What does a copywriter do? Copify blog

We finally answer: just what does a copywriter do?

If you’ve ever heard someone describe themselves as being a ‘copywriter’, you have probably established for yourself that their job must involve some kind of writing. But just exactly what does a copywriter do? Can anyone who puts pen to paper determine themselves as a copy writer? Do they just write legal ‘copy’ that is then copyrighted?

What is a copywriter?

Essentially, a copywriter will typically produce content that is considered to be either advertorial or promotional. That’s not to say they don’t write on any other subject, but often they will be responsible for producing the ‘copy’ (or content) that is used on websites, e-mails, advertisements, brochures, billboards, press releases, company memos, leaflets, and promo video scripts.

This is only a loose description though, and there are many types of copywriting out there. Typically, copywriters are becoming increasingly responsible for producing a lot of digital content including blogs and social media copy. As the influence of the written word continues to show itself, the copywriter role is becoming ever-more important in business. Articulate Marketing adds to this, remarking: “Not all copywriters are advertising copywriters. This in itself causes some confusion as the latter is the more famous (especially after the phenomenon that was Mad Men)… Medical copywriters have their own special niche… To be a copywriter is beyond definition, but it’s fair to say that one thing binds us together: we all work with words on a daily basis.”

As the American Writers & Artists Inc note, “Copy is everywhere — it’s part of a $2.3 trillion industry worldwide… Unlike news or editorial writing, copywriting is all about getting the reader to take action. That action might be to purchase, opt-in, or engage with a product, service, or company. That’s why a copywriter is often referred to as ‘a salesman in print’.”

What does a copywriter do?

No matter who you are working for or what type of work you are doing, there are some key responsibilities that a copywriter will take on. These are not exclusive, nor applicable to all, but typically you can expect to be responsible for:

  • Writing (obviously!)
  • Rewriting/repurposing content
  • Research
  • Transcribing or conducting interviews
  • Turning interviews into articles
  • Editing
  • Proof-reading
  • Creating a social media schedule or blog schedule
  • Sourcing images
  • Planning and implementing a marketing campaign
  • Establishing a brand ‘voice’

Direct Creative go into this in more detail on their website, with a useful overview of all the types of writing you could be doing.

What does a copywriter do? Copify blog
Perzon SEO (www.perzonseo.com)

As Articulate Marketing note, “What’s important to understand is that while words are the main output of a copywriter, writing isn’t necessarily what we spend most of our time doing. We have to do a lot of research and thinking, tweaking and formatting, and a bunch of other seemingly peripheral tasks.”

They continue, “In fact, we often say here at Articulate that for a writing project you should spend half your time researching, a third editing and only a sixth actually writing the thing. Despite what some people think, copywriting is a lot more than just ‘wordsmithing’.”

Copywriting vs copyright

It’s important to note that the copywriter role does not have anything to do with copyright, although these two areas are commonly muddled up by those who don’t realize the difference. Copyright is where a company or individual has got the legal rights to either publish, sell, distribute or reproduce a piece of work – either visual, musical, artistic or written.

Copyright is about protecting a piece of material from illegal use. The right to any copy will be determined either by the person who has produced it, or whoever holds the legal right to a piece of work. Often, copy that is produced by a copywriter for a business will be owned by the person who paid for it, rather than the writer, which means that it should always be unique (both to avoid infringing the intellectual property of other writers and as SEO best practice). However, this should not be mistaken for copyright as the copywriter does not create ‘copyright’ content as part of their job.

Becoming a copywriter

One of the greatest bonuses to being a copywriter is that you don’t actually need any formal qualifications in order to be able to do this role. Some people will have a variety of degrees in a range of subjects, and others will have left school with no qualifications.

Copywriting is open to all age groups from 18 to 80. Whether you’re still studying, employed by a business, self-employed or retired – there are no restrictions on who can become a copywriter. The only thing you absolutely need is a computer, access to the Internet and a love of words – or a natural ability to produce articulate, well-formed copy.

