How Do I Start A Copywriting Career With No Experience?

Aug 25, 2023 | Start Freelance Writing

If you’ve ever wondered how to break into the world of copywriting but find yourself lacking in experience, fear not! This article is here to guide you through the process of starting a copywriting career from scratch. Whether you’re a recent graduate or simply looking for a fresh start, we’ll explore practical tips, valuable resources, and actionable steps that will set you on your way to becoming a successful copywriter, even if you have no prior experience in the field. So, grab a pen and paper, and let’s embark on this exciting journey together!

Hey, speaking of exciting journeys, let me tell you about mine. Around 7-8 years ago, I was serving drinks and appetizers as a waitress. Fast forward to now, and I’m a six-figure-earning freelance writer who works part-time from the comfort of my home! So I’d say I’m fairly qualified to show you a path to freelance writing success. How did I pull off this transformation? Keep reading to find out!

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Research the Field of Copywriting

Understand the Role of a Copywriter

Before diving into the world of copywriting, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what exactly a copywriter does. A copywriter is responsible for creating persuasive and engaging content that is used for advertising and marketing purposes. We write copy for various mediums such as websites, advertisements, brochures, social media posts, and more. Copywriters need to be able to understand the target audience and convey the brand’s message effectively through their writing.

Learn about Different Copywriting Niches

Copywriting is a vast field with various niches to explore. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the different areas of copywriting to find your niche. Some popular copywriting niches include direct response copywriting, content copywriting, email copywriting, and SEO copywriting. Each niche requires specific skills and knowledge, so it’s important to research and understand the nuances of each.

You can also niche down by industry. Typically, the most profitable niches are in health, wealth, and relationships.

But don’t get overwhelmed by all the niches out there. I started as a generalist and then honed down to focus on one and built my expertise from there. And there are many writers who are successful as generalists, and many who are successful in just one niche. It’s okay to adapt and evolve as you learn what industries are lucrative and what you enjoy writing.

Explore Successful Copywriting Examples

To further enhance your understanding of copywriting and gain inspiration for your work, it’s beneficial to explore successful copywriting examples. Take the time to analyze and dissect well-crafted ad campaigns, captivating website copy, and engaging social media posts. Just look at the world around you and scrutinize the bazillion ads we see every day! By studying successful examples, you can gain insights into what makes effective copy and learn from the strategies employed by skilled copywriters.

Develop Your Writing Skills

Improve Grammar and Vocabulary

A strong foundation in grammar and vocabulary is crucial for any aspiring copywriter. Take the time to brush up on your grammar skills and expand your vocabulary. There are numerous online resources and courses available to help enhance these skills. Additionally, reading books and articles can expose you to different writing styles and improve your overall writing proficiency.

Practice Different Writing Styles

Copywriters need to be versatile in their writing styles to adapt to various client needs and target audiences. Take the opportunity to practice different styles of writing, from formal to conversational, and everything in between. Experiment with your tone, word choice, and sentence structure to develop a diverse range of writing styles that can cater to different brands and industries.

Enhance Proofreading and Editing Skills

A comprehensive understanding of proofreading and editing is vital for a copywriter… Developing keen proofreading and editing skills will ensure your work is free from errors and maintains a high standard of quality. Practice proofreading and editing your own work and those of others to refine your abilities. There are also online tools and resources available to help improve your proofreading and editing skills.

Build a Solid Portfolio

Create Speculative or Personal Projects

Having a portfolio of your work is essential for showcasing your abilities and attracting potential clients or employers. Begin by creating speculative (i.e. “spec” projects) or personal projects where you can showcase your skills and creativity. Develop sample copy for imaginary brands or redesign the copy of existing companies. This will not only allow you to showcase your work but also demonstrate your ability to adapt your writing to different industries and target audiences.

Offer Pro Bono Work

Consider offering your copywriting services pro bono to gain experience and build your portfolio. Reach out to local non-profit organizations or small businesses that may appreciate your help. By offering your skills for free, you not only gain practical experience but also build relationships and potential references for future opportunities.

