Today, earning opportunities, the world over, is changing. Almost daily. Such changes bring uncertainty and stress. Stress that numbs you mind. Shutting down creative thinking. These are scary times.
Today normal is dead. We’ve woken up to the fact that normal life (as we knew it) will never be the same again, ever. Copywriters have to come to terms with this.
In these troubling, mind numbing times, go-getters are moving. They are proactively seeking niches which offer them measurable earning opportunities. Shouldn’t you one of them?
In this content, I’m sharing my thoughts about a niche that’s given me measurable earning opportunities consistently. A niche close to my heart –> Copywriting
I promise you, this content is going to be the strangest content you’ve read. Are you are considering generating a steady, living, income via copywriting?
Then I’m not going to tell you any of the following:
In 2020, none of the above bulleted content would be true.
I’m not going to engage you using any of the hooks above. I believe 90% of potentially good copywriters would just leave if I did.
They’d just navigate to other content which comes across as more truthful and trustworthy. Content dealing with copywriting realistically.
Where’s all this coming from you ask? Great question! I’ve been creating copy which engages, educates, and sells for about 35+ years now
I’ve had plenty of ups and downs. During these 35+ years of copywriting. It’s a continuing roller coaster ride. It’s taught me tons about the nuances of copywriting.
That cost me. In blood, sweat and definitely tears. Clients cancelled and moved, sometimes without paying, even though I’d fixed their copy.
In this content, I’ll share two copywriting paths. You choose which path to travel. Pick one that excites your imagination. Each path offers measurable earning opportunities.
In this content, I’ll share that excites your imagination to become a copywriter. Each path offers two copywriting paths. You choose which path to travel. Pick one measurable earning opportunities.
Freelance Copywriter or Working for an Agency.
I am sharing my thoughts on:
A copywriter is someone who gets paid to craft arresting, engaging copy (i.e. arresting, engaging, converting textual content), which converts a reader into a buyer
Carefully re-read at the bullets above please.
Each bullet, describes content which drives sales. Kicking off (or multiplying) Internet driven business income.
Hence, copywriters are valued.
What they do, can and does, impact internet business income.
And tons more . . .
To be a much in demand, well paid copywriter, you must master all the elements above.
Working As A Copywriter – Copywriting Job
Each has pros and cons.
The art of copywriting well is one you’ll learn with practice, practice. When you are totally practice some more. Practice & real world writing experience is what’s needed.
Is there a tried / tested technique to practice copywriting? Yes! There is.
When copywriters are learning or practicing their art, they always turn to long form content which is found in epic Blog posts.
All blended together nearly perfectly
Newbie copywriters (even experienced ones) learn the subtle art of crafting arresting, engaging, sentences and paragraphs, by
Stage 1 - How do you become a copywriter – Reading And De-Construction -
Is what empowers copywriters when learning how experienced writers craft arresting, engaging, converting, value add content for readers and clients.
This Process takes time and patience.
Stick through this exercise. I promise you, your time spent, will deliver measurably large grooming and strengthening your copywriting skills.
Choose a niche which you’re currently comfortable with.
Step 1: Gathering Blog Posts To De-construct
Choose a niche which you’re currently comfortable with.
Creating content that’s great for posting in –> social channels And so on.
Use these search terms in Google. Identify trending blog post in each topic.
For example you could search for:
What’s content planning?
What’s content marketing?
What’s a content calendar?
What’s content curation?
What’s content writing all about?
Open 5 to 10 of the top ranked URLs Google suggests in different Browser tabs. Select individual Blog Posts completely. Copy and paste the Blog post into a M.S. Word document. Save each Word document in a folder on your computer.
Now you should have 5 to 10 M.S. Word documents in your folder. Each Word document is a carbon copy of a trending Blog post in the niche you chose.
These Word documents are your source documents.
Step 2: Reformatting the Source Word Document
Choose, a Word document whose content interests you the most. Alternatively, you can just pick up the very first Word document.
Most likely it will be rather badly formatted. Images sized so large that they run beyond the page margins. Headline, Sub-headline and paragraph font-family, font-size and font-weight that look ugly. Line spacing that’s ugly as well.
Re-format this document carefully. Ensure that every video (if any) are formatted correctly and document that it’s been copied into.
My advice? Do not ignore or overlook this step.
Initially you will find this a tedious process BUT stick with it.
NOTE: You’ll have to do at least 50 to 100+ such re-formats, to get comfortable and swift doing the document reformatting job.
I’ve done exactly the same job 1000’s of times. Yup, 1000’s is not typo.
Remember, You are in practice mode. So practice.
