The other day I made a new connection on LinkedIn. He is a young man, working in an adjunct industry to mine, interested in moving into the world of copywriting. After a bit of chatter back and forth he asked me for advice on how to learn all he would need to become a copywriter.
Is there a way to streamline the process?
Since I often coach and mentor other new writers one-on-one, I know there is a lot of information on getting started as a writer and what this young man was basically asking me was this:
- “How do I get started, soon?”
- “How can I parse through what is important and what is not?”
- “I know it won’t be perfect today but what can you tell me now, just to get me started?”
These are all great questions for a new writer faced with an endless sea of choices but how to boil it all down to a single email that might start this young man off in the right direction, without teaching an entire class on the topic?
These are the answers I gave him. They’re the answers I often give, in one form or another, to beginning writers looking to make it in the cut-throat world of freelancing or copywriting.
I hope you find them as helpful as he did.
Keys to Effective Writing/Copywriting (whether online or in print):
1. Practice — the more you write, the better you’ll get. Here’s a post I recently wrote on “Why there’s no such thing as writer’s block.” It’ll get you started in a good writing practice.
2. Always know (and keep in mind) these three things when writing:
- Who your audience is
- What they want
- How you’re going to give it to them
3. Remember that the average person, whether in reading an article you wrote, an ad campaign you authored, or a tweet on Twitter, is always asking themselves the question — “What’s in it for me?” (I post the acronym WIIFM near my workstation — it’s a great reminder to reel it in and to stay focused on my purpose — giving the reader what they REALLY want.)
4. Write concisely and with clarity in mind. If a simple word works — use it. Don’t waste everyone’s time trying to impress with your vocabulary. If people have to stop and look up a word, in order to understand the offer, information, or solution you’re trying to give — chances are, they’ll leave your copy by the wayside.
5. ALWAYS make it compelling and easy for the reader to say YES! to you, to your offer, to your brand, to your story, to your authority.
Resources for New Writers
Here are some books you may find helpful in your journey as you discover your writing niche and hone your craft. You’ll also find more books on writing from the inspirational to grammar tips and punctuation help in the Amazon carousel sidebar, located to the right of this text.
How to Avoid Scams for New Writers