Copywriting is a solid career path for anyone with the writing chops and qualifications to pursue it. Whether freelancing or full-time, it’s a position that typically involves writing for a lot of interesting clients, putting out articles that help people, and flexing your creativity.
Of course, like any good career, you’ll have to bring your A game to be competitive. Copywriter jobs usually require a degree in English or something similar, a sizable portfolio, and some degree of dedication to get. Definitely not a cakewalk!
Not to worry, however: Dangerpedia’s got you covered. Join us today, as we bring you five important copywriting tips, and get ready to dominate one of the best fields for a creative, today.
And, just so you can come back and go through them later, here are today’s five tips, listed in short:
- Learn The Structure
- 20 Word Rule
- Borrow Correctly
- Quality Content
Learn The Structure
Before we start, I’ve got some bad news: your writing’s bad.
Well, not bad. I shouldn’t say bad. It’s probably…fine? I don’t know you. But I know it’s not perfect. You make mistakes. Use incorrect grammar. Talk in cliches. I’ve seen you, up at 12:30 AM trying to hammer out an article, calling SEO a “digital revolution”.
You’re not perfect. But, then again, how could you be? I’ve been writing as a copywriter alone for eight years, with years and years worth of journalism, blogging and creative writing on top of that. And I still find myself quoting someone and forgetting whether to put the period inside or outside of the quotation marks.
Not everyone is going to be the best writer ever. But you can learn the rules for good copywriting and use those to make good articles, regardless of your writing.
Keep the following in mind at all times:
- Break up long pieces of text with H2, H3, and sometimes even H4 headings.
- Avoid starting consecutive sentences with the same word.
- Use your format buttons (bold, italics, underline) to emphasize words. NEVER give in to temptation and capitalize whole words just to make them pop.
- Remember the golden rule: people love bullet point lists. Even when you aren’t writing a listicle, find ways to present information in lists like this one.
20 Word Rule
As far as copywriting tips go, this one might seem like common sense at first. But you’d be surprised how often people make up excuses not to use it.
Keep all of your sentences to fewer than 20 words and Google will love you forever. It’s a simple trick that improves readability by a huge margin. Any idea or concept can be broken up into smaller chunks to keep the flow going. A good general rule is:
- No sentences longer than 20 words.
- No paragraphs longer than 4 sentences.
- Break up your content with headings every 300 words or fewer.
As a copywriter, you will write for many different clients and topics. Sometimes, the universe will be kind, and you’ll get to write about something you already know about. Much more often, you’ll have to write about steam cleaning machine repair, or sewing techniques, or bear husbandry.
The point is, usually we have to research articles pretty thoroughly if we want to be a good source of information on the topic. And, when we do, we tread a fine line between learning something new and using it and straight up plagiarism.
The only hard and fast rule is, if you’re stealing content, you know you’re stealing it. You know in your heart that you visited a site, copied and pasted the content, and changed just enough words not to get caught by Google. And guess what? Your readers can tell. Maybe one or two articles will get by, but people search for more information on what they’re reading, and they will find whoever you plagiarized.
Do your research. Gather ideas from people who know better. Work to understand them. Then write your own content. based on the brand new understanding you have of this idea.
And just try to do something new with it, for Pete’s sake.
This tip concerns the SEO part of SEO copywriting more than anything else. Always remember: the reason you’re copywriting is to give your client a tasty platform from which to harvest links to their website. So forgetting to backlink from your blog to your client’s product page makes your writing basically useless, even if it’s really good!
For a 500 word piece, aim for one backlink. 1000 words, try for 2, and so on. And never just link back to their home page. Find something more specific to link to, from products to their contact form or, if they honestly have just the one page to their name, link to their social media profile. Or
For this, our final point in today’s list of copywriting tips, you’ve got to work on the quality of your content. Remember earlier, when I said your writing was bad? Well, the reason for that, a lot of the time, is forgetting that you’re meant to be writing something. Creating something new and valuable and, most importantly, interesting.
Sure, you can break down what the Blockchain is for the millionth time, or what Kanye and Kim are naming their 83rd child this year. But if it’s boring, it’s worthless.
Remember to read your own work. Imagine yourself in the shoes of the repair man you wrote this air conditioning article for. Feel like them, then read your article, and see if it’s actually any good. Did it make a connection? Did you get anything from it?
Many companies will tell you they just need some content to “fill the gaps”, no matter how good or bad it is. But you know better. You know that, eventually, trash heap copy with no value and millions of issues is going to be seen by someone with the power to shut that company down on Yelp. And that’s not sustainable. So, remember, higher than: always write great content!
Duncan Reyneke is a senior copywriter, and spends most of his day giving out free copywriting tips to anyone who doesn’t shoo him away. He’s also the author of two books, “Nails in the Sky” and “Bay City Monsters“. Check out more of his posts on writing, here.