8 Techniques That Helped Me Improve My Writing During Ten Years of Blogging

Epic copywriting is an integral part of driving traffic and making conversions.

Smashing Magazine even states that “it’s not uncommon for proper copywriting to increase search traffic by 50 percent and conversion rates by 30 percent.”

But being a great copywriter requires more than simply being great at writing.

You need to have a fundamental understanding of human psychology to be able to persuade readers to buy your product/service—you need to know what motivates people to purchase.

Plus, there are several other variables that will impact your approach, including your audience, overall aim, and desired customer reaction.

This graphic from ABC Copywriting offers a nice visual breakdown of the specific elements of great copy:

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But how can you become a world-class copywriter in a short period of time if you have only minimal experience?

It took me 10 years to improve, figuring out these techniques. By practicing them, you’ll be able to improve a lot faster.

1. Learn from the best

If you’re just starting out, I suggest diving in head first and absorbing as much information as you can about the process.

Unlike other forms of content writing, copywriting is a highly specialized field and requires a unique approach of its own.

I’m a proponent of reading books from some of the brightest minds to get their take on things.

They’ve been there, done that, and can get you to where you need to be.

Some specific authors to check out include David Ogilvy, known as The Father of Advertising, and Bob Bly.

This list of 50 attributes of a great copywriter from Jeff Bullas can be helpful too.

I also recommend checking out this list of 75 resources from Kissmetrics specifically designed for those who want to become great copywriters.

This covers the entire spectrum and is ideal if you’re just getting your feet wet.

2. Get in the habit of practicing your craft

There’s a definite possibility that you’ll suck at your first attempt at copywriting. Don’t take it personally.

But you would be amazed at what can happen with enough continual practice.

Even in as little as a week, you can make tremendous strides.

You’ll learn to be more efficient and will develop hacks for streamlining the process. You’ll also discover what works for YOU.

Want to improve your writing? Check out these 8 techniques.

That’s why I recommend practicing on a daily basis if possible.

3. Study the psychology behind purchasing decisions

As I mentioned earlier, psychology is a key element in copywriting.

In order to persuade someone to buy something, you need to understand their thought process and behavioral patterns.

Copyblogger has an interesting article that highlights seven psychologically-backed copywriting tips.

In it, you’ll read about the concept of mirror neurons—neurons in the brain that “activate when you ‘observe’ something happening, and then transfer some of the feeling on you.”

I think a good example of it is the Allstate’s “Mayhem” ad campaign.

You know, where they say “mayhem is everywhere” and show disastrous scenarios like a tree branch falling on your car?

These commercials are good at making you envision and feel what it would be like if it happened to you. In turn, you’re more inclined to buy their insurance.

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The point I’m trying to make is that your copywriting should resonate with readers and make them feel something.

You need to get in their heads and truly understand what makes them tick.

In turn, this should guide your copywriting and help you create more potent copy.

4. Do your research

Effective copywriting isn’t just clever wordplay. A big part of it is great research.

Why is research so important?

For one thing, it makes your content more authoritative.

By including relevant statistics, case studies, and quotes from experts, you back up your argument.

It shows that your copywriting is based on objective facts and not merely an opinion.

Anyone can make a claim, but when that claim is backed up by data, it becomes credible.

It also adds a layer of depth to your content.

When you take the time to research, you’ll inevitably gain a deeper understanding of a topic.

You’re more likely to see the big picture rather than just bits and pieces, and this should be reflected in your writing.

When you put all this together, it’s going to be helpful in building trust with readers.

Trust is obviously important because it’s going to make it easier to persuade your prospects to buy.

Even if you really know your stuff, I still suggest you get in the habit of performing some preliminary research because it’s going to add a new dimension to your copy.

5. Work on your headlines

Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how great your overall content is if the headline sucks.

In fact, “on the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”

If your headline isn’t captivating, very few readers will make it to your call to action (CTA).

While it may seem easy enough on paper, creating a great headline can be pretty tricky.

But I’ve come up with a formula for streamlining the process to ensure you create attention-grabbing headlines.

