Some people call me the Jesus Christ of copywriting.
Because I resurrect lifeless, boring copywriting from the dead.
Once I put my healing hands on the wayward, lost copy, I act like a Shepard and guide the lost souls that aren’t ranking on the internet back to the promised land where cash is plentiful!!
Contact me now and become one of my disciples.
The fact is, if you become a great copywriter, you can make upwards of 200k or 300k per year.
In this blog post, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about copywriting and how you can hone your copywriting skills to earn a six-figure salary.
If you want to become a copywriter, set up a website
This one sounds obvious but sometimes people have a tendency to overlook the elephant in the room!
Even if you have absolutely no history as a copywriter and no portfolio to show off, I’d still recommend that you set up a website advertising your services. A simple 4-5 page website can be built for just a few hundred pounds, and it will give you the “professional” image that you really need if you’re going to attract clients.
Should a copywriter have a portfolio?
Don’t worry too much about a portfolio page. I’ve been a copywriter for many years, and I got rid of my portfolio page a long time ago! It became so time-consuming having to constantly update it, and it kept costing me money too, because my designer doesn’t work for free (selfish git!). These days, I just have a note on my site informing visitors that if they’d like to see any of my work then all they need to do is ask, and I’ll send some samples over.
What qualifications do I need to be a copywriter?
You need to be skilled in crafting content that sells.
Many young copywriters seem to think that they need to have been writing for 5 years, or have a string of clients under their belt before they’re entitled to a website. That’s not true, and there are no barriers. If you want to set up a website and become a freelance copywriter. Just do it. Trust me. I did!
Note: If you need any help finding a high quality web designer who doesn’t cost the earth, get in touch.
As well as being a copywriter, I’m also a small business marketing consultant and run an online marketing agency that specialises in web design, copywriting, SEO, social media marketing, and much more besides.
How do I become a copywriter with no experience?
Once you’ve set up your website, the next thing you need to do is find some clients. Now, at this point you won’t be anywhere near the first page of Google, so you need to be a little more pro-active and go looking for work yourself. The best place to start is to sign up with sites like elance.com, freelancer.com and guru.com, which will enable you to bid on copywriting projects and secure work.
To begin with, try undercutting the competition in order to secure a job or two. At this stage, it’s not simply about making money. It’s about gaining experience, and possibly even securing a testimonial or two that you can then use on your new website!
A Website Content Writer Should Use Social Media Sites
Another great way of finding clients is to use Facebook and Twitter. No doubt you’ve already got an account with those two sites, so make use of your connections by asking all of your friends and followers whether they need any work done, or whether they know anyone who might.
If you’ve been unable to secure any work via the freelance sites, try offering your services for FREE. You should have quite a lot of people who will be more than willing to help you get started, and will love the fact that they’ll be getting something for nothing, especially if their company has a marketing department and they require this sort of service regularly.
You cannot become a copywriter unless you start a blog
Whilst setting up a website is great, a blog is where you’re really going to gain traffic.
Do you think this is going to be easy?
Well let me tell you this: it ain’t easy! No doubt you’ve heard about all those bloggers out there making millions of pounds and you’re thinking; “it can’t be that hard, all they’re doing is writing interesting blog posts and then sending readers to affiliate offers. That’s easy peasy lemon squeezy…”
Blogging for copywriters
But the truth is, if it was that easy to make money blogging, then everyone would be doing it. The truth is, blogging for cash is hard work. It takes time to build up a reputation in any niche, so that people will head towards your blog without you needing to forcibly send them there!
The reality of blogging for copywriters
I’ve been blogging for a while now, and my visitor numbers still aren’t anywhere near as high as I’d like them to be. Sure, I’m only a measly copywriter so my market is pretty small, and I’m not blogging to generate income either. I’m blogging to help my readers with their own businesses and give them advice and guidance about things like SEO, social media, web copy and writing sales letters.
What exactly does a copywriter do? and what tactics should they implement?
