Content writing is writing to sell. Writing copy involves precision, effectiveness, and creative problem solving. Ideally, a brand’s copy is driving conversions while providing meaningful experiences for the target audiences.
Features, benefits, and prices help determine whether consumers are willing to buy a product. Copy is the way in which you communicate value to these prospective customers.
We’ll be focusing on the power of writing today.
What is copywriting?
Writing copy is one of the most important aspects of any form of marketing and advertising. Copywriting consists of words, either written or said, used by marketers to try to get people take an action after reading them.
Copywriting is like an actionable call-to-action. You’re trying to get people to act, think, or respond, or, ideally, to search for the slogan or brand to find out more. And where a blog posts like this one has the privilege of hundreds of words with with which to make a strong case, copywriters only get a few words to make theirs.
What Is a Copywriter?
Copywriting is about sales. It’s not about writing. Your objective is to produce content and experiences that drive sales. All this talk about writing brings to mind an important question. A copywriter is someone who writes for the web, whereas a content writer writes for print.
It’s not hard to understand the confusion. After all, they’re both technically writers. My experience has shown that talented copywriters are usually just highly evolved content writers who know their audience well. A content writer has mastered the craft of writing compelling blog posts and articles. But the copywriter goes beyond just that.
A good copywriter knows what drives conversions and incorporates those ideas into their copy. They aren’t just capable of creating blog post. They know how to market through Google ads, email newsletters, and social media posts.
Savvy copywriters conduct product research, analyze behavioral psychology, and generally develop creative solutions to complex marketing challenges.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Copywriter?
As with most careers, there are no formal requirements to become a copywriter. However, if you want to break into this field, you will need some skills.
Writing Ability: The ability to write effectively is essential. If you can’t write, then you’ll have difficulty producing quality copy.
Researching Products & Services: As a copywriter, it’s your job to find information about products or services. This means researching competitors, reading reviews, and looking up industry statistics.
Editing: When you’re writing for clients, you may be asked to edit other people’s work. In fact, many agencies hire freelance editors to handle this task.
Problem Solving: Good copywriters solve problems. They think creatively and come up with unique ways to approach a challenge.
Marketing Experience: A copywriter must understand the ins and outs of marketing. In particular, they should be able to create effective campaigns for online advertising.
How Much Does a Copywriter Make?
The median salary for a copywriter is $45,000 per year. According to PayScale, the average pay for a copywriter ranges from $31,500 to $55,000 annually.
Like any profession, the more experience you gain, the higher your earning potential becomes. That said, new graduates often earn less than experienced professionals.
What Are Some Common Jobs for Copywriters?
There are two major categories of jobs available to copywriters. One type focuses on selling directly to consumers. These positions include account managers, sales reps, and direct marketers.
The second category involves working for companies as in-house copywriters. Here, you’ll typically provide editorial support for a variety of different projects. For example, you might assist with SEO (search engine optimization) efforts or help with website design.
Some copywriters also work at trade publications. These positions involve writing for magazines and newspapers.
Types of Copywriting
Copywriting falls under the broader umbrella of “content creation.” There are three main types of copywriting. Each one serves a specific purpose.
Advertising Copy Writing
Advertising copywriting is designed to sell products or services. Most ad copy has an objective — to convince readers to buy something.
Public Relations Copy Writing
PR copywriting is aimed at building relationships between businesses and customers. It’s used to promote brands by promoting positive stories about them.
Content creation includes all forms of written content that aren’t advertisements. Examples include blog posts, ebooks, white papers, and web pages.
Brand copywriting is similar to public relations copywriting. But instead of focusing on individuals, it targets entire organizations or companies.
Businesses use brand copywriting because they want their messages to reach a wide audience. However, brand copywriting isn’t just limited to business owners. Anyone can benefit from creating compelling messaging. Even if you don’t own a company, you still need to pay attention to branding issues.
Social Media Copywriting
Your goal when crafting copy for your social media channels is to engage audiences through content and ads. The challenge with this type of branding is adapting your brand messaging to different formats. For example, the text you write for a blog post shouldn’t be identical to the text on a Facebook post.
To get your content to rank well on SERPs, SEO is all about getting it to rank highly on the results page. To rank well, your content needs to provide real value to users while including a healthy mix of keywords and phrases. You’ll be breathing new life into content that has been written but doesn’t necessarily meet certain keyword criteria.
