Copywriting Skills: Definition and Examples
Updated March 10, 2023
Copywriters are professional content creators that develop and integrate different types of copy across a wide variety of outlets. If you're interested in a career as a copywriter, there are a range of skills you'll need to be successful. For instance, a copywriter creating digital media will typically rely heavily on technical skills in addition to their writing skills. In this article, we explore some of the key skills that copywriters have that make them successful, along with how to improve your skills and highlight them when applying for a job.
What are copywriting skills?
Copywriting skills are hard and soft skills that writers who create advertisements and other written content possess to be successful at their jobs. Since copywriting consists of writing a variety of different content types—including marketing materials, digital and print content—professionals in this career must have exceptional writing and communication skills. Technical and computer skills are equally as important, and copywriting skills will also encompass other aspects of communicating in writing.
Examples of copywriting skills
Copywriting requires a range of hard and soft skills to be successful in the role. The following examples highlight several important skills that copywriters need to be successful:
Strong writing skills
The first and foremost hard skill that these professionals have is writing skills. Copywriters create different types of copy that can range from longer forms of content (like white papers and journal articles) to short product descriptions and advertising slogans. The ability to convey ideas that ultimately persuade an audience to take action in writing is a skill that all copywriters should have.
Aside from written communication, copywriters also need to have effective verbal communication skills. The ability to speak up during meetings, collaborate with colleagues and clients and initiate sales pitches when necessary may all be ways that communication skills help copywriters be successful.
Copywriters who work on digital marketing and advertising projects will need a range of technical and computer skills. For instance, the ability to use content management systems, create web pages, apply basic formatting and other tasks like these are examples of some of the skills that copywriters need to be successful in the online and digital atmosphere.
Creating written material takes a significant amount of creativity and imagination, and copywriters are no strangers to this kind of thinking. Creative thinking skills that help these professionals succeed in their roles can include the ability to build new connections between concepts and find innovative ways to promote brands and businesses.
Problem-solving is a large part of a copywriter's job, and this skill is a necessity for navigating different aspects of the profession. For example, a copywriter working for a large advertising firm may constantly rely on their problem-solving skills to stay within a project's budget and timeline all while developing the most effective strategies to further business goals. Problem-solving is highly important for working through different types of writing projects, too.
Interpersonal skills such as building and maintaining relationships are highly important in a copywriting role. Communicating with customers and clients, listening to feedback and relating to others is necessary for success in a communications role, especially copywriting. Because copywriters essentially market to customers, they'll need to rely on interpersonal skills to better relate to their customer base.
Strong research skills are a must for any copywriter, especially when it comes to more complex types of writing projects like white papers or technical guides. Additionally, there is always a level of research involved when copywriters create new advertising or marketing materials. For instance, copywriters who create promotional materials may research competing businesses to find out what kind of advertising is working. This type of research can help copywriters build a writing outline and strategy for reaching customers.
How to improve copywriting skills
Ultimately, the best way to improve your copywriting skills is to write consistently. In addition to writing practice, you can use the following steps as a guide for improving your copywriting skills:
1. Develop strong writing skills
There are many online resources that provide free writing prompts, exercises and journal ideas that can help you exercise your brain and just get started writing. Develop your mechanics and grammar, and use new and more complex vocabulary. Additionally, you can develop your writing skills further by making small goals to communicate all of your ideas in writing. This way you will gain a deep understanding of how to convey meaning, thought and feeling in your writing.
2. Practice writing different types of copy
As you develop your writing more, practice with different elements of copywriting, such as longer forms of content that require a little research into a topic or short product descriptions for your favorite items. The more you find ways to actually create copy, the more developed your skills will be.
3. Take an online course
There are many online courses available that can provide tips, exercises and even professional training that will help you develop your copywriting skills. The benefits of taking an online course are that you'll often receive exercises that you can print out and physically keep with you, which allows you to practice this skill whenever you need to. Additionally, learning from more experienced professionals in the field can also be highly advantageous for learning new techniques and approaches to handling various types of projects.
4. Develop a deep understanding of the industry
Learn everything you can about copywriting, including new techniques, updates to different print styles and other aspects of the field. There are many newsletters, journals and networking groups for copywriters that can help you learn more about the industry and develop your skills further. Plus, you may be able to find clients who need a copywriter for an upcoming project.
5. Take on small projects to build your expertise
Sign up for a copywriting profile or take on a part-time job to build your expertise with the written word. Since the objective of copywriting is to ultimately persuade an audience to take action, focus on small projects or tasks that help you develop this writing skill. Additionally, keep different pieces of your work that you can in a portfolio, either online or in print. This way you'll have work to showcase how you've developed your skills.
Copywriting skills in the workplace
No matter the work environment, there are several ways you can demonstrate your copywriting skills to highlight your knowledge and expertise:
Continue to develop your writing skills and stay updated on any new styles, such as Associated Press, Chicago and others.
Use all aspects of communication to initiate new writing projects, such as listening and asking questions with clients to understand what materials they want.
Practice persuasive writing to better develop your abilities to take on more important advertising content.
Learn how to use different content management systems and applications that can streamline work as a copywriter.
How to highlight copywriting skills
No matter what stage of the application process you're in, there are several ways you can make your skills stand out from other applicants. Use the following tips as a guide to help you:
In a resume
Highlight your copywriting skills on your resume by including relevant traits that the employer is looking for. For instance, if the employer is looking for specific experience with web design in addition to creating the content, this is something you'll want to be sure you include on your resume. Additionally, the skills you include in your resume should have specific examples of your success as evidence of your expertise.
In a cover letter
Much like a resume, you can highlight your copywriting skills by describing how your skills helped you succeed in past roles. Additionally, it's important to also include examples of how your skills helped past clients grow their business, reach more customers or otherwise achieved a goal.
During an interview
Showcase your ability to communicate through writing by describing your process. For instance, if the interviewer asks how you create a piece of content from start to finish, use specific examples of how you do this. This could include steps like discussing client needs, outlining an objective and benchmark for the copy, planning the content itself and your writing. Describing to the interviewer how you apply your copywriting skills will help you be successful during an interview.
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