How to Become a Professional Copywriter (with no experience)
So, you’d like to make lots of money, don’t you?
And, maybe, you’d like to enjoy a flexible schedule to work whenever and wherever you want?
Well, find me who doesn’t.
You’ve probably read several (or tons of) materials about this copywriting thing many people talk about.
And, your mind now shows you fantasies where your only worries are about your next trip in Thailand, the best restaurant for your dinner, or the best super-car.
…you’re still looking to get your way to get into it.
I got ya.
And I’d really like to help you out.
But, you must understand that there are no shortcuts.
Yes, you’re gonna see professional tactics that show you what to do. But you’ll still have to put in all the consistent efforts that will be necessary.
Now, before we move into what actions you need to take, let’s try to figure out what professional copywriting is.
Most Successful Copywriters Know What Professional Copywriting Is All About…
Salesmanship. Right, copywriting is often described as professional salesmanship in print. Since a copywriter uses written words to sell more products or services.
Professional Copywriting is the written implementation of a marketing and branding strategy.
The professional marketing and branding strategists come up with things like the brand’s identity & message, the positioning and the marketing channels to use.
The professional copywriter, on the other hand, translates all these things into words. And his job is to do it in a clear and persuasive way, so people are more willing to buy.
Now, think about it for a moment.
Have you ever read a website, an email, an ad or a product description on Amazon that made you buy something?
That’s good copy.
And, that’s why professional copywriters are among the highest paid writers of the galaxy.
They bring businesses tons of money!
They aren’t “just writers”. They don’t type “creative words” out of thin air.
Their job consists of analyzing all the aspects of a product, up to the most complex ones. The should become professionals in creating sales copies.
Then, finding the best way to make it easy for the clients to understand the key components and buy.
Easier said than done.
But, basically, that’s the big idea behind it.
Why Do Businesses Need to Hire a Professional Copywriter?
There is a huge demand for them.
And, probably, it will be there for a very long time.
Just think about this. A single IT company needs to create all this marketing material:
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Forms to fill out
- Twitter updates
- Facebook updates
- Copy for all the pages of their website
- Copy about their products
- Content for their blog
- Material that teaches clients about their policy
- Scripts for sales people
- Scripts for the customer support people to follow
- Press releases
- White papers
And if that doesn’t seem enough, they also must:
- Check the website analytics to know if it’s performing well
- Run A/B tests to optimize the site’s copy changing only what must be changed
That’s a ton of work to do!
And, if they’d like to bring home some results, they’d better pay people who know how to do it right.
You’d like to be among those people.
What Do You Need to Become a Professional Copywriter?
To be called a copywriter you need only two things:
- Strong copywriting skills
- Clients who pay for your services
You don’t need any degrees. You don’t need any certifications.
Many successful people didn’t went to college and some of them didn’t even finish high school.
There are many copywriting courses with certifications out there, but they aren’t necessary.
Nobody cares about papers on your wall. The only thing customers care about is if you make them money with your words.
So, as long as you show your abilities, you’re in.
How to Find the First Clients and Become a Well-Paid Professional?
Becoming a successful copywriter implies you’ll have tons of customers. Customers want to see we already have experience. But, we can’t build experience if we don’t find some clients.
That’s the beginner paradox, right?
And no course guarantees you crowds of entrepreneurs waiting for you right after you receive the certification.
It’s a pain in the butt, I know.
But, there are two ways you can solve this paradox and get into the whole thing pretty quickly.
1. Use the Crystal Ball Technique
The professional copywriter Danny Margulies explained on his blog how he used the crystal ball technique when he started.
The cool part is that you can start building your skills AND earning money right from the beginning.
We can sum it up in 5 steps:
- Create a profile on Upwork or Freelancer.
- Find a writing job you want to apply for
- Write something very similar to what the client wants.
If he wants an email sequence to sell a vitamin supplement, you write something about a protein supplement. If he needs a blog post on the best places to visit in Paris, you write one similar about Rome.
- Apply for the job, attaching your brand new sample.
- Get the job.
Imagine for a moment you’re an entrepreneur and you need a white paper for your IT company.
Many people apply for the gig and, probably, there are several good experts among them.
But only a few sent you samples about the IT industry, and nobody sent you a white paper. And then, somebody sends you a sample of a white paper for an IT company.
If that white paper sample seems good enough you give the gig to that person and call it a day.
Because you probably have a ton of other stuff to do and have no time to analyze other writers’ profiles to see if somebody could write it better.
That’s why this technique is so powerful.
You show clients that you can write exactly what they need.
Basically, you break almost all the barriers this way. Because your success rates depend only from your ability to write what the customers like.
So, if they need a white paper, check “white paper examples” and “how to write a white paper” on Google and read the resources that pop up.
You won’t write the best white paper on the planet. But, if you’re good at writing, your sample will get you that job.
2. Do Some Work for Free
Another way to get clients with no experience is to write for free for a couple of projects.
Content Marketing, SEO or Digital Marketing agencies have to produce huge amounts of articles and other marketing materials.
Some of them won’t refuse to give you assignments just to see if you’re good enough, if you offer to write for free.
Most of them are always looking for new writing talents.
So, email them and show your abilities if they give you the chance
If you’re a nice fit, you’ll start getting some money for your words.
How to Build Your Professional Skills
How to become a freelance copywriter online? Not everyone is a skilled writer. But, you can become one if you work hard & smart on your skills.
These are the best ways to build them.
1. Write Copy
The best way to become a good writer is… surprise surprise, to actually write something. Being a successful copywriter you should love writing and do it every single day.
Every pro started as an amateur, so don’t despair if you feel your copy sucks or is just not as good as you want. Just take a firm decision to become better everyday.
