What is copywriting? The 12 Advices I Would have love to know before starting
What is copywriting? The art of weilding words in a powerful way so as to bring people into your world, your company, your product.
Advertising is fun and creative. It is the transmission of a message and a universe. Let’s learn together how to enjoy the journey of a copywriter, where to get ideas, concepts and start working on interesting projects. 🥂
PART 1: What is copywriting ?
Copywriting: Using words, creativity and the art of persuasion to produce engaging, clear content for advertising or marketing.
Basically, you’re in charge of the content marketing of articles, newsletters, adverts, social media and any sort of web content related to marketing.
The difference between a copywriter and a writer is that you’re working for a brand and you’re using proven methods to build trust and appreciation from the audience for that brand.
What are the new trends about copywriting in 2021?
Copywriting is not brand new, it’s been around since the beginning of marketing. But as marketing as become such an important part of our consuming system, it keeps evolving and adapting to the audience.
Think about it, in 1960s people had started to have TVs in their houses and started seeing marketing everywhere. At the very beginning of it, they would have been pretty malleable and purchase any kind of product. Nowadays people are way more educated about things and marketing techniques are adapting accordingly.
What is on the wave of 2022 ?
- Brand Value and Awareness.
Value is worth more than discounts.
People want to know what they are buying and what are the values of the brands behind the products. They know how to look and where to look for information. Apps and products to help them decide what to buy such as Yuka have become huge in the market. There is a real need for values and transparency.
Create empathy, context and connection.
People want to be seduced and be loved. It’s the bitter realization made by Isabelle Sorente in her article about the “high-tech of hope” that I discovered in philosophy magazine. She found out many studies explaining that our phones and computers are our new mirrors.
We need rewards, love, appreciation and mostly, we need to feel connected to the brand and understand their journey – like following a friend into her/his life adventure. In that way, we are one with them and they are one with us, the love story begins.
- Personalized human content.
Feelings are the best marketers.
As we just were explaining that between the 1960s, people get spam all the time by ads and marketing content. This is still going strong now and people are tired. We are all tired and therefore still very much influenced by everything that is around us. But hard core sale ads don’t work as much as it used to either. Feelings are the new marketer’s elixir.
- Educational content.
Teach something and you’ll get a reward.
Even tho I know copywriting methods, I still click on the articles with the most appealing titles and get disappointed by the quality of the content. It’s a fact. So, how do you change this? By writing quality content that makes your audience feel grateful for your work and appreciative of your expertise.
- Visual content.
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
I found that that the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. It made me think about my carrier actually. 😂
As we all know, webinars and podcasts are blowing up and are 2021’s biggest success stories. If you want to still using words and writing, you need to add some nice visuals to keep your audience interested. Gif, videos and infographics work pretty well too.
Why is copywriting important ?
Why do you think persuading somebody of the worth of what you’re doing or what you have created is important? Because it’s all you have to bring it to life. There is no genius without people recognizing their work, as much as there is no company without customers.
If you can’t convince people, you’ll die.
It’s even more true nowadays than ever before in history. Marketing is the new battlefield and you’ve gotta be prepared for it. Words are your arms.
What’s the Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing?
Copywriting is any writing that’s done for marketing purposes.
Content writing is the process of planning, writing and editing web content.
So basically, you can write for communication purposes and not having to check out ROI (return on investment) and earnings related to your campaign when you’re a content writer. When you’re a copywriter, you’re a “marketing writer”, you need to sell with your words, so we are going to check out financial results of your work.
What is copywriting for social media?
There are many different ways to start developing a copywriting marketing strategy. Most companies are looking for community managers (freelancing or full-time jobs).
Depending on what company you’re working at, your job is going to be very different.
- For B2b companies you will mostly use LinkedIn.
- For B2c companies, Instagram and now TikTok are both part of the game.
So your job will be to create a community, making sure they engage, evolve and bring new followers.
Each social media as its own way, and you’ll need to master yours to be able to create a bigger audience.
Where to learn copywriting ?
