The Copywriter’s Paycheck: Widening Your Horizons

Elizabeth ShortBy Elizabeth Short

Last month, you landed your first client—yourself—and wrote copy for your own brochure. Now let’s prepare for client number two by widening our horizons.

Getting Started Tip: Explore the Big Wide World of Copy
For inspired copywriters, work is everywhere. To find it, start by making a list of all the materials that need your services. Brochures and Web sites are obvious candidates. But what about newsletters, flyers, mailers, sales letters, and ads? Pick up marketing materials, in any form, wherever you find them and start a collection. Study the copy carefully. What tone does the writer use? What words show up repeatedly? Can you identify benefits? Who is the intended market? Learn from your copy collection and use it as a reminder that your words are in demand—everywhere!

Copywriting Tip #2: Write for Your Audience
The first rule of good copy is to write for your audience. Start by identifying exactly who that audience is. If you’re writing copy for knitting needles, don’t assume that only grandmothers will be reading. Instead, query your client directly about their market. Once it’s clear you’re actually writing for women between the ages of 25 and 95, use language that will appeal accordingly. Instead of describing the product’s sleek contours and cherry-red paint job (save that for the Porsche dealership) focus on a no-catch design and jewel-tone colors.

Elizabeth Short is a freelance copywriter and graphic designer with a passion for helping small businesses clarify and broadcast unique marketing messages. With a focus on websites and print materials, she brings together content + design in one easy, affordable package (www.write-design.biz). Check out her e-book, 7 Steps to Effective Web Content (www.write-design.biz/e-books.htm) to learn the secrets of writing copy for the web.

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