Yes It’s True! Web Writers Must Know How to Write Strong, Persuasive Copy

So I feel I need to set the record straight …

I’ve been on my soapbox for some time now saying that if you don’t learn to write for the web, you’re leaving money on the table as a copywriter.

Not to mention you may have trouble landing clients since almost every company, regardless of the market, has an online presence.

However, there appears to be some confusion as to whether the reverse is true.

Do you need to know how to write copy in order to be a successful web writer?

And the answer is a resounding YES!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you need to be a full-fledged copywriter before you start writing for the web.

Nor am I saying that by any means do you have to spend a lot of time writing long sales letters.

But if you’re going to be a successful web writer, you must know how to write strong, persuasive copy.

There is no way around it.

Without a good copywriting foundation, your web writing will never be as good as it could be.

Which means it will not convert as well as it should. Which means you will not get as many returning clients, nor will you be able to charge the high fees you should be charging for your projects.

Need proof?

Take a look at some of the most successful web writers …

Web Writer Nick Usborne … started as a copywriter.

SEO Expert Heather Lloyd-Martin? Also a copywriter.

Highest-paid, email auto-responder guru Jay White? You got it … started as a copywriter!

Simply put, learn how to write copy well and …

  1. You’ll land more web projects because you’ll be able to effectively sell yourself and your services.
  2. Your copy will convert at a higher rate, which means your clients will give you more projects.
  3. You’ll be able to charge more for your services since you’ll be in such high demand.

And I’m talking all web channels here …

Emails – they won’t get opened with lousy subject lines, and weak leads will cause your prospect to hit the delete key before even reading the email.

Landing Pages – weak headlines and leads will have visitors exiting the website before they even get to your call to action.

SEO and PPC – if you don’t understand sales copy, you’ll have a hard time targeting the right people for your campaigns, based on where they are in the buying cycle.

Social Media – your job here is to capture attention (copywriting principle), engage your audience (copywriting principle), and ultimately persuade them to take action (yep, copywriting principle).

Once you know how to write good copy, your web training will be cake. Because then it’s just simply taking what you already know about copy and applying it to the various marketing channels you want to work in.

Knock out your competition …

And knowing how to write copy will be the key factor that will differentiate you from every other “self-proclaimed” web writer out there. You’ll welcome these questions from potential clients …

How are you different than the other SEO experts asking for my business?

Because, not only can I get web visitors to your landing pages, I can actually re-write the pages so they stay and take action. Getting the top spot on Google means nothing if people abort your website 3 seconds after they arrive.

Why should I hire you for my PPC project?

"Pay-per-click campaigns are based on keywords and phrases. The words you bid on must be relevant to your ad copy, landing page, and your offer. But, it's more than just relevance that is going to convince a random web surfer to sign up and enter an email address. It takes well-written, benefit-oriented copy. And you can only get that from a copywriter." -- Andrew Palmer, AWAI Advisory Board

What will you do for me as my social media writer?

"Copywriting skills are invaluable to building a targeted audience in social media. Knowing how to make crisp, concise benefit oriented, attention-getting statements can help you build your brand and attract more clients quickly. Your words are what others see long before they get to meet you, either on the phone or in person."
-- Jim Turner, Copywriter and Social Media Strategist

Four tips for taking your web writing to the next level …

Tip #1: If you haven’t taken any formal copywriting training, do it now.

Personally, I recommend AWAI’s Accelerated Six-Figure Copywriting Program. And, no it’s not because of my affiliation.

I recommend it because it’s hands-down the best program available for learning how to write copy that converts. Ask any copywriting expert out there like Bob Bly, Chris Marlow, and Steve Slaunwhite, or the many successful working copywriters who have taken the program, and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Earlier today AWAI actually announced that its newly upgraded program is also available online now, so you can take your training anywhere you choose to be. Definitely check it out. (It comes with a FULL YEAR guarantee!)

Tip #2: Never stop learning.

Just because you’ve taken one copywriting program, doesn’t mean you’re done learning. You need to keep improving your skills, and the only way to do that is to keep challenging yourself to learn more.

At the recommendation of Michael Masterson, I make myself read one non-fiction book a week, at a minimum. It ensures I have plenty of fresh ideas whenever I face a new project. I can’t even tell you how many article and product ideas have come from books I’ve read!

Tip #3: Learn from multiple sources.

Nick Usborne taught me this one …

Study the work of good copywriters who take opposing views on what ‘great copywriting’ means.

Someone may think they know everything about copywriting and may be convinced that their approach is the best one.

Not true. No single copywriter knows it all.

Find mentors who disagree or take very different views on copywriting.

That way you will broaden your views, and deepen your skills.

Tip #4: Write every day.

And I mean every day. Your writing will only get stronger.

Plus your confidence will grow whenever you look at how far you’ve come.

A few years ago I started an eletter called Copywriting Insider. At the time it was the ‘best copy I’d ever written’ and I was very proud. I look back now and think to myself – “ugh, I wrote that?” And then I think, “wow, I’m such a better writer now!”

It’s the perfect pick-me-up when I’m having a day filled with self-doubt.

Concluding thoughts …

Learn to write strong, persuasive copy. Your web writing business will only benefit.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: July 22, 2009

3 Responses to “Yes It’s True! Web Writers Must Know How to Write Strong, Persuasive Copy”

  1. Excellent article! I have been wondering about whether or not it's essential to spend a lot of time writing long sales letters since my interest is B2B, including webwriting. I am also following your 4 tips. They are gold. This article will definitely help any aspiring copywriter to accelerate their efforts. Thank you for your insight.

    KB Johnson-Ohio

  2. As a relative newcomer to AWAI and the Accelerated Program, I've often wondered if I need to jump on the web writing bandwagon before I've even completed the basic Accelerated Program. this article helps answer the question for me: stick to the program, learn to write solid copy, then branch out - as quickly as possible.

    Ed in Minnesota

  3. I recently purchased the Accelerated Program - I'm on Lesson 1 so far.

    Articles like this are such a great resource for us beginners.

    Thank you, Karen Cioffi


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