Most of the written words that most people see every day are actually what’s called copy.
That means those words have a purpose, and that purpose is for those readers to take action. Usually that action will involve wallets being opened. That’s right- copy is, essentially, sales writing. It’s more than just advertising. Copy is meant to help its readers know what’s for sale, why it will be beneficial to buy it, and who’s offering it, with a call to action.
1. The Main Point First
That call to action is the crux of the copywriter’s job. It’s certainly important to grab the reader’s attention right from the start, but it all comes down to a point of purchase.
Getting attention quickly is so important because people on the internet have a very different way of reading than those who read books, newspapers, and magazines. Online readers tend to scan the page in an “F” pattern, noticing mostly headlines and main points throughout the content.
Good copywriters take advantage of that naturally developed pattern and arrange their material accordingly. A good, well-written and catchy headline at the top of the page increases the chances that any of the body of the content will also be read, if the reader feels it will be interesting.
That’s a key aspect as well: copy is much more concerned with keeping the reader’s interest than that of the writer or whoever commissioned the copy. The point is to make a sale, not to appeal to the seller’s vanity.
The best copy is much less about the product, and much more about the customer. The customer’s lifestyle, their choices, their desires; all are what copy tries to appeal to. Good copy shows a potential customer that the product in question can give them the power to achieve the sort of life they hope for.
2. Where to Find Copy
Billboards, emails, TV commercials, websites, brochures, blogs, catalogs, you name it. Someone’s got to write that stuff. If they don’t, you wouldn’t be able to learn very easily about the many ways other people can make your life better or easier or more fun in exchange for your money. And that, of course, is what you want to have money for in the first place, right?
All of these varied media outlets have to be optimized in order to entice and retain the largest possible number of customers. It’s usually not a good strategy for the owner or the CEO to write the copy themselves if they don’t already know the best methods for it.
Just as business owners hire accountants as soon as their finances get complicated, they ought to count on the services of professional sales copy writers in order to be sure that their marketing campaigns will have the maximum possible impact on their potential customers.
3. The Power of Good Copy
It’s no wonder at all that copywriting in general is a multi trillion-dollar industry. You have to spend money in order to earn money, as they say, and getting sales is no exception. Investing in a good sales copy writer is one of the smartest things a business can do.
A good copywriter can bring in millions of magazine or email subscriptions. They can increase sales revenue far beyond the cost of their services. They can write billboards that stop traffic and commercials that make you turn the channel back to them instead of the game.
Copywriters are the ones who make the world of business and industry and products move. Sure, Wall Street financial wizards splash cash around like it’s Las Vegas, but nobody would buy what they have unless someone else explained it in clear terms.
So that’s what copywriters do. Their work is sometimes referred to as “salesmanship in print.” That’s because it’s exactly what their words do. They make sales, over and over again, to tens of thousands of readers who see them in the media, on the street, and online. Especially online.
On the internet, copy never sleeps. Even printed copy is limited by print runs and distribution, but online a single web site’s content can keep reaching customers day after day and night after night for many years. Not only that, it can reach thousands of them all at once, over and over again. A printed magazine or a catalog is usually only read by one person at a time, so you can see how the internet has magnified everything that touches it.
Copywriters write advertising material, but it’s not just any advertising material. It’s the sort that actually makes sales happen. The best copywriters around can charge tens of thousands of dollars for their work, because they’ve learned the writing techniques that lead most effectively to purchases.
Copywriters know how to get you to trust them, and how to help you understand clearly what they want you to know. The best ones can build a solid rapport with their reader and essentially have a conversation on first name terms with them. The work that they produce, if read out loud, wouldn’t sound out of place if spoken from one friend to another as they sat on barstools, beers in hand.
You might be tempted to think that the sort of skill and talent required to write so persuasively can only be acquired after years of university education and subsequent training. You might think so, but you’d be surprisingly wrong.
4. Where Copywriters Come From
Copywriters can start out almost without regard to prior training, as long as they can write clearly and understandably. In fact, having advanced degrees in English literature may even get in the way of successful copywriting. The important aspect of good copy is that it’s relatable. Academic writing is often dry, stuffy, high-minded, complex, obscure, and otherwise incomprehensible to most of us. What a copywriter is aiming for is common language, but powerfully and even artfully arranged.
