It has been a rough few months in every corner of the world. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs. Many companies were forced to close down their businesses. And professionals are migrating to the economy’s informal sector to ensure a steady income.
In this search for ways to re-invent, re-direct, and re-brand ourselves (and our businesses), copywriting seems to have become increasingly popular. Writing copy is something that you can do from the comfort of your home while earning a more-than-decent pay. But, can anyone pursue it? The answer is not that simple.
Virtually anyone can write. But, copywriters are not your average writer. Many things come in to play when writing copy. Thus, before you can even consider pursuing a career in copywriting, you need to have a clear understanding of what it is that copywriters do.
In a nutshell, copywriters create content whose sole purpose is to sell or advertise a particular product or service. As a result, a good copy invites you to buy — and a great copy convinces you to do so!
Below I will share a few useful tips and hacks on how to learn copywriting on your own:
Know the basic copywriting rules
Start by learning and applying basic copywriting rules, such as:
- When selling a product or service, match features with benefits — let customers know what problem does your product/service solves.
- Be specific to boost credibility — once you have established what problem your product/service solves, let customers know why or how it does it.
- Use proof — this will not only reinforce your message but will also make you appear more trustworthy.
- Overcome objections — anticipate any concerns or doubts that customers might have.
- Use a clear call to action — an excellent copy always triggers a response. Whether it is to “buy” or to “call,” you need to let your audience know what the next step is!
For better understanding, let’s imagine you are selling a hair loss shampoo. It is pretty clear what problem your product is solving. So, you need to be more specific! Think about what makes your product stand out.
Now let’s say your shampoo uses natural ingredients that have healing properties. Plus, over five years, your company conducted several studies, all proving the formula works. And contrary to popular belief, the shampoo will not make your head itchy.
Hence your copy could look something like:
“Nine out of ten people experienced a thickening of their hair after using XYZ. It is everything you are looking for in a hair loss shampoo and more! Its advanced hypoallergenic formula includes rosemary and Quina. Two potent natural ingredients found in the depths of the Amazon jungle that will help your hair regain volume, shine, and strength. For more information, visit xyz.com.”
Use Swipe Files
Swipe files are a useful and effective way to overcome a writer’s block. Every experienced copyrighter uses this tool whenever they are struggling to write a witty headline or make a piece of copy fall into place.
Simply put, a “swipe file” is a compilation of phrases, titles, ads, brochures, and other promotional content taken from their work (or the web). It includes all the hard-selling copy they have written (or that they wish they had written.)
So, whenever a copywriter is feeling uninspired or is lacking motivation, he/she uses this tool to help him/her choose the right words to craft a brilliant piece of copy.
Learn from the masters
Another great way of learning copywriting on your own is by reading what copywriting “gurus” and experts have to say. Here, a list of my top five copyrighting authors and books:
1. “How to Write a Good Advertisement” by Victor O. Schwab
Victor O. Schwab was one of the most recognized direct marketing copywriters of all time. Ad Age named it “the greatest mail-order copywriter of all time.” Throughout his career, he wrote a series of books on copywriting best practices.
However, “How to Write a Good Advertisement” is, without a doubt, one of my favorites. It is a crash course on everything copy, including 100 good headlines (and why they work), 22 wats to captivate your readers, 14 instructive split-run tests (an efficient way to optimize e-mail marketing campaigns), and more.
2. “Ogilvy on Advertising” by David Ogilvy
In this excellent book, David Ogilvy, recognized as the father of modern advertising and the founder of one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies, shares his experience and knowledge.
It is hard to choose only one great giveaway, as the book offers plenty of valuable content on how to produce high-quality copy that sells, understanding your audiences, how to get jobs within the advertising industry, how to get clients, and more.
3. “Claude Hopkins Classic Ads” by Claude Hopkins
This book is very straightforward and encompasses all the “must-knows” if you want to improve your sales by merely writing exceptional copy. It was written by Claude Hopkins, another brilliant and internationally appraised copywriter. And although most of his ads are hundreds of years old, most modern copywriters still find inspiration in his work.
4. “The Robert Collier Letter Book” by Robert Collier
Robert Collier was an American businessman best known for his self-help books. “The Robert Collier Letter Book” is a book to help you navigate the complex world of copywriting and how it relates to sales.
It was initially published in 1931, but it remains one of the most useful books when it comes to writing sales copy.
Thus, whether you are writing creative texts (i.e., ads, jingles, taglines), web content, cover letters, e-books, business proposals, or press releases be sure always to:
- Keep in mind the basic copywriting rules
- Have your swipe files organized and handy
- Remember what you learn from the experts in the field
Lastly, always triple check your work and make sure your copy is free of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, inconsistencies, and is one hundred percent original.
If you need copy right now, you can just hire a copywriter. Here I offer my services as freelance Spanish copywriter, take a look and contact me!