The usual answer would be to give you a bunch of copywriting books. I don’t think that is the best way to learn it. Learning comes with searching and being curious.
- Follow brands that you admire. Like Lion Matches up here. 👆
- Then, get books that help you think outside the box and not inside the methods
- Steal like an artist, Austin Kleon. > Creativity.
- Big Magic, Elisabeth Gilbert. > Creativity.
- Ted talks, speak in public. > The art of speaking.
- The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort. > Sales skills.
- Get just a few books inside the box to be able to learn structure while you start.
- Copywriting Secrets, Jim Edwards.
- Love-Based Online Marketing, Michele BW.
- Learn who are the best copywriters and why. (Stan Freberg,Jay Abraham, Joanna Wiebe, David Ogilvy).
Who is David Ogilvy ?
I felt like, it was impossible to go through the journey of copywriting without talking about him. David Ogilvy is the pioneer of copywriting.
He his one of the first marketers that actually talked about having fun in the job. Work was not something serious, it was something not to take seriously enough to be able to be good at it. He had a great sense of humor and people knew him for his famous quotes.
David Ogilvy quotes
David Ogivly ads
Types of Copywriting
Alright, now you want to know what kind of copywriting exists, what you can do with it and how each of those little universes works?
Well, me too, so let’s get into it :
- You could be a Blog writer. In that case, you’re usually freelance and you write about what you love and create a business around it.
- You could work for an advertising company or be a consultant in advertising. Pretty cool.
- You could be a editor full time for a company or as a freelancer for different businesses. Which is my job. If you ask me, it’s the best job on the whole planet, but not sure I am objective on this one.
Article writer (Journalism)
If you are good at telling and selling stories, you might end up being a journalist, and write articles for media (business or not).
Here are a few examples :
- News Corp.
- The New York Times Company.
- Daily Journal Corporation.
If you want to work for Journalism, here is what you need to know :
- Usually you study for 5 years, preferably a journalism master or a master in business specialized in communication.
- The average salary for a journalist is $41969 in the US, in France it really depends on your career and vary a lot. (Between 1140€ and 4100€ per month.)
The cliché of the travel blogger is not so much of a cliché anymore. I tried to find out how many are out there, but it’s hard to get a specific number. All I know is that only 20% of them become successful influencers. It’s a “hard to get in” market, but it’s not impossible, you’re allowed to dream big.
If you want to have your own blog, here is what you need to know :
- Get enough information about technical stuff (create, manage and update a blog).
- Find out what is going to be your blog content, study the market and verify if there are people searching for what you want to talk about.
- Check out your future competitors, what do they do and how does it make them successful?
- Learn all you need to know about SEO content.
- Photography, montage and community management are part of the job. You cannot just write articles, you need to brand yourself.
Advertising copywriter and advertising agency
You want your words to be on big avenues and be able to create original content and have fun in the process?
Advertising is an interesting world, it’s definitely pretty stressful because the clients are very demanding and you have short deadlines, but it’s also very creative and interesting.
If you want to work for a marketing agency, here is what you need to know:
- You’ll usually need a master in business specialized in communication or marketing.
- You’ll need to be able to use software such as Illustrator and Photoshop.
- Being a professional writer is not enough. Having skills in design is pretty mandatory in most of the job offers.
Business Writer B2b
So, here it comes, the core of what we are talking about in this article. Digital-Marketing writing. Which can be: Community management, newsletters, articles for blogs, internal communication, ads (SEO/SEA).
If you want to work in copy writing for inbound marketing, here is what you need to know:
- Learning about SEO and SEA is a must.
- Having enough knowledge in copywriting.
- Understanding how the market you’re into works.
- Being able to track down your results and create a profitable marketing campaign.
So, we’ve been repeating the term SEO without really explaining what it is about. To be an SEO expert you just need good training or time dedicated to find the right information online. I believe you can learn it all by yourself. It’s a market in constant movement, so, stay awake. 😳
It’s basically: Seach-Engine Optimizer. It means that you’ll not only write for people, but you’ll write for Google. There is a bunch of rules to respect in order to make Google’s robot life easier to understand your message and your articles. If you do so, you’ll end up on the first page of search. If you don’t, you might end up lost in limbs of the internet.
