CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a copywriter.
Is becoming a copywriter right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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While high school is often the foundation for success in a career, this is especially true for aspiring copywriters.
It is never too early to gain respect for proper grammar and sentence structure and develop passion for articulate writing.
Bachelor’s Degree (recommended / optional)
Ability to write is the hallmark of any prosperous career in copywriting. Some entrants to the field are comfortable cultivating this creative skill without committing to a four-year formal education program.
The latter route does not guarantee an easier path to establishing a thriving career. This is because, regardless of the choice, getting a job as a copywriter is tougher than getting a job in many other fields. The reason for this is simple: to get in the door you typically need a portfolio of work. It is true, though, that hiring managers may prefer candidates who have earned an undergraduate degree.
Ultimately, the decision to earn bachelor’s or to follow the less traditional learning track comes down to a personal preference driven by finances, self-confidence, opportunity, or some combination of these factors.
Internship / Build a Portfolio & an Online Presence
The best way to build a portfolio or a ‘book,’ as it is dubbed in the industry, is via an internship. This process may prove to be easier for candidates with a bachelor’s degree; not only due to the credibility which often accompanies the credential, but because of the potential contacts made during a four-year university program.
Prospective copywriters commonly search for internship openings online and/or contact creative directors at ad agencies. Some internships are unpaid or pay minimal wages.
Copywriters also add to their book of work by creating spec pieces on their own. These work samples should span various fields and mimic a diversity of whitepapers, blog articles, banner ads, campaigns, and editorials. A Wordpress website is an ideal platform on which to display these writing samples, build a personal brand, and reflect professional aspirations online.
Learn about Marketing and Business
Generally, the mandate of a copywriter is to help organizations achieve their sales and revenue goals by writing exceptional copy that demonstrates their industry expertise. Therefore, despite the creative nature of their work, copywriters with at least some knowledge of inbound marketing and business principles tend to enhance their employability.
Simply knowing how to write content is not enough. Knowing how that content fits into the marketing process and how to best establish an emotional connection with the consumer are equally as important.
Aspiring copywriters who wish to transition to the field from another sector should not dismiss the potential usefulness of their ‘unrelated’ education or business experience.
For instance, former nurses who develop copywriting talent may find work writing about health care or medical devices. Chemists who learn the craft could create content for pharmaceutical firms. In other words, it is important for entrants to the field to consider every skill they possess and seek out ways to sell it.
Clearly, there is more than one way to become a copywriter. Every path to the career, however, requires networking.
Networking is very often the key to finding mentors, gaining employment and clients, establishing crucial professional connections, earning guest speaking opportunities at conferences, and winning guest blogging opportunities.
Know the landscape
Online content is surging and generating demand for copywriters. This is largely driven by search engine optimization (SEO), the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s unpaid – or natural, organic, earned – results.
Before well-written copy on company websites can motivate customers to buy products and services, it has to attract browsers to that website. Internet marketing is a fast-moving sector and writers who understand the latest trends in SEO, social media, and other forms of digital marketing will have an edge.