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The expert’s tips for junior copywriters

Our client director Harriette recently asked on the Advertising Copywriting LinkedIn page “What tips would you give to junior copywriters?”, and we feel some of the excellent responses received would benefit the budding young writers who read our blog.
Senior copywriter Pete Stephen suggests junior copywriters should “Ask “why?” A lot!”, and we’d have to agree. By questioning established ways of thinking in the context of marketing and advertising, you can expose whether or not they’re still relevant to what you’re trying to achieve and the audience targeted.
Earl Littman, a former ad agency CEO recommends you “write like you were talking to your best friend in his/her best interest”. We feel this is particularly good advice when the aim is to inform your audience, as a more relaxed tone helps you to write without jargon and construct crisp sentences that get straight to the point.
Michael Johnson, a US-based senior copywriter commented: “Learn to identify your natural or default voice. It’s easy to get lazy and write what comes most easily and not necessarily what is correct for the client’s brand or product.” Following this point will help your copy stay on-brief and on-brand, as it gives your style the flexibility to mould to changing clients. Getting out of your comfort zone is also the best way to grow as a writer.
Creative director Eric Lieber highlights the need to “pay very close attention to conversations happening around you”, as this allows you to develop conversational copywriting skills. This point ties in with Earl’s above, as it helps your writing feel more natural and persuasive.
Finally, Barry Udoff, senior copywriter, notes that “writing is rewriting. As you refocus on your writing, you’ll find words that can be exchanged for those that have more meaning. More importantly, you’ll see edits”. Getting the words on the page (or screen) is one part of the process. It’s in the editing and rewriting that your copy is shaped. Don’t neglect proofreading, and always overcome a reluctance to make changes if you feel they are of benefit.
Do you have a tip to help fledgling copywriters? If so, post it in the comments below or get involved in the LinkedIn discussion.
  1. Tracey Dooley : 5th September 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I didn't see the original request on LinkedIn, but this is a great little article and should be a good starting point for newbies.

    I'd like to add one more, if I may:

    Understand thy reader. As a copywriter, you need to dig deep to understand your target audience. Remember, they're people with wants and desires. Identify one (or several) and 'speak' to it in your writing.

  2. Nick Driver : 8th September 2014 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for your tip Tracey. I'm glad you highlighted the need to identify desires, as tapping into them leads to really persuasive copy.

  3. Andrew Healey : 2nd December 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Good post. Another tip, which is similar to what Barry Udoff says, is cut the crap. In other words, don't use flashy words for the sake of it; be as economical with words as possible.

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