An introduction to copywriting and why it is so valuable
This is the first in a four part series taking a look at professional copywriting for the adult industry. I have decided to rework my notes from my Eroticon 2014 talk which seemed quite popular with attendees, to share my experience and knowledge with Cara Sutra readers.
Please pop over to the Eroticon website when you have a moment, to keep updated with all the news from this conference, as well as past and future erotic writing events.
What is copywriting?
“Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing, and even today words retain much of their magical power.” – Sigmund Freud
There are so many different styles of writing. When you think about what you write, how do you see yourself? Are you an erotic writer? A mainstream writer? A blogger? A product reviewer? Do you write marketing material? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to write something, but you’re not sure exactly what to focus on.
Looking at the quote from Freud above, I think this it is true that words are a form of magic we can all see, understand – and some of us are lucky enough to be able to wield this special brand of magic through the power of writing. There is a joy that comes from being able to articulately express ideas and opinions through the written word – a blog post or article – as well as educating others about an area you are knowledgeable on, in an article on your own site or someone else’s. There is a sense of pride, achievement and fulfillment.
Copywriting has facets which are slightly different to the generic label of ‘writing’; copy is writing which is created with a persuasive intent. On the web, this could be anything from blocks of text to fill and describe a webpage or product descriptions, to sales and promotional articles with the purpose of motivating readers to make purchases or some other call to action. After reading professional copywriting, the reader is usually inspired to an action, rather than just thinking, “what a lovely piece of writing; now back to my own life.”
I tend to liken copywriting to taking the knowledge and selling techniques of a professional salesperson and distilling it down, blending it with writing talent then presenting that information to your audience in the best way you can.
Of course it helps to have a natural aptitude for writing, but you can pick up some hints, tips and pointers to help turn your writing into promotional and valuable ‘copy’.
So what do you need to know to start your journey as a professional copywriter? Why is promotional copywriting so important?
Copywriting for sales
Companies need copywriters. They are important not only to help turn their site visitors into customers, but also to help their website rank higher on the web. Effective copy on a website, known as ‘optimised copy’, will not only persuade the natural visitors the website gets to make a purchase, but it will also efficiently tell Google and the other search engines information about that page to help it rank higher for relevant searches by people on the internet.
Copywriting on a company website could be a short text description for each page on that site, articles on their blog, or product descriptions.
Part of the internet’s method of ranking websites and therefore allowing them to rank higher when people search for relevant phrases, is backlinks from other sites in good standing, surrounded by effective copy. The articles you write on your site, with a link back to the company, helps to add to the company’s ‘case’ on the web that they are a respected authority on any given subject.
Of course, ranking and search engines aside, persuasive copywriting in an education article on your site draws in your readers and social audience, meaning that your blog traffic is (hopefully) referred to their website to both visit and then make a purchase.
To turn a piece of writing into copywriting, ie promotional and sales copy, you need to leave 99% of your personal opinions at the door. I personally only write for companies I have no professional issues with or concerns about, and who from my standpoint are reliable companies for people to buy from.
You do need to remember when writing a piece of sales copy that you are not a product reviewer, you are not blogging about an experience with the company from a personal viewpoint. You are, with your words, going up to the metaphorical doorstep of everyone who reads this article or piece, and being the sales representative for that company.
How do I know if I’m good enough?
I get asked this question on a frequent basis. My advice is to think about whether people generally respond to your writing. Do your blog posts and articles attract comments and interaction from your audience? Do you produce informative, factually and grammatically correct writing which wouldn’t look out of place on any company website? If you’re an adult industry affiliate, do you find you have a knack for knowing what words will motivate readers of your blog post, article or even social media updates to be referred through links to make purchases?
I don’t think there’s a specific value of ‘good’ copywriter, but I’m fairly sure that like me you have seen pieces of writing on company websites which make you think: that could have been written better. Sometimes its spelling mistakes due to a lack of time to properly edit, or indeed any kind of editing process at all. I have even seen incorrect information given about products, which is always worrisome.
If you feel like you could do a better job then why not give it a try? You don’t need any special qualifications, in my opinion. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the proof of the copywriter is in the response of the reader. It does help to have at least a basic understanding of the English language, but then I would hope you have that – as you’re here reading about professional copywriting in the first of my four part series.
Do you love writing? Are you skilled with your words, to the point where you can persuade readers to follow calls to action? Are you looking for a way to earn money from your talent? Professional copywriting may be an employment choice you should seriously consider.
I am not going to write that it’s an easy process, moving from blogger to professional copywriter. Patience and a hard slog is required. In all likelihood it will take quite some time to earn the professional repute, portfolio and contacts required to start your copywriting career.
The second in my Professional Copywriting for the Adult Industry series will take a look at how you can go about getting your first paid-for projects, how to manage your time effectively and how to let the adult industry know you’re talented, willing and available.
– Cara Sutra