Copywriting is any writing that offers a product or service for sale. You encounter it every day and here we break down the different types.
Copywriting is Ad Copy
First of all, copywriting means ad copy, such as ads you see in magazines, on billboards, in newspapers, and even text you see on TV. One offshoot of magazine ad copy is the advertorial, an ad that looks somewhat like an editorial, or a part of the magazine or article in the newspaper.
Another kind of copywriting is direct response copywriting. In its physical, print form, you'll recognize that as the advertisements that end up in your mailbox. They are mailed directly to you in the hope that you'll make a direct purchase in response to them.
An additional type of copywriting appears in marketing collateral. Examples of this include newsletters and brochures. These are publications that often endeavor to sell you something, but it may be a softer sell. It may be couched in useful information, or "About Us" type of content.
The last type of copywriting is also one of the most prevalent today: copy for the web. Many websites (perhaps even a majority of them) are selling us something, right? So all that text is a kind of copywriting.
Web copy can take many different forms. It could be that three-phrase Google ads box that you see in the margins of many websites, or it could be something much longer, such as a series of articles that are keyworded and search engine optimized.