March 10th, 2022

5 Copywriting Tips for Beginners

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Written by Nic Haylett

Nic Haylett loves lobster season, brackish water, and all things Floridian. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Florida Atlantic University, they pursued a variety of careers before rediscovering their first love—writing. When they aren’t conjuring blog, web, and email copy with the help of their trusty assistants (fluffy pups Ruby and Kiko), you can find them boating, roller skating, or snacking on smoked fish dip.

After an exhausting and thrilling day of copywriting, I settled down on the couch, snuggled up with my dog (I’m one of Copycat’s very few brand-defying dog parents). I flipped on my TV to stream one of my not-so-guilty pleasures, the perfect antidote to a long day—intricate, peaceful, and artful fruit-carving videos. 

Suddenly, inspiration struck. I knew exactly what my copywriting curriculum was missing—the philosophy of the fruit-carver. 

(Stick with me here.)

So I decided to do more research—I watched five hours of fruit-carving videos (like this one) and discovered six crucial elements of the perfect sculpting montage. And then I used them to become a better copywriter. 

#1 Do Your Homework Before You Start

Despite my devoted spectatorship, I don’t want to become a fruit-carver. I’ve had one too many melon baller-related accidents, so I’m perfectly fine watching other, more qualified artists turn cantaloupes into turtles. But, if I suddenly decided to take up the delicate art, I’d be more equipped to start than someone who had never seen a single fruit-carving video before. 

Why? Because I’ve spent literal hours perusing primary sources. 

Among all blog writing tips for beginners, dear readers, take this one to heart—doing your research before you even start outlining your content is guaranteed to set you up for success. 

Much like the sharp knives of professional fruit-carvers, words are powerful tools. They can transform a blank page into copywriting poetry. But only if you know how to use them. 

So before you put pen to page (or keystrokes to a doc), you have to know what you’re talking about. After all, copywriting is about encouraging your reader to have confidence in your expertise. If you know what you’re talking about, it shows in the conviction of your writing.

How do you get that conviction? High-authority sources. 

Any list of blog writing tips for beginners would be incomplete without pro-tips for finding (and utilizing) perfect sources:

  • Google like a boss – Adding “.edu,” “.org” or “.gov” to the end of your Google search term is an excellent way to see more peer-reviewed studies, educational information pages, and government agency data on the first page of your search results. 

  • Go straight to the source – Figure out the most likely place for you to find high-quality information about your prompt. For example, if you were writing a profile about the state of physical therapy jobs, you would probably find lots of intel on the US State Department, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Internal Revenue Service websites. 

  • Watch for resources from competitors – If you’re writing an article for a client that sells fruit-carving tools, you don’t want to reference an informational page or blog post from their competitor’s website. Huge faux pas. 

  • Check the date to make sure the information is as recent as possible – Just like fruit carvers rely on the freshest fruit to make their delicious creations, so should the copywriter rely on the most up-to-date information. 

#2 Start with a Rough Sketch

Before you pick up your dull, rusty vegetable peeler and start going to town on some innocent zucchinis—or start typing wildly in a blank Google Doc—you should have some idea of what you want your final product to look like. 

Just like a master fruit-carver might use graph paper to sketch out their sculpture, the outline is a green copywriter’s best friend. After you do your research, map out your article with the following information:

  • Your article’s title, H2s, and H3s
  • The word count for each section (more on this in Tip #5)
  • The sections where you plan to use assigned keywords
  • Possible anchor phrases for internal links
  • Sections where you’ll incorporate bullet points or numbered lists
  • Headings that will need sources

Once you lay out a quick outline, all that’s left is the best part—writing the darn thing. 

#3 Try New Methods

As you meet more copywriters on your journey towards blog-writing stardom, you’ll discover that they all take a different approach. You’ll likely come across methods like:

  • The Word-Dump – Getting all of your ideas, keywords, and metaphors—no matter how ill-advised they may be—out onto the paper as quickly as possible. “Write now, edit later.”

