Year after year, if there is one skill which has kept it's place in the list of most valuable ones, it's Copywriting. But unfortunately, very few people know what copywriting is, let alone decide to be one.
In this post, Moneypiper will reveal all it's secret one by one, so that you get to start your copywriting career. And that too, today itself.
We promise that by the time you end this post, you will be well ahead on the path to a successful copywriting career.
Copywriting is the art of crafting, writing & rearranging words to make an object sell better.
In a nutshell, it is the art of selling via written words.
What it is not?
It’s not copyrighting, which deals with the legal ways to protect a creator’s original work from unauthorized duplication or use.
It’s also not content writing, whose main aim is to inform & educate. Copywriting whereas, has a singular focus to persuade & influence in order to sell.
Why is it called so?
The word “Copywriting” is made from two smaller words : Copy & Writing.
Copy refers to that written content or sales pitch whose aim is to make it’s audience take a particular action (most often buying the product).
It is called a copy as it’s meant to be “copied” over and over by reproducing and printing it in newspapers or ads for all to read.
Writing whereas is the task of conveying an information using symbols and images.
Thus, copywriting is the act of conveying information about a particular product to an audience in form of adverts and in such a manner as to compel the audience to take a particular action.
What does copywriters actually do?
Have you ever seen any of these mentioned above?
Guess what ?
Every one of these content pieces were written by copywriters.
For companies, they are like “silent rainmakers”, turning words into cash.
Using written words, they compel people to take an action.
Why should you become a copywriter
If there is a professional whom every business needs, big or small, tiny one or MNCs, it’s the Copywriter.
Every single company on this planet needs copywriters.
That’s why it’s today a $2.3 trillion industry.
Copywriting is that single skill which makes the most money for them. More than their engineers, managers etc.
And that is why, they also get paid more than them.
Having changed the fortune of thousands of firms with their single stroke of pen, copywriters are in huge demand everywhere.
And this demand is only bound to increase in coming times with exponential growth of internet and social media.
There has never been a time in history, when there was such an insatiable demand for content.
Also, copywriting is a very less time intensive task.
Expert copywriters actively work for less than 2 hours per day, while getting paid handsomely for these.
Imagine the kind of life you could live with the extra money and time at your disposal!
If you never want to be short of work, money or creative opportunities, copywriting career is what your life needs.
Skills you need to become a copywriter
Do you know most copywriters don’t have a degree?
More surprisingly, a significant percentage of them are school dropouts.
Why is it so?
Because what you need for copywriting are ordinary, daily life skills, which everybody knows.
It’s the extraordinary use of those ordinary skills, which makes copywriting such a money minting skill.
If you have the ability to persuade people with your words, then you will make money despite you having no degree.
Whereas, you would suck big time as a copywriter, if your words don’t persuade, even though you are a Howard graduate.
Below we mention five of the most important copywriting skills needed.
You already are good at most of these.
But using these 5 skills persuasively to compel anyone to take action is a very tough task.
And that’s why copywriting is such a valuable skill to hone.
As a copywriter, you may work for a company or as a freelancer.
Where-ever you work, you have to prepare copies for various mediums such as print, web, radio or television.
Copywriting is included in a list of the “highest-paying freelance jobs with annual income more than $90,000”, created for CNBC.com by the global freelancing platform Upwork.
A survey by Payscale reveals following three information:
- Average copywriter salary in India is Rs. 378,872.
- Average salary varies depending upon experience.
- Average freelance copywriter hourly pay is 34.16 $
9 Steps To Copywriting
1. Understand your product personality
What is the first thing any copywriter does before attempting to copywrite?
It’s understanding the product at hand.
Afterall, how can you sell something without knowing what it is actually?
For example: Once legendary copywriter David Ogilvy was tasked with writing an ad copy for Rolls Royce. He took full three weeks just to study what Rolls Royce actually was. At the end of three weeks, he came up with a title which read - “At 60 miles per hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”
This stage involves finding a detail compelling enough to sell the product.
And how do you do it?
Simple, Just answer these five questions.
Answering these 5 questions will enable you to develop a sense of who your target audience is going to be and what features are going to appeal to them.
2.Sell needs not wants
Identify what a customer really wants (not needs) and relate the benefit of your products to those wants (not needs).
Learning this one thing, will single handedly improve your copywriting skills by more than 30 %.
But before trying to do so, let’s first differentiate between a need and a want?
What are they? And how are they similar or dissimilar?
Think a bit….
