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7 Mantras to Seriously Improve Your Copywriting

Repeat after me:

will become a better copywriter.

Great, we’re off to a good start!

If you love copywriting, you’re likely always looking for ways to improve your craft and become more efficient.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

If you’ve been looking to improve your writing skills and boost your expertise, read on to learn more.

copywriting mantras

7 Smart Mantras to Make You a Copywriting Guru

leading copywriting mantras

1. I will never stop reading

Reading is essential to good writing.

In addition to building your vocabulary, instilling new ideas, inspiring you, and helping you learn more about the industries and environments you work in, reading is a great way to keep the brain active and get more out of you day-to-day life.

Yet, many copywriters simply breeze over the articles, books, and blogs that are most relevant to them.

What a shame!

If you want to improve your copywriting: commit to reading.

While we hope you’re reading for fun, you should also be devouring everything you can about the art and skill of copywriting. CopyBloggerQuickSprout, and HubSpot are all fantastic places to start.

By reading everything you can get your hands on about copywriting and content marketing, you’ll grow your skill and knowledge in no time.

2. ‘I think’ is not a strategy

Precision pays in the world of copywriting, and it applies to virtually every facet of this fascinating industry.

To be a successful copywriter, you can’t go into anything without knowing exactly what you’re doing.

For example, posting a blog just because you think it will be interesting to a company’s clients is never a good idea.

Instead, you should do the research required to know that the audience will love the topic and to understand exactly why that’s true.

This involves good target personas, keyword research, topic mining, and much, much more.

Shunning the mindset of “I think” will also help you create more relevant and authoritative content.

Instead of citing blurry statistics (“many marketers do the following…”), you’ll be able to blow your audiences away with solid statistics (“70% of marketers lack a content strategy…”).

This, in turn, helps to make your content more authoritative and ensures that all of your writing hits the nail on the head.

3. I will be known by the content I create

If you want to improve your copywriting, quality has to be your priority.

Your reputation is your best form of marketing in the world of copywriting, and the web’s top brands aren’t going to want to work with someone with a reputation for sloppy content or less-than-reputable sources.

With this in mind, aim to produce the best-quality content you can at any given moment.

This means reading, editing, and proofing your content, and being vigilant about learning everything you can about new trends in the industry and the climate of copywriting as a whole.

4. I will measure and improve my performance

If brands are going to hire you, they want to know why you’re the best choice, and if you can’t tell them, you’ll likely lose the potential client.

Because of this, it’s essential to measure your performance.

For example, how many of your content pieces have made it to the front page of Google? Have you ever drastically improved a company’s views or traffic in a given month? How many shares and comments does your most popular piece of content have?

While there are dozens of different metrics by which you can measure your performance, committing yourself to keeping tabs on the outcomes of your work is a great way to ensure that you’re meeting the goals you’ve set for yourself and exceeding client expectations at every turn.

5. I will handle criticism professionally and promptly

Let’s face it: copywriting is a job that comes with a fair level of responsibility.

If you write a bad piece of copy, you’re going to hear about it.

If your client is unhappy with your work, you’re going to hear about it.

If you cite an irrelevant or incorrect statistics, you’re going to hear about it.

While the gut reaction for many people in these situations is to get defensive, a copywriter that’s genuinely committed to improving their copywriting skills will understand that the only real way to handle these situations is to approach them professionally.

Everybody makes mistakes, and ultimately it’s the professional who handles them the most efficiently who will succeed in the world of online copywriting.

With that in mind, resolve client concerns when they appear, aim to produce the best possible content at all times, and double-check everything.

Criticism alone doesn’t spell the end of your career, but the way you choose to handle it can.

6. I will connect with my readers on a real level

In the world of copywriting, storytelling is a crucial aspect of success.

Without good storytelling skills, a copywriter’s copywriting is just… writing.

Why is storytelling so important in copywriting, you ask? Great question.

Think, for a moment, about a brand like Freeze. Today, the fabric-odor removal spray brand is worth upwards of $1 billion. Just a few short years ago, though, the brand was on the verge of bankruptcy. Try as they might, Proctor & Gamble, the parent company of Freeze, simply couldn’t figure out how to market the fabric spray effectively. Until that is, they discovered the power of storytelling.

No longer was Freeze just something that the mothers of teenagers used to de-stink shoes or the backseats of family station wagons. Now, Freeze is a must-have home good that can transform even the ickiest spaces into a tropical-smelling getaway.

Need proof?

Check out this commercial:


As a copywriter, it’s not enough to just tap up a piece and send it off to a client. Instead, the copywriting has to merge with storytelling.

What’s the best way to appeal to a reader’s emotions and why? How can you weave elements of storytelling into a brand or marketing message?

By asking yourself these simple questions as you create your copy, it’s easier than ever before to boost your copywriting skills to epic levels.

