3-Step Guide to Creative Copywriting - Archer Education (2022)

A lot of guides out there may have you convinced that it takes some kind of innate skill to write creative copy that attracts readers. We disagree. It actually takes just three steps that anyone can complete.

Copywriting is an essential skill for marketers and advertisers to master to enhance their campaigns. A copywriter is a lucrative career in an industry that is expected to grow 8% between 2018 and 2028.

There are hundreds of writers out there, but what separates a good copywriter from a great one is the ability to write creative copy. And creativity isn’t just an internal spark within. It also requires studying writing techniques, behavioral responses, and sentence structure.

In order to write creative copy, you first need to learn the fundamentals of copywriting. Once you’ve set that foundation, you can then add the power to your punch(line).

This guide goes over 3 key steps to becoming a creative copywriter in detail, so if you’re ready to embrace your inner writer and learn how to master creative copywriting, keep reading.

Step 1: The Fundamentals of Copywriting

Before you can begin to infuse creativity into your copywriting, you must learn the basics. Let’s get into the details and answer one of the biggest questions we tend to receive about creative copywriting.

What is Copywriting?

In its simplest form, copywriting is the process of writing content with a purpose, typically to persuade, inspire, or inform readers using a variety of tools, including emotional appeal, negativity and positivity, storytelling, and numerical data.

Copywriting can be used for every form of marketing you can think of, from blog posts and downloadable guides to Facebook ads and sales pages. Good copywriting can mean the difference between a page that converts readers into buyers and one that turns people off from your brand completely.

When you write poor copy, however, you run the risk of alienating and possibly confusing your readers. This is a mistake that author Steven Pinker calls “the curse of knowledge.”

The Curse of Knowledge

3-Step Guide to Creative Copywriting - Archer Education (1)In his newest book, The Sense of Style, Steven Pinker describes the curse of knowledge as the inability to explain a concept you know a lot about in a way that anyone can understand. Luckily, you can do three things to avoid making that critical mistake in your copy.

First, delete jargon and overly complicated language from your content. To take that tip a step further, we suggest writing in the same way you speak. Then, read your copy aloud to check the way it flows and determine whether it’s also written how your target audience speaks.

If you stumble over any words or sentences, it’s a good idea to assume your readers, who likely aren’t as knowledgeable about that particular subject as you are, will stumble as well. You want to minimize the number of times your readers could potentially stumble and focus on developing a nice, even flow of words. To do this, you’ll want to employ the second tactic and put yourself into your readers’ shoes.

(Video) Complete Copywriting Tutorial - Examples, Tips and Formulas

If you’ve done a good amount of research into your target market and its needs and wants, you should have no trouble addressing those needs in your copy. That means answering common questions, solving problems, and ensuring you provide value throughout the entire piece of content. To do that, though, you need to ensure your copy actually conveys the messages you want readers to receive. This involves the copywriting tree diagram, which we go over in the next section.

For now, let’s get into our third and final tip for avoiding the curse of knowledge. It’s pretty simple: In addition to doing all you can to put yourself into the mind of your target audience, you also want to get its input on your content. That means sharing your content before it’s published — maybe with a friend, relative, or co-worker who fits in your target audience — and getting feedback on your copy.

Doing this will help you ensure your copy is easy to read and simple enough for your audience to understand. With that being said, let’s get into that tree diagram we mentioned.

The Tree Diagram

3-Step Guide to Creative Copywriting - Archer Education (2)Steven Pinker developed a tree diagram in his book The Sense of Style. The basis of this diagram lies in the relationships between words. If you can map out exactly what each word in a sentence signifies, as well as how it relates to the words around it, you’ll be better equipped to write creative copy that convinces your readers to take action.

In the diagram, Pinker breaks down the components of the sentence “In Sophocles’ play, Oedipus married his mother.” As you can see, even a simple sentence can hold a wealth of meaning. Every single word has a purpose that contributes to the overall meaning of the sentence, and it’s your responsibility as the copywriter to know what that meaning is, as well as what your readers will perceive it to be.

The trick to doing this successfully is in your word choice. Choosing the right words to convey your meaning creates the magic that’s so heavily associated with creative copywriting. The French even developed a phrase to describe that magic: mot juste.

