You haven’t seen THIS copywriting list on Buzzfeed

Journalists don't necessarily make good copywriters. I know - I was one. I wanted to share some tips and tricks I learned on Jackie Barrie’s copywriting course for freelance journalists.

Apologies for the headline.

I grabbed it from Portent’s strangely addictive content idea generator, something I learned about on Jackie’s course.

Jackie is a copywriter and author. She also travels the world, training recruiters to write better job ads, and journalists to add copywriting to their skill set.

1.) Don’t write like a journalist

Journalistic language is about getting to the point, unless you’re the New York Times, in which case it’s about seeing if you can fit a Russian novel into your bloody lede.

Either way, it can be dull.

(The exception is tabloid subeditors, who are famous within the industry for their witty wordplay.)

2.) “Writing without waffle”

The words Jackie lives by.

Finding an engaging way to sell brands, products and services is part of the game. It’s about more than just creativity - it also requires a straight-talking attitude and an ability to quickly understand and summarise complex topics. And ultimately, to sell stuff.

In her own words:

“Most people are too close to their own business to be able to write clearly about it.”

3.) “It is difficult to produce good creative work without a good creative brief.”

In other words, set homework for your client. This is your job, not theirs. Anyone who has ever tried to write copy after receiving an incoherent brief will understand the value of this conversation.

“I ask at least 20 discovery questions early on in the process,” Jackie says.

She starts by finding out exactly what the business does, who their clients are, who their competitors are, and why anyone should buy from them.

The reason this is important, she says, is that it helps her understand her client’s needs as well as ensuring that both parties are invested in the process.

4.) The power lies with the reader