Anyone can write copy.

But writing copy that educates your readers about its core message while also convincing them to take the action you want them to take?

That requires mastering – not learning – copywriting skills essential for generating awareness, creating leads, and driving conversions.

Whether you’re yet to write your first copy or have already made your clients hundreds of thousands of dollars with the power of your words, this article will help you identify skills that can take your career to the next level.

1. The ability to write really well

What do famed ad persons like David Ogilvy, Joseph Sugarman, Eugene Schwartz, and (*insert your favorite copywriter’s name here*) have in common?

Great writing skills.

What do I mean by that?

Well, for starters, their copy is grammatically correct, with no spelling mistakes. You could hire the world’s best editors and still won’t be able to find a single flaw in the hundreds of thousands of words they wrote.

But this isn’t all that constitutes good writing.

Besides writing flawless content, all of the above copywriters write clear, concise, and engaging copy. One that connects with the audience and gives them no reason to turn the page (so to speak).

2. Genuine curiosity about the world around you

The best copy I have ever read wasn’t penned by adpersons who were already experts in the products or services they were trying to market.

Instead, it came from copywriters who were curious:

Famed adman Joseph Sugarman was the epitome of curiosity.

In his best-selling book ‘The Adweek Copywriting,’ Sugarmann talks about spending weeks in a lab just to fully understand the products he wrote about.

Another thing he mentions in the book is the lengths he went to understand the people he was writing copy for. He learned about their likes and dislikes, what motivated them, and what made them take action.

So, if you want to level up your copy, rekindle that thirst for knowledge you had when you were still a child.

3. Power to create a buying environment with your words

Besides writing really well and being genuinely curious about the world around them, master copywriters have another skill.

They know how to create the perfect buying environment.

This means writing copy that removes all the roadblocks between the reader and the action you want them to take, whether it’s buying an item, subscribing to a newsletter, or signing up for an email list.

Here’s how you can do that too:

  1. Focus on benefits. Leave the listing of features to Amazon. As a copywriter, your job is to convert features of your product or service into benefits.
  2. Use persuasive language. Use language that appears to evoke emotions like joy, excitement, curiosity, or (in extreme cases) fear.
  3. Create a sense of urgency. Incorporate words (but do not overdo them, please) such as ‘limited time offer’, ‘exclusive deal’, and ‘special promotion’.
  4. Optimize for readability. Why am I writing this section in the form of bullet points? Because you’re more likely to read a list than long paragraphs.

4. Energy and patience needed to conduct deep research

There are innumerable differences between an average and a great copy.

One of the most crucial distinctions is that the latter demonstrates an exceptional understanding of the product or service being promoted, along with a sharp insight into the audience it’s written for.

Unfortunately, developing this level of understanding isn’t easy.

It requires dedicated efforts in deep research, a skill that comes from patiently investing long hours in finding information not available on the first page of Google.

This is why the best copywriters spend twice as much time researching as they do actually writing. As such, if you think that you’re taking too much time to write copy, it’s pretty likely that you’re doing it right.

5. Creative mind to come up with unique ideas

If you’re of a certain age, you’d remember Blendtech’s “Will It Blend” ad campaign from the early 2000s.

The campaign consisted of a series of videos in which Blendtec blenders blended unusual items like smartphones, golf balls, and more.

The ads were a unique way of telling the audience, ‘Hey, look how durable and sturdy our blenders are.’

As a copywriter, you should be able to come up with such unique ideas to market your product or services.

Only then would your copy stand a chance in today’s world, where consumers are bombarded with ads from every direction.

6. Sharp editing skills

Would you want your child – or someone you love – to go into the world in funny clothes, unable to communicate with others?

Similarly, you would never want to send out a draft that is poorly written, flows illogically, and has more gaps than a Swiss cheese sandwich.

Here are a few tips using which you can develop sharp editing skills:

  1. Edit for precision. While maintaining the emotional tone and thought process, aim to express your central message with as few words as possible.
  2. Rearrange for flow. Starting from the first sentence, aim for a slippery slope so that a reader only comes out once they have read the last word.
  3. Vary the length of sentences. Some sentences must be short. Others needed to be as long as needed to communicate the message effectively. Use when to use both to keep your copy from sounding monotonous.
  4. Read aloud. If you’re too shy, use this tool. It will read your copy aloud for you, helping you identify awkward phrases, inconsistencies, or areas that could do with an improvement.
  5. Give yourself time between editing sessions. After editing the complete passage, go out for a walk. Or, if you can, go to sleep. This will help you develop a fresh perspective on your copy.

7. Be open to constructive feedback

One of the most crucial traits to have as a copywriter is being an excellent listener.

You might be a great writer to begin with, but if you aren’t open to constructive feedback from your clients and colleagues, there’s zero chance you’d grow as a copywriter.

The best copywriters are aware of the importance of listening to feedback, especially when it’s coming from their clients.

They know that you’d only get repeat orders if you’re willing to sell your idea for the copy to the client, something that won’t be possible if you are unwilling to incorporate their ideas into your work.

8. Aware of the core principles of marketing

Copywriters should be familiar with several core principles of marketing to create impactful and effective content.

Mainly because copywriting is an integral part of the marketing strategy. Unless you know the client’s overarching marketing goals, you won’t be able to create content that aligns with those objectives.

Also, if you’re creating advertising campaigns for an established brand, your writing must resonate with the already-established brand identity.

There are several other principles of marketing that you should be well-versed in if you intend to make big bucks as a copywriter.