by Steve Kellas
I was recently asked for some advice on how to be a better copywriter and without hesitation I answered with something many of you will have heard before:
Write every day.
Sounds simple. Top athletes practice every day. So should we.
But I have found in my career that you need to do a lot more than simply write. You need to start a daily copywriter practice that helps you grow as a copywriter and continue to be inspired for years – and hopefully decades – to come.
Here is what I recommend:
Write outside the job
It is incredibly important for you as a copywriter or communicator to keep writing fun, interesting and more than ‘just a job.’ Without your own enjoyment of the craft, your writing will be stale. And, honestly, what are you doing in this job if you’re not enjoying it?
The best way to stay motivated and interested in the act of writing as a career in the long term is to keep some of your writing to yourself. You can do this through journaling, writing poetry or short stories, and even writing lyrics.
It doesn’t matter what you choose as a writing practice, just as long as you do it every day and that you understand that this writing is yours alone. You can be creative on your own terms.
Go home tonight and write. Or get up early and write. Skip lunch and write.
Do it just for you.
It will reinvigorate you and keep your working life fed with the little nuggets of creation that you dream up.
Reflect on what you read
Have you heard of the concept of ‘mindfulness’?
It is the practice of keeping your mind focussed on what is happening right here, right now; of being mindful of what you are thinking, feeling, seeing and doing.
But it’s more than a philosophy, you can use this practice to inform your copywriting.
I recommend to copywriting students from day one to begin noticing ad copy, news headlines, editorial, commentary, long-form copy, brochures – every piece of marketing they see.
I tell them to analyse each piece of copywriting: what do you like about it? What don’t you like? Why?
This daily practice of mindfully researching and reflecting on the copywriting work of others is one of the best ways to learn the deeper aspects of the craft.
Keep a folder of great (inspiring) copywriting
This was suggested to me early on in my career and I am grateful for it.
I have kept up a practice of storing the best and most inspiring examples of copywriting I come across.
In my folder, I have examples from the biggies in the biz like David Ogilvy. I have notes I have taken from TV adverts, making my own scripts. I have examples from across campaigns, including photos of great billboards and posters. I have old direct mail campaigns that are artful reminders of how brilliantly we can engage an audience. I even have screen shots of wonderful online campaigns, emails and advertorial.
I keep all these examples in one place and I refer to them when I feel the need for inspiration.
If you don’t already have a daily copywriting practice, start today. Let us know what is working for you below.