Often people hiring copywriters will look for examples of previous work, so having a portfolio can be particularly helpful. It’s always good to be able to show a range of work so people can see the full range of your abilities. Typically, when it comes to must-have copywriting skills, clients will want to see that you are versatile, a quick learner, a great writer, and consistent with meeting deadlines and quality of work.

Where does a copywriter work?

You may find yourself writing copy for a single business, who could hire you full-time to produce all of their marketing and advertorial materials. The type of client you end up working for could range dramatically from their requirements with copy to the industry they’re operating within. Typically they will be looking to push a product or service and will be expecting you to help them sell it.

What does a copywriter do? Copify blog
James Baker (Flickr)

 

Along with full-time options, you may find yourself able to work on a part-time or freelance basis. Some businesses will want to have you in the office so they can work alongside you, while others won’t mind if you are working remotely. This often suits parents with young children who have taken time off work but still want to be able to earn an income flexibly.

Alternatively, you may be interested in writing copy for an agency or a copywriting website such as Copify. The benefits of this are that you don’t need to have the stresses or hassle of finding the work yourself and building relationships. This work is all done for you, and you are instead presented with a list of articles that need completing.

You can select jobs as and when your schedule allows without any full-time commitments and can see how much you will earn at the time of writing. The money you make is guaranteed income, and you don’t have any of the hassle of having to send out invoices, chase money and wait for it to be sent over. Instead, you’ll get your earnings – often within a month – straight into your bank account. It couldn’t be easier and is a great way to dip your toe into the copywriting water.

A fantastic career choice

As the American Writers & Artists Inc. notes, “The rumours are true. A career as a freelance copywriter is a pretty cushy ‘job.’ You can work at home, take naps in the middle of the day, vacation a lot, and get paid really well… For example, one copywriter I know works decent hours, not only on copywriting, but also on the growth and development of her freelance business. She makes over $120,000 a year.”

Ultimately, with copywriting you can make it fit in around your life, or make it the sole focus of your life. It is flexible, dynamic and no two days are the same. It can be as profitable as you like, with a work flow that suits whatever you’re seeking to achieve. It’s an enviable career path to take!

 

Image credit: Giuseppe Milo, ‘Issues’

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How do you get paid by blogging about your business? Copify blog

How do you get paid by blogging about your business?

There are many reasons businesses, start-ups, freelancers and individuals can benefit from having a blog, from increased traffic to attracting and converting more customers. While the main focus of your blog will be to build your brand and gain attention for your business, did you know you can actually bring in more revenue by blogging, too?

We’re not saying it’s easy or that it doesn’t take work, but done right, your business blog can actually become another solid income stream for your company.

Here’s a statistic from HubSpot that’s an eye-opener on what having a blog can do for you: “Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads and 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.”

So, how do you get paid by blogging?

1. Plan out what you want to achieve

If you’re already blogging and it’s not working for you, then it’s time to take stock and set out a plan for what you want to do with your blog.

If you’re new to blogging, you’re in a good position, as you can make a plan before you start and decide how you want to move forward.

Carol Tice from Make a Living Writing has some straightforward and practical advice on planning your blog, getting started and being realistic about it.

Basically, you need to know why you are blogging, who your target audience is and be able to plan out an interesting and eyeball-grabbing editorial calendar that will bring in the audience you want to attract. Good, targeted traffic is essential if you want to earn money from your blog.

How do you get paid by blogging?
Perzon SEO (www.perzonseo.com)

2. Write fabulous content and be consistent

So much of the blogosphere is taken up by people writing boring, uninteresting blogs or people who blog madly every day for weeks and then don’t blog again for months.

Neither of those things will get you noticed, get you clients or bring in any earnings from your blog.

Your content needs to be highly attractive to your target market, beautifully written, engaging and with a clear call to action at the end. If you want your audience to do something, such as signing up for your newsletter or clicking an affiliate link, a clear call to action is essential.

Many people start off blogging with every intention to blog daily, but discover that it’s more work than they think and let their efforts tail off. A blog which hasn’t been posted on for months can make your business look like it’s inactive, so it’s important that you do blog consistently. Not only that, but adding fresh content regularly is brilliant for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and will help your site rise in the search engine rankings where it will gain more traffic.

