Creating sales copy is never easy. There are so many things you have to consider and so many tasks to do.
As a startup, your hands are tied with a lot of work to keep the company up and running.
You may be a software developer, a CEO, an IT consultant, but you are not a professional writer. You have no idea how to start writing, let alone create compelling and effective copy.
Don’t despair because there is a special breed of online species out there ready to help you with your launch or product campaign: the copywriters.
A great copywriter can help with your marketing success. But not all of them are great, and you should know the difference between a so-so copywriter and a great one.
Below are 15 key traits of a great copywriter to help you with your selection process and hire the right copywriter for you.
- Language expertise
Grammar, punctuation, spelling, thoughtful word choice. These are the core skills of a great copywriter.
In the online world full of noise and companies fighting over customers tooth and nail, there is no room for errors, and no time for wasted words. When it comes to vocabulary, precision is the key.
Great copywriters see to it that their copy is flawless and will not submit their work unless they are sure that their copy is free from grammatical and mechanical errors.
Copywriters are also capable of recognizing and avoiding common mistakes, such as confusion of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’.
Great copywriters are followers of English rules but are also willing to take a risk and break the rules if they believe it’s the way for the campaign to be successful. Apple’s marketing campaign is a perfect example of breaking the rules and making it to the top. One tagline example is during Apple’s 2008 campaign for their aluminum Macbook: “Redesigned. Reengineered, Re-everythinged.”
Despite being English language experts, copywriters keep it simple and use plain English when making their copy. They don’t show off their huge vocabulary and word expertise, and keep to the point by writing in a way that is immediately understood by the readers.
A copywriter’s copy fails whenever a reader opens a new tab to search for the definition of a word in the copy that they don’t understand.
- High standards of quality
Quality is a great copywriter’s middle name. A copywriter knows what it takes to make good content, and knows what works for different niches and for specific types of websites. A copywriter makes sure that they know everything they should about your target audience’s needs. More so, they can deliver it in a way that your audience can relate to and be convinced to take action.
At the same time, a copywriter always gives their best in every job they take. A great copywriter will proudly say that their finished copy is great work, every time. Because they are always consistent in submitting finished copy that is of high quality.
- Curious, and research savvy
Copywriters are curious by nature. They do research in the right places, and know where to get the information needed to get the job done.
They read articles, whitepapers, case studies, statistics, forums, and other vital sources of information.
They pick the right information from these sources and use this information to make great copy.
Because time is of the essence, copywriters also know when to stop searching for information because they know that what they have is already enough. They don’t waste time reading content that they no longer need.
- A storyteller
Most marketers today are using a very effective approach of creating powerful copy through storytelling.
Not the kind of stories that you read in fiction or fairy tales, where princes fight villains and mythical creatures using magic, and in the end the curse is broken and the sleeping princess wakes up.
But the kind of storytelling where you create a scenario so real that your target audience can immediately relate to it. They will be thankful to you for recognizing their pain and problems and offering the solution.
Let’s make the story of Ben for example. Ben is someone in your target market. Ben is the CEO of a booming startup. He is a father of three and doesn’t have enough time for them because he has a lot of work on his hands. His children are already complaining that their father doesn’t eat or play with them, and failed to attend their recital. They might conclude that their father doesn’t love them and this would break Ben’s heart.
He is now looking for a way to free up more time for his family, and at the same time continue to work hard for his business.
Then comes your time management software. Your software will help Ben increase his work efficiency and productivity. This way, Ben will have more freetime to be a good father to his children.
- Asks for clarification
A great copywriter is someone who is not afraid to ask questions to the client if something is not clear. They will not pretend that they are some omniscient writer who already knows everything and doesn’t need to ask.
They ask the client relevant facts that they need to make the copy.
A copywriter recognizes if they are stuck at a certain point of their work and will ask the right people in the same niche so they can move on with their work.
- Understands entrepreneurship
A copywriter doesn’t need to be an entrepreneur to be able to write copy effectively. They just need to know the basic facts about business. They need a general knowledge base about marketing and sales, and the challenges of creating and running a startup.
It is also a must for a copywriter to know what a sales funnel is and what are the stages that the target market goes through to become customers. Copywriters should also be knowledgeable about features and benefits, as well as the customer’s buying process.
- Knows the target market
A copywriter who has researched and understands the buyer persona of the client company will be successful. They should be knowledgeable on the different models of human motivation and action, such as in Maslow’s pyramid, and can use this information to create a customer avatar.
When looking for a copywriter, look for someone who specializes in one or two niches only. This type of copywriter already has a deep understanding of what your industry is about and the behavior of your target audience, since they have already been studying and researching your industry for years.
- A lifelong reader
A great copywriter is the best at their craft because they naturally love to read and learn. Copywriters read everyday about anything and everything: books, news, articles, blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, social media posts, and so many other sources of information.
A copywriter most especially loves to read content about the niche they are specializing in, and keeps updated on the latest happening so as to stay on top of their game.
- Knows SEO
The copywriter doesn’t have to be an SEO expert, but must know the basics of search engine optimization.
They must know about keyword research and in what part of the copy they can naturally incorporate the keywords. They must know about anchor text, meta tags, categories, and other essential information needed to be able to optimize your copy.
SEO plays an important role in the success of your copy, and although the Google algorithm is constantly changing, a good copywriter must have a nose for the latest updates.
- Is imaginative
Copywriters always come up with unique, even crazy ideas: ideas that seem unusual, but will actually work. Copywriters have a limitless imagination and they incorporate this in the vision or goal that their clients have for their copy.
A great copywriter uses this vast imagination to create copy that will be very different from the client’s competitors, but still very intriguing and persuasive.
A copywriter is like a fiction writer, telling a story through a different concept but still very effectively. Unlike fiction writers, a copywriter tells a compelling story but in a realistic way.
- Is versatile
A great copywriter can create persuasive copy in many forms for different platforms. They can write a short but effective 50-character advertisement for Facebook Ads or Google AdWords, or a long but engaging 1,000-word article for a blog or website. They can even write a complete minibook of case studies.
They can write cool and fun Bios or About Us entries, or use a serious and formal tone. They will even brainstorm for hours and write down different options for the perfect headline or content title.
Of course, don’t forget Facebook or Twitter posts and other popular social media sites. That is how versatile an effective copywriter is.
- Is passionate
A great copywriter is someone who is passionate about their craft. They love making effective copy for their clients. They crave more information and updates on the industry that they are specializing in.
They always have something to share with the team whenever a new campaign is brewing. Aside from being a good reader, they are also a good listener. They listen closely to what their clients and people around them say and are able to catch or capture that something that will be the key to their copy’s success.
A great copywriter loves their work and talks passionately about it, reads and listens intently, and learns something new everyday to become better at what they do.
- Focused and timely
Copywriters are very focused when it comes to finishing tasks. Copywriters can create different types of copy at the same time, from advertisements, to landing pages, to brochures, etc.
But they never lose focus of each of their important tasks and deadlines, and when they submit their work, they make sure to submit high-quality copy.
Copywriters are multi-taskers who can do a lot of things at the same time but dedicate the same amount of care to each one and will deliver right on schedule.
Do you have anything to add more to the list? Or are there some key traits mentioned above that you want to remove? If so, please do share them with us in the comment box below.