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Monday, May 27, 2024

9 Must-Follow Copywriting Tips for Creating Stellar Copy


Want to get into copywriting but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with a list of copywriting tips for beginners.

If you’re a mid-career or seasoned copywriter or content writer, it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher.

In this article, we’ll look at the different types of writing projects clients are constantly asking writers to help them with. We’ll also offer a few self-editing tips.

Types of copywriting projects

When it comes to the copywriting jobs or projects you can do for clients, the list is quite big. We’ll talk about the most common types of copywriting projects but the sky’s the limit.

Website copy

Almost all businesses today, small, medium, big, even solopreneurs have a website. It can be a simple one-page website, or a multi-page website.

Often clients, new or current, will need to revamp their website and add new pages. Sometimes, clients will ask writers to create a few pages to reflect their new products or services.

With websites, you’re writing marketing copy. Your writing needs to be clear, succinct, and drive the reader–or customer–to take action.

Advanced copywriters will also pick up some UX writing skills to improve their web copywriting services.

Landing pages

Most webpages are landing pages. That said, there are different types of landing pages.

A landing page is where a customer or reader ‘lands’ after clicking a link. Landing pages can be for a limited-time offer, or for a free downloadable like an ebook, or a questionnaire or something else.

For example, if your client wants to offer an ebook, whitepaper, or a case study, they’ll need a landing page for that specific piece of content.

Slogans

A slogan is a short, memorable phrase offering a brief idea about a business. Popular slogans include Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ and KFC’s ‘Finger-Lickin’ Good.’

Slogans tend to be short, ranging from two to three words to a maximum of six to eight words.

Sometimes companies want to create a slogan or update or change an old one.

Though short, slogan writing is considered a high-paying gig, because it takes time, effort, lots of creativity, and tons of to-and-fro with the client.

Email marketing campaigns

Email writing and marketing fall under the different types of copywriting projects clients will ask copywriters to help them with.

Email copywriting includes newsletters and email campaigns and sequences.

Those welcome emails you get when you sign up for a newsletter are a common type of email copy.

Ads

Many businesses run ads on social media, Google, YouTube, and other platforms. These ads need copy that follows each platform’s best practices and drives customers to click and take action.

Social media posts

Social media content is considered a type of copywriting project. Sometimes copywriters write the content for these posts, sometimes it’s a social media manager with content creation skills.

Copy will vary for these posts depending on the platform the client wants to post on. For example, posts for X (formerly Twitter) are short, while Instagram posts focus on the images and include several hashtags.

Company profiles

Surprisingly company profiles are still in demand, especially in the business-to-business (B2B) sphere.

Companies operating in construction, professional services, human resources, among others will often ask copywriters for help with their company profiles. Usually that’s in the form of a PowerPoint Presentation or a PDF.

Blog content

Many freelancers rely heavily on creating blog content for their clients. Why? Because it’s consistent work. Unlike website copy which you write once and update or add pages every year or so, blogging is consistent.

Companies can publish anything from two blog posts per month to publishing daily.

Blogging content also requires the content writer be familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to get the content to rank.

Make sure you hone and improve your SEO skills.

You can do so by reading and subscribing to some of the best SEO websites like Search Engine Journal, SEMRush, and others.

Product descriptions

E-commerce businesses have a constant need for product descriptions. Especially businesses who are either expanding to create a website and add a new source of revenue or those just starting out directly online.

Products are the core of their business. They need these products to have clear, descriptive, and catchy copy, and be SEO-optimized.

Case studies

One of the higher-paying freelance writing gigs are case studies. They’re a type of social proof. Case studies show customers how others have used a client’s products or services and benefited from them.

To write a case study, you’ll often need to conduct interviews with your client and their customer or client.

Whitepapers

Another type of well-paying gig is writing whitepapers.

A whitepaper is a type of report about a specific subject, usually a technical one. The whitepaper usually ends with your client being the solution to one or more problems tackled in the report.

Whitepapers are considered advanced types of copywriting and can take months to write. They require multiple interviews, both from people in your client’s company and from industry sources.

The top reason companies create whitepapers is for authority building.

Press releases

Though writing press releases has evolved, they’re still an important type of copywriting project for many companies.

Often companies will ask writers to write press releases so they can share the news or announcements with the press.

Video scripts

With video content creation on the rise, the need for creating video content and scripts is rising as well.

According to research by HubSpot, 66% of people watched video content to learn about a product or service.

Many in-house and freelance copywriters are tasked with writing scripts for companies’ videos. Whether it’s for YouTube, TikTok, or other social media platforms.

Copywriting tips for sleek writing

Now that you’re familiar with the different writing projects, let’s look at copywriting tips to help you nail your clients’ copy.

1. Make it conversational

This is the most important copywriting tip. Make your copy conversational. Like how I’m writing this article and talking to you right now.

Just because your copy is conversational doesn’t mean it needs to be informal or slang-ish.

Conversational copy means you can use contractions (like ‘don’t,’ ‘won’t,’ ‘can’t’) and sentence fragments.

Your client’s products or services and their tone will decide how conversational, formal or informal your tone can be.

2. Skip the buzzwords

Buzzwords are the bane of copywriters. Clients love them. Beginner copywriters are getting to know them. And Seasoned copywriters know and hate them.

So, your second copywriting tip is: Avoid buzzwords.

Buzzwords are words or phrases used in different types of copy. They are considered jargon and frowned upon (by writers not clients).

