In a way, you could say that a business’ rise and downfall depend entirely on its copy. A copy in the marketing and business world refers to the words created and written by a copywriter to be used in an ad or a landing page. A copy needs to be creative, attention-grabbing, and convincing enough so that anyone who sees it will buy a product without a second thought. This is why it’s necessary to have the skills to be a copywriter. A copy literally can make or destroy a business.
Learning how to write a good copy, and having the skills to be a copywriter, is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur and a business person should have. Russell Brunson, an established entrepreneur, once said, “Copywriting is what made me rich… It has more impact on how much money you make with your company than anything else.”
A Sense of Curiosity, Creativity, & Adventure
Copywriters often need to learn, so it helps to have a natural and immense curiosity about many things and a desire to learn more. Times are ever-changing, and there seems to be some new knowledge every day just waiting to be discovered. It’s like going on an adventure.
It’s adventurous in the sense that you are always seeking new things to learn every day to improve your writing skills. It’s also adventurous in the sense that with every new skill or knowledge you acquire, you now need to hone your skills in the form of creativity. It’s an adventure because now you have to challenge yourself:
How much did you improve compared to last time? How creative can you get while maintaining the ability to say what you want to express clearly?
As a copywriter, being curious about what is happening around you is an excellent trait to have. Discover what’s the trend these days. What will tickle the fancy of people nowadays?
Be creative on how you can grab both a potential client’s and buyers’ attention. Be adventurous with your experiences, and do not fear failure.
An Eye for Detail
One of the skills to be a copywriter is to have an eye for detail. Every writer should be good at noticing every little thing in their writing, from the biggest down to the smallest yet equally essential information that other people might not see.
It is not enough that you have good writing ability, nor is it enough to have a good grasp of the English language. A good writer must be able to spot errors in their work and can fix them quickly. You can say that another must-have skill to be a copywriter is to be their proofreader and copy editor. It is a must that every piece a writer makes should be as spotless as possible before sending their work to their client.
Strong Writing Skills & Grammar
To be a good copywriter, you must have good writing skills and a good grasp of grammar to back it up. Copywriters will cater to different clients with different necessities throughout their careers, and they need to be able to write according to those demands. In other words, writing about a wide range of topics in various styles is a must-have skill to be a copywriter.
Besides writing skills, copywriters must also have a deep understanding and the knowledge to wield the English language and grammar. Any copywriter’s work should be impeccable and concise, free from any grammatical errors. Why? Credibility.
It’s been proven that grammatical errors can reduce the credibility of any writing. After all, even if it did come from a credible source, people will wonder why it got published if there are grammatical errors left, making them doubt the contents of the work. This kind of err suggests sloppiness and unprofessionalism to the audience and is understandably off-putting. The typos can distract the readers, too, making them focus on the errors instead of the content of the writing itself.
Clear & Concise Writing
There are times that a topic or a product you need to write about an interest you so much that you want to write a lot about it. Sometimes, you may even have the impulse to be creatively paired with this need to be wordy, which will eventually lead to disastrous writing. Not only will the words be too many and flowery, but your work might also lose the message it needs to convey. This will confuse readers about what they have read, but there’s a high possibility that they may not even finish reading what you wrote.
This skill to be a copywriter is called ‘clear and concise writing.’ It’s the ability to write a short and straight-to-the-point message, powerful and persuasive enough for the audience to take action through writing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that any writing should be straightforward. It means that any writing you create should be clean and the message from it easily discernible.
Imagine it like you are cooking something, and you want it to be as flavorful as possible, so you added many ingredients. The result is that the dish you created has too many flavors competing over your tastebuds, and not to mention, overwhelming.
Keep your writing simple. Flavorful, but do not add too many garnishes.
Great Research Skills
Any aspiring writer must possess excellent research skills. Research is very vital to any form of writing as it will:
One, it will lay down the foundation of your writing. Researching about your topic will give you what you need to know, what you need to write about, and what angles you can dive into to start your writing.
Knowing the background of what you will write will give you direction in your writing as you will know what to include.
