Whatever your goal for copywriting, so many business owners struggle with this. Of course, the easy solution is to outsource all your wordy needs to a copywriter like me, but I know that’s not always an option for new businesses.
The alternative is to gain some basic skills for copywriting and DIY all your sales pages, email sequences, and website copy. I know that it’s an intimidating skill to master, but I promise you that it can be learned! I say this all the time: Writing sales copy is more of a science than an art. It comes down to knowing your audience, following formulas that work, and injecting a bit of creativity into your brand. I also think creativity can be learned, but that’s a different story.
If you’re here, you know how important strong writing is for online businesses. Maybe you’re just starting out and aren’t ready to outsource. Or maybe you don’t want to wait in line to hire a copywriter—you’d rather know how to write it yourself, so you can make things happen at a moment’s notice. Both are valid reasons to search out ways to improve your copywriting in your business!
So, how do you upgrade your copy from meh reader reactions to where do I sign!? Keep reading for my best tips to improve your copywriting skills and write good copy that converts.
Before we get to the writing tips, I need to clarify something: Copywriting is essentially sales writing. It’s writing with the goal of encouraging a reader to click purchase. It’s both a science and an art that takes years of practice to master. A combination of writing skills, storytelling finesse, marketing strategy, and an understanding of buyer psychology come together in the role of a copywriter. Plus, you often need to edit your own work too! I live by my paperback of “The Copyeditor’s Handbook.”
Read the blog post about the difference between content writing and copywriting.
I’m here to help you learn the easiest tips to make it on your own without spending years studying copywriting techniques like I have. Don’t worry! I promise it’s simple to lay strong foundations and start making sales online when you get the hang of it. With just a few tweaks, you’ll improve your copywriting skills in no time.
If you’re wondering what mix of skills fill a copywriter’s head, the answer is… a lot of different stuff. Seriously! Copywriters are the one breed of specialists who come from a variety of different backgrounds first before landing in words-that-sell-land. I’ll share an overview of suggested areas of study along with my own experience.
Copywriters need to know a bit about everything:
The list goes on!
I draw from my range of schooling, as well as freelance writing and social media management experience to write sales copy that converts for my clients.
I think my story starts in highschool when I took to creative writing and history classes. Some of the writing techniques I learned back then still stick with me to this day. Then in university, I started out studying English language & literature, but also psychology. I ended up swapping my intended major in psychology (after taking quite a few classes—a story for a different day) for a minor in philosophy, which included more modern areas of study like feminist philosophy and the philosophy of evil (why people do bad things). For electives, I often opted for creative writing and business writing classes—a balance of art and technical skills I’m happy I chose.
After a couple years of freelance writing, I went back to university to study marketing and public relations. Among my course list was copyediting, book publishing, and of course multiple copywriting courses.
On my own time, I read books on business, psychology, sales, copywriting, personal development, fiction, feminism, history… anything I can get my hands on! I also listen to a range of podcasts (cults are my favourite genre outside of business and copywriting), join digital educational programs, cyber-stalk all the greats in the marketing world, and experiment with social media platforms. I’m literally constantly learning. There’s not a week that goes by without me learning something new that I can use in my copywriting business or to improve for my clients.
PS. Want my reading list? Shop it here!
I work with a lot of business owners. Literally hundreds of entrepreneurs between private clients and students over the years. What I’ve learned from working with so many business owners is that if you want to improve your copywriting skills, you need to start with the basics. You need to learn the ground rules, implement these consistently, and practice and gain confidence before moving onto the next level.
Copywriting skills compound over time as you learn more tricks, tune into your offers, and listen intentionally to your audience. All you have to do is take imperfect action and start now. Here’s my favourite tips to improve your copywriting skills…
The first thing I tell my clients: Your sales copy isn’t actually about you. It’s about your reader. We’re all a little selfish and we like to feel heard, so give the people what they want by balancing a bit heavier on the “You” and less on the “I/We.” This is probably the number one secret to practicing and honing your copywriting skills (shh… don’t tell anyone that I told you!).
When you’re writing your next piece of copy, whether it’s evergreen website copy, and email sequence, or your sales page, pay attention to how many times you use “I/We” versus “You.”
Persuasive sales copy is about the reader and written for the reader. In your strategy phase, include in-depth research into who your audience really is. What are their pain points? How do you offer a solution or fulfill a desire? Next… think in terms of the benefits.
Your ideal client doesn’t buy because of the features of your product or service. They buy because of an emotional reaction to the benefits you’ve outlined. Play on their emotions to guide them through the buying process.
When writing, ask yourself the following questions:
What does my ideal client feel right now and how much better will they feel after purchasing?
What do they need to know in order to make the sale?
How can I guide them through the buying process?
Do the work to set your business apart from the crowd. One way to differentiate is to identify your brand voice and consistently deliver in this voice. Inconsistencies lead to confusion and confused people don’t buy! Confused people click away and forget about you forever.
Developing a brand voice is a huge topic to cover, but essentially you need to create a persona for your brand in a similar way that you do for your target clients or customers.
Wait, what? Yes! Storytelling is key, but you want to show, not tell with your words. Everyone has “quality service” and “promises results.” Instead of sounding like everyone else online praising their own work, show your reader what quality service looks like to you.
When writing, try to explain what it’s like to work with you. Do you go above and beyond for your clients? How? Drop a few well-placed metaphors or explain a specific client interaction. A well placed testimonial can do the trick here as well.
The best way to keep your copy clean and clear is to keep it simple. The 1 rule to remember is to focus on just 1 offer for each piece of content: evergreen copy, sales page, caption, etc.
Your call to action (CTA) should focus on this single offer. What do you want your reader to do? How can you simplify the steps for them. Usually, simple works best. If your CTA is too complicated, people won’t follow through.
The best way to develop strong copywriting skills is by practicing! Write copy. Then write more copy. Read good copy. Save great copy as examples and refer to them often. Listen to what all the best copywriters say. Practice, practice, practice.
If you are one who lacks confidence writing in general, start by getting words on a page and worry about the specifics later. Read books of all genres to learn the styles of others. I promise you’ll feel better about your writing skills with time (or you’ll decide it’s time to outsource).
There’s tons of tips here on the blog! If you’re ready to really take action, enroll in the FREE 4 Steps to Profit course before clicking publish on any new work. This 4-day free course includes video tutorials, PDF templates, and exercises to help you gain copywriting confidence and attract your dream clients through engaging sales copy. You can thank me later!
Leave your info below to join.