A beginner’s guide to copywriting

The spoken or written word will ultimately dictate the success of any business, not just essay writing companies. Even fields with no apparent link to writing, i.e., TV shows, still rely on a solid script.

Ultimately, a marketing department’s success will hinge on the professionalism and talent of its writers. It is not enough to write correctly; that is the bare minimum. Many marketers will swiftly trade a correct but bland text with a snappy and witty one-liner that embeds itself in the memory of potential clients.

You can always spell check and edit a witty text, but a bland post will have to be deleted.

If you are a novice writer and want to make a career out of copywriting, here are a few tips that can improve your abilities.

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Less is more

Back in the early days of Twitter, the word count was more limited. This forced users to condense their points into bite-sized chunks of information. Those bits had to be informative while staying eye-catching and entertaining.

Sure, you can explain more with a wall of text, but there will be several factors working against you in that case.

First, we have the issue of attention spans. The digital age has trained people to expect that gratification is only a click away. This short-circuits our brains on a physiological level.

Instead of the slow boil of working towards something for hours and then receiving a reward, the reward is instant.

Videos, games, and movies also suffered from this, as they were forced to become more shallow and fast to adapt to an audience that simply loses interest if something doesn’t blow up in the first three minutes.

With writing, the issues are similar. The main reasoning why clickbait titles are needlessly extravagant and inaccurate is because they need to grab attention. For example, it is common to read “Is celebrity X facing a serious illness?” only to go through the article and find out that his/her foot slightly itches.

Also, every slight diplomatic disagreement is speculated as to the start of World War 3.

Needless to say, a long text that works up to the conclusion will not be considered a good piece of copywriting.

The second factor is your competition. If you won’t keep articles brief and to the point, your competition will. Their marketing campaigns will be more successful because the writing aims to pack as much information as possible in a brief and catchy format.

Burn your diplomas

This sub-heading if proof of my previous point; it is needlessly hyperbolic. Still, it caught your attention.

Tangents aside, the main point is that schooling doesn’t prepare you for the business environment. Sure, if you want to become an engineer or a doctor, you better pay attention in class.

But most educations are needlessly maladapted to the modern world and its markets. A vast percentage of jobs are learned by doing them, even if you have a diploma in that specific field.

In school, you will learn grammar, syntax, and punctuation. But that is the extent of what is applicable and valuable.

As a writer, constantly look up to what others are doing. Competitors are the best teachers.

Do not plagiarize, but try to notice the guidelines they adhere to and reverse-engineer their methods.

Also, try to read books written by those more successful than you. Each business field has “the guy”. As a recommendation, get your hands on anything written by the father of marketing. Just like a Tech wiz looks up to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, so too must copywriters and marketers read Edward Bernays.

Just like a programmer learns to think in code, so too must you learn to think and spin like a copywriter. It’s a way of seeing the world and deconstructing it.

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Paragraphs

It is good practice for a paragraph to contain an idea. Depending on the point in question, it can fill two sentences or most of the page. You have to break this habit, even though it is common practice in most magazines or books.

Books need to cram ideas in a limited space. In online marketing, space doesn’t have limits. The user just scrolls down or clicks a “Read More” button. Thus, you aren’t as limited.

Copywriters must understand that most users skim content before they read it. Customers take a quick look, moving their eyes across your content while reading the titles, subheadings, and bolded words. If this catches their attention, then they will go for a full read.

It is your job to facilitate this process as much as possible. If your paragraph is very long and looks like a block of text, it will be skipped. Let that sink in.

The effort, the clever lines, the time spent writing will be wasted. As a side note, this is why zebra have stripes. If eyes are met with an extensive continuum of symbols, letters, or shapes, those shapes will lose any meaning and start to blur together. This phenomenon makes zebras harder to catch, and it will make your block-style paragraph harder to read.

The solution is to keep paragraphs short, consisting of only 2-3 sentences max. Even at a glance, the reader will still get most of the information. The same can be said about sentences. Don’t go too crazy and make them very long.

The golden formula is represented by one long sentence sandwiched between two shorter ones. Over time, you will learn that it is ok sometimes to break some of these rules, but not too often. Writing is a craft, but it is also an art form.

Conclusions

As a copywriter, you have three main jobs:

The first is to write good content. That is a given.

Second, you must understand the distribution medium, i.e., the Internet. Finally, you have to “get” how humans work and how they interact with content. Nobody is going to set aside 30 minutes to inform themselves of your company’s promotions and coupons.

You came to the customers, not the other way around. It is your job as a copywriter to get people’s attention using the methods described above.

Ben Steenstra Ben Steenstra
25-05-2021 6 mins read
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