Copywriting for Beginners: The Basics

Copywriting is the ability to convince people to take action based on your words. It’s essentially a fancy word for persuasion. If you would like to learn more about this art of persuasion, today’s post “Copywriting for Beginners: The Basics” is meant for you. I will cover more in future posts.

Hello and welcome! My name is Irma and I help new bloggers to learn the ropes. There is a lot to take in that first year of blogging, from choosing a niche to changing your mindset to that of a successful entrepreneur. I like to focus on practical information and positive thinking, so if that sounds good to you please sign up for my weekly newsletter of tips and free stuff for bloggers. In return I will give you the password to my resource library of PDF printables for bloggers. Win-win!

 

What copywriting is and is not: 4 differences

Copywriting can make the difference between a landing page that results in big sales and one that visitors ignore. However, the good news is that copywriting is a skill and like all skills, you can master them. Before you dive into the deep end of copywriting, you should understand a few things ….

Copywriting Is Different

There are many forms of writing, some of which you might be familiar with already. Novels and songs are a form of creative writing. White papers and articles are a form of business writing. Essays and journaling are a form of personal writing.

However, copywriting is focused on getting the reader to take action. In some cases, this action might be signing up for your mailing list or following you on social media. If your reader does take action, this is called a conversion.

Related Post: Copywriting for Landing Pages

Copywriting Is Focused

Many forms of writing are about the writer. For example, essays and journaling may be a way of working through your emotions and observing life. Writing a novel or song may be about the story or concept you want to express.

Copywriting is focused on the reader. It’s about their problems and typically, you’ll want to present your product or service as the solution. If you forget this and focus only on your brand or product, you’ll end up with copy that doesn’t convert very well.

Related Post: AIDA The Copywriting Template for Bloggers

Copywriting Is Goal-Oriented

Some people use writing to explore. They write long, rambling pages about their ideas, products, or business. This may help you learn about yourself or your business; but, it isn’t truly copywriting.

Good copywriters know that their copy must have an end goal. Think of this as a destination when you’re on a long trip. You wouldn’t get into your car and hope that you end up in California. You’d pick a specific address and put it into your GPS unit then you’d start driving.

It’s the same thing with copywriting. Know what your goal is before you ever type a single word and you’ll be more likely to succeed with your copy.

Related Post: Copywriting for Social Media

Copywriting Is Easy to Scan

Some online business owners make the mistake of thinking that copywriting is like reading a newspaper or book. They assume their readers will pore over every single word, gleaning everything they can.

Smart copywriters know that most of their customers and clients don’t read every single word on the page. In fact, the majority of your buyers will skim your sales page unless you’re offering a product with a high-end price tag.

This is why good copywriters make their content easy to scan. This means using bullet points, adding subtitles, including helpful quotes, and strategically placing images or videos. These small details may not seem that important but they can be the difference between a customer who buys your product and one who navigates away.

This is also great for search engine optimization. I covered some of this in my post on SEO and you can find the info under the section “Use title tags for headings and sub-headings”

Related Post: What is Search Engine Optimization?

Copywriting for Beginners: The Basics
PIN IT! Copywriting for Beginners: The Basics

Understanding Key Copywriting Terms

Now that you understand what copywriting is and how it works, it’s time to learn a few important marketing terms. Even if you plan to outsource your copywriting, you’ll still want to know what these terms mean so you can communicate easily with your copywriter.

Call to Action (CTA)

This is the point where copy instructs readers to do something. Here are a few example CTAs that you can use in your own marketing:

  • Call for a Free Consultation
  • Book Your Free Discovery Session Today
  • Sign Up for the Newsletter and Never Miss a Sale
  • Follow Me on Pinterest
  • Leave a Review on Facebook

As you can see, CTAs can cover a range of instructions. However, to keep your CTAs effective, ask your readers to take only one action. If you ask your visitors to sign up for your mailing list, book their first session with you, and follow you on Instagram, you’ll overwhelm them. So, pick the one action you want them to take right now.

Related Post: Copywriting for Online Ads

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is about making your content and website easy to find in search engine results. For example, if you users who search for “best aquarium tanks” to find your website, then you’d want to optimize your website for that term by including it in your headlines and copy.

Related Post: 10 Easy SEO Wins

Content Management System (CMS)

Content Management Systems provide users with an easy way to edit their websites and upload new content. You may already be familiar with CMS options like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.

Copy

Copy is content that’s created specifically to encourage readers to make a purchase. You’re surrounded by copy every day even if you don’t realize it. Copy can be found on the cereal box in your pantry, on the front of your toothpaste tube, and on thousands of other products.

Demographic

Demographic is an audience of people with something in common. For example, a demographic could be:

  • Women in their 30s
  • Expert Knitters
  • New Drummers
  • Divorced men in their 40s

In the first example, the demographic is defined by gender and age. For the next two examples, the demographic is defined by hobby and skill level. The last demographic is defined by relationship status, gender, and age.

Above the Fold (ATF)

Above the fold is content that appears before a user has to scroll or click down. This is prime website real estate. Some sites like Google show ads above the fold. Other websites use this space to encourage visitors to subscribe to their mailing list.

Conversion and Conversion Rate

Conversion is the number of visitors who act on your copy. If you tell readers to buy your product and one does, then you’ve made a conversion.