Step 3: Now Enter Learning Mode – Creating Your Skeleton
Open one well formatted Word document.
Copy its headline and all its sub-headlines into a new Word document. Keep a four/five line space between each. This document is your skeleton document.
NOTE: A skeleton is what all copywriters create before they write one sentence of the copy.
The skeleton document helps keeps copywriters on track while crafting copy. This prevents them creating content which meanders all over the place.
Preventing them writing copy, which would puzzle their readers. Rather than arresting and engaging their attention.
Step 4: Paragraph Idea Analysis
Now your skeleton document has been created. Now return to your original Word document. Start analyzing the content of the 1st paragraph.
Identify and jot down the:
- Total number of sentences in the 1st paragraph
- Total number of words in the 1st paragraph Here’s how
Highlight the 1st paragraph in Word. Look at the bottom left hand corner of the editor. M.S. Word tells you the number of words you’ve highlighted. Document this in your skeleton.
Just below the headline.
Count the number of sentences in the 1st paragraph. Document this in your skeleton. Just below the headline.
Identify the specific idea the writer is talking about is the 1st paragraph. Document the idea you identify in your own words. Just under the headline in your skeleton.
NOTE: There could be 1 or more ideas written about in the 1st paragraph. Document all.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Copy and paste images from the source document to your skeleton document. Exactly where they’ve been placed in the source document.
Step 5: The Concluding Paragraph Analysis
The concluding paragraph (or two) are crucial paragraphs in any post. This content wraps up everything spoken about in the post.
Identify exactly how the author concluded the post.
Document all this in your skeleton. Under the last sub-headline.
Now do exactly the same for all the 5 to 10 Blog posts you’ve reformatted and saved as M.S. Word files.
Now you are ready to kick off, growing and honing your own copywriting skills.
Here’s how …
Stage 2 – How do you become a copywriter - Growing And Honing Your Copywriting Skills
Getting started. Take the skeleton document, in which you’ve de-constructed a single Blog post. Copy/paste that save that document 5 times.
This results in you creating 5 skeleton documents all having the same information in them. Take the 1st skeleton document from among the 5 you’ve created.
Engage with the post headline as follows.
Re-write the same headline in 5 different ways.
Document the 5 different headlines in your skeleton, under the original headline.
Take each sub-headline in your skeleton.
Re-write the sub-headlines in at least 5 different ways. Please read the HINT above. Document the 5 different sub-headlines in your skeleton, under the original sub-headlines.
Now take each paragraph.
Re-write the paragraph in your own words. Keep the original paragraph idea (or ideas) intact. Add some of your own idea (or ideas) within any paragraph you want to.
Place the re-written paragraphs under the headline (or sub-headlines) created earlier. Finally, do Google searches for different but appropriate images (or videos).
Place these appropriately in your skeleton document.
NOTE: Repeat this across each of the 5 skeleton documents you created earlier.
Work meticulously. Then, you’ll have 5 different Blog posts. Posts which you’ve created by
de-structuring then re-structuring a single Blog post.
Repeat this process for all the other 5 M.S. Word documents you’ve formatted earlier.
Now choose another niche area. Do all of this, over again, for completely different topic. Keep doing this for 50 to 100 blog posts, covering various topics, various niches.
Suddenly You have a new confidence in yourself.
Welcome to the world (and art) of copywriting.
Want total, unshakable confidence in yourself as a copywriter?
Ramp the 50 to 100 to at least 350 to 500 AND
you’ll never be stressed by copywriting ever again.
Me? I’ve done 1000’s of such de-constructs and re-constructs. I’m driven to acquire top of the line, copywriting skills. I haven’t stopped.
let’s move on to the four steps you must take to become a freelance copywriter.
Step 1: The Define your Niche As a Freelance Copywriter
The Question is – How do you become a freelance copywriter? Before you do anything at all in copywriting, you need to define your niche.
This is a specific content area you are passionate about. You know the audience. You can write about their wants, needs and pain effectively. In a way that resonates with them.
You’ll actually be able to find more work (and charge more) if you are crystal clear about your niche & your audience.
Imagine there are two business coaches. Which one do you think gets more business? The business coach 1 says – I’ll teach you how to create your online course.
The business coach 2 says – I’ll teach you how to create a world class copywriting course. Then sell it to 50 people for $1000 each.
The answer is the 2nd business coach. That’s because that coach is specific. This coach knows who their clients are.
The 2nd coach is offering his target audience a 2 clear (& supportive) goals.