1. A copywriter should be patient
Generating traffic to your blog takes time, I don’t care who you are. You’ll need to put in some long hours promoting it online via social networking tools, video sites, article sites and forums, amongst many other vehicles, and it may take a while to build up an online reputation. Writing blog posts is pretty labour-intensive too, so you need to be committed to it and in it for the long-haul.
2. Become a copywriter with no experience by being passionate about what you write about
The best advice I can give when starting up a blog is to pick a subject that you’re PASSIONATE about. Blogging is a time-consuming business, so it’s absolutely crucial that you have a keen interest in the subject, or you’ll soon lose the enthusiasm you started out with, and end up moving onto the next venture. It can be tough coming up with new ideas for blog posts, as well, and it will be even tougher if you have little interest in the topic.
3. Write web content about topics you know
Again, this is an absolute must! People are only going to read your blog if you have something interesting and insightful to say about the topic in question. And in order to do this, you need to know it inside out. If you’re not an expert in the subject you’re blogging about, it will soon become very clear to your readers (who will be) and they’ll soon go elsewhere.
Secondly, it’s vital that your blog ranks highly in the search engines so that you pick up even more readers and potential customers, and for this to happen you need to be updating it regularly with new and fresh content. Of course, this is a lot easier to do if you have vast experience in, and knowledge of, the topic .
So if you’re thinking about starting up a blog and you’d like to earn a regular income from it, then make sure you bear these three points in mind.
If you do, you’ll stand a far better chance of creating a successful, well-read and ultimately profitable blog!
Learn how to write persuasive copy
If you’re looking for information on how to create a compelling persuasive copy that will generate huge conversions, then you need to keep reading!
And here’s why…
In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to be revealing 10 more hugely effective techniques that you can instantly implement in your own sales copy, ensuring that you’ll be able to convert more prospects than ever before!
But just as long as you implement these strategies.
So here goes…
Tip 1 – If you want to become a copywriter, be trendy
It’s important that you position your product or service as though it’s the latest ‘must-have’. People like to stay on top of the latest trends and keep ahead of their neighbours! And they’ll do anything to keep it that way. So by using phrases such as ‘Brand New,’ ‘Never Before Released’ ‘Exclusive’ ‘Introducing The Latest’, etc, in your sales letters, you are encouraging them to indulge in this habit and purchase your ‘must have’ product!
Tip 2 – There’s mystery in the air
Not revealing the exact nature of the product in your copy or sales letter can make your offer sound exciting and intriguing. Sprinkle words like ‘Confidential’ ‘Private’ and ‘Top Secret’ into the copy to create this effect.
Tip 3 – Write web copy that is prudent
Most people prefer to view their purchases as ‘investments’ for the future rather than impulsive, spur of the moment buys. Use this to your advantage by urging potential customers to ‘invest’ in your product, instead of telling them to whip out their credit cards and ‘buy’ it.
Tip 4 – Become a copywriter who throws in surprise bonuses
Everyone loves a bonus! The addition of a surprise gift will make a customer feel as though they’re getting something extra for their money, and they will be more likely to purchase from you as a result. Also, according to various copywriting studies, just the mere mention of the word ‘surprise’ is known to heighten feelings of anticipation and have a positive psychological impact on people.
Tip 5 – A top website content writer will shower prospects with compliments
It should go without saying, but try to avoid saying anything rude or condescending in your copy! Instead, you need to compliment the reader as and when appropriate. For example, you could reflect on a previous example of your own naivety, and then say, “but you’re obviously a lot smarter than that!” Silly I know, but it actually works!
Tip 6 – Website copy should offer solutions
A prospect who’s reading your ad copy might not be too happy about their current situation; otherwise, they wouldn’t be going through your sales letter, desperately seeking a solution to their problem! So make sure you let them know how your product or service can solve it.
Tip 7 – Spread the joy
People like to be cheerful and happy and are always on the lookout for something that helps them achieve this feeling. Describe in detail the benefits your readers will gain by ordering your product and the positive effect it’ll have on their lives.
