Want to be a Crafty Writer? Become a Copywriter
Copywriters write clear and compelling writing that is used to persuade the reader or sell something to the reader.
Copywriting is not just a new thing. In 1477, William Caxton wrote the first advert to sell a handbook for priests. Copywriting has continued to grow and evolve since that time.
Originally copywriters wrote copy for newspapers and magazines, but today it has evolved even further. You will see and hear copy on TV, social media, the radio, the internet etc.
The people who write this content are the copywriters. Copywriting is not easy. A sentence tagline in an advert may look simple, but a lot of thought, skill and knowledge has gone into developing that that “simple” tagline.
Whenever you watch a commercial, see an advert or a social media post, a professional copywriter is most likely the one who created those words.
The Difference Between Content Writing and Copywriting
If we read/see a blog or article or news report, the information contained in that report is the content. For example, if you read an article about a pet show being cancelled as a result of heavy rain, leaving a lot of disappointed people, that would be content. It is information.
However, if you saw an article telling you about a pet show next week at ABC Park and the cost of tickets was $5. This would be copywriting. The writer is trying to encourage you, persuade you, to attend the pet show.
Copywriting is also known as marketing writing. The aim of copywriting is therefore to
- persuade the reader to do something
- sell something to the reader
What does a copywriter do on a typical day?
Copywriting is not just about writing.
Many copywriters work for themselves, running their own businesses, so they will have a range of tasks to complete during the day.
These may include –
- Prepare a to-do list for the day
- Admin responsibilities – such as sending out invoices, bookkeeping, preparing quotes
- Credit control – chasing people who haven’t paid their invoices
- Contacting organisations and businesses to obtain future work
- Responding to emails and messages
- Reply to social media comments and enquiries
- Check the calendar for deadlines
- Post on social media
- Prioritise and begin copywriting the first job of the day
- Research the topic to be written about
- Copywriting - How much of the day this will take will depend on what is required. A few sentences may require a great deal of crafting or thought.
- Towards the end of the day, perhaps replying to more messages
What skills does a copywriter require?
- Prioritising - A good copywriter will prioritise and keep on top of things. If a client wants copy for the 1st August ready for a big product launch, they don’t want to be told you will be late.
- Punctuality – when you say you will call someone back, make sure you do.
- Good organisational skills
- Good administrative skills
- Good people skills – these are important to get new clients and maintain existing clients
- Good research skills
- Staying up to date with relevant topics and industries
- Good work/life balance – a copywriter may be working from home. They may run their own business, so being able to balance work and home life is essential.
- Copywriting skills – Being able to write well, effectively and efficiently is also, obviously, extremely important.
Copywriting is a very competitive industry. There are a lot of good copywriters out there, so whilst being a good copywriter is obviously essential, the other skills mentioned are also essential. It is no good being brilliant, but not getting the work to the clients on time. Or not sending them a bill so you get paid.
How to be a Good Copywriter
- Don’t go for the obvious. Think about why the topic or product matters. What is important about that product? Don’t go for the obvious, such as - This is chocolate – it is nice. Think why it is different, why people should buy it, why it is important.
- Try to look at the topic or product from different angles.
- Be creative – Steve Jobs said in 1996 - "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile." So, copywriting is also about connecting the dots – what connects this product to something else. For example, a new walking shoe is developed so people can walk more comfortably. Yes. Most walking shoes are. But why else do people wear a new walking shoe? They might want peace and quiet, to get out with nature, walk to work more quickly, wear them to work to avoid aching feet. Join the dots!
- Listen to what your clients want, but also listen to what potential customers want. There is often the assumption that more is good. More cream in your coffee, more fries with your meal, luxury shampoos at your hairdressers. But not everyone wants more. What about people who don’t want loads of cream, or more fries and actually prefer a nice, basic shampoo? Think who the clients are and what they want. Don’t make assumptions.
- Write a great headline. Urban Daddy is an e-zine that looks at new products. One of their headlines was “Ewoks. Talk about living.” This makes you want to read more. What is this article going to be about? What is the product they are selling? That is the aim of a great headline, to get the reader to read more. The aim of the headline is not to get people to read the headline, it’s to get them to read the second and third and fourth line.
- Avoid jargon – Jargon is specialist words used by certain groups. For example, CTA. (CTA is a call to action. It is usually written at the end of an article or post encouraging the reader to do something eg. click here to buy….). Jargon can also mean that some people feel excluded as they do not understand. This then loses them as potential customers as well.
- Be clear - If the person reading your articles does not know what they mean, they you are wasting your time. People can look up what they mean, of course, but that means that they are moving away from your article. A reader should be able to read your article and understand what you mean.
- Avoid hyperbole. Hyperbole is basically exaggerating. “Try this diet and lose two stones in a week.” That is very unlikely, and misleading.
- Be concrete - A good copywriter should not need to exaggerate, they need to link to human experience and understanding and write good, clear copy with concrete statements.
Study Copywriting Online
We have talked a lot here about the skills required in being a good copywriting, it is important not to forget though, that a good copywriter is also a good writer.
- Are you good at connecting the dots?
- Researching and writing about topics?
- Do you have good organisational skills?
If you are and would like to add another string to your bow, why not consider training in copywriting? We have a Copywriting online course that hance your copywriting skills to create marketing copy that is concise and convincing for your audience.
Other popular Writing Courses include :
Creative Writing - This course will develop your ability to write a good story and to think more critically about your writing.
Childrens Writing - Drawing on writing craft and child psychology, this course will will help you write strong, authentic stories that will speak to your readers.
Editing and Proof Reading Online Course - Improve your editing and proofreading skills, learn to assess manuscripts, and mark up like the pros with this introductory course. Excellent for writers and new editors alike.
Not sure which course is best for you ? Contact our experienced FREE Course Counsellors who can help you choose.