Second, once you have laid down the outline of what you will write, it is time to research more about your topic.
But this time, you are not going to search for more information about it, but you will search about what the general audience thinks about this particular topic.
How many people are aware of it? How much do people know about it? What do people think about it? Doing so will give you additional direction on where to go with your writing. With research, you’ll know what words to use to attract and convince your audience.
Third, use research to be up to date with the trends today. You might be able to incorporate such trends into your writing. It’s another way to attract and entertain your readers. For readers, it’s funny to see something they are familiar with written and used in such a creative way.
Lastly, you’ll know what world you are getting into once you do your research. You’ll understand that when you write about this particular topic, there may be some nuances between this world and in the world of another you know of. For example, a ‘copy’ in the marketing world is different from the ‘copy’ that the literature world knows of. You can also double-check if your idea has already been done before, and you might be infringing some copyrights through research.
Ability to Understand Information Quickly
If research is a skill to be a copywriter, then you also need to have the ability to understand information quickly. It won’t matter how much research you do for your writing if you don’t understand any. Every effort you make will be moot.
When you are writing, understanding your topic is crucial, but it does not require your understanding to be an expert. When you register, you only need to be able to quickly grasp the basics of your topic, enough that you can communicate it effectively to other people.
As a copywriter, one of your jobs is not to spread false information regarding your product and your client. Stick to the facts given to you, research more about it if you must, and do not hesitate to ask someone you know who has more authority regarding your topic when you don’t understand anything
Deep Topical Research
Some people think that doing topical research is an outdated method of studying in education because all it encourages to do is snooping and gathering information about a topic and does not involve thinking.
However, in the marketing and journalism world, this is a skill to be a copywriter. Doing topical research will give you an idea of how people revolve around this product.
What do people today think about this product? Is it of any interest and relevance to the people? How do similar products fare in today’s market? Know everything there is to know about your product as long as you understand it. After all, every knowledge you gain will be to your benefit too.
Knowing this stuff will give you an idea of what to write. You will know what could be improved in your writing and your client’s marketing strategy to effectively attract buyers and sell the product.
Communicate Complex Information Simply
Some products may have too much information and technical stuff that people who are not knowledgeable in that area may have a hard time understanding. It is then up to the copywriter to write a copy that explains the product’s complex information in the simplest way possible without taking out the essential parts of the product or oversimplifying it to the point where it doesn’t make sense anymore. This is especially so when the product is meant to be used by the general populace.
Simplifying complex information is a helpful skill to be a copywriter event if the product targets only a specific audience that can understand the product’s description jargon words. You can still simplify that jargon in a way that everybody can understand it more leisurely.
Communicate Benefits, Not Features
One of the skills to be a copywriter is your capacity to introduce and prioritize your product’s uses and benefits rather than its features. Sure, people also look at the design, the specs, and the overall output performance of a product, but the most important questions will remain: what use will those features be to me?
It is now your job to explain how beneficial your product can be to your audience’s life. Tell them how and in what ways is the product going to make their life easier?
For example, you are writing a copy for a new phone model. Nowadays, almost everyone has a phone, so the demand for cell phones is high. The question is: does everyone need a new phone? The answer is no. So how are you going to market your phone to those who need a replacement? How can you convince them to buy the model you are writing a copy for instead of buying from another brand with similar features?
Focus on the benefits that your product can give. They may have similar features with other brand models, but what can your product give more than them? You can use the brand’s reputation and other credible resources to prove that your claims for the product can be trusted. If your phone’s brand is known for its long battery life, then use it to your advantage.
Analyze and Measure to Prove Your Copy is Working
Conduct market research. It’s one of the skills to be a copywriter that is a good and beneficial addition to your arsenal.
Before writing a copy, take a look at the brands and similar product markets first. Look at what is trending in the present, look at the reputation ranks of the brands, look at what people currently need, and look at what people look for most when buying this kind of product.
Once you are done with your market research, write your copy according to the results and data you have gathered. Write accordingly to what, do the people, seek out the most in a product nowadays, what are the benefits it can bring to the needs of the people today, and imagine how people will react once you release your sales pitch.
