How to Be Your Own Copywriter?

Ever heard of the name Apple or Samsung. But what exactly makes these big names different from the other lesser-known companies? Their advanced technology, you might be thinking. Or perhaps it’s because of their sleek designs. Take a step back and look at the big picture. With so many other companies in the industry, is it really possible that not a single one managed to produce a product that matches up to these two top brands? The short answer is, no. From time to time, products that trump the flagships of these two brands are bound to come into fruition. So why do we not hear of other brands as often as we do with Apple or Samsung? Superior technology is not the only reason why these brands have been able to build such a solid name for themselves in the world of technology. One other crucial factor that contributed to their rise is their exceptional copywriting. Their copywriters know exactly what to say to you to make you feel like you need their products.

 

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” – Steuart H. Britt

 

Copywriting is an invaluable asset to every company hoping to improve sales. You could be running a startup company, or even a major corporation; No matter who you are, copywriting is bound to benefit your company. It will give your advertisements the extra edge they need to boost your profits.

 

Does it sound too good to be true? Well, if you’re reluctant to spend the money on a professional copywriter, this article will help you to learn to be your own copywriter.

 

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to be a copywriter from scratch.

 

  1. Copywriting in a Nutshell (What is Copywriting).
  2. Job of a Copywriter.
  3. Copywriting VS Content Writing.
  4. Different Types of Copywriters.
  5. Essential Skills Required of a Copywriter (How to be a Good and Effective Copywriter).
  6. How to Adapt Your Writing Style.
  7. Tips and Tricks on How to Engage a Reader.
  8. Why People Hire Copywriters.

 

  1. Copywriting in a Nutshell (What is Copywriting).

 

First things first, before you decide if you’re going to embark on this tedious journey to learn how to be your own copywriter, you should be clear on what copywriting is.

 

Meet Jenny. Jenny is a young female adult living in a tropical country.  One day, she comes across a brochure for a down-feather jacket. Now, she’s lived her life perfectly fine without this jacket and she knows she will continue to do so in future (she lives in the tropics, for goodness’ sake). But the brochure tells her that gorgeous, fluffy jacket is a must-have for the holiday seasons. Even though she’s not planning on going anywhere cold anytime soon, she’s convinced that she will find a use for that jacket one way or another.

Have you been in a similar situation? Maybe you’re window shopping through the internet, without any plans of buying anything. But at the end of your window shopping experience, you end up with a full shopping cart and a hole in your pocket (or more specifically, your credit card). Sound familiar? That, my friend, is an example of quality copywriting.

 

Copywriting is more prevalent in our daily lives than you might think. Advertisements put up in Google, Facebook, etcetera, are all forms of copywriting in this modern era of technology.

 

To put it simply, copywriting is a form of persuasive writing. More specifically, it is the skill of writing, usually to promote or market a business, item or idea. It is the art of strategically manipulating words to  encourage a course of action from a specific group of people. Copywriting is widely employed in (but is not limited to) advertising. Good copywriting makes people want to engage with you voluntarily, because you give them valuable insights they may not yet possess.

 

  1. Job of a Copywriter.

 

The next thing you might be wondering is: so what does a copywriter do, exactly? As Iain Broome puts it, “To be a copywriter is beyond definition, but it’s fair to say that one thing binds us together: we all work with words on a daily basis.”

 

Despite what a lot of people think, copywriters do not spend all their time writing. Behind the scenes, there is a lot of research, thinking, and editing involved before a copy can be finalised. Copywriters write with the purpose of the client in mind, which can range from trying to promote a product, to simply spreading information.

Copywriters are given very limited recognition for their work. This is because written content done by the copywriter belongs to and is usually credited to the client.  

 

One thing’s for sure, if you have a large ego, this is not the job for you.

 

  1. Copywriting VS Content Writing.

 

The main difference between content writing and copywriting is the purpose for which the work is written. When a client approaches you for copywriting, your main objective will be to sell their idea. However, for content writing, the main aim is not to sell, but to educate the audience and make them want to know more.

Copywriting has the power to engage your audience and compel them to read on. However, it is important to note that you should not use only use copywriting in your written work.