  • Hopscotching – Write the sections you feel most confident about first, then fill in the blanks after you get up-close and personal with the topic. “Fake it ‘til you make it.”

  • Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time – Writing and editing simultaneously, immediately fixing errors when you commit them, and keeping your tab open at all times. “Get it right the first time.”

Try them all out to see what works for you. Or, invent your own approach! After all, every artist (wordsmith or fruit-carver), needs to find their own groove. Keep your mind open to trying new things and you’ll find your own unique method to your word madness. Just don’t forget to brush up how to self-edit copywriting and you’ll have smooth sailing ahead. 

#4 Don’t Lose Sight of Your Copy’s Aim

While I sometimes hope that the final products in fruit-carving videos will be forever frozen in place, mounted, and hung in the MoMA, the truth of their off-screen fates haunted me as I kept clicking “Next Video” during my research binge—they get eaten. 

So, we’ve arrived at my favorite thing about fruit-carvers. They don’t overdo it. They want their adoring public to actually have something to eat when they’re done admiring the artistry.

While copywriting is about adding content and fruit-carving is about artfully carving material away, the lesson is the same—they never lose sight of what their fruit is for. 

Devouring deliciously. 

What does that mean when it comes to writing? Don’t lose sight of why you’re writing.

Oh, you need a refresher on those goals? I got you, fruit ninja:

  1. To clearly illuminate answers for your reader’s most pressing questions
  2. To demonstrate your client as an authority in the field
  3. To smoothly introduce your client as the solution to your reader’s problems (more on that here in our article on Copywriting for Brands: How to Nail a Brand’s Message).

Every single page, section, event sentence has to connect to your piece’s overarching objectives so your reader can savor every bite. Even the structure of an SEO blog has to serve those greater purposes. 

Bon appetit!  

#5 Read the Comments Section

Where do you think fruit-carvers get inspiration for their next piece, advice from pros, and constructive (if sometimes harsh) criticism? The comments section. 

In your early copywriting days, get hooked on feedback. You can get all the advice you need in a few convenient places:

  • Your email inbox – Drop your editor a line, and ask about your deliverables. While they may give specific feedback—“Your sentences are eons long,” “You went six pages without a single bulleted list,” or “You can’t turn fruit-carving into a metaphor for everything,” to name a few examples—they may also just congratulate you on your progress. Hey, we all need an attaboy now and then. 

  • The edit history – If you’re working in Google Docs or a similar collaborative platform, carefully review your pieces after your editor has their way with them. It might hurt to see them nix your favorite alliterative phrase, but over time, you’ll discover editing patterns. If they’re always changing your semicolons to em-dashes, it might be time to adapt your sentence structure. 

  • Your agency’s blog – Want to find perfect examples of your editors’ ideal blog posts? Find something on your agency’s blog. Before I was #blessed with the opportunity to write here myself, the Copycat blog was a gold mine for SEO copywriting tips during my copywriting infancy. 

Seek, and ye shall find the best writing tips in the proverbial comments section. 

Learning to Copywrite: Like Learning Fruit-Carving, But Better

I’m still in my early days here at Copycat, and I’m still in the throes of the adjustment period—the quality standards here are tip-top (I actually got rejected during my first application attempt), the Slack channel is a masterclass in quips and pet pic captions, and everyone except for me seems to have a cat. 

But, when I was downright convinced that my blog content would never be up to snuff, my self-pitying foray into YouTube’s fruit-carving rabbit hole revitalized my motivation to get better—and taught me the valuable lessons above. 

TL;DR—Sometimes the best blog writing tips for beginners come during five-hour fruit-carving video binges. 

J. Pereira - Art Carving. My Fruit Carving Knives | All You Need to Know About Carving Tools. 

University of Georgia. Finding Reliable Sources: What is a Reliable Source? 

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