Do another research once your copy is published. See for yourself how the product is faring in the market: did the sales improve, stay the same or decrease? By how much? How are people reacting to your copy? Is it negatively or positively? What areas in your copy should improve to get more people to buy your product?
Ask yourself these questions, so you’ll know whether your copy is compelling or not.
Understand the Buyer
Besides being knowledgeable about the product, one other skill to be a copywriter is understanding the buyers. This is where your marketing research skills come in. Every product has its intended buyers: is it for the general masses, or is it something only a specific people can afford?
Look and listen to what your buyers need, what they look for in a product, and provide them with these things as much as possible. When you write a copy, your writing should be catered to your target audiences. Include what you know that can hook them into your product and be persuasive enough that they will sink right into it.
Understand the Buyer’s Journey
Now that you understand the buyer, it’s time for another skill to be a copywriter that is related to it: understanding the buyer’s journey.
What does it mean?
It means to look for the reasons behind your buyer’s needs.
Let’s go back to you selling a phone. Why does a buyer need a good phone camera? It’s because the buyer needs it to take good photos of his home-cooked meals for his online food store.
As a copywriter, your job is to pitch in your product to those with similar needs. Tell them that your phone can benefit those who need professional-looking photos and even those who love taking casual photos.
Another buyer is looking for a phone with long battery life, but his budget is only enough for a decent battery life that is not on par with what he wants. You, as the copywriter, will then write an article about how your product is perfect for those who want a phone with a long battery life that is easy on the wallet.
Understand the Reader’s Experience
Imagine yourself as a reader. Then, read those copies you have written as a reader encountering your copy for the first time. Do you think your manuscript is good enough to keep a reader’s attention? Do you think your copy is persuasive enough for them to buy your product? Do you think your copy is witty enough to make a positive change in the market? Do you think your copy has what it takes to be a trend?
Understanding the readers and the reasons behind their needs; one of the skills to be a copywriter also includes understanding your reader’s experience as they read your copy. How did they react to it? What do they feel and think about it? Is it working as it is supposed to be?
Of course, imagining yourself in the shoes of your reader can be challenging, and you might be unable to look at your copy without any bias. The best thing you could do to understand a reader is to ask a reader himself. Ask your friends or family to read the copy you just made and ask their opinions about it.
Strong Understanding of SEO
Some people say that the best copywriters should not concern themselves with headlines and SEO and instead focus on the buyer’s needs. After all, when a buyer needs something, the keywords they will enter are according to their needs. Naturally, the search engine will provide them with results with those keywords.
As a scenario, let’s go back to you selling a phone. In your copy, the keywords you used are ‘latest technology,’ ‘256 MB,’ and ’fast recharge’ because that’s what most people look for in a phone nowadays, isn’t it? But there are a lot of other phones that also have those features.
If your copy isn’t popular enough, it will probably get buried among the top searches with similar keywords.
That means you don’t have a strong understanding of SEO as a skill to be a copywriter. As a copywriter, do not look and use the top keywords for your product. Use keywords that suit the needs of your target buyers instead.
For example, use the keywords ‘best camera phone’ or ‘good phone camera quality as your keywords when your target buyers are looking for a phone with a good camera.
Ability to Write Great Headlines
Headlines are a vital part of any story or article; it’s the article’s essence written in a few words. This is an essential skill to be a copywriter because your copy’s success initially depends on how great your headline is. Headlines are the ones tasked to grab the reader’s attention, give them an idea of the article all about, and then reel them in to read the full story, so you can see that headlines are a big deal.
If you are not sure whether your headline is good or not, then check out CoSchedule’s Headline Studio. It’s a free headline analyzer that works on any browser. This fantastic tool scores your headlines to see if they are wrong and won’t drive any traffic, or are they good and will gain you lots of traffic. It is a very easy-to-use tool as you have to paste your headline into their device, and it will automatically run it through its system. You aim to shoot for a score of 80 or higher.
