What is copy?
Copy is pretty much any written material that is written to catch a reader’s attention. It can be found anywhere—webpages, blog titles, magazines, book blurbs, newspapers headlines, advertisements, billboards, video, even presentations. You may be the most familiar with copywriting in terms of advertising since ads are everywhere.
Why should I care?
Copywriting is a skill that will boost your credibility as an editor. As an editor, we are trained to help a project reach a specific end goal and audience. This is the same with copywriting. If you can write a sentence or two that will attract a customer to buy your bright blue adult tutu, that’s pretty cool. Often copy comes in short sentences, headlines, or summaries. Being able to demonstrate skills in copywriting will open more doors and make you more credible as an editor. You can use your copywriting skills to market yourself on networking platforms and business cards. Copywriting is an easy way to demonstrate your skill with words.
In reality, copywriting is pretty simple, it becomes easier the more you understand the product or purpose behind your writing. Most of copywriting work is research, after the research you spend some time writing. But there are some tips and tricks that make it a little easier.
How do I write effective copy?
Work with others. If you are copywriting an advertisement, work with the marketing team to understand the product, audience, and goals for the ad.
Use keywords. Which words? That depends on what you are copywriting and what is common for that specific field. Do your research!
For example, you might be trying to sell Easter egg-dying kits to middle-aged women whose children have grown up and moved out. Perhaps in your research, you find that women in this age group are looking for new solutions to old problems. You decide that secret is a keyword you could use. Your copy might look something like this:
The Secret to Dying the Perfect Easter Eggs.
Use numbers. Readers love a specific list. For example,
7 Secrets for Dying the Perfect Easter Eggs.
Appeal to emotions. Make the reader feel like they have an emotional investment in the product/purpose behind the copywriting. Relate to something the audience would be experiencing.
Dying Easter Eggs Lift Spirits During Coronavirus Quarantine.
Include a call to action. Including verbs and action steps can produce strong writing, and the response you desire.
Dye Easter Eggs To Be Uplifted Despite a Raging Pandemic!
Ultimately the best way to practice copywriting is to write copy. Just like editing, copywriting is a revision process: brainstorm, write, edit, revise, repeat. You are learning to understand readers and appeal to people—that takes time.
If you’re looking for more resources to get you started in writing copy, take a look at these famous copywriters and helpful tutorials:
The more you research copywriting the more you’ll learn that this is a skill you should consider developing. If you take a look at a job-hunting website, you’ll be surprised how many positions there are for copywriting skills. As you go about your day, look for the copy all around you—on billboards, newspapers, store windows. The more copy you read, the more you’ll find that copywriting is about creating compelling text—the same thing we do when we edit.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW: Choose 5 articles off your favorite news site and practice copywriting 10 headlines per article OR choose 5 products that you love or hate and write 10 headlines/ads announcing the product. Then, do the same thing again tomorrow.
Written by Hannah Mortenson.