Copywriting has often been misunderstood as a form of writing only the ‘elite’ can do. Copywriting is general defined simply as a way of writing with the goal of a call to action. Whether the action expected is a sale, a subscription, an application, a membership, or a referral, the call-to-action factor here is the main element why copywriting is born, why it is called as such, and why it is so important to doing business and achieving goals.
In broad terms, copywriting is often referred with advertising, sales letters, creating taglines, article writing, press release writing, SEO writing, and is sometimes even mistaken as the word ‘copyright.’ Though this may have confused many, those are actually all part of copywriting as a method in different forms. However, on top of these, copywriting is more as a skill: it is a skill that every man can learn, and this is so simply by taking notes of some determinants to what makes a copywriting truly effective, persuasive, and attractive.
Being a skill, most copywriters are found as necessary members within organizations and teams, though the numbers and qualifications aren’t limited to such. There are also thousands of copywriters around the world who do copywriting as part of their freelancing. However, unlike what is commonly conceived, not all writers can be effective copywriters, and vice versa. In fact, literally, one has to take serious account a good study of the generally proper ways of copywriting.
Copywriting also comes in various forms, and basically, there’s not really a rule as to how far it can go. Copywriting can come in a one-word tagline. It can also come as a poster, a piece of art, an e-mail, a lyric in a song. It can come as a story. Moreover, copywriting is, of course, employed also on the web nowadays in the form of text materials like articles and blog posts. The growth of media and instrumentation to bringing products and services more available to the public has allowed useful resources to be employed in the overall marketing campaign, wherein copywriting has rightfully found a bigger room for its purpose.
The importance or significance of copywriting is but of no question. Branding and advertising is more actually as methods used to making people aware of what a particular business offers or sells. However, with copywriting, the knowledge being instilled to the people are converted into benefits. Copywriting can be a form of advertisement, but its goals are more customer- or client-centered, which in the end necessitates a respective action to be done or fulfilled. Product knowledge, then, becomes a selling, and the selling becomes a sale.
The Right Process
Peep Laja of Smashing Magazine introduces us to a quick course on effective website copywriting, which along the way can also be applied to generally any other forms that require it. He intelligently broke down the whole discussion of the method into these six steps:
- Research: customer, product, and competition
The proper place to use the questions of what, how, when, where, and the most important—why. All these must not be locked on the company or product itself but must also extend even to the knowledge about the competition, the potentialities of the offer, the people’s response, etc.
- Outline and guideposts
This is where the structure of the copywriting should be founded and prepared. Structures may come in with a headline or sub-heads, properly ordered contents, and must not exclude elements like propositions, arguments, statement of the problems with respective solutions, some technical information, some guarantees, and of course, the price.
- Draft copy
Drafting is actually just one-side of the coin; the other half means proofreading. Drafting allows a big room for corrections, for simplifications, for restructuring, and especially, for testing out potential outcome.
- Conversion boost
This is the step to where you need to consider science and intuition in ‘calculating’ how much you can expect, how much you can give more, and how will the customers respond. To effectively deliver a message, tact and persuasion is only a part of the system of converting viewers to buyers.
- Revise, rearrange
A follow-up step next to steps 3 and 4, revising and rearranging your work means that you need to get back to the information you gathered and check what you can and should do next to stabilize if not perfect the results.
Every final piece is always just another step. The idea of checking out the results and providing solutions to them should always be a habituated practice.
As a Copywriter
The job—or the career—as a copywriter is no easy job as any other jobs would call for. Since the task itself requires a lot of resources and effort, chances are candidates don’t always get what they think should be grasped in the end. What they think should work may not work for now and may not even work later. Moreover, since most business-related transactions base their next actions on the visible results, they do not get financially abundant instantly.
Besides, it is an utmost fact that sometimes, the most efficient advertisements are the ones which learn to deviate from the norms or the rules specified in them. Sometimes, a tagline such as ‘Are you hungry?’ may even be better than creating lengthy newsletters. But generally, results get a way lot better and more predictable when they are carefully studied.
The convenience of a copywriter, especially when you are freelancing, is that you get to choose and even create your workspace and whereabouts. Successful copywriters are also superbly well-compensated, and generally, they are always called for and referred to for future negotiations. They don’t even require a formal education, though some scholarly and ‘educated’ skills may be developed when in trainings, extensive experience, and reading books and newspapers. There’s hardly a list of qualifications to be followed, and only a little investment is expected of them along the way.
Lastly, even the best copywriters who understand the ups and downs of the job may also require and ask for an idea, hence you as a start-out may still find your place. It’s the ideas that gives dimension and shape to copywriting, and if you think you have what it takes to make something a real stand-out, then the countless opportunities await.