How to Become a Good Copywriter

A copy I wrote for a college advertisement
A copy I wrote for a college advertisement | Source


Productions and sales and consumptions are the conditions of human existence. Advertising is an integral part of selling. And to reach the target customers, manufacturers try to penetrate the market through different kinds of promotions such as text and pictures, and audio and video messages.

Advertisers use three different medium to sell a product: print, audio and audio-video, also called multimedia in the modern times. Copy is the integral part of selling campaigns. Without copy, there can be no advertisements. Copywriters write copy for print, audio and aural-visual formats.

What is Copy?

Human beings have used sound (words/text) and pictures (paintings/sculpturing/carvings) to communicate since the time immemorial. In the advertising world, same methods are used to sell a product. The posters and billboards are the oldest form of commercial activities. With the advent of radio, words accompanied by music were recorded and aired to sell a product. When the motion pictures came into existence, text and visuals were combined to create a product advertisement. In the beginning, words were used as captions, because movies were silent, so sound could not be heard. However, when talkies became a reality, instead of captions, words were spoken and product picture was displayed to create advertisement. These days text in multimedia advertisement is not always spoken, sometimes it is used as caption or voice sustaining the same text. Video and audio both are important aspects of an advertorial. Illustrations can be suggestive or prescriptive.

The total text (spoken, caption or instructions) of an advertisement is known as a copy. Copy is the text written for product selling line.

A copy for a family planning methods.  The text reads: Am I a man's wife or a hen?
A copy for a family planning methods. The text reads: Am I a man's wife or a hen? | Source

What is Copywriting?

Writing a copy is the most important aspect of product selling. Copy is written for print, audio, or aural-visual advertisements. Someone who writes selling lines for advertisement is called copywriter and his/her work is known as copywriting.

When a writer writes a copy, he/she thinks in terms of pictures, in fact a copywriter writes pictures and paints words to sell a product.

Let us see an example here:

If someone wants to sell a soft drink. What does he/she do to sell it? He/she closely scrutinizes the product – this is the initial sales pitch. He observes the product from different angles, he positions the product in various setting. In fact, he begins the process of writing pictures. The copywriter thinks about the target costumers and highlights the strong selling point, or the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the product. This is the basic substrate of copywriting.

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the basic information that makes the product distinct from other similar products. The strongest selling point maybe the price, feature or design.

Qualities of a Good Copy

A copywriter must craft lines by extensively using literary devices. He has to portray his words graphically. A good copy makes widespread use of:

Alliteration

Punning

Unorthodox coinage

Assertions

Circumlocution

Endorsement

Rhyme

Slapstick humor

Pithy message

Adjectives

Conjunctions

Repetitions

Synonyms

Antonyms

Unconventional usage

Copywriter's Job

Someone who writers for advertisement is a copywriter. A copywriter tries to arouse a basic human interest to own (buy) the product. He/she uses words with pictures and other sounds and creates an artistic mix.

A copywriter paints words by using the palette of lexicon. He evokes mood and reflects the human impulse. He reinforces verbal cue with the visual cue. He juggles with words, using perfect adjectives, plays on meaning, punning on words, sometimes even risqué lines. He creates a dramatization of ideas. He gives fresh insights, sometimes daring symbols. And this all has to be done in couple of short sentences. Copywriter is able to play with words creating powerful message.

The market is glutted with similar products. So copywriter can hardly peg on Unique Selling Proposition to hang his copy. But he has an eye, and makes everyone see what he has seen in that product. He knows his market and the product positioning.


A product ad for a telecommunication company in Nepal. The copy was written by my friend. The text reads: Everyone is happy with Ncell.
A product ad for a telecommunication company in Nepal. The copy was written by my friend. The text reads: Everyone is happy with Ncell. | Source

How to Develop Copy?

A copy is the skeleton of a product ad, whereas storyline is the body. When the copy is conceptualized, it becomes advertisement. When the copywriter comes with some lines, he builds up an atmosphere and sets the words into a setting. This setting is the storyline.

Storyline is the detailed descriptions of an advertisement incorporating copy.

To know how exactly a copy develops, we have to understand some marketing principles.

Before the product is launched, manufacturer studies the market. He looks for purchasing power of his potential buyers and the need of buying, and surveys the competitive products. The manufacturer formulates product only after submarket segmentation. He then manufactures the product and does the sample testing.

Let us illustrate the process this way:

Market Specification – Design Specifications – Prototype Manufacture – Advertisement Campaign – Product Testing – Feedback

Advertisement campaign is very important for the success of the product, and here comes the role of a copywriter. After studying the product and the market, a copywriter formulates a plan to sell the product. He looks for Unique Selling Proposition, he crafts a punch line.

How to Develop Copy into Advertisement

Product: Soft drink called Juicy

Copy: Rejuvenate yourself with juicy

Story line

Exterior.Mid-day, glaring sun lonely and deserted road. A young man on supine position on the road, eyes closed, looking frail, breathing low. Plucking of an instrument, probably a guitar. A car is seen, it stops beside the man. A young woman dressed elegantly walks out, perturbed to see the man lying flat, puts her ear on his chest, a glow comes on her face. She runs to the car and comes out with a can in her hand. She presses the cheeks of the man with her fingers to open his mouth and pours the drink. She smiles and pours more drink on his mouth. Man opens his eyes, she rubs his forehead with her palm and pours the drink. Then the man catches the can, stretches himself and stands. Fast music builds. The man jumps up and says – I'm alive. The woman chuckles and takes his hand. Tempo of music rises. Turn by they slip from the bottle. Close Up of bottle is taken.

