The Basic Thought Process of a Copywriter
I have recently fallen in love with writing again. I trained as a journalist fifteen years ago, and in recent years I have forgotten the thrill of telling someone something they don’t know. The excitement of making someone laugh with something you’ve written is something you never tire of. I recently started working for myself as a copywriter, and I’m loving every minute of working from home. Don’t get me wrong, my dream is to write the best-seller I have in me, but copywriting is a way to get me in the groove again whilst paying the bills. I use my talents to write for cash, knowing I become a better writer every day.
I recently launched a website and started the long and boring job of promoting it! The thing is, writing articles and promoting them are two very different things. A lot of my work is for websites who want to make the top of search engine results pages. Whilst I love the writing bit and the chance to practice my art, I hate the laborious nature of backlinking, book-marking and never ending article rewrites that go with the territory. For some of my largest contracts, I have started to employ a third party to do this work for me!
Writing for a living is such hard work. Initially, i got into journalism because I loved creative writing at school. I would write the most elaborate and detailed short stories, and I gained something of a reputation for my descriptive skills. For me, writing for a newspaper was simply a way to earn a crust while I worked on my novel. Unfortunately, however, journalism wasn’t for me and I ended up running restaurants for a living. The fifteen years of toil and stress in the service industry have served me well, and it has given me self-discipline – a facet essential for any successful UK copywriter.
The vast majority of copywriters will resent the work they do, as so much of it seems beneath their capabilities. They are like me; writing bland and uninteresting copy on software, knee injuries or the sport of ping pong – yawn! So many copywriters get impatient and frustrated, and they let their emotions infiltrate their copy – this is a bad mistake. Let’s get one thing straight – writing for websites is a completely different art-form and requires huge restraint. My clients want very simple language and text only ever in the third person. They want a keyword density percentage of between 2% and 5% without the text sounding contrived and sales-orientated. Many clients want 500 words for a dollar! The funny thing about all this is I’m getting bored just writing about it! However, it’s my bread and butter, and I put my all into even the 100 word comments I post for clients!
The real truth is that copywriting for websites is a hugely competitive market. For new writers with little or no experience – and next to no references – their biggest weapon is under-cutting the competition. Sadly, this often means taking the dollar work I turned down the day before! New writers then get pissed off and quit before any real reputation has been acquired. The simple truth is, copywriting is badly paid, and it is different to any other form of writing. Get to grips with that, and there may just be a chance of success.