You may think it's going to be all fun and exciting, but the truth is copywriting is no walk in the park. From writing in topics you had no clue about all the way to learning how to deal with clients, it can be quite challenging to get things rolling as this writer shares his story of when he was tasked to write about bugs for a pest control website.
One just can't help but wonder: “How easy (or difficult) is it really to start a copywriting career?”
Before making the decision to pursue a career in copywriting, think about why you're even considering this path. The stronger the motive is, the more effort (and patience) you'll put into it.
Why You Might Want to Consider a Copywriting Career
Let's talk about three major reasons why someone might consider a copywriting career:
1. You Enjoy Writing
What is the better reason to get into copywriting than actually being into writing?
Think about it, if you already enjoy writing, whether it's creative, narrative, objective, or any other type, there's a good chance you'll be able to build a successful career as a copywriter.
Of course, copywriting requires certain skills such as doing research and engaging readers, but as long as person likes what she or he is doing, learning new things should be fine!
2. You Need Money
Obviously, money can be a huge reason to consider a career in copywriting. Perhaps you want to make some extra cash on the side, or maybe you're thinking along the lines of a full-time job to make a living.
Either way, copywriting can help. The only question is: how much can a freelance copywriter make?
Make a Living Writing conducted a survey with the participation of more than 1,400 freelance writers to get a better idea of the charging rates. They found that ⅓ of first-year writers earn $20 or less per short blog post.
As expected, more experience means more money. For example, 52% of experienced copywriters reported making at least $50 per hour.
3. You Want to Gain Writing Experience
One more reason to start a copywriting career is to gain experience. This type of work can really help improve writing abilities and develop a unique style. It can also boost skills such as engagement and delivery, which comes in very handy if you want to start a blog.
Other than that, copywriting is a great way to try your hand (or keyboard) at content writing if never given it a shot before. Who knows? Maybe you'll unlock a hidden passion.
So, How Easy Is It to Start a Copywriting Career?
Deciding to be a copywriter is one thing, and actually starting a copywriting career is a whole different game. Here’s what starting as a copywriter usually entails:
I. The Search
In a career like freelance copywriting, writers typically deal with clients online. After securing a client, the client will send the writer the details of the article they want them to write about. This sounds simple enough, but in reality, it can take a lot of effort and patience to connect with a client and get accepted in the first place.
So, to begin with, you need to understand that copywriting will require investing serious time if you want to kick off a successful career. This hunt will include a heap of platforms for freelancing jobs, such as Upwork and Writers.Work, which means a whole lot of internet scouring for the right opportunity.
I remember back when I started searching for freelance writing jobs, it took months before a client decided to seriously consider giving me an article—a trial one that is. It was mainly because I only had a couple of sample articles to my name, which is basically zero experience compared to the competition on Upwork at the time.
Similarly, remember the writer who had to write about pests? Yea, he also had to wait quite a while before he managed to receive an offer.
To get past the issue, I had to dedicate more hours and energy into building a stronger portfolio, as well as extra tweaks that I'll share with you in a minute.
II. The Topics
Another common obstacle to face in copywriting, right after getting clients, is the topic itself. As a copywriter, you need to be prepared to write about anything and everything because not all topics are necessarily going to match your interests or personality.
This is especially true when you're just launching your career. Most freelance writers can't afford to be picky so they usually end up writing about stuff that never even crossed their minds.
Having a strict writing background, shifting from a different career, or writing as a side project doesn't make a difference, you're almost guaranteed to deal with random topics in any case.
A client may ask you to write about pest control, car engines, decoration ideas, toys, marketing plans, sports gear, or even writing itself! The possibilities are truly endless in this world.
For this reason, a lot of writers fail to maintain their careers in copywriting. They just can't bring themselves to write in the absence of "passion" and their lack of creative outlooks.
This is exactly what happened to the pest control writer; he sent his rejection for the offer just 2 days after receiving it.
So, if you want to become a copywriter and actually stay one, it's absolutely crucial to keep an open mind and be flexible when it comes to topics. At least until you're experienced enough to apply for positions with more freedom.
In other hands, you can wait around for the perfect job that fits within your area of interest. But know that wanting to only write on "interesting" topics will probably take away some decent opportunities that could help you get by till you find a better option.
Best Tips to Increase Your Chances of Copywriting Success
The competition in freelance copywriting is pretty fierce, I bet you can already tell. I, too, came to the same realization when writing gigs didn't come flying my way the moment I made my services available.
Looking back, the time it took for me to finally make money from freelance writing was indeed a good thing. It helped me shape up my skills, build a solid portfolio, and figure out ways to stand out in the sea of competition.
1. Pick topics that you like
I know I said to keep an open mind for topics outside your comfort zone, but if you've never tried copywriting before, then it's a good idea to stick with what you like.
You're more likely to produce higher quality content when writing about interesting topics, which will, in turn, get you more gigs in the same field. This can also help writers build enough confidence to push the limits of their skills and widen their area of expertise.
2. Focus your efforts on becoming a subject matter expert
In line with the previous point, you can definitely transform your "weakness" to a sought-after strength by focusing on becoming a subject matter expert rather than a generalist writer.
Let's say a client is looking for a writer to compose an article on house mortgages. Two freelancers applied for the job; the first applied as a 'writer' while the second applied as a 'financial writer'. Who has the "edge" here?
By establishing yourself as an expert in a specific subject, the chances of getting hired to write about it will automatically shoot up!
3. Build a strong portfolio
The best way to build a strong portfolio is by letting your work speak for itself. Commit to producing good work on a consistent and timely basis, and you'll eventually see how high-quality work leads to high-quality clients, which will lead to even more high-quality clients over time.
4. Learn how to properly communicate with clients
I said it before and I'll say it again: learning how to communicate with potential clients and professionally present yourself is a priceless asset when it comes to leading a successful copywriting career.
Unfortunately, it's more common than not for clients to encounter irresponsible and inconsistent freelance writers, so you must show how serious and committed you are to meeting deadlines and delivering quality articles.
5. Add value as a copywriter
Chances of success as a copywriter will only go up if you add value to the establishment you're working with. But how does one do that? Well, here are a few pointers:
- Ask questions and dig for insights on how to portray the image of the client's business. Stuff like why they started, what their target audience is, who their competitors are, and what makes them unique can show how you genuinely care about the project and help produce stand-out content.
- Listen to what the client has to say. This way you can efficiently translate their vision through your writing.
- Listen to what the target audience needs and wants to hear. This will help produce content that'll better reach them.
6. Become rejection proof
Finally, you should learn to become rejection-proof. We've all been there (more times than we'd like to admit) so it's important to know that you're not alone in this. Better yet, train on how to accept rejection and use it to grow.
Take the time to feel disappointed and sad. Eat a tub of ice cream, binge watch Netflix, and get it out of your system. Then pick yourself up and breathe, go out for a run and don't rush into a new project until you're ready to leave the rejection behind.
I always find it helpful to have another project going on so I can feel that being rejected from one project doesn't mean I should lose hope altogether.
How easy is it to start a copywriting career? Well, I'd say it's definitely harder than anyone thinks before they put themselves out there.
There's no denying that the competition in writing fields is getting more intense by the day, so keep your head in the game and try to stand out from the crowd if you really want a shot at it.