Lessons in Copywriting Part 1

I’m often asked by beginner writers or seasoned writers who want to branch out in new directions about how to get started as a copywriter.  Therefore, I think Freelance Writing Jobs is a good place to offer some lessons in copywriting.

Everything I discuss in this series comes from my own education and experience writing copy for some of the largest companies in the world (including AT&T, HSBC, Citibank, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, and more) as well as many small and mid-sized companies around the globe.  The content in this series is covered in detail in my book, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, if you’d like to learn even more about copywriting.

Let’s get started at the very beginning with what I call the first tenet of copywriting.  If you can’t understand the first tenet of copywriting, then you need to stop immediately and take some more time to process and believe it before you try to actually write copy.

The first tenet of copywriting states that a product (or service or business) is far less important than its ability to fulfill consumers’ needs.

Write the first tenet of copywriting down or print it out and tape it to your wall or above your computer.  Never forget it!  Effective copy always focuses on consumers’ needs, not the product being marketed.  In other words, the product is secondary to its ability to meet a customer’s needs.

Keep in mind, the best marketers and copywriters are able to make the distinction between real and perceived needs.  In fact, the best copy actually creates perceived needs in consumers’ minds.  In other words, consumers might not even realize they have a need for a specific product until they read or hear marketing copy that makes them think they have that need.

You’ll see in future copywriting lessons in this series that the concept of creating perceived needs as they relate to determining a target audience, identifiying features and benefits, and researching consumers and competitors will come up again and again.  In other words, when you’re crafting compelling marketing messages, all roads lead back to the first tenet of copywriting.  Memorize it!

Stay tuned for future copywriting lessons here on Freelance Writing Jobs, and be sure to read my post that answers the question: Can Anyone Be a Copywriter?






4 responses
  1. Chris Van Avatar

    I couldn’t agree more about writing to the customers needs. I wish more companies realized this. I tell my clients although time. Sadly, many still want to simply hype their product. I’ve gotten much better at steering them away from that choice.

  2. Kimberly Avatar

    I agree – copywriting has to be about providing a solution to the consumer’s problem. I LOVE that you’re sharing copywriting tips with us – please keep ’em coming! 🙂

  3. Anita Cooper Avatar


    I bought your book at a Barnes & Noble in Florida this last summer. I loved it! I was inspired, especially by the outline. It’s really helped me with organizing my ideas.

    After reading Peter Bowerman’s book, The Well Fed Writer, I knew that I could learn to write copy, but your book covered the “technical” aspect of it, whereas Peter’s book, a wonderful book as well, basically covered the “business end” of copywriting. I would recommend both books to anyone wanting to get into copywriting.


    1. Susan Gunelius Avatar

      Anita, Thank you so much for your kind words about my book. And I agree with you, Peter’s book is another good one for aspiring writers!

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