“Everybody can cook” was Chef Gusteau’s famous motto in the animated movie “Ratatouille.” Sure, some are better than others. Some only cook for their friends and families while others nurture their passion and develop their cooking skills. They become Chefs and dream that one day they’ll work for renowned 5-stars Michelin restaurants.
The same goes for writers. We all have a creative side within us that we’ve explored one way or another. Some of us like to write for ourselves, scribbling thoughts and ideas in our diaries. Others are not afraid to share their opinions with the entire world through their blogs and social media. And, some have turned writing into a career.
But, although everyone can write, don’t assume that this is a simple task. There’s a huge difference between bad, good and exceptional copywriting and both readers and search engines have learned to spot it. They are the Michelin inspectors of digital media, and it’s the copy writers job to impress them them with their skills and make them come back for more.
In other words, your content needs to stand out from the countless pieces roaming around the web. Fortunately, just like cooking, writing compelling copy is something you can learn. You can become a top-rated copywriter if you’re willing to put the required effort.
- Refine Your Writing Skills
You must write well: this is non-negotiable. You need to master grammar, spelling, punctuation, maxims, adjectives, and so on. You also need to have a vast vocabulary to be able to express your ideas in an accurate and intelligible way.
It’s not mandatory to follow all the rules to the T, but you need to know them by heart before you can break them. But, don’t fool yourself. Learning the intricacies of the language takes time, patience and most of all, practice.
The following exercises can help you improve your skills:
- Create content that is easy to read, clear and concise;
- Explain complex concepts in simple terms;
- Write goof transitional phrases;
- Craft compelling starters and conclusions.
Shortly put, you need to be able to write your stories in the language your audience uses, which requires for you to know who are your readers, how they think, speak and what they search for, online.
- Hone Your Research Skills
Ideally, you’d only write about the topics you are passionate and knowledgeable about. But, let’s be honest: you can’t afford the luxury of being picky, especially if you’re just starting your career as a copywriter. You’ll have to create content for clients in different industries, sometimes working on two or three projects at the same time. And, you’ll need to learn the specifics of each business, market, target audience, product, and so on.
Needless to say, you need to be on top of your research game to deliver the results your clients expect. You need to know where to look for information and, most importantly, what to look for.
Keep in mind that effective research isn’t limited to a few Google searches or the information your client provided. A successful copywriter is one that digs deeper and looks for helpful insights about the industry or the audience. They interview influencers and industry leaders, talk with your audience, and test the products themselves just to find an angle that hasn’t been explored until now.
A sense of curiosity drives good copywriters. They pick the issue apart, explore all nuances, make new connections, and learn more while answering who, what, when, where, why, and how it happened.
- Think Strategically
Copywriting is an all-encompassing discipline. Being good with words and having a natural talent for writing puns and clever taglines isn’t enough. You also need to understand marketing, branding, and business, along with how to work with data, how to optimize content for SEO, how to incorporate technology and prove ROI.
Your copy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It needs to fit in a context to be effective and trigger the desired actions. Your focus shouldn’t be solely on creating a beautifully written copy. You also need to take your client’s business goals into account, think strategically, and deliver content that meets the needs of the target audience.
Gone are the days when the only important requirement for a copywriter was to write well. In today’s highly competitive world, your ability to research a topic thoroughly, your strategic thinking and business sense matter just as much as your command of the English language.
So, what are you aspiring to be: a Michelin standard chef or a cook working at a local joint?