How to be a copywriter

Can anyone be a copywriter?

While the basic tools of the copywriter are available in every office, these alone can’t guarantee success. As well as a computer and word processing software or pen and paper, an understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation is necessary. It also helps to have an understanding of language, how to use it and how people respond to it.

Prepare to be a copywriter

If you are not confident in your understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation, you can learn these by enrolling on a training course, by studying for a qualification, by teaching yourself and by picking up hints and tips from this book and from Zarywacz’s other online and printed resources.

Whatever your ability, a good dictionary always helps with spelling, while useful guides can help with grammar and punctuation. Rather than buying online or from a catalogue, go to a bookshop with a large selection and test the books yourself to discover which ones you find easy to use. Supported by these aids, you can look up a word or a question of grammar or punctuation whenever you are unsure.

To improve your understanding of language, observe how other people write. Whenever you read a document that’s easy to understand and use, examine the writer’s style, their use of words and how they construct sentences and paragraphs. Experiment with these techniques yourself in your own writing. What is most important when you are a copywriter is for readers to want to read your writing and to understand the message you want to communicate to them.

Read on and we’ll try to help you achieve this as a copywriter.

What result do you want from your copywriting?

Copywriting can take up a lot of time, so make sure you know why you want to write any piece of text. What business objective do you want your copywriting to achieve?

  • Promote your products and services to customers
  • Build and maintain relationships with customers
  • Communicate important messages to employees
  • Build your business reputation among industry peers
  • _______________________________________________

Understanding the result you require enables you to plan, write and produce documents with a much greater chance of success.

What action will produce the result you need?

A result such as ‘increasing sales’ requires a specific action from customers to ‘buy’ your products. What specific actions do you need your copywriting to persuade readers to take?

  • Call a phone number for information
  • Buy a specific product on offer
  • Come to your retail outlet
  • Buy a ticket for an event
  • Visit your web site
  • Participate in an employee motivation scheme
  • Persuade employees to take fewer days off sick
  • Focus on selling a specific product
  • _______________________________________________

Who will your copywriting address?

Identifying the action you want your readers to take should also help to identify your audience. This is important because different styles of writing are needed to address each type of audience. Older readers could prefer to read a printed magazine, with younger readers preferring text messages.

Define your target audience by the characteristics most relevant to your business objectives and required actions:

  • Role – customer, employee, supplier, industry peer
  • Age group
  • Gender
  • Location – local, national or international
  • Education, status, earnings
  • _______________________________________________

Which format suits your audience best?

When you have identified your target audience, consider how they prefer to receive information:

  • Individually addressed letter or email
  • Brochure or flyer
  • Customer magazine or newsletter
  • Press release or case study
  • Web site or blog
  • Presentation
  • Printed, online or broadcast advert
  • Employee newsletter or intranet
  • _______________________________________________

Now think about copywriting

Knowing the:

  • Result you want
  • Action needed to achieve it
  • Audience you need to target to take action
  • Format of communication needed to reach them

equips you with the information you need to start the copywriting process.

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