“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” – Leo Burnett
Admit it — no matter how good online marketer you are, being asked to write a blog post chills your spine. Marketers prefer to stamp their fists on walls than to work on a compelling blog post that would convert – but why?
Content marketing has been growing as the most important skill required for marketers to land a job. Having copywriting skills is surely a benefit because writing compelling articles is intimidating and not everyone can do that. However, there’s always some room to make improvements even if you feel that you are not good at writing. Your writing does not need to be agonizing and there are several small hacks you can use to hone your skills and all you require is a little discipline and a will to learn.
Check out these 10 sure-fire ways to improve your copywriting skills.Advertising
1. Write for one
You need to treat copywriting just as if you are writing to one person and trying to grab his attention. Copywriting is all about sharing your knowledge in the best possible way to make your marketing campaign effective and if you grab attention of just one person, the rest will follow. Write as if you are writing an email, be personal, add humor and try to include details as much as you can. Consider your copy as a cover letter and you surely will see a lot of improvements in your writing.
“Someone once wrote that all novels are really letters aimed at one person. As it happens, I believe this. I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, “I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?” For me that first reader is my wife, Tabitha.” — Stephen King
2. Brush up on the basics
Before you start writing an incredible copy, you need to learn the basic principles of writing. This does not mean you need to have an university degree in literature, but you surely should have a strong grasp of grammar and spelling. You need to go through good books and learn their styles and try to refine them and add your touch to your copy. Improving your grammar and spelling will make your copy more compelling as well.
3. Work in groups
Writing is basically a solitary activity, but when you work in groups and have a reasonable sized company, you learn from them and gain much-needed feedback to make improvements. Find someone who is also trying to improve his writing and work together. Talk to your coworkers or friends and ask if they want to check your work. This will ensure if your copy has mistakes or points that you overlooked.Advertising
4. Write a killer headline
If your headline is not powerful, all you get in return for your copy is crickets. Try to hone the skill to write headlines that attracts; learn the art and master it. You can start reading different popular journals and magazines and see how they prepare their headlines. Analyze the work of others and see what works best to your readership.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” ~ David Ogilvy
5. Keep it short and interesting
Most people don’t go through paragraphs that are long, no matter how stellar the content might be. If you keep it short, it sounds simple and sweet, of course. Generally, when you keep the first paragraph short, chances are people will find it interesting and read through the complete post.
The opening of your copy should be hypnotic and you can do what you feel best; include an intriguing question, show stats or an outrageous claim that will keep your reader interested.Advertising
6. Imitate writers you admire
Wait there, imitation is not the same as plagiarism. There’s no way you can rip off anyone’s work and call it yours, ever. What you can do is try writing like the same writers you read on regular basis. Dissect what part of their work you enjoy best and see if you can use similar strategies in your content.
If they add humor, do that if you like it. If they are always serious, try that too and see if it will impact your readers as much as it did on you.
7. Use bullet points
Try different search query about foods you want to eat or travel destinations you want to visit this summer, the search engines are filled with list posts. Believe me, such posts have been successful since…forever. Yes, from the very early days of copywriting to now and in the future, copies that have bullet points guarantee success than copies filled with paragraphs only.
Using bullet points will make it easy for readers to scan the article and if they oblige to your readers, they’ll oblige you too.Advertising
8. Edit ruthlessly
You have to do this for once and for all if you want to become a great copywriter. Editing is a tough skill and is considered a waste of time by many. But in fact, editing is what can place immense value to your copy and you don’t require a lot of rewriting as well.
Editing copies will give you tons of ideas about your writing level. Start eliminating extraneous words and try making sentences short. Make sure to get your message to the point and wax it lyrically. You need to be harsh on yourself and the more ruthlessly you edit your copies, the better results you’ll see.
9. Do your research
Most articles I read today are plagiarizing someone else’s work. Well, they even credit the source and if they don’t, they make sure that no sentences in their work is present in someone else’s article; that’s cheating. You can rewrite any articles, rephrase sentences and make them yours, but that is still plagiarism. Learn the fact that there are no shortcuts when it comes to success.
Try doing your own research, add statistics to your copy and make sure you source or attribute the details. Even if you are an amateur, researching and adding them to your articles will make you look like a professional.
10. Find a good editor
Everyone needs an editor, even the best writers in the world. If you are trying to improve your content strategy or looking to guest post on your favorite site, make sure you are working with a good editor. This will ensure that you deliver the best content and see improvements in your work where necessary.
Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com
Last Updated on July 10, 2020
The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness
Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.
Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.
The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.
Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.
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Program Your Own Algorithms
Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.
Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.
By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.
How to Form a Ritual
I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.
Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:
- Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
- Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
- Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
- Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.
Ways to Use a Ritual
Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:
1. Waking Up
Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.
2. Web Usage
How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.
How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.
Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.
One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.
6. Going to the gym
If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.
Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.
Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.
8. Weekly Reviews
The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.
We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.
More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination
- What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)
- How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
- 5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them)
Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com