In one of my previous articles, I talk about “the four u’s of headline writing:”

  1. Your headline should be unique.
  2. Your headline should be ultra-specific.
  3. Your headline should convey a sense of urgency.
  4. Your headline should be useful.

Here’s an example of a great headline. It’s quick and to the point:

image02

6. Master the art of the opening sentence

Just one rung below headlines on the importance scale is your opening sentence.

Once you’ve caught the reader’s attention with an awesome headline, you want to motivate them to read through the rest of your content until they ultimately reach the CTA.

And this always begins with a well-written opening sentence.

What do I mean by well-written?

It needs to be short, engaging, and able to reel in the reader immediately.

Here’s a perfect example from Chartbeat:

image04

If you look at the opening sentence, it meets all three of the criteria mentioned above.

It simply says, “It’s not enough to just count clicks and page views anymore.”

This is obviously short and to the point. It’s engaging because it gets readers wondering what they should be assessing if clicks and page views aren’t enough. And it also makes them want to read on to find out what solutions Chartbeat offers.

What’s the takeaway?

Work diligently at perfecting your headline and opener.

If you’re able to do this, you’ve already won half the battle, and you’re in a position to capitalize on the maximum percentage of leads.

7. Use the AIDA formula

AIDA is an acronym created by copywriter Gary Halbert.

It stands for:

image00

Here’s a breakdown of how it works…

You start by grabbing the reader’s attention with an awesome headline and opener like we just discussed.

You build interest by touching on their needs, wants, and pain points as well as ways your product/service can solve their problems, improve their lives, etc.

You create a desire to buy your product/service by clearly explaining its benefits.

image06

Finally, you insert your CTA to encourage your readers to take action right away.

I’ve found this simple formula to be incredibly helpful for guiding my copywriting.

While the specific details will vary depending on your audience, industry, and product/service, the AIDA formula always works and will keep you on track.

8. Be meticulous about spelling and grammar

Did you know that “poor grammar on websites scares 59 percent of people away?”

Spelling and grammar mistakes can be the kiss of death for your business because it makes you look unprofessional and diminishes your credibility.

After all, would someone trust and want to buy from a company that doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re?

A study was even done to determine the biggest mistakes a company can make.

According to the findings, the overwhelming number of respondents (42.5 percent) said they were most influenced by spelling and grammatical errors.

image01

As you can clearly see, poor spelling and grammar can be a real deal breaker, and your conversion rate is going to take a big blow.

This is why it’s so important to be incredibly thorough and even borderline obsessive about proofreading your copy before it’s published.

I also recommend using a tool such as Grammarly to help you catch grammar errors.

It’s a free Chrome plugin, and it will greatly reduce your mistakes.

Conclusion

There are countless people who are great writers but lousy copywriters.

Mastering this craft demands a unique approach and a specific skillset.

Fortunately, it’s possible to learn how to become a world-class copywriter in a fairly short period of time if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Even if you’re just starting out, following these tips and techniques should put you on the fast track to quality copywriting, which means two important things.

You can convert more of your leads AND increase your profitability.

What do you think the most important aspect of copywriting is?

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Comments

  1. Srinvasa Chaitanya :

    Neil Patel, You have some of the best strategies I have come across. I have also tried many ways to improve my writing skills.

    Instead of working from home, Now I am visiting the British Council Library Near my home. I write and publish all posts from there. That environment, though! Peaceful and make me more productive. Also, they restrict the wi-fi data to 200MB per day. So, I just visit only a few sites.

    As I publish more long-form content of 2000-3000 words, there will be lot of Grammatical errors, So I use Grammarly chrome extension and It helped me a lot,

    • That can be a great way to work as it is limiting your availability and then the quiet will keep you focused.

      Plus you also have at arm’s length some inspiration in the books, magazines 🙂

      • Writing content is NOT easy, Neil.

        You’ve been doing it since ages and you’re being consistent. That’s the key to your online success.

        Writing is one part and being consistent with it is another part.