Removing these buzzwords from your copy usually doesn’t affect the copy but can make it clearer.

Here are a few examples:

  • State-of-the-art
  • Streamline
  • Tipping point
  • Cutting-edge
  • Mainstream
  • Synergy

3. Use short, everyday words

It can be tempting to use long, flashy, or sophisticated-sounding words when creating copy. Especially B2B copy.

Copywriting tip: Hold back and use the easier version of the word you have in mind.

Whether you’re writing copy for a website, landing page, company profile, or something else, use easy, everyday words.

4. Focus on the pain points

To make your copywriting effective, you need to focus on your client’s customers’ pain points.

For example, if you’re writing for a beauty brand, you need to understand what their customers’ problems are and focus on those pains.

5. Focus on the benefits

Often copywriters will confuse features and benefits. They’re not the same.

Continuing with the beauty brand example. A feature of a specific kind of soap is that it contains glycerin. The benefit is that glycerin soap reduces skin dryness and improves hydration.

Features vs benefits is tricky with B2B and tech companies. In tech, you have tons of features. You need to dive deeper into each feature to uncover the benefits of that feature.

For example, a feature can be creating emails. A benefit would be not having to use a third-party email software, which translates to saving time and money creating emails.

6. Think about your target audience

To ensure your copy hits the mark, you need to get a clear understanding of the audience you’re writing for.

This means talking to your client, including different members of their team. Talk to people who deal directly with customers like customer success personnel and salespeople.

Not only will this give you an idea about their problems, but also about how to talk to them, what their priorities are, and so on.

7. Use SEO (when needed)

Search engine optimization plays a big role in copywriting and content writing. But it’s not everything. Your copy should be directed first and foremost to your readers. Then, SEO comes in.

For example, blogging and SEO go hand-in-hand, most of the time. Companies create websites to improve their rankings on Google.

But, when writing SEO-optimized copy, you should think about getting the facts, features, and benefits right first. Then, you can optimize for Google.

In fact, Google’s recent algorithm updates constantly focus on giving a boost to helpful content.

8. Research and ask questions

This is a copywriting tip for beginner writers and a reminder for seasoned writers: Research. Always research and don’t take any shortcuts.

And ask questions. Ask your client as many questions as you like. The more questions you ask, the better understanding you’ll get of the client, their problems, and their customers’ problems.

This will help you create better copy.

Bonus tip: If you find your client is evasive or unable to talk about benefits, offer to do a brainstorming session to dive deeper into their product or service.

9. Have a call-to-action

Last but certainly not least in our list of copywriting tips is to have a call-to-action or CTA.

How many times have you visited a website only to find the ‘sign up’ button at the bottom of the page?

You have to keep scrolling and scrolling till you find a ‘learn more’ or ‘contact us’ button.

Websites and landing pages need more CTAs.

If you’re writing social media posts, you need a CTA.

A call-to-action tells the reader what to do next.

Have you visited the homepage of the Make A Living Writing website lately? Each section has a call-to-action or several CTAs.

How to edit your copy

It’s one thing to write copy for a website or a case study. It’s another to edit your work.

Here are a few self-editing tips to help you edit your copy. These tips can also be considered copywriting tips since the purpose of this article is to help you deliver better content and reduce the number of revisions.

1. Leave it for a day

The best tip when editing your work, be it copywriting or even your National Novel Writing Month manuscript (NaNoWriMo), is to leave aside for a day. At worst, leave it for an hour or two.

Distance yourself from the copy. Try to do something else between the time you finish writing and the time you start editing.

This helps you clear your mind of the copy so you can look at it as an editor or proofreader not the writer.

2. Read your copy out loud

When you start going through your work, don’t mumble, read it with your eyes, or just look for the red-underlined words in Google Docs or Word. Read your writing out loud.

Do you run out of breath reading some sentences? Then, they’re too long and need trimming.

Are those two words hard to pronounce when placed next to each other? Your copy doesn’t need tongue twisters. Replace words, find easier alternatives, or edit it any other way.

Reading your copy out loud not only helps you find typos, but also helps you find areas that look good in writing but aren’t as good when someone else reads them.

3. Get used to killing your darlings

One of the most important copywriting and editing tips is getting used to killing your darlings. Your darlings are those word combinations, figurative images, similes, or even alliteration you like so much.

If your client asks you to remove them, then you should remove them.

Remember, your client is the one who approves your copy. If you like that word combination so much, keep it in your drafts to use elsewhere.

Sometimes we fall in love with certain words or phrases. Let’s keep them for our copy, our websites, not a client’s website.

4. Be careful when using editing

Using writing and editing tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid has its perks. But you should also be careful when using these tools.

Don’t approve all their edits and style changes without going through them one by one.

Editing tools like ProWritingAid abhor the passive voice. While it’s better to use the active voice in your writing, there are situations when using the passive voice is better.

Wrapping it up

Copywriting is about writing copy that attracts and drives readers to take action.

To excel as a copywriter and content writer, you need to constantly develop your copywriting skills, SEO skills, and interpersonal skills.

You can do so by reading the top books about copywriting, reviewing leading SEO websites, and, of course, writing.

Your Shortcut to Success. Freelancewritersden.com

Want to improve your copywriting skills? Want to learn how to create different types of content and find better freelancing gigs?

Then join The Freelance Writers’ Den, a community by freelance writers for freelance writers. 

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