Paths to Becoming a Copywriter
Pursuing a career as a copywriter is a brilliant option for people that want a creative job, but also one that has high earning potential. The average earnings of a copywriter vary a lot, depending on experience, but the top copywriters in the world can earn over six figures. Working as a copywriter also gives you a lot of flexibility, so it’s perfect for people that don’t want a traditional 9 to 5 job. However, copywriting careers take a long while to develop and you may need to attend copywriting classes to hone your skills if you want to land the best clients.
If you think that a career in copywriting is for you, this article will give you all of the information you need about the different paths to becoming a copywriter.
Establishing yourself as a freelance copywriter is one option, and it’s a very popular one. If you value freedom, freelance copywriting may be the best way to go. You can set your own schedule, decide on which projects you want to take on, and set your own pricing. However, there are some downsides to freelance copywriting careers.
It takes time to build up a client base and you will not have a steady stream of work coming in at all times. During slow periods, it can be difficult to manage your finances. The learning curve can also be steeper because you don’t have the support of a marketing team to help you learn the ropes.
Finding an in-house position with a marketing agency is another route into a copywriting career. Many people prefer this option because you have a steady paycheck and a constant stream of work. For new copywriters, the support that they receive from a marketing agency helps develop their skills much faster than they would if they went freelance.
On the other hand, you have much less freedom as an in-house copywriter and you may have to work on projects that you are not particularly interested in. Both routes into a copywriting career have their pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which suits your lifestyle best.
Do You Need Qualifications to Become a Copywriter?
One of the things that attracts people to copywriting careers is the fact that you do not need any specific qualifications to work as a copywriter. Anybody can set up their own copywriting business or apply for positions working in-house. However, you will only earn good money as a copywriter if you understand how to write the best copy. It's not just about good writing ability, it's about understanding the psychology of marketing and how to write copy that drives consumer decision making. So, even though you don't necessarily need qualifications, you stand a much better chance of success if you attend an ad school to learn more about advertising, and consider taking copywriting classes too. Having this education will make you a better copywriter and it also looks good when you are trying to find clients or apply for positions as an in-house copywriter.
How to Become a Copywriter
If you want to become a copywriter, you need to follow these basic steps.
Define a Niche
Before you start looking for clients or applying for positions with a marketing agency, you need to define your niche. Many people make the mistake of thinking that you will get more work if you take on any projects, but that isn’t the case. Clients have a specific idea of what they want and they look for copywriters that specialize in that area. So, if you find a niche, it will be much easier to find clients. The quality of your work will also be better if you focus on your strengths.
Think about areas that industries that interest you and how those businesses use copy. You don’t have to settle on your niche forever and you can always change it later on, but you do need to find an area to focus on, to begin with.
Find Your First Clients
This is the biggest hurdle when becoming a freelance copywriter, but there are some great websites that match freelancers with clients. Upwork and Freelancer are the two most popular, but you should search around and find more. Don’t rely solely on these sites either, be proactive and search for your clients. Industry specific social media groups and message boards are a great place to advertise your services.
When approaching clients, having a body of work to show them is important. This is why many people attend portfolio school before embarking on copywriting careers, so they can create a portfolio to share with prospective clients.
If you have friends or family members that own businesses, why not offer your services to them as well? Finding your first clients takes time, but once you finish your first few jobs and start building a network, word of mouth will help you expand your client base.
Get Your Pricing Right
Pricing is so important for copywriters, but many people don’t know how to price their services to begin with. Price too high and you will struggle to get any clients, but price too low and you won’t earn enough to make your new copywriting career sustainable. Working for free can be a good way to build your portfolio and network with people, but you should only do this sparingly.
When it comes to pricing your services, there are a number of ways to do it. Many freelancers charge hourly, which is good because you can avoid issues with clients piling on extra work without paying. Some people also decide to charge for the project as a whole, which means that you earn more per hour if you finish faster. However, communication is important, so the client doesn’t add extra work during the project. Spend some time looking at other freelancer’s sites to get an idea of how much to charge.
These basic steps will help you to start your copywriting career. However, if you want to improve your chances of success, you should consider taking copywriting classes. Copywriting schools, like the San Francisco Copywriting School, are the best place to start if you want to kick start your new career.