To be an exceptional copywriter, the ordinary won’t do. You have to break the mold, do something so incredible, people take note.
Times have changed. Google demands original and creative content. Your audience wants their questions answered. Clients want crafty wordsmiths who can spin any topic for leads and sales.
What do you need to do to join this elite class of special copywriters? Are there specific skills you require?
Here are 9 skills guaranteed to help you stand above the fold.
“Great copy doesn’t speak to people, it enters the conversation already playing in their heads. Unless you can put yourself in their shoes, see their perspective, and walk their path, your copy will never qualify as great.” CEO Brian Clark, CEO of Rainmaker Digital.
Empathy strengthens the persuasion of a copy. To sell, you need to touch your audience on a deeper level.
In today’s world, many things are competing for your reader’s attention. Hence, they are easily distracted by shiny objects. Unless you can entice them to stay, you have no fighting chance.
Empathy primes your audience to take action. Without empathy, your copy is dull. Get into the wavelength of your audience. Explore their feelings – fear, sadness, happiness, and anger.
Think about emotions that people feel when they look at specific products. How can you leverage feelings for action? Try to stay in that headspace while you write.
To immerse yourself in other people’s thoughts, read books written in the first-person perspective with the use of “I”. This narrative will help you hone your ability to empathize.
3. Curiosity and a Need to Learn
David Ogilvy was asked for a list of important traits when hiring copywriters. He answered, “They need to have an unwavering, overpowering, enormous sense of curiosity.”
For a copywriter, curiosity didn’t kill the cat. It created the mousetrap. Mechanical thinking limits a copywriter’s creativity, making the copy boring and bland.
Now, who wants to read a bland and boring copy?
A curious mind is a creative one. Curiosity can convert a monotonous topic into a compelling one. It helps your audience discover new things. Curiosity takes them on an emotional journey and creates opportunities for action.
So, the next time you have a piece to write, answer the questions of:
4. Know When to Call for Help
No man is an island unto himself. Neither is anyone a repository of all knowledge.
There’s no shame in asking for help. When you hit a creative wall, you have 2 choices; Get help from another expert or struggle needlessly.
No great copywriter became skillful struggling alone. They had professors, editors, mentors, and colleagues. These people provided guidance and support.
You’re as good as the brains around you. Choose your mentors wisely.
5. Don’t Sell: Seduce by Solving a problem
People are looking for solutions. They are drawn to brands that offer practical resources.
Hard selling awakens the inner BS sensor. Instead, why don’t you help your audience solve a problem?
They need to connect with you before making a purchase. Solving a problem is one way to build relationships.
A great copywriter knows how to create copy that makes an emotional connection. Clayton Makepeace lists the 5 things you must do to craft a seductive copy:
- Get your audience’s attention. Let your headline capitalize on their emotions.
- Pique their interest to give you more time. Offer values they can’t resist.
- Persuade them your offer will solve a problem.
- Convince your audience of a better bargain. Your prices are the best for the value you offer.
- Encourage them to take action directly.
With these 5 steps, you are not selling. Instead, you are seducing your reader to solve a problem with your product or service.
6. Flow with the Trend
The copywriting field is an evolving one. Copywriting 10 years ago is different from what it is now. Your ammunition includes copywriting tools, new trends, the latest Google algorithm changes, and authority content.
As a writer, you speak on diverse topics to a broad audience. You can’t pull it off with old knowledge. For example, you can’t talk about Web 2.0 if you are a copywriter from the 80s with trends from that timeline.
7. Good Command of the Customer’s Language
A copywriter is a wordsmith. You construct, tweak and manipulate sentences to evoke action. Without the basic command of your audience’s language, you’ll lose them.
Your readers expect a copy with proper punctuation, the right sentence structure, and word choice. A high level of language competency is a must.
A copywriter is advised to have a hang on the following areas.
8. Knows and Listen to the Audience
According to David Ogilvy, “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
If you don’t know your audience, your copy won’t connect. Web copy is more effective when you understand your audience and what they search for. Great website copywriters know their audience and understand their thought patterns.
Audience research is essential to writing a highly-personalized copy that solves a problem. Which brings us to the next trait…
9. Stellar research skill
‘’The best copywriters are the most tenacious researchers. Like miners, they dig, drill, dynamite, and chip until they have carloads of valuable ore.’’ legendary copywriter Gary Bencivenga.
Every famous advertiser and copywriter agree on the power of thorough research. From David Ogilvy, John Caples, and modern million-dollar copywriter Gary Bencivenga. They all endorse comprehensive research as the secret of great copywriting.
These copywriters have a mirage of resources under their belt. When working on a topic, you should back it up with:
- Keyword research: Conducting comprehensive keyword research helps you understand common search phrases your audience uses when looking for your product and services.
- Audience research: The needs, demography, desire, and values of your target audience.
- Competitor’s research: What your competitors are doing. How are they doing it and how well it works for them.
- Company research: The value of your clients. Their mission and vision statement.
- Product research: The features of the product. Its value and benefit.
Your copy is held together by research. The more research you conduct, the more knowledge you have to work with.
Good copywriting doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of practice.
Learning continues even when you’ve reached the top. By learning new skills and finding new ways to be better, you’ve set your path to becoming a great copywriter.
Chima excels in creating SEO-optimized web content that drives traffic and increases conversions for online businesses. She is an experienced copywriter who has published on numerous top blogs such as Jeff Bullas, Search Engine Watch, and Hacker Noon. You can find her at Zenith Copy.