Tip 8 – Goals
Many folks like to set goals for themselves, but often there are plenty of obstacles in their way. Remind buyers of the goals they’ll accomplish by investing in your product.
Tip 9 – The best copywriter will make it simple
Simplify the ordering process with clear, easy to understand instructions and secure, widely-used payment methods. This way, the chances of generating a sale become much higher.
Tip 10 – Safety is the name of the game
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of fraud on the internet these days and understandably, many people are wary about entering their credit card details online. Make it a point to allay their fears by informing readers that you’ve got a secure, third-party ordering system in place.
A website content writer should create content that is infused with SEO
One of the major components of a search engine optimized website is its content. Visitors to your site (as well as the search engine spiders that crawl through your web pages) are mostly interested in one thing only – the words on your site. So if the content on your page does not match (or relate to) the keyword you’re targeting, all of your efforts will be in vain.
As an SEO copywriter, your task is to create unique, highly relevant content of outstanding quality for your clients. And this brings us to that all-important question…
How does a web content writer craft articles that are SEO optimized?
Well, first off, they’ve got to be 100% unique.
Keep in mind that the information published on your website is going to be read by humans as well as the search engines. And in order for you to rank well for your target keywords, it needs to be considered unique by both of these parties.
If your content is top notch, engaging and offers value to the readers, it is bound to attract more visitors to your site.
What’s more, plenty of other sites in your niche will consider you as an expert on the subject and won’t have any hesitation in linking back to you or recommending you as a resource to their audience… which in turn, will mean more publicity for you and an overall boost in your profits!
Additionally, once the search engines index these contextual backlinks, they’ll reward you by propelling your website up the rankings.
Tip: A quick and easy method of obtaining valuable backlinks is to write an interesting blog post/article and then allow people to freely circulate it, provided of course, they credit you as the author and publish/share your articles with your links intact.
A copywriter should create content that is relevant
Now, the next point an SEO copywriter has got to remember when creating a search engine optimized piece is this – relevance.
One of the major factors search engines take into account when it comes to calculating your ranking is how relevant your website is to the keyword phrase that’s being typed in. Relevancy is generally measured by the density of the prominent keywords and where they are located on your page.
As you may know, in addition to featuring frequently within the content itself, the main keyword you’re targeting should ideally appear at least once in the URL, title tag, meta tags, headings and sub-headings. Furthermore, because relevance plays a major part in determining your ranking, the information displayed on your site should be highly focused on your niche topic.
Top-notch copywriting should avoid keyword stuffing like the plague
Having said that, you want to make sure that you don’t make the mistake of ‘keyword stuffing’ your page. What this means is that you’ve got to take care not to go overboard in including your target keyword in your content. For example, let’s say you wish to rank well for the phrase “London Olympics 2012.” Here’s an example of a keyword stuffed paragraph…
‘Welcome to our site on the London Olympics 2012. The London Olympics 2012 is set to be a grand event. Many famous athletes will be participating in the London Olympics 2012. You too can come watch the London Olympics 2012.’
Content written in this manner will not get you ranked high in the search results; instead, it can lead you to being sandboxed, or worse, completely de-listed, for spam. You see, there’s usually a limit on the number of times you can insert your keyword, hence the emphasis on maintaining a decent keyword density. While the above example is tightly focused on the target keyword ‘London Olympics 2012,’ it certainly doesn’t make for easy reading.
Become a copywriter who offers value
It also doesn’t contribute any value to the reader whatsoever. Once the search engines spot this (and they have an uncanny ability to quickly get rid of spam), they’ll ensure your website is nowhere near the top results for the term you’re going after.
So while SE-friendly content does need to be relevant and rich in keywords, don’t forget that humans will be reading it as well, so your target phrases must come up naturally within the article. All in all, the essential element to a high ranking lies in maintaining a balance between an acceptable percentage of keyword density and a fairly decent level of readability.
