Copywriting 911

No matter if you create content for your site, work on a term project or an essay, compile a CV, or pore over a sales letter for your product, you certainly need quality writing to achieve the aims set. This is especially true for the profession of copywriter, where your profits depend entirely on your writing skills.

But what stands behind these magic words “top quality copy” that you see every now and then on the Internet? What are the essential components of good writing? Let us try and name at least some of them.

1) Original thinking. Just like in every business, in copywriting you are unlikely to become successful without fresh and creative ideas. Everyone who’s dipped their toe in the market of words understands the difference between UNIQUE writing, conscious rewriting and shameless duplicating. The value of your words increases in direct proportion to your originality; on the other hand, theft of someone else’s ideas can result in many bad things starting from great expenses to the loss of reputation. You might say, there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, so how on Earth can one be original? However, as it is your words that earn the money, do your best to mix them well before they are put on sale.

2) General knowledge/education. Though a writer may have more experience in one particular field than the others, of course it is impossible to know everything. All topics require prior research, but the time and depth of this research can vary considerably. Here, academic background can be of great help. What I mean is this: no matter what subjects you studied at the University, one thing you must have learned for sure is the ability to learn itself. Some time you may wish to thank your Mom who’d made you do your homework.

3) Communicability. This one can be your savior when you have to say something on a dull topic and say a lot about it. People who have a ready tongue often become good writers and find no difficulty taming words. It is interesting that you may be a bad talker and a great writer at the same time.

4) Ability to put difficult concepts in clear words. The more you indulge in a subject, the more jargon you learn. These special words can be real jaw breakers, difficult to read and comprehend. But have you ever heard that a true scientist is the one who can explain her theory to a 5-year old kid? Similarly, one of the basic rules of successful copywriting is staying simple. Lexicologists say that most Anglo-Saxon words consist of 1 or 2 syllables, and yet they are more emphatic and emotional than words of Latin/Greek/French origin.

4) Basic literacy. Stupid grammatical mistakes or even typos can seriously undermine your authority. All those notorious ‘loose’ and ‘lose’, ‘it’s’ and ‘its’, ‘their’ and ‘there’ are easy to overlook, but they make a great difference for the reader and may produce an overall negative impression: imagine an HR manager reading your resume and wondering whether you’ll make similar mistakes in your work if you are hired. Revise, edit, polish and proofread your copy until it’s perfect.

By the way, you don’t have to be a native speaker to write well: research shows that ESL speakers are often more accurate in writing than native speakers as the former study the language more carefully and intensively.

5) Ability to organize your thoughts logically and coherently. Even if a person is extremely knowledgeable in a field, this does not make her a good writer. On the other hand, someone who knows just the basics of a subject, but is quick-witted and intelligent enough to catch the key concepts, can produce quality content and strike as an expert.

6) Persistence and diligence. It is almost inevitable that occasionally you’ll have to deal with the so-called writer’s block. Don’t lose heart if you seem to have run out of ideas; there are many sources of inspiration around that might make your creative juices spring! Try to approach the whole thing as a gradual problem-solving process. Set yourself tasks and tackle them one after another.

7) Good teachers. Just like a poet or a novelist would start their “career” copying the style of some renowned writers, a beginner copywriter could learn from the works of some copy gurus and follow their advice on writing techniques step by step; as even most intricate things can be easily settled if you take them to pieces and study each one separately…

Hopefully, the above small tips have helped build the general notion of good writing essentials and will be of use making your final product more effective. One thing to add: always be professional in your attitude, ’cause it is only then that you can expect professionalism from the others.

Good luck!

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