 

Imagine yourself in a scenario where you’re in a clothing store trying to get a new outfit, and a ‘helpful’ store assistant keeps approaching you. For every piece of apparel you touch, she gushes on and on about how soft the material is, how trendy the design is, how it’s one of the best-selling items in store. What would be your response to her? My response, like most others, would be to give her a polite smile and exit the store without another word. The same concept applies to copywriting. Customers do not like to be constantly sold to. After a certain point, they are bound to tune you out and reject anything you have to offer them, no matter how ‘spectacular’ it may be. If you cannot connect with your customers the right way, and engage with them beyond a superficial level, needless to say, they will not trust in you and whatever you are trying to sell.

 

So what is the point I am trying to make? Moderation is key. In order to write an effective copy, a fusion of copywriting and content writing is necessary. Sell your idea to the customer, but do it while informing, educating and engaging them. If you are able to build a relationship of trust with them, they will be more likely to buy your ideas.


  1. Different Types of Copywriters.

 

Copywriting is an extremely broad field, reason being most industries require a copywriter at one point or another. The different types of copywriters can be loosely classified under 5 different categories: search engine optimization (SEO) copywriting, sales copywriting, technical copywriting, content copywriting and creative copywriting.

 

SEO Copywriting

The main objective of this form of copywriting is to have your article appear at the top of the search engine results. It is about coming up with innovative, engaging content that focuses on specific keywords, thus helping your article  to rank higher and improve traffic on your site.

Sales Copywriting

Sales  copywriting involves a persuasive style of writing, and has the objective of swaying your target audience to buy your product. Technical competence is often required (can you imagine buying medication from someone who doesn’t know their stuff?) and creativity is crucial to come up with content that stands out and grabs attention. As Thornton Wilder once said, “In advertising, not to be different is virtual suicide.”

Technical Copywriting

Technical copywriters are required to have extensive knowledge of the products they are trying to sell. However, this knowledge is not necessarily included in the final written article. The job of a technical copywriter is to compel the target audience to buy those products and services, but not necessarily explain how to use them. In some instances, the copywriter may include technicalities, but the goal is always to simplify things as much as possible, so that the reader is able to comprehend with ease. Reading a whole article full of technical jargon may serve to impress, but there is no way customers will buy your product if they can’t even understand the majority of what you’re trying to convey.

Content Copywriting

This type of copywriting is focused on updating and informing the customers of a certain website. Some examples of content writing include tutorials, guides, newsletters and similar articles.They should be interesting and engaging to their target audience.

Creative Copywriting
Creative copywriting involves… That’s right, creative thinking. Tasks that fall under the job scope of a creative copywriter includes generating eye-catching headlines, subheadings, slogans and more.

 

Creative copywriters are strategic thinkers. The way they write and the tone they adopt can give readers the impression they are telling you a story rather than trying to sell something to you. This storytelling style of writing is usually unique to every brand, and that is what makes creative copywriters stand out.

 

Creative copywriting is somewhat similar to sales copywriting in the sense that its main aim is to generate interest in a product, and ultimately to sell it.

 

Now What?

 

So the question now is, which type of copywriter should you try to become? The answer depends on what the focus of your business is. For instance, businesses involved in marketing may find that a creative copywriter is what they need, because content that stands out from the rest is crucial in order to grab a reader’s attention from amidst thousands of advertisements they may see on a daily basis. On the other hand, companies involved in manufacturing electronic equipment will likely find that a technical copywriter will be able to represent and sell their products most effectively.

 

You should remember that there is no hard and fast rule about having to classify yourself under a single category, so if you want to be, say, both a technical copywriter and a sales copywriter simultaneously, that is plausible as well. At the end of the day, you just want to be able to write about your products well enough so that people will buy them.

 

  1. Essential Skills Required of a Copywriter (How to be a Good and Effective Copywriter).

 

Many skills are required of a copywriter due to its wide job scope, but I’ve managed to narrow them down to 5 main points.

 

A Good Command of the English Language

 

I think it goes without saying that in order to be a copywriter, you need to have a good command of the English language. How would you explain your ideas effectively if you don’t have the linguistic skills to convey your thoughts to the customer? Trying to be a copywriter without the vocabulary to back it up is like trying to scuba-dive without an oxygen tank. In other words, don’t do it.

 

An Eye for Detail

 

Stellar language skills are not all you need to be an effective copywriter. Paired along with it, you need to have the ability to identify the small errors you might have made in your articles. Proofreading your work is a part of a copywriter’s job, and you will need to ensure that the final copy submitted to your client is free of grammatical errors and small typos you might have made here and there.