5 more tips that every copywriter should know
In the next few minutes, I’m going to reveal 5 more astonishingly simple tips that every website copywriter needs to know in order to create compelling copy. These are the techniques that will transform your website copy or sales letter from ‘mediocre’ to ‘scintillating.’ So let’s check them out, shall we?
Tip 1 – Is your text readable?
When someone arrives at your website, it’s important that they find it interesting enough to stick around for a while. In other words, you want to avoid anything that might put them off and send them scurrying for the exit button.
One way of keeping their attention is to ensure that the text on your page is simple and easy on the eye. For example, instead of using lengthy streams of text (which can be tedious to look at), break up your copy into short paragraphs, each consisting of a maximum of 5-6 lines. Injecting attractive sub-headlines, Johnson boxes, images, testimonials and bullet points will result in an even more enjoyable read.
By organizing your text in this manner, you’ll be making it easier for your visitors to browse through your sales copy. And the more they stay on your site, the higher your chances of generating a sale.
Tip 2 – copywriting is all about the customer
Here’s a classic mistake that every newbie business owner tends to make – they keep going on and on about themselves! While it’s easy to slide into this style of writing, it’s a huge turn-off for visitors. You see, they are only interested in knowing what you can do for them (e.g. help them to further their financial status, lose weight, rank their website, etc) and what benefits they can gain by using your product/service.
They don’t care about the number of awards you have won, how long you’ve been operating for or how many mansions you own. Sure, you could include these bits of information if they happen to be relevant to the topic of your website, but instead of placing it on the home page, pop it in the ‘About Us’ section. More importantly, always remember to focus on your customers – at all times.
Tip 3 – A copywriter needs to cut out the jargon
Listen, your potential customers may not be experts in your niche and might not even fully grasp certain niche-specific phrases. That’s why it’s crucial that you craft your sales copy in a clear, concise and easy to understand manner that appeals to all readers.
Tip 4 – The Copywriting should switch from ‘I’ to we’ – it’s more impressive!
Many online enterprises employ the word ‘I’ when describing themselves and the services they provide. This can give the impression that they are a tiny operation being run from somebody’s basement and not a professional company with proper staff, which may be a more accurate picture of their business.
Now, most customers will naturally prefer to engage the services of a seemingly larger, well-established organization. That’s why it’s probably a smart idea to cut out the ‘I’s and ‘Mine’ in your text and replace them with ‘We’ and ‘Our,’ to give the impression of being a mega corporation.
Performing simple tweaks like this can result in a solo entrepreneur being taken more seriously, which will lead to an increase in their customer base.
Tip 5 – Set aside some time to thoroughly proofread your content
Finally, as a responsible website copywriter, you want to make it a point to give your content a once over when you’ve completed it. Always check for basic errors (poor spelling, bad grammar, that sort of thing), before publishing the content online. Let’s face it – web pages riddled with errors do not look professional and will only succeed in turning potential prospects away.
A copywriter should avoid these words
Just as there are certain trigger words that jazz up your copywriting, there are also phrases that are guaranteed to weaken your copy and make it crash and burn. And in just a moment, I’m going to pull back the curtain and reveal exactly what these words are…
The fact is, these are phrases that are known to subconsciously elicit a negative response from potential customers. So if you want to generate plenty of orders, it might be a good idea to exclude them from a sales letter or web copy.
With that said, here are 4 words you need to avoid using…
Learn… Buy… Order… Purchase
Now you’re probably wondering, “Why on earth should these phrases be discarded? Especially since they’re being used all the time on sites across the web?”
Granted, this is a valid point. That said, there’s a reason why it’s recommended not to employ these words in your copywriting…
First off, you don’t want to remind prospects that they’ll need to part with their cash in order to receive the product you’re promoting! For example, the terms ‘purchase’ and ‘buy’ are considered far too ‘pushy’ and might put off interested visitors from taking further action.
