The best way to improve your copywriting skills, as with any skill, is to keep practising. Learning from your mistakes and guiding yourself towards aspirational goals is the only way to master a skill (as I hope I made clear comparing us writers to athletes). But not everyone has the time or inclination to regularly sit rearranging the English language. Writing might be an incidental part of your work, you may only feel inspired when the moon turns red, you may actively avoid writing altogether. Everyone has to write eventually, though, be it a business email or a passive-aggressive note left to stop people stealing your sandwiches. So when writing isn’t a part of your everyday life, how do you make sure you’ll do it best when you have to? Here’s three ideas to sharpen your copywriting skills as a casual writer.
1. Use Social Networking as Writing Practice
I’m going to assume that as long as you’re reading this article you’re well-versed in the social ways of the internet. These days most people spend a sizeable chunk of their free time perusing friends’ coming and goings on Facebook, stalking celebrities on Twitter and watching videos of cats on YouTube. Hopefully you like to get involved in all these mediums, mocking your friends’ weekend photos, sucking up to celebrities and wishing the cats well. If you do, take a few minutes over whatever you choose to write.
Social networks are the ideal place to hone your writing because you engage in topics that interest you. Socialising is a natural behaviour that doesn’t require extensive planning or thought, and with social networks you can write without it feeling like a chore.
Consider how each of the major social networks can be used to fine-tune your writing for different styles, both by reading others’ comments and posting your own. Facebook is good for colloquial language and positive interaction between people. Conversational and interactive writing. LinkedIn is great for business language, filled with examples of networking and marketing prose. Twitter trains that most important of all writing skills: making clear points concisely. And YouTube…YouTube is good for learning how to create arguments out of nothing.
2. Write about your passion
Outside social networking and the necessities of everyday communication you might get away with never writing anything else. No doubt there is something you love that you could talk about all day, though. You may find writing about it is just as fulfilling. Write explanations of your passion, its history, trivia, anything that comes into your mind – just write. Write for yourself, write because you enjoy dwelling in that passion. And your writing will improve because of it.
I left blogs off the social networks because they fit in best here. Blogging is all about encouraging your passion. If you want an extra impetus to writing, publish your thoughts. Share it with the world. You’ll find other people with like-minded attitudes who encourage you to write more. You might even make friends.
3. Complete online copywriting jobs
What if you’re a bit more serious about your writing? You want to do it for a specific purpose, because, after all, copywriting is all about results. You want to get paid to do it.
Consider taking on small copywriting jobs to hone your skills and complement your day job. There are a number of websites that put aspiring writers together with a range of people’s writing needs. Web content for businesses is an area with particularly high demand. You won’t get paid huge sums of money, but the tasks are varied, and you will get paid. These jobs give you a deadline and an assignment with a genuine purpose. You can improve your copywriting skills by producing actual copy, and get paid to do so. A good example of one of these sites for the UK is Copify, where a constant flow of copywriter jobs are available to keep you going.
So there’s a few ways you can improve your copywriting skills day to day, and here’s one more: comment below!