Newbie Copywriting FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)
Newbie copywriting can be intimidating. As you study
marketing gurus, ads, and campaigns, it’s easy to be consumed by inferiority,
especially if you’re not familiar with what copywriting is.
And if you’re wearing multiple hats in your business or
nonprofit – and writing is one of them – well, your inadequacy may escalate
But when it comes to the writing world, here are a few insider’s
- Success as a copywriter can be learned, for the most part.
- When it comes to writing copy, logic and research go hand in
hand with creativity. (Just in case you feel deficient in one of those three areas.)
- There are never enough good copywriters. There’s no reason
you can’t be one of them.
If you can put together a string of words, you’re already a
writer. Becoming a copywriter is then a question of acquiring a few skills …
and then working hard and persistently to get better.
(It’s the “hard work” part that most wannabes can’t get
around. So if you’ve got a work ethic, read on.)
Q. What is copywriting?
Writing to persuade … whether it’s to sell a product,
solicit a gift, market a service, or convince the reader of a viewpoint.
Q. What are some key skills I need to become copywriter?
A copywriter is a unique combination of writer, researcher,
human psychologist, and marketer – one who draws on the following skills:
- Basic writing proficiency
- The ability to research
- An understanding of human nature
- Insight into people and what motivates them
- Familiarity with different writing forms (such as a letter, an
article, a headline, a website, a social media post) and when to use each (check out
Kinds of Writing Projects to see which ones you know already)
- Appreciation for different communications streams: how a
website is different from a magazine, for instance
- A love for the written word
Q. How long does it take to move from being a newbie copywriter to a full-fledged copywriter?
There is no certification or exam you must pass in order to
be designated as a copywriter … no official course you must take in order to be
recognized as a copywriter. Many successful copywriters never formally studied
writing. (Having said that, instruction is truly helpful.)
Training. Many believe that because copywriting is a
specific skill, Gary Halbert’s 10,000 Hour Rule applies. That is, since it
takes 10,000 hours to become proficient at a skill, you will need to invest
10,000 in learning the art of copywriting before you can identify yourself as a
Acknowledgement. Along the way, you may find you use your writing
skills to persuade. Others may ask you to write for them. Although may you have not yet invested 10,000
hours in developing your copywriting skills, you feel comfortable calling
yourself a copywriter.
Experience. If you
have “write to sell” mindset and have at some point used your words to convince
a reader to take an action, you’re already a copywriter. (How good you become
is another matter.)
Q. What are some steps I can take to become a copywriter?
- Write (preferably daily)
- Read voraciously, including at least a book a week on
copywriting or writing
- Take a class
- Choose a piece copy that's proven. Read it 10 times. Write
it by hand on piece of paper 3 times. Repeat with 3 or 4 good ads. See what you
- Study projects by copywriting masters such as David Ogilvy,
John Carlton, Bob Bly, Eugene Schwartz, Clayton Makepeace, Gary Halbert, Michel
- Get a mentor and get critiqued
- Write for free
- Build a portfolio
- Build a website. Add to it each week.
- Create a solicitation package and get some initial clients
- Write. Always Be Writing.
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