Insight copywriting is about establishing yourself as an expert in your field. As a copywriter you achieve this by creating high-value educational content Some audiences just want straightforward, detailed answers to their key problems. For brands with an established audience, thought leadership can often be particularly valuable.
Writing an email that is compelling is a unique challenge because its presentation is so unconventional. You need to write engaging email headlines which don’t get ignored. Clarity is important, but so is value Your CTA needs to be strong enough so that it converts your audience, but the effort should be small enough that they don’t feel alienated by it.
6 Traits of Good Copywriting
1. It changes your perspective
Sometimes, all a text needs to get across is a slight change in angle. We’ve become so used to blocking out marketing messages that we no longer notice them. One of the most effective things a copywriter can accomplish is to break through a reader’s guard with unexpected approaches. Every story has a multitude of angles; your job as a writer is to find the angle that resonates.
This ad from Sage Therapeutics, which asks women to “Talk About Postpartum Depression,” works because instead of asking women to care about something they may not be familiar with, it puts them in a situation where they experience the struggles that mothers who suffer through postpartum depression face. Did they miss some people who quickly passed by the advertisement thinking it was for adult diapers? Definitely. But the ad resonates so much more deeply with those who read it than with those who don’t.
Next time you sit down to type, try out this approach instead. Don’t tackle the topic head on. Instead, ask yourself: Why does it matter so much? Each time you write something down, challenge yourself to go beyond it. Find the bigger story behind your message.
2. It makes connections.
Let’s say you need to write an ad for new sneakers. You could take the task head on. You could write about either the elasticity of the sole or the lightweight design of the shoe. Indeed, many have tried it. You could put all of that away and instead focus on drawing the connection between the product itself and the experience it evoked.
There are two things going on in this ad. First, the copy acknowledges that for many people, running isn’t about actually running; it’s about solitude, peacefulness, and restoring sanity to a hectic life. Secondly, not only does Nike link the advertisement to the experience of running but it also links to the sound that those sneakers make when they hit the ground.
This ad is about how the complexity of our lives fades away and we’re replaced by simplicity and clarity As the copy progresses from complex to simple, the sentences become simpler and the copy’s complexity gradually replaces the simple and rhythmic beating of words: run, ran, run, run. The same rhythm one can hear when all but their footsteps are fading away. That’s connection.
3. It has a stunningly beautiful lead.
These are all headlines or leading statements from UrbanDaddy, a monthly email-based magazine highlighting new products, experiences, or eateries.
- “Six days. That’s how long you have until 65% of your body is turkey.”
- “There are 8,760 hours (or 365 days) in a year. And just one hour during which a stand will be selling free latkes with homemade applesausage and sour cream in Harvard Sqaure. It’s not fair at all. “But 60 minutes is still 60 minutes.”
- “Ewoks. Talk about living.”
What’s common among these leads? They make us want the next line. Seriously, how much do you really want to know where that Ewok thing goes?
There’s an old saying in copywriting that states that the purpose of a headline is to get you read the first line.## Inputs The purpose of the lines is to get you to continue reading the next line. If your first sentence doesn’t interest your readers, then all is lost.
4. It is born out of listening.
Seeing its plans to open a new gym in the greater Boston area, an outsider might have thought the Harrington family was a bit nuts. There were already plenty of gyms in existence, including a new breed that seemed to be in a race for the most extravagant perks. There were gyms across the region offering massage services, smoothies bars, and fleets of professional trainers. And GymIt wouldn’t have any of that. It would be an app
What did GymIt have? Understanding your target audience. Before launching its new fitness club, the brand did a lot of listening to its primary target market of gym-goers. For many in Gym It’s target market, the additional benefits associated with luxury gymns were nice to have, but came with a lot of extra costs and overly complicated contracts.
GymIt decided to make the gym-going experience easier for people who primarily care about getting in and working up a sweat. The copy in its initial launch campaign and across its promotional material reflects that understanding.
5. It avoids using buzzwords and exaggerating.
Innovative Revolutionary. Business Solutions. Scalable Targeting. Idea generation Evidence-based approaches. Best practices for the industry.
Did I lose you already?
When writers struggle to communicate what is truly special about a company, product, or services, they often resort to using jargon or hyperbole to emphasize their point. The truth is, writing good copy doesn’t require any fancy tricks. Good copywriting should be written in human language.