 

Adaptability and Versatility

 

Being able to adapt is a vital skill required of every copywriter. A copywriter needs to be able to become whatever their client wants them to be. Think of us as a shadow, bending in whichever direction depending on where the sun chooses to shine. Like a shadow, most of the work done by a copywriter is behind-the-scenes. A good copywriter should be able to enforce an article without changing the nuances and original tone of the client (unless that is specifically requested, of course). This is important because clients may want to leave a specific impression on the reader, and if the copywriter writes with a different tone, it may end up leaving a different impact, and sending a different message which may not be what the client intended in the first place.

 

Research Skills

 

Ha! Research. Sounds easy? Trust me, it’s not. Being a good copywriter means being able to write about anything and everything (as stated in the point above). It’s virtually impossible for a human to know about everything going on everywhere. This means that for every new client or project, you are going to need to do some serious research before you can even begin to write. Sometimes, this means that you may need to learn about a topic that you’ve never even heard about before. Of course, if you’re only learning how to be a copywriter for your own business, this point will not be as applicable for you, since you probably already know most of the operations in your company (I hope). Nonetheless, research skills are expected of a good copywriter, because obviously, you’ll need to know your stuff before writing about it.

 

Empathy

 

The main job of a copywriter is to write to persuade. And how do you persuade? You empathise. Why do most teenagers rebel? Because they feel like their parents don’t understand them. Giving people the impression that you understand their problems will encourage them to listen to you better. Explore their worries, reassure their concerns, quash their doubts. Highlight the advantages they would gain if they just follow your advice. Writing from their perspectives will allow them to connect with you emotionally, and make them feel like they should heed your words because you’ve been there, just like them. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is an extremely effective tool in persuasion.

 

  1. How to Adapt Your Writing Style.

 

In copywriting, it is not uncommon to have to adapt your writing style based on your client’s requests. Different clients have different target audiences, and an effective copywriter needs to be able to write in such a way that you can appeal to any target audience, no matter who they might be.

 

Know your audience. Know what they are looking for. Know what resonates with them even after they’re done reading your article.

 

One simple trick to write using an optimal writing style is to imagine your target audience sitting across the table from you. If your imagination is failing you, simply open a new tab on your browser and search for someone who bears the most resemblance to what you think your target audience might look like. What tone would you adopt? Would you use a personal approach, or a professional one? What can you say that is likely to sustain their attention? How will you say it? If it helps, get a second opinion so that you have a new unbiased perspective on your work.

 

Don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time, just read and edit and reread and re-edit until you’re certain you can’t improve your writing any further. Copywriting is not an fast job, it requires considerable patience and perfectionism if your goal is to produce a close-to-perfect copy. It might take a lot of time, but sense of accomplishment you get from the finished product is so worth it.

 

  1. Tips and Tricks on How to Engage a Reader.

 

I’m sure you’ve experienced reading the first paragraph of an article and skipping to the next page just because you weren’t interested in reading further. You’ve probably also experienced reading a long article with thousands of words, and enjoyed every single minute you spent on it. What makes those two articles different from each other?

 

Engaging a reader is one of the most important jobs of a copywriter. If you can’t engage your audience, you probably won’t be able to get them to read past the first paragraph of your article. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to compel a reader to stay on your page.

 

A Catchy Headline

 

Headlines create the first impression on the reader. It can be said that a headline is the most important part of any article. An estimated 8 out of 10 people read only the headlines of an article, not the body. Shocking? But it makes sense. If your readers aren’t hooked by your headline, they won’t bother to read on about what you have to say.

In a way, your headline shows the reader your character and motive. You should never try to sell to your customer through your headlines. Even if your ultimate goal is to get your customer to take action, be subtle about it. Most people read for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, so needless to say, nobody would want to read an article that is blatantly trying to sell to them.

 

When crafting a headline, you want to create something that stands out. However, that does not mean that you should use bombastic words. Quite the contrary, in fact. Use simple words that are easy to comprehend, and be concise with your words. Headlines that pack a punch can be understood without the use of a dictionary. Make use of keywords with high search volumes, and include numbers in whenever possible.

 

Tone of Writing

 

In order to engage a reader, you need to make them feel like you’re talking to them, specifically. Get down and personal with your words. Well, not too personal, but you get what I mean.

 

Make use of second-person pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘your’, talk to them like you’re talking to an old friend. The easiest way to ease yourself into this would be to imagine you’re speaking, not writing. It might take a while to get used to writing like you’re speaking, so you could stick your original style of writing first, and edit it to sound like spoken English when you’re done.

