When you write a poem, you’re not thinking of a throng of people to sell an idea or product to(or you’re not thinking of pleasing your boss). A piece of literature is almost always written as pure self-expression, while a copy is written to catch people’s attention and to get them to respond with the desired action. Writing poetry or fiction is different from writing marketing materials. What is constant is the writer’s skill.
If you want to know how to be a great copywriter or want to hire one, this list might come in handy.
Ideas – Before anything else, a copywriter has to have ideas. Sometimes, there are too many ideas that the hands can barely keep up with the mind. When theseare written down, they become the realization of a copywriter’s creativity.
Engaging Content – A great copywriter is able to pull off “you-can’t-put-it-down” contents, knows how to hook you from the first line on, and makes you want to read on right down to the last punctuation mark.
Organization – His or her ideas may come in spurts, but he or she knows how to put them together in one cohesive piece.
Great Grammar and Vocabulary – Anyone who wants to be a copywriter should know how to use words well. Correct grammar shows how serious one is in his or her craft. A copywriter doesn’t have to use BIG words all the time though.
Correct Punctuation – He or she knows the value of punctuation marks in the right places. A period puts a stop to a sentence or shows you the end of an idea. A comma is used to separate similar things in a series, so you can breathe. Punctuation marks are here for important reasons. They are here to prevent confusion, to organize ideas, and to express feelings and thoughts more clearly and more emphatically.
Ineffable Gift – You don’t know the specifics of what makes him or her talented. His or her works just cast a spell (sort of) on you.
Wit – Wit is like a condiment. When used in the right amount and at the right timing, it makes the content much more palatable. But don’t get me wrong, sometimes we’re required to write content devoid of wit!
Unique Play of Words – A great copywriter can pull off a unique copy from words we normally use in everyday conversations.
Responsibility – I don’t believe in the idea of bad-mouthing competitors to get your share of the pie. A responsible copywriter doesn’t have to criticize to attract attention. Also, he or she understands that his or her skill is not the star in a particular copy or content, but the idea or the product being marketed.
Sense of Persuasion or Convincing Power – He or she is able to convince the hesitant, convert the non-believer, and lead people to:
- Sign Up
- Click A Link
Sense of Urgency – A great copywriter can make buying scented candles feel like a matter of life and death (without resorting to lies).
Good Judgment – He or she must have the wisdom to know what is too much and too little. He or she must know when to apply humor and when not to, where to drop the bomb, and what emotions to evoke.
Imagery – A great copywriter is rich in imagery. He or she can put into words an entire dining experience in a way that the readers also get to experience the juicy steak.
Knowledge of News and Trends – He or she needs to be well-informed and updated. It always helps to have some intelligence on the side!
Knowledge of Pun – He or she can add a creative touch to content for the purpose of humor. By the way, coffee is not my cup of tea. Pun intended.
Versatility – He or she can write anything: newsletters, emails, homepages, etc.
Specificity – A great copywriter is detailed and is able to communicate general concepts in specific details, which drives home the message of the copy more effectively.
We only use fresh breads in our sandwiches.
We only use hot, oven-fresh breads in our sandwiches.
Memorability – His or her words stick on your mind.
Truth – He or she doesn’t deliver false promises or guarantees and doesn’t exaggerate and deceive.
There’s a belief in literature that your work becomes public property once you finish it. It’s hard to accept this idea completely. Hey, that’s my work. You can’t have your own farfetched interpretation. It’s completely different from my intended message. But I can agree that a literary work’s merit depends on how people receive it.
That idea can be applied in copywriting. A copywriter can only measure his or her copy’s effectiveness through people’s reaction to it. Sounds like a demanding list? Good news. Copywriting skills may not be purchased, but they can be learned.