Although copywriting is important to almost every industry, many people still do not fully understand what it entails. Some people assume that copywriting just means writing. But is that all copywriters do?
Copywriters do more than just write. They attend kickoff meetings, generate ideas, create outlines, research, and analyze traffic and competitors before they start writing. Then they must edit and revise their work. Once done, they source great visuals and track the performance of their copy.
In this post, we will show you how copywriters do more than just write. We will also learn exactly what copywriters write and some common misconceptions that surround copywriting. Let’s dive in!
What Do Copywriters Do Before They Start Writing?
Before they commence the writing process, copywriters engage in several essential practices and activities.
This gives them the information and inspiration they need to write great copy. Some of the aspects of the pre-writing process include:
1. Project Kickoff
Here, copywriters meet with clients via phone, online, or in person. These meetings enable the copywriter to get a feel for the tone and goals of the intended project.
Moreover, this is where copywriters get access to all the details and requests the client has for them. Copywriters also get to ask questions during these meetings and seek clarification.
2. Idea Generation
All the best copy is original and authentic. To write original copy, copywriters have to brainstorm and come up with new ideas.
Although it may sound easy, this is one of the most challenging parts of being a copywriter. Copywriters need to tilt perspectives and look deeper so they can find a new angle and an original idea.
This process takes a while because the copywriter has to pitch the ideas to the client before they can actually start working on anything.
If the client shoots down the ideas, copywriters must go back to the drawing board.
3. Creating Outlines
A copywriting outline helps copywriters to collect all their thoughts in a single document. This is an important step that some amateur copywriters tend to overlook.
If they don’t use a clear outline, copywriters tend to produce subpar content. The outline paints a clear picture of what your copy will entail, ideas to include, and the resources necessary to execute the plan.
If they have a clear picture of the project, it is easier to form a strategic writing direction which makes the writing process more efficient.
4. Extensive Research
Copywriters must possess deep knowledge and understanding of the topics they write about. They also need to know important information about the subject matter, the target audience, and the product.
However, copywriting is constantly evolving, and writers need to keep up. This is why thorough research is a key ingredient of copy.
Expectations are high, and competition keeps rising. Whether you are new or not, you have to produce top-notch copy. That is where research draws the line between copy that excels and one that tanks.
Copywriting research usually covers four main areas. They include:
- Product research
- Audience research
- Keyword research for SEO
- Market research
Product research uncovers important truths about the product, such as what makes the product unique, the problems it solves, the story behind it, and some of its drawbacks.
This information helps copywriters write compelling product descriptions that sell.
Audience research targets information on who the audience is, the challenges they face, their desires, their language, and more.
Understanding the audience helps copywriters write copy that resonates with these target audiences. Market research is all about current trends.
Changes and updates in the marketing world are important factors to consider before writing copy.
Keeping up with current trends helps copywriters avoid making mistakes that could negatively impact the client’s credibility.
Keyword research is equally essential because no matter how good the copy is, it won’t sell if it does not reach the right audience.
In addition, meeting SEO requirements helps the copy to rank higher and get found by more prospects. Therefore, copywriters should take time to discover the right keywords to use before they begin writing.
5. Interviews And Surveys
Sometimes, research does not provide all the details a copywriter needs. In such instances, conducting interviews and surveys will help you gather valuable insights for copywriting.
Interviewing industry experts gives you access to valuable first-hand information.
The only challenge with interviewing experts is that they are busy people, so it’s often difficult to get in touch with them.
Therefore, you need to possess robust interviewing skills to help you maximize your time and gain valuable insights once you do get the chance to talk to someone.
Surveys, on the other hand, may help provide important audience information. For instance, they may help you discover the problems the target audience faces and their desired solutions.
6. Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is essential if a brand wants to stand out from others in its field. It is the duty of a copywriter to find out as much as they can about competitors before they start writing copy.
The details they gather will help them craft copy that is better than that of their competitors.
Some details to look into when performing competitor analysis include the target audience, product benefits and offers, and how the competitors stage their call to action.
The primary goal is to analyze the competitors’ copy and avoid their mistakes. All the while, you should also be learning from the tactics that work for them.
7. Traffic Analysis
Another important task copywriters need to undertake is traffic analysis. Some major types of traffic include internal traffic, organic traffic, and paid traffic.
The copy will vary depending on the kind of interaction it is supposed to get. For instance, if a web page targets organic traffic, the copy must adhere to SEO.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case if the traffic is paid. On another note, copywriters must keep the funnel in mind because different stages of the funnel have leads with varying needs.
The Writing Aspect of Copywriting
Although copywriters do much more than just putting words on paper, writing is still an important part of the job. It’s in the name, after all!
After conducting the above activities and gathering the necessary information, a copywriter is ready to start writing. The best copy is simple, memorable, fun, and easy to read.
Writing great copy is possible when you present the right message to the right audience. A copywriter may have to create several drafts of copy before they come up with the final, polished piece.
Refining copy involves editing, revisions, and proofreading. Proofreading and editing help the copywriter do away with any errors in the copy.
After submitting the copy to the client, they may be requested to make some changes. The copywriter will rewrite the copy to accommodate these changes.
