Are you interested in becoming a successful copywriter? Perhaps you want to write articles for magazines, websites, or your own blog. Copywriting skills are useful for anyone running their own business, big or small, so it’s an area worth brushing up on.
In this article – learn how to become a copywriter and earn good money in 5 simple steps.
Even if you have zero experience and don’t feel like a great writer, it’s a skill you can develop just like any other. Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved in developing a copywriting career…
- Is copywriting right for you?
- Hone your writing
- Land your first clients
- Refine your offer & niche
- Scale your business
These are the exact steps I took to turn my interest in writing into a thriving content marketing agency (so you can be confident they work in the real world). Now let’s look at each of them in more detail…
1 – Is copywriting right for you?
Before you dive into a new career, it’s important to think carefully. Is this the right job for you? There’s so much to love about being a copywriter – creative work, being your own boss, and freedom to work anywhere to name a few.
But it’s also worth recognising that anything you do regularly will quickly become ‘routine’. And while a copywriting career might sound appealing, it’s also hard work. We’re talking demanding clients, tight deadlines, and pressure to deliver even when you’ve got writers’ block.
There’s a lot to be said for following your passion. But doing it as a day job can also suck the joy from your hobby. So weigh up the pros and cons carefully before deciding. And if you’re undecided, then consider testing the water by doing a few freelance projects first.
Once you’re ready to become a copywriter in earnest, then here’s what to do next…
2 – Improve your writing skills
If you want to be a really good copywriter, then it’s vital to hone your writing skills. It’s the foundation of your work so you have to master the basics. You don’t need to be awesome straight out of the gate, just understand the essentials and build from there.
How do you become a great copywriter? Research and practice. Take every opportunity to write about anything and everything in the beginning.
- Write articles for your blog or create guest posts for other people
- Help out friends and colleagues with their copywriting projects
- Write emails, letters or keep a journal to ensure you write something daily
- Rewrite online adverts and promotional emails you receive to put your own spin on them
- Pay attention to product descriptions and sales pages you see – what makes them persuasive?
- Take free copywriting courses to further hone your skills.
Doing these things will help you develop your copywriting abilities. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any experience or feel that you aren’t good at writing. No one is great when they’re starting out but these activities will help you improve quickly.
You might also like… 5 Ways To Improve Your Blog Writing Skills.
There are also several writing techniques that you can learn that’ll ensure your content is top-notch. This is what elevates copywriting as a skill – making things engaging and persuasive.
- Short sentences and paragraphs – make your content easy to read by keeping it short and simple. Remove unnecessary words and limit paragraphs to 2-3 sentences if writing online content (it’s better for scrolling on mobile).
- Research persuasive writing – word order, the rule of three, and power words can all make your writing more persuasive. If you’re creating sales content, it’s essential to master these techniques.
- Feature, advantage & benefit – get really good at discerning the features, advantages, and benefits of products and services. People don’t care what something does, they care how it can help them so you need to be able to articulate this clearly.
The most important thing is to align your copy with the client’s objectives. It’s not enough to produce great writing – it needs to deliver against their needs. Once you’re familiar with these things, you’ll be able to write effective copy and be ready to take on clients.
3 – Land your first copywriting clients
So how do you land your first paying clients? There are several options…
- Upwork – you can filter results by fee to find the best-paying projects (don’t sell yourself short).
- Fiverr – despite the name, you can charge way more than $5 for a gig and get a steady stream of tasks.
- Friends’ companies – ask friends to introduce you to their work’s marketing department and get jobs from there.
- Jobs board – there are plenty of online forums and jobs boards that list opportunities for freelancers.
Although we have our own marketing agency now, we started out with projects on Upwork. We wrote short blog articles for $25p/h, built up experience, and positive client reviews, eventually charging $250 per post. We earned over $10,000 on Upwork so it’s definitely a viable option for getting started.
We also got referrals from friends and old colleagues. People we’d worked with in the fitness industry recommended us to their contacts and we soon had a full client list! So ensure that all your old connections know that you’re a copywriter now – you never know who they’ll recommend you to.
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4 – Refine your offer & niche
Once you have some experience working with clients, it can be helpful to refine your service offering. This allows you to work on the types of projects you enjoy and can also allow you to charge more for your services.
Some people have a really clear idea of the type of work they want from the start. But for others, it’s helpful to get some client projects under their belts to see what they enjoy. From there you can refine your offer so it’s aligned with the types of copywriting work you prefer.
Here are some areas you can choose to focus on…
- Blog articles
- Product descriptions
- Sales pages
- Advertising copy
- Search-engine optimised content
From here you can define some ‘bundles’ that encompass several items (like a pack of 4 blog articles per month) or offer a complete solution (such as an email campaign). These fulfill longer-term client needs and enable you to charge for an outcome rather than by the hour. Give them a complete solution rather than doing work in bits and pieces.
This can also be a good time to define your niche or area of expertise. Copywriting can be competitive but it’s much easier to land a job when you have knowledge of the topic. Clients will be inclined to choose you over a generalist who doesn’t understand their particular industry.
Examples of a niche you could focus on include…
The list is really endless – you can either be guided by something you’re knowledgeable on or an area you enjoy writing about. With personal training and nutrition qualifications, fitness and healthy eating were a natural fit for our copywriting services.
Consider what sets you apart – what can you bring to client projects that other writers can’t? Do you have qualifications, experience, or a different perspective to share? Perhaps you embody the target audience or a certain product, if so that makes you the perfect person to write appealing copy for them!
5 – Scale your business
From here you’ll need to keep growing your business and improving your writing skills. This will allow you to earn more money, run things more efficiently, and deliver even better service to your clients.
Allocate 1-2 hours each week for new business development – generating leads, creating sales proposals, and meeting with potential clients. This will ensure you always have a steady stream of work and help you avoid the ‘feast and famine’ trap.
Ask for testimonials from your clients too. These demonstrate your credibility and help you attract similar customers. Sharing client success stories is a great way to prove your worth and justify premium pricing.
At this stage, it’s also worth having your own website. This allows you to sign up clients directly instead of paying commission to a third party like Upwork. Use it to showcase your service bundles, writing portfolio, and testimonials.
It’s also important to keep improving. Read copywriting articles, seek out best practices, and keep innovating. This will ensure you stay ahead of the game and ensure your copywriting business remains successful long-term.
You might also like… How To Earn Money Fitness Blogging.
5 Steps to Becoming a Successful Copywriter
So there you have a step-by-step plan to becoming an awesome copywriter and building a successful career. These are the exact steps we took to turn our interest in writing into a profitable freelance business. So you can be sure that this real-world advice will actually work!
Want to learn more about copywriting for the health, fitness, and nutrition sectors? Use our contact form to get on the waiting list for upcoming courses or learn about our content creation services.