I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a copywriter say something like,”For copywriters, sales skills are WAY more important than writing skills.”
Sorry, but I’m here to say that the writing skills are very important too.
Obviously being a good writer doesn’t automatically mean you’ll know how to write copy. But even if you have a lot of knowledge about persuasion, being a poor writer will cost you sales.
For example, when I see the phrase “loose weight” (the most common typo on the internet) in an article or sales page about weight loss, I stop taking that person seriously.
And let’s not discuss all the glaring apostrophe errors I see in sales copy.
Above all, let’s not discuss how often I see “could of” instead of “could have.” Aaarrrgh!
When your sales page has sloppy grammar and typos, it’s like showing up for a job interview in flip flops and distressed jeans. You disrespect your reader.
Here are 3 ways to put the writing back into your copywriting:
1. Regularly read a grammar blog, such as the Grammarphobia blog and FWJ’s Grammar Guide.
2. If you can’t afford a proofreader, ask a friend or relative to proofread your copy for typos and basic grammar mistakes.
A friend once spent an hour on the phone with me going over a sales letter draft and I was amazed at all the great suggestions she had for improving the wording of certain sentences.
3. Read The Elements of Style by William Strunk & E.B. White once a year. It’s a very slim book but packed with suggestions about how to write clearly and also outlines the basic grammar rules. If you have a different favorite book about writing and grammar, read that one once a year.
Saying that the writing portion of copywriting isn’t important is like a carpenter saying nails aren’t important. I like for my carpenters to care about little things like the proper use of nails. So you should care about little things like typos and grammar.
Also, part of the fun of writing is occasionally breaking the rules. But you have to know what the rules are first before you can break them. So go to it!