So You Want to Be a Writer…
I just got off the phone with a smart lady who thinks she might want to become a copywriter.
The world needs more smart copywriters. 🙂
This article will list some great resources for you if you’re interested in pursuing the path of the paid pen.
BUT… before you go out and buy a new Macbook Pro and a carton of Epson ink… there are a few things we have to get straight.
1. What kind of writer do you really want to be? Many people lump all writers together under one category of “copywriters,” but a copywriter, in the strictest sense, is someone who writes SALES copy:
That means direct sales pieces (postcards, sales letters, sales emails), sales pages, advertisements of all sorts… the list goes on.
And because you’re directly responsible for SALES, you’re usually compensated at a higher level than general content creators who write blog posts, reports, lead magnets, or even books.
So… what do you want to write? What topics would you like to write about? What type of content would you like to create? What do you NOT want to write (that’s often just as important!)? Do you want to write for the web? For publications? For company blogs? For radio or podcasts? It’s all open.
2. What skills do you have? Do you have experience writing video scripts or social media posts or books? What about checklists or articles or even legal briefs? All of that will help you find positions that others might not be qualified for.
And I’m not just talking about writing skills… you might have a background in medicine, or technology, or law, or a lot of experience in researching, all of which will give you a leg up in the job market. Yes, there’s a big need for writers… but to be paid at the higher levels, you’ll need a specialty to call your own.
3. What skills are you willing to acquire? If you want to be considered for the most lucrative copywriting positions, you’re going to need some specific training in sales writing. AND online sales writing is different than other types. You’re going to need to educate yourself through books, courses, or other training (see below for my suggestions!).
I’m thrilled to be able to regularly charge $1,500 – $2,000 or more for email sales sequences or sales pages… but it didn’t start out that way. I spent seven years studying marketing and testing, tweaking, and honing my craft with my own business. And I’ve then spent the last two years writing hundreds of thousands of words for my clients, producing some very real results.
I’ve read books, articles, and blogs, taken classes, and deconstructed other successful campaigns, pages, and emails to see what works… and I still do this! My education is never ending.
Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re ready to start trolling the job boards (see below) to apply, apply, apply.
How to Write Copy That Sells: The Step-By-Step System for More Sales, to More Customers, More Often by Ray Edwards (Not the most creative or innovative approach, but he’ll give you a great grounding in the basics.)
This book will teach you how to write better: Learn how to get what you want, increase your conversion rates, and make it easier to write anything (using formulas and mind-hacks) by Neville Medhora (I appreciate Neville’s straightforward approach. Not fancy, but it works. Definitely the 80/20 approach to becoming a better writer.)
No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses by Dan Kennedy (One of the first — and best — books on sales writing. All his books are terrific.)