Copywriting is one of the oldest marketing methods and is still in use today. A decision to learn copywriting is wise because web copywriting is in high demand. According to LinkedIn, hiring for such digital marketing roles grew by 33% in 2020.
Whether you’re a beginner copywriter or an expert content marketer looking to hone your copywriting skills, this article will help. We’re sharing major copywriting tips for beginners as well as exploring the various job opportunities available to copywriters today.
What is a copywriter?
A copywriter specializes in creating persuasive copy for websites, emails, print advertisements, products, and more. “Copy” is text designed to get readers to take a specific action, such as stopping to look at a billboard, buying a product, joining an email list, and so on.
Copywriting differs from content writing in that copywriters often write fewer words while needing to make a quicker or stronger impact. Their words should move the reader from being a passive bystander to engaging with the brand or product.
How to start copywriting with zero experience
Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t feel like a copywriting career is outside your reach because you have no experience. However, to start copywriting, you’ll need to be willing to learn — and fast. These are the three keys to becoming a good copywriter:
1. Learn about copywriting
The first step for every new venture is research. A few ways you can learn about copywriting:
- Follow useful copywriting blogs like Copyhackers and Copyblogger
- Read copywriting books to learn copywriting techniques — many copywriters swear by Ann Handley’s book, Everybody Writes
- Watch YouTube videos about copywriting — Ashlyn Carter and Alex Cattoni make helpful videos
- Take a copywriting course like the one from Copyhackers
2. Study successful copywriters
Reverse-engineering web copy is a clever way to see how copywriting works in practice and learn the skill yourself. Study web pages across a variety of industries. Start with your favorite big corporations: the places you like to eat and shop and the software you use.
Notice why their landing pages work and try to figure out why their product descriptions appeal to you (ahem, Apple). With the knowledge you’re gaining from copywriting blogs and books, you’ll find it easier to break down great copy and replicate it.
Try writing fictional web copy to test your skills! Imagine you’re setting up your own business, for example. Better yet, create a website for your copywriting business as your first project. Build all the necessary pages — the About Us, Services, and sales pages — on your own.
Still afraid to dive in? Start with these copywriting exercises:
- Rewrite a famous ad
- Write a landing page for a pretend business
- Come up with 3 headlines every day
- Write an ad for the movie you just watched
- Rewrite a sales email from your favorite brand
- Write a sales email to a friend selling them on your favorite brand of sneakers
6 copywriting skills you need to succeed
Wondering whether you’re even cut out for copywriting? We’ll help you figure it out by highlighting the top six skills you need to do effective copywriting.
1. Strong writing
Not to be obvious, but you need to know how to write a good sentence if you want to be a copywriter. Because web copywriters typically work with fewer words (for landing pages, for example) than long-form writers, you need to write concisely.
Sales copy must also be convincing and for technical copywriting and product descriptions, copywriters have to articulate complex ideas in brief, clear copy. Overall, everything should be written with good grammar.
2. Customer insight
Copywriters are their clients’ mouthpieces. You’ll be in charge of telling your clients’ potential customers what they do or sell. It’s your job to highlight the product’s benefits and convince these customers that it fits their needs.
To do this, you have to know your clients’ businesses well. Who is their target audience? What is their unique value proposition? What pain point do they solve for their customers? How do they outshine their competition? Curiosity and good listening skills will take your copy to the next level.
3. An understanding of marketing and sales
The ultimate goal of copywriting is sales. So as a copywriter, you should understand the basics of sales and marketing. For example, understanding how sales funnels work will help you nail the tone for copy aimed at different stages of the customer journey. You’ll know when to focus on informing and educating vs full-on persuasive selling.
Getting a big-picture view of your role in the marketing team will also help you provide more targeted support as you write your copy.
4. Knowing how to turn features into benefits
The best copywriters know that copy is all about the audience. Naturally, we try to convince others by sharing the best features of a product or service. However, as a copywriter, you’ll learn how to convert those features into eye-catching benefits for your readers.
For example, instead of “first-ever band-aid for all skin tones,” a benefit-centered tagline would be more like “a band-aid that matches your skin.” Specifically addressing the customer and showing how that revolutionary feature benefits them is how you win their attention — and money.
Copywriters are voice shapeshifters. One day you’re selling smartwatches and the next day, software. Even if you choose a niche, no two products are exactly alike and every brand has a unique voice, so you’ll need to learn to adapt to new voices.
