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What are the Basics of Copywriting?

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is a form of advertising that includes creating material for both print and online media. A copywriter will often work with an advertising agency to develop marketing copy, product descriptions, and more for various brands and companies.

The basics of copywriting include:

Writing For Multiple Platforms

Copywriters need to know how to write for different platforms. This includes understanding how to make your writing accessible to non-English speaking readers and having the ability to write for newspapers, magazines, and the internet.

Making The Text Audience-friendly

Even for the most seasoned copywriters, producing compelling content for mass consumption is something of a challenge. To make your text more accessible to the general public, consider using plain English and avoiding overly complex language.

However, it is important to note that not every piece of copy will be suitable for every medium. For example, elevator pitch videos are popular on platforms like YouTube because they are easy to consume and share. This is a different type of content to that which appears in a newspaper. The same goes for event copy versus product descriptions.

Consult With A Professional

As a copywriter, you will no doubt have to produce content for clients. To ensure that the content is of a high quality, it is advisable to consult with an expert. Even then, it is still up to you to ensure that the content is pitched at the proper level and suits your client’s needs.

To begin with, you can always ask other writers if you need help with your assignments. Although it is not always the case, being a member of a writers’ association can also prove beneficial. Lastly, having a fresh pair of eyes look over your content can be invaluable. After all, your reader is likely to be distracted by lots of little textual discrepancies and errors – something that your professional writing coach is not likely to make.

Make Sure You Learn From The Best

Even for those looking for writing roles, it is well-established that getting a degree in journalism or English is a pre-requisite. This is because being a good copywriter requires a certain degree of skill, and only those with the relevant experience can claim this title. To learn from the best, it is advisable to become a member of the British Institute of Copywriters (BICo). This is an organization that regulates the profession and offers a wealth of information and learning opportunities.

There are also plenty of online courses available from reputable universities that can further your education without having to physically commit to a college. What’s more, many of these courses are completely free.

Be Realistic

Even for those who have the required education and experience, writing for ads is a notoriously difficult job. This is because marketing copy tends to be relatively unoriginal and rarely provides any meaty ideas or content that can be repurposed for other campaigns. In a world of algorithmic content curation, most brands are desperately seeking unique content to engage with potential customers.

To ensure that you are bringing in the revenue that your agency is paying you to produce, consider developing a niche within the industry. For example, if you are a business-to-business copywriter, develop content that is useful for B2B buyers. Alternatively, if you are a promotional content writer, consider producing content for trade shows and events that are specific to your niche.

Know Your Audience

To become a good copywriter, it is essential to understand your audience. Who are you appealing to with your advertising text? This is an important question to ask because you will have limited success if you are not addressing the issue that the ad is trying to solve.

To figure this out, you must consider what your target audience wants and needs, as well as the platforms that they use. Only by delivering content that is appropriate for their expectations can you claim to be a good copywriter.

Creativity Goes Hand In Hand

Being creative is important, however, it comes with its own set of challenges. To ensure that your ads are as unique as possible, consider brainstorming with your advertising agency to come up with original slogans, taglines, and unique campaign ideas.

Being creative also means that you may push the limits of what is acceptable in print and online media. Because copy is essentially the same in both worlds, you will need to ensure that you are not breaking any rules when you cross over from one medium to the other.

Avoid Plagiarism

An advertiser may ask you to write a particular piece for their campaign, but they may not always be aware that this content will be used across different platforms. This can put you in a tricky position because you may not have the right to use copyrighted material for commercial purposes without the express permission of the copyright holder.

To be on the safe side, it is always advisable to obtain a written permission from the publisher before using any of their copyrighted material for commercial purposes. In this way, you can play it safe and avoid potential legal issues.

Be Ready To Work

If you are a freelancer or work on your own, you will need to be ready to work whenever a campaign comes up. This means that you will have to be able to take on short-term assignments as and when they arise.

However, it is also important to be able to say no to assignments if you do not have the time to complete them or if the topic is not of interest to you. This is a difficult balancing act, but becoming a good copywriter is definitely worth it.