At this point, it is a well-known fact that the path to how to become a copywriter is far from standardized, and many of us come from a variety of backgrounds. Regardless of experience, we all bring various skills to the table that make us ready to work and write for different niches of clients.
However, knowing how to become an advertising copywriter means figuring out which skills you already have from previous experience or education and which skills you’ll need to cultivate as you go.
What Makes Advertising Copywriting Different?
Copywriting, in general, can serve a broad array of marketing goals, projects, brands, and topics. For example, you might write emails, social media posts, blogs, long-form articles, or even ebooks.
Advertising copywriting is more specific than copywriting and typically focuses on selling goods and services and often accompanies a visual or graphic design in an advertising campaign. As an advertising copywriter, you’ll likely be asked to write copy for deliverables like:
- Landing pages
- Websites in general
- Social media ads
- Radio and TV scripts
- Print ads
- Digital ads
In each of these genres, you’ll have to consider how to write well for the context and the brevity needed (remember, most ad copy is concise), but also how the copy you write will go with the designs being produced by your designer.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to become an advertising copywriter, here are some tips that can help.
Tip 1: Become a Chameleon
As we learn to write, we are often told to craft our own specific voice and style that distinguishes our work from other writers’ styles. But, as an advertising copywriter, you must be a chameleon rather than a peacock.
Think of it this way: With each new client, you’re taking on the voice of that client’s brand, not trying to stand out and shine. This might be difficult as you navigate how to become an advertising copywriter, but in the end, your goal will be to make your clients feel like you’re an insider and understand the brand.
Some things you should find out during discovery with your client:
- If they use first person, second person, or third person in their writing style. Many companies feel that using “we” in their copy is too casual and less professional, while others want their customers to feel like they’re all on the same playing field. Figure out where your client stands on this spectrum.
- If there are any prohibited words or phrases. I once had a client who wanted me to strictly avoid any negative phrasing about competitors’ products and words that had negative connotations about the issues the client was trying to solve with their products.
- If they have any other specific writing rules. This could include AP style and citation practices or rules around the use of contemporary references, slang terms, and jargon.
Tip 2: Get to Know your Audience
Knowing how to become an advertising copywriter is also knowing your audience deeply. While all writing requires knowledge of the target audience, as an advertising copywriter, you must take this knowledge to another level by adding to your client’s business strategy.
You will need to understand who your client wants to speak to and the goals your client has in relation to their audiences. The key here is to hone in on a specific audience rather than speaking too broadly.
Some questions to ask your client about their customers or target audience:
- Are these existing customers or a new demographic?
- If they are existing customers, what action do you want them to take?
- If they are a new demographic, are they from your current geographical area or an entirely new territory?
Outside of these questions, your job will be to research your client’s audience on your own to understand their needs and wants. You can reach out to current customers about their experience, read reviews, or even use the product yourself. Pulling insights from actual customers and experiences will be extremely valuable to your client and their target audience.
Tip 3: Consider the User’s Journey and Actions
Advertising copywriting is entirely centered around inspiring someone to take action and make a decision. Therefore, your writing should encourage your client’s potential customers to move along the buyer journey and take a step towards purchasing a product or service, which we call a conversion.
This is where knowledge about marketing terms and tactics should come into play. You have to understand how to move potential customers down the conversion funnel and see the copy you write as a journey through that funnel.
The most important thing to remember is how you will move them along their journey.
- Customers need specific touchpoints to keep them moving. For example, an ad often leads to a landing page that leads to a product or services page that (hopefully!) leads to a purchase. So think about what they need to know to keep them moving along their journey.
- Customers who are early in their buying journey and are in a discovery phase might need more general education rather than specific details. They might need to learn about the company or the product. Remember, a customer who is unfamiliar with the company or product is less likely to convert than someone who has heard of the product but has yet to purchase it.
- Customers who are closer to purchasing or know exactly what they are looking for when purchasing are likely looking for answers to specific questions. Knowing what information they’d like to know will help you determine how close to buying they are and what additional information you need to give them to help them take that next step.
- Customers need a specific call to action to help them know what you’d like them to do next. This means writing engaging copy for page elements like buttons or links that lead them to the next phase of the journey.
Want help thriving as you learn how to become an advertising copywriter?
As you use these tips with your new clients, get support in your journey to freelance copywriting freedom. Join The Exchange, a community of like-minded copywriting professionals from around the globe. We’ll help you learn how to become an advertising copywriter and so much more!
Christina Rowell, Ph.D., is a content strategist at Content Workshop, Managing Director at Copywriter Exchange, and a former college writing instructor. She has over ten years of experience writing, editing, and creating content for healthcare, mental health, cybersecurity, and manufacturing clients.
At Copywriter Exchange, we’re a group of master content marketing pros who bring their diverse talents and backgrounds to bear on the art and science of creating high-performance content, tailored to your needs. We exist to help copywriters thrive in today’s economy by connecting them with the resources they need to step up their game. Join now to access our templates, guides, and courses to help you grow your career, skills, and network.