When most new copywriters think about improving their skills, they think about learning to write faster. Unfortunately, this isn’t actually the key to getting better. What is? Well, read on…
Today’s question is from Greta D. who asks, “How can learn to write copy faster? I want to be able to turn projects around quickly. I think that would help me at a job, but definitely with freelance clients!”
I definitely understand the desire to speed up. When you’re sitting there, staring at your screen and waiting for ideas to come to you, the minutes can feel like hours. And when you have deadlines looming, it sure would be nice to be able to crank out reams and reams worth of brilliant and effective copy.
But it’s those last couple of words that are going to trip you up: brilliant and, more to the point, effective copy. Because you can crank out copy fast. Ready? Watch: Buy now! Fall for autumn styles! Sign up now! Like us on Facebook! New styles just added! Here’s what you’re missing! Amp up your experience! Rock your life! Live your dreams!
It’s all copy (and some of it, in the right circumstances, could actually be good choices), but it’s not effective. We’re missing context, we’re missing strategy, we’re missing benefits, we’re missing a connection with the audience.
The problem is that when you focus, first and foremost, on getting faster, there’s a good chance that you’re going to end up cutting corners in your concepting and your reasoning through a project—and that’s going to mean that you’ll miss some of these key factors.
Look, very probably, you will naturally get faster at copywriting as you get more experience and deepen and develop your skills. But if you push to get faster before you develop these skills, your copy is going to suffer. And if your copy suffers, your career suffers.
Getting faster isn’t always getting better. Even the very best copywriters in the industry will tell you that sometimes they sit down in front of a new project and it takes them a lot of time to even begin to come up with a solution.
What’s going help you in your career more than learning to write quickly is learning to approach the creative brief and its possible solutions from multiple angles, learning to put yourself in your target audience(s) shoes and evaluate what they really need to hear and what will make them act, and learning and assimilating all of the business strategies people you work with are discussing every day.
When you get to the point where you can propose additional solutions based on your understanding of the business needs and technology constraints on a particular project, then you know that you’re really starting to master your career.
At the same time, though, you may find that getting more skilled and more strategic may help you save time on projects in the long run, anyway. Practice your skills and deepen your learning to get better, not faster. Faster may sometimes come as a byproduct, but it’s not indicative of a level of mastery. Only great copy can indicate that.
Your turn! What are your concerns about speed versus mastery? Let us know in the comments below!