The secret to becoming a good copywriter is being able to develop engaging content that will answer the questions of your target audience and persuade them a particular product or service will fulfil their needs. However, copywriting is evolving all the time, which is why it’s important you regularly update your knowledge and learn new things. Read on for five top tips on how to improve your copywriting skills.
1. Ensure you truly understand what a copywriter does
A lot of people don’t fully understand the difference between a content writer and a copywriter, but the only way to improve your skills is to ensure you know what the role of a copywriter is.
Put simply, a copywriter writes text for the purpose of marketing or advertising, mastering the art of persuasion and using words to convince a reader to take a certain action. This text can be used in magazines and newspapers as well as on the radio, television and online. As a copywriter, you may also be assigned to come up with copy for leaflets, press releases and other promotional materials.
If you’re not overly familiar with this style of writing, make sure you get as much practice as possible. Alternatively, you could take a copywriting course or diploma. These qualifications often allow you to study from the comfort of your own home and cover everything you need to know about being a successful copywriter.
2. Collect good copywriting tools and books
There are a number of different applications and tools on the internet that can really help you improve your copywriting skills. For example, Hemingway App breaks down how you write and lets you know which sentences are hard to read, which phrases or words have simpler alternatives, and how many times you use passive voice and adverbs. There are many other functions we’ve not touched upon here, but all of this useful information makes it a great application for really understanding how you write and what you can improve on.
Another great tool is WordCounter. As well as counting your characters and words, the online editor helps writers improve their writing style and word choice while checking for grammar errors and plagiarism. However, WordCounter also shows you its top 10 recommended keywords based on how often they appear in your text and demonstrates keyword density – great features if SEO isn’t one of your strong points.
Copywriting books are another great resource, and there’s a wealth of books available covering a number of topics, from mastering storytelling to writing copy that converts. Some good examples include ‘So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing’ by Julia McCoy and ‘The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells’ by Robert W. Bly, but check out this blog post for a detailed list.
3. Keep on top of the basics
Many people find copywriting to be daunting at the beginning, mostly because the idea of selling something is unnerving. However, it’s important to keep on top of the basics, because if you don’t speak a language the customer can relate to, they won’t be attracted by your offer.
Remember, you want the copy to mimic what someone would say if they were trying to convince themselves to buy a product. As such, you need to keep your writing simple and to the point. You don’t need a university degree in literature to write persuasive copy, but you’ll want to ensure your grammar and spelling skills are up to scratch. However, it’s important you maintain high standards at all times, so don’t be afraid to ask others to proofread your work and make use of a dictionary and thesaurus to improve your writing.
4. Get inspiration from writers you admire
A great way to improve your copywriting skills is to study the work of other writers you admire. Really take the time to think about which elements of their work you enjoy the most and see if you can use similar features or strategies in your own content. For example, if they add humour, try and imitate this if you can; similarly, if they are always serious, see if this works for your readers too. However, you must always remember to keep your target audience in mind – sometimes a humorous tone will be more suitable than a serious piece of copywriting, or vice versa.
Henneke Duistermaat, Joanna Wiebe and Gari Cruze are just a few copywriting experts you should consider following. Henneke started her own copywriting business in order to support both beginners and experienced business writers. She says:
“Persuasive writing is probably one of the most precious skills anyone in business can possess, but at school we’ve only learned spelling and grammar. We’ve not learned the art of persuasion. We’ve not learned how to write engaging content, and we have not learned how to sell.”
5. Be ruthless with your editing
Editing is a difficult skill to master, but once you’ve got it down you’ll see it can add value to your copy. You will also find that, over time, your work won’t require as many rewrites. The best way to start is to cut out irrelevant words and long, run-on sentences. Once you’ve nailed this, make sure your message is succinct and enthusiastic – after all, you’re trying to sell not bore!
Ultimately, to really improve your copywriting skills, you need to be harsh on yourself. The more ruthlessly you edit your copy, the better your results will be. Constant Content has some great tips for editing your own work, including reading your copy out loud and eliminating filler words.
How to improve copywriting skills: a final word…
As well as the points listed above, it’s important to take into consideration that improving your copywriting skills will require practice. You could spend some of your spare time writing sample texts and then using the editing tips above to improve the quality of your writing, or you could sign up to a copywriting service like Copify. With a variety of copywriting jobs available, you can gain experience in a number of areas and improve your writing skills at the same time.