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How to Become a Good Copywriter
So you want to be a copywriter. Congratulations!
Copywriting is considered one of the most essential online marketing skills that any marketer could have. Even if you have the hungriest market you still need the power of words in order to sell your product or service. There is scarcely any other area of writing where the power of the pen and the power of persuasion come together more effectively than in copy advertising.
But the question is how do you become the best copywriter that you can be? How can you reach beyond the mediocre to excelling at your craft? I would like to list below what I consider the most important elements that go into making a good copywriter.
1. Copy great copywriters. Yes, one of the best ways you can become a good copywriter is by copying the Master. It’s the same principle of ‘beholding and becoming changed, and as the saying goes “birds of a feather flock together”. The more you read someone, the more the words filter into your mind and the more you become like them. It’s a matter of reading what you would like to write like. So the more great copy you read, the more great copy you’ll write.
2. Learn the principles of writing well. Keep in mind that copywriting is copy-writing. There is no way you can become a great copywriter without learning how to write, how to use the language, and how to engage the reader. This involves learning the principles of grammar, how to structure a sentence, the elements of style, flow, and cadence-in fact, all the elements that go into good writing. Many people overlook the importance of learning how to write well why they are learning how to write persuasively. But in order to be persuasive, you must be able to use the elements of style and grammar to communicate to your readers.
3. Study marketing. In order to write persuasively you must be able to understand the audience to whom you are writing. Good copywriting is not only made up of persuasive writing but it is also made up of persuading the right people. In order to persuade people you must understand feelings, attitudes and their values. In other words, you must be able to scratch where it itches. This is one of the reasons why it is very important that you specialize in one area so you can understand your audience so well that you’re able to write to them as though you’re writing to a friend.
4. Study successful ads. Not only would you want to study successful copywriters but you also want to study advertisements that have been very successful in the past. As you study these advertisements you would come to realize what works and what does not work in a particular market. Not only would you be able to model your own advertising from these advertisements but you also can get a feel for what successful copywriting is all about. This principle can be applied to any other market, where you study what works in the past in order to influence your work in the future.
5. Get your writing critiqued by others. It doesn’t matter how good a copywriter you are, every writer has blind spots and therefore need to have their work reviewed and assessed by others. Especially when you’re just starting out you may need a mentor or coach or someone who has enough experience so that they can evaluate your copy. This is not a place for big ego. It is the simple fact that it doesn’t matter how good a writer you are there are times when, because of being so close to your own work, you will not be able to see the mistakes that you have made and therefore you need another critical eye in the equation. So it is well if you have another person or a group of other copywriters who are more experience than you to review your work and suggests ways in which you can improve it.
6. Stay informed. Even doctors who have to study for seven years and more before they can receive a license have to stay abreast by reading journals and take refresher courses. The same thing applies to copywriters as well. You must be subscribed to the latest direct-marketing news and the top newsletters. Even though the principles of marketing may be the same there are new techniques and application that other copywriters can privy you to. Especially online where new techniques and technologies are being introduced.
7. Read, read, read. Even if you decide to specialize in one area you need to read widely and generally. You can never tell when you would need an idea that you can include in your copy. And you also want to be aware of popular trends in media so that you can tie these in with your copy. You can’t isolate yourself to any one area simply because you specialize in that area. If any type of writers need a general education it is a copywriter. You need to stay aware of what’s going on in your market and also what’s going on in the world at large. Simply because you would be able to match the information you get there with your marketing message and often you can use this information as a springboard to get your users attention.
8. Practice, practice, practice. Writing is a discipline. But the only way you can get better at writing is to write continually, even when you don’t feel like writing. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep writing all day but you should write often enough so that you develop the discipline to write even when you don’t feel like writing. You’ll find the more you write the easier it will become. As you develop this discipline you would realize that writing will become more rewarding. You need to find a place, environment and a time of day that best suits you. But the more regularly you write the easier the process would become for you.
So there you have it. Those are the steps you can follow to sharpen your copywriting skills. And when you knock one out of the park always remember to reward yourself. Don’t wait for anyone else to pat you on the shoulder. Learn to reward yourself!
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