How Developing Your Copy Skills Can Make You Money
What is copywriting?
It might seem like a simple question.
But believe it or not, there are a LOT of people who don’t know the answer.
So there’s no shame if you’re a little confused.
You might be asking yourself…
Does it have anything to do with copyright and trademark law? (Nope.)
Is it writing a sales page? (Yep.)
Does posting on social media count? (Nice try, influencers.)
These were all questions I had when I first started my copywriting business. And it took me more time to figure out than I’d like to admit.
Allow me to lend a helping hand.
‘Cuz I’m about to give you some copywriting examples so you understand what copywriting is (and what it isn’t).
So if you want to develop copywriting skills, start your own copywriting business, or just make more money in your existing business…
Let’s dive in.
Psst…I cover all this exact topic my latest YouTube video. So if you don’t feel like reading, give it a watch here.
Who is Brittany McBean?
Allow me to re-introduce myself.
Hi, I’m Brittany McBean, launch strategist, copywriter extraordinaire, and lover of all things The Office. (I’ll give you a Schrute buck if you can stump me in Office trivia).
If you want to learn how to sell online with integrity (while making a shit ton of money), you’re in the right place.
I got into the world of online marketing wayyyy back in the B.C. (Before Covid) era of 2019.
But I didn’t start out as a copywriter.
I began as a social media manager and coach.
The only problem? I quickly learned that I hated managing social media. (Nice career choice, Brittany.)
I also found out that I looooved writing.
Once I figured out that I could let my voice and personality shine through in my writing AND that I could use my powers to persuade people for good…I was off to the races.
So I dove deep into the big wide world of content, until I eventually stumbled on The Copywriter Club podcast.
After devouring episodes like a mashed potato volcano at Thanksgiving dinner, I finally discovered the missing ingredients to becoming a legit, official copywriter.
Fast forward two years…
I built a multi-six-figure business that supports myself, my family, and a team of writers creating launch copy for some of the industry’s leading course creators and online educators.
What is Copywriting
Now that you’ve sat through my whole life story…
Let’s discuss what copywriting is and, just as importantly, what it isn’t.
Here is a simple copywriting definition.
In the simplest terms, copy is: words that sell.
Anything you write or speak that causes someone to take action can be considered copy.
Now, there are different kinds of copywriting.
The copy you see on a billboard is a little different than the copy you read on a sales page.
Because The Verizon billboard you see on the freeway doesn’t get you to pull over to the nearest outlet and change your cell phone plan. But it does create brand awareness.
A sales page is a little different.
If you’ve dug into the copywriting world, you’ve probably heard a couple of different schools of thought on that kind of copywriting.
There’s direct response copywriting. This type of copywriting uses a lot of persuasion, sales, and marketing best strategies to inspire people to take action.
Then there’s conversion copywriting (which is what I do).
The goal of conversion copywriting is the same as the goal of direct response copywriting: to get the reader to act.
But the approach is a little different.
Let me explain:
Unlike direct response copywriters, conversion copywriters don’t just try to sell. They try to “coach the yes”.
They use a lot of data and voice of customer research to understand the reader’s beliefs, challenges, aspirations, and hesitations. And then they address all of that in the copy.
Here are some examples of conversion copywriting services :
- sales pages
- sales emails
- email sequences
- opt-in landing pages
- webinar registration pages
- checkout pages
- Facebook ads
I don’t just want to sell at all costs.
If that was my game, I’d be perfectly fine slinging used cars down at the lot.
No, I take an ethical approach to copywriting.
I want to give my readers the confidence they need to make a decision that’s best for them.
Once they’ve finished reading my copy, the reader should feel ready to take action.
Whether that looks like this:
Or, ideally, more like this:
Copywriting vs. Content Writing
Okay, so you’ve got the basics of copywriting down.
But hold up.
What about content?
Copywriting and content often get lumped together. But they’re not the same thing.
And a lot of businesses miss out on major $$$ because they flat out don’t understand the difference between the two.
It’s actually pretty simple.
Copy = Action
Content = Engagement
Remember, the goal of copy is to get that “yes” or “no” decision.
And a lot of research and strategy goes into creating persuasive copy.
The goal of content isn’t to persuade. It’s to create engagement.
For example, a company may put out YouTube videos, podcasts, social media posts, or even a blog post like this one.
And the goal of that blog post isn’t to get an immediate sale. (That is unless you’re looking for a copywriter. In which case, holla at yo’ girl).
It’s more about creating brand awareness. Content can help get people to know, like, and trust you.
You can use content to build your authority, educate your audience, and get knowledge and trust of your brand.
Quick side note: Copy has nothing to do with copyright law. It’s not even the same industry.
So don’t worry about learning about trademarks or any of that legal jargon. They basically share a name. That’s it.
How to Become a Copywriter
So….how do you actually become a copywriter?
It’s easier than you might think.
And, believe it or not, you don’t have to be a good writer.
Yes, I realize that sounds crazy. But hear me out.
Writing copy is more about leading someone through a journey than it is having amazing writing chops.
Okay, it is important that you have basic grammar skills. But you can always clean up typos and punctuation later. (Let’s give a round of applause for all my copy editors out there).
So you don’t have to be the next Stephen King to be a really good copywriter.
And with apologies to my 10th grade English teacher Mrs. Crawford…
You can succeed as a copywriter even if you’re not a good speller (or if you’re like me and you have no idea where, the hell to put a comma).
Copywriting is a skill that can be learned.
The best part?
Good copywriting directly correlates with good ROI, so it can be an incredibly profitable business.
If you want to use copywriting to sell online, the number one most important thing you can do is message and communicate effectively.
When you learn how to write words that communicate what you’re offering to the people who need it most in their language…well, you have a powerful tool, my friend.
The Quick Start Guide to Becoming a Copywriter
1. Start with free content. Digest as much copywriting content as you can. A good place to start is the group that I wrote about earlier, The Copywriter Club. Check out their website or join their free Facebook community. (FYI I have no affiliation with them, I just love their stuff. Their conversations are chock-full of useful info for entry-level and beginner copywriters).
2. Read copywriting books. If you want to get really good at copywriting you’ve got to do some reading. There are a ton of low-cost books about conversion copywriting that provide wayyy more info than I can give you. There are also tons of copywriting courses you can take to refine your skills.
3. Start writing. If you’re serious about becoming a copywriter, the best thing you can do is get real experience. Just start writing. Don’t worry. My very first copywriting job I had no idea what I was doing. You will learn as you go. As long as you’re willing to put in the work and learn from your mistakes, you’re golden.
4. Get a mentor. I hired another copywriter to mentor me on my first project. They really helped me deliver value on my client’s investment. I highly recommend joining a copywriter group, networking with other copywriters, and getting advice from people with more experience than you.
That’s it! You’ve got the knowledge and steps to start copywriting. Use it wisely.