What is copywriting and how can you become a copywriter?

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During the last few years, content has become a necessity for any modern brand. Bill Gates’s famous quote “content is the king” highlights the importance of content and copywriting, so businesses all over the world started exerting more effort and spending more on content. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B brands use content marketing as compared with 86% of B2C brands.

Forbes recently reported, “If you want to be successful online, the only essential skill is being a good copywriter.

Companies are always looking to hire the best copywriters with an annual salary of $54,909 in average for full time in-house copywriters, 80% of copywriters earning between $39k – $78k per year according to data aggregated from Payscale and Salary.com.

Related: 22 Work from home business ideas with low start-up costs.

So, in this article we will discuss and answer your heartburning questions, like:

  1. what is copywriting and how do you learn it?
  2. What should copywriting accomplish?
  3. What should a copywriter do?
  4. How do you become a copywriter and what skills do you need?
  5. How can a beginner start copywriting?

Let’s start, shall we:

What is copywriting and how do you learn it?

copywriting notebook croissant coffee

According to CopyBlogger, Copywriting is the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action. In simple words, copywriting is the process of writing advertising promotional materials.

Copywriters are responsible for the text on brochures, websites, emails, advertisements, product descriptions, sales letters, sales copy, catalogs, and more. It is all about getting the reader to take action. That action might be to purchase, opt-in, or engage with a product, service, or company.

What should copywriting accomplish?

To get your copywriting career started you must have writing skills and you must know exactly what type of copywriting you would like to pursue.

  • A successful copywriter presents the brand as a trustworthy expert to its potential clients.
  • A professional copywriter provides the right and needed information for customers during their buying journey.
  • Persuade customers to take an action like visiting a website, signing up for a new app or starting a free trial for a tool.
  • Use search engine optimization to enhance the company’s ranking on Google.

Copywriters create blog posts, ads, sales pages, product descriptions, maybe podcasts or tv and radio ads, emails, flyers, and social media posts. They create content that moves people to take the needed action. From a social media post to a landing page serve a purpose in getting the reader to do something.

Related: SEO 101: How to SEO: The beginner guide from Google

Here are a few examples of what should a copywriter do:

  • Sales pages
  • Video sales script
  • Emails
  • Press releases
  • Social media ads
  • Direct mail to the target audience
  • Landing pages
  • Content writing for web pages
  • About pages
  • Case studies
  • Marketing materials
  • Assist in setting up the marketing strategy
  • Lead magnets

Be aware while working in the above that it is all about creative writing and knowing the target market and customer persona well. As a content writer your words you can make a huge difference between an okay sales campaign and an awesome one.

Related: How content marketing is used to drive growth in startups

How do you become a copywriter and which skill set do you need?

1.     A good grasp of spelling, punctuation and grammar

A high level of linguistic skills is a must! Readers appreciate the correct sentence structure and accurate writing. A copywriter should pay attention to

  • grammar
  • punctuation
  • spelling

To avoid simple errors on your way to becoming a great copywriter, use spell checking software like Grammarly for English or Mawdoo3.com for Arabic. Mawdoo3.com provides many services that will help you check the spelling and grammar. In addition to automatic diacritization, it senses writer’s emotion expressed in the text.

Also, after you finish writing I highly recommend reading the content out loud. You’ll spot things you’d often miss on the page.

2.     An eye for detail

In the copywriting business you will need the ability to spot errors in your own copywriting work. You’ll have to be your own proofreader. The content should be as error free as possible before being published.

3.     Curiosity

If you choose copywriting as a career path then curiosity should come to you naturally.

You will have to find out more pieces of information about the topic you are writing about or the product you’re selling. This means discovering its features, benefits and unique selling points. The more you know about the topic the easier it will be to create content about it.

4.     Research and copywriting skills

Another skill that you must have in your writing skills basket is the ability to use the internet to carry out research will make that process quicker and easier.

Having excellent research skills directly affects your communication skills. Asking the right questions will allow you to understand his need, which is vital if you want to sell it effectively.

5.     The ability to capture different points of view

As a copywriter it’s vital to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the customer. You must be able to persuade the customer that the product or service you are creating content for is going to benefit them.

This can be harder for freelance copywriters given the nature of their work, freelance writers are not always involved in the making of the product nor in the culture of the business

6.     Great listening skills

It is vital that you are able to listen to your client and provide what they want. It will also help when carrying out your research and finding the best angle to create your content from.

7.     Familiarity with different types of content management systems (CMS)

A CMS is a platform used for the creation and publication of digital content, like WordPress or Joomla. The good thing is, all CMS works in a similar way. For instance, most have a template for inputting writing without additional coding, making it quick and easy to upload content. However, a little understanding of HTML can go a long way, as it allows you to perfectly format and personalise your writing. Try to take an online course for basic HTML, and watch tutorials and learn how the CMS system works.

Related: WordPress: 7 reasons why you should start using WordPress 

8.     Familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As a copywriter, it can be depressing to think about your work in terms of keywords and SEO, but it’s a big part of the game. After all, there’s no point writing something incredible if no one ever finds it.

This where knowing some digital marketing can come in handy, understanding how potential clients search for content and how search engines prioritize particular pieces and and web pages is vital for you as a copywriter.

Related: Keyword research tools to boost your SEO

From a writer’s perspective, it’s about having a clear and informative title, breaking up your text with relevant headings, using keywords throughout, and including appropriate links. Nothing too scary!

Related: Importance of SEO: 8 reasons to start optimizing your website

How can a beginner start copywriting

The best copywriters are really into two main things: learning and writing copy.

  • Learning: you need to study the basics of copywriting, you can take some online copywriting courses on Udemy or coursera. You will find many free good courses. Or you can read articles like how to Write ad copy to get more clicks
  • Practice writing different copies: you need practice to get really good at it. If you don’t actively spend time learning about copywriting and writing out copy, you’re never going to get to that top level.
  • Try being a freelance copywriter: You can start working as a freelancer, this way you’ll have different clients and a variety of copies to create your portfolio. This will help you stay creative not get bored quickly from writing about the same thing over and over again which will develop your copywriting skills
  • Build an online portfolio: One of the best ways to showcase your previous work is by building an online portfolio or creating a personal website. And the first step to do that is by securing a domain name. And the easiest way to build your own website if you don’t have the technical skills needed is to use a website builder. Once your website is up and running you should connect it to your social media (especially your LinkedIn).

Don’t forget that your first copywriting job won’t be perfect. So, you’d better keep trying, learning and improving your copywriting skills. You can also check our content related articles to help you get inspired.



Image by: Álvaro Serrano via Unsplash.

Selina Bieber
Based in Dubai, Selina heads up commercial strategy for international markets at GoDaddy and is currently an Advisor at Blatform.io, a business as a software company operating in the crypto-economy. Before joining GoDaddy, Selina headed up media relations across Europe for a large-scale energy project headquartered in the Netherlands and was on the agency-side leading marcomms activities for the likes of Facebook, Verisign Inc and Euler Hermes. Selina grew up in Australia, studying international studies and media at the University of Adelaide, before moving to Istanbul and completing a Master’s Degree in Political Science. She is now doing a Doctorate in Business Administration at ISM and also holds a CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing. With English as her mother tongue, Selina additionally speaks Turkish and German.