3. Direct ways to make money from your blog

Here’s the nitty gritty on the ways you can bring in income streams from your blog. Most bloggers work a combination of all of these to keep money coming in consistently, and the great thing about this is that you can do what appeals to you, and change things up until you find what works.

• Affiliate marketing

As an affiliate, you sign up to affiliate programmes for other people’s products and services, and then you promote them on your blog and in your newsletter.

The way you make money is that when one of your visitors clicks your affiliate link (a link that is unique to you), the owner of the product you are recommending can track any purchases through your link and will send you a commission on an agreed basis.

It’s simple, straightforward, and easy to set up.

However, it does take work in choosing the right products and services for your blog. They must fit in with your aims for the blog and appeal to your audience, and you’ll also want what you are promoting to be of high quality, because if it’s not, it will reflect badly on you.

• Ad revenue/Pay Per Click

You can place suitable ads (also known as banner ads) onto your blog, in the header, footer or sidebar, or through your content.

Again, you need to carefully select the right ads that suit your audience. If you write about cake decorating, for example, any ads that promote sugar flowers or decorating equipment are likely to get clicks from your readers.

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Perzon SEO (www.perzonseo.com)

You can take paid banner ads direct from companies you want to work with or sign up through an ad network, such as Google AdSense, BlogHer or Federated Media.

This works better for high-traffic sites, and you can certainly charge more for ads placed directly on your site if you have good traffic and an engaged community, but even a small site can earn some money from paid ads. It might start off as a trickle of small change, but as your site grows, it can add up.

• Selling physical products and services

Unless blogging is your business model, your blog’s main focus is to get attention for your business, and here’s where your blog can start making money for you by directing people to look at your product or service offerings.

You can also develop new products, based on what your audience wants, that fit in with your main business.

You might sell digital products, such as e-books, courses, audio books, or images; physical products such as paperbacks, gifts or clothing; or services like copywriting, web design or graphics.

Having an active and attractive blog is an excellent way to bring attention to what your business does, and to point people to your sales page.

And if you think it can’t be done, if your blog seems way too small and insignificant, read this interview with highly successful blogger Tsh Oxenreider on Entrepreneur who has some excellent advice: “Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20.” Tsh also offers good advice on how to start and keep blogging here.

Blogging can be hard work. If you’re not naturally a writer, it can be an increasing struggle to continually put out excellent quality content in line with your editorial schedule.

But you don’t have to do everything yourself. When you need to get writers for your blog, you could reach out to other non-competing but complementary businesses in your field and see if they’d like to do guest posts for your blog. That way, you get regular, fresh content that you didn’t have to write. Guest blogs are an excellent way to keep your blog relevant and up to date, as well as offer a different viewpoint and perspective.

If you’re not a writer but you know your business would benefit from a blog, and that extra income stream from blogging wouldn’t hurt either, then all is not lost. You can hire a writer to blog for you, while you concentrate on the aspects of running your business that you love. And, if done well, over time, the money you make from your blog will more than cover the costs of hiring a writer.

Whichever way you choose to blog, whether you do it yourself or hire someone to write for you, the benefits of regular blogging, both in extra income and increased awareness of your business and your brand, are clear to see.

 

Image credit: Tax Credits, ‘Money Plant’

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What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog

What is SEO copywriting?

Have you sat through many a meeting listening to the head of marketing drone on about search engine optimisation? Perhaps you’re confused about long-tail and short-tail keywords? Or you just don’t know your PPC from your SERP?

In fact, just what is SEO copywriting anyway?

Well, fear no more: we provide the ultimate introduction to SEO copywriting.

In a nutshell: SEO copywriting definition

SEO is the means of helping a website appear as high up as possible in the search engine results page (otherwise known as SERP), whether that’s Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other.  There are a number of web design and development factors which influence this. However, SEO copywriting involves weaving keywords and phrases that your target audience would use to find you into your website’s content.

SEO copywriting fits into the larger field of search engine optimisation which utilises a range of tactics, including link building, mobile optimisation, load speeds, and content strategy techniques to ensure your site is device and user-friendly, promotes unique and insightful content and provides essential details.