- I’ll teach you how to create a world class copywriting course
- I’ll teach you how to sell your copywriting course to 50 people for $1000 each That’s why business coach 2 will attract more paying customers for their
So think carefully about what niche you want to own. There are a lot of such niches really to become a great copywriter
- Emails / Sales funnels
- Social media / Community management
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Blog posts / Articles
- Video / Podcast scripts
The important thing is you pick an area which you believe you’re passionate about. Then get started. You can always change the area later if you discover it’s not the right fit. Nothing is cast in concrete.
When you’re trying to identify your niche market, (i.e. people who will soon be your prospective clients) ask yourself:
- What industry do they belong to?
- What are the products/services they’re selling?
- What’s the copy they are using to sell their products/services currently?
- What’s the kind of images they use?
- Do they embed explainer videos in their copy or not?
Get answers to these questions. That will help you identify your niche area successfully.
Here are a few examples:
- Email funnel copywriter for SaaS companies
- Social media manager for nonprofits
- Blog posts for personal finance websites
Once you know the space you want to sell your copywriting skill in, it’s time to figure out how to find your first few clients.
Step 2: Find Your Clients As a Freelance Copywriter
Finding clients can be a little intimidating (that’s the truth) — especially when you’re new.
Luckily, once you find your first few clients, the process becomes a whole lot simpler. If you do a brilliant job creating copy for them which converts, they’re likely to refer you to their friends.
NOTE: When your clients become your advocates you know you’ve arrived.
There are different ways you can find your first client. That said, what’s important is that client’s know you exist. Most prospective clients I know search on freelancer driven websites when they are looking for copywriting talent that’s not tied to an agency.
Kick off by identifying such sites. Create your copywriter profile on a few key freelancer driven websites. Just Google for them. Search of top 5 freelance copywriter websites or something similar.
Next, craft an arresting, engaging copywriter’s profile. Support your profile content with links to examples of your copywriting work. Now you’re good to go.
NOTE: Don’t expect tons of work requests will pour in the instantly, but it’s a great way to get your name, contact information and examples of your copywriting work noticed.
Once your freelancer copywriter profile is up on these sites, start applying for the copywriting projects which clients post on these sites.
Copywriting projects for landing pages, Blog posts, SEO, social media marketing, and more.
Step 3: Go To Where Your Clients Hangout
Apart from websites where freelance copywriters register, identify and go to where your modest to large numbers to get copywriting job.
Then figure out how you can to arrest attention, and engage with them there. Without being salesy or annoying.
You could also start:
And more . . . gradually building your authority and brand.
Do you very best to share valuable content with them freely. Answer questions. Deliver as much how to type information as you can.
That’s exactly how I got my first client. I was helping an Internet driven entrepreneur for free. I answered all his questions completely. I helped him set up a basic digital advertising campaign. Then out of the blue he asked me --> How he could work with me?
I told him my price was $5,000 for six months. He said I’m in. No 2nd thoughts.
Here are a few more useful suggestions for you to get copywriting job.
- Identify a Facebook or sub-Reddit group of small business owners who you can help.
- If you are a writer for a niche industry? Start answering questions in Quora in your niche.
Great answers (value add, in-depth) get noticed and shared on all these platforms. That’s how people begin to notice you and start giving you online copywriting job.
3. If you are a writer for a niche industry? Start answering questions in Quora in your niche.
And so on . . .
Start frequenting these places. Provide consistent, measurable, value there. I’m talking about providing value every day for at least one or two hours a day.
NOTE: You’ll have to do this for at least 6 months before you’ll see major results.
Engage people. Provide immense value for free.
That’s how you’ll build a network of prospective clients organically. You’ll also develop a rock-solid reputation as a professional.
Step 4: Know What To Charge As a Freelance Copywriter
What is a copywriter’s salary in India?
This is the part where most newbie (and experienced) freelance copywriters trip up.
That’s because there’s no official rate card for your copywriting services.
That said, don’t worry too much your rates when you’re starting out as a freelance copywriter.
What you need are clients to start giving you work. Often quoting a modest to low price, can and does help you get work.
In fact, you could even work free BUT only do free work strategically.
Here are some good examples when it’s okay to work for free:
I’ve done all of the above when starting out as a freelance copywriter. When starting out, pricing flexibility is key to success for any freelance copywriter.
Of course, you’re going to want to eventually charge. To help, here are four different pricing models you can use to base your copywriting rates on.
Hourly. Set an hourly rate that a client must pay you. The benefit for the client is that they mitigate their risk since they can just stop paying you whenever they want. It also stops clients from piling on work without paying you.
By project. You quote a price for an entire project. The project will have concrete deliverables, and a time line between you and your client. This method is nice because when you’re done with the project, you’re done. You might even end up getting paid a bit more than your standard hourly rate.