 

Offer Alternative Perspectives

 

Chances are, when people read, they want to be able to take away something from an article. They want to gain new insights, and learn about things they might not have known before. Even if they’re simply reading an advertisement brochure, their purpose is to learn about the product and its usages, not necessarily to buy it. Your writing needs to give them that. If your content doesn’t give them anything new, they have no reason to read it. Write about the benefits, the cost, even the drawbacks. Be honest. Offer them perspectives that they might not have considered. Your purpose is to engage, educate, and then persuade.

 

Inject Some Humour

 

Adding humour to your content is a surefire way to get your reader’s attention. After all, who doesn’t like fun? Crack jokes, make fun, but like all other things, do it in moderation. Be careful not to turn your entire article into a joke, because your main purpose is still to educate and inform. Think of yourself as a fun teacher. Teach, but do it in an entertaining manner.

 

  1. Why People Hire Copywriters.

 

Not everyone hires copywriters, but those who do, have good reason for doing so.

 

Lack of Time
Some people hire copywriters simply because they do not have the time to fuss over every single word in their writing. To them, it’s easier to hand the work over to a trained, professional copywriter (even though it might cut into their budget a little). Writing interesting, persuasive content can take considerable time and effort, especially for an untrained individual. Professional copywriters can help to significantly reduce the effort expended in that area.

 

Guaranteed Quality
Professional copywriters are well-versed in various industries, and have the ability to write quality content for most clients. Businesses that require extensive background knowledge can seek copywriters with a degree in that industry. Copywriters are trained to produce engaging content that you can rely on to boost your sales.

 

Copywriters Know the Right Way to Persuade
Sometimes, writing your own content may seem too pushy, or not pushy enough to your target audience. Copywriters understand that customers do not like to be constantly sold to. They are able to balance their words such that they come across as persuasive, but not overly so. Even though they are also writing with the ultimate aim of trying to get readers to take action, they are able to subtly nudge readers in the direction they want, without making readers feel as though they are being coerced into action.

Copywriters Have a Fresh Perspective on Things
Sometimes, possessing extensive knowledge in your industry can turn out to do more harm than good. If you are trying to reach out to a large group as your target audience, it is inevitable that not all of them are well-versed on the technical jargon that probably took you years to master as well. Having a copywriter view and write about your product with an outside perspective may serve to aid readers in comprehension. Needless to say, having more people understand what your product is about will encourage more of them to buy from you.

Copywriters Are Able to Effectively Address Your Target Audience
Professional copywriters are fantastic at weaving their words to fit a specific target audience. They are able to address the audience with a personal touch, which encourages readers to connect with the brand or company on an emotional level. This helps them to build a sense of trust and loyalty with your company, as well as increases traffic on your site by attracting the people who are most likely to buy what you are trying to sell.

 

Conclusion

 

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of my article. Now, it’s time for you to make your decision.

 

So, should you hire a copywriter?

 

Frankly, it all boils down to whether or not you have the skills required (refer to point 5) to be an outstanding copywriter. If you feel that you have those skills in the bag, then by all means, be your own copywriter. But if you don’t have the confidence that you can excel in copywriting, don’t stress over it. Not many succeed in being their own copywriter, and there’s a reason for that. Many of those skills require years of reading, studying and applying in order to perfect them.

 

If you are interested in learning to be a copywriter, but feel that you aren’t good enough to do it professionally yet, you have the option of choosing to consult a professional copywriter for help for your starting projects, and then subsequently learning how to do it on your own. While that may cost more than depending on yourself alone, you are guaranteed a stellar piece of content that will help you to break even in no time at all.

 

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain

 

If copywriting is not the right kind of advertising, I don’t know what is.

 

Your Cheat Sheet to Persuasive Copywriting (last stage / evaluation stage)

 

Copywriting is an important skill in many industries. Having a good copy helps you to build trust in your brand, and also guarantees your company an exponential increase in profits. It’s no wonder that professional copywriters are so highly sought after in every field.

 

Of course, not all businesses hire professional copywriters to do write their copies. If you are running a startup company, you’ll probably want to cut costs as much as possible. Some businesses choose to do their own copy without seeking a professional copywriter, and that’s totally fine (provided they have the skills for it).

 

Anyone can write a copy. But not everyone can write a good copy. If you are a self-taught copywriter looking for tips to write a more effective copy, here’s a cheat sheet for you to ensure that your work is not straying too far off the mark.

