What are basic copywriting skills?
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There’s no doubt that, as a business owner or marketer, you’re more than capable of forming a sentence. You can write at a competent level and you’re confident in the fact that your message can be understood. However, this kind of writing is very different to that of a copywriter. If you’ve ever pondered on the question “What are basic copywriting skills?”, then we’re here to help.
A copywriter has the ability to be authentic and effective when conveying a message. The writing connects with a reader in a way that generates curiosity and engagement as well as spurs them on to take action. Copywriters don’t achieve this by chance: they do it by honing their skills over time and by being great at their job.
Copywriting: an undervalued art
If you were to stop to think about creative roles you’d probably consider the likes of graphic designers and web developers. Generally, the role of a copywriter is not the one that comes to the forefront of someone’s mind. However, the truth is that copywriting is the perfect balance between art and skill.
When considering “What are basic copywriting skills?”, the reality is that these go way beyond a grasp of the written word. What is needed is the ability to create something unique and impactful. When it comes to marketing, there are two sides: technical ability and artistic Flair. Copywriting encompasses both of these.
Let’s be honest, practically anyone could claim to be a copywriter. That’s because anyone can simply sit at their computer and churn out 1,000 words on a set topic. The thing is, writing 1,000 words is the easy part. The difficult part is ensuring that what’s created is readable, unique factual and engaging. That gives a snapshot of some of the basic skills that a copywriter needs, but let’s look at these in more detail.
The basic copywriting skills
So, if you’re looking for a copywriter to help to drive your business forward, you’re going to need an answer to the question “What are basic copywriting skills?”. We’re going to take a look at these now:
Okay, so this one perhaps isn’t a great surprise but, yes, a copywriter does need to possess writing skills. While many would think that these skills are all about spelling and grammar, that’s simply not the case. An effective copywriter needs the skill to compose a piece that’s engaging, concise and coherent. Simply churning out word after word is not enough as all that leads to is waffle.
You’ll find that a good copywriter has the ability to introduce varying elements to their writing. These include:
- Differing sentence structures
- Effective punctuation
- Attention-grabbing headlines
- The use of metaphors and other techniques
Using these tools ensures that any copy takes the reader on a journey. One that’s insightful but also easy to digest.
Attention to detail
When looking at “What are basic copywriting skills?” there is a need to consider attention to detail. When you stop to think about this, it may appear that it simply links to the first point above. After all, attention to detail means that spelling and grammar are all correct. However, there is more to paying attention to detail than just this.
Paying attention to detail means things like:
- Choosing the right words for the desired tone
- Avoiding the repetition of words (unless this is being done for effect)
- Consistent formatting
- Not continually switching tense in the same sentence/paragraph
As we mentioned a little earlier, copywriting is a form of art in some respects. That means that any successful copywriter needs to have a degree of creativity. It is this creativity that takes what could be a dry subject and turns it into something that people will want to read. Ultimately, the reader becomes so engaged that they go on to become a customer.
The creative process starts way before a copywriter starts to type that opening line. They’ll be given a brief, a list of keywords and guidance as to what tone is desired. From here, the copywriter needs to carry out research and then brainstorm. The creative process is what leads to a piece that stands out from the countless others that exist.
The ability to communicate
When looking at “What are basic copywriting skills?”, the area of communication is a vital one. The thing here is that copywriting is not a solo activity. A writer will be possibly working with an editor before a piece is sent your way. There is, of course, also the need to communicate effectively with you, the client.
Copywriting is subjective. There’s a very good chance that when an editor or client reviews a piece, they may be looking at things from a different perspective. A great copywriter is able to communicate their thought process so that everyone is on the same page. Just as importantly, they can take constructive feedback on board.
A copywriter could be writing about online gambling one day and cosmetic surgery the next. The reality is that they could be tasked with writing about any topic. The only way that this can be done is with the ability to research effectively. In fact, research skills are perhaps the most important that a copywriter possess as this is what allows them to produce something that is 100% factually correct.
There are times when the research may take longer than the writing. Highly specialised areas can be particularly demanding and time-consuming. This is where communication skills come back into play: a great copywriter will never have an issue with asking questions to ensure that they fully understand a topic.
An awareness of SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an integral part of copywriting. When it comes to looking at “What are basic copywriting skills?”, you should expect your writer of choice to have at least basic knowledge in this area. While understanding what keywords are is a first step, this on its own isn’t enough.
Google, and other search engines, are clever beasts. They recognise when you’re simply peppering keywords throughout a piece. A good copywriter ensures that keywords are used correctly. They are integrated in a way that makes sense so that the focus is on the reader, not Google.
A basic, yet vital, skill that any copywriter needs to possess is of being highly versatile. A great copywriter can turn their hand to long-form pieces, engaging emails and even snappy social media posts. They have the ability to work across a number of platforms and to write in several styles.
A major part of versatility is writing in a particular tone. You may have an idea for a piece where you want it to be serious and educational. Other times, you may be looking for something that’s sales driven. There may even be times when you’re wanting something fun and almost playful. An effective copywriter can achieve all of this and more.
The ability to craft headings
Something that’s a little worrying to know is that people don’t really read on the internet. That being the case, you may wonder what the point of using a copywriter is. Well, a skilled copywriter has the ability to draw a reader in and get them interested. Research suggests that 80% of internet users will simply scan the headings and subheadings of a piece. This can be used to your advantage.
A great copywriter can write headings and subheadings that garner interest. They spark a curiosity in the reader and they feel compelled to go beyond the headline.
An understanding of content marketing
If you’re looking for more answers to the question, “What are basic copywriting skills?”, then this is yet another. For a copywriter to be truly effective, they need to understand the role that their copy plays in a wider marketing strategy. Having this understanding assists when it comes to writing that has a greater impact and is generally much more effective.
There is no need for a copywriter to be an expert in all things marketing. There just needs to be an appreciation of the bigger picture.
Not necessarily a skill as such, but a copywriter does need to have an abundance of curiosity. There needs to be a desire to learn more and explore new experiences. Without this, copy soon becomes dry and the same old same old pieces are churned out again and again.
A great copywriter will never allow this to happen. They will constantly be learning and expanding their knowledge and this will shine through in what they deliver.
Beyond the basics
All that we have done is take a look at the most basic skills that go into copywriting. These are simply the foundations on which everything else is built. If you want a copywriter that can really deliver for your business, they need to exceed these basic skill requirements.
At Content Conga, our copywriters have it all. Need convincing? Why not get in touch to find out more?