Updated: Feb 10
Do you like to write and are wondering how to become a copywriter? Do you find the career prospects appealing? Are you pondering whether you are cut out for it or what the benefits are?
Let us ease your decision by guiding you through the basics of becoming a copywriter.
What is a copywriter?
Understanding the core meaning of copywriting is essential before you decide on it as a career path.
A copywriter's official job description involves writing promotional content for a company's advertising purposes on websites, catalogs, ads, emails etc. Their aim is to convey a brand's voice and increase company exposure and sales.
In reality, copywriters are much more than just writers. They are salespeople, behavioural psychologists and master persuaders, whose call to action (CTA) will turn any reader into a lead. Being a keen observer of the consumer decision-making process is vital to create greater engagement with a brand – be it in the form of increasing its social media followers, newsletter subscribers or sales conversion.
To put it bluntly, your choice of words has the power to make people click that button – and basically, that is what companies will pay you for.
Different types of copywriters
Given the field’s diversity, the job title ‘copywriter’ seems way too vague.
There are several different types of copywriters and copywriting, each defined by a specific purpose, audience, style and tone.
In terms of hiring options, the three distinctive copywriter types are:
Freelance copywriter, operating as a sole trader or one-person company.
Agency copywriter, working either full or part-time for studios or agencies.
In-house copywriter, providing exclusive, full-time writing services for large organisations with marketing departments.
In terms of specialisation, copywriters can cover various styles of copy:
Sales & Marketing
Web content etc.
Luckily, there are many different kinds of copywriting to match your skills and interests.
Who should become a copywriter?
I’m not necessarily talking about the skills required for success, but more about the character qualities and traits which are best suited to the job.
Let's begin with the obvious. Although being a grammar geek is not imperative, you still need to be an articulate writer steering clear of dull and boring copy.
That being said, even if you are a great writer, it doesn't mean you are destined to be a copywriter extraordinaire. Copy is the written implementation of a business’s branding, advertising and PR strategy. Your writing isn't the product - it’s a tool used to sell one. Hence, knowing a thing or two about SEO, clickable headlines and marketing objectives will help you address the marketplace's needs.
An innate thirst for knowledge and being a top-notch researcher is also a must. Your constant aim is to learn as much as possible about the different products and audiences of your clientele – minus the fantasy of becoming an expert!
Perfection is often unreachable within tight deadlines, and an imperfect piece is better than an 'in progress' one.
Consequently, the ability to accept feedback and developing a thick skin will help you survive the brutal editing process that 'kills your darlings'!
Needless to say that creative concepts and new perspectives are something you are expected to provide. And for that to happen, you need to be a passionate reader – and that doesn't involve only your bookcase! You need to keep up with the latest industry trends, stay in touch with the modern world and remain knowledgeable about your target readership.
What are the benefits of copywriting?
Although a degree/course will improve your chances of landing a copywriting job, there are no set entry requirements regarding education, experience, ethnicity, age, budget, occupation or credentials.
And with the current high demand for freelance writing, there are plenty of job opportunities out there for copywriters of any background.
Being location and fixed working hours-free dominates the benefits list. Many freelance copywriters become digital nomads and share photos of cocktails at exotic beaches, while making money in the meantime!
Copywriters - especially established ones - typically have a higher pay rate than other writers since they're involved with commercial writing so can make a nice living while sunbathing.
The diversity of topics and challenges ensure your job is never boring and your career ever-evolving.
What's more, timeouts are actually encouraged, even for agency copywriters. You don't have to be an expert to know that inspiration never came from staring at a screen for 8 hours!
To top it off, a tailor-built copywriting career in the long run - based on YOUR interests and lifestyle - only adds up to the feeling of ultimate job satisfaction.
In conclusion, the answer to the question 'how to become a copywriter' is by doing it properly. Nothing worth doing is easy and copywriting is no exception. A copywriter's career is undoubtedly enticing and rewarding, but it is a strenuous climb to get there. Putting in the right amount of effort and dedication will shoot you from ground zero to success and, most importantly, cash flow!
Here is a key takeaway from content expert, Jonathon Colman: “Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love.”