Ironically, successful copywriting is a lot like successful teaching. A good and talented teacher is one who can take a big concept, break it down, simplify it, and teach it to a child without introducing misinformation. Similarly, a great copywriter uses simple and clear language to truthfully explain the benefits of a product or service that will make your life better in some way.
None of that is to suggest that any current or future copywriter is guaranteed to get the best jobs or the most lucrative contracts. The job requirements are usually the same from order to order, but there are different types of copywriters working in different ways.
5. Who Are Copywriters?
Literally anyone who can write and type in their native spoken language can become a copywriter, and maybe even some who speak a second language, with enough practice. There is no upper or lower age limit. Some great copywriters are fresh out of high school, or even dropouts. Some are college-educated professionals making a career change. Some are retirees looking to supplement their income.
Some copywriters work on a very part-time basis, and just earn a little extra money. Others work full-time and make more money than some of the advertising executives who hire them. Still others are somewhere in the middle, just starting out and learning the tricks of the trade as they go. Some aspire to considerable wealth and others are looking for a life of relaxation. One thing they all have in common is that they love to write.
If you love to write, you can write. That’s perhaps the most beautiful aspect of copywriting as a career move. There is no beginning skill level, beyond the ability to write like you think and speak. You just have to be interested enough to keep writing and keep improving.
The best copywriters learn from other writers who are already the best among their peers. They look for good advertising that grabs attention, they cut it out and save it, they absorb it, they imitate it. They learn from the masters of their trade and sometimes take classes to learn more. They read a great deal of material in order to get ideas.
6. What Else Do They Do?
Many copywriters wear two hats, so to speak, in their profession. The first is what we’ve already seen here. The second one is that of content creator. Content creators can also be copywriters, but not always. Nearly any copywriter can also create high quality content, which need not be sales copy.
Content creation is an area of enormous and growing demand. Even as the quantity of online content continues to expand, even explode, content that really stands out as being high quality becomes ever more important, and thus more in demand. A good copywriter will capitalize on that and direct their talents towards filling that market niche. That particular niche is open to many more people looking for rewarding work, though.
Since online content creation isn’t always about advertising, there’s a bit more leeway in terms of style and voice. Content can be either more stuffy or even more informal than copy. The best kind of content, however, is also copy. An article that informs and also leads to a sale is much more valuable than an article that merely informs without any kind of call to action.
Many famous writers known for their novels and other works of fiction started their careers as copywriters. The skills acquired as a copywriter are transferable to other creative and literary fields, which is why copywriters can often be called upon to provide other content.
7. Why Should You Hire a Copywriter?
You need the services of a copywriter anytime you hope that someone will buy what you have on offer, and you want to get the word out. But it’s more than just an advertising campaign.
Copy is meant to be persuasive. It enters through the eyes and ears, burrows its way through the brain, and lodges itself in the reader’s emotional heart. Good copy makes the reader want something. It makes the reader believe that they need the thing the copy is talking about, that this thing will undoubtedly improve their life.
That takes some understanding of what makes people tick.
Good copywriters can connect to a customer in a way that technical writers don’t. Technical writing is much like academic writing, but duller; it’s full of dry language that explains things mechanically. That kind of writing is needed for certain applications, but we’re getting close to the point where any common household robot could do it.
Copy doesn’t come so mechanically. It’s a human task that has to be done by feeling as much as by technique. A good copywriter has to be aware of their audience and write to them specifically.
One strategy suggested for copywriters is to imagine their audience as a single individual, a person they know, and write just to them. They need to convince them, and to gain their trust, on a personal level. They do this by choosing their words carefully.
8. Natural Habitats of Copywriters
Copywriters may usually work in one of several ways. One of the most common is to be employed by a particular company or by a copywriting agency. This option provides the copywriter with a stable salary and a steady flow of work, though the salary may be minimal at first. A copywriter employed in this way may have good mentoring and networking opportunities with more experienced writers within the same organization.
Another way to find work as a copywriter is as a freelancer. This can be done through traditional means, through one’s own website, through freelancer community websites like Fiverr, or through an agency that contracts exclusively with freelance contractors. Both the highest- and lowest-paid copywriters tend to be freelancers.
