Here's What a Copywriter Actually Does

Bryan Collins

So, you want to write words that sell....

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Photo by Justin Lim on UnsplashPhoto by Justin Lim on Unsplash

I worked as a freelance copywriter, agency copywriter, and in-house copywriter in the technology industry for over ten years.

A copywriter is an excellent way of earning a living from writing, but it’s a particular skillset, unlike writing fiction, blog posts or freelance articles.

Junior copywriters can earn $400000 to 50000 per year, senior copywriters can earn over $70000 per year, and top-tier copywriters can earn over six-figures per year. A few copywriters, who take a cut of high-performing sales pages, earn even more.

In this article, I’ll explain what copywriter is, what they work on and five ways they spend their time.

1. Writes Compelling Call To Actions

The jumpy of a product or sales page is to convince readers or leads to take the next step. That means taking out a trial or buying the product or service in question. So, a copywriter comes up with and test suitable call-to-actions, like:

  • Buy now
  • Join
  • Subscribe
  • Take out a free 30-day trial
  • Review my podcast
  • Like or follow my YouTube channel

You don’t need a degree to write these, but a good copywriter always ask themselves or their clients, “What do I want our audience to do next?”

Then, the test accordingly.

2. Edits For Clarity And Concision

While working as a copywriter, I met many clients and product manager who liked writing the first draft of web copy themselves. Some insisted on certain terms and language appearing on a sales page.

In some case, their suggestions were helpful. In other cases, they packed a web page full of meaningless corporate jargon ripped from an internal Powerpoint presentation.

A copywriter reviews internal messaging statements and edits them accordingly so that customers can understand them.

They strip out clunky language, explain technical terms and write headlines that sum up the key benefits of a product or service in everyday language anyone can understand.

As you become an expert in your industry or niche, ask, “What insider terms or language do I need to explain?”

3. Iterates Headlines

Copywriters spend an inordinate amount of time writing headlines for articles, sales pages, webpage banners, ebooks, brochures and so on.

They regularly review top performing pages in Google Analytics and run A/B tests on their copy. These are technical skills outside of the written word, but worth acquiring if you want to build an audience.

They run headline options past other writers that they know and also clients and marketers. They also test how these headlines perform and if they are driving interest from readers.

Every content creator must headlines for their articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, courses, sales pages and digital products.

4. Interviews Customers

A copywriter understands what drives a potential customer. They know what a customer wants, needs, hopes and fears.

To get inside their head, a copywriter interviews potential customers. They them questions like:

  • What frustrates you most about…
  • What do you like most about…
  • What brands or products do you trust…
  • When you think about [product], what emotions come to mind?

They conduct these interviews face-to-face, over Zoom or via surveys. If you plan on creating a course or a digital product, interviewing prospective students helps you refine your offer.

5. Tests, Tests, Tests

Typically, a copywriter uses tools like Google Analytics or a heat-mapping software to gauge interest in their content. They refine call-to-actions, key messaging and even content ideas based on conversions.

They rely on numbers to figure out what copy works and not just gut feel.

Understanding how to test content is useful for improving the format of blog posts, articles, podcast episodes and YouTube videos. This level of rigour helps you increase views, downloads or followers.

The Bottom Line

A copywriter is a financially rewarding job. It’s a good career choice for any content creator who wants to earn a living from the written word and is comfortable using their skills to sell products and services for clients.

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Bryan Collins is an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work

Ireland, IN
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