Take a look at this great SEO explainer video from Start Copywriting:

(Courtesy of YouTube/Start Copywriting)

Why is SEO important?

Whether you’re an ecommerce site or an online magazine, SEO is a pretty important piece of digital marketing you should be conducting.

Here’s why: “most people who use search engines only look at the first page or two of the search results, so for a page to get high traffic from a search engine, it has to be listed in those first two pages. If your business is selling products or services over the internet, you want your website to be listed before your competitor’s websites.” (The Balance)

One benefit of SEO is that in and of itself it’s free. Unfortunately, it’s also time consuming. You’ll either need to have a member of your team looking after your SEO, which includes optimising your web and blog content, or you’ll need to hire a freelancer content marketer or outsource your content marketing to an agency. That means there will be an unavoidable cost to you in the long run.

It also doesn’t work over night and can take months to be effective. According to Josh Steimle, “many SEO firms will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. That’s generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you’re getting at 6 months should be considerably less than what you’re getting at 12 months. At some point, you may see your results taper off, and then it may be a matter of maintaining results rather than growing them.”

Where should I include SEO?

There are a few places you should aim to use SEO. Here are some:

  • Header title/page title
  • Subheadings
  • URL address for that specific page
  • Meta description
  • Alt text on images
  • Content body of your landing pages, product descriptions & blog posts

If you publish content through a platform like WordPress, you will find there are plenty of tools to help you optimise your content. Yoast is one such plugin which operates like a traffic-light system from red to green, telling you when you’ve included your focus keyword in enough places.

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Danard Vincente (Flickr)

However, we recommend not going OTT. So long as you get your keyword into your content at least once and in the meta descriptions/URL/heading, you should be covered.

What makes good SEO copywriting?

You shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between good copywriting and good SEO copywriting. That’s because both should be error-free, benefits-led and appeal to the audience. The only difference is that SEO content is optimised with the use of keywords – but this should read natural, not stuffed and artificial.

According to The Balance, “Current search engine optimization focuses on techniques such as making sure that each web page has appropriate title tags and that the content is not ‘thin’ or low-quality. High-quality content is original, authoritative, factual, grammatically correct, and engaging to users.”

We’ve also mentioned that SEO copywriting goes hand in hand with quality link building with reputable sites. WordStream says that, when it comes to getting SEO, “The most important concept to understand is that, as Google says, you’re more likely to have your content rank higher for keywords you’re targeting if you can get external websites to link to you.”

Therefore, your wider content strategy needs to think about interacting with other influencers on the net and through social media, whether through networking or guest blogging.

You can also use a PPC (pay-per-click) strategy to complement your organic (non-paid-for) SEO, which means you feature an ad to a specific keyword on search engines and pay a fee each time it’s clicked. This enables you to rank on the first page of a set of results easily but is quite costly and is only effective for as long as the ad is there. Therefore, it doesn’t have the same longevity as organic SEO that is incorporated throughout your online presence.

Examples of bad SEO

The Balance notes how “Search engine optimization has evolved greatly over the years. In the early days of SEO web designers would ‘stuff’ keywords into web page keyword meta tags to improve search engine rankings”.

 

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Jerry Bunkers (Flickr)

 

Thankfully, smart copywriters and business owners know how to stay ahead of the Google curve and are aware that keyword stuffing just won’t make the grade. In fact, you’re more likely to be penalised with a lower ranking or being blacklisted altogether.

What’s more, “Poorly edited articles with spelling and grammatical errors will be demoted by search engines.” And you’ll want to avoid simply buying links to back up your SEO – these are usually offered in return for payment but can come from poor-quality, spammy sites which only devalues your rating. Find out what other SEO ‘sins’ to avoid from Smart Blogger.

How do I know what keywords to use?

Starting broad, your keywords will be related to your USPs, industry field, service/product, and location. You’ll need to conduct research to see the kinds of things your customers are searching for. However, there are a number of great SEO keyword tools available to use. To get you started, here are some of the best free ones:

Short-tail vs long-tail keywords?

