What is Copywriting?
A big part of freelance writing is copywriting.
It basically comes down to writing that persuades readers to do something.
That something can be to click a button to get more info, enter their email address to sign up for something, to make a purchase, to continue reading or any other action.
You’re trying to persuade your reader to take action based on your words.
It’s also called sales copy and direct response copy.
No matter what it’s called, it’s a great skill to have as a copywriter. Blogging is different than copywriting. Blogging is for informative or educational. Copywriting is focused more on making the actual sales.
Commercials (both TV and radio) are written by copywriters. Magazine ads are written by copywriters. Those 4-page letters you get in the mail that end by asking you for a donation are written by copywriters.
After signing up for a newsletter or coupons from a business website you’ll get emails sent to you every few days or weeks. Those emails are all written by copywriters.
And some of them are freelance copywriters.
Business owners want their copy written to persuade readers to make purchases. If you can do that, you’re golden.
The best part is, you can learn how to write persuasive copy if you don’t already know.
My recommendations are:
• Read books by proven copywriters. I’ve got a list of the best books on copywriting right here.
• Read and study successful copy as examples (also known as swipe files).
• Read websites by established/successful copywriters. Read, ask questions and learn from those already in the trenches.
• Write/practice. You can hardly expect to get good at something unless you do it. Repeatedly. Find someone who can critique your work – find a copywriting buddy or a mentor who can help hone your skill.
Writing enticing sales copy is the most important writing skill you can have as a freelance writer. Even if you only want to write blog posts, learning copywriting techniques on selling with words can help your career.
Think about it, as a freelance writer marketing yourself, your main job is to sell yourself/services to potential clients. Learning persuasive writing techniques can help you market yourself.
Make sure ALL of your sales copy includes these things:
Engaging, conversational-style writing – the first sentence should make the reader want to read the next sentence. The first paragraph should make the reader want to read the second paragraph and so on. Boring writing is a quick way to have readers click away.
Concise wording – keep your writing free of ‘extra’ words. Only write what’s needed to get your point across. Being descriptive is fine, but going overboard and writing entire sentences that could just as easily be taken out isn’t fine.
Descriptive words – instead of writing That is very good. Write That is amazing. Using the word very doesn’t make things sound as exciting as they could when using bigger, more descriptive words.
Credible information – don’t hype things up salesy words or phrases. You aren’t writing an infomercial here. Use the benefits of your product/service to show why it makes lives easier/better.
Persuasive writing – your goal is to have a reader turn into a buyer. Encourage them to take the next step by coming right out and asking them to do it. If your goal is to get the reader to click on a Buy button, ask them to. Click the Buy button right now to jump start your weight loss journey.
The most important thing to know about writing good sales copy is to know your audience.
Knowing your audience/target market makes a difference in how you “talk” to them in your copy. I write a lot of automotive copy aimed at car guys. If I wrote to them using the same tone or voice I’d use when writing to an audience of new moms, things could be disastrous.
Knowing your audience lets you know how to speak to them. Some audiences expect a little sales talk while others would click away from your copy the second they feel they are being sold to.
This is also a good reason why there are no copywriting templates that you can use for every audience. If there were, no one would need a copywriter to write for them.
If you’d like to learn more or if you have any questions about copywriting, send me an email. I’m happy to help you learn more or critique your work.
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