What Is Ad and Body Copy?

Copy, Ad Copy and Body Copy: Definitions and Tips

Body copy of a magazine article.
Body copy of a magazine article. Hawaiian Legacy Archive / Getty Images

What is "copy" and why is your client asking about it?

Copy means written words or text of any kind in various genres. Ad copy means text written specifically to sell something. Body copy refers to text that is in the middle or main part of a piece of writing.

What Isn't Copy? Definition by Opposition

Sometimes it's easier to define something by what it isn't. Here's how to tell what we're talking about from what we're not talking about.

Copy is defined as text within a publication or composition. This is in contrast to graphic or pictorial aspects of a publication, article or other kind of composition.

Ad copy is text that is used for selling, as opposed to text used for any other purpose, such as informing or entertaining.

Body copy is the text in the main part of a piece of writing, as opposed to introductory text or conclusions. 

Examples of Copy

General copy is any kind of text composition. For example, this article is a kind of copy called web content. It is written with the intent to inform the reader.

Ad copy is composed to sell products. For example, slogans are considered ad copy, as are brochures describing services. Even the advertisements seen on the margins of this web page are ad copy.

Body copy can be the middle part of a newspaper article, or a magazine article. It might also refer to the middle part of an essay.

Also Known As

Copy in general may be referred to simply as "text." Ad copy may also be known as advertisement copy. Body copy may be known as body text. 

"Copy" In a Sentence

Here are some example sentences using this term.

"The body copy in your essay is moving, but your introduction needs some work."

"That Ford ad copy was really convincing."

"Can you have the copy to me by 4:00 p.m.?"

Copy and the Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, you may provide all different kinds of copy to your clientele.

Often, freelance writers may specialize in one certain genre or form of writing. For example, copywriters are those who write ad copy and similar text. In fact, ad copy is most likely to be written by a specialized writer, as opposed to a "jack-of-all-trades" writer. However, some freelance writers are adept at writing all kinds of copy. 

Generally, a mention of "copy" from your client is simply referring to the text you've been hired to write. This tends to be a bit of a slang or informal use between editors/clients and writers. 

Mastering the language and colloquialisms of your career will help you to feel more comfortable and to understand the needs and wants of your clients/employers. For more definitions, visit the GLOSSARY section on the navigation bar.