SEO Pressor defines short-tail keywords as comprising three words and under (e.g. ‘content creation’). By contrast, long-tail keywords are over three words (e.g. ‘SEO content creation agency). The difference? “As keywords get longer, search volume becomes lower. However, all other metrics such as conversion rates go in favor of long tail keywords.”

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Traffic & Conversion Rate by Keyword Length: SEO Pressor

That’s because long-tail keywords are more specific, so you’re more likely to strike gold in the form of being matched with a customer who is looking for exactly what you have to sell. They’re particularly useful as you narrow down the focus of your website.

While a short-tail keyword is great for driving lots of traffic, it can also see a higher bounce rate, lower conversion rate, and make it less likely you’ll score a place on the first page since you’ll face stiffer competition. However, these ‘head terms’ are good for category pages. On the other hand, long-tail keywords would be better used for individual product pages to better describe what you stock/offer.

Long-tail keywords are increasingly being recommended for use by the likes of Yoast and WordStream since they’re more focused and because they’re more likely to be successful when using voice search – a popular method in the age of voice assist devices.

How can you track your SEO copywriting?

You can track the success of your SEO efforts through the usual content analytics routes. A great starting point is Google Analytics, which provides comprehensive data, including which search terms are most used. The multi-channel report also helps you to compare organic SEO and PPC to check they’re working together.

Learn how to write SEO copy

Considering taking up the challenge of writing your own SEO content? There are some great tools to help you. Medium has an easy to comprehend SEO tutorial for beginners, or there’s a more in-depth tutorial at Hobo. You can even get a handy 4-step SEO checklist from Entrepreneur to help you optimise your website.

If you’re looking to send your staff on an intensive course, or want to learn SEO from a pro, consider signing up for an online course, such as that from Success Works.

Get SEO copy

Want to get SEO content for your website or blog the easy, cost-effective way? Just create a brief with Copify and get access to thousands of copywriters.

 

Image credit: Perzon SEO, ‘Entrepreneur working on his Macbook 2’

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What are the main skills you need to be good at copywriting - Copify

What are the main skills you need to be good at copywriting?

Copywriting can be a great way of flexing your fingers, utilising your creative juices, and earning some extra income (or even using it as your main job if you are writing on a consistent basis!). You may find you end up writing on a whole host of topics for a range of clients globally, and the more experience you get, the more you improve your copywriting skills.

As Anik Singal writes for Lurn, “The written word draws people in. It opens up their imagination. It brings out emotion. It makes it possible for the consumer to relate to the salesperson. And that’s what it’s all about —relating.”

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? But what does it take to develop killer copywriting skills and get started making money from writing? We run through the top seven:

1. Excellent writing skills

No matter who you write for – whether you work through a copywriting agency, in-house, or independently – one of the key skills you must have as a copywriter is to write to an excellent standard. That doesn’t just include knowing your UK spelling from your US or being gramatically correct; it also means being able to steer clear of cliches and use the best words in the right order for the subject you’re writing on and the audience you’re addressing.

Remember, you are being employed specifically for your capabilities of combining words together in the most fluent, nuanced, articulate and inspiring way. If you aren’t able to do this, it will simply lead to disappointed customers, a lot of wasted time spent on edits and re-writes, and a less than profitable use of your free hours. It’ll also make it probably feel like an arduous and unpleasant task to fulfil.

What are the main skills you need to be good at copywriting - Copify
Ryo FUKAsawa (Flickr)

Excellent writing doesn’t always mean long words and complicated sentences. As Copyblogger notes, “Good salesman are not verbose. They do not use fancy words. They speak like an aged rural sheriff. Calm, confident, and kind. They are patient, good listeners, and fantastic storytellers. Each word is pronounced properly. Each story is trimmed of excess. It’s a spell-binding time spent with a good salesman. In fact, you don’t even know you are being sold… be clear, concise, and compelling.”

2. Ability to write to deadlines

As with all copywriting projects, you will need to be able to write towards a deadline. Typically, these could be a matter of hours with shorter pieces or a day to two days for longer articles. It all depends on how quickly your client needs you to turn the copy around and whether or whether it is part of an ongoing project like blog writing.

