7 COPYWRITING LESSONS FROM A SEASONED COPYWRITER
There are a couple of blogs in Malaysia providing information on this topic, but none of them explains this topic well enough for someone who has absolutely no idea on this topic but has a desire to become a Copywriter, and a good one at that, – one who can be hired by an Advertising Agency or Corporate organisation.
So, as a seasoned Copywriter, and someone who has applied Copywriting skills and knowledge not only as a Copywriter at several Advertising Agencies as a professional Copywriter (one that clients pay a lot of money for), but also in the corporate world, I felt that I should write this article for anyone wishing to become a Copywriter, may it be for a job or to apply in his or her own business.
As a trainer in Copywriting Courses and Content Writing Courses, and also a published author, I have been told by my readers that I have the ability to “simplify” information that anyone can understand and apply immediately. I aim to provide the information on this particular topic in a simple manner so that you can understand it easily.
From the many years of writing copy, both in Malaysia and in the United Kingdom (where I taught Advertising and Sales at a College), here are my thoughts on how You can become a Copywriter, based on my 30 years of Advertising and Copywriting experience.
Here are 7 Lessons on How to Become a Professional Copywriter:
Lesson 1: Understanding What Is Copywriting?
The first step to becoming a Copywriter is to first understand what is Copywriting? Copywriting is a special kind of writing, unlike the usual writing we do on social media, etc. Copywriting is used to “sell products and services” or to bring about “awareness” of something, and they are usually done through advertisements.
Lesson 2: The Objective of Copywriting
Copywriting is used for Advertisements. Typically, there are only 2 Objectives for the production of any Advertisement, and they are:
1. To “Sell” or “Promote” a product or service.
2. To “Create Awareness” of something, like an event or cause, etc. (This is not to sell something but only to bring about awareness).
Copywriting is also known as “Sales Copy” – the clue is right there. We usually write copy to sell things.
Lesson 3: Copywriting is Out-Bound Marketing
Copywriting is “Out-Bound Marketing”, by that I mean that even when people are not looking to buy our products or services, we will still show them our ads through the media we have chosen to advertise our products or services. This is the opposite of “In-Bound Marketing” which came into this realm with the advent of Digital Advertising. In-Bound Marketing is when someone “Searches” for our product or service through Search Engines, such as, Google, and finds our product or service. Now you have understood the two types of Marketing. In-Bound Marketing is also known as “Search Engine Marketing” or “SEM”. (I’m liking this article very much actually).
Lesson 4: Be a Reservoir of Words – Read a lot
Now that we got the foundation out of the way, let’s discuss what does it take to Become a Copywriter. If you are the sort who likes to read a lot and have a passion for the “written word” and expressions, you have the making of a good Copywriter. You see, in Copywriting we need to find ways to sell or create awareness of all kinds of things and events. Therefore, having a vast vocabulary of words is your best ammunition in your arsenal. This will make the job of writing easier because you will not get stuck searching for the word you wish to use in a certain ad, plus you will also not repeat the same words already used (which is bad writing practice and is not the making of any kind of writer). Many ardent readers usually have a good vocabulary and this is your first asset to becoming a good Copywriter. Though you do not need to have a vocabulary as great as Shakespeare, an above average collection will do the job. You can keep improving as you go.
Lesson 5: Write a Lot and Write on a Variety of Topics
Practice makes perfect. To begin your journey, practice writing on any and every topic or subject – even and especially the boring ones. If you can make mediocre and boring topics interesting, you have a good start in this long journey. The more you write, the better you will automatically become. Feel free to edit your writing as much as you want. One of the best tricks is to cut down your original copy by 10 to 20%, this will sharpen your skill to find the right words that can express a longer sentence. In English Language lessons, this is known as “Precise Writing” or “Summary Writing”. Milon Nandy, an author of more than 400 books on the English Language was excellent at this. Try finding some of his books and read them. (He is my late father).
Lesson 6: Copywriting is Short Copy
As people do not have much time to read stuff, we must try to arrest the reader’s attention as quickly as possible. Hence, Copywriting employs a short writing technique. The most important role of a Copywriter is to come up with a great Headline that shall arrest the attention of the reader as quickly as possible. If the Headline does not grab the attention of the reader quickly, the Copywriter has failed at this task because EVERYTHING depends on a Headline. If a Headline is does not grab someone’s attention, the purpose of producing the ad is absolutely useless.
Lesson 7: How Many Words Should a Headline Have?
The maximum number of words a Headline should consists is 6 to 8 words – shorter the better. However, you shall be an Ace Copywriter if you can come up with a Headline of 2 words. What’s that I hear you say? It’s impossible? It is not. We are trained to write 2-Worded Headlines for Billboards. It is possible, but not very easy, but many Copywriters have done it before. See the image below.
The above are 7 Lessons for you to digest and practice for now. I do not want to overwhelm you with too much information in this article. However, there is so much more to learn on How to Become a Copywriter, such as, the AIDA Copywriting Formula and the Role of a Copywriter which I will tell you more about in my next article.
Please do Subscribe to our blog so that you can read about it as soon as it is posted.
If you have any questions in the meantime, you may send me an email or leave a Comment below.
By Joy Nandy (Founder of the School Of Digital Advertising – Malaysia’s ONLY Training Centre that specialises in Writing for Digital Marketing)