7. I will keep it simple

The copywriting of today is a little bit like modern home design – it’s simple, elegant, and to-the-point.

If your readers need to break out a dictionary or corporate handbook to make their way through one of your blog posts, you’ve gone astray.

With this in mind, repeat the mantra, “I will keep it simple.”

This applies to everything from your sentence structure to your work choice. Short, simple sentences and words that don’t exceed an eight-grade reading level are the best choices for online copy and will go the furthest in terms of boosting your reader engagement levels.

When it comes to copywriting, simple is better, and the copywriter who produces the cleanest, easiest copy is ultimately the one who will win readers.

The Case for Great Copywriting

Let’s face it – we live in a text-dense world.

Right now, every brand that has an online presence also has a need for great online copy, but few know how to create it themselves.

This is the main reason that the importance of great, not just good, copywriting has skyrocketed in recent years.

In addition to conveying a message of quality and brand originality, great copywriting is also essential for any brand that wants to define itself as an original in its industry or attract new and more engaged customers.

As businesses everywhere turn their focus to the importance of copywriting, copywriters that are dedicated to improving their skills are being placed in positions of increasing demand.

Today, it’s possible to make a full-time living as an online copywriter, but only if you stay committed to learning and improving at all times.

Luckily, copywriting is a fun thing to improve on.

From learning new techniques to keeping up with trends in the copywriting industry, there are dozens of ways to boost your skills and stand out as one of the go-to copywriters in your given industry.

As you seek to improve your copywriting skills, keep these seven helpful mantras in mind.

By helping you focus on what’s truly important in the world of online copywriting, these simple mantras can boost your skills and capabilities in no time at all. For expert copywriters and world-class copy, check out our Content Shop today!

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5 copywriting rules

5 Copywriting Rules to Turn You from Hack to Writing Hacker

Everything in life or work has rules attached. Copywriting is no exception.

Make no mistake: This is not an instance where breaking the rules will lead to better results.

Rule-breaking may work if you’re writing a novel or creating fiction, sure. In stark contrast, copywriting is all about speaking to specific audiences and moving them to act.

There are tried and tested ways to do this. In other words, don’t try to reinvent the copywriting wheel.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to write copy. Following these simple copywriting rules will ensure your words have a fighting chance to make an impact on the audience you’re targeting.

'There’s a right way and a wrong way to write copy. Follow these simple copywriting rules to ensure your words make an impact on your audience!' - @JuliaEMcCoy on #copywritingrules Click To Tweet

5 Copywriting Rules You Should Never Forget

Ready to learn the “write” stuff and create copy that gets results? These 5 copywriting rules are ones you should always remember:

Copywriting Rule #1: Simplify

In the world of copywriting, complicated is NOT better.

Your goal always should be to communicate ideas and information in the clearest way possible. You want every single person who reads your copy to understand it perfectly.

That means you need to simplify as much as possible. Write concisely and avoid redundancy.

This example from Michele DeLima shows what I mean. The first version of copy is full of fluff – unnecessary words that add nothing to what she’s trying to say. When she omits the fluff, we get down to the meat of that first loaded paragraph:

Michele was able to cut the first paragraph down from 50 words to 9 and say the exact same thing.

While doing your initial editing passes for your copy, look for nonessential words and phrases that pad your writing. Then, cut them ruthlessly.

Here’s the nonessential stuff from the above example. I’ve highlighted them so you can see exactly what was cut to get to the final, clean and simple version.

Copywriting Rule #1: Write concisely and avoid redundancy. Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's top 5 #copywritingrules Click To Tweet

Copywriting Rule #2: Spend as Much Time on the Headings as the Body Copy

This next copywriting rule is not just referring to the H1 (also known as the title or headline). It also alludes to your humble H2s, H3s, and even your H4s – the subheadings.

Yes, technically the latter is less important. However, that’s just from an organizational standpoint. The H1 conveys the overall main idea or takeaway, while the lesser subheadings sum up the major ideas that contribute to the overall main idea.

From a copywriting standpoint, though, ALL of the headings in a piece need to be creatively and intelligently constructed. They need to grab the eye, inform, and sum up the content for a scanning reader.

They need just as much care and attention as the body copy.

If instead, you dash them out carelessly or neglect to include some subheadings, your entire content piece will suffer. It will be flatter, less interesting, harder to scan, and more difficult to understand.

For inspiration on making ALL of your headings interesting, creative, and engaging, look at this blog post by Brian Dean of Backlinko:

Not just the H1 is compelling – each and every subheading draws your eye, makes you think, and effectively outlines the piece.

Even your sub-subheads should get this kind of attention if you truly want to create a winning content piece.