Copywriting should get into the minds of customers
Also, keep in mind that people don’t want to ‘buy’ anything; they’d rather ‘invest’ their money, for this implies a positive action and makes them feel good about themselves.
Similarly, customers would rather ‘download’ or ‘reserve’ a product (as opposed to ‘ordering’ it), as these words don’t remind them of the fact that they’ve got to spend money before being able to access said item.
Furthermore, the term ‘learn’ has somewhat negative connotations (words such as ‘discover’ and ‘how to’ are much better alternatives). After all, most folks nowadays are impatient and want instant answers, they don’t want to waste time hanging around ‘learning’ stuff, because let’s face it – that requires work.
Oh the horror!
That’s the reality though, so it’s crucial that your copywriting is tailored to meet the demands of your target market. Believe me, your bank account will thank you for it.
Become a copywriter who is a master of SEO
As a freelance copywriter with a successful website of my own, I am often requested to write SEO (Search Engine Optimized) content for client’s websites – and this requires a good deal more than just well written copy…
You could have the most charming, beautifully-written website which carries pocket loads of potential, but what would be the point if nobody could find it? People will only really find your website if it is optimized for your keywords in the main search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
So, what are the first steps towards successfully optimizing your site?
Utilize Your Header Tags
The header tags, numbered H1-H6 carry a lot of weight when it comes to ranking your website highly for your main keywords. If your keywords do not feature in the header tags, then you are missing an opportunity to improve your website’s ranking position in the search engine pages.
Best practice is to include header tags 1-3 on each page of your website. And it’s important that you try to optimize each page for one particular keyword, as Google rank pages, NOT websites (although, other keywords may feature on a page’s header tags too). Just keep in mind that the greatest emphasis is placed on the H1 tag – so it must feature your main keyword for each specific page.
Think about Keyword Density
Keyword density used to be a big factor to consider, which meant that some highly ranking websites were nothing but pages littered with their specific keywords and the content made little to no sense… The search engine algorithms are now sophisticated enough to recognize this and consequently require a lot more than just pages scattered with relevant keywords.
Google will penalize web copy that is over-optimized
Search engines now penalize pages that feature an excessive amount of keywords, simply because this nature of copy is the complete opposite of what they’re trying to achieve, which is to provide good quality and valuable content for their readers. Any website that follows the tactic of “keyword stuffing” is penalized immediately.
Although the significance of keyword density has been reduced in recent years, it is still important to feature your keywords in relevant places within the copy of your site. Without them, your content (and your web page) won’t be as relevant to your major keywords as it could be, and it won’t appear as highly as it should. A figure of around 3-5% is reasonable to aim for. Any less and you will risk falling under the radar, any more and you may enter ‘spam-like’ territory.
Make Sure Your Content is Both Unique & Relevant
The principle task of the search engines is to select the most relevant results for every search term typed in. After all, their very existence was designed to help the user quickly locate what they are searching the web for. If a search engine does not fulfill such criteria, users will find another search engine which will serve them more efficiently.
Become the copywriter who crafts relevant content
Consequently, an SEO copywriter should strive to make their content as relevant to the topic as possible, as well as optimizing client keywords and featuring appropriate synonyms. Throw into this equation the fact that all content should be completely unique and a copywriter is met with a somewhat time-consuming task.
Unique content is a powerful tool, because search engines penalize duplicate content. So to give your web pages the best chance of rising highly in the search engines, ensure that your content is original and can’t be found anywhere else online.
Some ‘copywriters’ out there claim to produce unique copy, when actually they are doing little more than plagiarizing existing content which they’ve found online and then passing it off as their own work to paying clients! Anti-plagiarism software such as Copyscape, can help you spot this quickly and easily.
Make Sure Your Content is High Quality
When people read your website, they are not really captivated by your keyword use, or the fact that your content is unique. Truth be told, all they will notice is whether your website is well written and holds their attention, because if it doesn’t, they’ll just click through to another site and yours will be nothing but a blip on their website history.
