Whether you are hunting for a reliable writer, creating copy for your own business, or working as a paid copywriter; you undoubtedly already know that time is money.
Some copywriters find it hard to fit in all the research, writing, and editing they need to in order to have a real impact on exposure/sales.
How do some of the most productive copywriters get it right? What’s their secret?
The Secret to Productive Copywriting
In order to get work out on time and ensure that the content is of high quality and of interest to the target audience, copywriters have to incorporate a few niche habits into their lives (both at work and at home).
Below are a few of the habits we have noticed that highly productive copywriters seem to have in common as well as a few tips on how you can incorporate these habits into your work ethic.
1) The Most Productive Copywriters Have a Serious Commitment to Self-Care.
Have you ever sat down to write something when you are feeling hungover, tired, or overly stressed out by a hectic lifestyle? Chances are that you wouldn’t be able to get many words on paper (or your screen). One of the most valuable habits that dedicated and productive copywriters have is a commitment to self-care.
In fact, the NHS encourages the British population to “choose self-care for life”, as they believe that it can greatly enhance an individual’s quality of life at work and at home. Read more on that [here].
Self-care is not just about wearing a moisturizing face mask every evening and cutting yourself off from all the stresses of the world. It’s about ensuring that you eat healthy, slot a bit of light exercise a few times a week, and most importantly; get enough sleep.
Self-care is not only required to help a copywriter “get through the workload”, but it is also about refueling the creative juices. A copywriter needs to be constantly thinking and learning and they need to produce entertaining, interesting, and witty content – constantly. That’s a tall order, don’t you think?
A copywriter expresses his/her creativity through writing and this means that self-care is not only based on taking care of your body, it also requires taking care of your mind.
Self-care for the mind can include things like meditation, breathing techniques, taking up a hobby (gardening, reading, listening to music), or simply “shutting down” while watching a ridiculous comedy.
Having a well-rested and clear mind is one of a professional copywriter’s most powerful/valuable tools.
2) Pro Copywriters Have a Healthy Dose of Self-Motivation.
All productive copywriters have a schedule in place and know how to stick to it no matter what. Whether they are working from the couch or sitting behind a desk in a sleek corporate office; a copywriter needs to be highly self-motivated. Without self-motivation, a copywriter with a heavy workload would find themselves falling behind.
Copywriting requires consistent work. You cannot write a blog or article once and think it will be enough. Content needs to be regularly created, refreshed, and updated. A great copywriter is always on the ball, but how do they achieve that high level of consistent self-motivation?
Below are a few tips:
a) Prepare for the hard days.
Some days are hard for copywriters, especially when self-motivation just doesn’t turn up as expected. You need to plan ahead for these days. On days when you are feeling the most motivated and productive, take note of what exactly motivates you. Perhaps it’s a strong cappuccino or a certain playlist.
Have these on hand for days when motivation is lacking. Also, ensure that you have motivational boosters easily at hand. This could be a self-help book with quotes from celebs you respect or even an award or note of praise you received for hard work and motivation in the past.
b) Set the scene.
Create a space that naturally makes you want to write, write and write some more. If you try to create content in a bland room that puts you to sleep, you aren’t going to feel motivated. If you sit down on the couch to write content for your blog/website and the television serves as a constant distraction, you aren’t going to get anything done.
Or your content may lack the pizazz that it needs. If you work in an office, set up your desk space in a way that makes you feel comfortable and inspired. If you are writing content at home, create a space for writing that really works for you.
c) Have a daily/monthly schedule.
It is common in the content marketing world for writers and content specialists to have a monthly schedule. On this schedule, bulk content is split up between the various days of the month, allowing for some free days, just in case. If you have a schedule to stick to, it makes the workload more manageable.
At the end of each day, read through the list of tasks and content you are expected to focus on the next day. This helps to mentally prepare for what’s coming. While some content marketing teams use Excel spreadsheets to schedule work, others make use of scheduling apps, such as Asana and Google Calendar.
3) When Productive Copywriters Get on a Roll, They Keep Going.
If a pro copywriter has 5 blogs to write and is getting things done at a rapid pace (also known as “on a roll” in the industry), they keep going – they don’t stop just because they can. Unfortunately, not all days are as productive as others and in times when self-motivation takes a knock, you need to make up for it in other areas. Seasoned copywriters know that getting ahead has major advantages in the long run. If you are writing content and get on a high and feel like you could write for several more hours than you absolutely have to; do it!