Now I know people will say, “Don’t write for free!” But it’s not about how much work you do for free; it’s about the value you get in return. In my early days, I created “spec work” (fake projects based on real brands) to build my portfolio and learn skills. And oh boy, did it pay off! To this day, I still do the occasional free project if I love the brand and want to get a foot in the door. Nothing big, but just something to give them a taste of what it’s like to work with me.

Collaborate with Others

Collaborating with other creatives can provide valuable learning experiences and help expand your portfolio. Seek out opportunities to work with graphic designers, web developers, or marketing professionals. By collaborating on projects, you can showcase your ability to work as part of a team and create cohesive and successful campaigns.

Networking and Building Connections

Attend Industry Events and Conferences

Attending industry events and conferences is an excellent way to network with fellow copywriters and professionals in the field. These events often feature knowledgeable speakers and workshops that can offer valuable insights. Connect with other attendees and exchange ideas and experiences. Building connections in the industry can open doors to opportunities, mentorship, and collaborations.

Join Copywriting Groups and Forums

Online copywriting groups and forums provide a platform for copywriters to connect, share knowledge, and ask questions. Joining these communities allows you to stay updated on industry trends, seek advice, and gain feedback on your work. Engage in conversations, offer support to others, and participate in discussions to establish yourself as an active member of the copywriting community.

Reach out to Experienced Copywriters

Don’t hesitate to reach out to experienced copywriters for guidance and insight. Many professionals are willing to share their knowledge and offer advice to those starting out in the field. Connect with copywriters through social media platforms, professional networks, or industry events. Building relationships with experienced copywriters can provide valuable mentorship opportunities and open doors to potential collaborations or job opportunities in the future.

When I started my freelance writing career, I was as skeptical as a cat near a bathtub. Would businesses actually pay me to write? Turns out, they will, and you can make good money too. Networking played a huge role in that. Connecting with other experienced copywriters who had overflow and needed to pass of some work was a great way to help the cashflow trickle in. And even networking with those just starting out can give you the community and resources you need to succeed.

How Do I Start A Copywriting Career With No Experience?

Take Relevant Courses

Enroll in Copywriting Courses

Taking specialized copywriting courses can provide you with a structured learning experience and help you develop essential skills. Look for courses that cover various copywriting techniques, principles, and strategies. These courses often provide valuable feedback on your work and offer insights from industry experts. Taking the time to invest in your education shows employers and clients that you are committed to honing your craft.

Now, if you’re a busy mom looking to get into the freelance writing game and say “adios” to your 9-to-5 shackles, I’ve got something that’s better than a double shot of espresso for your career. It’s a program called “Writing for Money,” and let me tell you, it’s the real deal. Abbi, the creator of the program, has been freelance writing longer than some of us have been able to spell the word… And she’s been doing it with five kids (including one with special needs). So she understands the struggle of launching a career when you also have a household to care for.

This program is a fast pass to freelance freedom. No degree? No experience? No problem! With Abbi’s no-nonsense guidance, you’ll sidestep the usual rookie mistakes and kickstart your writing career fast.

Learn about Marketing and Advertising

While copywriting focuses on writing persuasive content, it is essential to have a fundamental understanding of marketing and advertising principles. Familiarize yourself with marketing concepts such as target audience identification, branding, and market research. Understanding these aspects will allow you to create copy that aligns with marketing strategies and effectively communicates the brand’s message.

Develop Skills in SEO and Digital Marketing

In today’s digital landscape, copywriters need to have a grasp of search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing techniques. Learn about SEO practices, keyword research, and how to optimize copy for online platforms. Familiarize yourself with social media marketing, email marketing, and other digital marketing strategies. Developing these skills will make you more versatile as a copywriter and increase your marketability.

Essential Tools to Boost Your SEO and Digital Marketing Game

Speaking of SEO and digital marketing, I can’t emphasize enough how Metricool has been a lifesaver for me. This all-in-one social media tool lets you analyze, manage, and publish content across platforms — from TikTok and Pinterest to LinkedIn and Instagram. It’s an incredible resource that’s both affordable and user-friendly.

I use Metricool for marketing my own copywriting business, and for managing my clients social media content (because I have a few clients where I not only write their captions, but I also schedule and publish their content). This allows me to charge more, because I’m not JUST writing.