You shouldn’t be celebrating every award or achievement. Be direct when explaining why you achieved something. This homepage from Basecamp highlights its popularity in concrete terms by showing how many people visit their site every day.
6. It eliminates excess.
Good writing gets to its point quickly, so cut out unnecessary words and reword your sentences to be more concise. The Economist playfully shows off its academic readership by displaying a picture of a cat.
How do you remove excess words from your writing without losing meaning? It’s half practicing and half knowing where to make cuts. This article from Daily Writing Tips is one of the best summaries I’ve seen on precise writing. It includes some tips for you to consider.
- Reduce verb phrases: For example, say “The results are suggestive that” instead of “The results suggest.”
- Reduce long sentences to short ones: You can turn “In order to” into “To,” and “Due to the fact” into “Because.”
- Don’t use vague nouns: Phrases formed around general words like “in the area” or “on the subject.” These phrases clutter up sentences.
How to Write Killer Copy Like a Pro
Now that you know exactly what a copywriter does and how to write for yourself, it’s now time to get started. Here’s a step-by- step guide to writing copy that will reach your targeted audience and drive sales.
Step 1: Find out who your audience is
You wouldn’t start cooking a meal before you know how many people you are cooking for and which meals they like, right?! The same applies to creating content. Before you start writing, you need to know who you’re writing for.
First, create a buyer persona, or an imaginary representation of your ideal customer This will outline who you’re targeting, including their demographics, occupation, location, age, gender, and general information about salary.
Use a tool like Xtensio, which offers templates that make it easy for you to create detailed user personae.
Don’t just wing this. Look at your current customer data and see if there are any customers who have a high lifetime value or customer retention rate.
Once you’ve identified your buyer persona, ask yourself questions like:
- Who are you currently selling to your product?
- Who would you like your product to sell to?
- What do your current clients love about your service?
- What struggles do your clients face, and how do they solve those problems?
This information will help you as you start writing your copy.
Step 2: Use a tone that matches the audience you’re writing to.
Writing well isn’t just about choosing the right words. It’s about using them in the right way. Tone, or the way you write, gives your writing far greater context than just the words that you choose. It tells prospective customers whether you’re fun-loving, serious or uber professional.
Consider these two copy writing examples for a fictional company selling sales software:
Using state of the art software, understand your customers better.
It’s an advanced tool that helps you understand your customers. However, it also uses a bit quirky language. Zero to Hero is a slang phrase that means they don’t treat themselves too seriously.
Now, think about this:
Get a deeper understanding of your customer base using our AI-powered Sales Software. SellPlus software helps streamline the sales funnel and drive revenue for your business.
This example has the exact same information as the first one, but the tone is a bit more formal and digs a bit deeper. They use artificial intelligence (AI) to power their software and improve the sales process. The tone is more formal and is likely better suited for a senior executive or an enterprise company
While the information is basically the same, the tone has been adjusted for the audience. It helps customers feel that they’re in the right place and that this software is right for them.
If getting the right voice is a struggle, Grammarly has a built-in tool for adjusting your writing style to match your audience.
It lets you write exactly what tone you want for each section of your content.
For example, if we choose a “general audience”, the tool will highlight sentences that might be difficult for a general audience to comprehend.
Step 3: Stress your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
The Internet and the rise of globalization have given us more options than we’ve ever had before.
You don’t have to choose between the two local furniture stores anymore — now you can order any mattress from anywhere in the entire world and have it delivered right to your doorstep in just a few days.
More choices are better than fewer. For businesses, however; an increase in consumer options usually means there are more competitors.
That’s why your copy needs to be focused on what makes you unique, or your unique value proposition.
Your business isn’t perfect for everyone, and so you shouldn’t be either!
You could help small businesses manage their social media marketing or develop software that helps free-ranging chicken farmers track their eggs.
Your UVP should focus on explaining why you’re the right fit for your target audience.
For example, small business owners may be interested in focusing on organic growth rather than paying for paid social ads. Free-range egg producers may need sensors that cover a larger area than factory farms.
Uber focuses on their customer service. They might not be cheap and they might not be the best option for groups of 10 people, but they’re convenient.
You don’t have to be good at every single thing. Rather than focusing on everything you do well, focus on what really makes you stand out.