A good SEO copywriter will be skilled at constructing eloquent copy that is a pleasure to read whilst incorporating required keywords in a relevant and subtle fashion. Readability is the primary aim of a good copywriter and this stands whether they are SEO copywriting, article writing or writing a sales letter.
Write web content for humans, not bots
Websites are principally designed for the eyes of a human, not the spiders of a search engine, and it’s important to remember this when trying to sell products. If content is informative, useful and of course well-written, then people will remember it. They will return and they may even link to it – a crucial step towards creating those all important ‘backlinks,’ which are powerful tools in any SEO campaign.
‘Backlinks’ carry considerable weight when it comes to SEO because when a site creates a link back to your site, it effectively counts as a ‘vote of confidence’ in your content. The search engines will then reward your website by pushing it higher in the rankings.
Consequently, your SEO copywriter should focus on high-quality content that will attract backlinks for your site. Yet another confirmation that the secret behind a successful online business is a great writer…
How to become a copywriter? Become a master of SEO
it’s imperative that they get to grips with SEO and target their main keywords more effectively.
Most of the people I speak to understand the concept of SEO and the role that keywords play in the context of traffic generation and promotion. However, not everyone understands HOW or WHERE these keywords should be incorporated into their websites…
Common Mistakes with SEO Copywriting
One common mistake I see is people loading their home page with ALL of their main keywords. This is NOT the most efficient way of optimising your website.
To begin with (and this is crucial), a home page that contains a huge number of keywords isn’t going to read particularly well, and this is going to have a negative impact on the amount of people who stick around on the website and ultimately purchase.
A home page should focus on the task of grabbing the reader’s attention, convincing them that they’ve reached the right web page and then drawing them further into the site. Sure, use your main keyword on your home page, maybe even a couple, but ensure that you’ve always got the customer in mind, because at the end of the day, people are going to be buying your products, not search engines…
The Key to Keyword Placement
The best way of optimising your website for a full range of keywords – and consequently get the best of both worlds – is to use a different keyword on each web page. Don’t forget, there’s more than just one page to your website, and Google knows this. That’s why they index each page individually – because they’re all just as important as each other!
As a result, you should be targeting different keywords on different pages. And these keywords should also be present in your page titles and URL structures. This way, you’re targeting one keyword at a time, and therefore maximising your chances of achieving a high ranking for each page, rather than trying to target 6 or 7 keywords on just one of them.
An example of what an SEO copywriter should aspire to
To give you an example, let’s say that you’re a nutritionist and you’re sitting down to write the copy for your new website…
Your main keywords are nutrition, nutritional therapist, nutritional therapy, nutritional consultation, nutrition consultation and nutritionist. You’ve decided to select “nutrition consultation” as your main keyword because that’s the specific service you offer and it carries the highest global monthly search volume according to the Google Keyword Tool…
Copywriting that will target keywords
So on your home page you could target “nutrition consultation”, by placing that keyword in your page title, H1 tag and H2 tag, as well as including the term a few times in your body copy. On your About Us page, you could target the keyword “nutritional therapist”, and so on and so on, until all of your main pages are targeting individual keywords.
This will then give each one of your pages a greater chance of ranking for your main keywords, and it’s certainly a lot more effective than adding them all to the home page and ignoring the rest of your website.
Ultimately, this is the most effective way of optimising a website for your most important keywords, while simultaneously creating captivating, reader-friendly content that will encourage people to buy your products and services.
So when optimising your website, remember that each page is just as important as the next, and therefore make sure that you utilise them all when targeting your keywords. If you do, you might find your website ranking highly for multiple keywords, rather than just one!
And believe me, that will generate many more customers for your business.
Conclusion on how to become a copywriter?
I could go and on about how you can become a great copywriter.
But there are several key skills.
Read, write, write, learn and write some more.
So get out there and get copywriting and become the copywriter you know you can be.