How do you get on a writing roll? Well, this one is a little more complicated to unpack. Getting on a roll is different for everyone. For some writers, it takes a day at the spa or a good night’s sleep. For others, it’s a few sips of a new super-strength coffee. A passion for the topic also goes a long way.
While there is no definite science to getting on a roll, below are a few things you can try:
- Learn to make focus and energy-inducing smoothies. Some great ingredients for this are kale, pineapple, lime, chia seeds, goji berries, guarana, and ginseng.
- Fire up the coffee maker or invest in a few cans of energy-drinks (this is not for everyone).
- Minimize distractions by finding a quiet space to write. Most importantly, turn off your mobile phone and sign out of social media!
- Play motivating music that typically gives you that “get up and go feeling”.
- Read or watch a few feel-good and motivational stories/videos/speeches before starting work.
4) Brilliant Copywriters Know How to Harvest Content Ideas.
One of the biggest tasks of a copywriter is coming up with content ideas. With no ideas, it can be hard to breeze through the workload. If a copywriter is provided with a broad list of concepts and keywords and has to come up with their own titles and subtitles for a post, it can become tough. The most productive copywriters are always on the lookout for great content ideas. No one wants to read the same old content just reworked over and over. Just as much as consumers want to read something new and interesting, copywriters want to write it.
With that in mind, where do copywriters find their content and where should you look for new and interesting content ideas that really pique the interest of your specific target audience? Where to get great content ideas is one of the secrets that most content specialists keep to themselves.
Below are a few great places to start:
- Your customers. Yep! You actually need to read your customer feedback and see what sorts of questions are being asked. Answer those questions with your content!
- Customer complaints. Some customers leave complaints with online reviews, social media posts, and comments, or directly to your phone or email. You can use these complaints to your advantage by writing content that clarifies issues, provides how-to advice and generally answers all the questions unhappy customers might have.
- Online polls. Use your social media pages and your website to find out what your target audience wants to hear about.
- Check out the searches done on the website or blog being promoted. When browsers visit a website, they type certain words and phrases into the search boxes. There should be a record of these searches for you to take a look at. A lot of the searches will provide some great topics for new content.
- Investigate your social media followers. No, this isn’t nearly as creepy as it sounds. You don’t want to “troll” anyone, but you kind of do. Use your follower’s list to click through to your supporter’s profiles to see what they are talking about and what they are sharing. This can provide some great content ideas.
- Read through the blog comments on competitors’ posts and the posts of other relevant industry professionals. When a consumer reads a blog, they will leave comments in support of it or asking more questions and commenting on things they disagree with. This can provide content idea gold for content marketing teams.
- Check what people are searching for on Google. There are over 6 billion searches carried out on Google each and every day. Some of those searches are bound to be relevant to your industry and business. You can use various apps to see what people are searching for.
5) Great Copywriters Know the Power of Short Breaks.
The most productive copywriters out there know when to take a short break. Even if the workload is heavy and the hours of the day seem to be stretching well past 5 o’clock, a strategic break is absolutely essential to overall productivity. A copywriter who wants to be as productive as possible will take a walk away from the computer at least every hour. It isn’t a long walk, but just a break from the intensity of the job and a few moments to stretch, relieve tension in the body, and then get back to work is a game-changer.
How to take short breaks effectively:
- Get up, stretch and walk away from the computer/desk.
- Make a cup of tea/coffee or enjoy a glass of cool water.
- Take a few deep breaths and even a few stretches to relax and relieve tense muscles.
- Ensure that you do not check your email, talk about work, or get yourself involved in additional work during this break.
6) The Most Product Copywriters Create a Strategy Before Writing.
If you have ever watched a professional copywriter hard at work, you might wonder how they manage to just keep whacking away at the keyboard as if their brain is just filled with knowledge. That’s not really the case. A seasoned copywriter knows the importance of creating a strategy for a piece of content before working on it. How can you do this? Well, it’s fairly simple…
First, jot down your content title and brainstorm for a minute or two.
Write down every possible subheading you can include in your piece. Head over to Google and do a search on the topic. Check out the “people also ask” section on the Google search result to get some additional sub-section ideas to add to your piece.
Now it’s time to start the layout.
On the screen, in the editor of your choice, place the main title and the subtitles in the order that you feel they should be featured. If you have any ideas while you are doing this for each section, make a quick note under each of the subheadings.
And voila – you are not ready to start writing the “meat” of the content piece. This greatly simplifies and speeds up the writing process.
If you are looking for a copywriter, the habits above are a good starting point when recruiting.
If you are handling your own copywriting or writing content for someone else, incorporating the abovementioned habits of productive copywriters can really help you to “up your game”!