Focus on that in your copy instead.
Step 4: Use Copywriting to Solve the Pain Points
When writing copy, it’d be tempting to focus on the positive aspects of your product or service.
However, customers aren’t looking for a product or a service because everything is sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. They’re looking for a solution to an issue. Those problems are painpoints, so they should be the mainfocus of your copy.
Step 5: Leverage Social Proof
Social proof is a powerful marketing principle Here’s how it works: When we see that someone else enjoyed the same benefits from a product or service, then we want to enjoy them too.
Why is it so successful? We tend to trust information that comes from people who aren’t trying to sell us something, like our friends, family, or celebrities, more than information coming from brands.
If you’re looking for a new Indian Restaurant, say so. You’re more likely to trust your friend’s recommendation than an advertisement you see on Facebook. According to research, 70% of consumers trust review sites while only 33% trust advertising.
Social proof can increase trust in copywriting by making it seem more credible.
There are two ways you can use social proof in copywriting.
- Social proof can be used to inspire your copywriting. Reviews and customer surveys can help understand what customers love about products. Social proof can be used to determine what pain points you should focus on and what benefits you should highlight.
- Add testimonials and case studies to landing page, homepage, and your website to reinforce your copy and show that others like what you have to say.
Step 6: Delete fluff from your content
It’s easier to write longer than shorter. You may be used to writing emails to explain decisions to your boss or creating workflow documents. When it comes to writing, a few extra words aren’t going to matter at all and might even be helpful.
Even in a blog article, like this one, long prose can work.
Not in copywriting.
Every single word must be used for a specific purpose. If it doesn’t educate, stress a benefit or build a connection, then it needs to go.
Here are some common words and phrases to avoid using when writing copy:
- In order to
- A little
Your copy needs to be readable. Sometimes these words may be necessary, but consider whether or not they actually add anything to the conversation.
You may want to consider using Hemingway App, which looks for overly complicated sentences and phrases.
Next, replace these fillers with powerful words that drive action rather than taking up space.
Step 7: Test again and again until you get it right.
Writing copy is a process. Finding out what resonates with potential customers is part of the process. Regardless of how much research you do, or how many times you ask your audience, you must A/B test your copy!
It’s always surprising when something works and not when something doesn’t. Sometimes leads have different issues, sometimes the tone needs some work. Furthermore, tastes change over time too.
For example, two year ago telling customers you use artificial intelligence might not have meant anything at all. With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, that could become a selling point. If you stick with the same old copy you’ll never know if it works.
However, there‘s one thing to be aware of — don’t try different versions of your copy too often. Instead, test one change at a time and see which drive the most conversions. Choose the version that works best for you, then test again. And again.
Here are some elements to consider testing:
- Point of view: “You can save’ versus ‘Save now,’ for example.
- Button copy: “Buy now,” “Get your free trial,” or “sign up.
- Headlines: Focus on different features or painpoints.
- Formatting: Bullet points versus numbered lists, for example.
- Calls to Action: What drives consumers to take action. Try multiple CTAs to see which one works best.
There are several tools that make A/B testing simple, including Google Optimize and Optimizely.
Remember, A/A testing should be an ongoing, iterative process that you use to help improve the copy over time. Don’t just run one or two tests, and then call it good.
How to Become a Copywriter?
Copywriting is one of the most important skills that every business owner or entrepreneur should have. It’s an art form and it requires some special talents, but if you want to become a copywriter, there are several ways to do so.
The first step in becoming a copywriter is to learn how to write effectively. You need to understand what makes a good article and what makes for bad writing. If you don’t know how to write well, then you
As mentioned above, there are several career options available to copywriters. However, most copywriters start out working for small businesses.
If you don’t want to work for someone else, you could become a freelancer. Freelancers usually offer their services through a company called an agency. Agencies charge fees based on how much time they spend on each project.
Many large corporations employ writers who focus exclusively Brand copywriters aim to build strong customer loyalty by creating compelling messages that make their brand memorable.
Writing powerful copy is key to a successful digital marketing strategy. The best product or services won’t sell if you don’t know how to write persuasive sales copy.
The copywriting tips below will help you understand your target market and focus on what matters most so you can write copy for them.
Need help writing copy? We create epic content that gets clicks and shares, and we get sales.
What are some of your best writing tips? Leave your best tips in the comment section.