If you are interested in mastering copywriting, it can be a little daunting to get started from scratch. How do you know what you're striving for if you've never done it before?
In learning the basics, the first step in the journey is to understand what copywriting is.
From there, you'll want to learn many tools that make the difference between good and great copy, and understand how to refine it to suit its real purpose. That is, you'll want to know how to use it to further a brand, product or idea that leads to greater awareness, customer connection, or profit.
What is copywriting?
Copywriting can be many things. It can be writing meant for the homepage of a law office website, or an instructional manual for a new cleaning product. Copywriting is writing that is created with a business mindset, and great copywriting does this without losing your personal touch for each business it represents.
Copywriting can include:
- Blog Posts
- Website content
- Instruction manuals
- Product descriptions
- Social media posts
- Press releases
- And more…
Copywriting can be laced with dynamic storytelling, but don't be fooled—if most copywriting doesn't have a clear goal or message, it's not really functioning how it should. Which brings us to our next question…
What is your goal as a copywriter?
Your personal goal in your copywriting career may not be the same as every other person. Perhaps you're simply trying to revamp your small business' website on a budget. Or, perhaps you're eager to start from the ground up in building a freelance copywriting empire. Know your goal and set good personal milestones.
The bottom line of copywriting is increasing exposure, customer rapport, or sales for a business.
You aren't just trying to fill a blank page or solely be entertaining; you're trying to meet the expectations of your client and their needs. Functionally, you do this through understanding the rules of this niche word game.
Several Rules of Good Copy
Good copywriting is more than just informative, it leads to measurable results.
The more specific copy is, and the more credible it will make a business' brand, as well as its goods or services, appear. There's a difference between calling a local Mexican restaurant's tacos delicious, and saying their salsa has won taste test competitions and the local newspaper voted them Best New Restaurant in a community poll.
Be clear, especially in describing how a feature can benefit a customer. You can say your home cleaning supplies are non-toxic, but take it a step further to discuss how toxicity in cleaning supplies has a direct impact on your family's health.
Use Customer Testimonials
Embrace customer testimonials. Nothing recommends you better than praise of internet strangers via Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google Reviews.
Call People to Act
That action might be signing up for a newsletter, calling for more information, or acting fast to purchase a sale item before it sells out. Be direct, and maybe a little pushy, and you'll be the voice in the customer's head saying, "Come on. Do it."
Outline your writing before you start. This doesn't have to be complicated. A simple list of key points and keywords to include can help you direct the flow of your copywriting so that creating copy is efficient, and the end result reads smoothly.
Know Your Client’s Formatting Goal
Some copywriting needs to be in a more long-form structure, and go into greater detail, especially if for safety or instructional purposes. However, most copywriting has more of a marketing angle and will require 2-3 sentence paragraphs, plenty of bullet points, and headers or bolded words to break up the information (like you see here). How the kind of copy you're working with, especially if it's all digital.
Check Out Your Client’s Competition
One of the best ways of brainstorming how to structure your own copy is to do a Google search for the topic you're writing on, and see what competitors have already created that's high-ranking. Obviously, plagiarism is never a goal, but you can learn the information you need, and see examples of how to structure it, as a quick jumpstart to writing your own copy in an original way.
Find Your Process for Balancing Quality and Quantity
If you're creating a copywriting career, you want to make the most money for your time. This will require finding the right balance in quality and vs. quantity when writing copy.
Knowledge is Power
Without proper research or prior knowledge, there's no way that you can write a well-informed copy. You'll need to take the appropriate amount of time to research, organize information, and do the writing itself.
Do the Legwork of Building an Empire
Copywriters who are just starting out will naturally be spending more time on research and learning about streamlining their organizational methods in their copywriting. This is the legwork required to become more knowledgeable and efficient and make more money over time.
Strive for Expert
A savvy freelance copywriter will choose jobs that they have already cultivated an expertise and an organizational method for. They can spend more time on being a freelance copywriter, and therefore have more time to write copy--and make money.
Know Your Audience
In all of this, recognize the quality that different types of clients require, and cater how much you polish and finesse a piece to suit them. Not every client will need technical language or sophisticated references. Here are some examples of this in practice.
Write, Listen to Feedback, and Write Some More
The most common writing advice ever tossed around is: just write.
The more you write, the better a handle you'll have on structure, mechanics, voice... all the pesky details of writing that can be sculpted to fit different clients, products or purposes.
Feedback in that loop is essential. Listening to what clients offer as critique for what you create is essential in making a customer happy, sure, but it's also an essential part in opening your eyes as a copywriter.
One of the fastest ways of improving your writing chops is having a piece of good copywriting get rejected with clear feedback to set you on a better path.
Need Help Managing that Content?
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