Contracting a freelancer on your own always carries some risk the first time you work with someone. There’s a chance that the freelancer is not from the country they say they are, and may not be a native speaker. This is rarely good for your website’s copy. Even diplomats with years of practice can struggle with the unique expressions of a language, so take care when trusting a total stranger with the job.
Freelancers can also be a source of some trial-and-error headaches, as you attempt to put together a workable team, but some writers just can’t hold up their end of the deal.
This is not to suggest, however that you shouldn’t hire a freelancer, since, again, many of the very best copywriters are freelancers, too. It tends to be only very large companies or marketing campaigns that can afford their services.
So, what’s a stressed web developer or a busy small business owner to do?
9. Copywriting Agencies
The happy medium is found in those agencies and writing service companies which work exclusively with freelance contractors. CopywriterToday is one such service business. We have put together a team of more than fifty writers so far, and we are constantly training them and helping them learn the arts of copywriting and online content creation.
When you sign up with CopywriterToday, you are guaranteed that your writing needs will be satisfied by writers that are both good and reliable. Each writer that we contract with goes through an automatic vetting process and hours of training, so that we can be sure they can be counted on to deliver quality work on time.
With this system, you can place an order for a short blog post which will be written, optimized for search engine marketing, and returned to you within two business days.
That’s not even to mention that you can specify the type of content you want created, and whether it should be written as copy or just informative content. If you don’t like the initial outcome, you get an unlimited number of rewrites. Either way, you can rest assured that the content you want will be delivered.
10. Copywriting Saves You Time and Effort
We should touch on why you even need this service in the first place, especially if you like to write and create your own content. More so if you also already know how to write good copy.
The answer is that even the best of the best in the industry can’t do everything on their own.
If you’re building up your own business, there are a huge number of factors that you have to keep track of in order to make sure that the new enterprise might have a chance for success.
You’ve got to budget for everything. You’ve got to worry about overhead and marketing and taxes and employee benefits. There’s quality control and customer service, inventory and market research, and heaven only knows what else.
Probably the last thing you feel like worrying about is running the company blog.
And yet, that’s a part just as crucial to the company’s success as any other factor. The blog is how you reach the customer when you can’t personally be there. It’s how you share information about the product and how the customer can learn why they need the product. If you’re offering a service, the blog can provide real-world examples of lives made better through your service.
This sort of thing is right up a professional copywriter’s alley.
By hiring a copywriter, one way or another, you can shift the burden of reaching for customers’ hearts and minds onto someone else who is definitely interested in doing it, and in getting it right. Copywriters love writing, and they love writing with a powerful purpose.
11. This is Art!
Persuasion is an art, and good copy is the artwork itself. Your blog or website is a blank canvas waiting to have art made on it.
Commercial art is still art, no less so than any beautiful portrait found in a classical museum. After all, the great masters certainly didn’t do their work for free, either. Just because money is involved doesn’t make your business crass or deserving of crass work. You deserve for your website or blog’s level of quality to reflect the contributions that your company and its products make towards the progress of society.
12. This is True Progress!
And commerce is an enormous contributor to society. Without traders in ancient times, there would have been no progress. Without inventors and concerned individuals who sought better ways of living, and ways of bringing those better ways to the people, there’s little hope that we would have such a wealthy and abundant society now.
An essential component in that process of societal advancement has always been that of the marketers and advertisers who worked tirelessly to persuade ordinary people that they could give up an old way of doing things in favor of something better. Indeed, we could say that it was the copywriters behind every inventor and innovator who truly brought new things and new ideas to light.
By writing copy in such a way as to make it clear what your product is and why it’s so good for those who read about it, you can get the marketing attention you need without seeming to actually cry for it. And you can get your customers to act in your favor by buying.
Don’t you have something good to share with the world? Don’t you have something that will make many people’s lives better in some way? Even if it’s nothing new, aren’t you at least making it more available to more people? You should be rewarded for that, but the only way for that to happen is if people know about it and why they need it!
You should sign up for the services of a whole team of copywriters, because you deserve for people to notice what you have to offer them. You deserve to be rewarded for giving people what they want, and copywriters can get you to that point.