        Here’s where most people fail. If they don’t see results, they quit writing.

        My question to you is: what would you do after creating a post? And what would you do if it doesn’t go well online?

        Waiting for your insights!

    • MOHAMMAD MOUZUM :

      I am reading the blog continuously from some months and learning a lot from you. Specially your posts relating to writing great posts help me a lot to improve my skills.
      Although all points have a lot of importance but point 2 and 4 have a huge importance according to me. And I am going to implement these points to my site https://www.ahlaanholidays.com for creating great content which would be valuable for my blog readers.
      Thanks for providing such a great guide for fellow learners.

  2. Vishal Vashisht :

    Hi Neil

    I think I always struggle with point 5 & 6. Currently working on improving both. I love the idea of point 7. Never thought about it until I read your post. Thanks for your free knowledge

  3. Emmanuel Uzoezie :

    Ten years of experience distilled into 8 techniques. I believe I should start doing more research before producing my contents, and working on my headline.

    Thank you Neil for this wonderful article.

  4. Victor Courville :

    Great Post!…There is so much to learn and receive knowledge from the best.

  5. Sunita Pandit :

    Wonderful, concise and to the point!
    May I add one more point? I have found from my very limited wrting experience (I outsource routine writing) that action sentences catch our readers and bring them into our world of knowledge very fast. Also getting to the point quickly makes the reader excited as we are all living in a world so very ingrained with shortness of time!

  6. Hi Neil,
    This is the first time I am visiting your blog and found it very useful for developing my writing skills. Point no 2 and 7 are really very useful for me. I shall definitely follow your guideline. Thanks a lot.

  7. Hi Neil
    Another great post from your side. I am reading the blog continuously from some months and learning a lot from you. Specially your posts relating to writing great posts help me a lot to improve my skills.
    Although all points have a lot of importance but point 2 and 4 have a huge importance according to me. And I am going to implement these for creating great content which would be valuable for my blog readers.
    Thanks for providing such a great guide for fellow learners.

  8. I am just working on mastering the art of the opening sentence and first paragraph. I’ve been following Jon Morrow’s ‘Morrow’ opening, but it wants a lot of time and practice to get better. Sounds easy but isn’t 🙂

    Start using AIDA is on ‘to do’ list.

    And agree that Grammarly is a ‘must have’ for every writer, I’ve tried a few others, but Grammarly is top notch!

  9. Suraaj Hasija :

    Hey. I am a great admirer of your work. I have seen the growth potential in this industry but the progress is very slow. How can I support my living out of my passion.?

  10. when you emphasize the importance of studying the psychology behind buying decisions, you should add your guide, too, Neil.

    I mean you forgot to link this: http://www.quicksprout.com/the-complete-guide-to-understand-customer-psychology/

  11. Hi Neil,
    I am just working on point 6 to improve it!
    thanks for the amazing post

  12. Neil, seems you read my mind? Today, I was searching for copywriting exercises that’ll help improve my skills. This article just helped me a great deal. Thanks for your effort.

  13. Thanks for the advice. I love reading your posts. In addition to everything that you said…

    Here’s one simple trick that helped me improve my copy.

    I always play my copy back to myself as audio. There is something about hearing your copy outside of your head that really helps.

    How to do this:

    Most computers come with a feature that can read text on the screen back. I think this is an accessibility option. On the Mac, you simply highlight the text that you want to hear then press Option & ESC (I think that this feature must be enabled in the control panel area).

    I use this trick for everything. Headlines, blog posts, ppc ads, etc…

  14. Hi Neil,

    Fantastic and powerful article.Love every word of it..All the points written by you are so very legitimate.I really need a hand and support from a professional Guru like you while i am trying to develop my blog and on line business(with hardships)

    Keep the good job going 🙂

    Kind Regards,
    Darpan

  15. Much appreciate the post, I will surely follow the advice hear and will make some research of my own.

  16. Johnson Emmanuel :

    Thanks, Neil! I just rebranded http://www.clientsattraction.com and part of my goal for the year is to produce daily amazing content. Only a few people produce content like you, so you are one of the best to learn from.