What is SEO copywriting ?
It’s a perfect mix between a creative writer and technical writer.
SEO copywriting is a hard skill, which means that you need to learn how to use specific tools and techniques.
Blog writing is not just about creative content, it’s an addition of:
- Structure : To find the right titles and core of your article (basically to know what people are searching for) you can use SEMRush, 1.fr or Answer the Public.
- Links: To understand how to use Backlinks you need training. You can also use SemRush, Ahrefs and SEObserver.
- Seach: You need to focus on “how to speak to the audience”. For that you need to know which articles are reliable, where to find the right information and how to transmit the relevant information in a fun way.
- Analyzing results: Once you’ve got Google analytics and SemRush to verify your position, see if it’s better or worse and adjust your technical writing accordingly. Checking out what competitors have done to be at the top of the results page is also very important.
PART 2. What is a copywriter?
A copywriter would be somebody that knows how to use words to sell without sounding like a spammer or a salesman. It’s a subtle way to persuade your audience that they should trust your products or your brand.
The copywriter is a marketing influencer for your audience.
There are different options:
- Freelance writer.
- Freelance copywriters.
- Blog writer.
- Community manager.
- Advertising and marketing manager.
- Search engine optimization experts or consultants.
Pro’s and cons:
🟢 Freelance copywriting > You don’t have a boss, but you need to find your own clients and they can be very demanding.
🟠 Community manager > You have a right to create content at a very fast pace, but it’s a very creative job. You need to be multitasking between design, copywriting and respond fast to followers.
🔴 Advertising > It’s very creative, but it depends on how much your clients are demanding. You have to be very sharp and always think about the clients tastes before yours. You need to be able to work in a team.
How to become a copywriter?
You can start by trying to write a web copy and send it to copywriters to get their point of view. You can also take a copywriting course or simply read a few books to become a junior copywriter:
- The copywriter’s handbook. (Power words).
- How to write copy that sells. (Marketing).
- Story genius (creativity).
If you have or willing to have LinkedIn learning, you’ve got access to a comprehensive training material made by Ian Lurie, founder and CEO of Portent, a digital marketing agency.
You can even get a certificate to download that will help you to have credit and volunteer experience on your resume.
What is your copywriting experience?
I was hoping you would ask. 😂 Mine has been wonderful to be honest. With a year of experience, I have grown so much as a human and a copywriter.
🔴 Here are my biggest mistakes :
- Writing sentences that were way too long and complex. Making it easy to read was my first lesson.
- Not having a structure of the article before starting. You need to know in which order you’re going to write things down to make sure what you write is relevant.
- Not verifying sources thoroughly. You want some data for your article, and then you just start finding what you were looking for. Great. But is the research valuable? Most of the time it isn’t.
- Thinking too much about converting and not enough about user experience. That’s a brand new realization. Sure, you want to convert with your content. But, mostly you want to have a good time writing it, because that’s how people are going to have a good time reading it. Boom, you’ll convert, and it will be more fun for everybody involved.
How Much Does Copywriters Make?
If you’re a freelancer in the US you can expect:
- Beginner (0 to 1 year experience) : $15-$25 per hour.
- Intermediate (From 2 years experience) : $30–45 per hour.
- Experienced (More than 2 years) : $50-$65 per hour.
- Expert (5 years or more) : $75-$125+ per hour.
If you’re employed by a company or an agency:
- A beginner on a full-time job copywriting would make between $52,000 and $62,000 in the US.
- The median annual copywriter salary in the US is $47 838.
What are the jobs offer in copywriting?
Who is going to hire you? Right now, most companies that are looking for copywriters in B2b and tech, and there is an intense demand for writing about cryptocurrency.
PART 3: 12 Tips to become a copywriter
Ready for some copywriting tips? I decided not to copy paste all the tips you will find everywhere in the online writing world, but just to write you what I would have loved to have heard when I’d started. ❤
#1 Learn to be Passionate by Words
There are many ways to be inspired. Even an expo or a webinar can be a new source of inspiration for your copywriting. What has worked for me at any given time? Reading. Reading. Reading.
