Table Of Contents How To Be A Copywriter In The Digital Era What Are The Hallmarks Of Digital Copy? How Do You Become A Copywriter? Habits To Form Today. What Is The Role Of A Copywriter? Types Of Copywriters And Salary Structure How To Get Started In Copywriting: Top Skills Every Copywriter Must Possess. How… Continue reading How To Become A Copywriter: A Beginners Guide
Table Of Contents
- How To Be A Copywriter In The Digital Era
- What Are The Hallmarks Of Digital Copy?
- How Do You Become A Copywriter? Habits To Form Today.
- What Is The Role Of A Copywriter?
- Types Of Copywriters And Salary Structure
- How To Get Started In Copywriting: Top Skills Every Copywriter Must Possess.
- How To Get Into Copywriting: 5 Steps To Kickstart Your Career
- Shortcuts To Copywriting Success
- Have Fun While You Write
- Key Takeaways
Copywriting is the art of writing persuasive advertisements in a crisp manner, driven by consumer insights. It is the language a brand uses to attract, convert and retain its customers. Copywriting is found in everything from BTL (below the line) media like flyers to ATL (above the line) communications like TV, newspaper ads, billboards, and radio. However, copywriting has been undergoing a fundamental evolution in the last decade with the emergence of digital copywriting. Today, Most of the text you see on the web is some sort of “copy.” This includes website copy, web banners, social media ads, and emailers.
Copywriting is a very well-paying and sought-after skill set. Some copywriters earn millions; their ideas are the spark that ignites creative campaigns across all media.
How to Be a Copywriter in the Digital Era
Digital copywriting is different in many ways from traditional copywriting; it has to be crisp and short without using flowery language. The copy has to cut through the clutter. It has to catch the eye of the consumer to engage them. The results of the digital copy are immediately measurable, whether it be in terms of the number of clicks to the landing page, likes, and comments on the social media page, or purchases on the e-commerce store.
This is a game-changing advantage for marketing strategists. Earlier, they had to wait for sales figures at the end of every year. This way, they would understand the impact of their traditional advertising campaigns. If there were profits, it was assumed the advertising was working, or a new agency was roped in. With digital advertising, the results are immediate and clear for all to see.
The Hallmarks Of Excellent Copy
1. It’s informative
It solves a user’s problem. For example, say a user is searching for a gym in his neighborhood. He comes across an ad with compelling copy and visuals that entice him to click and go to a gym’s landing page.
That’s it, he found what he was looking for, and his problem was solved. CTR (Click-Through-Rate) is the number of clicks an ad generates. It is an important metric to determine the success of a digital campaign. Generally, the higher the CTR, the more effective the campaign is.
2. It’s different from the rest
With millions of advertising messages on the web, it is imperative to be different. Your advertising message must be such that it invites the user’s attention. The trick to creative advertising is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. For example, the recent Cred ad shows famous cricketer Kapil Dev behaving like Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh, which is the opposite of the usual. Usually, younger actors perform the role of older icons.
3. It’s well targeted
SEO has emerged as the new way to target users according to their interests and demographics. The correct usage of keywords ensures that your ad reaches the right target audience. This makes it relevant for users who see it and considerably enhances the CTR and lead conversion. But, keywords have to be used appropriately, or the content becomes very hard to read. This is the key role of digital copywriters – to insert keywords creatively without compromising the quality of the content, i.e., avoiding keyword stuffing.
4. It produces immediate results
The headline should convert a lead into a purchase. For example, if a user searches for flights from Mumbai to Goa, he will come across online banner ads or emails from travel agencies or airlines. The ad or email with the best deal written most creatively is likely to garner the purchase.
How Do You Become A Copywriter: Habits To Form
There are no prerequisites in terms of academic background and qualifications. Anyone from an engineer to a journalism graduate can consider this career option. What should drive the decision to become a copywriter is your love for brands and your passion for writing copy. But, a few of the qualities mentioned below are the trademarks of budding copywriters.
1. Start to love editing
You should know that a headline takes a lot of rewriting till you get it perfect. The same goes for body copy. It takes a lot of patience and skill to keep reworking the copy till you get it right. Sometimes you may hit the bull’s eye right away. But, that is the exception rather than the rule. You should be prepared to grind it out in the long run.
2. Be a bit of both: A salesman and a wordsmith
A copywriter is a great salesman who can replicate his pitch in prose. Writing skills are essential to create a catchy headline and write a long copy. Of course, you must love what you are writing, or else you will never be able to churn out copy endlessly.
3. Analyze consumer behavior
You also need to understand why people buy the things they do, so you essentially need to know some consumer psychology.
