Essential Skills of a Great Copywriter | ArtsHub Australia


It’s a well-known fact that creative writing work is poorly paid and not commensurate with the time and effort invested, but if you’re looking for an extra income that builds on your writing, editing and general communication skills, it can become in editor be a lucrative avenue to explore. ArtsHub asks some seasoned writers to offer their advice on the trade.

Be curious and consider the audience and purpose of the writing

In addition to authoring three books, the latest of which is A Kind of Magic, Anna Spargo-Ryan has been a freelance writer for 10 years, with a variety of jobs that have allowed her to dabble in the intricate craft of writing. . and research As Spargo-Ryan says, “My days are a mix of all sorts of weird and wonderful things: from educational podcasts about melons to ad copy for electric vehicles to serious weather website content. I work with clients directly and in larger projects with agencies’.

For those unfamiliar with the difference between copywriting and what she calls “cheerful creative pleasure writing,” Spargo-Ryan points out that “the former always serves some business purpose. A great copywriter will have good business instincts.” .

He advises you to ask yourself a series of questions about the purpose of the writing. ‘Who is your audience? What do you want them to do when they read this? How will we know if it has done its job?

Especially for those who are self-employed, having a strong command of the language and its deployment is essential, says Spargo-Ryan. “You write for many different brands/organizations with many different voices. Versatility requires a strong underlying writing skill – you need a handle on the basics to play.

He also recommends cultivating a broad sense of curiosity.

“A big part of writing is being able to identify that core of what will grab and hold the reader and figuring out how to share that story. That’s true whether you’re writing a single tagline for a sneaker brand or a white paper for an ·renewable energy research association What is the narrative Pursue it.

Anna Spargo-Ryan

Experiment with different and niche forms of writing

Rebekah Lambert and friend. Photo: supplied.

Rebecca Lambert has been self-employed for 12 years and currently works with start-ups in elder care planning, end-of-life education and fire for teenage girls. She has worked in print management for agencies and mental health and disability education and was an unofficial copywriter for many jobs serving IT brands and “writing everything from dating profile tips to questions of astro-match trivia in the dating industry.” Lambert’s skill set includes report writing, blog writing, SEO, website copy, press releases, internal and external communications.

Her top tips for new writers include:

Look for opportunities to demonstrate your ability to write in real terms. Write your own blogs, get into the habit of microcopying on sites like Twitter and other social media platforms, try pro bono or volunteer projects, and build a shareable portfolio of work.
Use your powers for good. Don’t be afraid to use your writing powers to highlight the problems you see in the world, because it can be a great way to attract like-minded clients. Write sassy emails to agencies you’d like to work with and touch the world with your humor, wit, and/or unique insight.
Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the more you learn. Experiment with SEO, persona-centric content design, and conceptual writing to help you stand out from the crowd.
Never dismiss the need for copywriting experts. You can earn a good living on a steady basis by filling the need for legal, medical, financial, educational or science-based writing.
Learned ambivalence. Writing for a client is different from working on your own stuff. You have to learn to invest in the work, but detach yourself from the comments as they are often subjective.
You don’t have to be a great writer to have a strong fan base or client portfolio. Reliability, adaptability and ease of understanding will take you further as a writer.
Be consistent. You are only as good as your last project in this industry.

Use social media platforms, collaborate with agencies, set up an accounting system and find your community

Carrie Hutchinson is a former magazine editor who now focuses on travel and food in her writing, from “SEO copy for the NSW National Parks website to writing press releases for restaurants”.

Hutchinson’s advice for those starting out includes making sure the social media and website are for self-promotion.

“Get a basic website and update it with testimonials and logos from companies you’ve worked for… In your LinkedIn profile, specify if you want to work in… a writing style (SEO, blogging , white papers, award presentation) or a certain field (education, wellness, travel) so potential clients can find you. Make sure you post at least once a week and make sure you highlight what you contribute customers, rather than your achievements.’

Carrie Hutchinson

Writing can be a lonely pursuit for the sole trader, so Hutchinson suggests finding a community of like-minded writers for support: “Rachel’s List started out as a website for media types, but now there more and more editors”. There are job listings, online lunch clubs, and a private Facebook group where people post about work overload. The Clever Copywriting community is also great and has tons of resources for newbies. Also, they have a very active job board and other members pass on work they are too busy to take on.”

Carrie Hutchinson

Hutchinson says first-time ArtsHub writers with few or no clients should contact agencies to see if they use subcontractors and freelancers. “They often do the whole customer relationship. Check out places like Upwork and Fiverr too, but you have to weed out the people who want the world but have a $10 budget.”

Speaking of budgets, there are the mandatory but unattractive requirements of accounting and fees to prepare for. Hutchinson recommends setting up an account system “like Rounded and Hnry… and getting people to sign off on your quotes and terms and conditions before you start a job.” If you can find a client with a retainer contract (paying you monthly for a certain amount of work), that kind of work is “gold for copywriters,” he says.

Build your portfolio

Andrea Rowe is a children’s book author, copywriter, and content strategist who specializes in helping nonprofits raise awareness, engage supporters, and inspire action, advocacy, and change. Rowe has worked for organizations such as the Royal Flying Doctors, Conservation Volunteers, Coast Care, Hello Sunday Morning and the Indigenous Reading Project.

For those nervous about becoming a copywriter, her advice is simple: “Don’t look over your shoulder at the competition, look internally at your skill set and knowledge. Offer to write an article for ‘opinions for an organization you admire for their newsletter or blog, volunteer and tag them on your social media as part of self-promotion, or create your own content they can’t help but share.

“They’ll notice if you start writing about organizations that align with your values, reflect their point of difference, and also speak to their community or target audience. It’s all about building your portfolio.’

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