who exactly is a copywriter?

The first time i heard someone describe his job as a copywriter, i was confused. I mean, what does it mean to be a copywriter? Is it even a real job? I thought to myself: A copywriter sounds like a cheat. The term reminded me of someone that cheats during an examination. You know; a person that looks at my answer sheet, sees what i write in it (no matter how much i try to shield it) and then copies it into his own answer sheet. Those people tend to get more marks than those they copy. I don’t know how they do it! Anyways, this thought of mine cannot be farther from the truth! Over the years, i’ve got to understand who a copywriter is and what he/she does – copywriting!

First of all, a copywriter has nothing to do with copyrights – not a thing! It sounds alike, right? I noticed this too! Perhaps you’ll come up with a better name for copywriters at the end of this article. Like i said, a copywriter’s job is copywriting. That begs the question; what is copywriting?

Copywriting is the know-how of writing specific and thought-out words that’ll elicit an action – the desired action – from your audience.

Most of copywriting is done digitally but it can also be offline on a flyer or billboard. Let’s looks at a basic example of what copywriting is all about;

Let’s say you’re having a party and you want friends to come bearing gifts. You can send an invite that says; Hey, I’m having my birthday party next week and i want you to be there. PS: Don’t forget to bring me something when coming. See you there! or another one that says; Hey Chris, I’m expecting you next week for my birthday party. You must come cause it’s not gonna be awesome without you. Thanks for the shirt you bought me the last time . . . i’m still wearing it! Have a nice day!

Which of these invites do you think will do well? Of course, it’s the second invite – it’s personal as it focuses more on the individual (chris) than on you. It passes across the message that you appreciate his gift the previous time and the party will be “dead” without him. So he knows he has to show up and he most likely will bring something with him because you’re appreciative. Looking at the first invite, the reader may not even come to the party because it’s too much about what you want and less about what the reader wants. So even though it’s your birthday party, it’s not totally about you. And that’s what copywriting is basically about.

A copywriter makes his need your need

What does a Copywriter do?

what exactly does a copywriter do?A copywriter writes to get your attention and he does this by giving out valuable contents – either educative or entertaining – with the aim of getting you to perform an action. A lot of content (text) you see on the internet on blogs, social media, in ads, in your mailbox are written by copywriters that work for different agencies. This does not mean that all copywriters write only for advertisement. Some may write to elicit an action or emotion e.g resentment, love etc. Copywriting is not just about getting sales, it’s about brand awareness and maintaining a relationship with their audience that is mutually benefiting.

Remember, a copywriter always has an objective for his content and sometimes, it’s not to get you to buy something. A content writer is different from a copywriter in that he/she will not expect you to take action after reading the post. It’s all about giving you the information you need. This does not mean a content writer has no objective, it’s just a different objective. That said, copywriting and content writing go hand in hand.

A copywriter researches the best way to reach a target audience with his words. As a copywriter, you research, write, edit, proofread and publish content. You align the objectives of your client with the wants/needs of your target audience. Then find the best way to pass across your client’s message to the right audience and get the desired action. This requires you to be aware of the right medium to use to reach your audience. You need to ask questions like: Will social media work better than emails? Will google ads work better than billboards? Is the business local or international? Who exactly am i writing to??!

Why is a Copywriter needed?

why copywriters are needed

  • No matter the kind of audience you’re searching for, you can always find them online. Doesn’t matter what is being sold, the internet is where you find all kinds of buyers. The funny thing is if you decide to start selling dog poop online, you’d probably be surprised at the number of buyers knocking on your door. Knowing your audience is present online doesn’t mean you can reach them though and this is why copywriters are needed. Having expertise and experience in online marketing, they are able to guide businesses to their audience or guide their audience to the business.
  • The amount of content on the web is enormous! With the churning out of thousands of content everyday, it becomes imperative to stand out. This is exactly what a copywriter will do for you.
  • There’s a very good tendency for you to google a product you want to buy and then read information, reviews and whatnot about the product. Imagine if there’s no information about the product online, what do you think will happen? You’ll probably forget about the product and go for its competition. It doesn’t mean the product is not good, it just means you don’t know! This is what copywriters try to prevent. As long as you have a product to sell or service to render, then they make sure people know about it.
  • Copywriters are also needed to write text offline e.g for flyers and billboards. This text are usually short and requires a message to be passed across in few words. So most text (if not all) on billboards you see around are written by copywriters
  • Local businesses can make use of online articles and informative posts to tell their local residents about their business. And who knows how to target local audiences better than a good copywriter??

How do Copywriters do it?

