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This blog was featured on 05/18/2017
What Skills Do You Need to Succeed as a Copywriter?
Written by
Amelia Lewis
May 2017
Written by
Amelia Lewis
May 2017

Working as a copywriter can reap plenty of rewards. You get to be creative and play with words every day. There’s lots of scope for freelance work and the financial return is not to be sniffed at either. But what does it take to succeed as a copywriter?

1. Strong writing skills
It goes without saying that a copywriter needs to be a talented wordsmith. You need excellent spelling and a strong grasp of grammar. You also need to have an expansive vocabulary in order to create dynamic copy without lots of repetition or clichéd phrases. Whilst some people insist that you either have it or you don’t when it comes to writing, these skills can be developed through dedication and hands on experience.

2. Time management and self-motivation
Whether working freelance or in-house, a copywriter needs excellent time management and self-motivation skills. Whilst Mad Men may have convinced you that lazy, alcohol-fuelled afternoons waiting for creative inspiration to strike are the norm, this is generally far, far from the reality of copywriting. Staring at a blank page for hours on end is not an option. You need to get used to writing and coming up with ideas quickly if you are to meet those ever-looming deadlines.

3. Great research skills
Chances are you won’t be an expert on each and every topic you find yourself writing about. This means you need great research skills in order to furnish your copy with the facts, figures and impact it requires. You may need to brush up on technical terms used within a particular industry so you can talk about it authoritatively. Competitor research may help you to find a unique angle for your text, whilst keyword research will improve the SEO value of your copy. Whatever the brief, some kind of research will form a part of each and every copywriting project. 

4. Attention to detail
Every copywriter makes mistakes. When you’re typing at breakneck speed the odd typo is liable to creep into your copy. Having the ability to spot these errors is key to your reputation and the reputation of your clients is extremely important. The same goes for any research you use. Whilst the internet is an unbeatable research tool, check your sources for reliability. Everything you write should be error-free, both linguistically and in terms of content.

5. Adaptability
Being able to adapt your writing style to match a brief is another essential copywriting skill. Your client might want something formal. Or funny. Or persuasive. Or dramatic. A good copywriter will have an arsenal of language techniques at their disposal in order to deliver the required tone of voice. Attending a communications course can sharpen your linguistic weaponry and help you recognise the words and structures that will appeal to your target audience.

6. Communicating with clients
Part of your job as a copywriter is working with clients. This means understanding their brief, managing their needs and delivering what they asked for. Working with some clients will be a breeze. Others will be inexperienced, unsure about what they want, make unrealistic demands or be too busy to clarify their brief. Managing the more difficult clients you come across and finding a way to establish their requirements, calls for excellent communication skills and lots of patience.

The demand for copy is at an all-time high, one look at any job board is enough to see that. As well as more traditional texts, businesses need blog posts for their websites, copy for their social media platforms and engaging marketing emails.  Mastering these copywriting skills will allow you to take advantage of this boom and help you succeed in your career as a writer.

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