As copywriters, we use a lot of tools. Most of them are online tools. We use apps for creating contracts, sending invoices, websites for royalty-free pictures, online tools to help us find email addresses, calendars, Zoom, etc. The list goes on.
But some of my favorite tools to use are on good old fashioned paper. That’s right, we’re talking post-its, planners, and notebooks of all sizes.
Here are seven different paper tools copywriters can use to prove that notebooks and paper products are the top tools in the writing process.
1. Post-it Notes
Post-its are by far one of the most helpful tools a copywriter can use. I have post-its everywhere.
There are post-its on my wall with mantras and mindset tips so that I can look at them when I need a reminder to keep going.
I have post-its marking pages in notebooks and books with notes on them to remember what it is I’m marking.
Post-its with questions I like to ask clients and a list of my prices are stuck to my computer so they’re on hand when I’m on a client call.
I also use post-it’s when I’m researching potential clients. I often write out the Google searches I do on a client and mark what page they show up on so that I can read back to the client on a call how they’re ranking in Google. It’s really helpful.
I have different color post-its for different things. Right now I’m in an orange and green phase, but I’ve got some old purple and blue ones from a few months ago. And I have one post-it that has a logo on it at the top that I use for special things I want to remember.
Post-it notes are an underrated tool for copywriters to use because they allow you to organize and reorganize thoughts. Never underestimate the power of post-it notes.
I have three different calendars. One is a whiteboard I keep at the bottom of the stairs that is color-coded. One is my Google calendar that is also color-coded. The other is my paper planner.
I love my planner. It has a monthly calendar, with tabs, but then it also breaks the month down week by week into days that have seven lines each. I use these spaces for writing out my daily to-do list.
I love my planner because it’s a tangible thing I can write in, even though I have calendars saved elsewhere. The planner allows me to write out everything I need to do that day and that week, which helps me organize my thoughts and my days.
3. Client Call Notebooks
I have a special notebook just for client calls. Each call gets its own set of pages, with post-its and extra notes after the call. I usually write out at the top of the page all the things I noticed about the prospective client’s website, I’ve got a post-it note on the opposite page with the Google searches I did, and I have a list of questions I’d like to ask.
When I’m on the call I take down notes of the major points the client is making, but it’s afterwards when I go back and review the recorded call that I make the rest of the notes. I also write notes for upcoming projects with that client.
This notebook is special because it’s only for clients and prospective clients. I urge all copywriters to have a notebook like this because it keeps the client information separate from all the rest of the stuff you’ve got written down and strewn about on your desk.
4. Composition Notebook
I use a composition notebook for continuing education notes. I’m always watching YouTube videos, taking online courses and reading about copywriting. My composition notebook is the perfect place to keep that information.
Here’s a tip: leave the first couple of pages blank and make a table of contents so that you can easily find your notes later. I learned that from copywriter Ashley Gainer and it’s been a game-changer for me.
I also have post-its and post-it flags designating specific pages and sections that I want to remember and can find easily. But that table of contents is key.
5. Legal Pad and Loose-Leaf Paper
When I’m looking up prospective clients to reach out to, there’s often a lot of information that I need to remember. Usually, it’s their name, their website, their email address, the name of their business if it’s different from their name and where they’re located.
I keep all this information in a spreadsheet. I don’t like to use a notebook for these searches because I just need paper to write things down really quickly that I don’t necessarily need to save. Loose-leaf paper and legal pads are great for this type of thing.
I have several journals. I keep one by my bed so that the first I do when I wake up is free-write in my morning journal. This is a great way to jump-start my day and get the juices flowing.
Free-writing is something I highly recommend for all copywriters, especially first thing in the morning. It clears the cobwebs and gets you writing.
I also have a journal for affirmations. It’s where I write my goals and affirmations to myself. I do my mindset work mostly in this journal, choosing affirmations to repeat to myself throughout the day.
Additionally, I have a journal I keep on me at all times. It’s small and can easily fit in my purse. I write all my ideas for blogs there. I like to have a small one that’s easily portable because I have it on hand for whenever inspiration strikes me, rather than having to resort to the notes section on my phone.
7. Gratitude Journal
Technically this falls under journals, but I have a very specific gratitude journal that I also write in every morning.
Starting the day with gratitude and reminding myself of all that I’m thankful for and how blessed I am is another great way to get ready for the day.
Practicing gratitude goes hand-in-hand with affirmations to get me in the right mindset for my workday. It reminds me of all I have and all I’m striving towards. Gratitude is something I’ve been practicing for a while now and I love having a special notebook just for gratitude.
My husband bought me a gratitude notebook for Christmas and it has inspirational quotes in it and prompts to write about what you’re grateful for peppered throughout the book. I absolutely love it.
Putting Your Paper to Good Copywriting Use
Every example that I’ve given you is a tool I use myself every day. Copywriters have lots of tools that are essential and helpful as we go about our busy days. But at the end of the day, my paper products are some of my most precious tools.
So this one’s for all my fellow copywriters out there- go out and get yourself some notebooks! Buy that jumbo pack of post-its. Find some journals you like. Practice gratitude, write affirmations and work on your mindset. Don’t forget about the power of writing things down.