5 Best Tips for Copywriting Success

March 2, 2020
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Writing is just like most creative pursuits – the more you practice, the better you become. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but nearly every job requires writing of some kind. There are at least five keys for every copywriter that, regardless of the content, are crucial to success.

01. Understand Your Audience

The problem I see most commonly with copy is a lack of any specific direction. While many possess the skills necessary to get ideas down on paper, few realize the importance of the audience.

The more details you can put together the better. These details should be pointed enough to create “Personas” or theoretical recipients of the copy you are writing. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to name them either, give them jobs… whatever you and your team can compile to best target your content and language for your exact

You wouldn’t write for college friends the same way you would write to grandparents, right?

02. Check Out Similar Examples

This isn’t the first or last list about successful copywriting, but this item may be the most under-represented on any of them.

While it is common to request examples from the client, too often writers limit themselves to these options for inspiration. Most writers run into roadblocks at one point or another, and it never hurts to look at other, already published material for inspiration.

This isn’t a call for normalizing plagiarism – quite the opposite. Every other type of creative, like painters, sculptors, photographers, and more, reference other work for a jolt of creativity, and copywriters should feel open to do the same.

Just make sure you’re paying homage and not hitting ctrl-c and ctrl-v.

03. Get Organized

If there is one thing that’s true of every single successful cook and chef in the world, it is an immaculate workstation. No matter how much they have on their proverbial plate, once they start to cook they have everything prepared and at their disposal.

Having their mis en place – French for “things in place” – set is as crucial a step to preparing for success as paying the gas bill and ordering the right ingredients.

Writing is no different. While every project takes on its own needs and specific forms of preparation, there is never a time a writer or any skill level should begin their work without spending time setting up everything they will need. Whatever you gotta do, get it organized before you start.

Not only are you far less likely to lose your train of thought, but you will also avoid a good deal of waste, crucial to every writer.

04. Write With Intention

When was the last time you read… well, anything… and it was so boring.

Sometimes that’s a symptom of circumstance when boring subject matter reaches unexpecting eyes. But too often there is a total lack of initial intention and the finished product is just sort of there.

Copywriters take on a lot of roles within agencies and organizations, filling physical and digital pages with an obscene amount of copy every single day. Readers are bombarded constantly and must choose what they want to spend time perusing.

Intentionality is great to incorporate into a daily routine, but when we choose our words, syntax, and even content that best fit a project, readers take notice – and comprehend even more.

05. Share Your Work

Since middle school, I have shown my mom almost everything I’ve written.

And you know what? It always helps. The best writers in the world still have editors, right?

It doesn’t need to be your mom, obviously, mine just happens to teach English and is a fantastic writer herself. But no matter what – whether it’s my mom, a coworker, or just a friend – what I write passes at least one more set of eyes before it goes anywhere.

We look at what we write for so long, sometimes our brains can get a little fuzzy. Sometimes we think a turn of phrase is particularly cleaver, or when we read something aloud to ourselves we skip an obvious error on accident. Whatever the reasoning, adding a second set of eyes should be a mandatory step in your review process when you’re finished.

And that’s it!

Well, not really, there are probably dozens of pointers big and small that writers should heed. But as a writer, you should apply each of these to your process and develop a solid foundation. Establish yourself as someone who can do your research, understand the big picture, be efficient, create with intent, and collaborate with others.

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