So as a freelance writer juggling multiple social media channels, this tool has been invaluable. If you write any kind of social media content – for yourself or clients – invest in Metricool! You’ll thank me later.

Seek Internship or Apprenticeship Opportunities

Apply for Copywriting Internships

Seeking out copywriting internships can provide valuable hands-on experience and a foot in the door of the industry. Look for internships with advertising agencies, marketing firms, or in-house marketing departments. Internships allow you to work closely with experienced professionals, gain practical insights, and build your portfolio. Even if the internship is unpaid, the experience and connections made can be invaluable for launching your career.

Look for Apprenticeship Programs

Some agencies or copywriting professionals offer apprenticeship programs designed to mentor and train aspiring copywriters. These programs provide structured learning opportunities, hands-on experience, and guidance from seasoned professionals in the field. Research agencies or individuals who offer apprenticeships in your desired niche and apply accordingly.

Consider Volunteering for Non-Profit Organizations

Volunteering your copywriting skills for non-profit organizations not only provides you with practical experience but also allows you to make a positive impact in the community. Reach out to local non-profits or charitable organizations that may benefit from your copywriting services. Volunteering can often lead to valuable connections, referrals, and potential paid opportunities in the future.

Start Freelancing

Create a Professional Website

You’ve got your skills honed, and you’re ready to take the world by storm. But you’re not just any freelancer; you’re a professional. And nothing screams “I’m a pro, take me seriously” more than a slick, well-optimized website.

Establishing an online presence is crucial for attracting clients and showcasing your work. Create a professional website that showcases your portfolio, highlights your skills and experience, and makes it super easy for clients to reach you. Optimize your website with SEO best practices to increase visibility and attract organic traffic. Make sure your website reflects your unique writing style and brand identity. And if you have a niche, mention that throughout your messaging and in the look and feel of your site. This shows potential clients YOU are the pro in this arena.

Another aspect of professionalism is how you handle money with clients… So once you start pitching yourself to clients, you’ll need to be ready. So get your financial house in order!

I’m talking invoicing, expense tracking, financial goal-setting; basically, everything that makes you go “Ugh, really?” The admin side of this may not be fun, but seeing money get deposited into your bank account on autopilot each month sure is! And that’s why I use Harpoon for all my money-related needs. This software automates:

  • Sending invoices
  • Nudging those forgetful clients with overdue reminders
  • Monitoring cashflow
  • Setting financial goals
  • Tracking my expenses for write-offs
  • Pulling reports for tax time
  • And so much more!

It’s like having a mini financial advisor living in your computer. And automation means you can spend less time crunching numbers and more time crafting killer copy.

Trust me, when you automate the not-so-fun stuff, you level up from a ‘freelancer’ to a ‘Freelance Deity.’ And you come across as a professional that clients can trust. So  give Harpoon a try and let your freelance empire flourish!

Use Freelance Platforms to Find Clients

Freelance platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer can be useful tools for finding clients and building your freelance copywriting career. Create a compelling profile that highlights your skills and experience. Seek out relevant projects, submit proposals, and engage with potential clients. While competition can be fierce on these platforms, they can provide a starting point for establishing a client base and gaining valuable experience.

Offer Competitive Rates to Build Reputation

As a beginner in the copywriting field, offering competitive rates can help you attract clients and build a solid reputation. While it’s important to value your work, be mindful of the market rates and adjust your pricing accordingly. Offering reasonable rates can position you as a cost-effective option for clients, leading to more opportunities and referrals in the long run. As you gain experience and build your portfolio, you can gradually increase your rates.

Utilize Online Job Boards and Platforms

Search for Entry-Level Copywriting Jobs

Online job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn often list entry-level copywriting positions. Keep an eye out for job postings that match your skills and experience level. Tailor your resume and cover letter to showcase your copywriting skills and highlight relevant experiences or projects. Don’t shy away from applying for positions that require some experience, as your portfolio and skills gained from personal projects can be valuable assets.

