Learning home made copywriting

Home made space invaders on paper So you two startuppers have technical skills, a great idea, maybe even a nice logo, and have the means to survive without sales for six months. So you have all you need to create your product and launch your startup?

This is what we believed, and it has been a long journey to realize how wrong we were. In your startup you will need a lot more skills or “hats” to succeed. For example, you need to do SEO on your product presentation site, you need to write license agreements for your software, you need to create and maintain a consistent design, you need to present your plans to potential funders, you need to interview and select workers, you need to have a way to test the application both functionally and on end users, and so on.

A review of the range of activities needed can be found in The Web Startup Success Guide, which I also reviewed here. I have been focusing recently on a skill that underlies many of the needed “hats”: this skill which your startup absolutely needs is


usually referred to simply by “copy”. Wikipedia defines copywriting as

Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion or idea.

Now, there is an apparently simple way for a startup to compensate the lack of internal skills: hire consultants. What is sometimes missed in this “solution” is that most of the needs listed before are not the problems of a day: you have to create copy material almost every day of your startup activity. Also consider that the value of your product may be in details that get added day by day, and there must be a close collaboration between production and copywriting to communicate effectively to the users / visitors / buyers. Considering also that as startuppers you are likely a group of creative people, you may opt for creating contents yourselves! Many – most? – successful startups do that, cultivating a blog, site, tweets and more. And I suspect that spelling out in clear writing the benefits of your product may also help the development of it.

I took notes while studying the literature and introductions to copy, and extracted from there some notes in the form of blog posts. I hope that can be of help to others that are trying to learn copy for their startup.

A note about the “startup” term: I use “startup” more to mean an attitude, or even state of mind, that even software houses which strictly speaking are not startups may assume. In particular in the European Union, creating a new software product and creating new companies may be activities that do not coincide, given the complexity of setting up a company.

These two posts are directly about writing:

Improving the writing style of technical blog posts (part one)

A checklist for improving the writing style of technical blog posts (part two)

and I will talk about this theme at the forthcoming Developers in Florence 01 meeting.

This is about home page composition:

Get visitors to read and remember your home page – the principles

Get visitors to read and remember your home page – applications

and as I will talk about the latest two at the forthcoming Better Software conference, I am expanding the information there with new experiences – will publish an update blog post.

Good luck with your copywriting!

2 Responses to “Learning home made copywriting”
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  1. […] already wrote about my efforts in Learning home made copywriting. The basic problem for copywriting is that you have to have something to say, and have enough […]

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