Am I good enough to become a copywriter?Feb 06, 2021
Wondering if you have what it takes to become a copywriter? In my post about choosing a copywriting niche, I briefly mentioned that copywriting is more than just writing skills.
Copywriting is the art of selling with words. Your effectiveness will come down to your tactics of persuasion and psychology than on actual writing skills. With the advances in AI, the ability to write is becoming a commodity.
Your ability to empathize and strategize before putting words on paper is what makes you a “good” copywriter.
First, let’s look at what you’ll actually be writing.
What types of copy will I be writing?
As a copywriter, you’ll be creating select pieces of written marketing and communications for your clients.
In HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, the “Top Inbound Marketing Projects — North America” they found that these were the most in-demand marketing needs listed in order:
- Growing SEO/organic presence
- Blog content creation
- Marketing automation
- Content distribution/amplification
- Interactive content creation
- Long-form/visual content creation
- Online tools
- Product how-to videos
Note that B2B marketers need a lot of blog content, which also happens to be the easiest type of copy to write!
When you first break into copywriting, SEO blog posts are the easiest way to get your foot in the door. My opinion is that if you’ve written a high school essay, you can write a blog post.
So let’s get into it! Here are the skills to focus on to become a strong copywriter:
What skills and experience do I need as a copywriter?
- Writing and communication skills
Being a skilled copywriter isn’t the same as being an academic writer or novelist. A copywriter is expected to simplify complex topics and convey empathy for their audience.
- User experience awareness
User experience is the ability to see your work through the user’s eyes. Copywriters must understand how their writing impacts the reader. For example, for website copy, you must be able to put yourself in the shoes of a new customer visiting the website for the first time.
How will you arrange points on the page to convert visitors into sales for your client? Remember that marketers hire copywriters to write words that sell.
- Expertise (your background)
High-paid writers leverage their background into their specialization. A niche allows you to quickly learn your clients’ products and create expert-level content. Knowledge in one niche enables you to gain clients and command high rates.
- Marketing knowledge
Writing copy is a marketing function you’ll be handling. Basic marketing principles are important because you can’t just sit back and let your client assign you work. To deliver the best results, you must understand their strategy and be able to give them advice when they ask for it.
Writers should understand how their work contributes to their client’s marketing plan. For instance, if your blog post is supposed to drive traffic to a webinar, you should have that goal in mind while you write.
- Customer service skills
Not enough copywriters are talking about this. One of the most important parts of maintaining your long-term clients is keeping them happy. You can satisfy your clients by being responsive, meeting deadlines, and bringing helpful ideas to the table.
Always remember that, copywriting is a service-based business. Your clients have the ability to replace you at any moment. Our goal is to make ourselves irreplaceable.
- Research skills
Your niche may set a strong foundation, but because you don’t work for the company, you won’t know everything about their product. Because we have limited access to company knowledge, we must be crazy good at researching. I consider myself someone who can solve just about any problem with a Google search.
Am I a good enough writer?
I was super insecure about being good enough for my clients. Imposter syndrome is real!
Here’s what I realized about what clients really look for in writers. Whenever I speak with a client who’s unhappy, the feedback is the same.
“They missed the mark, they just didn’t understand what we wanted.”
I’ve never heard “they were a horrible writer” or “they had horrible grammar.” Your clients will gauge your performance on how well you understood the assignment and whether you gave them what they wanted.
Convincing them of that will come down to:
- Your marketing:
Does your marketing portray you as knowledgeable, experienced, professional?
- How you present yourself on a discovery call:
Did you listen, did you point out the value you provide?
- How consultative you can be:
What’s more important than your writing ability is your ability to understand what they want, empathize, and deliver.
What good to a client is an incredible writer with a PhD if they don’t deliver what the client wants?
Copywriting skills will develop over time. I kind of sucked in the beginning. Especially as I was shedding the academic essay writing style I learned as an English Lit major.
Despite being green, clients hired me anyway. And they paid me month after month. Because they wanted someone to listen to their vision, be consistent, meet deadlines, and create content. That’s it. You’re not writing the next great American novel. Don’t overthink it.
Now that I've removed the “false barriers” stopping you from becoming a copywriter, what next steps are you planning to take? To find out how to get started down this career path, I recommend downloading my step by step roadmap to getting started as a freelancer.
You’re more than capable. You got this!