A Beginner’s Guide to Copywriting
The good news about becoming a copywriter is that you can start at anytime and at any stage of your life. Whether you’re just starting out, changing careers mid-life or aren’t ready to retire yet, copywriting provides options.
And, you can do copywriting from anywhere – a corporate office, your home, on the beach, in a park, on the subway, waiting for an appointment, or at the doctor’s office. You can even write in the bathroom if you really want to. Wherever inspiration strikes!
Just don’t write while driving because that’s dangerous. But voice recognition is great, and I’ve been known to give a few voice notes to jot down while I’m waiting at a stop light.
A good copywriter is a multi-tasker and can write anywhere, anytime. If an idea wakes you up at 3am, then get up and write about it. You don’t even have to get out of bed, just grab your laptop or smart phone and start typing.
If you think you’ve got what it takes – chances are you probably do!
Here is a beginner’s guide to copywriting and 10 tips to help you officially get started.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #1: Make Sure You Have What it Takes
If you didn’t get an A in high school or college English that’s ok. Copywriting is not graded for perfect grammar and punctuation, but your writing does need to make an impact. Copywriting is basically just using words to tell a story. The end goal is to convince the reader to take action and buy whatever it is that you’re writing about. Here are three key skills all beginning copywriters should possess:
Guide to Copywriting #2: Determine Your Copywriter Type
Do you want to work for a company or freelance? There are pros and cons to each, and it comes down to a personal choice.
Working as a corporate copywriter comes with benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off and a steady income. Typically, copywriters work in the advertising or marketing department and work on various projects.
A freelance copywriter or independent contractor serves as their own boss, has a flexible schedule and controls workflow. Benefits do not come with freelancing and copywriters are on their own to find health insurance, manage income, control expenses and fund retirement plans. Private health insurance can be costly if you can’t join a spouse’s plan so weighing the pros and cons is a necessary first step before you decide on your copywriter type.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #3: Identify Your Copywriting Strengths
The world of copywriting is vast and is needed at all levels and in different industries so there is no shortage of work. Because it’s so varied, it never gets boring. Identifying key strengths can help propel your copywriting career forward.
As a copywriter, you can control the types of projects you work on so determine your areas of focus. Is it radio and tv copy, print ads, direct mail, social media ads and posts, web content, blogs, jingles, email blasts, newsletters, landing pages, FAQs, resumes, cover letters, Podcast scripts and the list could go on and on?
Guide to Copywriting Tip #4: Let Your Brain Become a Sponge
The copywriter brain never stops. While listening to the radio, watching TV, searching the Internet or reading through social media posts, you should always be looking for examples of good copywriting that will inspire you later. Always stay in learning mode and stay up to date with what is working, and which companies are successful. There is a ton of information out there and much of it’s free so take advantage. Sign up for copywriting courses and always keep that copywriting brain active. There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to copywriting. You never know when that knowledge will turn into a great piece of copy for a client.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #5: Become an Excellent Communicator
Don’t hide behind your words. Public speaking may not be your thing and that’s ok, but you need to get the word out and let people know that you are breaking into copywriting and need their help. Whether it be family members, friends, former co-workers, even your high school English teacher, let people know that you’re ready for business. You never know where copywriting business may come from and for a beginning copywriter it’s important to get the word out so you can start growing your business.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #6: Get as Much Experience as Possible
One major hurdle with copywriting for beginners is gaining experience. You need to find someone to take a chance on you. It just takes that first client and that is how many copywriters get their start. If you don’t have existing samples, then make up a fictitious company or find one of your favorite corporations and just start writing for them. Improve their web content, re-do their social media posts, write a 30-second TV spot. These are examples and serve as building blocks that you can show potential clients that you have the skills needed to write for them.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #7: Create a Copywriting Network
With many things in life, it’s not what you know, but who you know. And, copywriting is no exception. It’s important to connect with other copywriters, businesses, instructors and anyone in the copywriting world to find out what’s working for them and how you can make it work for you. Join networking groups to meet others like you and use best practices to help you grow from a beginning copywriter to an expert.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #8: Promote Your Skills
If you don’t promote yourself, no one will know you’re out there. So, don’t be shy. Be proud of who you are as a copywriter and what you can do. It’s important to create a website so people can find you and you can showcase your portfolio online and prove your skills. Social media is another great way to promote yourself and post content and snippets of your work to show the world that you have what it takes.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #9: Stay Organized and Develop a System
Getting organized right from the start is an important step for any beginning copywriter. It can get busy quickly and juggling multiple projects for various clients is key, especially to make sure you stay on deadline. Apps like Click-Up and Trello are great tools to keep track of multiple projects at once.
A copywriting calendar is crucial to stay on target and allocate your time. Copywriting is one of those things where time can easily slip away. Set timers and carve time out for each project to make sure you’re allocating enough time while staying profitable.
Guide to Copywriting Tip #10: Don’t be Afraid
Starting anything new can be frightening especially if you’re stepping away from a successful career to pursue a dream of copywriting. Joining a copywriting community, like Copywriter Brain will help because you’ll find others just like you. A strong support system, positive comments from fellow copywriters and success stories will help you gain confidence. A confident writer is full of ideas and inspiration and will have much success so don’t be afraid and just get started.
If you are looking for more tips on how to get started check out this article.
Guide to Copywriting Bonus Tip: Find a Copywriting Guide and Mentor
Many years ago, I was in the same position that you are now – I was a beginning copywriter teetering on the edge of making a life and career altering decision. But, I did it and I’ve never been happier with the life that copywriting has allowed me to create.
My name is Michael Giannulis and one of my missions in life is to help copywriters get their start, grow their business and multiply success. I’d love to invite you to our Copywriter Brain community to learn more about you and connect you to other copywriters. Please join us and also check out my new online course to start your journey and check out these helpful resources to help you break into copywriting today!