It doesn’t feel so long since I was a beginner Copywriter myself. In fact, you know what? I still think of myself as a beginner Copywriter on many a day. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, to be an eternal student of your craft. There’s almost endless different components of content and copywriting, so you’d be a bit of a genius to master them all.
On the subject of being a beginner copywriter, I’m SO pleased and excited to introduce a guest blog post from my networking colleagues Dalia Rodriguez and Joey Grocock at Global Translations UK. For her guest appearance, Dalia has chosen share some brilliant do’s and don’ts. Her insights will skyrocket your content and copy, whether you’re a beginner Copywriter yourself, or if you need to up your wordy game for marketing your own business.
So, grab yourself a cuppa and dive in. The floor is all yours, Dalia, take it away…
Starting in a new profession is hard.
I have loved writing for as long as I can remember, it brings me so much joy that I can’t quite explain. But I learnt how to write through reading, and coming from an academic background has been an advantage but also my downfall at times.
When you’re starting off, you are completely lost even if you are a great writer. Making mistakes is part of the process at the end of the day, and it is those mistakes that makes grow.
But let me save you some growing pains. Here are things I wish someone would have told me as a beginner.
Trying too hard with vocabulary
As a baby copywriter it is so easy to get wrapped up in wanting to prove your skills as a professional.
Coming straight from university as many beginners do, you are taught that more is more. We have all been there – adding as many fluffy language and complicated words to fill up that word count.
But with copywriting, less is more at times. You do not need to prove yourself as a writer, your biggest challenge as a writer is to make your content engaging. Throwing in words in the bottom 100 least common words might not get you where you need to go.
Using too much fluffy language can make your copy sound too convoluted and formal. It is a sure way to make your copy inaccessible and hard to read. I was guilty of this for a long time, I’d make my sentences too long and not optimised for scanability.
Scanability is a crucial part of copywriting. Readers are scanners at the end of the day. Make sure you are breaking down your content into a more accessible and effective piece of copy.
Not understanding your audience
It is important to set clear goals from the beginning of your project, and this starts with knowing your audience.
At the beginning of your project, your first step should always be to do research on your client. Ask yourself questions about the language your clients use, and make sure you are writing in their language not yours.
When I say language, I don’t mean literal foreign languages, you would need a professional translation services to translate your copy if that were the case. But the style of writing that your client uses. Every person has their own unique style of writing, it is good to bring some of that personality into your projects.
To achieve this, you need to read the pre-existing content and also research into what they need this piece of copy for. The purpose will give you a lot of insight into the type of words you should be using; whether it is conversational, formal, scientific, and so on.
You need to also not assume your client’s audience knows every technical terminology, that is why research is the key element for every project.
Not trusting your own knowledge
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to copywriting.
In fact, it depends on each particular situation. Copywriting in its most basic form is simply the art of persuasion.
An excellent example of effective copy is the rather controversial but award-winning Nike ad. In 2018, Colin Kaepernick, a former N.F.L. quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers was featured on an advert for Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign’s 30th anniversary.
The ad had the simple words – “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”. This was so powerful at the time because only 2 years earlier, Kaepernick had decided to take a stand against racial injustice by refusing to stand for the National Anthem at games.
As a result of this powerful piece of copy, Nike made $6 billion in market value. That is the power of great copy.
Writing is supposed to make you feel something, whether that is happiness or inspiration, it is meant to serve a purpose.
Nike is known for their ability to reach people with few words, even in different cultures. They have a team of talented creatives who specialise in marketing translation services, often catering their ads to the specific country instead of simple translating the language.
They do this by analysing the culture and seeing which language and even which celebrities would resonate better with their audiences. An example of this is what is considered the ideal man in the USA for example greatly differs from China; small elements like this help them get their message across along with localised copy.
There are many guides out there on how to write good copy, there are courses and books and so much content. But to write engaging content, sometimes you need more than just guides. Sometimes you need your own human touch and your intuition.
Instead of following everything by the book – use best practices as guidance or starting points – not the be-all, end-all. Often, it’s best to go with a gut instinct.