I’ve been a freelance copywriter for over 30 years. My copywriting career started purely by accident. Then I realized the power of persuasion. Copywriting has been pure FUN for me ever since.
Here’s what’s odd: it took me a couple of decades to start writing copy for myself. I could write and promote clients’ projects all day long, but I found it impossible to write copy for myself. Then it occurred to me that I could be a client…
So if you’re shy about promoting yourself, try this: look at yourself as your own client. This mental trick works.
I’m fond of saying that every writer should know how to write copy — promotional material. If you learn how to do it, it will help ALL your writing. Whether you yearn to write memoirs, poetry, or science fiction, copywriting skills will help.
Let’s look at five ways freelance copywriting helps you to become a better writer.
1. You understand that words are powerful
Copywriting teaches you the importance of clarity, above all. If you confuse readers, they won’t buy. Therefore, you learn how to get your point across quickly: above all, you realize that you need to be making a point.
2. You understand that everything comes from something
Copywriters can spin straw into gold, but you need the straw. In other words, until you understand the product you’re selling, and the audience you’re selling it to, you can’t write copy.
Writing copy for your clients teaches you the importance of research. Once you learn that, you won’t forget it.
For example, I’ve been helping Fiction Frenzy authors to shape their novels.
Even if you’re writing a novel which is loosely based on events in your own life, you need to research. Firstly, you need to research the genre in which you’re writing. Readers have expectations.
You also need to research your novel — preferably after the first draft — but research is vital. Readers HATE catching inaccuracies, because it kicks them out of the world of your novel.
These days, we have instant communications. You can contact experts online. Find out how stuff works, and how long things take. Don’t have someone traveling across Europe in a matter of weeks if your book is set in the 17th century.
3. You learn to write to get results
When you write copy, you either get results, or you don’t. This focuses your mind, so that all your writing is results-focused. No matter what you’re writing, you realize that you’re writing for a specific purpose. When you do that, every day, all your writing improves. It can’t be otherwise.
4. You learn how marketing works
Writers have always needed to market their writing. These days, marketing skills are essential. Copywriting teaches you to look on your work as a series of products, which you can market.
5. You learn that writing is nothing, rewriting is everything
Copywriting teaches you to think. You learn to develop a writing process — indeed you realize that writing is a step by step process.
Once you realize that writing is a process with clear steps, you’re no longer confused. You know exactly what you need to do at each stage of the process. If you have a tendency to procrastinate, as I do, your process help you to get it under control.
There you have it — five ways freelance copywriting helps you to become a better writer.