You’ve been writing for years, and finally, you’ve decided to take the leap and become a professional copywriter. Congrats! You’ve got a lot to be proud of.
But it’s not quite that simple. Entering the world of copywriter can be overwhelming, especially if you’re coming from the world of blogging or social media. Before you start booking appointments and submitting samples, let’s take a quick look at what a copywriter does.
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is the art and science of taking plain English and making it sound good enough to engage and convince readers. In plain English, that means taking the words and concepts that your customers are already using to find information and using your special insight to turn those words into a coherent and engaging text that performs well in both conventional and digital forms.
As the name suggests, copywriting is a form of copy. That is, you’re essentially copying something that already exists. When you’re writing copy for websites, for example, you’re not coming up with the concept or wording yourself. You’re simply taking what’s already there and polishing and shaping it to make it more effective.
When you’ve got a blog post that you’ve been working on for a while, you might decide to expand on it and turn it into a longer piece. The trick is in the writing. When you’re showing off your creative side, you might want to consider including some original content. But for the most part, you’re just taking what’s already been written and polishing and sharpening it for maximum effect.
Why Should You Study Copywriting?
Let’s be honest. As a copywriter, you’ll be doing a lot of taking things already written and polishing and sharpening them for maximum effect. So, you might wonder, why study copywriting?
There are several reasons why you should study copywriting. To name a few:
- It’s a growing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around the world, there are currently over 570,000 jobs available for copywriters. That’s a good thing because, as we’ve established, there are a lot of employers out there who need good copywriters.
- The pay is pretty good. According to the BLS, the median salary for a copywriter is $56,000 per year. For non-licensed writers, the figure is $50,000. Not bad, considering there are quite a lot of jobs out there and you’re not necessarily competing against experienced writers.
- It’s relatively easy to get in. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around the world, there are currently over 570,000 jobs available for copywriters. The demand for copywriters seems to be growing, so the chances of you finding your niche and landing your first gig are pretty good.
- It’s a creative field. When you’re developing products and pitches for businesses, you’re acting more like an artist and less like a technician. And what’s more, you get to use your creative side to solve problems and come up with unique ideas. As we’ve established, good copywriters are in high demand, and that means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to put your creativity to the test.
- It’s a flexible field. Due to the ever-changing digital landscape, traditional print media, such as newspapers and magazines, are no longer keeping up with the latest news. That leaves a lot of room for copywriters to flex their muscles and innovate.
- It’s a constantly evolving field. Due to the ever-changing digital landscape, traditional print media, such as newspapers and magazines, are no longer keeping up with the latest news. That means there’s room for copywriters to innovate and flex their muscles to take on new challenges. And what’s more, since this is a constantly evolving field, you’ll constantly be learning and expanding your skillset.
- It’s a field that values originality. Due to the ever-changing digital landscape, traditional print media, such as newspapers and magazines, are no longer keeping up with the latest news. That leaves a lot of room for copywriters to innovate and flex their muscles to take on new challenges. And what’s more, since this is a field that values originality, you’ll be able to showcase your unique voice and approach to the bizarre challenges that you encounter.
- It’s a field that values technical proficiency. Even if you don’t end up specializing in technical writing, which brings us to our next point.
- It’s a field that values proficiency in multiple platforms. Since most businesses and organizations now operate in an online capacity, having a good grasp of HTML, CSS, and basic programming isn’t necessarily enough. You’ll be expected to know how to use Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms to effectively communicate with your audience.
What if I told you there was a way to get all of that—the good financial stability, the flexibility, the variety of challenges, and the overall feeling of self-fulfillment that comes with the job—without having to go to college? What if I also told you there was a way to get all of that without having to write a single word?
You can achieve all of that and more by pursuing online marketing certification. What is online marketing certification?
Online marketing certification is the degree to which you can follow a prescribed set of steps and acquire a certain number of certifications across various digital marketing platforms. It’s essentially a digital marketing boot camp where you learn to function as a digital marketer and how to utilize the various platforms to their full potential. Some of the things you will learn in online marketing certification include:
- Digital Marketing Strategy
- Digital Marketing Analytics
- Pricing Strategy
- Content Marketing
- Advertising & Affiliate Marketing
- Marketing Management
- E-commerce Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
So, as you can see, along with a good stable income and the opportunity to learn a great deal, there’s a lot to like about copywriting. If you’re interested, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to become a successful copywriter.
How to Become a Successful Copywriter
Before we begin, let’s discuss the prerequisites for becoming a successful copywriter. Since this is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, let’s consult them to see what they have to say about getting a job as a copywriter.
First of all, you’ll need to have a bachelors degree. According to the BLS, over 93% of new copywriters in the U.S. only have a bachelor’s degree. So, if you’re looking for a stable income with good career progression and opportunities, you’d better get that degree. You’ll also need some professional experience. A lot of copywriters, including myself, have found that getting involved in some form of digital marketing or content marketing gives you a leg up in the industry. Even if you don’t end up specializing in those areas, it’s still highly encouraged to get some professional experience in those fields. Lastly, being a good team player is also important. Since a lot of copywriting is team-based, you’ll need to be able to work well with others. To quote the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “good communication skills and being able to work with others are important for a successful career in copywriting.”
Now that we’ve got the prerequisites out of the way, let’s begin with the process of becoming a copywriter. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want to go the graduate school route or if you’d rather start your professional career. If you’re interested in a career in copywriting, you might consider trying for one of the many entry-level positions that the Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions.