Copy writing is the writing of text that will be used in marketing materials. It’s typically written to persuade customers to buy a product or service, and includes things like headlines, subheads, opening sentences for blog posts, and sales copy. Copy writing can also be called “commercial writing” or “advertising copywriting”.
It might sound intimidating at first but it doesn’t have to be! In this article you’ll learn some tips on how to write your own copy with confidence and without fear – even if you’re not a professional writer. All you need is a little inspiration!
You might be writing because
(a) you have a voice and an opinion of your own, and feel strongly enough about it that you want to write about it;
(b) you might love writing, so why not get paid for doing what you love;
(c) writing is a business you’re starting from scratch; or
(d) writing is something you or your business needs and you might want to save money by doing it yourself.
We like to give some small tips for people who are starting out writing their own copy:
- Write for the reader, not yourself
- Find your voice and stick to it
- Be honest about who you are as a writer
- Read more than you write
- Know when to use passive voice
- Keep an eye on the clock and don’t let time get away from you
1. Write for the reader, not yourself
This might sound obvious but writing copy is different to writing an essay or writing about something you love and want to share with the world. It’s writing for money – writing so that somebody will pay you for your words. And no matter how compelling a topic is, unless it actually tells someone where, how, and why they should buy your product or service it isn’t writing copy.
Writing copy is writing with a purpose, so when you sit down to write think about the people who are going to be reading what you write – that really narrows it down! – but don’t think too much about them, either. The kind of writing that is most effective uses a writing style that reads like talking to someone.
2. Find your voice and stick to it
This is writing copy you’ve written for the first time, so what are you going to say? What tone will you use? Are there any pet peeves or certain phrases you’re comfortable writing but wouldn’t say to someone out loud?
Think about writing copy as writing conversationally, and being conscious of what you’re writing. Does it sound like something you’d say if you were having a conversation? If not, revise it until it does, or else don’t use that writing style when writing copy. It’s easy to fall into writing writing writing without being conscious of what you’re writing.
3. Be honest about who you are as a writer
It’s very easy to sound like someone else when writing copy, especially if it’s writing copy for the first time, which is why it’s really important to know yourself and stay true to your writing voice.
There’s nothing wrong with writing copy that gets your readers excited about something. There might be a problem is if you’re writing when you haven’t actually used or tried it yourself. You could feel like a hypocrite writing about something that makes no sense to you. Be honest about it… you can have an opinion about something without being a user or expert. Then writing about that might make sense after all.
4. Read more than you write
You have your writing voice down? Good! Now it’s time to get writing copy by reading a lot of it. Preferably from other people who are really good at writing copy. There’s nothing better that’ll teach you writing copy than writing yourself, but reading good copy is a good second.
Read copy of the writing style you’d like to emulate, see what works best for the reader and what doesn’t.
5. Know when to use passive voice
This writing tip applies more to copy in a marketing or advertisement type of writing – and it’s crucial that you don’t write passively when doing so. It just won’t work!
Your copy is written for the reader, so don’t be afraid to address them directly by writing in the active voice.
It’s not always about what something does or how it works, but write rather about why it should be used and who should use it.
6. Keep an eye on the clock and don’t let time get away from you
Writing copy can take a while, especially if this is the first time doing it as a copywriter. It’s important to keep your deadlines in mind and not lose track of the time that has passed since sitting down to write copy.
On the other hand use your time wisely and do not forget the time needed for research. Sometimes copywriters forget this one crucial step in copywriting – do your research if you need to.
What is your writing voice? Would writing copy help your online business grow? Leave us a comment with any questions or ideas on writing copy!