The Most Juste

If you’ve ever rejoiced at finding the perfect word or phrase to describe a thought or feeling to someone, you’ve experienced the mot juste. As the tree diagram illustrates, every word in copywriting plays a pivotal role in a piece of content’s ability to succeed.

That means every word you use is a mot juste when you break your content down, and the mot juste should evoke emotion in your readers. In the next step, we share examples of what that looks like.

Fundamentals of Copywriting Resources:

Step 2: What Is Good Copywriting? Examples of Powerful Copy

In this step, we focus on looking at real-world examples that illustrate what we learned about copywriting and “good” writing in step one. To start, let’s examine the “known-new contract” in copywriting.

The Known-New Contract

You see the known-new contract all the time in copywriting, and you may not even realize it’s a strategy. It involves bringing up something your readers already know and then introducing new information.

In a piece of content, for example, this would be a group of sentences like the two above. Because of the information provided in the first sentence, you know what we’re talking about in the second sentence.

(Video) 3 Skills You Must Have to Be a Copywriter

And when you including phrases like this throughout your copy, you create a roadmap for readers to follow so they don’t become lost or confused. All of that would mean nothing to your readers, however, if they don’t have a clear understanding of what to expect from your content from the very beginning.

We’re talking about a throwback to every high school English paper ever written: the thesis statement.

Reintroduction of the Thesis Statement

As is the case with high school English papers, the most successful copywriting features a creative thesis statement. The purpose of this statement is to let your readers know what to expect from the content they’re about to consume.

Thesis statements most commonly appear at the beginning of copy, but including them at the beginning of each section has also been shown to increase the amount of time people stay engaged.

This is because the statement serves as the proverbial “you are here” sign for readers making their way through your content. The thesis statement also prepares readers’ minds to receive the various appeals to emotion that tend to be evident in good copy.

Logos, Pathos, and Ethos

The philosopher Aristotle determined there are three methods of persuasion: logos, pathos, and ethos. Logos refers to logical arguments that appeal to people’s sense of truth with tools such as numbers, statistics, and proven facts.

Think scientific journals and new studies that have uncovered groundbreaking information. Ethos refers to arguments that focus on credibility and character.

In practice, this method of persuasion tends to rely more on likability and authority to convince your audience that you can be trusted. Pathos takes this a step further and appeals to people’s emotions, relying on their sense of right and wrong to convince your audience to take a certain action.

Interwoven through all of these methods, though, is an underlying reason for your writing. You need to understand your reason before you start writing. If you do, you’ll stand a better chance of correctly employing content development methods and getting your readers to do what you want.

Let’s dig into that a little more.

(Video) 3 Differences Between Content Writing and Copywriting

Understanding the “Why” of Good Stories

3-Step Guide to Creative Copywriting - Archer Education (3)We mentioned earlier that stories are a good copywriting tool — and there’s a big reason for that. The “why” behind your copywriting informs the “why” of every other aspect of your copy. It’s what sets you apart from competitors, and it’s what gives your copy the power to persuade your readers.

Your “why” is, in a sense, your mission statement come to life, which is why having a well-crafted one is so critical to creative copywriting.

Our team at Archer Education developed this Facebook Ad for American University’s School of Education. We thought carefully of the “why” that prospective students would have to receive a masters degree in education and wrote copy that would pull at a prospective students logos, ethos and pathos.

Write Copy that Converts

Another area where good copywriting can make or break a marketing or advertising campaign is on the landing page. The landing page is where a prospective customer goes before they make their final decision to convert.

This is your chance to showcase your product, program or service with intentional, eye-catching and appealing copy.

For example, our team developed landing page copy for our client’s online programs. For American University’s online Master of Arts in Special Education, we knew we needed to develop copy that would evoke an emotional response to prospective students.

In our copy, we highlighted what students have to gain from the program, what benefit they can make on the world, and how AU’s program prepares them to do that.

3-Step Guide to Creative Copywriting - Archer Education (4)

Good Copywriting Resources:

Step 3: How to Write a Mission Statement

In this third step, we look at how to write mission statements and how this process relates to your target audience.

To begin, let’s go over best practices for writing effective mission statements that allow your creative copywriting skills to grow.

Best Practices for Writing Effective Mission Statements

3-Step Guide to Creative Copywriting - Archer Education (5)

(Video) Three Award-Winning Examples of Writing For Advertising | D&AD Masterclass

There are many best practices for writing effective mission statements, but the biggest one has to do with how your mission statement relates to your target audience. Your mission statement is a message to the world that declares your purpose and the reasoning behind it.

