Looking for something to do with your English degree? You’ve probably considered different publishing careers, journalism roles and perhaps even teaching. But have you thought about writing content and copy?
It’s quite a specific role, but fitting into a niche is vital in today’s job market. Writing content and copy can be a lucrative business for freelancers. Some companies even hire content staff full-time.
All websites (and print publications) need great copy to succeed, gain readership, and sell products. And there are HUNDREDS of them. Maybe you’re a business owner yourself, and you’ve come to realize the importance of hard-hitting copywriting to compete in the digital world.
Being an expert in copy and content will never leave you out of work. The internet needs filling with new content every day. The trick is that you need to do it well – prove that your writing entices readers and customers; persuades people and sell products.
How do I do this, you ask?
We’ll show you.
Read on for your need-to-know basics on content and copywriting.
Content and Copy – What’s the Difference?
Simply speaking –
Copy is written to sell. Its purpose is to optimize conversions – that is, to make the reader ‘convert’ to buying the product or service it is endorsing. It’s the way marketers and advertisers use language to sell products, or journalists get people to click on headlines. Copy is a type of content.
Which leads us to the definition of content. It has many dictionary definitions, but we’ll describe this kind as best we can.
Content can be any medium – writing, video, images – in print or on a webpage, and it doesn’t have to be for the purpose of selling. It can be for telling a story, to inform, to persuade, to dissuade – anything it likes. Think of it like ‘the contents of a page’. Anything could be on that page.
Copy is content, but content isn’t always copy. Eh?
So, if you’re writing content, you won’t always be making a hard sell to anyone. You could be writing a news article, a novel, or even a speech.
Whereas when you’re writing copy, you’re carefully crafting each word to make the reader really want to buy into what you’re selling.
Tips and Tricks for Mastering Copywriting
Now, we’ll focus on making your copywriting top-notch.
Content writing is a broad and subjective thing – you’ll have your own writing voice, style and tone, unique to you. While newswriting and journalism each have their own sets of rules, it’s up to you how you tell a story or compile your thoughts into a blog.
Here’s some tried-and-tested tips from the experts to help you hone your copywriting.
This is to get people to click on your link in the first place and stay on the page afterwards, scrolling down to your call to action. Think outside the box, and keep it brief. A good tip is to write your body content first, then identify the strongest phrase and use that to make a headline.
Call to action:
Simple examples include ‘Shop now’ or ‘Sign up today’, but longer calls-to-action may be necessary in the body of a text. Anyway, these should always draw the eye’s attention – make them bigger, a different color, surrounded by blank space, etc.
Focus on the benefits:
show your customer how your product will benefit them, rather than just telling them to buy it. ‘Increase your follower count by 50%!’ is better than ‘Buy our SEO product today!’
break down long paragraphs into no more than 3-4 lines, so the eye isn’t put off by huge chunks of text. Don’t be afraid to use bullet points. Italicize, embolden, underline – draw the eye to important information. Use subheadings (and give these as much love as the headline).
Concise and precise:
every single word needs the utmost attention. Figure out the clearest way to talk to your audience in their own language, and make it as short and snappy as you can.
Speak to your ideal audience:
ask questions that you know your reader will say ‘yes’ to. For example, if you’re selling a high-end sports car, you should be asking, ‘Do you want a sleeker, faster, more powerful car?’
Learn from the best:
think of adverts that really sold you, or headlines you think were amazing. Save those and use them for inspiration. What about them made you stand to attention? Break it down and use those features in your own writing.