Copywriting 101: How to Start Copywriting

by Gabe Arnold


A lucrative career built around your schedule, passions and lifestyle. It sounds like a pipe dream but becoming your own boss in today’s online business world is easier than ever. 

If you have a knack for the written word, today’s demand for copywriters may be your key to freedom. Inbound marketing is growing in usage, and businesses need help creating and managing content strategies. 

Sure, businesses still need sales copy for ads and emails, which is great for creative writers. But if informative writing is more your speed, you can find an endless stream of work as a content writer.

Whether you do blogs or banner ads, there is plenty of room for quality writers in digital marketing. 

Still, being a good writer does not automatically translate to clients and big paychecks. You may know how to write but wonder how to become a copywriter.

This guide will break down all things copywriting, explaining what it is and where you can make your mark.

What Is CopywritingWhat Is Copywriting?

In the old days, when advertising agencies were less niche, copywriting was relatively straightforward. If you had a print ad, your art director would create the visuals while the copywriter wrote the persuasive text content.

Copywriting still centers around that basic concept — writing that is used to drive consumer action. However, copywriting jobs cover much more ground today than simply persuasive copy in ads.

With email and content marketing taking hold of many digital marketing strategies, copywriting is more based on value. Copywriters now handle blogs, ebooks, white papers, newsletters and social media posts. They use their skills to keep readers engaged with relevant content that leads up to a call to action. Readers may be directed to buy a product or just continue building a relationship with the brand.

With a good copywriter, businesses can establish their brand, reach target audiences and form relationships. Even though the content is not always a direct sell, relevant educational customer communications help drive conversion.

Ad copy and sales pages have not gone away of course, but the application of copywriting is expanding. Let’s explore the different copywriting disciplines where you can put your writing skills to work.

The Different Forms of Copywriting

Sales Copy

The advertising copywriter is as old as advertising itself. Sales copy is fundamental, and there will always be healthy demand from big and small businesses alike. 

Sales copywriting is creative and persuasive, usually the milieu of ad agency writers. However, affordable online services are also becoming popular for small businesses in managing PPC campaigns. In either case, a freelance copywriter breaking into sales copy can find clients for direct work.

Email Copy

Email is critical for marketers, as the majority lean on it for lead generation and conversion. Like blogs, emails are recurring, so you can often easily find good ongoing work with clients.

Writing emails commonly blends creativity with education. You need to capture attention to get readers to open and read emails for a good click-through rate. Your writing needs to be catchy, easy-to-read and useful.

Social Media Ads

Social media ads have been growing in popularity over the last several years. Businesses use social media for marketing and remarketing efforts, attempting to drive users to their products or websites. Attention-grabbing short-form copy often merges with visuals and video to attract tightly targeted audiences to engage with brands.

Landing Pages

Skilled copywriters can make a solid living in the landing page niche. Businesses rely on landing pages as direct contributors to lead generation, website traffic and sales. Copywriters can charge healthy per-project rates, while also benefiting from online copywriting templates that make the process much easier.

Script Copy Writing for Videos

Consumers love video content. Adding it to your website and marketing communications is great for establishing trust, engaging viewers and boosting your brand.

Video scriptwriting is in high demand, and not many copywriters are taking advantage. Businesses need scripts not only for ads but also content like webinars, interviews and how-to videos. There is a lot of competition for views online, so that brands will pay top dollar for proven performers. 

Direct Mail (Flyers, Postcards, Etc.)

Direct mail may seem archaic, but these promotions are still effective at driving new and repeat business. It gives businesses a chance to personalize their marketing and connect in a more meaningful and tangible way.

Copywriters need to be skilled at writing concise copy that grabs attention and directs action. Beginners can learn copywriting formulas like “before-after-bridge” or “problem-agitate-solve” to create compelling copy.

About Pages

About pages may not seem like they would be wildly impactful, but they do hold critical branding opportunities. Writing for websites is a great way to build a business and a portfolio as a freelance copywriter. Many businesses get a copywriter specifically to craft essential pages like their about page.

About pages are a chance to establish trust and credibility with the target audience. Copywriters need to create a voice that resonates, speaking to the audience’s values and displaying integrity.

Case Studies

One of the most valuable pieces of marketing in B2B sales is the case study. Businesses use these as social proofs for their solutions, showing prospects real benefits that they can achieve. Copywriters can make a great living focusing exclusively on writing case studies for their clients.

lead magnetsLead Magnets

Lead magnet writing is lucrative if you have an area of expertise, such as eCommerce, finance or technology. Businesses need rich, unique content so valuable that consumers will give up their personal information to attain it. Marketers use lead magnets to earn emails that inject their sales funnel with leads.

Lead magnets are commonly long-form pieces like eBooks or ultimate guides, though they also include infographics or videos. In B2B contexts, they are usually designed to help solve a relevant business need. This helps establish the credibility and value of the business offering the lead magnet. Businesses are always on the lookout for talented writers who possess knowledge and acumen in their industry.