To be effective, your mission statement should be precise and inspiring, and it should speak to your target audience in a way that other businesses don’t.

Your mission statement should be unique, concise and direct, and convey a sense of urgency to your reader. In order to understand your reader’s wants and goals, you need to define your target audience. That requires something called a “persona.” Here’s how to put one together.

How to Write a Persona

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: Your audience is everything. If you don’t know who your audience is, what it wants, and what its problems are, you’ll have no way of knowing whether your copywriting — and therefore your content — is effective.

Developing a persona isn’t difficult, but it can take time. It requires you to do a significant amount of research into the group of individuals you would like to target, including talking with members of that group.

Social media and networking events are great ways to get to know members of your target audience and put a face to the characterization you’ve developed — a persona, if you will.

3-Step Guide to Creative Copywriting - Archer Education (6)You can also use tactics such as quizzes and questionnaires to develop a deeper understanding of those individuals based on the data you collect. This data is called psychographics.


Psychographics aren’t new in the world of creative copywriting. In fact, the word is just a fancy way of saying reliable, quantifiable data. Unlike demographics — which focus on quantitative traits, such as gender, age, and income — psychographics focus on qualitative traits, such as thoughts, feelings, opinions, and beliefs.

Mission Statement Resources:

It's Your Turn to Get Creative

No matter how little experience you have with creative copywriting, you can still develop copy that converts casual readers into avid fans. It takes just three simple steps.

Are you ready to take those steps but afraid to do it alone? We’re happy to help! Contact usor visit ourBranding tactics page and we’ll guide you through the secrets of copywriting each step of the way.


What are the steps of copywriting? ›

I called it POWER Copywriting, an acronym for the five steps in the copywriting process: Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, and Review.

What are the four P's of copywriting? ›

The 4 Ps structure consists of promise, picture, proof, and push in place of the four elements of attention, interest, desire, and action. The 4 Ps provide more expansive elements than AIDA, which is why it's a favorite of many top copywriters, notably John Forde.

How can a beginner learn copywriting? ›

10 practical tips to consider when learning to write copy
  1. Research the competition. ...
  2. Make room for voice. ...
  3. Think about your target audience. ...
  4. Storytelling wins. ...
  5. Use emotions, but don't manipulate your audience. ...
  6. Choose words carefully. ...
  7. Experiment with copywriting formulas. ...
  8. Use copywriting templates.
11 Aug 2022

What are the five tips to make copywriting effective? ›

Here are 5 essential copywriting tips:
  • You must be a bit of a detective. ...
  • You must understand and embrace human psychology. ...
  • Leverage the power of stories. ...
  • Always remain honest and authentic. ...
  • Remember that choosing the right words is only half the battle.

What does PAS mean in copywriting? ›

PAS stands for “Problem-Agitate-Solve” and is not only incredibly simple, but also extremely effective. The formula breaks down as follows: Problem: Identify a problem. Agitate: Agitate that problem. Solve: Find and present the solution.

How do you end a copywriter? ›

  1. Using a call to action.
  2. Creating a sense of urgency.
  3. Making a compelling offer.
  4. Providing a guarantee.
26 Jan 2019

What is Aida copywriting? ›

The AIDA model is a copywriting formula that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action used to convert readers into customers. The AIDA model is a copywriting formula that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action used to convert readers into customers.

What are the 6 core copywriting skills? ›

6 Copywriting Skills You Need To Succeed, by Elisabeth Strasser
  • Research Skills. ...
  • Staying Up To Date. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Knowing Your Audience. ...
  • Awareness Of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) ...
  • Ability To Hook The Reader.

How can I learn copywriting at home? ›

11 Best Copywriting Learning Resources and Tutorials
  1. Blackford Centre.
  2. Udemy.
  3. Handbook.
  4. For Beginners.
  5. Copyblogger Pro.
  6. IDM.
  7. Kopywriting Kourse.
  8. Creative Writing.

What skills do you need to be a copywriter? ›

The following examples highlight several important skills that copywriters need to be successful:
  • Strong writing skills. ...
  • Communication skills. ...
  • Technical skills. ...
  • Creative thinking. ...
  • Problem-solving skills. ...
  • Interpersonal skills. ...
  • Research skills. ...
  • Develop strong writing skills.

