5 Ways to Improve Your Copywriting
No one becomes a million-dollar copywriter overnight …
I’m certainly not there myself, and I still have a long way to go before I reach my loftier goals. But the good news is, my freelance copywriting business is growing each and every year.
I believe part of the reason for this growth is my desire to continuously learn and improve.
Here are five strategies that have helped me become a better copywriter …
1. Learn, Learn, Learn
The field of copywriting is always evolving. Not only do effective messages and strategies change over time, but there are also new formats to take advantage of, such as web writing, video scripts, and even chatbots.
Plus, as with any creative pursuit, your skills develop through a combination of training and practice — so learning from others will always be part of the equation.
This includes formal courses, Certifications, and conferences.
Based on personal experience, I also feel there’s a lot of value in investing in a mentorship program.
However, remember not to overlook all the free resources at your disposal …
This could be as simple as reading a lot of blogs, websites, emails, and newsletters. Browse through the many free articles and webinars AWAI offers, as well as content that’s similar to the type of copy you write for your clients.
You could save a Swipe File of things you found to be especially effective or memorable. But even if you don’t save any materials, the act of reading will still be helpful because you’ll start to internalize the structure of effective copy.
Reading and absorbing various materials — which is part of my research process for my assignments anyway — has proven very helpful for me.
One more resource I’ve grown to love is YouTube. You can find videos from top content creators, marketers, SEO experts, authors, and others, all of which are completely free to watch.
2. Develop “Adjacent Skills”
As a copywriter, you’re not under any obligation to learn about fields other than copywriting. However, you may find it useful. You might also discover something you enjoy.
When I say “adjacent skills,” I’m talking about things that are commonly tied together with your copy to produce the final product. To name a few, this may include …
- Graphic design
- Video production and editing
For myself, I’ve found that knowledge of SEO goes hand in hand with copywriting. Some of my clients send me keywords from their SEO agencies so I can integrate them into articles I write.
Another good example is WordPress. I’m not a WordPress expert at all — but if needed, I can at least log in to my client’s website, create a new blog post, paste my text in, and do some basic formatting. And that’s it — that little bit of effort is a big help to my client that makes them appreciate me more.
Learning just the basics (enough to understand the lingo) can make communications with your clients easier and more efficient. And it makes you look smart and experienced.
Plus, should you decide you like one of these skills enough to gain expertise, you can become a “one-stop shop” for your clients and charge more for your services.
3. Nurture Your Creativity
Coming up with new ideas all the time can be challenging. And when you’re on a deadline and can’t think of a good idea, it may feel nerve-wracking.
To calm your nerves and nurture your creativity, it’s helpful to work relaxation into your schedule at least a few times per week. This could be something as simple as going for a walk, watching a movie, meditating, or enjoying a cup of tea.
Research has shown that relaxation allows the creative part of your brain to shine.
That’s because the task-oriented part of our brains dominates when we’re in a busy, productive mindset. But when we ask the task-oriented part of the brain to step back, the creative side is finally free to take the lead.
That’s why we hear so many stories of ideas coming to people in the shower, driving, or taking a long walk.
I also firmly believe in pursuing anything that’s interesting to you, whether that’s reading a book series just for fun, dancing, singing, playing a sport, knitting, cooking, or anything else.
By keeping life interesting, you may find a connection or story to include in your writing somewhere down the line.
4. Try Other Types of Writing
Learning from other copywriters is important. However, there are other types of writing that can boost your copywriting skills.
For example …
- Fiction writing can help you hone your storytelling skills.
It can also teach you to build emotional tension or set a scene in vivid detail.
Poetry is interesting because it teaches you economy of words.
Poets need to create scenes, stir emotions, and tell stories in as few words as possible — often in a much smaller space than copywriting, blog posts, or fiction writing could ever fit into.
The poets in my critique groups coax their words into unique structures with a different number of syllables on each line, or fit them into rhyming schemes. These art forms really challenge a writer to master their use of words!
Memoirs and personal essays can also be useful.
In addition to being therapeutic, this fact-based style of writing forces you to find the lesson in each story you tell.
It will really hone your skills in terms of telling an emotionally touching story that others can relate to, and help you develop “everyday stories” so they’re interesting to read.
5. Practice in a Way That Works for You
As a writer, practice is crucial. It’s the only way to get better because everything you learn needs to be developed through practical experience.
However, you have options in terms of how to practice. For consistency, I recommend writing something you enjoy, such as …
- Write for your own website or blog, especially if you have a Money-Making Website or another passion project.
- Write for your own enjoyment. Keep a journal, write short stories or poems or a screenplay, or craft a witty social media post.
- Write and pitch articles to publications that interest you, like travel magazines, Chicken Soup for the Soul, or blogs you normally read. Bonus points if the publication is in your copywriting niche.
Whatever you choose, consistency is key. Writing every day is best, but even a few times per week will keep you sharp.
Also, don’t be scared to start working for clients because you feel you’re “not ready.” Some things can only be learned through experience, and the sooner you get that experience, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
It may seem a little intimidating at first. But if you find ways to learn, practice, and improve, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your skills grow.
What questions do you have about getting started as a copywriter? Share with us below so we can point you toward more resources.
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
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