Copywriting for Beginners Part 1 of 3: Seven Vital Questions
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The hardest thing about copywriting isn't knowing HOW to write. It's knowing WHAT to write. Your challenge as a copywriter isn't your ability to write compelling copy. It's your ability to discover insights into what you are selling and who you are selling to. The best copywriters are the ones who ask the best questions.
I'm your instructor, Alan Sharpe. I got started as a copywriter in 1989. In the years since then, I've worked as a freelancer and as an in-house copywriter at an ad agency. I have written in all of the channels—offline, online, outdoor, mobile and broadcast. I have written print ads, radio commercials, email sales letters, banner ads, brochures, slogans and plenty more. I got married, bought a house, and raised two kids on my copywriting salary alone. I have been teaching copywriting since 1995. I teach copywriting to over twelve thousand students from one hundred and thirty-eight countries. I am one of the top-rated instructors in the copywriting.
Why take this course
This course answers the two biggest questions that beginning copywriters have. Number one, what is copywriting, exactly? And number two, how do I discover what I should write about?
At the end of this course, you will know what is expected of you as a copywriter. And you'll know the questions you need to ask before you start any copywriting assignment.
This course is divided into two sections. Section one defines copywriting, describes the major types of copywriting, and discusses specialized types of copywriting. It then introduces you to the two main audiences who will read your copy, and describes the types of writing that some people mistake for copywriting. Section one ends with a handy glossary of common copywriting and marketing terms that you need to know before you offer your services as a copywriter.
Section two goes into great detail about the seven questions you must ask before you can write great copy. We'll cover what you are selling, where you are selling, who you are selling to, why they should buy, who your competition is, the most important thing to say in your copy, and what you want prospects to do after reading your copy. Section two ends with a lesson on how to research a product or a service so that you can sell it with effective copy.
This course is filled with practical, step-by-step advice, tools, tips and tricks that I've learned over the years as a professional copywriter. I use dozens of examples from the real world of copywriting to help you understand what copywriting is, and how to get started on any copywriting assignment.
I designed this course for writers who want to write compelling advertising copy, but don't know where to start. If the thought of having to write one thousand words of promotional copy each day before lunch time fills you with dread, then this course is for you.
Learn more about the course by reviewing the course description and course outline below. Watch the free preview lessons. Read the reviews from my satisfied students. Then enroll today.
Who this course is for:
- Aspiring copywriters, with zero experience at the craft, who want to learn a step-by-step method, taught by a veteran copywriter, for writing effective copy
- Fluency in reading and writing English
- Ability to use a computer
- Define what copywriting is
- Describe the five main channels for copywriting
- Explain the types of copywriting that require specialized skill
- Understand the two main audiences for copywriting, and how they differ
- Describe what copywriting is not
- Understand the terms, jargon and buzzwords that every new copywriter must know
- Discover what you are selling
- Learn where you are selling (channel) and when (in the sales cycle)
- Uncover vital facts and insights into your target audience
- Discover why people buy (and don't buy) what you are promoting, so you can use this information to your advantage
- Understand the five types of competition you must overcome with your copy
- Focus your copy on one unique selling proposition
- Research any product or service to uncover its unique selling features and benefits
What copy is, what copywriting is, and the one thing that makes copywriting different from other kinds of writing.
Copywriting is words that sell in any medium, including offline, online, mobile and broadcast. Copywriting includes the written and the spoken word. Copywriting is also a profession.
As a copywriter, you may be asked to write copy for any of the five main channels: print, outdoor, online, broadcast and branding.
Search engine optimization, direct response, radio & television, and business to business are types of copywriting that require specialized skills.
You will be writing for consumers or businesses. Learn the main differences between these two audiences.
Some writers confuse content marketing, technical writing and public relations writing with copywriting. Learn the differences between these types of writing. And discover what makes copywriting unique.
The prospect of starting each day with a blank page and having to fill it with one thousand words before lunch fills some copywriters with dread. Writing copy from scratch is tough enough. But writing copy to deadline is even harder. So, here's the secret. You don't have to sit in front of your keyboard until drops of blood appear on your forehead. Instead, you have to ask seven simple questions.
Whenever a client asks you to write copy to sell something, always take the time to discover what you are selling. Go beyond the obvious specifications and features to discover what the customer is really buying. And always discover the problem that the customer is looking to solve by buying the product or service that your copy is promoting.
You can't write good copy in a vacuum. You need facts, and you need insights. You get these by asking questions. And one of the first questions you ask is this: Where are we selling? This simple question gets you started towards writing great copy. Ask your client, "Where are we selling?" and you'll discover the scope of your project, the mechanics of what you are going to write, and the context of where your copy is appearing in the sales cycle.
Spend your time, energy and creativity only on the people who are likely to buy what you are selling. When you know who you are selling to, and when you know what they are looking to buy, you are ready to start writing great copy.
Your prospects are likely to resist your sales pitch. If they are doing nothing, they are likely to continue doing nothing. If they are walking past your ad in a straight line, they are likely to continue walking past in a straight line. That's the problem with inertia. Your copy has to overcome this inertia. And the most effective way to do so is to answer the question, "Why should my prospective customer buy what I am selling?"
Before you sit down and write a single line of copy, you need to discover who you are competing against. Every product and every service has competition. Your job as a copywriter is to learn as much as you can about your competition so that you can explain why your product or service is better. You face four kinds of competition: other brands, other options, your own brands, and those who do it in house.
Q 6. What is the most important thing to say?
The main difference between copywriting and just about every other kind of writing is that copywriting is designed to make people do something. Good copywriting doesn't just inform people. It motivates them to take action. Such as download a white paper, call a toll-free number, visit a website or buy a product.
If you want your copy to be successful, give your copy a goal. Make that goal specific. Make it measurable. And then tell your prospective customer what to do, and how to do it.
Should you spend three weeks writing a headline? Probably.
When David Ogilvy landed the Rolls-Royce account, he spent three weeks learning about the car. In his reading, Ogilvy came across this statement, written by an engineer: “At sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.” Ogilvy made that elusive fact the headline for what became the most famous car advertisement of all time.
All great copy contains a big idea well executed. But how can you find that elusive big idea for the product or service you are promoting? Through exhaustive research. Here's how.
The sweetest sound in any language is the sound of your name. That's why the most important word in copywriting is "you."
Since your prospective customers care about themselves more than they care about you or what you are selling, your copy should make your prospects the hero.
Which means your prospect is more important than what you are selling. You can commit to memory every feature of your product, but if you fail to discover who your prospect is and what she wants and why she buys, you will walk home without a sale.
So, study your prospect more than your product.
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