Copywriting Rule #2: ALL of the headings in a piece need to be creatively and intelligently constructed. Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's top 5 #copywritingrules Click To Tweet

Copywriting Rule #3: Focus on Benefits, Not Features

Think of this next copywriting rule as the Golden Rule of online copy.

Drill it into your head and practice it everywhere you possibly can.

Benefits over features.

To see what I’m talking about, look at Evernote’s homepage.

Here, you’re presented with the benefits of using Evernote straight out of the gate:

  • Evernote will help you feel organized without any effort.
  • Evernote will help you record all your ideas, projects, and to-do lists wherever you are, so you don’t miss a thing.

The focus, as you’ll notice, is on YOU – not Evernote. If Evernote instead focused on features, this page would look very different. Let’s imagine that for a second. It might read like this:

  • Evernote has organizational features like Notebooks and tagging.
  • Evernote has both desktop and mobile apps.

Features are great, but they aren’t personal. They don’t relate this product to your life. That’s exactly what makes features forgettable.

Here are the differences between features vs. benefits spelled out in black-and-white:

  • Benefits show you how a product or service will benefit your life – A.K.A. make it better. Benefits are personal and memorable.
  • Features tell you what a product or service can do (without reference to what it can do for you). That’s it.

To sum up, when you stay benefits-focused, you stay focused on your audience’s human needs. You tell them how your product or service fulfills those needs. You relate it to them and make it personal.

Of course, when your copy is personal to your readers, it’s more compelling – and that’s the entire point.

Copywriting Rule #3: Focus on benefits, not features. Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's top 5 #copywritingrules Click To Tweet

Copywriting Rule #4: Don’t Write AT Your Audience – Write TO Them

What’s the difference between writing at someone and writing to them?

Hint: It ties into copywriting rule #3, above.

Still stumped? Here’s the answer:

One is impersonal and cold. The other is personal, warm, and engaging.

Writing at your audience is similar to the way flight attendants go over the safety guidelines at the beginning of every flight. They aren’t really talking TO you or engaging with you; they’re talking AT you. They’re presenting information – nothing more, nothing less.

In contrast, think of writing to your audience as having a conversation. Directly address them. Figuratively look them in the eyes when you’re speaking/writing to them – imagine them right there in front of you. Make it personal, and talk/write to them in a way they’ll understand and appreciate.

This is how you get and keep someone’s attention. If you merely write AT them, on the other hand, you’ll never encourage anything other than clicking away from your content.

Copywriting Rule #4: Don't write AT your audience - write TO them. Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's top 5 #copywritingrules Click To Tweet

Copywriting Rule #5: Tell People What to Do Next

Most of the time, if you don’t tell people what you want them to do, they won’t do it. Nobody can read minds.

This holds true in copywriting, too.

If you provide no direction on what the reader should do after they read your copy, they’ll do nothing.

So, if your copy is getting read but not inspiring reader action, consider whether you have provided enough direction on what they should do next. In the copywriting world, this is known as the call-to-action (CTA).

All effective copywriting includes a CTA. If your copy isn’t getting results, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you included a CTA?
    • A CTA is basically a command for your readers. It tells them what to do, with no doubt. For example, if you want them to sign up for your email list after reading a blog, your CTA should say something like “Sign up now” or “Subscribe for more great content”.
  • Is your CTA strong enough and direct enough?
    • Weak verbs and confusing wording will muddy your CTAs. For example, “click here” isn’t direct enough or specific enough to inspire action. Why should they click? Try to answer that in the copy surrounding your CTA, then use a stronger verb to call them to action, like “sign up”, “download”, “get”, “enjoy”, “try”, or “start”.
  • Have you included enough CTAs?
    • Sometimes, adding CTAs in various places throughout your copy gets more people to click. Then again, sometimes it doesn’t – it all depends on your audience. Test a few different CTA placements and see what works.

For inspiration, look at this piece about the right blog post anatomy by Boss Project. Three different CTAs appear near the end of the content:

One appears as a banner at the end of the infographic in the post:

One shows up in the final paragraph:

And one appears at the very end of the blog:

Note:

  • All of these CTAs tie into the blog topic. All of them make sense within this piece of content.
  • They all ask you to do the same thing in (slightly) different ways. This keeps things clear and avoids confusion. (Don’t ever ask your readers to complete more than one type of action in a single piece of copy or content. Remember copywriting rule #1.)
  • The wording used is direct, specific, and actionable. The CTA tells you exactly what to do (download a free printable).

As you can see, the CTA is one of the most important pieces of any type of copywriting. Take the time to make it shine and more people will engage with it.

Copywriting Rule #5: Tell your readers what to do using call-to-actions. Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's top 5 #copywritingrules Click To Tweet

Copywriting Rules Are Essential for Inspiring, Engaging, Actionable Copy

With your copy, don’t start from square one. Don’t write blindly. Follow these proven copywriting rules to make your job easier.

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