Apply for Remote Copywriting Positions

Remote work opportunities have increased significantly in recent years, making it possible to find copywriting jobs from anywhere in the world. Remote positions allow you to work flexibly and expand your client base beyond your local area. Utilize online job platforms that specialize in remote work, such as Remote.co, We Work Remotely, and FlexJobs, to find copywriting opportunities that suit your skills and preferences.

Use LinkedIn and Professional Networks

LinkedIn is a powerful professional networking platform that can help you connect with potential clients and employers. Create a compelling LinkedIn profile that highlights your copywriting skills, experience, and portfolio. Join relevant groups and engage in discussions to establish yourself as an industry professional. Connect with professionals and companies in the copywriting field to expand your network and increase your visibility.

Continuous Learning and Skill Improvement

Stay Updated with Industry Trends

Copywriting is an ever-evolving field, with trends and techniques constantly changing. Think of it like fashion; if you’re still rocking parachute pants and neon scrunchies, you might be a bit out of touch. Just like you wouldn’t want to be caught wearing last decade’s styles, you don’t want to be using outdated copywriting techniques. Stay up to date with industry news, emerging technologies, and shifts in consumer behavior. Follow blogs, podcasts, and industry publications to stay informed and continuously adapt your skills to meet the latest demands.

Read Books and Blogs on Copywriting

Books and blogs are your best pals when it comes to upgrading your copywriting skills. Curl up with classics like “The Copywriter’s Handbook” by Robert Bly and “Ogilvy on Advertising” by David Ogilvy. These are the ‘Little Black Dresses’ of the copywriting world—timeless, elegant, and always in style. Follow copywriting blogs and websites and sign up for newsletters that offer tips, case studies, and industry analysis.

Take Advantage of Online Learning Resources

So, you’ve read all the books and devoured the blogs — what’s next? You can only overwhelm yourself with free content for so long. Taking a more focused, planned pathway can give you a clearer and faster journey forward. Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare are treasure troves of copywriting wisdom. But here’s a pro tip for moms who want to fast-track their freelance writing career:

So like I mentioned above, check out Writing for Money. This program is specifically tailored for busy women looking to kickstart their freelance writing journey. Created by the fabulous Abbi — a seasoned freelancer with over 20 years of experience and five kids to keep her busy — this program is your golden ticket to financial independence.

And the best part? No degree or experience needed! I didn’t have either when I started, and look at me now — writing this blog and doling out advice like candy on Halloween. Seriously, do yourself a favor and check out Writing for Money. Your future self will want to high-five you.

Persistence and Hard Work

Be Patient and Persevere

Starting a copywriting career with no experience requires patience and perseverance. Building a solid client base and establishing a reputation takes time and effort. Be prepared for rejections and setbacks, but don’t let them discourage you. Stay focused on developing your skills, creating outstanding work, and consistently putting yourself out there. With time and persistence, the right opportunities will come your way.

Accept Constructive Feedback

Feedback is a valuable tool for growth and improvement. Embrace constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity to refine your skills and enhance your work. Don’t take feedback personally; instead, view it as a way to strengthen your abilities and deliver even better results. Seek feedback from clients, colleagues, and industry professionals to continually learn and grow as a copywriter.

Constantly Evolve and Adapt

The copywriting game can be a rollercoaster — fast-paced, thrilling, and constantly tossing you curveballs. You’ve got to be adaptable to keep up with the industry’s zigs and zags. How? Simple: Never stop learning. Dive into different writing styles, keep tabs on that ever-changing tech landscape, and look at challenges as little gifts wrapped in ‘growth’ paper.

But hey, starting off as a newbie in copywriting can feel like being thrown into the deep end — without floaties.

With the right mindset, perseverance, and dedication to continuous learning, you can build a successful career in this exciting field. Research the industry, develop your writing skills, build a portfolio, network with professionals, and take advantage of learning opportunities. Remember to stay patient, accept feedback, and constantly adapt to remain competitive. With the right blend of resourcefulness and ambition, you’ll go from copywriting rookie to pro before you can say “killer headline.”

Desiree

Desiree

Hi, I’m Desiree! The writer behind this site. I’m a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer who’s been making a living with words for nearly a decade. I’m here to help you achieve your writing dreams while making a great income so you never have to miss out on life’s precious moments!

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