    I love where you talked about learning from the best. It makes total sense.

  17. Roger C. Parker :

    HI, Neil:
    Thank you for sharing so many inspiring ideas and resources. Definitely “evergreen.”

    I especially appreciate point 2, the Habit of Daily Practice.

    Where would attitudes like empathy and passion appear in your list?

    Would you add them to the list, or create a new list?

    Thanks, once again, for sharing inspiring ideas and links.
    Roger

  18. Bhavin Madariya :

    Very useful post. We have started implementing all your suggestions about awesome blog/content marketing and it’s really working, Thanks Neil

  19. Hi NEIL, can you give us some advice on how to write about tax for entrepreneurs ? It is a technical language that don’t live. Are there successful blog as exemple ? Thanks

  20. Thanks for this great post. You are the best.

  21. Great post Neil.

    Researching, preparing content and then converting eye catching headlines are must for a blog to grow better.
    Thanks for sharing your experience about blogging.

  22. This is a very good post. Once again you have told us a new way of learning. I quite liked it. For this. I do thank you, as often is the less

    Whatever you write us he is always good for us

    In the words of my mouth less. More than that I can not speak to tell you once again, thanks

  23. uthman saheed :

    To become an expert in copy writing, we just have to keep on learning. Learning from experts is one of the best suggestions I just read here. Thanks.

  24. Hi there Neil,

    I am very new to SEO, and I can see that you are an expert on this field. They way you transmit the message is so unique and easy to get in my mind.

    Regards,

    Joe Smith

  25. Hi Neil,

    I have a question, in general types of article we can manage well, by getting the headings, using or keywords everywhere. But when it comes to writing “HOW TO” articles, what are your suggestions.

    Waiting for your reply.

  26. Healthy Fit Care :

    The information you shared is very excellent and i really enjoyed your article

  27. Nathan Stadler :

    I can honestly say that I’m just a writer, not a true copywriter. Though I inspire to be a good copywriter, I find myself stuck on tip 4, research and never get to tip 2, practice.

  28. Prem krishnan :

    Hi Neil,

    I would like to know from you regarding a topic not relating to this blog.

    Today I need a support from you regarding one of my online eduction website. My team is planning to launch an online education platform this feb 1st week. I have started the fb page in November and i’ve got quiet a good followers till now (around 10k+) . My product is Online PSC Coaching, where we give online video classes for PSC exam in Kerala, India. So I bought the onlinepsccoaching.com domain also considering the keyword.

    So my issue is that when i searched fb with this keyword, there are already pages with the same name online psc coaching(All for psc exams but not providing video classes). Also one with more than followers than my page. So i am in a bit confusion thinking if I need to change my brand name/page name/domain name. the problem is that i have completed around 90% videos production works with the Online PSC Coaching logo and brand name in them.

    What would be your advise on this mate. Please help…!!

  29. Hello Dear Neil
    I am always impressed by your writing. But, today I am very much delighted with getting this article regarding the improvement of writing.

    In fact, recently I’ve been searching such a resourceful write-up. I am working to run an affiliate site and trying to write for this niche site on a regular basis. You’ve understood that I am not so good in English. So, I need your advice in this regard.

    However, I would like to know one thing from you that is the using of software or tools for correcting the error of the spelling and grammar is the right technique. If not, how can I improve (for more right and valuable writing) and, if yes, could you suggest me the right one?

    My current niche site is;
    http://www.moppingrobot.com

    Thanks for your useful and enthusiastic article.

  30. Oz Biz Search :

    Very impressive!
    If you want to become a successful writer then you must need a creative mind and open mind. Now a days copy write is a big problem and its a kind of crime.

  31. Saint Valentine :

    Well Said “If your headline isn’t captivating, very few readers will make it to your call to action (CTA).”

