Using a copywriting client questionnaire is an essential step of the client onboarding process and something that should never be skipped. Writing copy for a client has its challenges, and when you start working with a new client, you’ll want to get all the information you can about who the clients are and what they value.
The single ingredient that makes Jake buy the beard oil (he doesn’t need) to impress the girl who hasn’t replied to his text in days.
Emotion, when woven into content, creates a connection between the product and prospect.
Without an array of emotions, prospects are not moved to act on what your content is prompting them to do. Creating content without emotions is like having the right recipe, for let’s say, chicken, but not making it tasty enough for a second bite.
A good copywriter is great for business. They will inform, educate, and communicate, getting a reader to take action. If this translates into sales and sign-ups, then they are invaluable.
The art of copywriting has never been in more demand. Companies always need expert word wizards to connect with their audience. To meet this demand, starting a freelance copywriting business is an attractive proposition.
It’s the classic catch-22 situation. You’re looking for your first job and everyone wants someone with experience. But you need to get hired to get experience—and no one will hire you.
One may think that writing is just writing. That there are slight differences from one type to another but the job is always to put words together in various formats. In reality, if you’re a freelance writer, it’s crucial that you understand the different forms of writing there are and how different they are from each other.
Here’s a harsh truth: getting straight A’s in high school English doesn’t make you a killer copywriter. It’s a profession, and like other professions, there are skills and strategies that you need to learn and master.
It’s true that you need a certain amount of natural writing talent, but you also need to learn the rules. Just like a baker has to learn how to separate eggs, or a mechanic has to learn how to use a wrench, copywriters need to learn how to craft a killer headline and create captivating content.
The good news is that there are plenty of free guides to help you acquire those skills and learn how to wield the tools of the copywriting trade. And one of them is by the content marketing guru, Neil Patel, which can be found here. [Read more…]
Freelance writers are often encouraged to find a niche. By focusing on a specific niche, you position yourself as an expert in that area and can charge more for your expertise. One niche many freelance writers overlook is e-commerce copywriting. If you have a knack for sales copy, writing for multi-channel e-commerce clients is a varied and lucrative niche. Here’s what multi-channel e-commerce copywriting involves and how it can boost your income.What is multi-channel e-commerce copywriting? How can it help you as a freelance writer? Click To Tweet
Writing copy for e-commerce websites in itself is a challenge for copywriters. Making a website stand out from the crowd is even more difficult. But with these tips, you’ll be crafting copy that captures the attention of visitors and, more importantly, sufficiently sway them to click and buy.5 Tips to Write Copy That Converts for an E-commerce Website Click To Tweet
Jumping into a freelance writing career is very exciting. Bursting with ideas, writers sit down in front of their computers anxious to discover what this wide, wonderful world has in store for them. Unfortunately, they often find tons of advice full of industry lingo that can be a bit confusing. Here is the first in the latest Article Quickie series designed to help you hit the ground running:
AP Stylebook or AP Style
Called the journalist’s bible, the AP Stylebook is a listing of how things like grammar, religions, titles, times etc. should be written within the text of an article. It was designed to make writing simple, uniform and unbiased within the newspaper industry, however many magazines and websites have adopted the guide as well. It’s my personal fave and I like to thumb through it on a regular basis for entertainment purposes, yes I am a nerd.
One of the main reasons why we do what we do – that little line below the title or way at the bottom of the post that reads “By Terreece M. Clarke” or, of course, your name. Some sites will offer to pay you in byline, but I have yet to find a mortgage company that accepts bylines instead of actual government currency – go figure.
Call-out Box or Pull-Out
A killer quote will often be placed in a call-out box. Some will use the term interchangeably with “pull-out quote.” The graphics department takes the killer quote i.e. “Yeah, so then I shot the bastard for looking at me.” and makes it pretty using a larger font, different color, or literally a colored box. How they do it depends on the publication and writers usually don’t have a say in how it looks.
Chicago Manual of Style
A system of proper notation, citation, manuscript formatting that serves as a guideline for academics, book authors and publishers. Some magazines and websites do use the Chicago guide instead of AP Style and it would be wise for authors to have a working knowledge of both styles and more importantly, their differences.
The catch-22 of freelance writing: a writer needs clips to get a gig, but you can’t get clips until you get a gig!” A clip is an example of your published work. Whether a blog post or a magazine article, it is defined as work you have done for a publication a self-published piece i.e. personal blog is normally not accepted. *See Writing Sample
Magazines that are for the general public are called consumer magazines. Men’s Health, O, Cosmopolitan, XXL, Playboy, etc. are consumer magazines. They are also called ‘glossies’. For some, these are the Holy Grail of bylines, competition to get in is usually fierce, but it is a fluid industry. Magazines are born and die every week and editors change positions and places of businesses more often than soap opera characters change bed partners.
Content or web content to be specific, describes a genre that creates information specifically designed for websites. This work is different than paper articles. The pieces are usually shorter, smaller paragraphs and written to be high on keywords for the search engine rankings.
Copywriters write info with an eye on selling a particular product or service. The blurbs on the back cover of books, sales letters, eye-catching billboards – all copywriting. The length of the material depends on the project.
In school it meant a cheat sheet for the test, in the magazine world it means a listing of a magazine’s in-house style guide. For example, one magazine’s guide may require the magazine’s name always written in all caps or a tech journal may list their preference on how the word ’email’ is written (e-mail vs email).
Any A – C terms I missed? Let me know and watch for D – G tomorrow!
If you missed them, follow the links to read earlier parts of the Lessons in Copywriting series:
Part 3 of Lessons in Copywriting teaches you how to make sure the marketing copy you write is succinct using a tool I call the Red Pen Rule, which I discuss in detail in my book, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps.
Let’s take a step back first.
The most powerful copy is clear, concise, and leaves no room for confusion. We’ll talk more about that in Part 4. Today, you need to understand the importance of not getting too attached to the copy that you write. Chances are, a third of it could go and you’d actually have a much better final piece.
And that brings us to the Red Pen Rule.
The Red Pen Rule states that once you have written your copy, edited it, and believe it is complete, perfect, wonderful, and ready for the world to see, you should delete at least 30% of it.
Remember, succinct copy is more powerful than wordy copy. It’s is very likely that at least 30% of your copy is not necessary in terms of driving home your core messages. In fact, at least 30% probably clutters your core message. Don’t hide your core messages behind clutter! Instead, take out your red pen and start deleting words, phrases, sentences — whatever it takes to cut that copy down and make it more concise and powerful.
Keep in mind, 30% deletion is not required, but it’s a good goal to try to hit. The point is to delete more than you think you can bear to see on the cutting room floor.
If you can’t step back far enough away from your copy to be able to clearly judge what parts can be deleted to make your copy tighter, ask colleagues, friends, or family members for their opinions. They might not be copywriting experts, but they’re consumers. Their thoughts might help you look at your copy from another angle and suddenly the parts that can go without being missed will jump off the page at you.
Avoid offering too much information (TMI) and show no mercy for filler words! These are some of the first things that have to go. Stay tuned for future Lessons in Copywriting where I’ll talk more about TMI and filler words and why they can kill even the best marketing copy.