When I am writing to you, I am retransforming what I have read about creativity, sociology, science and business. I buy books and I buy books that I love. I don’t force myself to get the “10 ways to sell” boring book recommended by the worse salesman of the company.
No, I read poetry and get inspired by the passion of words, watch the French Dispatch or Madmen and get into the loop of creative thinking, grab my computer and transform creative thinking into creative writing.
Read what you want to read. Let yourself float with the words and emotions. Don’t read boring stuff.
Find you then inspire and empower you.
#2 Get into a creative mindset
I remember being 20 years old working in a brand new French Tech start-up, on my first day, the CEO told me to come in the room with all the newbies. He had a study case and a whiteboard and he told us:
Let’s see how you guys brainstorm.
I had no idea how to brainstorm, looked around me for support, nobody knew. It was comforting in a way.
#3 Keep Finding Inspiration
It’s sometimes hard to turn on your computer knowing you have 3000 words to write on a subject that you don’t fancy so much. Sometimes I am myself avoiding it by doing a hundred other things less urgent and less important.
Like answering Gary’s Email about the next afterwork in 2 months. But if you want to get paid, you gotta start your marketing writing at some point. 😂
So, to help me, I have a ritual. I found a few tips in the book “the power of habits.”
- Having a playlist dedicated to deep focus and writing.
- Having a place settled – away from attention-grabbing objects such as a personal phone.
- Having a few books or/ and articles open about what I am going to talk about to be able to pick up and transform ideas.
- Having a mood board to remind myself the brand image and atmosphere of the company, I am writing for. If it’s for me, then, it’s a mood board about me.
#4 Choose your market
What’s a market, why can you find different markets on the market and why that phrase is odd?
The market [general terms]: Where all goods and services are available for buyers. Where all offers and all demands meet.
Your market [specific terms]: Where you can identify the type of people interested by your product and the type of competitors having similar products and trying to reach the same audience as you.
- Perfect competition.
- Monopolistic competition,
Example: a perfect competition on the market is where there is no leader but a certain number of competitors who shared almost equal market portions.
#5 Choose your clients
You cannot talk to everybody and think that you have an universal message to give to the world. You’re not Jesus. You’re a great human, fine, but not Jesus. So, make sure you’ve identified your target audience or you’re working towards it.
- What kind of social media your audience uses?
- What do they like to learn, buy, and get rewards on?
- What language do they speak? What are the emotions that drive them to purchase?
- How to create content that stimulates and engages them?
#6 Give your audience what they want
What is the most difficult thing for all of us is to merge into someone else’s points of view and behavior. We do what we like, we write the way we would like people to write to us, and that’s the best method of content creation. Studies have found that we are more creative when we talk in our own language and we don’t try to copy writers or audiences. So, how do we do it?
It’s like an actor taking a new role.
It’s not something you can do as easily as it sounds. It’s not just about knowing your persona, it’s also about living in the same skin.
- What message would you have like to have heard if you were in the same state of mind?
- What kind of worries would you have with similar responsabilities?
- What is your target audience’s everyday life in the office?
Great writers are brain hackers.
#7 Create your own brand image
I am never gonna say it enough. Your brand identity is the way people are going to refer to you and feel about your products.
You can use the Kapferer method, and you can also go beyond it:
There are 3 pillars to create a 360° vision in your target market.
Differentiation: In which way people can recognize your brand on the competitor‘s ring. 🥊
- Color palette.
Connection: How do people interact with your brand and feel closer to you and your product. 🤗
Experience: How do they feel while reading your website content or purchasing your items online. 💘
- UX (user experience).
- Tone of voice (Webinar, YouTube).
#8 Always simplify your content
Please, make sure the content written on your blog, website, social media etc is simple to identify and read. Don’t use too many words. Power words are your best friends.
- Make proofreading part of your day-to-day habit.
- Make sure you’re deleting at least 20% of irrelevant content.
