You’ve likely landed on this page for one of two reasons:
A) You recently learned about an interesting profession called copywriting. You want to give it a try and you’re curious about what the job entails. You want to know what it takes to excel at it.
B) You’ve been a copywriter for some time now but you want to increase your copywriter salary. You want to go from good to great and you want more work than you’re currently getting.
Let’s first define the term copywriting in case you’re here because of reason A.
Copywriting is the art and science of writing copy (words used on web pages, ads, promotional materials, etc.) that sells your product or service and convinces prospective customers to take action.”Quick Sprout
It’s an important job in all organisations across the world with an online presence. Companies hire copywriters to communicate with their target market and to tell a story. Copywriters do this through blog posts, ads, billboards and many other mediums.
But it takes more than good writing skills to become a great copywriter. And if you’re here because of reason B, then you already know this.
There are many things savvy copywriters do to improve. And the better at copywriting you are, the more work you’re likely to get.
But these aren’t secrets known only by the best of the best. You can learn them too. Here are 5 simple things you need to know to become a successful copywriter.
Managing Your Time
As in any other profession, deliberate time management is a crucial skill to have. You need to plan your work schedule the right way and make sure you’re efficient with your 24 hours.
You want to get the most work done as possible, but you also don’t want to overdo it. You don’t want to burn out from doing too much and not getting enough rest. That doesn’t help anyone involved in your work.
Good copywriters know this and so they prioritise their tasks and projects. They know what needs doing as soon as possible and what can wait. They know when to clock-in every day and when to clock-out.
They are wise with their time and pros at defeating the infamous enemy to us all: procrastination. Savvy writers:
- Create content according to a plan
- Don’t postpone it till later
Because they know if they do, it’ll come back to bite them at the last minute and it’ll mean less work.
The more time you waste, the less of it you have and the less work you complete. Which leads to your employers giving you even fewer projects to work on due to low productivity.
Communicating Like a Pro
As a copywriter, most of your work relies a lot on your communication skills.
Copywriting is all about persuasion. Your story, your words need to appeal to customers enough to make them spend their money. Your readers need to feel the urge that tells them they can’t do without what you’re trying to sell.
Your content needs the details your reader is looking for and a call-to-action. Build up your reader’s need for a product or service from curiosity to certainty.
You can learn about the different types of articles in this ‘Blog Content Formats’ course.
Not only do you communicate well with your audience, but you also need to do so with your employers. Your writing skills need to show in every exchange between you and the organisation.
And you should always respond on time to questions or requests your bosses have. They don’t want to wait for hours for answers.
For this you’ll need a:
- Dependable internet connection and phone
- Mutual understanding of when’s the best time to communicate
Talented copywriters understand it’s important to impress those signing your cheques.
And the better an impression you make, the better a recommendation you get.
Always Learning Copywriting Skills
You cannot rest on your laurels. If you’re a decent copywriter it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t improve.
It’s crucial that you keep learning.
You need to learn the latest copywriting trends and advances in content marketing.
One key skill you need to stay updated on is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
SEO […] is the process of optimizing your website to get organic, or un-paid, traffic from the search engine results page.”Lyfe Marketing
Every copywriter worth their salt knows making content easy to find is important. You want people who search for your topic to access it first before they look for answers elsewhere. So it needs to appear at the top of online search results.
You also need to keep learning about your readers and their behaviours. Learn:
- What the target market prefers
- How to appeal to them
- Which writing techniques will convince them to buy
People change over time so your writing will change as well.
Writing Captivating Headlines
Headlines are the first things readers look at. They’re the difference between your content getting clicked or ending up forgotten. Your headlines need to capture your potential reader’s attention. Odds are more people will read your headlines than anything else.
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”David Ogilvy, Advertising Yycoon and Founder of Ogilvy & Mather
Experienced copywriters know that a headline has to be:
- Specific: informing the reader of what the content is about
- Urgent: convincing them to read the copy
- Unique: standing out from other headlines
- Useful: helping answer the reader’s question
You need to use words in your headlines that incite emotion. Convince the reader your content is worth reading.
You can add weight to them by including numbers and celebrity names.
i.e.: “[X number] Ways [Celebrity Y] [Action Taken] with [Product/Service Name]”
This is one of many ways to write a captivating headline. You can learn more ways through this Copywriting course.
Repeating It All Again
Once you’ve mastered the above skills, the best thing to do now is doing it over again and again. Write good copy and then write some more. And then more after that.
Consistency is what makes you better and gets you more work. It’s what separates the pros from the part-timers. Repeating good results is the difference between:
- A superstar musician and that guy you know who makes music sometimes
- Usain Bolt and many athletes who ran against him
- Leonardo Da Vinci and many of his contemporaries
- Cristiano Ronaldo and your friends who play Sunday League football
- A Kenyan marathon runner and, well, everyone else
Perhaps ‘great’, is just ‘good’, but repeatable.”Steph Smith, Writer and Growth Marketer
Because hitting your targets time and time again is what gets you noticed. Employers want someone with the knowledge and the experience of delivering goals. You need a proven track record.
You need to manage your time, keep communicating, learning and capturing attention. Only then will you excel as a copywriter.
Learn everything you need to about copywriting and become the best you can be. The work will start coming to you and overflowing in time.