What type of copywriting pays the most? ›

Technical writing, PPC, and SEO writing continue to be among the highest-paying copywriting jobs.

What are copywriting styles? ›

To recap, here are the nine types of copywriting every marketer needs:
  • Website copywriting.
  • SEO copywriting.
  • Product copywriting.
  • B2B copywriting.
  • B2C copywriting.
  • Direct response copywriting.
  • Ad copywriting.
  • Social media copywriting.
1 Apr 2021

How many types of copywriters are there? ›

There are three main types of copywriting: direct response, sales promotion, and advertising (and many other variations).

How do you create a strong copy strategy? ›

Copy Test: How to create a strong Copy Strategy
  1. Comprehension. The message must be clear and easy to understand. ...
  2. Reaction. It must elicit a positive reaction (like vs. ...
  3. Memorization. The message must be easy to remember, to build awareness fast and facilitate brand recall when buyers make their purchases.

What is strategic copywriting? ›

The strategic copywriter has a “war room” in their office. It is used to coordinate the campaign. It arms them with all they need to create powerful, emotive and high-converting copy. The strategic copywriter is like a detective – discovering the clues, working the facts, building a strong case.

What makes copywriting effective? ›

Never risk losing the attention of your audience by providing too much detail in your copy. Effective copywriting tells your audience what they need to know to act and make a purchase or how to contact you for more information.

How do I become a copywriter with no experience? ›

Below are some more of my top tips on how to become a copywriter:
  1. Choose One Niche Market To Start With. ...
  2. Don't Get Distracted By What Other Copywriters Are Doing. ...
  3. Make Your Prospects An Offer They Can't Refuse. ...
  4. Earn While You Learn. ...
  5. Decide That You Want To Master This Skill, No Matter What.
15 Oct 2019

How long does it take to learn copywriting? ›

Learning essential copywriting skills can take anywhere from three to six months. However, you still need to continuously practice and learn new things to improve and stay on top. Many things can affect the learning time.

How much do beginner copywriters make? ›

How much does a Entry Level Copywriter make in the United States? The average Entry Level Copywriter salary in the United States is $53,901 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $48,701 and $60,701.

What is an avatar in copywriting? ›

The Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) is a character profile created by marketers to uncover the benefits they'll use to sell a product or service.

How do you use AIDA formula? ›

The goal of the AIDA marketing formula is to do the following:
  1. Grab the attention of readers and hook them in like a fish.
  2. Create a point of interest for them to continue reading.
  3. Display a benefit which creates desire.
  4. Finish it with a call to action.

What is a copywriting formula? ›

Attention – Interest – Desire – Action (AIDA)

AIDA is one of the most standard copywriting formulas for most any type of marketing copy. It's been used for direct mail, television and radio, sales pages, landing pages, and so much more. Many of the below ideas will play off the elements included here.

Is copywriting easy? ›

It's not easy, especially at first, but if you persist, you will find yourself with absolute control over your career and finances to a degree you never previously believed possible. If you want to learn how to become a copywriter, follow these 5 steps: Learn the basics of persuasive writing.

What is the PAS formula? ›

One of my go-to copywriting formulas is PAS: Pain, Agitate, Solve. Or Problem, Agitate, Solution. It's a favourite because it works for all kinds of marketing, from landing pages to flyers.

What is Aidca formula? ›

AIDCA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action).

This copywriting formula adds one more element: Conviction. That can be a smart move – trust is the secret sauce of sales.

What is hard sell copywriting? ›

What is a Hard Sell? A hard sell refers to using an advertising or sales approach that is pointed, direct, and aimed at persuading a potential customer to make an immediate decision to purchase a product.

How much do copywriters make? ›

How much do copywriter's make? The median annual copywriter salary is $47,838, with 80% of copywriters earning between $35k – $65k per year according to data aggregated from Payscale and Salary.com.

Where is the best place to learn copywriting? ›

Here are the top 10 best copywriting courses out there

Is copywriting a hard job? ›

Copywriting is one of the most stressful jobs out there. There are constant deadlines to meet and a never-ending list of tasks to convert. You're always worried about the quality of your writing and you're constantly waiting for your drafts to be approved. I've been copywriting for 3 years and I've been through it all.

