best comprehensive books. It’s more a reference guide. It’s not a I’ve been through it all, but it’s not a book that you would read. The average person from start to beginning and a shout out to Andy and orbit media for writing that book cause it’s pretty incredible.

Yeah, it is.


Andy, let me say something about Andy. He writes these comprehensive. Very tactical. That’s what he called it. I think articles once a week or something like that. Just. And he don’t. He don’t have to. He’s like this co-founder and, you know, he said my content manager, like put, you know. And so, so once a week and I’ve never seen. And right now I cannot think of a web design company cause that’s basically what they are. Who puts out better content on the regular than what it orbit Media does, and he’s a heck of a nice guy. And so, you know, I know you’ve had him on your show and and he used me as a source.

I would agree with.

And in an article he wrote and. And just just saw their guy and they do really good work and and, you know, you talked about SEO and AI and I started to say and. I didn’t, but. He has done some astonishing things. You chat to PT to help his SEO efforts, especially when it comes to content. It’s not. Reading content, but it’s making evaluations, so it’s fantastic and he’s opened my eyes with some things you can do. With something like.

That I’m thinking, you and I, you and I should get Andy on this segment and the three of us have a bit of a power. I think that would be fun. Andy is such a giving guy.

Very good, yeah. Yeah, the the good thing about the good thing about Andy is he’s he’s A5 tool player. I mean, you know, he does it. You know, all these different copywriting things I talked about at the beginning of this podcast. He he can probably navigate all of them. And So what you see from him is like this really very good content. He was out weekly, but he knows his way around web copywriting too. And they put out some very valuable content on the site. So yeah. And he’s he’s a. He’s a leader in the content marketing world that I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I would agree with you.

Hey, Todd, thanks for talking about what is copywriting and we will be back in a couple weeks to talk more copywriting in the meantime, if you wanna find out more about Todd, go to copyflight.com, find them on X, find them on LinkedIn. I know Todd has increased his LinkedIn presence. Big time in the last little while, Paul Todd Jones see you. He’d be glad to talk to you. Thanks, my friend. Have a great weekend.

Thanks you too.

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