Copywriting is tried by many but mastered by few. As long as you have good writing skills and a decent grasp of spelling and grammar, you have the basic tools you need to become a copywriter. If you’re ready to take it further, check out these exercises you can practise to hone your skills and become a master copywriter.
Set a timer
A basic, but a goodie. One of the best copywriting exercises is to set a timer and see how much content you can produce on a given subject matter. Timers help to banish writer’s block, keep procrastination at bay and improve productivity, whether you’re working on a paid job or your blog.
Ten-minute timers will spur you into action and could help you create some of the most lively content of your career. Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!
Swap long words for short ones
If you can swap a long word for a shorter one, ALWAYS do. Simple is best, and search engines and readers hate longer words for good reason.
No matter how technical the product or service is, most of my briefs involve a client asking me to explain what they do in “layman’s terms”.
Once you get into the habit of swapping long words for shorter ones, it’s one of the most useful copywriting exercises out there.
Switch features for benefits
One of the most beneficial copywriting exercises you can do is to read through your content and switch all the features for benefits.
Customers don’t care about the latest technology used to make their vacuum cleaner; they care how much dog hair it will clean up first time.
Skincare lovers are unlikely to understand why all of the ingredients you’ve mentioned are good for them, but they need to know if your client’s face scrub will clear their pores and make their skin glow.
A campsite owner doesn’t need to know about the cutting-edge technology used to manufacture a septic tank; they need to know it will collect and treat waste efficiently, save them money and not be noisy or smelly.
When you turn each sentence around to promote the benefits to the end-user, your copywriting becomes instantly more appealing and likely to convert.
Eddie Shleyner of VeryGoodCopy has a free micro-course on “Master Fascinations” designed to help you improve your copywriting skills.
The idea of a fascination is a headline or sentence so intriguing or appealing to the reader they can’t help but read on, click or turn the page. In his genius Google Doc on the subject, Eddie urges copywriters to write out a series of famously successful fascinations by hand, to embed the concept into your mind and help you to write your own.
Take out negatives
Nobody likes a Negative Nancy. When practising your copywriting skills, a useful exercise is to take out all the negatives and turn them into positives, like a content writing Pollyanna.
Instead of detailing how a service or product can prevent stress or avoid costly mistakes, switch it around and highlight how carefree or successful your target customer will be when they use it.
Negative words create bad vibes, even if you’re using them to underline a benefit. I was once advised never to say “no problem” in an email, as it uses two negative words to communicate a positive and could subconsciously plant a seed of doubt. While that may be taking it to the extreme, it stuck with me.
Facebook’s algorithm dislikes negative words, so using positive vocab is especially good practice for social media posts and ads, but should generally be adopted across all kinds of copywriting.
Save copywriting examples
Whenever you see a fantastic piece of copywriting, save it to your phone, laptop or Pinterest so you can delve into your archives for inspiration when practising your content writing.
If it makes you laugh, click, share or buy, it’s probably featured some top copywriting – so keep a record of it and learn from the best.
I have a Pinterest board full of fabulous adverts from ad copywriting giants, and I love to browse it for motivation, so find a way of saving your faves and use them wisely.
Write multiple headlines
Clients often ask me for a few different headline options when writing content for their website, brochure or blog.
And while the first time this happened, I may have wondered why one wasn’t good enough, I soon realised the benefit of writing several headline alternatives.
Writing a single headline feels tough, but once you write a few, the words start to flow, and ideas keep coming. Usually, you’ll find it challenging to narrow it down to a set number, and you’ll invariably go back to the first one you wrote and change it.
By writing multiple headline options, you’re fine-tuning your title copywriting skills, as well as working efficiently to get the best title for you or your client.
I find copywriting is a lot like exercise. When I write every day, the words and ideas flow. If I take a few days off, I question myself and struggle to get started when I return to the keyboard.
Therefore, writing every day is an effective copywriting exercise to keep improving and mastering your craft.
If you don’t have client work to do, add regular articles to your blog or schedule social posts. Alternatively, try to practise copy working – the art of writing out other people’s content to absorb it and learn from it, much like the fascinations exercise mentioned earlier.
Writing content to a specific word count can be challenging at first, so getting into the habit of editing down text to shorter lengths is an excellent way to improve your content writing.
You can do this one of two ways.
Either go back to a piece of copywriting you wrote and try to reduce the word count by half, keeping the message and purpose intact.
Or, practise with someone else’s content. Copy and paste some blogs from Medium, or someone’s Wikipedia page – anywhere you can find a chunk of content to get to work on.
By regularly practising this extreme editing challenge, you’ll become a ruthless word slashing pro in no time.
Rewrite other people’s content
An excellent copywriting exercise is to find some content and rewrite it. It can be anything – Google something and rewrite the top ads, read a shampoo bottle and see if you can phrase it better, or transcribe a TV ad script and write your own version of it.
By reading and rewriting existing examples of copywriting, you’ll glean tactics on how other people write and help to establish and develop your own style of writing.
Why practise copywriting exercises?
Hopefully, these copywriting exercises will help you to improve your writing skills, build your confidence and lead to securing paid work as a copywriter.
Think of your copywriting as a muscle you need to flex regularly to make it stronger a
If you have any more, please share them!