Copywriting 101

By Cammi Woodall

Think about your day so far. Have you seen a television commercial? Listened to an ad on the radio? Picked up a brochure for a new travel destination? Looked at a billboard? Logged on to a website for the newest restaurant in town?

Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Then you already have experience with copywriting.

So, what is copywriting? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a copywriter is a writer of advertising or publicity copy. As a copywriter, you are responsible for hooking the consumer with your words. How often do you skim advertising material without a second thought? Occasionally, though, something will catch your eye. A certain phrase or slogan can pull a consumer in, and a good copywriter will keep them there by using persuasive text. You as a copywriter want to make sure that customer feels they can’t live without your product!

What does this mean for you as a freelance writer? Don’t most businesses have a staff that does this for them? Not necessarily. Business today is very different from twenty years ago. There are thousands of companies that conduct business strictly online and more small businesses than ever before. Most cannot afford to have their own advertising department. That’s where you and your unique perspective come in.Writer journaling in a book

Copywriting jobs can range in size from writing the script for a 20 second radio spot to handling all media material for a new product launch. This could include brochures, media copy, social media content, television or radio script, educational material, demonstration videos, product packaging, and more! Every piece of advertising ephemera for a campaign or product is the result of a copywriter’s work.   

How do you get one of these jobs? There are several different ways.

–                      Network. Ask your family and friends. Dear Aunt Irma might know just the person you need to know!

–                      Apply for a job at a physical business. Go to your local newspaper office, radio station, or advertising agency. This could result in freelance work, but you might also become a staff member!

–                      Online job boards – I have never used one of these boards (I am learning about copywriting along with you), so I cannot give any personal advice. The ones that came up most in my research are Problogger, Contena, All Indie Writers, Blogging Pro, and Writers Weekly. My advice is to look at each board and see which one fits your style. On most, companies post freelance positions. You probably won’t get a large job right away, but the smaller jobs are a great way to build your portfolio.

–                      Social media. Does anybody remember when getting in touch with other people meant a phone call or a letter? Twitter and Facebook are both good sources of information. Look for boards that posts jobs, but also advertise yourself.

–                      Newspaper Classifieds. Yes, there are still paper newspapers out there.

–                      Pitch directly to a business. Is there a new store or boutique opening near you? Make a friendly call. New business owners might be more interested in stocking and construction. They might not be thinking about newspaper ads, business cards, Facebook pages, radio spots, or promotional brochures.

This article only covers a small portion of the expanse of copywriting. The internet has dozens of websites and thousands of articles on how to get started, how to create effective prose, how much to expect to earn, and more. Copywriting might not have been something you’ve thought about before, but I recommend you do some research. You could create the next ‘Where’s the beef?’ campaign!

 

Prompt – She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. This was one meeting she never wanted to attend. She opened the door and entered the room.

Blast From the Past

It has been called the last great decade. I don’t know about that. But for me, it was one exciting ride! During those ten years, I had two babies.

My son made quite an impression. He was the biggest baby in the nursery weighing 9 lbs., 6 ozs.

Not one to be left out, my daughter weighed 9 lbs. and was the only girl in a nursery full of boys.

Blast from the Past house moved

While our family grew, we moved our house to its current position and remodeled it. Later on, this former drop-out became a life-long student and chose to homeschool her children.

No question about it. The 90s were unforgettable—the good and the bad. Do you remember…

News

First Gulf War-Operation Desert Storm
Mandela freed from prison, won the Nobel Peace Prize, became President of South Africa
Presidential candidate William Jefferson Clinton (D) became the 42nd President of the United States of America
Genocide in Rwanda
O. J. Simpson Trial
Oklahoma City Bombing
The Una Bomber
The Clinton Scandal

Television

Friends (Remember the raves over Rachel’s hair?)
Seinfeld
Home Improvement
Full House
Family Matters
Saved by the Bell
Dawson Creek
X Files
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Law and Order

Movies

Titanic
The Silence of the Lambs
Forrest Gump
The Matrix
The Lion King
Saving Private Ryan
Jurassic Park
Home Alone
Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace
Men in Black
Beauty and the Beast

Books

Notice a lot of these books became movies. Do you have a favorite on the list?

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Golden Compass
Harry Potter
Outlander
Ella Enchanted
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
The Notebook
The Firm
A Walk to Remember
The Pelican Brief

Sports

Tiger Woods (21) youngest golfer to win the Masters
Tara Lipinski (14) youngest figure skating champion
LeAnn Rimes (14) youngest Grammy winner.

Toys

According to Stitchlabs.com the top selling toys of the 90s include the following:

Ninja Turtles
Power Ranger action figures
Razor scooter
Furbabies
Beanie Babies
Buzz Lightyear
Tickle Me Elmo

Prices

Fun facts from 90s.com

Postage stamp: .25–.32
Bread: 1.29–1.62
Milk: 2.15–2.41
Gas: 1.08–1.11
Cars: 9,437.00–13,600.00
Houses: 128,732.00–119,250.00 (No, I didn’t write the number backward. Houses were less expensive at the end of the decade. WOW!)

Now you know my story, how about sharing your own blast from the past in the comments!

Click to Tweet: It’s been called the last great decade – A Blast from the Past.

Writing Prompt:

From the headlines above, choose one incident and write a scene. Where is the setting and what is your character doing? Try to incorporate all five senses to help your reader visualize the scene.

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