I’ve been a Copywriter for several years, and over these years I’ve learned a lot by practicing and almost as much by stumbling into the pitfalls. There’s no substitution for experience, but I recommend these steps to anyone wanting to improve their efficiency.
Understand What’s Required
You must understand the purpose of the piece you’ve been asked to write before you can start writing. What type of piece are you writing (info, advert / attention grabber) Who will its audience be? What does your client want from the piece? Your client will give you this, but if there is any ambiguity on what’s required from you, then check. Misunderstanding what you have to do only wastes time.
Do Your Research
Although it may be tempting to write only your opinions, or from what you’ve heard to ensure you get a piece out. You must research each piece you’re writing. This is important in info articles where every fact should have several confirmed sources. The amount of information required may vary, but you should be happy that you can confirm every fact within your article. The end point for every piece you’ll be writing is to convey information and that information must be right. Check those facts or your clients will lose faith in you, they hired a copywriter not a fiction writer.
Create Your Ideal Writing Environment
So, you understand what your client wants and know as much as you need to start writing. But to ensure you can crank out those words as efficiently as you can your writing space needs to be perfect for you. Start by removing as many distractions as you can, turn off the phone, close the door. Anything that may halt your flow, get rid of it. Now think of all the things that help you to write. Some people prefer to write with specific music, or with a fresh coffee. Some prefer to take their laptop down to a nearby park and have fresh air as they write. Whatever you need to feel in the zone, do it.
Now everything is as it should be. Get those fingers to keys and start writing. Get those words down. If you have writers block and can’t think what to write, then leave the start. Write the end or the paragraph or line you can see most in your head. Once you start writing, it’s easier to keep writing. The words will flow and the article will start to write itself. While you’re writing keep in mind the audience who will be reading it. Although at this stage it’s more important to get the words down then to get bogged down in the fine detail. Writing in more of a free-form way will ensure you keep writing, and the post gets written as a Draft 0. Once done, we move on to checking.
Edit, Check, Check and Check Again
This stage is the most important. It ensures your tone is appropriate, your facts are correct and there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Checking your post should be around 50% of the time spent writing the post. So an hour writing a post means at least 30 minutes editing and checking it. Spelling and grammar is an easy one.
Most word processors have a spelling and grammar function. There’s also software that can offer advice on things like Search Engine Optimisation. You should never completely rely on software. You should always check over your work yourself. It never hurts to have another person look over it either. This is the last stage before you send your work to your client so make sure you’re completely happy with it.
I can’t outline every niggle or bump in the road you might hit, there’s far too many. But the above steps will put you in a place where you can deal with them. I’ve learned a lot, but I’m not too old or too proud to stop learning. So if you have any copywriting methods or help that you swear by please let me know in the comments.