Copywriting From Scratch: Where To Begin
This post is inspired by a question I received via Instagram. “[What’s the] process of becoming a copywriter? Would love to hear about that!”
Your wish is my command! (At least in this instance.)
I get this question a lot and I always begin with saying that I started as a copywriter over a decade ago (eek!) so some things have changed. What hasn’t changed, though, are the mindset changes and the willingness to put yourself out there that you absolutely HAVE to have in order to succeed at being a copywriter.
But don’t worry, it’s not all that scary.
Create an online space
No one is ever going to hire you just because you say you can do something. All of us wrote essays in high school; it doesn’t mean that you can write long-form articles that are SEO-optimized for a particular industry.
Create a space for yourself online to feature your work. The best place will always be a website you own (yes, spring for the URL and hosting - it looks professional). With your own site, you can control what happens to it. You don’t want Facebook or some other program just deciding one day to get shut your page down. I’ve seen this happen and it’s heart-breaking!
Once you’ve set up your website, consider publishing blogs on:
Facebook Business Page
All three platforms are free and allow you to post similar content. What do I mean by that? You could write a blog post, publish it on your site, and then rewrite a few parts of it - including the introduction - as many times as you need to in order to publish it elsewhere.
You could, theoretically, simply copy and paste the same blog post in four different places, but then Google won’t index them separately, lowering your SEO score. Instead, take a few minutes to shake things up a bit each time you post your article.
Never work for free
In the first year or so of my writing career, I wrote a ton of free content. Yes, it developed my portfolio, but trust me: it sucked. Do not work for free.
With so many opportunities to publish your work on a platform of your choice (see above) you can build up a portfolio that shows prospective clients what you can do.
That said, don’t be afraid to set a little lower price if a friend or family member needs some work done while you’re just getting started. Ask them for testimonials and put those on your site!
Remember, payment comes in all forms. Exchange a few blog posts a month for a class pass at your local yoga studio. Or accept payment in the form of original artwork if that’s your thing.
The key is to make sure there’s an even exchange of energy between you and whoever is receiving your work. Money is, after all, simply an energy exchange.
Always be learning!
As I’m writing this, I’m currently in two coaching groups focused on marketing. One is a free group! So really, if you’re worried about budget, don’t be. Find webinars to watch, Pinterest boards to follow on your subject, books to read, etc. Always be on the lookout for learning opportunities.
Oh, and subscribe to newsletters sparingly. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a lot of chatter. Sign up for updates from social media platforms and a small handful of coaches/experts. Too many ideas will leave you feeling burnt out!
In fact, if you want to sign up for my newsletter, I’m gifting everyone who signs up with a free set of social media images for a limited time!
Remember that everyone gets rejected
Harry Freakin’ Potter was rejected 12 times. What if J.K. Rowling had given up?
Carrie, by Stephen King, was rejected a whopping 30 times. THIRTY!
Now, I’m not suggesting that you’ll become the next Rowling or King, but if even they were rejected over and over, it will happen to you.
And guess what? You’ll survive too.
I’m not saying it won’t hurt. Some rejections sting like a mother effer, but most are pretty generic rejection emails. “We reviewed your application, blah, blah, blah. And while we appreciate...yada, yada, yada...We’ve decided to go with...blah, blah, blah.”
Remember, your work isn’t personal to anyone else. Hopefully, in those rejections, you’ll get a little bit of insight into what you can do better, too. If so, apply what you’ve learned and move on.
Ultimately, copywriting should bring you enjoyment. Especially if you’re exploring it as a potential side gig, make sure you’re having fun!
Don’t like financial blogs? Don’t write them! But also, don’t dismiss them in the future. I started writing technology blogs a few years ago and, to my surprise, fell in love with them! You never know what will pique your interest a few years from now!
Are you ready to become a copywriter? I’m launching my copywriting mentorship program in March. Want to stay up to date as details emerge? Sign up for notifications here and receive a free gift and tons of advice while you’re at it!