Lessons Learned Whilst Being a Copywriter for a Fast-Growing Ecommerce Startup
By Karyan Lee · 10th May, 2018
A balance between quality and quantity is quintessential while working in a fast-paced startup.
As a Bachelor of Public Relations holder, I know the importance of a good copywrite and the impact it can give to readers. Working as a copywriter in iPrice – a fast-growing e-commerce startup in Malaysia, for the past seven months, I have learnt that that the quality of the article is just as important as the number of articles written.
George Gribbin once quoted that “a copywriter should have an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them”. This means that copywriting is more than merely churning out article after article to achieve the KPI. Hence, here are some lessons that I have had the privilege to learn so far:
1. Quality is just as important (if not more) than quantity
Being in a fast-paced environment, it is quite common for the demand for quantity to outweigh quality; this affects writing as well. I fall into the same trap often as I strive to achieve the weekly targets (or higher, to get more allowance) imposed by the company. Of course, the implementation of KPIs is to ensure consistent and continuous growth for the company. However, merely writing for the sake of hitting these targets might actually cause the company’s intention for growth to backfire. Neglecting the quality of the work produced will mean that the content might not be able to benefit readers who read the content. With the Internet being saturated with information, readers are often looking for credible sources to provide them with the information they desire. Hence, by compromising the quality of the content for the sake of quantity, there is a high likelihood that the content will contain wrong or insufficient information.
- To ensure that I am still able to retain the quality of my work, these are some actions that I will do before I start writing:
- Prepare a draft consisting of the points and ideas for the topic I am writing about and include facts and figures to support points.
- Perform searches online to identify common search terms that are related to the subject matter.
- Do a quick search online to read up on articles / content written about the topic.
2. Put yourself in the readers point-of-view
There are some occasions when copywriters (myself included) can get too carried away and overly passionate while writing. This might cause us to write according to how we want the article to be without considering the readers. A well-written copywrite can capture the attention of readers and cause them to spend more time on the page, leading to an increased likelihood of sales.
Hence, I will always ask myself questions like “Will readers be interested to read the content?” and “If I am a reader, what am I expecting to obtain by reading this text?” This will help me to craft the message to suit the targeted audiences better and to ensure that my content will capture their attention.
Besides that, you should also ensure that you keep the core message simplistic and easily understandable by readers. Excessive jargons and big words might show that you are knowledgeable in the topic discussed, but you might have lost your readers as they are unable to comprehend what you are trying to convey.
3. Utilizing SEO to gain exposure
Moreover, my experience so far has taught me that being in an eCommerce company where the nature of a business is heavily dependent on its exposure on the Internet, utilizing SEO in your content is undoubtedly important to boost your page or website to the first page of search engines. However, rather than stuffing the right number of keywords into articles and building as many backlinks as possible is no longer the way to go to increase a company’s online presence. Google’s algorithms have changed to only identify quality content which leads back to the importance of producing quality content.
4. More than Words
Although being a copywriter primarily means that we are in charge of writing the content for the company, relying on words alone no longer cuts it. Considering that the Internet has abundant multimedia that you can add into your content, why not utilize them fully? Include images, gifs, memes, infographics into your copy to make it more interesting in the eyes of netizens. I personally noticed that readers tend to spend more time on articles that contain these elements. Humans are visual creatures, so adding visually-appealing content that breaks the monotony of the article will lead to better reader retention on your page.
5. Little things that make a big difference
Writer’s block is real, people! A common issue that most copywriters face is when they do not know what to write about or continue writing a certain topic. Writer’s block can impede your progress and productivity for the day. Although taking a break in a fast-paced environment seems to be unrealistic, it all comes to your time management and self-discipline.
I am not an exception to an occasional writer’s block, but what I noticed during these occurrences is that it is due to a seemingly minute reason: lack of sleep. If I slept late the night before, or that I did not have a restful sleep the night before, I will have a harder time to come up with original ideas and might even struggle to recall words that are commonly used. Successful entrepreneurs such as Jack Dorsey and Sir Richard Branson ensure that they find time to recharge despite their busy schedules by indulging in your hobbies or simply by having ample rest.
Above are some of the lessons that I have obtained while working as a copywriter in a rapidly-expanding ecommerce company. I hope that my sharing above will be beneficial for current and upcoming copywriters!
Copywriters are the ones that keep readers glued to the page – Konrad Sanders
About the writer: Jonathan is currently working as a content writer for an e-commerce company in Malaysia. He frequently takes up freelance writing during his spare time. He writes about a myriad of topics including tech, business, lifestyle, etc. His interests include K-pop and board games. Do feel free to contact him at email@example.com for any potential collaborations.
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