Very Good Understanding of the Marketing Funnel
It has been said many times already, but as a copywriter, your ultimate goal is to convince your audience to buy or try out something that you are endorsing. To do this effectively, you need to have comprehended the marketing funnel. This is a skill to be a copywriter that can tailor your writing to fit your audience’s emotions in a specific marketing funnel stage.
In other words, understanding the marketing funnel can help you write a copy that can hook, line, and sinker your audience into buying.
Most of the time, your copywriting skills will be tested around the middle-to-bottom part of the funnel: this means the intent and action stage of the funnel. In these stages, the audience is already aware and interested in your offer. Thus, the goal of your copy is to turn that interest into intent in buying or trying out your offer and then convincing your audience actually to do it.
Different emotions play in the audiences’ minds when they are reading a copy. You need to know what these emotions are as they go through the five stages of the marketing funnel. Imagine yourself as a siren who lures your audience with words that react positively to their emotions until they finally did what you wanted them to do all along. That’s how marketers work, right?
Ability to Write Persuasively
Another thing that has been repeated throughout this article is ‘writing persuasively.’ It is only logical then to add this to the list of skills to be a copywriter.
Having the ability to write persuasively is a core skill of any copywriter worth their cent. They can seamlessly blend their persuasion skills into their copy through research and masterful choice of words that the readers won’t even have time to think that they are being enticed to do something.
Here are three ways you can improve your persuasion skill in writing:
One, be specific. From the headline to the content, use detailed information. Whether it is in numerical form (i.e. 7.35% instead of ‘around 7%’) or citing credible sources for your data.
Two, use social feedback as proof of your claims.
Get previous customers’ reviews, testimonials, influencer claims and marketing, and social media shoutouts to get your audience to trust you and your business.
Three, create FOMO. Every once in a while, a business should have a FOMO to plant urgency to their customers about missing something out. Usually, this happens in the form of limited offers and limited-time sales.
Ability to Write for Different Purposes
Have you heard before that copywriters are excellent chameleons? That’s because copywriters must be able to write for different purposes. It’s another must-have skill to be a copywriter because you will cater to various businesses, products, and audiences’ and clients’ needs.
As a copywriter, you must be well-versed in writing different copies and purposes such as articles, blog posts, skyscraper content, fliers, Facebook ads, white papers, user guides, and e-books.
Ability to Make Mundane Things Sound Interestingly
Most products for sale are meant to be used in everyday life. Throughout the time, advertisements for such products have evolved, have been used and re-used, and have been seen by people too many times.
Some products are from industries that are too boring, too technical, and are not of great interest to the general public that it’s challenging to create a good copy for them.
Even still, such difficulties must not deter you from writing a good copy. Making mundane things sound interesting is another skill to be a copywriter you must have and sharpen.
The most important part of this skill is grabbing the reader’s attention at the very beginning. Look at new angles about this ‘uninteresting’ topic, and maybe you’ll find something you can use to make people look at this topic in a new light. Look up trends and funny, relatable lines and see if you can incorporate such things as a tagline for this product. Once you already have your reader’s attention, interesting content must follow through.
Express Empathy and Make A Connection
Another skill to be a copywriter is not just understanding your readers but also sharing empathy and building a connection with them. You will achieve this by putting in your writing personal experiences you might have had as a buyer and relating it to them.
Your audience will certainly feel better knowing that the one who wrote the article has been through the same things as them and understands them and their needs because you have been in their shoes. You need to be able to reach your readers on an emotional level. You may even put some beliefs that you know can stir an audience’s heartstrings, even if you do not believe in them.
The key here is knowing your reader’s motivation, which makes them tick, what will make them lose their trust, what you should avoid mentioning, and the benefits they are looking for. These are the easiest way you can take to reach out to your audience’s emotions.
Now that we are done with the list, which among these skills do you think you already have? Which ones do you have not? Which one of these skills do you need to brush up and refine? Whatever your answers to these questions are, take your time to think about it. Additionally, take your time in practicing these skills too. Your career as a copywriter can take you to new heights if you possess these skills and believe in yourself.