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There are millions of blog posts, web copy, product descriptions, emails, and ads waiting to be written by a copywriter just like you.

Are you ready to deliver?

Learning how to be an effective copywriter can lead to a rewarding career for a hardworking creative. More and more marketing strategies depend on it.

The great thing about copywriting is that it doesn’t discriminate based on age, status, location, college degrees, or credentials. That being said, however, there are important points about copywriting that you have to consider.

If by the end of this article you feel that you’re not ready for copywriting, don’t worry. There are many other online opportunities you could explore instead.

1. Copywriters Have to Be Professional

Many new copywriters are shocked to discover that the job doesn’t involve sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere, writing about the sunsets, museums, and exotic food.

Copywriting is not about writing pretty sentences. You have to approach it with diligence and professionalism, just like you would any other job.

To do this you need:

This is what great copywriters think about every time they sit down to write:

elements of copywriters infographic
Image from: ABC Copywriting

If you can commit enough hours of practice and study, you too can become a great copywriter. 

2. Copywriting is Competitive

“There are no dull subjects. Only dull writers.”
H.L. Mencken

Growing demand and a low barrier to entry make the competition for copywriting jobs quite stiff.

You have to put yourself out there, grab potential clients’ attention, and show them what you’re capable of.

Here are a few ideas to do this:

  • Write spec samples if you don’t have a portfolio. Spec samples help to distinguish you from the competition, in addition to showing the client what you can do. 
  • Write as much as you can about the things you’re interested in. Publish it on a blog or on social media for easy sharing. 
  • All great writers read. Read everything you can, and read about copywriting.
  • Sign up on online job boards for countless opportunities and resources.
  • Apply to ad agencies, and radio and TV stations.
  • Start telling everybody you are a writer, especially online. 
  • Clean up your social media accounts. Everything you do online is a resume. 
  • Ask for referrals.
  • Research the companies you’re applying for to learn more about their collaboration style. 
  • Offer competitive rates at first to build your portfolio.
  • Expect a lot of failed interviews. Don’t let rejection stop you from writing. 

Need a little inspiration? Take a look at how this copywriter’s application landed him the ultimate job:

3. Copywriters Produce High-Quality Work

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
Stephen King

Q. What does high-quality copywriting really look like?

a) It inspires, entertains and/or informs.
b) It gives a sense of drama, beauty, and style.
c) It’s a marketing tool used to sell a product, a service, or even just an idea.
d) All of the above

If you answered (d), you’re in the money.

If you answered any of the others, you’re not wrong either. Sometimes, all you need is basic information about the pros and cons of a product.

Good research enables a copywriter to form a link between the reader (you) and the story they’re trying to sell you. Just like this article is trying to do right now. Wink.

Just be sure that your copywriting has the following elements:

  • Good grammar and formatting.
  • Unique, specific content.
  • Emotional triggers.
  • Simple language.
  • Proves product value.
  • Relevant CTAs.
  • Compelling offers.

Learn more about what it means to produce high-quality work before diving into a copywriting career.

4. Copywriters Manage Their Time

It took David Ogilvy, the ‘Father of Advertising’, three weeks of research to come up with this winning headline for a Rolls-Royce ad:

Copywriters spend a lot of time and energy looking for the devil in the details. This requires getting good at scheduling projects and negotiating deadlines.

Can you manage your time effectively?

The time it takes to brainstorm, research, outline, and edit is what produces outstanding copy – not the number of hours you spend typing. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your articles certainly won’t be written as fast.

Just because you don’t have a regular 9-5, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t establish a consistent work routine. Block out slots of time during your week to do deep work (but don’t forget to schedule breaks and mealtimes!).

5. Copywriters Always Review Their Work

Don’t take feedback personally– it’s part and parcel of producing high-quality work.

Even great designers do several rounds of revisions before the final submission. As a copywriter, you have to think in the same way.

There are a few things you can do to ease this process; developing a shared language of success is the first step. Get in alignment with your client early in the process by understanding their goals, expectations, target audience, CTAs, timelines, etc. 

6. Copywriters Have to Solve Business Problems

It’s no longer enough to write well. You have to demonstrate your effectiveness as a copywriter or risk being wiped out by the competition.

Data wins every day of the week, especially in the hiring process. Demonstrate that you can write powerful, effective copy that increases client conversions, blog subscribers and brand awareness for your client.

Imagine being able to say, “My blog posts helped client X get a Y% increase in lead inquiries within a Z time period.”

Wouldn’t that look good on your record?

Analyzing your performance will help you chart your progress and identify key areas for improvement based on something measurable. Ever heard of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

A KPI could be as simple as the number of high-quality articles you can write each month or the ability to convert readers into leads.

Here are a few metrics you could use:

  • Average views since publishing.
  • Social shares and comments.
  • Content conversions.
  • SEO rankings.

If you’re a trustworthy partner, it shouldn’t be a problem for your client to share this information with you. Tracking your performance is as important for them as it is for you.

Get savvy with analytics and integrate it into your copywriting strategy.

Bonus Tips

  • Learn about all the relevant tools and concepts in your ecosystem, e.g. WordPress, Google Analytics, SEO, and social media marketing.
  • Visual storytelling is always a plus.
  • Form a network of fellow copywriters to collaborate with.

Small Revolution has a buzzing community of online professionals just like you! Learn what it takes to be a world-class copywriter and avoid all the pitfalls that cost you precious time and money. Join us today!

Photo by pressfoto / CC BY

Katrina McKinnon
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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