Read these 8 The Craft of Web Copywriting Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Freelance Writing tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you are going to be a great copywriter you have to care about writing. It can't be just a ‘job'. It should be something you have some passion for.
If you have what it takes to write strong, honest, genuine, and useful copy, you are probably a lover of all good writing. Expand you knowledge and experience. Read other copywriting books, but also read great fiction. If your passion is to write well, you should be feeding yourself with a diet of great writing.
Some people are blessed with natural writing skills. And some have a natural aptitude for commercial writing, and writing online. However, having a natural skill or aptitude doesn't mean that you know all there is to know. Even the best writers need to build their experience and hone their skills. The day you believe that you are as good as you can be, is the day you will stop learning, stop progressing, and descend into mediocrity.
*One way to keep learning is to take copywriting courses like AWAI's “Secrets of Writing for the Internet”.
There is a temptation for copywriters to be vain about their copy, and defensive about what others say about it. However, keep in mind that the copy we write serves a particular need—it is written to address the purpose of a particular site page, email, or newsletter.
Keep yourself honest and on track—ask someone to read through your copy before you publish it. When writing for the Internet, this is a great way to find areas of text where you are not being as clear as you thought you were.
Nobody writes their best work in a single draft. Not a novelist, not a journalist, not a copywriter. If you think you are done after one draft, then you are not giving your best.
You need to put aside your copy for a few hours, even overnight. Then, read it afresh. You'll certainly see areas where it can be improved. Write a second draft, and a third. The web is a tough medium for copy. You can't afford to publish your second best. When writing for the Internet you won't reach your best copy until you have written two or three drafts.
Find some good books on copywriting and devour them. Then, read books that are aimed specifically at copywriting online. While you are at it, make sure you have a good dictionary and thesaurus, book on grammar, and a style guide for writing online.
These are important tools and books you need to have when writing for the Internet. You will refer to them time and time again.
One way in which I have always learned to improve my own skills is through studying the successful work of other copywriters—that entails finding sales letters, emails, and site pages that have been proven to perform remarkably well.
When you get your hands on a top-performing piece of writing, it's time to grab a coffee and analyze it from beginning to end. See how the piece is structured, see how it opens, how it delivers the promise, how it builds the story, and how it closes the sale, or action.
*Be aware of the pace of the writing, the voice and tone being used. The more carefully you study successful writing, the more and faster you will learn.
It may sound kind of embarrassing, but reading your copy out loud is a great way to find weaknesses in the flow and rhythm of your writing. When we read our text on the monitor or on paper, some part of our brain somehow compensates for weaknesses in our sentence structure.
*Read that same text out loud, and the flaws become much more apparent.
As with any other skill, writing for the web is a learning process that never ends. There is always something new to learn, either central to the craft of copywriting, or to one side a little - like learning to write for Search Engines. You might even want to leverage your writing skills and make money with a profitable site of your own.
Keep in mind that an online copywriter must appeal to a large array of audiences. The web is the most popular search tool today and everyone is on it. Don't make the mistake of only targeting a certain audience (specific gender, class, sex, age, etc.) or you'll miss out on valuable business. Instead, write in a neutral voice that can appeal to many.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|