What is copywriting
Copywriting for beginners can often be overwhelming. Not knowing where to start, what it really means to be a copywriter, or which resources you’ll need.
Copywriting is really just the art of writing persuasive text that is used in advertising or other marketing material. The idea is to tell a story and build an emotional connection with the reader. Businesses need copywriters to help them educate and engage their current or potential customers. Good copy engages a reader the same way a great novel would. The reader becomes emotionally invested. The end goal is to eventually persuade the reader to take the desired action. This is usually, but not limited to, clicking a button, entering an email address, or making a purchase.
Copywriting and content marketing have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, this can be shown in the growth of the r/content_marketing and r/copywriting subreddits.
It’s also important to note that not all copywriters write advertising copy or even write on the internet for that matter. Copywriting is broad and it involves anything to do with sending the right message to the right person. Beginner copywriters will usually start online though and practice by rewriting landing pages or sales emails.
What you can expect to do as a beginner copywriter
As you can imagine, copywriters do a lot of research and a lot of writing. They also practice and test their work a lot. The very best copywriters can identify the pain points of specific customers and leverage the written word to invoke emotion. They continue doing this until the reader is absolutely convinced of what they’re proposing and therefore take the desired action.
If you want to be a great copywriter you need to first understand how to:
- Edit effectively
- Write effectively
- Take on criticism well
- Identify real problems
- Identify a target audience
4 types of copywriting that are in demand and profitable
Landing Page Copywriting
This is simply writing or re-writing sales pages that customers land on. It’s important because online businesses make their money through these pages.
An easy way to practice landing page copywriting is to make a list of 5 businesses that sell online and re-write their copy. You could even send it to them for feedback. No business will deny free work, it’s also a great way to get your name out there and even win clients!
Email copy refers to any content that can be found in a marketing email. Email newsletters are also increasing in popularity and the scope of email copywriting is growing.
You could practice this by signing up for email newsletters or mailing lists for the brands you like. Once their emails hit your inbox, rewrite them to be more effective and send them back to the marketing team.
SEO Specific Copywriting
SEO copywriting is a bit more difficult to break into as it requires a deep knowledge of search engine optimization. It involves crafting blog posts or landing pages with specific keywords and attributes for ranking purposes.
To break into SEO-specific copywriting you would need to first understand how SEO works. This isn’t an easy process, which is why it’s in demand.
This refers to the copy used in paid ads such as Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or search engine marketing. Advertising copy is written the most frequently since ads are always changing.
Tools such as Unicorn Ads can be a great way to get inspiration and gauge the level of quality other copywriters are at.
Copywriting for beginners: frameworks
There are various frameworks a beginner copywriter can utilize, however, the ones covered below are the most popular and effective. The examples contain real copy from landing pages such as Ticker Nerd and Bose.
Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action (AIDCA)
The AIDA formula is a popular method developed by St Elmo Lewis in 1898. AIDCA is a similar method to AIDA but deemed more effective for the internet since it adds “conviction”.
The idea is to grab the user’s attention with a big bold claim and then pique their interest enough so you can convince them to take the desired action. The most effective landing pages will use this method. Deeply understanding your customer’s problems is critical to making this successful.
This is where you grab your reader’s attention quickly with a hook. It should be a short and punchy sentence that your audience can’t help but read.
- Stock newsletter: “Want to find stocks before they blow up?”
- Noise-canceling headphones: “PREMIUM QUIET. BOLD SOUND.”
Now that you have the reader’s attention you need to address their needs through the problem your product solves.
- Stock newsletter: You don’t know what stocks you should be looking into and you definitely don’t have time to research stocks all day. Thanks to our research, you’ll now have your eye on stocks with huge upsides. Plus it only takes you 5 minutes to get up to speed.
- Noise-canceling headphones: Imagine you’re in a crowded café trying to read. Try each of the modes below to get a sense of how much — or how little — you’ll hear around you.
This is the part where you can showcase the awesome benefits of your product. You should prioritize the ones that solve the user’s problems first. It’s usually longer and can use images or videos to help showcase the features.
- Stock newsletter:
- Noise-canceling Headphones:
This is where you convince your user by showcasing testimonials, reviews, and other social proof so they feel like they’re making the right decision. The customer knows how your product will solve their problem, but they want to be reassured that other people have successfully solved their problems with your product.
- Stock newsletter landing page testimonials
- Noise-canceling headphones product page testimonials
This is the last part of the AIDCA copywriting method where you can finally ask the user to take action. It’s best to include trust factors such as free trials, money-back guarantees, or star reviews. This will make the action less risky to your user.
- Stock newsletter CTA
- Noise-canceling headphones CTA
Problem, Agitation, Solution (PAS)
The PAS formula is one of the more diverse frameworks for writing copy. It can be applied to sales pages, blog posts, social ads, or emails.
This involves accurately identifying the problem your customer is experiencing. If you understand the problem they’re facing it’ll be easy to hook the reader.
For example, it’s no secret that Americans have trouble sleeping but don’t want to address the root cause. They would prefer to take a pill, preferably a healthy natural one but any would do if it’s solving their immediate problem. In this case, the immediate problem is the lack of deep sleep.
As you may have guessed we want to agitate the user by exploring all the negative aspects of their problem. This means digging into the first and second-order effects of their problem. Sometimes the user may not even have thought of the second-order effects of their problem which will make the copy more effective.
If we continue with the lack of sleep problem we might start to agitate the reader by using some scary statistics. For example,
- Almost 50% of American adults say they feel sleepy during the day between three and seven days a week
- Scientists have found that lack of sleep impairs judgment, memory, alertness, concentration, and attention
- Sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain
By agitating the reader, they’re more compelled to read all of your copy and solve their problem.
This is where you get to help the reader by offering the solution to their problem. Now you have their attention you can spell out exactly how your product is going to solve their problems and why. A potential product to solve the lack of sleep could be a meditation app, a melatonin gummy, or a deep sleep headband.
Slippery Slope Method
The slippery slope method is a really effective framework written by Joseph Sugarman in the AdWeek Copywriting Handbook.
The idea is that a good headline should suck people in like a “slippery slope”. The purpose of your first sentence is so the readers continue to the second, and then the third, and so on until the user is hooked.
You can apply this to all of your copy, especially when editing your work. Each sentence should be crafted in such a way that the path of least resistance for your reader is to continue reading.
6 resources you’ll need as a beginner copywriter
Great Landing Page Copy: Landing page examples for inspiration
Marketing Examples: Copywriting examples for inspiration
Swipe File: Copywriting examples for inspiration
SubReddit Stats: Problem identification & user research
Anvaka Reddit Tool: Problem identification & user research
User Testing: Problem identification, customer interviews & user research