Tested on audience — you can try this at home.
There is a slight chance to become a copywriter without having in mind to be an independent writer first (an author, let’s say from now on). Now that I got to deal with copywriting I am wondering: how the heck could anyone ever write some sort of literature without passing through copywriting first? What has one to do with the other, you may ask? Well, stay tuned to find out.
Do it for the words
Let’s take it to a step by step timeline, as I figured it out: first comes the passion for writing. You are young, you have tons of ideas and scenarios and you think they should be valued in books. I personally began thinking I must be a reincarnation of a great ancient poet or something, because of a childish play I wrote for school in the second grade. Ok, laugh. Done? The thing is, I always knew I wanted to write, no matter what.
As I grew up, more and more people started to tell me about various ways I can make money from writing and I was mesmerized. I like to write, I will become rich. Truth is, once you get on this path, you barely think of money. There is always something to piss you off so bad that you act in order to fix it and be surrounded by the proper words and this is your true reward. If you’re not doing this for words’ sake, you should consider changing your job.
Words do the sales first
In a previous article, I told you about how I got to be part of the High Contrast team. I knew I was applying for a sales job, but for some reason, I felt I needed to pour some more of my writing skills in those preliminary tasks I’ve been given. Here’s a piece of how I turned my sales emails into fun works, hoping I will be noticed:
Have you recently made an account on abouttobecomelame.helpme? If it was not you, someone certainly denounced you for not keeping up with the trend on your website. And here comes our point: we can do something about it. If any of these seems pointless to you, just have a look on our website and let our work speak for us a better language. See you next time when we check upon the terms that can boost your business.
We bet you are doing it all right in your business, but don’t you ever feel like something is missing? We can’t talk about certain figures, but we can discuss some tricks to help them have a boost. If you feel needy about your website, we might have something to cheer you up. Pay us a visit by accessing the link below and find out if any of our projects catches your attention so we can come up with something that can fit your interests.
Do you really think your website is cool and embodies the quality of your services to the fullest? Sit down. Let us show you what it means to be cool for real. We are not going to cut off your wings, we simply expose better ways to promote your awesome business. Don’t you trust us yet? I saw that coming. Here you can have a view of our work in order to convince yourself of the professionalism we are talking about.
I was completely sure that my background would help in building up the perfect email that would generate lots of leads. Wondering how it went? We’ll entertain you with this topic in another article — prepare to find out the hard work, ambition and meticulous research behind the new business’ accomplishments.
What helps and what hardens your work
To be honest, studying literature has made my life harder many times at my job. Don’t get me wrong, this background is an important advantage. You only have to master the switch between your inner author and the copywriter you should be. Here comes a list of tips and tricks I figured out that may help you balance your work in such situations.
1. Make a clear distinction between your interests as a philologist and as a copywriter.
It is very important to set up some steps to follow as a marketer. None of the instances above should be unconsidered, even if the percentage of their domination is never equal.
Your first contact with the text should always be from the perspective of the audience.
Pragmatics must be your main tool and the first to activate when you encounter a new text. If you feel something’s fishy, bring your charms and crafts and see what is to be fixed. What do I understand from it? What do other people understand? What actually shall be understood? These are some simple questions that come naturally to your mind as a marketer. Or at least they should. As you seek a clear understanding of the message, your interest is that the answers of all these questions match.
Don’t turn your text into a ‘What did the author want to say?’, your message should not be debatable.
Boom, now you’re halfway to your perfect text.
2. Don’t pick favourites, sometimes it hurts.
I know, it sounds difficult, but this is how it should be. You may like some of the paragraphs you wrote for that article, but they have to be rephrased. Or you really like that word you used for some certain heading version, but it says nothing about the product. The thing is: you are not allowed to pick favourites with your heart. Let me give you an example of a situation I got through, regarding the emotional baggage I put into one of my works.
Let’s make it clear once for good so we don’t have to keep wondering forever: BOB is our special treatment in case of emergencies. Emotional breakdown? BOB. Rough day with the monthly report? BOB. The devs messed up the website and had no backup? Oh, boy, definitely BOB. Now BOB means boob on boob, which is a close contact of our chests (hug, for the folks). It has a therapeutic effect and it is extremely beneficial in the office…
As I said, this was a dear thing to me and I wanted to write about it. For objective reasons, I had to cut off this part from my article, and I’ll explain to you why. First things first, it was an inside habit that may confuse the outsiders. We don’t want to make our readers feel they’re not addressed to, do we? We shall avoid being too particular or personal. The second thing, even if I’ve been talking about hugs, the name we gave to this action might be associated with a girly one. We are not excessively feminists, nor exclusive. Let’s not make the audience feel otherwise.
3. Trust your guts, but don’t reject feedback.
Here comes the hardest part. I have often happened to be a bit too confident in my ideas and that didn’t bring the most fortunate reactions. It is of major importance, especially in this field, to accept others’ feedback. You bring your ideas altogether, you meticulously structure them into the proper shape, and you think you are done. But then comes the feedback and you find out your message is not that clear. And your blood suddenly starts to boil. How is it possible?
Calm down and trust your advisors. When you feel your text is easy to understand and someone tells you it’s not, try to see why before you fight them.
As a marketer or copywriter, you’re doing things for your audience, not for yourself.
So don’t be selfish. You may be used with some subliminal messages that others don’t get that easy.
4. Sometimes you should not be generous with the words.
As an author, it’s in your interest to express something in as many and beautiful ways as possible. Long metaphors, a lot of linking words that you could survive without — just look at this never-ending article. Well, this is not the way of copywriting. There’s no place for the words that won’t change the meaning or add something necessary to your text. Get these out of your system and try to be on point. The shortest and clearest explanation of your product, service, brand and so on is the key to your successful content. Try to say the same thing in other words, and challenge yourself to keep it short.
5. In SEO we trust!
SEO is every text’s Valhalla. The better you master this SEO thing, the bigger are the chances to get visible. Unless you are willing to constantly pay for your top positions in searches. That makes another situation when you should work carefully with your words and be on point. Keywords, keyphrases. Key. Do I need to say this once again? Key-words are the key. Sorry, author, we have to put you on pause once again. You’re doing great, but we keep the stories for later.
6. Choose wisely when to play the comedian.
Do you remember when I said accepting the feedback is hard? Well, neither feedback nor the cultural background was so hard to me as controlling this ‘comedian’. I’ve been told many times that I risk making fun of the things I was writing about. And most of the time this could make a bad scenario. Anyways, I was not aware of this, as I haven’t been doing it on purpose. Luckily I had people warning me about this trap and I began to keep this little saboteur under control.
Practice tip as a bonus
All the things above may sound mostly like ‘don’ts’, but there is something you can do about it. During my Speech Theory courses in faculty, I’ve learned a trick that proved to be very useful later, in my marketing approaches. In the first place, you can go wild with your text. Write anything that goes through your mind with the exact words that you feel. Then extract the main ideas from each paragraph. The third step is to make one phrase out of each paragraph, based on the main ideas. Your content shortens more and more as you repeat these until it goes to the essence. Do it in reverse order and you have another exercise to practice your writing skills in order to serve your purpose.
Extra bonus to the bonus: here you have a song to perfectly describe the importance of words. Enjoy!