- Avoid the annoying or unrevelant words such as “In fact,” “Moreover,” “You have to.”
#9 Have a purpose behind everything you write
In this list of tips for writing, we are only talking about business writing. If you were on a creative journey for a novel, I would not tell you that. I would tell you to write what you like. But here we are learning about business writing.
Every word counts. All your marketing strategies are moving towards one goal: Getting more visible and more clients.
Always keep these things in mind:
Write for fun.
Write because you love it.
But don’t forget to write to sell.
#10 Use transportation for persuasion
Transportation is a persuasive writing style. You are going to make sure that while your audience is reading your texts, you’re turning on the button in their brain telling them to act.
- Use the passive voice: verbal forms that represent the action.
- Give gentle orders, “You must do this so as to” “you should really be doing that” “I highly recommend that you start doing this.” ✅
- Don’t show hesitation. “You might like this” “perhaps”. ❌
#11 Use the Right Tools to Perfect Your Writing
There are many professional copywriting tools for freelancers, agencies and full-time copywriters. Here is a list of the ones I use in my everyday editor job at Waalaxy.
- Antidote: To correct grammar and give me synonyms.
- Merci app: To doublecheck spelling and syntax.
- Respond to The Public: To know more about my audience and which questions they are trying to answer. (To find the theme of my articles).
- SEMrush : It’s a very comprehensive tool, if you’re a full-time web content writer, it’s a must-have. You can check out competitors’ results, your own data, audience’s needs and questions, find subjects to write. Basically, everything you need.
- Textoptimizer: To make sure you’re doing a good job at Seo content writing, you have to write in an Seo-friendly way, and text optimizer is the best tool for this. The tool will tell you what is the best way to add optimization to your content.
- Google Trends: A very important part of copywriting and SEO is to check results to make sure you’re actually on the right path. With Google trends you can see precise analytics about your articles: click rates, time spent reading, bounce rate…
#12 Always check at results
Proven methods don’t mean proven results.
I love that quote. I don’t remember where I read it, but it just stuck. A lot of people out there on the wild internet are going to try and sell you “the proven method to earn clients.”
Most of the time, there is no proven method. Even if they show you results, you should always question the data. Where do they come from? Are they valuable? Can they prove it?
Conclusion of the Article
So, what is copywriting?
The business aspect of it: Using the power of words and the art of persuasion to produce engaging, clear content for advertising or marketing.
How to become a copywriter?
- #1 Learn to be passionate with words.
- #2 Get into a creative mindset.
- #3 Keep finding inspiration.
- #4 Choose your market.
- #5 Choose your clients.
- #6 Give your audience what they want.
- #7 Create your own brand image.
- #8 Always simplify your content.
- #9 Have a purpose behind everything you write.
- #10 Use transportation for persuasion.
- #11 Use the right tools to perfect your writing.
- #12 Always check the results.
FAQ : What is copywriting?
Will copywriting be automated?
Yes, and No. ❌
But mostly yes, unfortunately.
Yes, certain areas of copywriting are already being written by AI software and it’s becoming more and more common.
How does it work?
Someone gives the AI a specific topic with a few conditions to achieve their mission, and the AI gets information from a bunch of articles already online, rephrases it, adjusts it and in a few seconds, has brand new content to offer.
The conditions are getting more and more specific and we’ve evolved into making very good AI software nowadays. So you could ask your robot for a particular tone, the number of words or even how optimized for Google your text needs to be.
Two kinds of AI exist. The one that does everything for you and the one that helps you make better copywriting choices. Here are two examples:
- CopyAI : create any kind of marketing content in a few clicks. One of the biggest on the market.
- Anyword : The first copywriting AI to offer a predictive performance score so you can make smarter choices.
Is content marketing the same as copywriting?
Yes and No.
Copywriting is a technique used while you’re writing marketing content.
- Copywriting: Using words to persuade your audience. It can be on a lot of different communication channels – Newsletter, email marketing, social media, digital content.
- Content marketing (general term): creating free content to attract prospects to create visibility.
Now you can answer the question of what is copywriting, so get started. 😉