Writing well is hard, and being a good copywriter presents its own set of challenges. Writers must take several elements into consideration when creating content, from tone of voice to grammar and formatting, and professional copywriters face the added challenge of turning on a dime. As a copywriter, you might write a topical blog post one day and evergreen website content the next, and you must be able to switch from one style to the other with ease.
How? By being brazen, impudent and audacious. That's one of the best copywriting tips around. Here are seven reasons why copywriters must be shameless in order to be effective:
1. Copywriters must always sell.
From products and services to personas and ideas, successful copywriters are always selling. The real trick, and the hallmark of a truly great copywriter, is writing in such a way that the reader won’t even know they are being sold to. No matter the writer’s style and voice, or the style and voice they must match for the client, a smart copywriter must write informative and persuasive copy every time using every writing tool in their arsenal.
2. Copywriters must use every language tool in the box.
Language is a writer's arsenal. A great copywriter will learn the rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling and style, then use those rules to good effect, even if it means breaking them. Copywriting forces the writer to be flexible with language in order to find the right tone of voice for the intended audience and choose the right wording according to how subtle or blunt the message needs to be. The written word demands that the writer make up for the missing element of body language, and copywriters must be constantly on the ball to make sure that happens.
3. Copywriters must always be one step ahead.
Content is a constantly changing game; what was hot just last month could no longer be topical. Readers are fickle; they might decide to love listicals one day and reject them outright the next. Industries change, products evolve, and search engines change their minds about what they like. To be an effective copywriter and create relevant content, you must always be on the top of the game and stay informed on the latest news and trends that affect your niche market and profession as a whole.
4. Copywriters must write unfailingly clickable headlines.
You can write a brilliant piece, but what good will it do if nobody clicks to read it? Readers are constantly inundated with content on a daily basis, and a good headline often means the difference between your piece being read or passed over. This applies across the board, but is especially true of social and marketing content. Not sure your headlines are up to par? You're not alone, but fortunately there are resources and guidelines that can help. If you think you need to brush up on your headline-writing skills, check out this post.
5. Copywriters must always be connecting ideas.
Nobody wants to read about the same old thing all the time, and most copywriters don’t want to write that kind of content anyway. The most effective copywriters are the ones who can consistently make fresh connections between ideas. That effort or ability can pay off in the way of engaging content that elicits emotion in readers and urges them to take action. As a copywriter, your brain must constantly be working to connect A and B in ways that haven't been done before.
6. Copywriters must constantly outshine the competition.
Whether they are trying to beat out other copywriters and sign a new client or help that client to surpass their own competitors, copywriters play a competitive game. Marketing, sales and advertising (the areas most copywriters work in) is always cut-throat, and you’re only as good as the readers think you are.
Don’t get me wrong—most copywriters I know are very helpful and willing to collaborate with one another. But in order to be a successful copywriter your content must consistently please the audience at large, and more importantly so should what you’re selling.
7. Copywriters must be willing to break the rules.
Remember when we talked about rules earlier? I mentioned breaking them then, and I’ll elaborate now. From grammar and sentence structure to taboo words and phrases, a talented copywriter must be willing to throw everything out the window and take a chance on a game changer.
- Does the industry traditionally prefer long, prosaic text? Dazzle them with quick bursts of insight.
- Are your readers used to being emotionally comfortable? Jostle them with a topic that makes them question their actions or opinions.
- Nobody wants to mention the competition? Do it.
Naturally, you will want to make sure you're not stepping on the most important toes, but if you are willing to step outside of the accepted boundaries in your writing, you might find readers have a pleasant emotional reaction, or at least one that incites them to take a positive action, like sharing.
Need help breaking out of a rut and being a more shameless copywriter? If you have access to analytics, take a good look at your readers’ preferences and behavior and let those factors guide you in creating new content. Take a gander at what the popular writers are doing. Don’t copy them. Never copy them. But look closely and you’ll probably notice some way in which they’ve taken the rules and thrown them out the window.