Sometimes, copywriters use the term conversion rate. This refers to the percentage of people that took some type of action, rather than simply reading your offer.

If 1,000 visitors saw your landing page and 113 customers bought your product, then your conversion rate would be 11.3%. You can arrive at this figure by dividing the number of action takers (113) by the total number of visitors (1,000).

Headline

The headline is the title of your copy. You want to pick an engaging headline that makes visitors curious and invites them to read more. Some of the most well known headlines include:

  • Headless Body Found in Topless Bar
  • The #1 Secret to Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies Every Time
  • 6 Fitness Secrets Every Woman Should Know

All three headlines promise their reader something in exchange for their time. The first promises an entertaining story. The next one promises the reader a perfect chocolate chip recipe and the last promises insights about fitness.

Related Post: 101 Blog Post Titles That Really Work

Case Study

A case study examines a problem in-depth and recommends solutions. Copywriters use case studies to show readers how a certain product or service can solve a common problem their demographic is experiencing.

Teaser

A teaser is a small bit of copy that intrigues your reader. When companies advertised through direct mail, copywriters would create teaser text to urge receivers to open the envelope. Now, copywriters use teasers to increase the number of email opens they get, share about upcoming projects, and build excitement.

Testimonials

Testimonials are short, positive messages of endorsement that come from customers. Many niches rely on testimonials in order to sell a product or service. However, customers in some niches like internet marketing don’t trust testimonials. This means testimonials aren’t effective in every niche.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this basic introduction to copywriting. I think this subject is fascinating, and I hope that you will join me for the future posts and learn the art of copywriting.

Please sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter of tips and free stuff for bloggers.

Related Post: Using Analytics for Copywriting

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Happy blogging!

-Irma 🙂

20 thoughts on “Copywriting for Beginners: The Basics”

    • You are welcome Michele Hugo and thank you for visiting us today,

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  1. This a really thorough and detailed article! It contains useful information for newbie bloggers like myself. I’m bookmarking it for further study and use. Thank you for an excellent read, Irma!

    • Thank you Effie, and thank you for visiting us today as well,

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  2. Hi Irma,

    Your article was greatly helpful to remind me persuasion writing is a big part of writing for a website. I didn’t realize I am focused on getting the reader to take action. It is just not writing to inform the reader but also informing them I have a solution to their problems.

    I truly enjoyed learning your breakdown of copy writing since I am a beginner. It is truly exciting to my horizons expand as I begin to understand my path I have chosen to taken.

    Thank you.

    Lisa

    • Hello Lisa and thank you for visiting us today,

      I am happy to help and I hope you enjoy the whole series I am doing. Copywriting is an art form that we learn from.

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  3. Irma,
    I always was aware of copywriting! Being a copy master, can take a long, long, time… There are many factors that differentiate a good copywriter, from a not so good one! In fact, recently I bought a course, where they cover all the basics to advanced techniques of copywriting.
    It is a very interesting topic, because copy has been long before the internet, when direct mail marketing was a thing.

    Thanks for the post!
    Stefano.

    • Hello Stefano and thank you for visiting us today,

      Copywriting is a new interest for me and I am glad that I found out more about it so that I can share with others. Thank you for your insights!

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  4. I’ve read many articles about copywriting, and found most of them overwhelming for those who are not familiar with the subject. I think this post provides a simple, good introduction to copywriting. Thanks !

    • Hello Margherita and thank you for visiting us today,

      Thank you for saying that and I hope I can help someone with this information.

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  5. Great article! You’ve covered some points that people tend to overlook a lot. It’s all in the details. When people are looking around for information they don’t stick around long, they want to get straight to the point. I like that you went over some very important terms and concepts like “above the fold”. This is definately Pinworthy stuff.

    • Thank you John and thanks for visiting us today,

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  6. Hi Irma, thanks for a great post. I saw some posts on Pinterest about a copywriting but didn’t pay attention much until I read yours. That is new world for me! Now , I have rethink and add more staff in my contents and learn how to add links in. Thank you for advice . I’m going to do my “homework”.

    • Way to go JidroneP and thank you for visiting us today. I wish you the best of luck with your website!

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  7. Thanks for this post Irma.

    I’ll be sure to tick off these points next time I’m writing up a review. Also keen to check out some of your other stuff, especially on SEO.

    All the best,
    Dylan

    • Anytime Dylan and thank you for visiting us today,

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  8. What a great article! I’ve never really thought of copywriting in these terms nor did I know that this is what copywriting was about. I’ve always thought of the term as some legal term equated to plagiarism .

    Thanks for such awesome information!

    • Hello Steven and thank you for visiting us today,

      I am right there with you. I thought copywriting was something else entirely until I started researching it. I had seen people in videos talking about making tons of money copywriting and I thought whaaaaaa? I wanna know about this, so I did some research and discovered how it can help bloggers as well. I hope you stick with me for the rest of the series 🙂

      Cheers,
      -Irma 🙂

  9. Amazing article! I really can take a lot from this, especially the suggestion of offering your reader one thing at a time and not bombarding them with too much information. Thank you for sharing such good and valuable information!

    • You are welcome Robert and thank you for visiting us today,

      Cheers,
      Irma 🙂

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