Ways to Kick-start Your Copywriting Career
Maybe you're considering copywriting for the first time. Maybe you're already in a content position and looking for your next move. Whatever your situation, here are my tried and tested career tips.
Start writing more, today
The beauty of copywriting is that you can do it wherever you are in the world, whenever you like. All you need is Wi-Fi. So why not get started tonight? Before I made a penny from freelancing, I began with speculative copywriting. Simply choose a product - existing or imaginary - and write a captivating campaign. There's the first piece for your portfolio! Once you feel ready, websites like these can boost your skills and your bank balance. Just make sure you get a testimonial from each of your clients. You'll thank yourself later, trust me.
Create an online presence & portfolio
When looking for new copywriting jobs, it's incredibly important to have an online portfolio. This can feature copy you've written in your current role, but ideally some freelance projects too. Format offers a great platform. Don't be afraid to include some of your best personal work: poems, short stories, haikus, you name it - if it's good and represents who you are, it deserves to be there. Always aim for a balance of corporate and creative to showcase the diversity of your skillset. And when it comes to attending interviews? Take a tangible version of your portfolio with you, ordered in relevance to the role you're applying for.
Immerse yourself in the industry
When I was first starting out, I wrote and wrote and wrote. On the train, during the day and at home in the evening. My aim was to become an expert at my craft, while earning along the way. But I also read a lot, too. Some of my favourite copywriting books include Roger Horberry’s Brilliant Copywriting and Andy Maslen's Write To Sell among others. Plus, there are plenty of copy-specific blogs that can help you discover trends and insights. I like ABC Copywriting , any of Paul Jarvis' copy-related posts and Copyblogger in particular.
Show you're commercially-minded
In order to take the next step, towards more money, you need to show that you’re more than just a copywriter. You’re commercially-minded, too. When being interviewed by people who aren't writers, it helps to speak in a language they understand: numbers. I've progressed in my career because I’ve been able to go to interviews and say things like: ‘my subject lines increased open rates by 140%’. Demonstrate that you're clued up on KPIs, CTRs and CTAs, and you’re interested in learning more. If you're not entirely sure about the above, that's ok! Simply Googling and expanding your awareness helps.
Newsflash: If you think you’re ‘just a writer’, you may well be selling yourself short. Sure, the majority of your time might be spent writing copy. But if you’re helping out with SEO blog posts, CRM email content or even product descriptions, the chances are you're doing more than you think. I recommend documenting your successes and relevant learnings (my team and I use a handy Google sheet titled ‘Conclusions and Learnings’). Not only will this help you identify trends amongst your successes and losses, but it may even be time for a payrise.
Do you have any questions? Or things you'd like me to write about next? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I'd love to hear from you!