Copywriting is a skill that takes learning and practice to be really good at. There are various resources online that teach how to be a better copywriter and you can do well to check them out. But being a copywriter requires you to understand some things about writing;

  • It’s not about you: It’s about the audience you’re writing to. First is to know who they are and then list features of these individuals. Are they married females having 9 – 5 jobs living in a particular city? You need some data like gender, age, marital status, location etc that’ll help you reach them. After which you shouldn’t talk at them. Instead, talk to them. The fact that you like what you write doesn’t mean your target audience likes it. what benefit do they stand to gain? What makes them tick? Why should they listen to you?
  • The less personal you are, the less your copy is effective. Avoid using generic terms and focus on a particular reader – your buyer persona. Get into the mud with them and let them know that you’re just like them.
  • Avoid passing across too much information. One tends to listen to someone that talks less than someone that talks all day every day! Don’t let the message you’re passing across in your content get lost in the unimportant but necessary jargon. Keep it simple and straightforward.
  • Add SEO (search engine optimization) to your to-do list. How many times have you searched on google and gone to the second or third page for your answer? Not very often, right? Well, that’s exactly why you need to make sure your copy is on the first page of google when information related to it is searched. Not only that but it should be the first 3 – 5 results shown by google. This is important because even if you write good copies, many won’t get to read them if they can’t see it. There’s a popular saying among marketers; “The best place to bury a dead body is the second page of google search results”. Therefore, take note of necessary things to do in order to enable your page rank at the top (or close to the top) on search engines such as google and bing. On-page SEO is especially necessary to carry out when copywriting.
  • Avoid promising what cannot be delivered in your copy. This may earn you clicks in the short run but it’ll harm you greatly in the long run. You don’t want to be the guy that said; “Click this, and your life will change forever” and after clicking it, they realize that nothing has changed. Next time, they most likely won’t click your button cause they know the chances of you saying anything true is less than 1%.

 

Types of Copywriters

Agency Copywriters

These are copywriters that work for a marketing agency . They work 40(+) hours a week and earn a salary at the end of the month. Agency copywriters tend to have good experience in writing because they work with a diverse team and write for established brands. This gives them an insight into how businesses are run and it also enables them to see and understand what happens behind the scene of a large corporation.

Even though there isn’t much freedom and the pay may not be as good as you want it, it’s a good place to learn and grow. You learn from team members, from the agency and from the companies you write for. This is invaluable if eventually you decide to establish your own marketing agency at a latter time. If an agency copywriter eventually leaves the job and goes into freelancing, it shouldn’t be too hard getting gigs for good prices.

 

Corporate Copywriters

As a corporate copywriter, you work for a particular company and write their contents. It’s also a job but you don’t work for an agency, you only write and edit every content that represent one particular company be it emails, newsletters, ads, social media texts etc. It’s a stable job and the pay may be on the low or medium side depending on the company you work for.

 

Freelance Copywriters

Here you work at your own pace and charge the exact amount your time is worth. The better you get at copywriting, the more you can charge your clients. Starting out may not be easy, but as you build your network and clients, you tend to get more gigs as long as you’re good at what you do which is creating high converting content. As a freelance copywriter, you can work from anyplace in the world – as long as you’re with your laptop – it’s all about the result you can get. You can choose not to work for a 3 months if you feel like and yet gigs will still be waiting for your return as long as you’re good at what you do.

The downside is that you most likely won’t get gigs from large corporations as these kind of jobs usually go to the agencies. This means you probably won’t get the kind of buck an agency collects, neither will you have such an experience but you should most likely earn more money than a copywriter working in an agency – if you’re good at what you do!

 

Becoming a Copywriter

Ready to become a copywriterReady to start killing it?? Fantastic! Like any other business, it takes time to develop your skills and grow. And if you’re a freelance copywriter, it takes time to move from earning little to earning massive income. It is a process and the pay increases as you sharpen your skills and get more client.

  • A copywriter should be able to tell a story. i don’t care how boring the message you want to pass across is, you should be able to do it in an interesting way. Have you noticed that you remember the story your kindergarten teacher told you years ago about the Tortoise but you can’t remember the topics your high school teacher taught? Well, that’s what stories do! They stay in our memories and build houses there. The interesting thing is we even remember boring stories too because they are boring. Don’t tell boring stories though; It only reminds people that read it to tell their friends not to buy what you’re selling.

When telling your story, eliciting emotion is very important. You may forget the words used by someone when admiring or mistreating you, but you can’t forget the way the person made you feel! So when writing your copy, think about how you want your audience to feel during and after reading the post. What will that feeling result in . . . what action will come out of it as a result?

  • Endeavor to pick a niche: You can’t write about everything. You need to specialize. Just like you trust a dentist more than a neurosurgeon for your teeth problems, clients prefer a copywriter that specializes in writing about their kind of product. This specialty enables you to own a particular space. It tells your audience that you know what you’re doing and it also helps you to know your audience better. You get to understand them and find out the best way to reach them.

 

  • Always offer more value than is paid for: This is very important especially if you’re just starting. It’s not for the client’s sake but for your own sake. You would most likely call the person again for another job and be eager to refer them to friends and family. This does not mean you should go over the top. It just means you should value the work you do. Inasmuch as it is for a client, it also represents you for that’s your work.

 

  • Don’t just write for any client you see: It’s important you vet the product of the client in question. don’t just write for the money. Money is important but you know what’s more important – your reputation. Reputation outlasts money all day, everyday and you should protect your reputation. Don’t write about a product as standard when you know it isn’t. The more you do this, the more you lose your audience and the less gig you get as a freelance copywriter. Don’t do it!

 

Most of the things i know are successful takes time. It’s gonna take some time before you start seeing results – good results. So don’t expect to start earning the big bucks immediately you start. It requires patience and perseverance. So keep writing and getting better at it and in no time ( okay, a little bit of time), you’d start earning a nice sum that’ll allow you to resign your current job – if you want.

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