Copywriting is an art; it is more than just proficiency in a language. To some, it comes naturally, while to others, it is an acquired craft. The best part about copywriting is that it continues to reinvent itself. It does not let you settle; you keep on learning.
You can never have it all figured out; there isn’t a formula to master the craft. You discover the nuances of words and phrases, along with their usage and meanings that move people with some emotion. You are continuously inspired while inspiring.
It is interesting to note the changing trends in reading habits from the time when people actually had the time to read beautifully crafted long copy ads, to today when attention spans don’t last longer than a couple of seconds.
The modern copywriter has just a couple of seconds to creatively convince people about the whats & whys of a particular product or service. This makes modern copywriting a challenge for copywriters who attempt at creating a seamless marriage of words & images that ignite emotions & inspire action.
To me, words are the most precise expression of ideas. Some say a picture is worth a thousand words, but conveying those thousand words in a few catchy phrases lies within the skill of the modern copywriter. Copywriting captures an entire story in just a few words.
Copywriting has helped me realize how words are the wings of ideas, and how the new digital mediums reinforce the need for copy. Thus, I believe that the best copy comes from the heart: if you do not enjoy writing it, no one is going to enjoy reading it.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to a phrase crafted by the father of advertising, relevant even today:
David Ogilvy said, ‘If it doesn’t sell it isn’t creative.’
A few years of pursuing copywriting has taught me a great deal. Be it, the benefit of extensive reading and a lot of writing or the importance of rewriting & editing. The company of professional copywriters has helped me understand how you see the world differently as copywriter. Here are some signs that you’re getting better at the craft:
- You can’t help but read everything: Store names, street signs, billboards, and product descriptions, all while wondering why. In your head you can’t help but be completely inspired or completely put off, trying to figure how and what you could have done better.
- You ask more questions. You are more curious about writing and design.
- You discover that less is more.
- You can’t help but correct peoples’ grammar. (They might unfriend you for this)
- You can’t just randomly write a headline out of nowhere; you need a story to back it up.
- You realize that time can be your worst enemy and your best friend.
- You understand the value of every word.
- You know when you’ve nailed a headline or tagline. Life is beautiful now.
- You can express yourself in more ways than you’ve ever imagined.
- You realize how much time to spend online on the pretext of research.
- You fall in & out of love with your own writing.
- You write during odd hours in odd places.
- You learn the importance of reading the text out loud so that it sounds right.
- Should anyone question your writing, you have a method to your madness.
- You realize that you always need to be around, even if it means Netflixing while your Art Director brings your ideas to life.
- You respect people who can jolt your mind with their writing (Charles Bukowski, in my case)
- You realize that you have to put just the right amount of yourself into your writing.
- You write positively, and know the impact of a negative over a positive statement.
- You realize wit, sarcasm, and humor work best.
- You’re overjoyed when people you respect compliment your writing. There’s nothing like someone appreciating your work & “getting you.”
More than anything, you enjoy what you do, and that’s what keeps the magic alive.