Many factors make an individual a great copywriter. For those considering copywriting as a future career – or even those simply curious about what makes a copywriter great rather than just good – these factors are absolutely part of the equation when it comes to keeping clients happy and keeping the work flowing.
So if you want to be a great copywriter, what traits are the most important to success? Read on to find out more about the four must-have skills that can influence the quality of your copy and your overall reputation as a copywriter.
1. Quality research skills
For the majority of copywriters, the content they create can be incredibly varied; covering anything from fashion to sports, scientific knowledge to education. As such, it’s essential that great copywriters have a healthy sense of curiosity, encouraging them to go beyond the basics and learn more when it comes to creating their work.
As a profession that requires creativity and flow of writing in addition to more physical metrics, such as keyword density or word counts, these skills can give a copywriter an edge when it comes to their competition. According to Mike Devaney, analytical skills and greater insight are all a part of more in-depth and more involved research; skills that can transform copy that’s simply good into content that’s insightful and relevant.
From researching and understanding the subject matter at hand to gaining a greater understanding of the style and form of content a client wants, research is a must. For a great copywriter to remain great, they need a solid knowledge of their subject matter and further insight into the requirements of every brief.
2. The ability to accept all feedback
As with any creative role, copywriting puts the writer in the hands of their clients. As such, it’s their opinion and insight that is the final word on all created copy. Understanding the difference between the quality of work and personal opinion is a vital skill for a successful copywriter, especially when it comes to receiving feedback.
While you don’t necessarily have to be thick-skinned to become a great copywriter, you do need to have an understanding that what you consider excellent work might not be what the client actually wants. Separating the two can ensure the quality of your work remains high while providing all the client needs when it comes to the creation of their content.
Accepting feedback, understanding the need for second, third or even fourth drafts in some cases, and appreciating the client’s opinion are all vital elements to becoming a great copywriter. For content creators, it can be a difficult transition from writing for yourself to writing for someone else; but that change is necessary to be great.
3. Excellent timekeeping and reliability
In any job, failing to turn in a project on time or missing a meeting can instantly lower your professionalism in your clients’ eyes. With copywriting, those skills are incredibly important as the majority of work is completed on a tight deadline. To meet client expectations and provide them with content in a timely, effective manner are musts for any great copywriter.
For copywriters, this means meeting each and every deadline within the allotted time limit, which includes taking the time to research and gain insight into the subjects matter before the writing process even begins. With many copywriters working freelance, there’s an even greater need to be self-motivated when it comes to keeping time and ensuring your work is in the hands of your clients when they need it to be.
A great copywriter can understand and block out the time needed to complete their content, allowing time for feedback and ample time for planning ahead of creating the copy. Your writing should be consistently of the highest quality, but if you’re unable to meet the required deadlines, then you aren’t a great copywriter. Whether it’s employing personal self-discipline or making use of the many productivity tools out there, a great copywriter has an excellent discipline of their timekeeping.
Copywriting is much more than just simply writing the same words over and over again. With so many different forms of content, a great copywriter should have the versatility to tailor their writing to each specific circumstance. The requirements of a press release, for example, may be very different from social media content or a scientific research paper. According to Sonia Simone, versatile copy with personality is a must.
Displaying versatility, both in style and form, is a must for any modern content creator looking to gain a positive reputation. The ability to switch from a formal to an informal manner, or match the voice of content on the client’s existing website, isn’t optional. When it comes to excellence in writing, tone and style are just as important as correct spelling, grammar or sentence structure.
A great copywriter utilises their versatility and flexibility in writing to produce content that’s suitable for each specific context. With this skill, they can deliver content for a wide variety of fields and industries. Combined with sufficient research and subject understanding, good versatility can ensure that the content matches to brief every single time.
What else makes a great copywriter?
There are many factors in play when it comes to becoming a great copywriter. While the most vital are listed above, many other elements form the overall role. For example, the knowledge required to understand the technical side of copywriting, such as SEO, is also a must. But without that insight from research or the ability to meet deadlines, SEO can’t be considered.
Once you’ve got the basics of how to be a great copywriter, you can use that knowledge to go on to become even better. From developing superior observational skills to forming better discipline when it comes to working with clients, being a great copywriter isn’t based on one single requirement. Instead, it’s a mixture of different factors that form a whole.
Above all, one of the most essential skills that makes a copywriter great is the ability to acknowledge that they are never finished learning. There’s always more to work towards, and further skills to develop – so to truly impress your clients, it’s important never to stop wanting to improve upon what you already have.