Copywriting Skills: Why Every Digital Marketer Needs It
Want to get into digital marketing? Then start sharpening your copywriting skills! This article explains why and how anyone can write copy.
If you’re considering a career in digital marketing, then you may have noticed that many roles require copywriting skills. In fact, copywriting skills are essential to any digital marketer and owner of a business that markets online.
Does the thought of writing copy make you break out in a cold sweat?
If so, you’re not alone. Few people consider themselves to be good writers to begin with. Add to that their unpleasant or downright traumatic experiences in writing classes in school.
Besides, copywriting is such a specialized kind of writing that being an excellent creative writer or journalist doesn’t guarantee you’ll be good at it.
Just because you’re a Pulitzer Prize winner doesn’t mean you’ll make a good copywriter!
The good news is that anyone can learn copywriting.
It doesn’t matter if you flunked English class. Or if you only ever write text messages. Or even if you don’t know what a dangling preposition or an Oxford comma is.
None of that matters in copywriting. If you can carry out a conversation, then you can write copy. And that’s because copywriting is conversational writing.
So, what is copywriting exactly?
And why does every digital marketer and business owner need this skill?
What Is Copywriting Anyway?
Here’s my definition of copywriting:
Copywriting is selling with words.
Copywriting is different from other types of writing because of its purpose: to sell.
And so, whether you’re promoting a product, service, idea, or cause, you need copywriting skills.
In contrast, other forms of writing have other purposes:
The purpose of creative writing is to inspire, entertain, and arouse emotions.
Academic writing seeks to inform, explain, educate, and persuade.
And journalistic writing strives to inform and elucidate.
This doesn’t mean that copywriting doesn’t do any of those things.
On the contrary, to be effective, a piece of copy may need to do several things at once: provoke emotions, entertain, inform, educate, and persuade.
Now do you see why even professional writers can feel intimidated by copywriting?
Why Digital Marketers and Business Owners Should Learn Copywriting
Copywriting has existed for as long as advertising has been around. Copywriters are the talents behind the ads that have become a regular part of our lives. From the Super Bowl halftime ads … to the colorful flyers that come in the mail (that you love to throw away) … to the radio commercials you remember from your childhood … to billboards, popup video ads, and those ads alongside Google search results … all of those were written by a copywriter.
So the most obvious reason for anyone to learn copywriting is to be able to write effective ads.
But even if you’re not writing ads, you still need copywriting skills.
That’s because whether you’re a budding digital marketer or an online business owner, you’re always selling something. Therefore, you need copywriting skills so you can sell a product, service, or cause from a web page.
Beyond that, you need copywriting skills not only when you’re asking people to open their wallets or whip out their credit cards.
Even when you’re giving away something, you still need to sell it.
You read that right.
You have to sell your free newsletter, blog posts, YouTube videos, and podcast. Even that 14-day free trial of your software.
You need to sell for people to get your freebies because they have access to so much free stuff. Why should they claim yours and not your competitors’ giveaways? It’s on you to persuade, convince, and cajole them into first claiming and then consuming your free content.
And besides, nothing’s truly free.
Folks still do pay in the form of the time and attention it takes to consume your content or use your app. (And that’s a currency that’s even more valuable than money!)
A good rule of thumb to remember is this: Anytime you’re asking someone to do something—whether it’s to click, open, read, sign up, order, or buy—you need copywriting skills.
Within digital marketing, copywriting skills are required in so many more areas besides paid ads. You need copywriting to create website pages, registration pages, emails, online catalogues, and so on.
Is Copywriting a Good Skill to Have?
I hope by now your answer is a resounding yes!
Copywriting is not only a good skill to have; it’s essential.
If you decide to pursue a career or business as a copywriter, then certainly you’ll have to learn copywriting in order to write copy.
Then as you progress in your career, say as an editor, you’ll continue to need strong copywriting skills to review and edit copy.
And later on, either as a manager or a business owner, you’ll need enough copywriting skills in order to approve copy from ad agency copywriters, freelancers, or team members.
The Best Way to Learn Copywriting
There are several ways to learn copywriting. The best place to start is by enrolling in a general copywriting course, whether in-person or online.
Could you teach yourself copywriting? Sure, if you’re motivated and have a lot of time on your hands. But a lot of it will be guesswork and trial-and-error. And who has the time and energy for that?
The best way to learn copywriting is by writing copy and tracking its results.
You need to get out there, publish your copy, and see how it performs in the real world. By putting something out and tracking metrics to measure its results, you learn how to write copy that does what it’s supposed to do: sell.
(And again, “selling” could mean anything from getting that click, open, registration, or sale.)
Good copywriting, unlike other forms of writing, cannot be judged subjectively. It is only judged by actual results. For example, if you write an email, it’s only as good as its open rate and clickthrough rate. A registration page is good if it gets the opt-in rate that you’re targeting. And a sales page is judged by its conversion rate or the percentage of visitors who end up purchasing the product.
Acadium can help you build real-life copywriting skills through an apprenticeship. As a copywriting apprentice, you’ll get to write copy and see how it performs. Your mentor will be able to guide you through the process and give you feedback on your work.
You’ll also be able to add the copy you write to your professional portfolio—something that will definitely give you an edge over other candidates when you apply for a job.
And if you happen to write winning copy, such as an email, opt-in page, or sales page with a high conversion rate, then you’ll have a concrete accomplishment to add to your resume.
With real-world copywriting experience, a portfolio, and achievements, you’ll be on track for a successful career in digital marketing.
Lexi Rodrigo is the former Content Manager at Acadium. As a marketing and communications professional and course creator, she helps remarkable brands get seen, heard, and known. She has been a digital marketer and copywriter since 2008. She's also the co-author of "Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye." When she's not reading or writing, Lexi bakes bread, grows food, and takes long walks. Connect with Lexi on LinkedIn.
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