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How to Become a Copywriter: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: May 1, 2023

and a fine one at that.


Are you a wordsmith at heart? Do your writing skills shine brighter than a Hollywood star? Maybe it's time to channel your inner Don Draper and pursue a career in copywriting. But where do you start? How do you break into the industry? We’ll cover all that and more in this step-by-step guide to becoming a copywriter.

Whether you need content for your blog, social media posts, emails, or other online platforms, learning how to write compelling copy will help you reach your audience and get them to react (key in copywriting).

But copywriting is also one of those rare skill sets that is both accessible and (potentially) highly lucrative. Why is that? - you might ask.

A few things come to mind:

  • Businesses need copywriters for a million things nowadays: social media, email marketing, websites, sales landing pages, microsites for certain campaigns and so so many more.

  • Good copywriters can easily increase their fares regularly depending on what portfolio they have and how much demand there is.

  • Most copywriters today work remotely and that’s not going to change anytime soon

  • Copywriters don’t need extensive formal training or education but they do need to constantly stay up to date with trends. Don’t get me wrong, you need to not only know the theory but also put it into practice in the most ingenious and effective way.

Understanding the role of a copywriter

Before diving into the world of copywriting, it's essential to understand what this profession entails. In a nutshell, a copywriter is responsible for writing words that persuade customers to buy a product or service. Copywriters can be found in advertising agencies, marketing departments, or as freelancers. Their primary goal is to craft messages that resonate with the target audience and drive sales.

Copywriting is a challenging profession that requires a combination of creativity, marketing skills, and a deep understanding of human psychology. A copywriter must be able to connect with their audience on an emotional level and persuade them to take action. Whether it's buying a product, signing up for a service, or making a donation, a copywriter's words can make all the difference.

In a nutshell, when you read a book, that piece of content was written by the author but when you read any type of written message from a business, organization or brand, you are reading the work of a copywriter.

A copywriter writes persuasive texts that determine somebody to do something.

What does a copywriter actually do?

Copywriters write product descriptions, website copy, social media posts, taglines, slogans, and more. They research their client's target audience to determine what words will resonate best. They often work with creative directors, art directors, and account executives to ensure that their copy aligns with the overall marketing strategy.

One of the most critical aspects of a copywriter's job is to understand the client's brand and tone of voice. A copywriter must be able to write in a way that reflects the brand's values and personality. For example, a luxury brand's copy should be elegant and sophisticated, while a youth-oriented brand's copy should be fun and engaging.

Basically, you never get bored.

Skills Required for a Copywriter

If you want to become a successful copywriter, you need to have excellent writing skills, a keen eye for detail, and a creative approach to problem-solving. You must be comfortable collaborating with others and taking feedback constructively. It would also help if you had a deep understanding of the principles of marketing and how to connect with an audience.

Copywriting is a highly competitive field, and it's essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. A successful copywriter must be willing to learn and adapt to new technologies and platforms.

How To Become A Freelance Copywriter

I’d get started with these 5 steps:

  1. Learn the basics of persuasive writing, study from the best, invest in trainings and see how other copywriters think (and also, how they built their business)

  2. Learn how to write great texts for these 5 types of copy: headlines, website, sales landing page, sales email, social media ads and video script

  3. Land your first few clients by creating a portfolio made of some samples you write. Don’t charge too much at first but don’t ask for too little because it cheapens your personal brand (you have one from day 1, don’t think otherwise).

  4. Develop and refine your freelancing process - by trial and error either

  5. Build a stream of recurring leads - this one’s more complex but here are some main ideas:

    1. Post regularly on LinkedIn - build an audience and redirect it to your website

    2. Gather emails and create an email sequence offering your services

    3. Write guest blogs on other sites so you broaden your audience

    4. Regularly write fresh and SEO optimized content on your website

Types of Copywriting Jobs

Copywriters can specialize in various areas of writing, which include print advertising, digital marketing, email marketing, and more. Some copywriters work in-house, while others are freelancers. Freelancing allows for greater flexibility and the ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously. However, it requires strong self-management skills, as you'll need to manage your time and finances independently.

Some copywriters also specialize in specific industries, such as healthcare, finance, or technology. Specializing in a particular industry can be beneficial, as it allows you to develop a deep understanding of the industry's language and jargon. This, in turn, can help you write more compelling copy that resonates with your audience.

To sum it up, copywriting is an exciting and challenging profession that requires a unique combination of skills and expertise. Whether you're just starting out or have been in the industry for years, there's always something new to learn and discover.

Building Your Copywriting Foundation

To become a copywriter, you need to start with the basics. Here are some essential steps to building your copywriting foundation:

Mastering the Basics of Writing

Before you can write persuasive copy, you need to have a solid understanding of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Invest time in reading books on writing and grammar, and take online courses to improve your writing skills. This will help you to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively, making your copy more persuasive and impactful.

