Making a Career in Copywriting

Advertising and marketing are fast-growing fields. You can often hear people advising others to get into content writing or copywriting for ‘good money’. But what is copywriting?

Advertising and marketing are fast-growing fields. You can often hear people advising others to get into content writing or copywriting for ‘good money’. But what is copywriting? Copywriting is the drafting of text for advertising or marketing. The end result is known as a copy or sales copy, and comprises of written content used to raise brand recognition and persuade people to engage with it. Relatable examples of copy would be popular ads, so for example the ‘Taiyyari jeet ki’ campaign that Bournvita ran, ‘More sustaining than meat’ for Hershey’s Chocolates, or ‘Hotel? Trivago.’ for, well, Trivago. These two campaigns in particular not only gained popularity as ads but also became, quite interestingly meme references. ‘Hotel? Trivago.’ Can occasionally be seen used as a joke, but it still results in more people hearing about the brand. When people hear about the company enough, it increases the potential of new customers using it. A sales copy should hence, be catchy, attention grabbing, influential and persuasive. What makes a good sales copy? A good, effective sales copy comprises of some important factors.

Some of these factors are-

1. Clarity- A good sales copy should have clear details about the product that it is for. This helps the audience get a better understanding of the product that you sales copy is trying to raise awareness about.

2. Uniqueness and originality- A copy should be original and unique. It should not be copied (for the lack of a less confusing word) and should to stand out, in order to grab the audiences’ attention.

3. It should be short and crisp- An efficient sales copy caters to even those with short attention spans. Not a lot of people have the interest or time to read a sales copy. Hence, a short and crisp sales copy will reach a bigger audience in comparison to a long one.

4. Use of testimonials- Usage of testimonials makes a brand look more reliable and legitimate. The audience looks at people like them talking about how they put their faith in a product, and believes in said product a little more.

5. USP- Every product, and business at large, has a USP, or a Unique Selling Point. This is what differentiates a brand or company from its competitors. It is important that the brand USP is included in a sales copy because it tells the audience why to buy from your company and not your competitors.

6. Images- While images are generally considered optional, they act as attention grabbers and thus make up for a more effective sales copy, because they draw eyes to the product.

7. Knowing your audience- For a sales copy to work, people should be able to connect with it. So, it becomes important to keep what the audience wants in mind while drafting a copy.

8. Pushing the sale- Another tool to increase efficiency of a sales copy, is to essentially ask for a sale. Using phrases like ‘what are you waiting for’, or ‘make a decision now’ or limited time offers for that matter, often push people to decide in favour of purchasing your product.

9. Easy to read- Keeping the sales copy easy to comprehend leads to more people reading it through to the end, pushing the full message through.

10. Buzzwords- Using buzzwords or other convincing words and phrases, but make sure not to overdo it with catchy, popular and ‘smart sounding’ phrases to avoid making your sales copy sound too pretentious or difficult to follow. Popular buzzwords are sometimes not taken as seriously and you might stand to lose reader attention.

11. Study human behaviour- To be able to write a copy that persuades people to buy your product, it will be helpful to know more about how people think and behave. Knowing what pushes people to do certain things will help you better identify components to add to your copy. For example, using the concept of FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out is often a driving force in peoples decision making process. So, to convey to your audience that many people are engaging with your company, or that after a certain time they won’t be able to buy your product or avail a certain offer, it might work in your favour. This is why word of mouth is such a powerful tool when it comes to selling a product or popularising a service.

What does it take to be a copywriter?

A media studies or equivalent degree, probably (but we’ll get back to that later). But, to make a good career in copywriting and advertising in general, and more importantly so, to do well at it, it is important a person be creative and witty, and be able to think quickly on their feet. Copywriters must also be aware of current events and be able to relate the product they’re working for with said current events.

The best example of this in popular brands is the series of ads that Amul runs, often using wordplay based on current events in politics, society and pop culture- the most recent one being ‘khalia bhatter’, wordplay on the name of actress Alia Bhatt, on a caricature of her character from her recent movie holding a slice of buttered bread.

Most advertising/ copywriting agencies however, do look at educational qualifications when hiring copywriters. Media based degrees, or degrees with creative writing/ advertising/ marketing components are often preferred when ad agencies hire. So, people who wish to pursue a career in copywriting or advertising should look at college courses in these fields.

Copywriting is, however a fairly competitive field too, considering that many agencies have access to similar information, audiences and resources. Hence, to make a viable career in this field, one must be able to think fast on their feet and be able to execute their ideas in a short span of time to prevent the chances of competitors grabbing opportunities and developing on ideas related to things happening around them.

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