Depending on your niche, you may write several kinds of copy and you’ll also need to pick up new skills — like SEO, for example — along the way.
6. Creativity for generating convincing headlines
All writers need to come up with headlines, but not nearly as often as copywriters do! Landing pages? Need a headline. Emails? Need a subject line. Product descriptions? Need a headline. You’ll have to be creative, understand what makes a solid headline, and also consider investing in some headline generator tools to take the strain off your creativity.
Types of Copywriting Jobs
As a copywriter you can choose one of two broad career paths:
- Becoming an in-house copywriter for a company (aka being an employee)
- Becoming a freelance copywriter (aka working for yourself)
In terms of picking a copywriting niche, the options are endless. After trying out a few industries, you’ll likely find one or two that appeal to you. It could be technology, health, SaaS, etc. But what kinds of copywriting can you do regardless of industry? Here are some options with examples:
- Direct response copywriting: Crafting copy designed to get readers to act right now, not just to put products on their radar for later. In the example below, Shopify’s landing page is designed to collect sign-ups for their free trial.
- Social media copywriting: Writing copy with a call-to-action (CTA) to be shared on social media. Wendy’s uses their sassy social media posts to encourage customers — or hungry scrollers — to purchase.
- Technical copywriting: Writing marketing materials like instruction manuals, guides, and product descriptions for technical industries like IT, construction, or manufacturing. Sense’s installation guide is premium easy-to-understand technical copywriting.
- Public relations: Writing copy and all communication to maintain or convey brand image and reputation.
- SEO copywriting: Essentially copywriting, but with the inclusion of keywords on important pages so they can rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).
- Email copywriting: Writing sales copy for selling products and services via email. App Sumo does an excellent job with email copy.
10 practical tips to consider when learning to write copy
1. Research the competition
Know your client’s competitors and study their copy. This will enable you to help your client emphasize their unique value proposition.
2. Make room for voice
Inject personality into your copy. Ask your client about their brand voice or help them figure out one if they haven’t yet.
3. Think about your target audience
Write using language your audience understands. As mentioned before, always lead with the benefits of your products or service.
4. Storytelling wins
Narrative copywriting takes readers on a journey and helps them get a wider view of your company and the services you offer.
5. Use emotions, but don’t manipulate your audience
Fear tactics or positioning your product as “the best” is weak copywriting. Instead, show your audience the benefits they’re missing out on and highlight which demographic your product best serves.
6. Choose words carefully
Being a great copywriter requires that you show more and tell less. Use visuals, choose language that evokes imagery, and edit ruthlessly to remove unnecessary adjectives and adverbs until you only have words you can’t do without.
7. Experiment with copywriting formulas
Popular copywriting formulas like Attention-Interest-Desire-Awareness (AIDA) and Problem-Agitate-Solution (PAS) can make copywriting easier for you.
8. Use copywriting templates
Instead of starting with a blank page every time, try using templates. Jarvis, an AI copywriting assistant has over 52 writing templates, several of which work well for copywriting. Some of our favorite Jarvis copywriting templates are:
- AIDA Framework: Implements the AIDA marketing formula
- PAS Framework: Implements the PAS formula
- Feature to Benefit: Turns product features into benefits for you
- Before-After-Bridge Framework: Implements the BAB framework
- Perfect Headline: Generates dozens of creative headline options
- Email Subject Line: Generates catchy email subject line options
- Personalized Cold Emails: Drafts personalized cold emails from scratch
Here’s the Feature to Benefit template in action:
Think of how many hours you could save with this tool!
9. Address the elephant
If your customer has a brand quirk that might put off potential buyers, address it in your copy. Are they more expensive than competitors? Mention it and show why they charge as much.
10. Keep a swipe file
Copywriting requires merciless editing, so save your darlings in a swipe file for days when you’re low on inspiration. Well-written phrases, hard-to-find statistics, and witty CTAs you loved can all go in your swipe file.
Continue improving your copywriting skills
There’s no end to learning as a copywriter. As you gain knowledge and buff up your writing skills, don’t forget to grab tools that can help you scale your business. Jarvis is trained by expert copywriters (and writes better than many new and intermediate copywriters). With Jarvis on your side, you’ll be unstoppable, winning gigs left and right. You can improve your copywriting skills with useful resources and get more out of Jarvis using the tips in this guide.
Sign up with Jarvis to master copywriting now.