I came upon an email that made my heart skip a beat. It was from someone who wanted to get my services as a copywriter. I was humbled by the message but it made me think: Am I the ideal copywriter she is looking for? What then should my qualities be?
My imagination went wild and with a wave of a wand and a cloud of smoke, I whisked myself in front of Ellen Degeneres and created a self-serving interview scenario and I got to answer her copywriting questions and giving out writing tips. It went something like this:
Ellen: And so what is a copywriter? Do you copy? And then write? Isn’t that the same thing? I imagine it being a bit boring.
Me: No, no! Actually, it’s never boring! We don’t just write something and then copy it over and over again. I feel it’s actually a misnomer.
Ellen: So what do you do?
Me: It’s simple, I have a client who has this message she wants to announce to the world. I write her message in a way that people will respond in a positive manner.
Ellen: Oh, like a street vendor saying, “Hey you! Come buy this watch!” And I buy it?
Me: Well, not really! Let me explain. As a copywriter, I’ve been asked so many times what makes me different from the millions of copywriters out there. Each time, I came up with different answers but all of them led to one definitive quality, I communicate the message of my client very clearly.
Ellen: So what other qualities do you need to have?
Me: The question is not what else do I have but rather one big question: Can my writing inspire?
Ellen: (stunned silence) Go on.
Me: The answer should be, yes! If it doesn’t inspire, then why bother hiring me? Copywriters should not only inspire others to do some kind of action after reading, but also make them feel something. You read something about a kid falling from a bunk bed and you feel the pain from the fall. Just by reading, you cringed!
Ellen: I can feel some pain just by listening to you.
Me: Exactly! That’s good copywriting! Feeling something from what you’ve just read or heard.
Ellen: Man, you’re good!
Me: Thank you! Anyway, a few writing tips to add. Great copywriters can manipulate and appeal to strong emotions. And that’s what I do to make audiences react. But first, I need to get a deeper understanding about the business. Like for you, Ellen, I need to know what makes you tick. Why does your audience love you?
Ellen: That’s easy. I give away money!
Me: Yes, that’s true but what is the real Ellen? I need to do research about you and your company and ask you tons of questions to get the total picture. I need to be curious and inquisitive about you, and not just ask questions that everybody already knows.
I will then write about your company and embody your voice with my writing style.
Ellen: Then you should live in my house because we’ll never finish in one day!
Me: Why not! Anyway, a good copywriter needs to have some form of strategy in writing all the information at hand. Strategy is key! It starts from having good titles and headings. Why then do we need a catchy title? To get people to read my first sentence. I can just put “Interview with Ellen” as my title but that’s not too attractive. Now if I write “Unboxing the Real Ellen” Then people will get curious and engaged from the get-go.
Ellen: I’ve never been unboxed before.
Me: And that’s good! Copywriters write about brands that will give audiences more information about it and use that information to better their lives. In your case, Ellen, what I will write about will make audiences feel the need to listen to you and follow what you say because you have a message. I know you as a brand and I know who your audience is.
Ellen: You’re very creative.
Me: Copywriters should be. It doesn’t end in headlines. It’s also in the meat of the content. It’s a lot of hard work and experience because there are no shortcuts in making your brand seen in a different light. It has to be in a way that’s entertaining, playful, informative and even funny. Just like you.
Ellen: Shouldn’t you be good at selling?
Me: Well, not exactly. But I should be good at making readers think about the product, give the good points and what great value they are getting and then make them decide whether it can really be good for them or not. Everything is a sales pitch, after all. But the way copywriters should do it is not too obvious or else from the beginning, readers already know. It’s a big turn off. The result? They won’t get to know you and what message you really want your audience to know.
Ellen: And what is that?
Me: After knowing you, you really are a good person and that in everything we do, we just need to do one thing: Be kind to one another.
Smoke is gone, I’m back to reality.
So you’re an aspiring writer? You want a career as a copywriter? Take these writing tips even if they were in a dream sequence with Ellen.
In the end, what makes an ideal copywriter is all heart. And creativity to use the right words that will work in communicating and persuading people. And dedication to really feel for a client’s business in building a bridge to reach their target audience.
Hopefully, the end result is, more and more people will eventually be crossing that bridge.