What does copywriting skills mean? Simply put, it’s the ability to take a concept and turn it into a piece of compelling copy that will stick in your audience’s minds and compel them to take action – whether it’s signing up for a newsletter or buying a product.
But what exactly does that entail? Let’s look at each element of a copywriting project to better understand what it means exactly.
Creating a Vision for the Product Or Resource
For many business owners, the thought of writing compelling copy can feel like a leap of faith. After all, they might not feel they have the necessary skills. They might feel that they’re not an expert in a particular subject matter, like social media marketing or eCommerce or web copywriting.
As a copywriter, it’s your job to tackle this fear by creating a vision for the product, resource, or service. You want to do this by carefully considering what you know and don’t know about the subject matter and then map out a strategy to educate yourself on the topic, gain experience, and eventually become an expert.
For example, if you’re a yoga instructor specializing in children’s yoga, you might decide that your niche is going to be teaching kids yoga. From there, you can develop a strategy to become an expert by first teaching yourself the basics of pediatric yoga and then gradually adding more advanced poses as you gain experience. You might even want to consider specializing in prenatal yoga or parenting yoga.
This process can be challenging. No one’s telling you to become an expert in children’s yoga overnight. It’s likely going to take some time. But you’re committing to the journey because you know it will be beneficial to your students and clients.
Picking A Niche
When you’ve decided on your niche, it’s time to take a hard look at your strengths and weaknesses. What do you know about your chosen subject matter? What are you good at? What are your favorite topics to write about? What are your weaknesses?
You’re going to need to decide how to position yourself as an expert in your chosen area in order to generate leads and convince people to hire you. If you’re new to copywriting, it can be helpful to look at similar, popular, and/or established writers in your chosen niche to see how they’ve positioned themselves as experts and consider how you can do the same.
When choosing a niche, you don’t want to go too narrow or too broad. You want to find the sweet spot where you can effectively position yourself as an expert without feeling like you’re not able to cover all the relevant information.
Developing An Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is essentially a short version of your business’ sales pitch. It’s what you’d say to someone in the elevator, before the doors close and you find yourself in a another room. Or, if you’re doing your best to sell a product and haven’t yet developed a solid sales pitch, then it’s what you’d say to the person who’s deciding whether or not to buy from you.
What is an elevator pitch? It’s a pitch that is so good that it makes the listener or reader want more. Generally, it’s used to explain a product or service in three to five sentences. Here are some examples:
- Include the main benefits
- Include the unique benefits
- Include the competition
- Include your pricing
- Include a call to action
Many entrepreneurs struggle with this stage. They have a product or service that they’re convinced is worthy of a spot on the market, but they don’t have the skills to back it up. So, they turn to copywriting tutors to help them get their message out there. Fortunately, you can also hire experienced copywriters to take your project and give it the best shot at being compelling.
Creating The First Draft
Even though you might have a clear idea of what your vision is and how you’re going to position yourself as an expert in your chosen niche, drafting the actual copy can still feel like a struggle. You’re not doing it right, you think. You’re not passionate enough about it. You’re not giving it your all. Your heart isn’t in it.
What you want to do at this stage is take a break from thinking and start typing. Start with a simple, one- or two-sentence summary of the content. Get the general idea of what you’re writing and how it’s going to read. This draft is also called the dry or the blueprint draft because you’re not going to be embellishing it significantly. You’re just wanting to get the basic information down.
Once you’ve established a rhythm and momentum, it’s time to start adding some life to the text. Start with a short preview of the copy, including the headline, one or two sentences of the first paragraph, and the call to action (if there is one).
Revising The Copy
Now that you have a draft of the copy, it’s time to start revising. You’re going to want to take out some of the more awkward and overly formal language that you used to write the first draft. For instance, you might decide that instead of using the word fascinatingly, you’d rather use the word intriguingly.
Additionally, you might decide to add a few more details about the product or service that you’re promoting. You can also add some more supporting information, like an FAQ or a detailed description of the how the product or service works.
Once you’ve made these changes, it’s time to read the copy aloud. This is a crucial step because, as we’ve established, you’re not going to be using any formal language and you don’t want to sound dull. So, if you do indeed sound dull, you might want to consider re-writing parts of the text. Or, you can ask a friend or family member to listen to it and give you some feedback. After all, this is a piece of writing that you’re going to be delivering in person.
Once you’ve established congruency with your audience and fixed any errors or problems, it’s time to take the copy and cut it down to the bare bones. Take out all the extra language that you didn’t need and make sure that the text is consistent in tone and doesn’t sound too much like someone else’s work. You might also want to consider hiring an editor to help you clean up the copy and make it sound polished. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could also do some of the editing yourself. Just make sure that you’ve established a clear connection to the reader and that everything adds up to creating an effective pitch.
Writing compelling copy for websites and other digital media feels very different than writing a traditional business letter or brochure. First of all, you’re not writing for a specific audience. Instead, you’re trying to write for the entire world or, at the very least, for a large portion of the world’s population. Additionally, you don’t have the luxury of a straight-line pitch. Instead, you have to consider the attention spans of your audience and the way that they’re constantly bombarded with information. In other words, you have to keep your copy concise while still being informative and interesting.
To put it simply, you’re writing to entertain while also informing. The skills that you need are very similar to those that would make up a good journalist or commentator. You want to engage your audience while also presenting credible and accurate information.