People often ask me, “How do I become a copywriter?” To which I usually reply with some version of the following: “it’s not that hard. All you need is a computer and the desire to write.” But it’s not that easy. It takes more than just a few words on a piece of paper to be a successful copywriter. You need to have strong opinions, an understanding of the marketing process, and be able to articulate all of that in a way that persuades the reader to action. In other words, it takes talent. And since we’re talking about tips from a professional, let’s get serious. Here are the things you need to know.
Find Your Niche
In the same way that I can’t tell you how to become a copywriter, I can’t also tell you what your niche is. You will find your niche, though. You may not know what it is yet, but you will. All you need to do is look for the gaps in the market and fill them. That’s what a good copywriter does. They find the gaps in the market and then use their creativity to develop a plan of attack to gain sales for their clients. They may start with a survey to learn more about the demographics and psychographics of their target audience. That’s a common starting point for a copywriter. After they find their niche, they narrow it even further by finding the needs of their target audience and addressing those needs with compelling copy.
Above all else, your copy must be relevant to your target audience. If you can’t get relevant, then you don’t have a shot at being effective. When a marketer or content strategist decides to work with a copywriter, they want to ensure that their ideas translate into compelling content that will engage and persuade the reader into taking action. Relevant, engaging content will usually result in higher click-through rates and more conversions. If you can’t produce relevant content, it’s quite possible that no one will want to read your copy.
Know Your Audience
Whether you’re writing for a B2C or a B2B market, you need to know your audience when you’re writing. You can do this using several methods. First, you can look at industry trends, what others are doing, and what you can learn from them. For example, if you’re writing for a business audience, you may want to research what other business websites and blogs are doing. This will give you a clearer picture of what makes sense for your target audience and what will encourage them to action. You can also look at consumer trends, what shoppers are saying and doing online, and using software like Hootsuite to see what’s being discussed across social platforms.
Use Your Imagination
Above all else, your copy needs to evoke an emotional response in your reader. A good copywriter uses their imagination to envision how the reader will feel after they’ve read the copy. The stronger the emotion, the more effective the copy will be. If you can make the reader feel something, you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll take action. This is a powerful tool, and it’s one that many successful copywriters rely on. The ability to imagine how a product or service can make their life better is what drives every good copywriter’s quest for effectiveness. If you can’t use your imagination, then you shouldn’t be writing copy. You should be drawing or painting or sculpting.
Take Advantage Of The Digital Revolution
The world of communications has changed, and so has the game of getting people to click and buy. Ever since the dawn of the web, digital marketing and content strategies have evolved to take advantage of the new medium. One of the biggest changes is the rise of content curation platforms, like Buzzfeed, which allow users to find and consume content quickly.
If you’re trying to break into the world of copywriting and you want to do it successfully, you need to learn how to play in the World of Twitters, Facebooks, and WhatsApps. Above all else, you must understand how to use these platforms to your advantage. The ability to have meaningful interactions with potential customers on social media platforms is what makes a good copywriter. You can’t just write effective copy and then leave it at that. You must also engage with your audience on social media, responding to comments and questions with more useful information.
Know Your Platform
As a copywriter, you will be required to know several platforms and the different rules each one follows. The more you know, the better. If you’re not sure which one to use, ask the folks at a company like HubSpot, who make software specifically for digital marketers. They can set you up with an account and show you the ins and outs of each platform. Having a clear idea of how each one functions will help you become more effective as a copywriter. Don’t expect everyone to teach you. It’s not a bad thing to be unfamiliar with the intricacies of copywriting. Just make sure that you don’t underestimate the value of learning. There are many platforms out there, and knowing how to utilize them effectively is a key to being a successful copywriter.
Above all else, you must avoid clutter in your work. Good writers use simple, direct language that is easy to understand. They don’t use big words or overly complex sentences that may confuse the reader. Instead, they use words and phrases that can be easily recognized by the people they’re writing for. This makes their work seem more professional and therefore easier to understand.
Above all else, you must have style. This might seem like a bit of an odd item to include, but it’s important. A good writer with strong style can make or break their work. It’s almost like they have a sixth sense for good writing. They can see the potential for a story in the first few pages and know exactly how to pull it together. This is important because if the reader feels that your work is easy to understand and enjoyable, they will be more likely to continue reading. When you have style, you can pretty much guarantee that your work will be effective. The only way to achieve good style is through constant practice and honing your skills. You can follow the advice of the great Raymond Chandler and keep a notebook at hand to jot down quick ideas for stories. Having said that, it’s also important to seek feedback and pay attention to the little things that your readers may tell you. This will help you become a better writer all the way around.
In the end, there’s no specific formula to becoming a successful copywriter. You just need to dive in and see how it goes. Of course, there are books that you can and should read, but above all else, make sure that you surround yourself with good people.