Wonder no more about what’s it like to be a Copywriter. We are here to show you the bare truth. And the truth as you know is very liberating.
You see, there is more to copywriting than stringing sentences together. Your life as a copywriter will be filled with many experiences. Some good. Some bad. And some downright ugly.
With that in mind, let’s get down to business and show you the bare truth about what’s it like to be a copywriter (along with valuable solutions that you’ll use to overcome any challenges).
Ready? Dig in.
1. The Headline Is Your Only Shot at Grabbing Attention
“On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.” –David Ogilvy
“73% of the buying decision is made at the point of the headline.” – Ted Nicholas
Now that you know that your headline is the magical string that holds all the other content you’ve written, what should you do?
Write a headline that’s:
- Easy to read;
- Use the active voice.
Learn how to write an irresistibly powerful headline from Neil Patel.
2. Every Day It’s You and the Blinking Cursor
It’s a no-brainer that the life of a Copywriter revolves around writing copy and some more copy. Yes, there may be other associated tasks but writing copy takes the bulk of your work.
And the truth is, some days you won’t have the motivation nor the creativity to write. Also known as writer’s block.
The issues that can trigger the writer’s block include:
- Procrastination; the biggest productivity killer;
- Distractions from family and friends, house chores, phone calls, social media, etc.
- Fear that you are not good enough, or that your readers or editors will reject your work
- Perfectionism which limits your ability to form new ideas and produce creative writing;
- Waiting for the right time; waiting until your ideas are ready or until you have enough time to write
So which one of the issues can you relate with? Use these techniques to overcome writer’s block forever.
3. It’s Okay to Take Breaks
“I’ve been freelancing for over seven years and in all that time I’ve never had a day off, not even a weekend.” (These words are from a forum for freelance writers).
What a sad confession.
Dear Copywriter, jealously guard your free time.
You may have a few working weekends and working vacations; to meet a tight deadline. But that shouldn’t be the norm. The norm should be you taking regular breaks;
- Throughout your workday;
- During the weekends;
- Occasionally unplug and take a vacation.
And for good reasons as we explain next.
- Mental health: for you to create great copy, you need a clear well-rested mind. Start by getting sufficient sleep of 7-8 hours a day;
- Your physical health: humans are not meant to work round the clock – including you. Healthy breaks help prevent stress which is a major cause of some medical conditions;
- Relationships: It takes time to build healthy relationships; time you won’t have if you are always behind your keyboard working. Even if you’re basically an introvert, you still need other people;
- Real-world Inspiration: take time and experience the world beyond your computer; artwork, music, sports, nature, you name it. Let yourself experience these things and inspire you.
Wondering when, how, and how often to take a break? Read this. And check out the infographic below.
4. You Can Break Grammar Rules
The simplest rule to effective copywriting is “just write the way you would speak to your ideal client”. That way you connect with your ideal client on a deeper level and set the stage for a sale.
So yes, as a Copywriter, you can give grammar a break – but not entirely. Let’s explain the rules you can break next.
- You can end sentences with prepositions like “with,” “about” “to” ‘of’, ‘for’ or with conjunctions such as (‘but’, ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘so’
- You can use sentence fragments to slow things down and punctuate the message.
Example: Become a specialist copywriter. Not a jack of all trades. A generalist.
- You can use one-sentence paragraphs; perfect for web readers to keep reading deer into your content.
- You can begin sentences with “but” and “because” so your content flows better.
- You can write sentences without verbs. That’s right, the “doing word” can be dropped. Like this.
- You can leave out “that” as long as the meaning remains crystal clear to the reader.
And here are some grammar rules that rule forever; don’t dare break these:
- Use the active voice. Passive voice weakens your writing;
- Apply correct spelling and punctuation. Wear your proofreading hat;
- Beyond your word processor’s spelling and grammar checkers, read and edit your own copy.
This proofreading cheatsheet will help you create copy that’s easy to read and passes all the grammar requirements.
5. There’s No Dress Code
There is a sense of pride that comes with working remotely. You can be at home and still work, or on some sandy beach and still work. Or wherever else you prefer.
Just so you know, your client won’t be interested in what you are wearing, rather, what you are delivering. And that’s in your case – killer copy.
Needless to say, anything dress-wise goes in the virtual copywriting world: pyjamas, yoga pants, patterned bowties, over patterned button-downs with patterned shorts, jeans, and what you are wearing right now.
But there’s one small catch.
With so much freedom (nobody is looking over your shoulder), you can get distracted easily. But not under our watch. Use these tips to keep yourself focused on your work schedule every day.
6. Effective Copywriting is All about Psychology
Why do we write copy? For a myriad of reasons but the chief of them is to generate leads and make a sale.
Now, for your target audience to take out their wallet or purse and purchase what you are advertising, they need to trust you.
And trust is earned.
Here comes the big question…How do I earn their trust?
Here’s your answer.
- Don’t hand in copy riddled with typos and grammar mistakes. Your sloppy copy will get customers running for their eyes;
- Don’t write copy in a tone of voice inappropriate for your audience. Write in a tone your audience can relate with;
- Don’t write boring long-winded copy that confuses your readers. Be quick and to the point – you’ve got only 50 milliseconds to make an impression;
- Don’t fill your copy with me, me, me. Or worse still us, we – leave that to boring corporates. Instead, use YOU – the magic word that warms any reader. (It’s about them, not you);
- Don’t write copy that makes your readers reach for their dictionary (we know they won’t anyway, because they will hit the return button sooner than you realise). Use simple easy to understand words.
“It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave” Sweor.
7. Never Settle
How can the sky be the limit when there are footprints on the moon? – Logic Rapper Quotes
Is the there anything else beyond being a damn good Copywriter?
There’s got to be a way to give back to the industry. To grow yourself. To mentor potential creatives. To shatter the glass ceiling – man or woman.
Here are some ideas to start you off:
- Start a blog. Monetize it;
- Start a Copywriting training school or course;
- Go the entrepreneur route and start an online store;
- Start a Copywriting agency and help create more employment opportunities;
- Learn new relevant skills that compliment your Copywriting; SEO Copywriting or Graphic Design.
The Bare Truth’s Liberating
At this point, you’ve cut the guesswork. You now know the truth about what’s it like to be a copywriter. These bare truths will propel you to be a better copywriter in no time.
Use them to your advantage. Here’s our definitive copywriter salary guide to get you on the right track.
Better still, there’s more. The Small revolution Blog is filled with insanely useful blog posts to help you succeed in your online career as a Copywriter. Check it out now.
Photo by freepik / CC BY