4. Create content that breaks the clutter
Storytelling skills are essential to keep the audience glued. You have to communicate with your audience as if you are telling a child a bedtime story. They have to hang on to your every word.
For that, you must know how to connect with the audience using a wide range of emotions like humor, concern, or aspiration.
5. Improve your research skills
To come up with advertising copy, you have to first see what the competitors are doing. What is working and what is not must be understood clearly. The ability to conduct extensive research on the client’s problem is essential. All of this helps to come up with creative solutions.
6. Be up-to-date with social media
Having a social media presence is a prerequisite in the digital age. This way, you can keep abreast of all the new features introduced on various platforms.
You need to adapt your copy to various platforms as per their requirements. For example, Twitter requires you to fit your copy within a specific word count. Along with that, it has to be written in a way that connects with the interests of Twitter users.
7. Utilize feedback constructively
The client often has specific business objectives that are to be attained. If you receive feedback, you must know how to address it in your copy and improve it. It takes years for a copywriter to achieve the skill levels of an expert. Even then, the clients will often ask for their inputs to be incorporated. So, a flexible approach is for one always to be willing to learn and create better copy is indispensable.
What is the Role Of A Copywriter?
The role of a copywriter evolves with experience. As a junior copywriter, you would be expected to come up with creative headlines and share them with a creative director. But, as you gain experience, you would be fully responsible for all the copy requirements of a client across all media.
- Your job role would include creating ideas, writing copy, editing, and proofreading.
- You would also be required to present your ideas to clients.
- You have to understand the client’s brief thoroughly.
- You have to ask questions and clear doubts to ensure that your copy is on the right track.
- For video ads, you would need to accompany ad filmmakers and ensure that the script that you have written is executed as per your vision.
- You would need to collaborate closely with the art director for print and digital ads so that words and graphics combine aesthetically.
Types of Copywriters and their Salary Structure
1. In-house copywriters
A company employs them to write their exclusive content. They are tasked with writing magazine articles, internal communications such as emails, posters, and newsletters.
They would also be responsible for updating all the content on the company’s social media pages.
The advantage of being an in-house copywriter is that you gain a high level of expertise in one industry. That helps in creating a high-quality copy. Naturally, the bigger and more reputed the company, the better it will pay. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for copywriters varies between $28000 and $46000.
2. Advertising agency copywriter
An ad agency copywriter begins his career as a trainee copywriter. He is inducted into the creative department and works under a creative director who helps him hone his skills.
As he grows inexperienced, he works across a wide range of brands with an agency’s advertising contract. So, he gets a lot of opportunities to write creatively across a wide range of formats. According to Payscale, a senior copywriter earns around INR 6,00,000 per annum on average in India, while the salary of a creative director can go upwards of INR 12,00,000 per annum.
3. Freelance copywriters
Freelance copywriters are those who join the gig economy. This is an ideal way to work remotely from any location of your choice. In fact, freelancers have considerable flexibility to choose their clients and projects. Moreover, freelance copywriting is expected to become an ever-growing vocation in the years to come. On average, an experienced freelance copywriter makes around $600000 per year as per Glassdoor.
How To Get Started In Copywriting: Top Skills Every Copywriter Must Possess
1. Ability to write attention-grabbing headlines
There are no rules in creativity, and there are ads without actual headlines and copy. But, if your ad has a headline, you have to ensure it grabs eyeballs. The best headlines have something quirky, intelligent, funny, or other emotion. The Economist is one brand that has become famous for its headline-based campaigns.
2. Creating great CTAs (call-to-actions) that get the desired response from users
No matter how impactfully the start of an ad is, it has to end fabulously to get the desired CTA. The CTA determines whether or not the ad is a success!
Spotify offers a great value proposition, which it puts forward simply. This has increased the success metrics of its ad campaigns.
3. Keep copy skimmable
The client may love long-copy ads! Some copywriters do, too. But, do the users have the time to read it? Sometimes they may read it, depending on the seriousness of the proposition, if it is a high-value proposition.
More often than not, they simply cannot and won’t read the full body copy. So it is the copywriter’s task to make it skimmable by highlighting keywords and making them stand out.
This way, the users can get a gist of the proposition and make an informed decision in less time. Here is an example of a copy in a list format, which a user can skim through quickly.
4. Write conversational copy
Even if you are a literature grad, don’t try and sound literary, It just won’t cut it. You are the brand’s voice talking to a customer, so keep the tone conversational. Talk to them using the active verb “you” as far as possible. This way, you address them directly, and they are more likely to respond. Even Uncle Sam realized this when he recruited soldiers for WWI back in 1916.
