So, you want to become a copywriter, but don’t know where to start? If that sounds like you then stick around. This post is going to be just what you need to get started!
If you read my latest blog post then you know that I recently started a new job as a Copywriter. This job title is one that I had been working towards for a while and to finally get it feels amazing! While I am a talented writer, the road to get here was not easy and required a lot of hard work and dedication. I had to push myself in many different areas and really advocate for my writing to be seen and appreciated.
Along the way I gained wisdom that I believe others could benefit from, especially if you’re looking to make a career change and become a copywriter. There are several steps I took to become a full-time writer and I’d love to share them with you!
What does a copywriter do?
Copywriters, also known as Marketing Writers, produce engaging, clear copy for different advertising channels such as websites, landing pages, blogs, print ads and catalogs. They play a key part on the marketing team by helping to build brand awareness, acquire new leads, and convert those leads to sales. In addition to strong writing skills a copywriter should have a good sense of creativity.
How to start as a Copywriter
Whether you have experience or not, becoming a copywriter is easy with just a bit of work. I did it and I know that you can too. Here’s what I recommend doing to gain the necessary qualifications to become a full-time copywriter.
Become a Freelance Writer first
I’ve mentioned this before in previous blog posts, but freelancing has opened so many doors for me.
I started as a freelancer in 2019 fresh out of college and never looked back. If you want to become a full-time copywriter I highly recommend seeking out freelance writing opportunities. There are several job boards that post freelance writing opportunities regularly and I’ve put them all into a resource page to download here. My favorite websites to find writing jobs on are Indeed, UpWork, and LinkedIn. All three of these job boards have landed me jobs consistently, but Indeed and LinkedIn have given me the most long term opportunities.
Freelancing is an amazing way to build your skills, learn new ones, and network. For example, I’ve always been a good writer, but I never fully understood the different types of marketing writing that go into promoting a product or service. Because of freelancing I’ve gained a better understanding of how to write copy for email campaigns, PPC ads, long form content, white papers, infographics, etc. The list goes on and on!
Pro Tip: To start, apply to freelance writing jobs that pay small amounts. Most people go for the bigger paying jobs, so the application pool may be a bit smaller with lower paying jobs. While you’re compromising with low compensation, you’ll gain that first bit of experience you need to get started with freelancing. All you can go is up from there!
Start your own blog
Not only is blogging about your personal life/interests fun, it’s a great piece to include on your resume.
That’s right. This blog, that I started as a college sophomore, has helped me land paid opportunities that ultimately helped me step into my role as a copywriter. While CamilleLove is where I express myself, it’s also a never ending project that’s given me endless opportunities to grow. Not everything I’ve tried on here has worked out and that’s okay! It’s okay to try new things on your blog, even if you fail at it. At least you got some practice in! Over the years I’ve worked on content strategy, optimizing images, SEO, and even learned how to use platforms such as WooCommerce and Canva to create downloadable content through my blog.
I believe that every writer should have their own blog, whether you share it with the public or not. Having a space that’s completely yours to have free rein with creativity is so important. While marketing writing can become monotonous, just like any job, my blog has never brought about that feeling, and that’s because it’s completely mine. Plus, it’s been a great talking point during interviews!
Pro Tip: Use WordPress to start your blog. It has easy to use templates and is the world’s most popular site builder. Your blog should focus on something you’re interested in. Find whatever that is and start writing! You never know where one blog post could take you.
Learn about Content Strategy
Having a solid understanding of content strategy will make writing copy much easier. Not only will you have a better understanding of your audience, but you’ll know exactly how to target them with your writing.
Content strategy isn’t just the words you use, it’s the placement of your messaging and the structure of a piece. It also entails audio and visual content. Understanding how all three of these elements work together to engage your audience at all stages of the marketing funnel gives you an edge. Good copywriting isn’t just about bringing awareness to a brand, it’s converting leads to paying customers. After learning more about content strategy this became much easier for me to understand!
Pro Tip: Use your blog to create your own content strategy. If you don’t have a blog, but would like to learn more about how to strategically create content there are tons of resources available. I just completed a course with HubSpot Academy on content strategy and I highly recommend it.
Create an online portfolio
If you don’t have an online portfolio that showcases your best work, add that to your to-do list ASAP.
I’ll be honest, the field of marketing is overly saturated, especially with marketing writers. Highlighting your work in one place is the best way to set yourself apart from the 50 other people who could be applying to the same copywriting job as you. Logically speaking, people are more likely to buy into things that they can see. For example, if an ice cream company claims to have the best chocolate chip ice cream in market via a commercial, that’s wonderful! However, the likelihood of you believing that claim is low, unless of course, you’ve tried it for yourself. The same goes for your writing.
As you complete freelance jobs and/or other writing pieces add them to an online portfolio. Give recruiters something concrete to look at as they review your qualifications, and showcase your skillset to the fullest. My portfolio is a mixture of different pieces from past projects and jobs as well as positive reviews I’ve received from clients. Feel free to take a look here for some inspiration if you need it!
Pro Tip: Pick your best work to feature in your online portfolio. From there split your work up into sections. For example, my portfolio is split between freelance writing, content marketing, my blog and reviews/testimonials. This will give your portfolio a nice clean look and it will be easier to follow
Use Your Resources
One of the best things you can do for yourself when starting out as a copywriter is gathering resources to learn from.
As with anything else, pushing yourself to constantly learn more and do more will ultimately reflect positively in your work. In my situation I turned to LinkedIn Learning, YouTube, and TikTok (believe it or not) for best practices and tips on how to be successful as a Marketing Writer.
Other great resources include books, marketing blogs, your professional network, career mentors, etc.
Remember, learning is a never ending cycle. Even after landing the job I wanted I’m still making an effort to learn more about my craft daily. As I said above, marketing is an oversaturated field, so working to establish yourself as an expert should always be at the forefront of your mind.
Pro Tip: Make it a point to find at least one aspect of your writing to approve upon each month. Whether that’s learning more about Content Strategy, working on grammar or simply writing more outside of work – do it. You owe it to yourself!
Your turn to write
As you take the necessary steps to begin your career journey as a copywriter and/or content writer I believe this piece can be a useful guide.
That’s all I have for now, but I will continue to post more on this topic under BS Blogger. As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to let me know below!