What Do Copywriters Write?
Although copywriters write, they do not just write anything. There are specific forms of writing that they engage in. Some of the most common formats include:
Social Media Posts
Social media copywriting aims to persuade casual scrollers to become paying customers. Copywriters write social media posts to promote their products or services on various social media platforms.
Copywriters are able to write succinctly, which helps them produce powerful, compelling copy even if the character count is limited.
Social media copywriters help brands to make sales without spending a ton of money on advertising.
Blog posts are usually aimed at educating the target audience, engaging them, and sparking conversations. In the long run, blog posts help promote a brand and its products/services.
Copywriters can write blog posts of varying lengths, but many posts range somewhere between 400-1500. Of course, long-form blogs are also easy to find!
Copywriters write the text for advertisements. A copywriter is working behind the scenes whenever you see a social media ad, Google ad, pop-up ad, or banner.
They may also write ads for print media such as newspapers, magazines, and billboards. These ads may be text-based or visual.
Ad copywriting specialists may also write other promotional materials for small businesses. Such materials may include brochures and catalogs.
Whatever type of ad they create, the goal is to use convincing words to persuade the prospects to buy your product.
Case studies are usually short articles reporting how a brand managed to help its clients solve their problems. It is like sharing a ‘before the company’ and ‘after the company’ story.
Although case studies are formula-based, copywriters try to find a human interest angle and highlight it.
When done well, case studies are powerful tools that brands can leverage to generate more sales. They also establish credibility and trust.
Whitepapers are authoritative, long-form guides or reports written regarding a particular topic, the problems around it, and the possible solutions.
The lengths may range from 1,500 to 2,500 words (depending on the client’s needs). The solutions proposed in the white papers are usually related to what the client has to offer.
Sometimes, they are also used as lead magnets to help capture new leads.
Copywriters create press releases for their clients to help them communicate with their audience.
Communication may be a response to an emergency, news about changes in the company, or updates about the arrival of new products.
Ultimately, the goal is to draw attention and generate interest in the brand.
Writing website copy is a skill that all copywriters should have. Examples of website copy include landing pages, product pages, etc.
Compelling web copy persuades readers to take action, thus creating a win-win situation for the readers and the brand. It’s important to properly format the writing and choose appropriate words.
Copywriters create email campaigns to raise awareness and interest. The goal is to eventually prompt the readers to take some kind of action.
Emails can be inbound or outbound. Copywriters create emails to get people to open, read and react to them. As such, emails are a great tool for converting leads into customers.
To achieve that, copywriters ensure their emails are brief, persuasive, and informative.
What Do Copywriters Do After Writing?
Copywriting does not end once the copywriter completes the copy. A few more activities must be done to ensure that the copy is successful. Words alone will only get you so far!
Copywriters may be required to accompany their copy with visuals such as images, custom infographics, videos, and screenshots. They may choose to do this themselves or work with a designer.
Regardless of the method, copywriters need to gather visuals that align with the copy’s message.
It is vital for copywriters to track the performance of their copy so they can understand what worked and what still needs improvement.
You can track the performance of your copy by checking the traffic generated, the number of social shares and comments, and the overall opt-in and conversion rates.
Common Misconceptions About Copywriting
Several misconceptions surround the practice of copywriting. These myths misrepresent the value of copywriting, and many fail to cover the whole scope of this line of work.
Below, we’ll discuss and refute a few common misconceptions and assumptions that people have about copywriting.
1. Copywriters Only Write
Most people believe that copywriters only write copy. However, if you read the sections above, you know that there’s a lot more to the process than just putting words on paper.
Although underperforming copywriters may give the bare minimum effort, professionals offer more than just basic writing.
By tapping into their wealth of knowledge and experience, copywriters can offer their clients advice on marketing strategies and more.
In addition, research, edits, and keyword inclusion are valuable services that copywriters provide.
2. Copywriting Sells By Itself
Although good copy goes a long way, it only works when people read it. You can’t just publish something without buildup or brand support and expect it to blow up.
Therefore, good copywriting should always be accompanied by a quality product and a sound marketing strategy.
Brands can coast for a while if they have good copy, but they won’t experience great success unless they improve their marketing and advertising efforts.
3. Anyone Can Become A Copywriter
Although anyone can become a copywriter if they are willing to put in the work, no one can become an expert copywriter overnight. You may be able to write, but copywriting is a whole new ball game.
Becoming a highly demanded copywriter takes years of learning and practicing. You must develop the skill of creating persuasive copy, engaging an audience, and convincing them to take action.
Professional copywriters are in high demand, but some businesses will hire beginners if they’re desperate. This has led to the idea that anyone can write copy, regardless of their experience or skill.
Whether you want to venture into copywriting or are looking to hire a copywriter for your brand, now you know that copywriting emails more than just writing.
Good copywriters research thoroughly, run surveys, generate ideas, and create exceptional copy that increases conversions.
It is worth noting that it takes years of practice and sharpening the skill to become an expert copywriter. So, if you want to improve your skills, be patient with yourself and be ready to learn.
Writing is a good start, but there are lots of other areas to improve in as well.