What Makes a Brilliant Copywriter?

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Are good copywriters born or made?

What qualities are needed to write good copy? What makes great copywriters stand out from others? Well, many factors play a role in the level of professionalism of writers and in the quality of written texts. A basic requirement is good spelling and grammar, as well as mastery of the language needed for the texts. But to be a decent copywriter, that's just the start. And to be truly great, you'll need an appreciation of the finer nuances.

Let me tell you something: Anyone can be a creative. Not everybody is ready to dedicate the practice and work it requires to be great. Don’t believe me? You can also hear it from Antonio Fragoso, Global Creative Director at TikTok, in his personable and authentic talk “What nobody told me (about copywriting) “ as part of the M.AD INSIGHTERS Speaker Series.

Research skills

To be able to write good copy, you really have to know your stuff. After all, your customers expect you to sell their product or service. This is the purpose of copy. To do that you need to know and understand this product or service. However, as a copywriter you can’t possibly be an expert in every field you are going to write about – especially not if you work with many different clients. So you need to be inherently interested and curious. Maybe one day you read into real estate and the next you learn all about the newest baking trays. You might know the same amount of detail about a celebrity eyeshadow palette and the newest innovation in autonomous cars. Every job will be different. Good general education as well as lifelong and unceasing learning – from the latest news in pop culture to historical events and important inventions are key qualities for great copywriters. But curiosity without research is not enough. As a copywriter, you need to know where to find basic information as background knowledge as well as reputable information for citations and scientific papers. Researching takes up a large part of the time in every project, which brings us to the next point.

Time management

As a copywriter, you will most likely handle several projects at the same time. Some of them with tight and strict deadlines to meet. Your customers rely on you to get the job done properly. And in time. As just mentioned, the research and preparation part of writing should not be underestimated. The writing process becomes much easier when you acquire knowledge beforehand, think about what you want to write and how, and then "only" have to put it down on paper. So plan enough time to deliver your best possible work. Nothing is worse than having to explain why you did not deliver on time. In situations where the client also has a deadline to meet, poor time management by the copywriter could have really bad consequences for all parties.

Being precise and customer-centered

A common belief is that the most important skill of writers is creative, long, almost poetic writing. And while this can be partially true, copywriting is not about this. It is about getting to the point and selling something. As said before, this is the purpose of copy. As a basic idea you can remember that you are probably always saying too much. If you are able to say the same thing with a few less words, do so. Even less, go ahead. And this is also something that may has to be discussed with the customer you are writing for. This is why those two qualities are summed up here.

As a copywriter you are a service provider. So try to put your customers in the focus of your work. You think their idea is bad? Their product will not succeed? It is not your job to judge that. Of course, constructive feedback and a professional opinion on things regarding the job and writing process are more than welcome but try to treat you customers with respect and accept that sometimes your personal opinion will be far from theirs.

Speaking the right language

No, this does not mean speaking the right language for the job. Although that is of course also correct. Great copywriters are able to slip into the role of the user or customer and find out what they like, dislike, want, think and feel. This requires sensitivity and empathy to see the world as well as the product or service through the eyes of the customer. Amazing copy does not try to sell a product and explain why it should be bought with might and main. Great copy solves a pain of the potential customer. It does not argue for the perks of the product, it explains how the customers’ problems are solved with the product. So instead of trying to show off an innovative product and explain what the company does and why it is so awesome, try to explain how the product will help the user, transform their lives and work for them, their schedule and their personality. More focus on you (aka the customer) and less we (aka the company).

Is this all?

The qualities listed are just a few of those that good copywriters (should) have. There are many more and this profession is full of complexity. However, since we now know that the human attention span is quite short and not exactly getting longer, these four points should be enough for this article. The most important features have been covered and explained. One more thing that might be worth knowing about great copywriters is that many of them suffer from imposter syndrome and perfectionism, which makes things like good time management harder. But after all the most important thing that great copywriters have in common is this: They enjoy being creative. And you should too. As Antonio Fragoso said in his talk, “Like what you [...] and stay weird“.

Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoKJ6sWjdkM https://writtent.com/blog/5-factors-distinguish-great-copywriters/ https://blog.hubspot.com/agency/traits-effective-copywriters https://blog.copify.com/post/what-makes-a-good-copywriter-these-4-must-have-skills-are-a-start

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