What It Takes To Be A Copywriter

Wondering if you have what it takes to be a copywriter? Or maybe you’re just curious about what it is a copywriter does. Well, I’m here to give you some answers!

When I was in college, there was one thing I knew for certain: I wanted to be a writer. How I was going to make that happen, however, was lost on me. There are only so many writing jobs that one can obtain right?

Well actually, there are all kinds of writing jobs out there, and I don’t think I could name them all if I tried. Although my first choice would have been to be a novelist, currently I’ve settled in quite nicely (sometimes) as a copywriter.

I can only speak from experience of course. Different companies, industries, cities, states, and specializations might require different things from someone who is a copywriter.

In my case, as a copywriter for an automotive advertising agency, an online yoga platform, and a digital advertising agency, I write the following various forms of copy:

  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Landing pages
  • Television commercials
  • Billboard ads
  • Facebook ads
  • Radio commercials
  • Email blasts
  • Print ads
  • Video descriptions
  • Instagram posts
  • And probably more

To be a copywriter, you need to know how to write various forms of copy.

This can be learned of course. I got my start writing freelance articles for a local magazine in my hometown. From there, I earned a temporary position as a content specialist writing landing pages for a digital marketing company.

After 6 months in that position, I transitioned into my current roll as a copywriter. The traditional advertising company that I work for requires me to write more than just articles and landing pages. I had never written a TV script, an Email blast, a billboard ad, or anything else. I had to learn on the job.

To be a copywriter, you have to have experience

My experience as a writer helped me get this position – the experience that I built through freelancing and temping. That and the fact that the company I work for looks for people who are a little less seasoned so they can be paid less. Works for me – I’m gaining my experience, putting in my dues, and soon, I’ll be able to move on.

To be a copywriter, you need passion and dedication.

I mean, you have to really love what you do, because as far as I can tell, the pay isn’t great (or at least it won’t be until you build up a few years of experience).

I’ve picked up some side gigs along the way (to make up for how little I make). As previously mentioned, I write copy for an online yoga platform and I freelance for a digital marketing company.

To be clear, the wages I make through my full time gig on their own are livable. Put together with my husband’s salary, we can afford to pay our bills, feed ourselves, have a good time, and take a holiday from time to time. The reason I take on side jobs is because without them, we’d have a pretty difficult time saving for things like buying a home, etc. Also, I’m a workaholic.

Companies typically prefer to hire copywriters with a college degree

I’m not going to say that it’s impossible to get a job as a copywriter without one, but I am saying that it will help. Similarly, a college degree will not guarantee that you make it as a copywriter, or anything else for that matter. It’s sort of hit or miss

What will really help you is a little hard work, dedication, practice, and the ability to see opportunities everywhere.

My first ever “job” as a writer was done for free. I volunteered to write a quarterly newsletter for a non-profit organization that was run by someone I knew. (I hate to say it, but nepotism is always helpful.)

Then before I got my start as a paid writer, not only were the available positions few and far between, but it seemed like no matter how many companies I sent my resume to, no one wanted to hire me. This was beyond frustrating, but I was determined.

So, I decided to get creative. I wrote up a plea, practically begging for work (it was totally professional though), and I sent it out to the local newspapers and magazines in my hometown. Finally, someone got back to me, and after several emails sent back and forth discussing experience and writing samples, they agreed to add me to their list of freelance contributors.

And that was only the beginning to what has been a long and difficult road.

Well, there you have it. Based on my personal experience, this is what it takes to be a copywriter. Still think it’s something you might be interested in doing? Good! Lets talk a little more about what it takes and where you are in your personal journey. Hit me up in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “What It Takes To Be A Copywriter

  1. So I still don’t get it! LOL! Do you write your own original stuff for the companies or do you copy what they already wrote. I know you’ve told me like a million times.

    I get what you’re saying about knowing someone. That is how I got my start at the paper.

    1. Haha, basically, I come up with creative ways to write the messages that our clients want to advertise.

      So, if they always a commercial about a summer sale they are having, I will think up some sort of something creative to make it catchy (like beat the heat, or something like that) and then I’ll include important info like who they are, what deals they have, and brand specific details (like a tag line).

      Next I think I’ll write a post about what a copywriter does, haha

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