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Five skills every copywriter should have

Are you hiring an in-house copywriter, or even outsourcing to a copywriting agency? Our content experts have outlined the five core skills that you need to look out for.

What is “copy”?

We don’t mean copy as in duplicates. The word “copy” in a marketing context refers to the text that is used on marketing materials. This could include the text you see on adverts, website content, social media, landing pages, and everything in-between.

When implementing all kinds of marketing strategies, it is important that your written content is compelling and helps encourage the reader to act. You may want your target audience to follow you on Instagram, visit your website, or purchase a product, but without captivating content, its unlikely that those actions will happen. 

What are copywriters? 

Now you know what copy means, let’s talk about the people behind the magic. To put it simply, a copywriter is defined as a person who writes promotional and advertising material. It may sound simple, but copywriters wear many different hats. 

1. Be a good writer

Saying a good copywriter needs to be good at writing might sound like a lazy addition to this list, but it’s worth pointing out the obvious. Bad and unclear writing will mean the reader won’t get past the first couple of lines. Creative copy needs to be engaging from the outset, especially when you are trying to encourage sales.

Having strong writing skills will mean that your message is clear and concise and will communicate well to your audience. Great copywriters should be able to draw on a rich vocabulary, as well as having impeccable punctuation and grammar skills.

2. Understanding of audiences

If you put pen to paper without a good understanding of who you are writing for, you are doing it wrong. Content must appeal to a broad audience online and knowing who your audience is will help to create content that will truly resonate with your target audience.

A good example would be age. Younger audiences may digest information easier when it is laid out in a simple format, such as bullet pointed lists. Some older audiences may prefer paragraphs that also include the reasoning and details behind the information that is being presented.

3. Understanding of TOV

Being able to write in more than one tone of voice is an often-overlooked skill, which takes a while to perfect. Some copywriters may need to write in more than one tone of voice throughout the day, depending on how many businesses they write for. Talented writers will be able to do this effortlessly. 

The reason that tone of voice is important is that it represents your brand. It is just as important as your logo being used consistently, or your brand colours. Your company’s tone of voice (TOV) should be consistent throughout all written copy, including your website, social media campaigns, email, and packaging. It builds up trust with your target audience and makes your brand more recognisable.

4. A basic understanding of SEO

Lots of marketing platforms are online these days, so it is vital that your copywriter has some understanding of SEO, and the latest search engine algorithms - after all, there is no point writing something incredible if no one ever reads it. It’s important to know how to create SEO-friendly titles and descriptions, use keywords in the right way and keep up with Google’s latest algorithm changes. 

Over the years, we have seen unique, high quality content be of increasing importance in search engine rankings. Not only does content need to be unique, but it needs to serve a purpose to your audience. A great guide to go from is E-A-T, which comes from Google's Search Quality Rater guidelines. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

5. The ability to write data-driven content

When people think content, they often think creative. In reality, great content marketing is a balance of both creativity and data. A data-driven content marketing strategy is efficient as it saves time, money, and effort by delivering the right content to the right audience, and at the right time.

A great content writer should have access to data on target audiences, which will aid in understanding what type of content might resonate best. Google Analytics can give an insight into age, gender, location, job title, interests and much more.

Tying in with SEO, a great copywriter should be able to use SEO tools, such as SEMrush, to find low-hanging keywords to target, as well as keeping tabs on the latest trending topics that could be turned into articles or social media posts. 

Data should also be looked at post content production, to inform future strategies. Google Analytics can be used to monitor the bounce rate, and the number of new and repeat visitors to your site or blog. Social media tools can be used to measure the level of engagement (e.g., how many shares, likes, social mentions your content is getting). A negative change (decrease) usually means you need to revise your strategy.

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads, so it’s no wonder that many businesses invest in it. Well researched and written, effective content is key to successful marketing campaigns, websites and other promotional materials, and it can help with your SEO efforts.

Want to call in the experts to help tell your story? Get in touch with our content writing experts today.

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