10 Essential Copywriting Skills you need for a Successful Writing Career

So you’ve always dreamed of becoming a copywriter. What’s stopping you?

By coming to this page, it looks like you are ready to take action on developing your copywriting skills. And you should. Copywriting can be a lucrative career move, whether you want to be employed or work for yourself as a freelancer.

Once you have the essential copywriting skills, they are transferable to any industry that needs a copywriter. That means you will always be in demand.

Let’s dive in to what makes a good copywriter.

1. A Way with Words

The fact that you are interested in copywriting probably already means that you have a love of words and language. A copywriter with a passion for writing is already winning!

Perhaps you’ve always loved reading, or maybe you keep a journal. Or, perhaps you have written essays and assignments, or have an English degree. Being a writer is something that comes from all these passion, and the things you have learned along the way.

2. Research Skills

As a copywriter, you are often going to be asked to write content, such as articles, web copy and blog posts, about subjects that you are not all that familiar with. Rather than seeing it as a problem, a good copywriter is able to spend time researching the subject to produce a quality piece of writing.

So if you have to write about the problem of gout in the elderly one day, and then how to run a successful start-up business the next, your research skills are your best tool!

3. Writes for an Audience

Have you noticed that when you speak to your friends, it is different to how you speak with your boss? Or how you talk to your parents? Well, writing is the same and a good copywriter writes with the audience in mind.

For example, a website that needs articles written for new mothers will have a different tone than a website that wants to encourage its audience to take out a personal loan.

If you can wear different hats, and switch between them daily, you are on your way to becoming a good copywriter.

4. Listens Well

If you don’t listen to what your client wants, you are not going to produce the copy they are expecting, even if it is really well written. Sometimes, you might want to create the best work you have ever done on a topic, but if the client only wants a brief overview then that is what you need to produce.

5. Can be Persuasive

Copywriting is done for a purpose, and that is to get the audience to take action. It could be to persuade them to buy a product, give to charity, or to sign up to an email list. That doesn’t mean you have to write salesy copy – in fact that can put readers off.

Persuasion is a subtle art, and a good copywriter can weave it into a text without it being off-putting.

6. Has Great Visual Skills

When you think of how to be a copywriter, visual skills are not the most obvious thing that comes to your mind. However, how text looks on a page is incredibly important.

Your audience will be more engaged and interested in your writing if it looks visually appealing. That means using subheadings, paragraphs, bullet points, numbers, and white space to structure your work and make it easy to read.

7. High Threshold for Boredom

Yes, that’s right. Sometimes copywriting sucks.

While you might have thoughts of always writing about things you are interested in, in order to actually make money from copywriting, you need clients. When you are writing for a client who wants a thousand words on a topic that you find as dry as dust, you still have to put in the work to produce something that sounds enthusiastic and exciting to the reader.

Hey, you’ll get used to it. Just think of it as ‘character building’! If you have the mental stamina to power through the dry times, you will make a great copywriter.

8. Notices the Details

So you wrote a great, though-provoking piece that compels your audience to take action. Well it would, only there are several typos and some bad grammar choices, and frankly that word you used to describe something important now sounds rather silly.

Take the time to read your work. Then read it again. Read it out loud as if it were speech. That way you notice the lines that just don’t flow well, and poor grammar and word choices stick out. You need to correct them before your client asks about them, as that can be embarrassing for a professional copywriter.

9. Negotiates a Fair Fee

Negotiating a fair fee for your work is an essential copywriting skill. There are so many underpaid copywriters out there, especially freelancers.

If you are a freelance copywriter, don’t be afraid to negotiate a fair fee for your efforts. If anyone is offering you lower than the national wage, don’t do it. When freelance copywriters begin to undercut each other, it just brings down the earning potential for everyone. The best writers are forced to lower their rates, while the substandard writers get the work and are poorly paid.

When you are working out what to charge as a freelance copywriter, a good guide to go by is estimating how many hours it will take you to research and write a piece, and then charge according to your hourly rate. Some writers prefer to charge by the word, however a hundred words could take you a couple of minutes if you know about the topic, or it could take you fifteen if you need to research first.

10. Has Faith

When you are composing a piece of writing, it doesn’t matter if you are not sure what to say to begin with. The more you pour out your knowledge on a topic onto your screen (or paper if you are old school!) the better able you are to shape it into something with value and meaning, and something that compels your audience to take a specific action as a result of your words.

It can be really frustrating to stare at a blank screen and blinking cursor, so if you are not sure what to write, just put anything down to do with the topic to begin with. You’ll find that this sparks off ideas that you can develop for your piece of writing.

Find out how you can become a copywriter, whether freelance or employed with my new course coming soon. There is loads of information and skills, tips and tricks to becoming an awesome copywriter. I’ll be releasing just a few places at a time, so please subscribe to register your interest.

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