Do I need a laptop to learn copywriting? ›

All you need is a laptop and a good internet connection to start your own copywriting business from home. These are easy to come by almost everywhere in the world.

Is copywriting a good career? ›

Copywriting is a very lucrative, special type of writing that is often mistakenly overlooked as a career choice. The skill of copywriting is in high demand.

Is copywriting a tech skill? ›

Why Is Copywriting a Technical Skill? It's a technical skill due to the research and skills needed to complete a piece of work that is both relevant to the customer and the client. Some writers who create instruction manuals or software documentation are known as technical copywriters.

Is copywriting a process or position? ›

Copywriting is the process of writing persuasive marketing and promotional materials that motivate people to take some form of action, such as make a purchase, click on a link, donate to a cause, or schedule a consultation.

How do you do copywriting in Excel? ›

Copywriting is one of the most needed elements of effective online marketing.
Here are the 5 steps to excel in copywriting for the web:
  1. Know the basic rules of copywriting. ...
  2. Make your copies informative. ...
  3. Know how to convert your readers to clients. ...
  4. Optimize your content. ...
  5. Proofread your copies.

How do you write fast copy? ›

The lazy person's guide to writing great copy – fast!
  1. – Gather everything you need before you start writing. ...
  2. – Don't start writing until you've let the information “percolate.” ...
  3. – Set a time limit and write your copy. ...
  4. – Walk away from your draft. ...
  5. – Tighten up your draft and send it out.
17 Apr 2014

Which of the following is an essential of copywriting? ›

Action. The whole point of copywriting is to get the reader to take action. You want them to buy your product, subscribe to your RSS feed, join your email list, or just spread the word. Before you write your next piece, decide what you want your reader to do.

Do I need a degree to be a copywriter? ›

You don't need a college degree or formal education to become a copywriter. However, it's a good idea to look into taking a short course, or getting yourself a mentor.

How long does it take to learn copywriting? ›

Learning essential copywriting skills can take anywhere from three to six months. However, you still need to continuously practice and learn new things to improve and stay on top. Many things can affect the learning time.

Do copywriters make good money? ›

The median annual copywriter salary is $47,838, with 80% of copywriters earning between $35k – $65k per year according to data aggregated from Payscale and Salary.com. The two primary factors driving salary levels are location and experience: A junior copywriter in Medford, OR will make an average of $42k per year.

Is copywriting a skill? ›

Copywriting skills are hard and soft skills that writers who create advertisements and other written content possess to be successful at their jobs.

Who is the best copywriter? ›

5 of the best copywriters of all time
  • David Ogilvy. David Ogilvy has often been described as “The Father of Advertising” as is well known for his compelling advertising copy. ...
  • Leo Burnett. ...
  • Claude Hopkins. ...
  • Drayton Bird. ...
  • Eugene Schwartz. ...
  • Clayton Makepeace, Gary Halbert and Joe Coleman.

Is copywriting a good career? ›

Copywriting is a very lucrative, special type of writing that is often mistakenly overlooked as a career choice. The skill of copywriting is in high demand.

How can I write faster and better? ›

13 Tips for Becoming a Faster Writer
  1. Write every single day. Writing is like a muscle—the more you exercise your craft, the stronger, leaner, and more efficient it will be. ...
  2. Give yourself a topic. ...
  3. Create an outline. ...
  4. Gather information. ...
  5. Get rid of distractions. ...
  6. Set a challenge. ...
  7. Start a timer. ...
  8. Revise later.
19 Nov 2021

How do I become a copywriter with no experience? ›

How to get a copywriting job with no experience
  1. Be prepared to aim low at first. ...
  2. Become popular in a specific niche area. ...
  3. You don't need to have an extensive portfolio. ...
  4. Join a networking group. ...
  5. Join forces with complementary businesses. ...
  6. Read, Read, Read.
15 Mar 2018

Why is it called copywriting? ›

'Copy' comes from the word 'copiae'. A Latin word that dates back to the 1300s meaning 'an abundance of writing'. For centuries following, the word tumbled through a number of similar meanings. That is until the 1800s, when journalism and newspapers BOOMED.

What is the job of a copywriter? ›

A Copywriter is a professional who writes clear, concise copy for ads and marketing materials. They work closely alongside web and graphic designers to ensure their message is clear, whether in an email inbox or a website landing page.


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