Well, a need is something you need for your survival. Whereas, a Want is something you desire.
For example: You need food in order to survive. But what to eat comes under the realm of wanting.
A person can live without getting his wants fulfilled. But he can’t survive without his needs.
If need is so much vital to one’s survival in comparison to want, why should not copywriters place more emphasis on it?
Because, if you only sell to someone's needs, they will always buy the lowest cost solution to meets those needs.
Consider yourself. If you had an option to spend your last 100 bucks on a leaking roof of your house (need) or your dream video game (want), what would you go for?
You know the answer in your heart…don’t you??
There is one more problem with need.
Problem of inertia.
Due to it, People keep postponing the buy-decision of their needs till the time they can’t do without it.
Why is this so?
Because wants are more emotionally fulfilling than needs. Also, buying a need is a compulsion, where buying wants is a choice. Who likes being compelled to do anything?
3.Speak. Don’t write.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” – Elmore Leonard
By this I mean. You should write as if you are talking to a very good friend of yours.
Spoken English has many advantages over written English in copywriting.
Spoken words are direct and gives the centre-stage to your audience (reflected by increased use of ‘you’), which is why they are super effective at selling.
Also, spoken sentences are short, use simple words and express ideas simply.
They also give you much more liberty than written English. For example, in spoken english, you can use contractions, one word sentences, slangs, clichés metaphors, opening and closing sentences as you want etc.
If you are a beginner copywriter, you should first write in written English only. After that, you should go through every sentence again, breaking it, shortening it, adding contractions, and so on. At last, read them aloud and see whether it feels like you talking to your friend. If yes, go celebrate!
4.Give an emotional lever to your rational arguments
I will reveal two secrets to you here. Each capable of turning your copywriting career on it’s head.
I will tell you how human mind processes any “To buy or not to buy” decision.
Also, I will give you the formula to sell to businesses.
First tell me, why does anyone buy anything?
Easy. They buy it to satisfy their needs and wants. We have already talked about it in previous section.
Talking about needs and wants, these are of two types: rational and emotional.
A person will buy something only if the product fulfills both his rational as well as emotional needs and wants.
But what is more important of two?
It’s answer lie in first secret of decision making.
Buyers first decide about buying something based solely on emotional factors. They then use the rational arguments to justify this decision to their peers. (Secret 1)
“You sell on emotion, but you justify a purchase with logic.” – Joseph Sugarman
I knew this secret after wasting six months of effort rationalizing my sales pitch, unsuccessfully.
Hence, it’s of paramount importance that your every sales pitch has an emotional lever to it.
Understanding this is very, very crucial.
Otherwise, you will die giving rational reasons to a buyer to buy something and he won’t budge.
But, does this buying process change with the buyer type, depending on whether the buyer is an individual or a corporation?
It’s a common belief of many that individuals are more emotional & business entities are more rational while decision making.
It’s a very wrong supposition.
Afterall, every business is run by people like you and me only.
Remember, we don’t sell to businesses. We sell to people who work within a business. (Secret 2)
The path to great copywriting goes through storytelling. That is why, many bestseller novelists were copywriters in their initial days. A good story has the ability to influence, teach and inspire it’s reader. Buying a product with a story makes people think that they are not only buying a product, but becoming a part of a great story themselves. And this feeling is incredible. Just think.
5.Decide your tone of voice depending on audience
What matters more than what you say is, how you say it.
In previous section, we have said that the underlying buying motives are the same whether it is an individual or a large corporation.
Meaning, the overall copywriting formula should be the same for both of these.
And that is, rational arguments having emotional appeal.
But, there is something which needs to change based on who your target audience is.
Tone of voice!
“Every product has a unique personality and it is your job to find it.” – Joe Sugarman
Suppose, you are selling children’s toys and you are presenting your argument in a tone befitting large corporations, then would you be able to hold children attention?
Not only will they hate you, some may also start crying.
You need to get inside the shoes of your target audience, and identify your rational arguments based on their goals, challenges, pain points, objections.
But, it’s presentation should be based on who it is meant for.
Before starting to write, create a persona / avatar of your audience. Capture their goals, challenges, pain points, objections and other life-things such as way they speak, what they like or dislike etc. Then search for a photo on web, matching all these details, and give it a name. Always keep this photo in front of your eyes when you write, so that you always write to your new friend and not unseen audience. Doing this will give you a consistent tone of voice.
