How to Improve Your Copywriting Skills: 5 Books to Start
Wondering how to improve your copywriting skills is a natural curiosity of all writers. If you’re in the world of copywriting already or are thinking of starting a career as a copywriter, you’re not alone. This line of work is expanding rapidly, including freelance copywriters, writers working with agencies, and writers starting their own businesses. You can truly make your career your own by specializing in a field you’re passionate about or taking on new projects to expand your skillset and put a little extra money in your pocket.
There are lots of perks to copywriting, especially if you prefer to work from home. You can be based nearly wherever you please, you can often set your own schedule, and you can make a difference by helping to build brands’ marketing campaigns or social media presence. Plus, there are countless forms of copy for you to dive into, helping you become a respected copywriting expert.
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Whether you’re already in the field (perhaps you’re one of the 131,000 copywriters in the United States) or not, there’s always room to improve your writing. If you’re wondering how to improve your copywriting skills, reading some of the industry’s most trusted resources is a good place to start. Here are five books we recommend to copywriters looking to hone their skills.
Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
This title was first published in 1995, and there’s a reason it’s often named among the best books on writing. Author Anne Lamott offers a unique balance between writing tips (many of which are applicable to both fiction and non-fiction writing) and personal anecdotes from her younger days.
You’ll find sections such as, “Getting Started,” “Short Assignments,” “Writer’s Block,” “Publication,” and even, “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Multiple editions of this book have been published over the years, so you should have no trouble purchasing it online or finding it at your local library.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
Made to Stick, first published in 2006, provides tips that can not only be applied to your writing but to communication in general. This book, as the subtitle explains, tries to explain why some ideas stick in our minds while others will travel in one ear and out the other. If you want to know how to improve your copywriting skills, these principles are vital.
In this book, you can find key principles to integrate into your writing, helping a brand’s message to “stick” in the minds of readers and making your copy more effective. But you can also take these lessons and apply them to your communication with others, ensuring they remember you (particularly helpful when you’re networking).
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
If you asked someone to name the five most famous authors of our time, chances are that Stephen King would make the list. King has produced more than 60 novels and 200 short stories throughout his continuing career, and On Writing is an incredible resource for writers of all kinds. Reading this memoir is key if you’re wondering how to improve your copywriting skills.
In On Writing, King reflects on his life and gives advice in sections like, “C.V.,” “Toolbox,” “What Writing Is,” “On Writing,” and “On Living: A Postscript.” You’ll find a wide range of tips for both fiction and non-fiction writing and should be able to easily find this book at any library or bookstore.
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters by Joseph Sugarman
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook is certainly different than the books we’ve talked about so far, but it’s a necessary addition to this list. The book dates back to 2006 but holds principles that are still relevant over a decade later. Whether you’re new to copywriting or have been in the game for a while, this guide has plenty to offer.
Offering both solidified guidelines and personal advice, Sugarman helps writers get to the core of what their copy should be. Tips and exercises in this book can help you create more enticing copy that leads to higher conversions. This book may be the most straightforward on this list, but it’s a key addition to any copywriter’s shelf.
Copywriting: Successful Writing for Design Advertising and Marketing by Mark Shaw
When you’re learning how to improve your copywriting skills, you’ll need lots of knowledge about various industries and different types of copy. Copywriting is an excellent resource that spans many forms of commercial writing and all the most in-demand industries for more niche copywriters.
One of the unique aspects of this book is the examples. Throughout this guide, you’ll find major campaigns from real brands, along with explanations of what made them so successful. You can also read interviews with leading industry talents from the United States and the United Kingdom. Although the book was first published in 2009, it remains as relevant now as it was at the time of its release.
Considering a Copywriting Career? Join WriterArmy
Reading consistently is one of the most common pieces of advice when you ask how to improve your copywriting skills. While reading books of any genre will help you improve, you’ll also make strides by reading copywriting-specific books like the five we mentioned here.
Whether you’re already established in copywriting or are looking for your first agency position, WriterArmy would love to hear from you! We employ a passionate and talented team of copywriters from across the United States and Canada. Your position will come with flexible hours, nearly unlimited work potential, and a company that wants to see you improve and grow in your career.
Get in touch with WriterArmy today or visit our Careers page to learn more about joining the WriterArmy team.