In 2018, various “buzzword” careers seem to be tossed around a lot without any real understanding of what they entail. Content creators, wordsmiths and copywriters have found the market swinging in their favour over the past few years as brands seek succinct copy to cut through the noise. Copywriting isn’t about the words. In essence, it’s about understanding the hearts and minds of target audiences.
If it sounds attractive to you, you aren’t alone. However, copywriting is not like other styles of writing. Just because you were a “good” writer in university or have your own blog where you ruminate on life on the universe, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re automatically going to start writing compelling copy straightaway.
Take a look at the way the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing:
“Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The beauty (and challenge) of being a successful copywriter lies in the fact that there are so many layers to the position. If you are looking to get into the field, or want to take your abilities to the next level, here are three essential lessons for budding copywriters.
1. Research skills are a must.
First and foremost, strong research skills are at the core of being a professional copywriter. Copywriters research, research, and then research some more before even sitting down to start writing a piece of content.
The best copywriters are curious about a variety of different topics and actually enjoy investigating new questions and exploring new areas of knowledge. We’re anoraks at heart. Copywrting starts long before pen is put to paper or a single key depressed on a keyboard.
Copywriters aren’t necessarily experts in the topic they are writing about; instead, they are experts in researching issues and then curating that information into something new.
Copywriters need to be able to read a variety of materials (usually from on the web, but don’t be afraid to branch out to books, magazines, etc.), synthesize what they learn, and then write something that is better than everything else out there on the topic.
The more skilled you are at researching, the more value will find its way into your pieces of work, and the more likely you are to create content that has an impact. You want to be making an impact.
If you are someone who loves learning continually, then copywriting may be a perfect path for you to follow.
2. Creativity + Purpose = Copywriting
For many people, the beauty of copywriting lies in the mixture of creativity and purpose that is necessary in equal amounts. Copywriters tend to have always loved writing and have a natural inclination for finding ways to play with words.
Whether you are the best copywriter in Dubai or a young budding creator of content magic, you have to be willing to take risks with your creativity and have a flair for adding humor, drama, or personality to the words you write, while also being a grammar nerd.
That being said, while you should be injecting your creativity and personality into each piece of content, you also need to keep in mind that at the most basic level, you are still trying to sell something. So, you have to keep the firm’s message clear and concise.
3. Never stop learning about and from your target audience.
Even if you have envisioned the best content marketing strategy that the world has ever seen, if it isn’t relatable or relevant to your target audience, then it is pretty pointless.
Whether you plan out your content calendar months in advance or prefer to dream up topics in the heat of the moment, you still want to be checking in with your goals to ensure that topics and campaigns fit in with the overall theme of the company.
As a copywriter, the content that you create must engage and connect with your target audience, and demonstrate to them that you know them and accordingly are solely writing about subjects or advertising goods or services that you know will serve them. In other words, you have their best interests at heart.
Over time, as you create more content for an individual firm, you are going to learn more about your target audience. Utilizing analytics will assist you in recognizing which topics or styles of material perform the best, get shared the most, and inspire purchases or sign-ups.
You never want your inner drive to know your audience to become stagnant. That is a surefire way of losing them. Instead, regularly communicate with them, inquire about the problems they are facing, and send out surveys or polls to see where content can help.
Always be learning about them and from them, so subsequently, you can teach them, and bring some sales.
In addition to the skills and lessons mentioned above, in order to be a successful copywriter in 2018, you also need to have excellent SEO knowledge, be an adaptable worker, and have above-average self-discipline and time-management skills. But, it is all worth it when you find that content sweet-spot.
Do you think you have what it takes to be the next prominent copywriter? Let us know how you are developing your skills and what you see to be the most challenging component in the comments below.
Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade’s experience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analytical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you – so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.