“There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use.” – Eugene Schwartz
6.Craft unforgettable headlines & call to actions
One of the most hallowed marketing guru David Ogilvy has said –
On an average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
He went on to suggest that with adverts everyone sees the picture, 80% read the headline, but only 5% get round to reading the body copy.
More specifically, you have to structure your sales copy based on what get’s read.
After you have created a headline using above tips, you need to edit it using “Lazy editor’s viral headline checklist”.
Call to action:
In marketing world, a call to action is a piece of content) usually written at bottom) aimed at inducing an audience to perform a specific act.
3 Parts of a great call to action
Uses bold, confident, commanding verbs
They improve audience responsiveness, making you sound more confident & authentic.
Tell what will happen on doing that action
Instead of asking our audience to do something like “Click here”, you must tell him exactly what would happen on clicking there. How would his life be changed? What benefits will he get? Etc …etc..
People take immediate action only when you give them a sense of urgency. Otherwise they keep prolonging their buying action.
Remember the law of inertia we talked about before?
Tell them what are they going to lose if they don’t buy the product here and now.
7.Always remember, NO BODY wants your products
Yes, it’s true.
Never ever forget it.
Nobody wants your products.
They don’t want your product but the benefit attached to it.
For example : When girls buy fairness cream, they don’t buy a cream but a sex appeal. When you buy a chair, you buy the comfort attached to it. And so on…
People don’t want products.
They want what the product will do for them.
They want benefits.
And this is where, 99.9999999% of copywriters go wrong.
They keep selling the features day in and day out. Never ever they sell the benefits.
And at the end of day, they wonder why no-body bought their damn items.
Because you were selling features instead of benefits damnit!
Features are the descriptive or technical aspects of a product. Benefits are why and how these features matter for your customers.
In other words, a feature is what something is. And it’s benefit is what can be achieved or accomplished with those features.
For example: The red colour of a lipstick is it’s feature, but adding it on one’s lips making a girl beautiful is it’s benefit.
Features are same for everybody. But it’s benefits keep changing person to person. Some benefits are more important to someone than other. Also, each feature can have multiple benefits.
So, sell benefits not features.
8.Follow AIDA structure while writing your sales copy
AIDA is a marketing model used to describe the steps through which a customer goes through in his mind before purchasing a product.
It stands for Attention(A), interest(I), desire(D) & action(A).
To understand and appreciate the effectiveness of this simple structure, let’s have a look at how a person searches online.
Step 1: Puts in a keyword and searches it. 10 or more results come on the first page. As people do-not read sequentially, he sees the headlines of all these search results in random manner. The one which grabs his attention most, gets clicked upon.
Step 2: Once that web page opens, he gives a cursory look to entire page. If something grabs his attention he keeps on reading otherwise closes the tab and gets out.
Step 3: Suppose the page he has clicked is also able to garner his interest. Now he reads further to see if there is anything in that product for him. Does it solve his pain points? Does it fulfill his wants? If answer is yes, he turns into a willing buyer from a random checker. He checks the last para where there is a call to action placed. If it’s effective he hurries to buy it then and there only. Otherwise he gets relaxed and plans to buy it later.
Step 4: This is the step where the product actually gets sold and money gets made. There is a product to be sold and there also is a willing buyer. But if the buying interface is buggy, complex or not genuine looking, he decides to not take any risk and comes out of gateway. Worse still, he buys it from somewhere else. This way, the revenue that could have been yours reaches someone else’s pocket without him doing any work. Just because of your stupidity.
This buying mechanism is leveraged by the AIDA model, whose brief description is given through above infographic.
9.Give zing to your sales pitch
Won’t it be great if there was some way to super charge your content?
Something which makes your claim so believable that the reader gets hooked in automatically, ready to buy your product without any fuss.
Fortunately, master copywriters have zeroed in on some tips & techniques which give zing to your content, making them instantly saleable.
Moneypiper has compiled the most effective of them at a single place for you (see above infographic).
Howsoever relevant, copywriting is a very old skill, dating back to the Babylonian times when the first printed material came into the world.
It is thus very natural for you to loaf around a bit thinking things like- “what’s the hurry, I will start learning copywriting after this…or that….”.
Well, you are right.
There is no cause of much worry, except that thousands of talented copywriters are entering the arena every passing day.
Thus, with each passing day your money making opportunities are shrinking further and further.
Also, you need to create a name for yourself before you start earning in millions.
Hence, even a bit of laxity at this stage will disproportionately harm your entire career.
So how did you find these tips? Just leave a comment below with some of the suggestions and questions from your side, if you have.