5. Highlight benefits of the features
Every product has a feature, which offers the customer some benefit. For example, contactless ATM cards have a technology where you don’t need to enter a pin; just tap them to pay.
The key benefit of promoting such a card is the quickness of payments. It is also effortless and more secure, all of which are key value propositions. For example, Visa shows the benefits of contactless cards in its advertising.
How To Get Into Copywriting: 5 Steps To Kickstart Your Career
1. Learn the craft<h3>
You don’t need to do a paid copywriting course at a university. There are many free courses and blogs available online. Go through blogs like appsumo and alexcattoni to get a headstart into the world of copywriting. Buy the top 10 books on copywriting for your library if you are able. Otherwise, there are plenty of online resources you can access online for free.
2. Showcase your talent through a portfolio
To land your first copywriting gig, you have to demonstrate your talent. One way to do that is through a portfolio, which you can share with prospective clients and agencies. Use any popular blogging tool such as WordPress to create it.
Share your ideas on this blog. Write some articles on copywriting trends, famous campaigns, etc. This way, you can demonstrate your eagerness and willingness to keep writing and growing.
3. Focus on a niche
To build your portfolio, it will be great if you focus on a specific industry. It could be fashion, fitness, banking, etc. This way, you can design a range of creative ads, emailers, social media posts, TV scripts, radio spots, etc., for a particular company or industry.
Search for poorly written ads and improve them with your knowledge and talent. Then describe the problem in the ad and how you have improved it. As a case study, this will show your analytical approach and skills.
4. Use your network to find freelance work
College batchmates who work in marketing, Facebook friends, etc., are a potential source of freelance work. If you can prove that you add value through SEO, lead conversion copy, social media ads, etc., sooner or later, you will land a gig!
Apply for freelance gigs on content aggregators like Pepper Content; they will give you an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills and talent. There is a lot of copy to be written; it’s your approach that will determine how and when you get your gigs.
5. Cut out the distractions
When you have to produce high-quality copywriting, you need a lot of focus. Social media and TV are potential distractions that can take your mind away from your work.
The motto of the famous ad agency BBDO is “work, work, work.” Keep perfecting your work till you are satisfied. If you are not happy with your work, there is no chance that the client will be.
Shortcuts To Copywriting Success
Read reviews and mine them
A copywriter has to understand how customers feel about a product. In the digital age, this has become easier because reviews are live for all to see.
Review mining begins with figuring out which reviews are genuine. Then you can use the customer sentiment, emotions, and language in crafting advertising copy. This is literally like taking the word out of the horse’s mouth, i.e., the customer.
For example, if you had to write a web copy for a herbal tea brand, you could go to Amazon.com and read their reviews. Some reviews could give you a clue about how the customer feels about the product.
Use these reviews and put on your lateral thinking hat to develop a more innovative and crisp copy.
You could check out the most popular keywords associated with the brand and use them in your copy.
Use Facebook Ad Library
This will make your task of carrying out a competitive analysis more efficient. The Ad Library contains all the ads that are currently running on Facebook. You will have access to the launch dates, copy, and design. Once you see the user engagement on the posts, you can determine which ads are most effective.
You can use the audience’s demographics for better targeting. You can follow your client’s competitors to know what kind of posts they are creating.
For example, if you are writing copy for a beauty brand, you could check out what Mamaearth is doing on the Facebook Ad Library.
Have fun while you write
Copywriting is driven by passion, enthusiasm, and a creative spark. Your state of mind will reflect in your copywriting. Keep yourself engaged in creative pursuits: like reading the best fiction, watching movies, traveling to exciting places, meeting new people, trying out new cuisines, etc.
The more you experience life, the better you will write; there are no two ways about it.
Remember that excellent copy speaks for itself; you won’t need to sell it to the client. Whenever your copy is on the mark, you are sure to receive appreciation. Success metrics like CTR and lead conversion can be easily measured in the digital age.
Understand that copywriting is a creative job, so you have to groom your personality accordingly. Use your logic, intuition, and emotions as valuable tools for writing excellent copy—the most significant learnings for copywriting come from your daily experiences observing human behavior. Be a people person, and understand their aspirations and emotions.
- Copywriting is a gratifying career
- You must use online resources to learn the craft
- Build a portfolio to showcase your skills
- Watch what the competition is doing
- Land your first freelance gigs using online listings
- Use feedback to improve your work
No formal qualifications are required to become a copywriter.
Yes, after you gain considerable experience.
Use online resources like blogs.
It is the same as copywriting; only the medium differs.
It drives leads and sales conversions.
Yes, it is an ever-growing field and will continue to be so.