VOICE OVER: REJUVENATE YOURSELF WITH JUICY

THE COOLEST DRINK

Storyboard

The story board of this product suggests:

Characters and setting

Number of shots (still/video)

Duration of shots (if it is audio/video presentation)

The visual cue

Sound that includes narration, music, sound effects also called (SFX)

Types of Copy

A full scale advertisement campaign means, advertisements are published in different media. There will be billboards, posters, newspaper/magazines advertorials, radio jingles, TV/film commercials and multimedia messages for online media. While writing copy, a copywriter must think about the media platform where his copy will appear. He writes copy for

Print media: Posters/billboards, newspapers/magazines

Audio media: Radio jingles

Video: TV/Film commercials

Online media: Multimedia messages

Structuring a TV commercial is different from structuring a print or audio advertisement. A good copywriter is able to arouse all five senses.

How to Become a Good Copywriter?

Language is the most important skill of a copywriter. His vocabulary must be rich, he must have knack to pun words, and paint pictures with words. Playing with words is important attribute of a good copywriter, and all the while he has to be terse, while cutting verbiage.

A copywriter must have abilities to:

Craft interesting paunch lines

Catchy messages

Conceptualize ideas

Visualize ideas

Create funny/humorous/interesting lines

After copy is created, a good copywriter knows how to develop the storyline by visualizing words into images and graphics. He then builds a storyboard.

Copy is mainly words. Words suggesting pictures and graphics actually is a storyline. A good copywriter thinks in terms of incidental details, color schemes and framing. He then translates his idea as a storyline. This process is called visualization.

Storyline is mainly verbal suggesting pictorial presentation of text. But for aural/visual or multimedia presentation of a product, a good copywriter knows how to develop storyline into story board.

When the copywriter integrates appropriate sound with time division and visualizes the idea into a picture, then the storyboard is developed.

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Comments 87 comments

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

Hi ginerka, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment.

Cheers


gingerka profile image

gingerka 3 years ago from Colorado

Thank you for a lot of good information.


vamshi19889 4 years ago

I learnt a lot . On right time i got this article


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

@Rhett Wilder, thanks for appreciating my work. I hope to read you as well.

@Janine Huldie, I'm glad that you found this worthy of pin.

@vocalcoach, we all are learners, you learn form me,I learn from you.

@Mike Robbers, thanks for sincerely following my hubs

@Mary, copywriting is more challenging than other genres of literature because we have to think in terms of words and pictures at the same time.

@Ddraigcoch, thanks for appreciating my work. Thanks for your wonderful comment.

@wheelinallover, a copywriter's job is to give the intended message in few words. Thanks for your in depth comment.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States

This was a very well written article on Copywriting. We see many internet marketers falling down on this job. The main point they miss is putting the fewest amount of words together to make their point.

When putting a brand together in almost every case less is more. Marketing is no different. The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words really comes into play."

Shooting the works for this great article.


Ddraigcoch profile image

Ddraigcoch 4 years ago from UK

A fabulously written hub, with great description of Copywriting.

You have a clear and concise way of explaining things that make your advice easy to follow.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Very informative Hub. I guess I never realized exactly what a copywriter does: now I do.

I voted UP, etc. will share.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

Excellent & professional information on a skipped subject that really is the foundation for all that do writing! Shared & voted up :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Thanks Vinaya for another very useful and informative hub. I, too, have very little knowledge when it comes to copywriting. I must thank you for all that you teach me. I love reading your hubs! Voted up and sharing.


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

So very useful Vinaya and have pinned this one to refer back to. I have also voted up and shared all over :)


Rhett Wilder profile image

Rhett Wilder 4 years ago from Field Of Clover

Flawless article and a brilliant writer in general. Looking forward to following and reading more of your work. Looking forward to networking with talented writers such as yourself.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Hi rpinckne,

I'm glad that you found this hub informative. I appreciate your comment.

Cheers


rpinckne profile image

rpinckne 4 years ago from Albrightsville, PA

This has a lot of great information about copywriting. I've always been curious about the profession and this article really helped to answer a lot of my questions about it. Thanks!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

Hi beingwell, thanks for reading and leaving appreciative comment.

Regards


beingwell profile image

beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

Very interesting hub! Useful for a lot of us here. Thanks!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

@Christy, thanks for sincerely following my hubs.

@Victoria, so nice of you.

Regards


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Great information! I've thought before about looking into copywriting. I'll remember this hub. Thanks!


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

You present the information very well here Vinaya. Thank-you.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal Author

@barbergirl, I studied copywriting in my creative writing program. Writing for products promotion is really fun. Thanks for your in depth comment.

@jainismus, thanks for reading and taking time to comment.

@urmila, thanks for sincerely following my hubs.

Regards


urmilashukla23 profile image

urmilashukla23 4 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

I always wondered about copyrighting career. I am glad that I read this informative hub and learned something new. Thanks Vinaya for sharing it. Voted up!


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