White Papers

Like case studies, white papers help establish a business’s authority. White papers can be highly influential in evaluating products and assessing a company’s image. As lead magnets, white papers effectively draw in new prospects and immediately establish your value proposition. To thrive as a white paper specialist, you need expertise. Find a lucrative niche, like finance, healthcare or insurance, and you can make an excellent living writing white papers.

What Does a Copywriter Do?

Copywriters can work in any industry and provide value in several ways, whether writing ads, emails, web content or blogs. They leverage their writing skills and brand knowledge to create custom content that connects and converts.

There are different paths to take as a copywriter. You can work for online copywriting services that bring the work to you. Working for a website copywriting service is an excellent idea for beginners still developing marketing and writing skills.

You could also become part of a copywriting service at an ad agency. Going freelance can put you into a world of high-earning small business owners if you want maximum income.

Freelance copywriters set their own rates, work on their own schedule and write on topics they love. There is more work in managing client expectations, but it pays off excellent earnings and career freedom.

Going freelance generally means attaining more skills outside of writing to truly become world class. Copywriters often need to learn copy editing, design and CMS skills to provide better packages for clients. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and copywriting courses from web copywriting services like Copyblogger and Copyhackers to expand your knowledge.

Examples of Copywriting

Following the pros is a great method for learning effective copy when getting started as a copywriter. Here are some clever and creative ways that brands have used website copywriting services to build their business.

Bellroy’s Corporate Sales Copy

Bellroy’s sells stylish, premium fashion accessories, including wallets, backpacks and phone cases. The company uses its industry knowledge to succeed in a rather specific market: corporate gifting. The product line is built for consumers but works perfectly for leaders trying to impress prospects and delight employees.

The brand connects with buyers immediately on their corporate gifting page, offering the benefits of their products. They open by displaying well-known global brands that have used them, indicating their authority. Bellroy’s employed expert research to understand who buys their products and capitalized on a unique opportunity with strategic copywriting.

Bombas’ Catchy Copy

If you scroll through Bombas’ website, you will notice a lot of short phrases labeling categories and advertising products. The brand uses catchy wording that rhymes and flows, making it more memorable and fun for the shopper. 

Users will find product categories like “Gripper Slippers” or “Comfortable Made Colorful.” These phrases are paired with exciting designs and poppy colors to create a cohesive brand image. The copywriting fits in perfectly with the appeal they are trying to cultivate while also making their brand memorable.

Brooklinen’s Wordplay

Brooklinen, a bedding company, uses clever wordplay at every turn on their website. They create a unique and inviting brand image with their casual tone. The website is full of rhetorical questions and edgy phrasing, like “Get the good sheet” for newsletter signups. Brooklinen’s copy shows how fun, creative copy can create a desire for a particular type of audience.

Chubbies’ Sense of Humor

Chubbies sells casual wear, swim trunks and activewear, mainly around the idea of “fun in the sun.” They bring that same outdoor energy to their website with their laid-back and genuinely funny copywriting.

They use every opportunity to add fun to their pages. From models striking ridiculous poses to outrageous product descriptions, the brand deftly wields humor to earn customers.

Death Wish Coffee’s Process Description

Death Wish Coffee uses descriptive, sensory storytelling to immerse their customers in its brewing process. They capitalize on the characteristics of their market, coffee lovers. By speaking to the care they take in creating signature flavors, they bolster their image and captivate the reader.

Tuft & Needle’s Landing Page Copy

Bed-in-a-box manufacturer Tuft & Needle has stolen a lot of market shares from industry innovators like Casper. Much of this is thanks to their compelling web copy.

Tuft & Needle knows the investment and uncertainty involved in buying a mattress online. That is why they dedicate their clever copy to overcoming objections in a relevant Q&A format. They use testimonials, risk reversal and insider information to alleviate fears and persuade their customers.

Harry’s About Page

Harry’s markets their direct-to-consumer razorblade service with a focus on their commitment. Throughout the home page, service and about pages, Harry’s consistently references their honesty and understanding. 

Overpriced razors are a big problem, at least to Harry’s. They take every chance to promote their quality and pricing. By reinforcing their values and standards, Harry’s effectively positions their brand as centered on integrity and quality.

Poo~Pourri’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page

Poo-Pourri has fully embraced the inherent humor in their business, which is more than evident in their FAQ page. A focus on the FAQ shows how Poo-Pourri understands that their image comes from everything about their brand. 

Even though an about or FAQ page may not seem consequential for sale, it all affects the customer perception. Customers see, engage with and enjoy creative copy, giving them a positive perspective that can indirectly lead to business.

conclusion

Conclusion

Now is the time to take advantage of the freedom and earning potential of a copywriter job. Beginners have a wealth of resources and website copywriting services to learn how to build their business.

Whether you want to work at a copywriting firm or go freelance, you can succeed if you have a passion for writing. Follow our blog for more tips on managing your business and growing as a writer.

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