A discipline of Socrates and Camus is close to my heart. In fact, I'm enrolled to do an MA in philosophy. I see it in everything, from music to movies and current affairs to psychology. And my day-job doesn't escape the critical thought lens.
The subject is described as:
A theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour. - Google
Isn't that what all copywriters do? We continually philosophise about how we think people will behave and how we change that behaviour. This goes to fundamental workings of the human condition and our understanding of it.
However, to get to that we need to have an existential conversation about what copywriting is and why it exists.
I frequently say; "just because you can write, doesn't make you a writer", but what does make a writer?
A copywriter is defined by the needs of the business. Some need a production monkey who can edit product info into plain English. Others see it as an intrinsic part of customer experience. Essentially, a copywriter is the person having the one-to-one conversation with a customer. Therefore, is the voice of the customer.
As the customer's representative in an organisation, it's up the copywriter to make sure needs and expectations are met, so any product or services are tailored to the people using it, not the systems we buy to fulfill a business need.
And this is why the role exists.
What makes it different from other forms of writing or why we need a specific person to do it, not relying on a marketer or product owner, is simply skill.
Copywriters work closely with design and UX, so have a deep knowledge of both. We also have creative flair, executing clever and eye-catching headlines. If everyone was capable of this, then the role would never have existed in the first place.
The cornerstone of this is that a good writer will have a natural ability to empathise with other humans. It's a knack for understanding the human condition and behaviour with the power to walk in their shoes, sometimes without having the insight or analysis to back this up.
A copywriter will know cultural references, slang, what's trending and have a little knowledge of nearly everything. And this knowledge will translate into copy that appeals to your target segment. Or creative that silences the marketing noise.
Copywriting isn't about spelling or grammar. It's about breaking rules of communication and getting under the skin of the people you're talking to. An actor with words or a psychologist without the PhD.
It's an art. The science just verifies what every good copywriter already knows.
If you don't believe me, here's Alain de Botton talking about how companies use psychology to sell us stuff.