However, you do run the risk of the client adding more work onto the project as you move forward without being willing to pay more. Hence, explicit written communications about what your deliverables and time line are, is crucial for this model to work successfully.
By retainer. Your client will pay you a fixed amount monthly. This allows the client to have access to you at any given time during that month.
As a beginner, you’re probably not going to find a client who is willing to hire you on retainer until you’ve built up enough experience working with them. However, it’s a good goal to have. This is definitely something to keep in mind as you get into freelance copywriting.
Commission/bonus. This payment model can work in conjunction with all of the other ones. This can provide a healthy incentive for you to get your work done within specification and on time.
For instance, you work a $1,000 bonus with your client for attaining X amount of leads with your landing pages.
Wrapping up. If you’re a beginner, I suggest you charge hourly, because most clients are
going to be unsure about whether you’ll be able to do a good job, or not. Hence, they may be a little more comfortable working with you on an hourly charge basis.
Once you’ve got your first three to five paying clients you can move on to trying out different pricing models.
Always remember, when it comes to:
– Charging exactly the right price, for a body of work, there’s no right answer.
Here are a few solid rules of thumb which can help you decide on a great ballpark rate.
The Drop Two Zeros Method
Simply take your ideal (i.e. realistic) monthly salary. Then drop two zeros from it. Voila, you have your hourly rate! For a reference check the copywriter’s salary in India to get some idea.
For example, say you’d need to earn $4000 each month. Just drop two zeros from the end. You now have your hourly rate: $40/hour
The Double Your Resentment Number Method
I love this one because it’s both interesting and effective.
Ask yourself: What’s the lowest hourly rate you’ll work for? Which will leave you resentful of the work you are doing?
Let’s say you’ll work for $20/hour at the very least. Just double that number. Now your hourly rate will be $40/hour.
You can also Google for the average hourly rate for whatever service you’re providing. You’ll get a good sense of what to quote your paying customers, doing this.
Remember: There’s a huge disparity between the hourly cost of a highly experienced copywriter and a beginner copywriter. This alone should encourage you to get started.
Also, even when you’re a relative beginner, you’re could still be making a good amount of money for your services.
Say you write an About Us page for a company and charged $85. If that About Us page took you an hour to write, then your hourly rate for that job was $85/hour. Now that’s a fantastic
R.O.I on the time you spent. Right?
Of course, you will not charge the same rate forever.
As you get more and more experience in your niche, and/or broader experience across your niche, you’ll ask for and get a higher hourly rate from your clients.
Additionally, you’ll want to scale your copywriting business upwards and outwards.
Scaling means growing your copywriting business to earn a lot more via more clients.
The best way to do this is through referrals. It’s when your current clients refer your copywriting services to another prospective client.
Clients who are your advocates (i.e. They actively market your copywriting services to others) are clients who are thoroughly happy with what you’ve delivered them over time.
Such clients are incredibly valuable for a few reasons:
You can raise your price a little bit when you get a referral. The client who referred you has automatically added huge value to your work by recommending you. That means you can charge a little bit more for your work.
You get better clients. When your charges are hiked, you’ll start attracting higher paying clients. Clients who can afford you. They’re also much less likely to waste your time if you’re being paid top dollar. It’s a win:win all around.
You can more than double your income. I know a freelance project manager who went from charging $25/hour to $75/hour by scaling his copywriting business via referral. This is a HUGE win:win for all.
Asking for referrals from a happy client is easy, if you have the right script. Here’s a proven script you can use to ask clients to help you get work via a referral.
I’m glad you were completely satisfied with my work. If you know of anyone else who’s looking for my services, I’d be most grateful if you passed them my contact information.
It’s simple, direct, and gets results. Over time, you’ll start getting so many referrals you may have to turn away some prospective clients because of work execution constraints.
Trust me is an awesome problem to have.
Working For An Agency Or In Corporate Communications
Become a copywriter in Agency.
At an agency, you’ll get the opportunity to do a wide range of copywriting work.
This could include Blog posts, Webpage content, Ad copy, Social media writing, Email sequence copy, Whitepapers, CASE studies and more.
Additionally, most likely you’ll write content for a wide variety of clients.
Belonging to a bunch of different industries.
The main benefits of being a copywriter at an agency is the variety of copy writing work and experience which you acquire.
You’ll get to craft copy for different companies and their products and/or services.
Agencies encourage a creative atmosphere. If the agency is an old, well established one there’s a decent level of job stability as well.
Copywriting At A Corporate Entity.
A corporate copywriting job, ensures you’ll be writing content for one company.
You could get to write a variety of content, but there also could be a lot of repetition.