The more you’ll write copy, the more professional you’ll become at it.
So, just take a moment to recognize that you’ll need time and many projects under your belt to reach high levels.
And that’s ok.
2. Shadowing Technique
One of the best advices from the big pros is to write down great pieces of copy by hand.
Do it several times with a single ad and analyze.
Yes, with the old-school pen and paper.
Many rookies find it unnecessary. But they’re wrong.
You won’t become a guru overnight. But, after a while, your unconscious mind will kind of absorb some elements from the best advertisements.
And this will boost the flow of your pieces.
And, just for the record, this technique isn’t used by professional copywriters only.
Many fiction authors and journalists used it too, in order to “steal” the style of the great writers they like, and use some of those elements to build their own flow.
You can get some great old sales letters on Swiped.co .
Then, take the habit to take screenshots of the landing pages and sales letters of successful businesses, and save them in a swipe file.
And a great way to stumble upon these professional pieces of copy is just to follow successful businesses.
Become their #1 fan, subscribe to their email lists, click on their ads on Google, Social networks, and any other online space.
The worst detail is that you don’t know for certain if that piece of copy is performing well or it’s a total failure.
But, usually, if you see it running for a long time, usually that means the copy is nice. You’ll need to work god damn hard! Still want to become a successful freelance copywriter? Just kidding.)
3. Learn from the Best Resources
There are tons of resources on how to become a professional copywriter out there.
Some of them are crap. But, some of them are pure gold.
The two best free resources are The Bencivenga Bullets and The Gary Halbert Letter.
While for books and courses check out this resource list from the Copywriter Club podcast (btw, a great resource itself).
Be consistent in your learning process, and the results will come. The determination to become expert in the niche is already half a battle.
4. Analyze Any Advertisement You See
Take this as an exercise you can do any time.
Analyze any advertising you see when you watch TV, read newspaper and magazines, surf the internet, see the billboards in your city.
Think about the audience they address, the pain they’re trying to solve with that product/service, the voice they’re using, and what emotions they trigger in you.
The more you observe other practitioners of the craft, the more you’ll be a great craftsman yourself.
5. Get Feedback from Experienced Pros
A professional copy coach who gives you feedback and shows the right steps to take to improve your copy is not a bad idea.
Quite often, he will also help you with setting the business side of it.
A cheaper alternative to get some feedback on your copy is to join copywriting masterminds/memberships.
You can show your work to the professional copywriter who created that closed group and/or the other writers who joined.
6. Expand Your Knowledge
Expert copywriters don’t focus only on copy. They also study other closely related subjects.
And you should do it, too.
Marketing & Sales are obvious choices. But explore also such areas as Storytelling, basic human Psychology, critical thinking and Business Management.
The more you’ll dive deep into them, the more you’ll grow.
How to Find New Clients
Once you’ve done some decent work and feel sure about your abilities, feel free to try these methods to get new and better paying customers.
1. Job Boards
Some people don’t even consider job boards to get nice gigs, because any job ad receives tons of responses.
And that’s true, but very few of those responses are qualified usually.
So, if you’re qualified for that specific project, your chances are not so low.
You could take some time at the end of the day to scan the job posts to see if there’s something relevant to you.
But doing that frequently is demanding, so check Listiler.com.
It’s an aggregator of writing job vacancies from a very long list of sites.
2. Guest Posts
Creating and posting guest posts on other sites is another effective method to put yourself in front of the right eyes.
The most important detail is choosing a blog with an audience of potential clients, not other copywriters.
Nothing bad about networking with fellow writers but, if you’re looking for customers, you should seek an entrepreneur audience.
So, find a nice blog, analyze it, and pitch the editor a couple of ideas for a blog post that would add value to their audience.
3. Partner with Agencies
There are many marketing agencies out there, and they are all different.
Some of them will work with starter copywriters, some only with experienced ones.
But, if you have damn good samples of your work, you’ll close some partnerships and get some gigs.
Not everyone likes working with an agency, but they are a great way to create a parallel source of writing projects.
4. Crystal Ball Technique
This tactic is not only effective to get writing gigs without experience.
Upwork and Freelancer offer big & juicy projects too, from time to time.
And, creating a sample the client would like to see is one of the best ways to get those projects.
Or simply to get more work, when you have less projects than usual.
Attending conferences is a great source of clients, too.
If you get noticed and make a positive impression, you’ll find some pretty good clients. Especially if it’s a paid conference.
So, if you afford to invest in a conference with a lot of entrepreneurs, it’s a good bet.
6. Cold emails
There are as many different opinions about cold emailing, as about everything else.
Why send unsolicited emails to busy business people?
If they are looking for a writer, they post a job advertisement or search for a freelancer on Upwork.
And, maybe they will hate us just for stealing their time. And we are not experts at all. And they will send a booga-wooga curse on us, for sure.
Keep calm. That’s just your mind playing with you.
Some people won’t reply and that’s OK.
But, some of them will be interested in what you have to offer and close a deal with you.
You just have to be methodic and consistent in your pitching campaign.
Check this post by Disha Sharma on professional cold emailing and other strategies to find clients.
Becoming a professional copywriter is not such a difficult process to understand. But it’s pretty damn hard.
So, most of the guides like this are read, but not implemented.
Execution is what keep most people from achieving their goals. We know what we have to do, but we don’t do it.
If you really want to become a professional writer, set clear goals and do something every day.
Otherwise you risk wasting lots of time.
Start studying copywriting or use the Crystal Ball technique straight away. Choose what approach you want to take.
But don’t waste time, do something to become a star.
In the meantime, you can say hello in the comments and subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates about our new posts. ☺