By Kimlin Harrilal, Copy Lead
Ready to get started in the world of copywriting?
If you’re reading this, by your estimate, this career path seems doable, and you feel ready to engage an audience of thousands and be the subtle catalyst that drives behavioural change for big brands. Easy-peasy!
It’s also safe to assume you already possess the standard skills the industry requires: excellent command of writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, editing and reviewing, the ability to conduct research, and a grasp of SEO.
Now that we have the obvious out of the way, these are the 5 essential skills you’ll need, not only to become an excellent copywriter, but to survive and excel in the field.
A Love Of Learning
There is always something more you can learn, therefore, the love of reading and an appetite for self-development is critical. Devour everything, from style guides to online courses, to articles/news on the latest trends in the industry.
If you write for specific clients, do your research, and stay abreast of what’s happening with their competitors and changing conditions in the market. This will give you a better and deeper understanding of their circumstances.
This knowledge will equip you with the ability to craft a more accurate, in-depth, and unique approach to your content development. Your copy will be better positioned to easily assuage fears, restore confidence, capitalise on trends and so much more when you pay attention to the details.
Patience & Understanding
Patience is a key skill set in this industry – without it, things can and will feel more frustrating and discouraging. First, have patience with yourself as you learn and work on constantly improving your skills. As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day, and the same goes for your reputation and expertise. Be patient as you practice, make errors, evolve, understand your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and find yourself in the words of the amazing stories you’ll create.
Be patient with your clients as they may not know exactly what they need or how to properly describe what they want in detail. You’ll need to have patience and understanding to guide them on the right path and through several rounds of revision.
Finally, understand that this field is always changing, growing, and evolving. Whether you write for an agency or freelance, there is always something new to learn or someone you can help to learn.
A Unique Mind
Right brain or left brain – how do you see yourself? Regardless of the side you believe you use most, it’s important to actively involve both hemispheres. This will ensure your content is founded on sound analytical data and developed creatively.
The use of data and analytics to develop your strategy and guide your creativity and critical thinking is invaluable. It will provide you with unique perspectives from which you can approach your copy.
Your past experiences and ability to think like your target audience will also give you a relatable edge, to write engaging copy for your audience. The ability to find a new way to refresh old copy will set you apart.
This can be a very demanding field, especially if you are with an agency. The hours can be long, the meetings can be endless, the deadlines can feel impossible, and your weekends may not exist.
Your capacity to adjust and manage your tasks effectively will contribute to your ability or inability to have work-life balance.
Flexibility also comes in handy when working with clients who are uncertain about what they want and the direction in which to go. You must be able to ‘roll with the punches”.
Know your worth and what you bring to the table and function from this place only.
Even if you are just starting out, set realistic goals of what you want to achieve, network, and work hard. Have confidence that where you are now is not where you will be in 2 months, 1 year, or 5 years – you just need to work at it.
Know that over time, your knowledge, skills, strengths, and your very personality are what makes your perspectives and writing unique. There is, after all, only one you!
Make your journey as a copywriter an enjoyable one.
Create from a space that is genuinely yours, playing on your strengths, passion, and talents while improving your weaknesses. Show the world that you’ve got the skills it takes to succeed!