Copywriters in a corporate setting, might not find many opportunities for vertical growth. You might quickly find your creativity isn’t valued. You are easily replaceable.
However, a lot depends on the corporations.
Some corporate environments are excellent for copywriters. A plus point being that corporations often offer better monetary benefits than agencies.
Since you’re new to copywriting, most likely you’ll apply for both agency and corporate, copy creation jobs.
It’s tough to say which is right for you. If you are a newbie I suggest you experience both job types, corporate and agency.
That said, most likely, you’ll settle for whichever space makes you your first job offer.
Let’s figure out how to get your first online copywriting job.
Put Together A Strong Copywriting Portfolio
If you’re new to copywriting, you probably don’t have much of a portfolio. Maybe you:
- Studied journalism or English in college
- Wrote some articles for an online publication
While these are both great starting points, unfortunately they’re not going to help you land a job as a writer, at an agency or corporation.
Your copywriting portfolio must showcase a variety of copy which helps display your writing versatility / talent.
Ideally, your portfolio should include samples. Samples, which are similar to the types of copywriting, you would be doing in the agency or corporate. If you were made a job offer.
However, chances are, you don’t have a diverse collection of copy samples you can display.
That’s when you need to get creative.
Here are some ways you can put together a strong portfolio.
Start your own blog.
Craft posts which showcases your talents as a writer. You can write about whatever you want. Ensure the content you craft is arresting, engaging. Content which will make a good impression on a potential employer.
Do some freelance writing for local businesses.
This could be blogging, website copy, or social media writing (preferably all three).
Whether you want a job at an agency or a corporate entity, you must demonstrate you can write strong, engaging, interesting, business-oriented copy.
It would be great if you could get paid for these opportunities. Alternatively, offer your services for free a few times. Just to build your portfolio of published work.
When an employer asks for writing samples, ensure you’re sending something relevant.
Are you are applying for a copywriting job at a digital agency? One that writes copy for websites and B2B blogs?
Then don’t send the following as writing samples:
× Album reviews
× Newspaper articles
× Short stories or poems
× Opinion pieces
Instead, send samples of webpages and blog posts you’ve written. Don’t have those? Well then, get out there and craft them.
Take an interest in and gather a strong knowledge of the web and analytics.
No matter what type of copywriter job you’re applying for, chances are it’s going to somehow relate to the web.
I don’t need to tell you the world is becoming more and more digital every day. So is the world of copywriting. Today’s copywriters shouldn’t just know how to write.
They also need to know how to:
- Strategically plan topics and create content calendars
- Analyze the success of a piece of writing based on data
- Understand how websites work
- Be a marketer
BUT how do you demonstrate these things if you studied journalism or English in college?
Here are a few tips on what you can/must do.
- Install Google Analytics on your blog
- Then get certified in Google Analytics by It’s free
- Study marketing best practices. Be able to speak about them confidently
- Experiment with different marketing channels.
- Including email, social media, and paid media (Facebook advertising, Google Ads, etc.)
Do any or all of the above. This will show a potential employer you are committed to adapting to the digital world. This proves that you are a well-rounded individual.
More and more, employers do not want to hire people who have only a single skill. They need you to be able to respond quickly and do more than one thing.
If all you can do is write, then you are not going to be a much-desired candidate.
Craft A Flawless Resume. Cover Letter, And Application to become a great copywriter.
This is especially true for copywriters.
One typo, misspelling, or grammar error in any of these documents you submit, can immediately eliminate you as a candidate.
A copywriter should also show mastery of language. You can’t afford to be a boring writer who uses clichés.
You must use words to set yourself apart.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you should fill your cover letter with flowery metaphors.
But you should show you’re a really good writer with the ability to balance creativity with professionalism.
At the very least, you must tailor your cover letter specifically for the job you are applying. Blending in a visible bit of writing flair.
If you’re a good writer, you’ll know how to do this.
Be Prepared To Complete A Writing Assignment
Most copywriter positions will require you to complete a writing assignment in order to prove your skills as a writer.
Your own writing samples might get you and interview call.
That said, an employer will always want to see you work under some pressure. Remember, they’re uncertain whether the samples you provided were not heavily edited (or ghost written) before being handed to them.
A writing assignment is a chance for them to see exactly what you’re capable of producing in a timely fashion.
In some cases, they may even require you to complete a writing assignment in person during an interview. If this is the case, just relax and write your best.
If they give you a writing assignment to complete at home, do thorough topic research. Identify their preferred content style before submitting your completed work. If you can.
You’ll have a great chance at getting hired as a copywriter in the agency or corporate entity you applied to. All the best to become a great copywriter.