If you need web or UK based content writing you can find out what I offer on the content writing page.
The copy-writer really needs to be a jack-of -all-trades; a writer, editor, and proofreader all in one. This is why sharpening your skills for the copy-writing trade, I feel, can help you as a novelist. The key skills that any copywriter must master are brevity, clarity, originality, and punctuality. If you can provide all of this you will be well on your way to distinguishing yourself as a good content writer, but if you want to be great there are a few things you’ll need to do.
- Read; read often, and read everything. Fiction alone won’t do, either, though it is eminently useful. Read about the craft of writing, read philosophy, read history, and, yes, read many kinds of fiction. The best writers of any kind are generally very well read. For those new to writing overall I would suggest above all others Williams Strunk’s The Elements of Style; if writers can be said to have one seminal work, it would most likely be this. Other useful tomes are Stephen Kings On Writing, and Ray Bradburys Zen in the Art of Writing. There are no truly hard and fast rules in writing, but as the great masters knew, you must know the rules before you can know when it is appropriate to break them.
- Practice; practice more than you read, and practice every single day. Personally I ensure I write at least 500 words first thing in the morning as I drink my tea. If you work already you need only get up slightly earlier, and this will remove the stress that comes with having something looming on your to-do list. The mundane nature of such a routine also, I found, removes some of the block that comes when we build writing up in our heads as something that needs a specific set of conditions to go ahead. As a copywriter you will be unable to afford writers block!
- Be yourself; this may sound very trite, but it is essential. Many people can put words in front of each other in a relatively stylish manner; only those who present things in a unique and catching manner will really stand out. If you’re worried that people won’t get something, just try it. At the worst your client will ask you to change it, and that’s no shame. As a content writer innovation is your friend, but no-one has a 100% success rate!
- Cut the B***it; jargon and flowery, purple prose is even less welcome in the world of business and marketing than it is in publishing. When it comes to copy-writing the road to hell really is paved with adverbs; your messages must be hard-hitting, evocative, and easy to grasp because people want to know that your clients provide what they need, nothing more or less.
- Start with what you know; in order to succeed as a copywriter you will need to master (relatively speaking) more than one skill. There are few clients who will want you to write about writing; broaden your horizons and your customer base will grow too. If you have a hobby already this is a good place to start; write blogs, articles, and even mock adverts for something that you know about, for example horse-riding, yoga, health foods. You can even send these to prospective employers like magazines and websites as an example of your work.
- Move on to what you don’t; the more you know the more work you can do, it’s that simple and that complex. Be willing to take on projects you don’t understand and put in the research to complete them; your hourly wage may drop for the first few projects, but the wider job pool is more than worth it.
You can never really master writing, but constant practice and self-education is a sure path to success.