Whether you want to become an insurance copywriter or a travel copywriter, it’s a common misconception that you need specific qualifications to become a copywriter. With the reality being that there are no set pathways into the industry.
There are qualifications which can help to improve your writing and knowledge of marketing, but you can also develop your understanding of how to create successful content through theories which are easily accessible online. Here’s our overview of the qualifications and content theories every copywriter should be aware of.
UCAS has found that, for many employers, a degree is a desirable qualification for prospective copywriters. A degree in a relevant subject, such as English, Communications or Marketing can really help you to understand some of the key aspects involved in the copywriting industry, such as working to deadlines, research, and the development of a professional writing style.
As well as university study, you can also enrol in online courses, such as a copywriting diploma. Courses of this style can be more flexible than those at university, with many advertising the option to be undertaken at any time and at your own pace, as well as being more financially viable.
A journalism qualification may also be useful in copywriting, with many areas of both disciplines overlapping, such as the need for strong written communication and research skills. However, it is important to remember that they are not exactly the same, with a copywriter’s role revolving around the advertising and marketing of products and servicesfor a businesses’ niche, and journalist’s converting facts into stories for broader audiences.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) courses can also prove useful for copywriters. Google alone processes 1 billion searches a month, and so having an understanding of SEO copywriting methods, such as the importance of key search terms, can really help to increase your search engine traffic and get your content read.
Any of these qualifications can be highly beneficial in the copywriting industry, however it’s not always possible for copywriters to easily acquire them. Another way in which copywriters can improve their content and existing skillset is through the application of content theories.
Content theories to consider
There are many theories which you can apply to help make your copywriting successful, and you don’t need qualifications to understand and use them. Content theories can at first look confusing, but actually, outline the simple ways in which you can make your writing stand out. The four theories below are just a few of the ways that you can improve your content:
AIDA stands for awareness, interest, desire and action. Awareness is simply creating brand affiliation, and getting the customer to notice the product or service you have to offer. Once this awareness is created, it is important to form a sufficient customer interest in what you’re promoting, and how it would specifically benefit them.
If this is done successfully, the customer is likely to research the product or service further. Desire is all about moving the customer from liking what you have to offer to wanting it, usually through creating an emotional response. Finally, action is the process of making the buyer interact with your company in order to take a step towards buying the product or service. This could include signing up to a newsletter, for example.
This theory is also known as the theory of omission, originally coined by Ernest Hemmingway. Hemmingway realised that there was a lot to be said for leaving things out in writing, as the reader is capable of filling in the gaps.
The Iceberg theory is visually self-explanatory, in that what you tell someone in your writing (the tip of the iceberg) is supported by lots of unstated evidence (the submerged part of the iceberg). What this iceberg illustrates is that adding too much unnecessary detail can distract from what you really want to convey. However, it is important to note that this doesn’t mean you just leave things out; what you omit is informed by your knowledge of what you’re talking about, which in turn leads to stronger content.
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) can be easily overlooked as, if you know what you’re writing about in detail, to you it can all seem simple. But one major thing to remember is that your target audience might not be as clued-up about the complicated aspects of the product or service you’re trying to sell to them as you are. Customers would much rather have the benefits of what you’re advertising spelled out for them in simple terms than lots of unnecessary technical jargon, as this will only encourage them to look for a similar service or product elsewhere.
This theory focusses on the importance of the ‘What’s In It For Me’ aspect of copywriting. It’s imperative that you relay why what you’re selling matters to your target customer, by addressing the specific customer need. This is also known as a customer value proposition (CVP) and essentially outlines what the seller promises the customer will receive from them.
All of the qualifications and theories mentioned can help you to improve your style of content and help to make it successful.