 

  1. Be sure of your objective.
  2. Identify your target audience.
  3. Know your stuff.
  4. Write a headline with a punch.
  5. Get creative.
  6. Avoid information overload.
  7. Appeal to ‘wants’, not ‘needs’.
  8. Get down and personal.
  9. Tell a story.
  10. Be honest.
  11. Seek inspiration if you need it.
  12. Read and edit, reread and re-edit.

 

Be sure of your objective.

Before you begin writing, know what you are trying to achieve. Write with that objective in mind, and avoid using fillers. Every word you write should serve as a stepping stone bringing you closer to your ultimate aim.

 

Identify your target audience.

Your content should be tailored towards a specific group of people for maximum resonance. Have a clear idea of who you want to reach, and write as if you are talking to them personally.

Know your stuff.

If you want your readers to trust you, you need to know your content like the back of your hand. The best way to sound like you know what you’re talking about is to know what you are talking about. Do your research. Make sure you know everything you need to know. Don’t give readers any reason to doubt your credibility. They are more likely to heed your call to action if they can trust your words.

Write a headline with a punch.

Headlines are the first real contact that a reader has with your article. If you can’t grab their attention with this one short line, it doesn’t matter how spectacular or ground-breaking your content is; they will not continue to read what you have to say. Prey on your audience’s curiosity. Make them want to know more. Make them feel like they have to know more. Focus on coming up with headlines that create more questions, rather than headlines that answer their questions.

Get creative.

Avoid cliches in your writing. Of course, it cannot be denied that those ‘cliches’ today used to be effective (otherwise, people wouldn’t even have used them to begin with). But the key-words here are ‘used to be’. The more widely they are employed, the less effective they become. Readers will tend to overlook overused content, because it gives the impression that they have already read something similar, and will have nothing new to take away from it. Be innovative. Think out of the box. Use a style of writing unique to you, and you alone.

Avoid information overload.

Be careful not to get too carried away with sharing too much information with your readers. It is important to remember that your target audience might not be professionals in the industry of whatever you are writing about. Applying technical jargon within your writing is a huge turn-off, because it requires too much effort to understand your points. Tell them only what they need to know. Ensure that your content is easily comprehensible.

Appeal to ‘wants’, not ‘needs’.

Necessity also plays a big role in driving people towards taking an action, but what you really want to focus on are the desires of your reader. Place emphasis on the benefits that your call-to-action will bring. Even the most rational people tend to act based on their emotions. Logic plays a secondary role in decision making. Good copywriting has the ability to make your readers justify their expenses and sway logic to fit their impulses.

Get down and personal.

Tear down the barriers standing between you and your audience. Talk to your readers like you know them personally. Build a sense of empathy with them and show them that you understand their concerns and desires. Convince them that you only have their best interests at heart. Focus on the ‘you’, not ‘they’.

Tell a story.

It takes a lot to capture a reader’s attention for an entire lengthy article. One method you can adopt to engage your audience is to weave stories into your content. Everybody loves a good story. Spinning a good tale for your readers every once in a while helps them to relate to you on a deeper level.

Be honest.

Nobody wants to see you guarantee them ‘life-changing’ knowledge. Even if they see it, it’s unlikely they will believe it. Lines like ‘By the end of this article, you will be able to earn a six-figure salary every month!’ are severely overused. By now, most people know better than to trust such lines, and they get skeptical about offers that are too good to be true. So what should you do? Go against the trend. Stick to the facts. Promise only what you can deliver.

Seek inspiration if you need it.

It isn’t uncommon for copywriters to get stuck as they write. When that happens, don’t be afraid to look up pieces of work done by other professional copywriters. Expose yourself to different writing styles. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. It is important to note, however, that you should use those works as reference material only. You shouldn’t attempt to duplicate their style, but instead, create your own unique way of writing.

Read and edit, reread and re-edit.

Before you submit your final copy, you need to check and check and check again. Second-guess every single word you’ve written. Are you getting the right idea across? Is your tone suitable? Did you miss out any typos? Whenever possible, you should seek a second opinion for an unbiased perspective of your work.

TADA! You’re done! If you’ve managed to fulfil everything in this checklist, you’ve probably got a decent copy in your hands by now.

Are you satisfied with what you’ve written? If you are, that’s great! But if you’re not, that’s totally fine. Let’s be realistic here: going through this checklist will not magically turn you into a professional copywriter overnight. If that were the case, there would be no need for professional copywriters at all.

Feel free to engage our copywriting services here (include hyperlink) for an expert opinion.