5 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR NOVICE COPYWRITERS
The beginning of any copywriting career is, for many, the most challenging part of the journey. You’re entering a whole new community with unfamiliar rules and requirements, which doesn’t seem any simpler even if you had some writing experience before. This article was created to simplify the task for newbies, who are tired of being called so.
MY OWN SAD, SAD STORY
Copywriting and marketing stand much closer together than copywriting and storytelling. This means you’ll have to master writing skills basically from scratch, as well as find your own, unique, answer to the question – “How can I be a good copywriter?”
I’ve been through this point once, too, and I remember how hard it was to learn everything from my own mistakes. The first six months of my career as a writer were entirely “experience-collecting.” I didn’t have any serious orders or regular customers, worked for peanuts, and tried to understand how top copywriters got their reputation.
Thinking about those times, I wish I had known some of the basic copywriting tips I had to learn later – but you can’t turn back the clock. So, I decided to share my copywriting experience with you, reader, in case you have to face the challenges I once did. Maybe these tips will help you to overcome the “entry” stage faster than I did, so that you’ll be able to start working on some real projects without a trial period full of worries and low-cost labour.
TIP NO.1. CHEER UP!
I bet you’ve already thought about leaving copywriting to seek your fortune somewhere else – and that’s normal! This is the way our brain works: it tries to preserve as much mind & body energy as possible so that if the efforts don’t bring the desired result instantaneously, we feel a loss of strength and often give up on trying at all.
There are two basic things you can do if you feel like you’re tired of being an unseen creator. Firstly, you should answer one simple question – Do you really want to write?
If the answer is at least 50% positive, and you are sure that you want to connect your life to texts, then the only advice here is to keep trying. I know more than anyone else how disappointing it is to leave dozens of bids and see zero results, but the most obvious solution here is the most effective. The more you get acquainted with the clients’ requirements, the more you understand which areas you have to evolve in. Moreover, you can see how other copywriters draw clients’ attention, and you can always try those methods yourself.
The statistics also support this message. Out of a hundred bids, there must be at least one client who likes your candidature. The main trick here is to leave a message the employer will want to read (ten copypasted phrases saying “Available for work” have a very low probability of being chosen). This article will help you with the creation of a perfect bid.
You should be ready for a slack period, which might last from a week to half a year. However, if you’re not ready to wait, there are certain suggestions you can stick to, which might improve your chances of being noticed. Recommendations like..
TIP NO.2. COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE.
Your profile on any job website is your face – literally. By reading it, clients decide whether to choose you as a task performer, which is why this is the aspect you have to pay maximum attention to.
What should be in your profile?
- Your high-quality photo should be taken in a formal setting, with you wearing business clothes. The picture should show your face close up – not with the beach behind you nor with you among the company of your friends.
- A captivating “About Myself” text. It should tell a possible client about your experience, motivation, your areas of interest, what topics you write about, and what topics you know best. Describe yourself as a professional, effective and reliable copywriter – but be ready to answer to clients’ expectations.
- A portfolio is the key attribute of any profile because it demonstrates your experience and skills. If you have only just started your copywriting career, you can either honestly tell your client about your lack of work experience or fill the profile with your own non-marketing texts (they should show your knowledge in a range of areas like medicine, technology, psychology, health, beauty, etc.)
What SHOULD NOT be in your profile?
- Low-quality photos, photos of you in improper clothing (swimwear, sportswear) or places (beach, cafe, club). Pets, nature, and flowers won’t say much about your professionalism either.
- Three lines, talking about your school and university. One sentence that says you’re an expert and you want to work. Blank space.
- Example texts, which include grammatical mistakes and poor content texts.
The profile is your actual description, based on how you want your clients to picture you in their head. If you want to impress a client, be creative and spend some time searching for the best way to represent yourself. You’re a copywriter, all in all! Your main task is to create enticing texts, so make one just for yourself, describing your advantages over other candidates.
TIP NO.3. DON’T FOCUS ON A SINGLE WEBSITE.
By this stage, you must have already found the perfect job website for your research. This might be Upwork (if you’re lucky enough to pass the registration stage), Freelancer or even Craigslist – everything depends on your personal preferences.
Every website has a different number of registered users, and to be noticed you have to concentrate on the big “fish.” This advice may seem obvious, but some time ago I wrongly underestimated its importance: more activity on different websites means more exciting projects you can take part in. Spare one to three hours per day to scroll through job offers and leave bids. Don’t spam with identical messages – read through the task, and then try to convince the employer that you’re the person he/she is searching for in a polite, professional way.
TIP NO.4. GRAMMAR AND MANNERS.
Not only should your texts be grammatically seamless – don’t forget about your conversation with the clients! Before sending any message, read it twice. Be polite and keep your distance unless the client asks otherwise.
If you can’t boast of attentiveness, consider using a service such as Grammarly. It’s not only a great assistant when it comes to text editing – the service can also check your correspondence on the go if you install the plugin to your browser. This is the service I use in my job – and you should as well.
Another “must-have” copywriting service I recommend is the vocabulary section of thesaurus.com, which I regularly use when there are too many identical (alike, equal, matching) terms in my texts and there is also Reverso Context – either for the contextual translation of phrases (which is an extremely useful feature if your native language isn’t English) or for the synonym search (sometimes even better than what Thesaurus offers). To check the originality of my texts I use the Advego application, while WebFX tests their readability.
Here I have listed my Newbie-Copywriter-Starter-Pack, which I wish I knew about three years ago. I’d be happy to hear about your must-have tools in the comments too!
TIP NO.5. WORK FOR MONEY – NOT FOR CHUMP CHANGE.
This question comes down to the problem of the copywriters’ self-esteem, which we’ll discuss later. I have seen copywriters with 15 years of experience working for 1$ per 100 words, and I have seen barely literate writers working for a price ten times higher than that.
The secret here is to find a happy medium between:
- your experience
- your understanding of the topic
- the complexity of each task
…and turn all of these into a money equivalent.
Of course, without experience you won’t get 100$ for a single text – honestly, I still don’t receive this kind of amount – but working for free is not an option either. All in all, the price you charge for your job is your personal business, but I strongly advise you to respect your work and the effort you put into it!
TO SUM UP
The beginning of any copywriting career is, probably, the most difficult part of the road – this is true, but not completely. Your career start is also one of the most enthralling and fascinating periods of the journey, during which you are discovering a brand new copywriting world and your role within it. This is the time you can experiment with texts and formats, meet new interesting people and face challenging tasks – but the best part of all is your first serious salary, which you can get faster then I did faster than anybody else by following these five simple tips.
Add this article in your bookmarks and comment it if these pieces of advice came in handy for you!