One great way to improve your writing skills is to read widely. Reading books, articles, and other types of writing can expose you to different styles and techniques, helping you to develop your own unique voice as a writer.

Learning Copywriting Techniques

Copywriting has several techniques unique to the craft, such as headlines, calls to action, and SEO. Study these techniques and practice implementing them into your writing. Headlines, for example, are crucial to grabbing the reader's attention and encouraging them to read on. Calls to action are essential for motivating the reader to take action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is another important technique to learn as a copywriter. This involves using keywords and other tactics to improve the visibility of your copy in search engine results pages. By mastering these techniques, you can create copy that is both persuasive and effective.

Familiarizing Yourself with Different Writing Styles

Copywriting requires a wide range of writing styles, including persuasive, conversational, and technical. It's crucial to familiarize yourself with different writing styles to match the tone required in each project. For example, if you're writing copy for a luxury brand, you may need to adopt a more formal and sophisticated tone. On the other hand, if you're writing copy for a casual clothing brand, you may want to use a more conversational and friendly tone.

One way to become more familiar with different writing styles is to read examples of copy in different industries and niches. This can help you to identify the nuances of each style and develop your own writing style accordingly.

Overall, building a strong foundation in copywriting requires a combination of technical skills and creative flair. By mastering the basics of writing, learning copywriting techniques, and familiarizing yourself with different writing styles, you can create copy that is both persuasive and engaging.

Developing Your Copywriting Portfolio

As a copywriter, you know that having a strong portfolio is crucial to landing new clients and showcasing your skills. But how do you go about building a portfolio that stands out from the rest? Here are some steps to creating a portfolio that will impress potential clients:

Choosing Your Writing Niche

When it comes to copywriting, having a niche can be incredibly beneficial but it's not a necessity. The good about it is that it allows you to focus on a particular area of expertise and it helps you target clients who need copy in that particular industry. For example, if you have a passion for fashion, you might choose to specialize in writing copy for fashion brands and retailers. Or, if you have a background in healthcare, you might focus on writing copy for medical practices and pharmaceutical companies.

I, personally, haven't gone down this route but I know many successful copywriters that have.

Creating Sample Projects

Once you've chosen your niche, it's time to start building your portfolio. One of the best ways to do this is by creating sample projects that showcase your writing skills. This could include writing mock ads, website copy, social media posts, or any other type of copy that you might create for a client. The key is to demonstrate that you have what it takes to write impactful copy that resonates with your target audience.

When creating sample projects, it's important to think about the types of clients you want to work with. For example, if you're interested in working with startups, you might create sample projects that showcase your ability to write copy for new and innovative products. On the other hand, if you're interested in working with established brands, you might focus on creating sample projects that demonstrate your ability to write copy that aligns with a brand's existing voice and tone.

Showcasing Your Work Online

Once you've created a few sample projects, it's time to start showcasing your work online. This is an excellent way to get your portfolio in front of potential clients and demonstrate your skills as a copywriter.

One of the best ways to showcase your work online is by building a professional website. This should include a portfolio section where you can showcase your best work, as well as an "About Me" page that tells potential clients more about your background and experience as a copywriter.

In addition to your website, it's also important to have a strong social media presence. This could include creating a professional Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, or even a Facebook page. By sharing your work and engaging with potential clients on social media, you'll be able to build your brand as a copywriter and attract new clients.

Overall, building a strong copywriting portfolio takes time and effort, but it's well worth it in the long run. By choosing your niche, creating sample projects, and showcasing your work online, you'll be able to stand out from the competition and land more clients.

Enhancing Your Copywriting Skills

Finally, once you've established your copywriting foundation and built your portfolio, it's time to become a copywriting ninja! Here's how to enhance your skills:

Taking Copywriting Courses and Workshops

Continue to invest in yourself by taking courses and attending workshops to stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.

Reading Books and Blogs on Copywriting

Read books and blogs on copywriting to continue learning and improving your skills. These resources offer invaluable advice and insights from experienced copywriters.

Practicing Your Writing Regularly

Finally, practice makes perfect! Continually hone your writing skills by taking on copywriting projects regularly. This will help you build your resume and experience, making you an attractive candidate to potential clients.

So, What Makes a Great Copywriter?

You need to understand the psychology behind people's behaviour and use that knowledge to write compelling messages that will keep readers interested.

Writing good copy is an art form. Becoming a copywriter requires dedication and hard work. But by following this step-by-step guide, you'll be on your way to writing persuasive copy and building a career in this exciting field.

Know that, whether you choose to work in-house or freelance, the demand for copywriters is ever-increasing.

It’s not easy but if I managed to do it, so can you. It’s all in how much time you spend on perfecting your writing skills and, equally important, networking and searching for leads.

But that’s just me… thinking out loud.


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