6 Essential Skills for Copywriters

Updated on April 19, 2020
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Michael is an online affiliate marketer and blogger with a degree in international marketing who works for a global e-commerce company.

1. Become Inspirational

A copywriter needs to be able to communicate effectively, to convey a message in a way that impacts potential clients and elicits a response.

It is possible to be a great writer yet not be effective when reaching out to the target audience. If the article fails to inspire and stir the reader into action, then it falls short of meeting the objective.

Copywriting material that creates excitement is more likely to sell than a message that simply imparts information. Businesses are not just interested in sales, they want to build a list and generate traffic.

So businesses want some information about their clients. Copy should motivate people to submit their personal details. This incentive could be in the form of providing free offers, for example e-books or special discounts.

A copywriter should be well-versed in the topic they are engaged in. The topic should be interesting both to the copywriter and to the target audience. Create the outline of the copy on the foundation of this common interest.

Ask the question: why should they trust anything I communicate as a copywriter?

What makes me stand out?

2. Differentiate Yourself

The copywriter should also be grammatically flawless in his presentation. Their grammar and sentence construction should be clear and precise. That way, the author looks professional and reliable to the target audience.

When customers are about to make a purchasing decision, they have several choices; often one is that they could buy the same item from a variety of other vendors out there.

So the question is, what is so different about your product that would make them want to buy it instead?

If the product is digital, for example an e-book, customers cannot be sure the content is exactly what they want, or that it meets their expectations. They obviously cannot access the contents without paying for it first.

So why would they buy it? Moreover, with all the countless scams and raw deals out there today, why should they trust anything you communicate as a copywriter? Aside from your products, what makes you different?

This is where talent and experience come into play. Professional copywriting that is refined and skilled will settle all these questions and provide credible answers that build trust and lead to purchases.

Dan Kennedy became an expert in Sales and Marketing by continuously developing his skills. For more details on how you can make a difference, check out his book, The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales.

3. Tap Into Practical Needs

Life experience and academic education do not in themselves qualify one to become a good copywriter. Room for improvement still exists every day even for those who have been at it for many years.

So the successful copywriter needs to have solid writing and communication skills plus a good grasp of the art of persuasion and consumer psychology. A few lines in an advert most likely involve much more than meets the eye.

For example, consider this situation: Website statistics are showing a lot of traffic coming through, yet conversions are either minimal or nonexistent. Good copywriting can turn this sales equation around and create a profitable connection between traffic and real conversions.

For this to happen, the copywriter must understand the foundational needs that move people to make a purchase. Then, they should know how to channel their copywriting in order to tap into those needs.

What needs are these?

They could vary. For example, a customer may need to expand their circle of influence, or a customer may need security or assurance. What matters is that you identify the customer needs your particular website hopes to address.

4. Develop Analytical Judgement

Besides intelligence, creativity, and writing ability, a copywriter needs other skills: He or she needs to know how to perform keyword research, how to analyze data and statistical trends.

Their analytical skills should be able to place them at the forefront of monitoring and interpreting website engagement, conversions and other statistics relevant to sales operations.

A marketing department most likely already employs workers to handle and manage this side of the business. But since the copywriter is involved in the process of generating this data, they need to have the skills required to work with the statistics.

Having these skills may mean the difference between being hired for a job and losing the opportunity to a more worthy candidate. A knowledge of keyword research will enable them to come up with the right terms that are popular in searches.

A copywriter also has to know the modern tools used in marketing and promotion: advertising and promotional strategies, processes used to generate traffic and optimize sales pages, and how to improve the ranking of a site on search engines.

5. Build Your Portfolio

A copywriter needs to be capable of generating content that is action-driving. Action-driven text is what produces profound results.

To achieve this, he or she needs to understand how a potential customer audience in might think and act. This will enable the copywriter to formulate their message accordingly, in a fashion that is guaranteed to deliver an impact and bring about desired results.

A background in writing (be it articles, books, other literary material or even sales letters) helps create the foundation necessary to become competent in the copywriting business.

A background in sales or marketing and customer service is also helpful since it makes the copywriter in touch with the sales process and how the customers respond to that process and how they interact with it.

Even if you do not have a portfolio, you could begin by creating some small articles, booklets, brochures, leaflets, emails or sales letters for free. You can do this for charity organizations, magazines, newspapers or other publications.

The objective here is to have something with which you can show how you have converted your knowledge into practical efforts that have made a difference.

You could also contact small local businesses that are in the process of distributing promotional material or creating awareness of their online presence. Present them with your rates and services.

Online freelance platforms like Upwork.com and Freelancer.com are also a good place to sign up for assignments in order to build your portfolio.

6. Continuous Improvement

Even the perfect sales and marketing system, for the greatest product on the market with the biggest discount, will not reach its potential if the copy is not exceptional.

There is no simple formula for developing good copywriting skills. It will require continuous training and practice to build competence.

The good news is that you do not have to engage in some expensive course or degree program in order to improve your expertise in copywriting. Plenty of free solid guides and tutorials can help you develop your skills.

Additionally, you could also review the type of material that is submitted by successful sales companies and professional copywriters, to get the feel of what is entailed in good copywriting.

For a good foundation in understanding copywriting, go to your local library. Try to find books there specifically on copywriting training. Alternatively, you could turn to the internet and check for online tools, resources, and tutorials on how to be a better copywriter and how to improve your skills in the trade.

One of these free sites is Sherus.com which has a collection of articles on how to develop your copywriting. Alternatively, you could try out the courses on other sites where you can learn at your own convenience and at your own pace.

Make sure that you are training and developing yourself every single day. It is like the bodybuilder who shows up at the gym daily to build his muscles. The more you keep working at it, the better your skills improve and the more consistent you will become in your expertise. It takes education, persistence, and experience to succeed.

If you are a good writer, you will find a way to write good copy. The thing to bear in mind is that when it comes to copywriting, you are still a writer, but with a different style and to a different audience.

To quote a useful book The Copywriter's Handbook, A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy that Sells: "A copywriter is a salesperson behind a typewriter."

You are not writing to entertain. You are writing to establish a connection. You want the audience to connect with you enough that they will be persuaded or convinced to go for the purchase.

© 2019 Michael Duncan

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