  32. This is my 7th Article today on better writing and Believe me, this single article has all the attributes which those 6 articles had. This 1 Article is equal to those 6 articles.
    Neil, you nailed it.
    Thank You

  33. This will help me a lot and after a lot of gap, there was a post regarding content rather than backlinks.
    Thanks & All the best for future

  34. Vick Strizheus :

    Thanks for sharing nice point to write quality content for SEO blogging.

  35. Hi Neil,

    Great Article! Thank you very much.

  36. NCAME Franchise :

    Thanks & All the best for future

  37. Diseño Páginas Web Salamanca :

    Very interesting post!
    The difference between a writer and a copywriter is perfectly explained.
    Thank you.

  38. Great post. it is step by step process. The post helps me alot.

  39. Adithya Shetty :

    Hi Neil,

    As always, very informative post! Studying the psychology behind purchasing decisions is probably the best advice to improve our copywriting skills.

    Thanks for sharing!

  40. Sys tech Connect :

    Great post Neil! it is step by step process. The post helps me alot.

    Thank You

  41. A really great insight, and nice tips there. Will be implementing them surely to get and improve my wrtigin as well. And I hope it leads to bring in more business. 🙂

  42. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your post!

    I just read and these tips have helped me get things rolling in my business. I might not publish content everyday but I do write every day. From doing this I have seen my writing not only improve but I am getting great feedback from others in my circles 🙂

    One tip I found that has helped me get writing. When I started it was my least favorite task. I used to speak and record.

    1. Talk about your topic and record yourself. I look at a picture of a friend just to help get the tone I’m after.

    2. Record each sub topic seperately. You never know what you will think when you write it so doing this saves you having to find parts in an audio recording. I have transcribed a whole post only to realize I needed to be more in depth in parts.

    If I had done subtopic at a time I could have sorted the problem straight away.

    3. Once you record transcribe into an article. Just tidy it up and make it pretty.

    This helped me get in the zone with writing.

    Once you are in the zone just practice and practice and follow your tips of course.

    Thanks again
    Joe

    • Google voice recorder is actually a great tip to get things down before you start to edit. Appreciate the comment, Joe.

  43. Do you get so much of time to write the content by yourself? I thought you must be having a VA who does all the writing for you. By the way, congrats on completing ten years of blogging.

  44. I’m using tip #2 currently on my blog and Congrats on completing 10 years of blogging Neil, you are an inspiration.

  45. Short and sweet. I like your long posts, but I find it easier to read small ones.

  46. Congrats for your 10 years and ur blog helped me to improve my content. Thanks to you Neil

  47. I received you email in Spam folder. Why?

  48. appvn download :

    Thank you for sharing this information, this is really helpful for the new bloggers like us. The way you are presenting is awesome and we hope these techniques will really help us.

  49. I like your long posts..thanks for sharing neil

  50. Gerald Umeh (onlinehustle.com.ng) :

    nice one bro.
    my boss pointed me to this blog just yesterday and i am most grateful
    i just published a post this morning and the response has been great because i used some of the techniques you mentioned here.
    Thanks a lot Neil

  51. I cannot emphasize enough the power of psychology for persuasion. And not in the ways people think. You can write in ways which are cognitively easier to handle and easier to grasp.

    I’m actually taking a turn when it comes to this. With all the debate around fake news, I want to use logic and psychology to reduce errors in the arguments that I make. I think better arguments will also perform better. They would be more convincing. So I have to avoid those logical fallacies that can creep in.

    Well, that’s my take on things.

  52. Alan @ metaldetectoboss :

    Superb, Too much knowledge and creativity in this post.
    Thanks for providing great knowledge.

  53. Jennypher Doan :

    I don’t even know where to start – the information you share is specific, useful, and easy to read. I’ve shortened my learning curve by months reading your articles which has allowed me to start making an immediate impact in my new role. I’m curious what your typical schedule is like – how do you find time to be such a prolific writer as well as respond to each and every comment? If you’ve written a post on this topic, I’d love to read it. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and helping so many people in the process!

  54. I start blogs a few months ago. I hope that after reading 8 techniques of your blog I improve own writing skills in future. Thanks for sharing a great knowledge with whole people.

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