As a skilled writer, you should naturally find it easier to write quickly and efficiently. However, this also comes with practice too. The more you get used to writing blogs and articles for businesses, the easier you’ll find it is to get started and produce stellar pieces under the pressure of time restrictions. It’s always best to allow yourself plenty of time when starting out and limit distractions, so you don’t find yourself under intense pressure while writing; this can often affect the quality of your work, which isn’t ideal.

3. Great research skills

Occasionally, you’ll get to write on topics that you know thoroughly and enjoy covering. However, in order to get the most out of copywriting, you aren’t always going to be able to write about subjects that you have an in-depth understanding of.

What are the main skills you need to be good at copywriting - Copify
Tam Tran (Flickr)

Quite often you will need to conduct research to write a quality blog, web page or article to the level of detail that is expected. This research may involve reading complex documents, gaining an understanding of the overall climate, and sourcing out news articles. It can also involve finding the most reliable destinations for factual information, and evidence of particular claims – all while writing to a fixed deadline.

4. Understanding the audience

Copy isn’t written in isolation; no matter who you are writing for, there is always going to be a reader on the other end who will digest your words and either be informed, entertained or persuaded to your way of thinking. As Copyblogger writes, “When you sit down to write, picture yourself selling to one person. You need to woo her and her alone.”

Testing The Muse adds to this, “Write honestly about your product or service, and you’ll get more interest in return. People can sense how genuine you are – both in person, and through your writing… Personalise your sales copy to one person: your ideal customer.”

It is crucial that you understand who your audience is and the type of language they’re looking for, the phrases and acronyms they’ll understand, and the tone or sense of humour that they will relate to. This can make your writing become far more engaging and useful – and will improve the reception of your article, which should hopefully, in turn, see you getting more work from the client.

5. SEO success

Copywriting is partly about creating beautifully written prose. However, when it is published online, there are many other factors at play that can determine the success of a piece of writing. This predominantly involves search engine optimisation.

What are the main skills you need to be good at copywriting - Copify
Global Panorama (Flickr)

With everything published online, Google will read the words included to find the most relevant pages for searches being conducted. If you use specific keywords in your writing, these can help your blog or article get pulled up as a top result by Google.

This improves its visibility and can have a dramatic impact on audience numbers. For businesses looking to sell their products or raise awareness of their brand, this can be crucial. Knowing how to produce SEO-optimised copy without it feeling like an awkward piece of writing is an excellent skill.

6. Creativity

It’s important for whatever you write to feel as though it is completely brand new, even if it is based on a topic that has been covered a thousand times before. Part of being able to do this is through writing in a creative and engaging way. It is also about being versatile in your choice of words and using your imagination to construct a completely different perspective on what may be a well-hashed subject matter.

This copywriting ability can help you produce masterful articles that remain interesting, no matter how ‘old’ they are. You may also find yourself writing on subjects that simply aren’t what you’d normally consider ‘exciting’ but which do broaden your range of copywriting skills. This doesn’t mean they should read like the back of a cereal box though, and it is crucial for a copywriter to employ all their skills to bring these to life in a way that people actually want to read. After all, that is your job!

7. An eye for headlines

If you think back to when you read an article yourself, what is the first thing that draws you in? It’s the headline. This short nugget of information is hugely important in getting your audience’s attention and should be written in a way that is creative, captivating and contains everything needed to get a quick, succinct overview of the piece.

As Lingua Greca notes, “If your headline isn’t powerful, you’re dead in the water. Keep learning this art, examine the most successful headline types, practice, and analyze what kind of titles work best with your particular readership.”

What are the skills you need to be good at copywriting - Copify
Salim Fadhley (Flickr)

There’s a lot of skill to writing a good headline, and there are many blogs online that can help guide you in what you should be looking for when doing this. It can be the make or break between what you’ve written actually getting read – and what’s the point of writing it if it never gets seen? Being skilled in headlines can be a killer copywriting skill to possess.

Want to brush up your copywriting skills? Copify can help you take the first step on your freelance writing journey, and you’ll get paid to write for a range of clients worldwide.

 

Image credit: James Barker, ‘Wristwatch

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