You have completed your studies and are now embarking on a career in writing. Congrats! Now what? How can you use your newly acquired skills to contribute to the world of copywriting and content strategy?
To help you answer these questions, we have compiled a list of the most essential skills for a content strategist.
The good news is, you can begin your copywriting journey with absolute zero experience and end it with a well-rounded skill set.
Know Your Audience
An engaging story does not automatically translate into an engaging piece of copy. In fact, sometimes the opposite is true. A dull piece of content can still have its very own unique selling point.
If your aim is to become a copywriter, you will inevitably be asked to pitch stories to various groups of people. Your task, as the strategist on the content team, is to understand the needs of these specific target audiences and articulate your ideas in a way that they can easily understand. To do this, you will need to research the demographics, psychographics, and digital touchpoints of your ideal buyer.
Create Attention-Grabbing Headlines
A lot of copywriters are terrible at coming up with catchy headlines. In most cases, they are so focused on the “so what” that they fail to engage their target audience.
To create a successful headline for your copy, you will need to follow the 80–20 rule. This principle suggests that you should use headlines that are engaging and attention-grabbing for the first 20% of the article.
The remaining 80% should be used to provide additional information. If you want to learn how to write a winning headline, check out these articles from Copyblogger:
Variety Is the Key To Success
If you want your content to be successful, you need to keep things fresh. This means you should develop and experiment with varying styles and approaches to attract and retain your audience.
If you want to become a successful copywriter, you will need to prove that you can produce content of variable quality. This is extremely difficult when you are starting out. Even when you are a seasoned writer, you will struggle to produce amazing material every time out. So, you should learn to accept some bad writing along with the good. The goal is to constantly improve your work and gain the trust of your readers.
Research The Topic
If you are going to be writing about a certain theme or subject, you should do your research. Make sure that you understand the nuances of the topic and what makes it special. Familiarize yourself with academic papers, case studies, and other types of primary research that can contribute to your understanding of the industry. This will all be invaluable when it comes time to pitch stories to contribute to magazines.
Furthermore, it is essential that you understand the industry and relevant players. Familiarize yourself with the various marketing channels and platforms (e.g., web, social media, email, podcasts, etc.), the technologies involved, and the competitive landscape. This will all help you form a clear picture of what opportunities, challenges, and risks lie ahead.
Develop An Editorial Calendar
Good copywriters keep on top of the latest trends and changes in the industry. To do this, you will need to develop an editorial calendar with all the important dates and details. Keep your calendar organized and refer to it often to ensure that you do not miss a beat.
Your editorial calendar should include all the content strategists, creatives, and developers on your team as well as any freelancers or contractors you may include to assist you with specific projects. In addition, you should include the publication dates for any relevant magazines or websites that you may contribute to.
Furthermore, you should develop a standard content schedule for yourself. This will involve outlining the essential components of your content in advance. To start, create a short list of the top-level areas you will cover in your content strategy. Then, choose one or two of these areas and elaborate on them in more detail.
Understand SEO&Digital Marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing are terms used interchangeably by content strategists, marketers, and webmasters to describe the process of marketing and advertising content on the internet.
When developing a content strategy, you will inevitably be asked to optimize content for various search engines. Since the majority of internet users now rely on search engines to discover content, it is essential that you understand how to put in the effort to ensure content is searchable. Luckily, with the right tools and a little bit of knowledge, it is a simple matter of putting in the effort to get the results you want.
Create Buyer Personas
In your research, you will most likely come across a lot of information about buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictitious, composite character based on real individuals and tailored for research purposes. The character’s demographic, psychographics, technology usage, and purchasing history are all taken into consideration during the creation process.
A well-crafted persona can be a helpful tool in gaining deeper insight into your target audiences and the type of content that will be the most effective at engaging them. In some instances, a content marketer may even ask you to create several buyer personas so that they can compare the differences between them. For example, perhaps one persona will be a 35-year-old woman who lives in Paris and who has purchased a luxury bag previously, while another will be a 30-year-old man who lives in Sydney and owns a mid-tie luxury brand.
Make A List Of High-Profile Peers
You should make a list of high-profile peers, individuals, and businesses that you respect and would like to emulate. This is a crucial step in your journey and will assist you in building a strong professional network. The list should include the names of people (and sometimes even entire teams) that you believe are capable of giving you invaluable advice and support as you navigate the industry.
Create Keywords &Hashtags
One of the most crucial steps in the SEO process is to identify and use the right keywords and hashtags in your content.
To find these keywords, you should enter your target topic into the popular search engine, Google.
When you do this, you will see a list of relevant keywords and hashtags that can be used to find content in relation to your chosen topic. Use these words and hashtags in your content to have the greatest impact.
Choose A Niche
Having a broad niche means you can appeal to a large audience, but it also means your work will largely go unnoticed. To become a successful copywriter, you will need to choose a niche and establish yourself as an expert in that area. Once you have done this, you will be able to command a higher rate and promote your work to greater effect.
For example, if you have chosen the luxury bag niche as your area of expertise, you can then focus your efforts on becoming an authority in that area. Look into buying and selling high-end bags to see how to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field. Furthermore, establish yourself as an expert in social media, email marketing, and content strategy. This will prove to potential employers that you are fully equipped to take on a role as a full-time content strategist.
Build A Testimonial Base
To establish yourself as an expert in your niche, you should try to accumulate as many testimonials as possible. Testimonials are essentially case studies or examples of real-life experiences that can be used to illustrate the strengths of your work.
If you can, seek out successful individuals in your chosen field and request their testimonials. Do not be afraid to reach out to famous figures in your niche for endorsements either. The more recognizable you are in your chosen field, the more opportunities you will have to secure endorsements. The key is to make sure that these individuals know exactly what you are aiming for and how you will benefit them by including their name in your work.
Do Your Research
As you establish yourself as an expert in your chosen field, you should do your research and familiarize yourself with industry standards, best practices, and the most significant developments that have shaped the market in recent years. This will assist you in creating content that is both authentic and high-quality.