How To Become a Copywriter: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Copywriting is an interesting career option that provides good earning potential and ample opportunities for remote work. Many industries require the service of copywriters and hence, professionals in this field are always in high demand. If you want to become a copywriter, it is important to develop a specific set of skills and train yourself for the job. In this article, we explore how to become a copywriter, discover what these professionals do and what skills they need and share some tips for copywriting.

What do copywriters do?

Copywriters create textual content that satisfies the specific needs of their clients. They may create material for emails, product catalogues, advertisements, blogs, websites or for print media. As a copywriter, you have to communicate with your clients to understand their requirements and the exact purpose of the copy you are writing. A copywriter's skill lies in creating clear, concise copy that addresses client requirements while attracting the attention of readers. Hence, copywriters require a good understanding of their audience and the market they are writing for.

Related: Different High Income Skills

What do you need to become a copywriter?

To become a copywriter, you require a computer and an internet connection. Agencies usually provide these things along with access to a CMS (Content Management System) that channelises the workflow and enables quality control at multiple levels. In addition to this, copywriters may use a variety of software like word processors, character and word counters, plagiarism checkers and spelling and grammar assistants.

To receive payments, you require a bank account. If you have international clients who pay in a different currency, you need an account that supports international transactions. Most copywriters communicate with their clients through emails, social media or online freelancing platforms. Hence, it is beneficial to have these accounts set up before you apply for jobs.

Skills required for copywriting

Whether you are an agency, corporate or freelance writer, these are some central qualities you need to excel in your career:

Writing skills

The act of writing copy is a recursive process. You do not need to be an accomplished writer to begin, but practising daily can help you refine your writing skills and improve over time.

Attention to detail

You need to be able to evaluate your work from an objective perspective. You need to scan your work for possible errors, looking for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation and proofreading to consistently guarantee quality.

Communication skills

You use these skills to understand others clearly and to be understood completely. They help you assert yourself and position yourself as an authority in writing copy. Listening attentively to your clients, interpreting their vision and writing for their intended purpose all require excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Creativity

Being able to see things from a new perspective is a unique skill. Sometimes, clients may rely on your creativity to make content engaging or appealing to a specific audience. Creativity is also essential for generating ideas for copy, following a client's instructions.

How to become a copywriter

Follow these steps if you want to become a copywriter:

1. Earn academic qualifications to improve your prospects

To become a copywriter, it is not necessary to have any formal academic qualifications. However, some agencies and clients may insist on hiring candidates who have at least completed their graduation. Since copywriting is a competitive field, employers may prefer hiring candidates who have completed professional courses in marketing, journalism, mass communication or literature.

2. Understand the basics of copywriting

You may consider learning the workflows involved in copywriting before applying to jobs. To be successful in this field, you should have a good understanding of human psychology and the needs of your target readers. Although it is essential to incorporate your individual writing style and creativity, you must give utmost priority to client instructions and requirements.

3. Develop your written communication skills

Copywriters create textual material for specific purposes, following certain standards and guidelines prescribed by their clients. To be able to do this effectively, you may consider putting your written communication skills to practice. This, along with a good reading habit, will help you expand your vocabulary and improve the clarity of your writing.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

4. Identify your niche

As a copywriter, you have the option of writing different types of content ranging from advertisements and product descriptions to academic texts and technical documents. It is important to identify the type of writing that you are most interested in pursuing. This vision helps you prepare appropriate writing samples and an effective portfolio.

5. Create a portfolio

Most employers want to see samples of your work to evaluate whether you might be a good fit for the position. Once you have identified your niche, prepare some writing samples that highlight your expertise in that particular domain. Collate your writing samples in the form of a portfolio and attach a well-formatted resume, to present to potential employers and clients.

6. Apply for copywriting jobs

Consider evaluating a client or employer's requirements and read the job description in detail before you apply for jobs. It is beneficial to update the contents of your portfolio so that it includes work samples that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you are interested in multiple domains/industries within copywriting, you may consider maintaining separate portfolios to categorise your work samples.

How to become a copywriter with no experience

Even if you lack experience, you can get into the field of copywriting by following these steps:

1. Pursue skill development courses

Platforms like Udemy and Skillshare have online certification courses for copywriting that you can complete at your own pace. These courses and certifications are designed to prepare you for the job and its responsibilities. A certification can highlight your skills to an employer, even if you lack any formal educational qualifications for copywriting.

2. Practise writing and generate work samples

Practising your writing helps you improve your written communication skills and also generate writing samples that you can share with interviewers, potential employers and clients. Pick one or two short writing samples that best highlight your skills and expertise.

3. Use social media platforms to advertise your skills

Many copywriters use social media to advertise their services, gain exposure and get work opportunities. Social media is also a useful tool for networking, as it helps you connect with clients and other professionals in the field.

4. Use online freelancing platforms to find work

Copywriting is largely done on a freelance basis. Online freelancing platforms offer a constant supply of short-term and long-term work opportunities for copywriters. Create and develop an attractive profile and apply for jobs, with relevant work samples.

Related: What Is a Freelancer? Definition, Skills and Popular Jobs

How hard is it to become a copywriter?

If you have a knack for writing, you can become a copywriter even without any formal education or qualifications. However, copywriting is a competitive field, and you may have to develop specialised knowledge to ensure continued success. This includes an understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), market localisation techniques and best practices in the industry.

You require basic computer literacy and a good command of the language you write in. You should be able to adapt your writing style to meet the diverse needs of your clients. You also need good marketing skills to find regular work as a freelance copywriter.

How much do copywriters make?

The average base salary of a copywriter is ₹3,02,028 per year. This figure is higher for experienced copywriters who have specialised skills. Copywriting can be done remotely on a freelance basis and pays significantly higher if you work for clients in developed economies.

Tips for copywriting

Here are few tips to improve the effectiveness of your writing:

  • Set a word limit and write short paragraphs. Keeping information brief and dividing it into sections allows readers to navigate copy effortlessly and retain information.

  • Write concise and direct sentences. Using an active voice with strong verbs helps the flow of the writing and increases reading fluency for your audience.

  • Use subheadings. Subheadings help improve readability by making the information visually appealing and easy to scan. This helps the reader find the information they seek quickly and easily.

  • Include facts. Statistical and quantifiable information makes your writing credible.

  • Choose fonts with purpose. You want the fonts to be easy to understand and see but to also add an aesthetical appeal to your creation. It should communicate visually what the piece communicates verbally. Every decision a copywriter makes has a purpose and should be working towards an overall and cohesive goal.

  • Utilise everyday language. Using everyday language is all-inclusive and keeps the information accessible to a vast audience. The more people your copy reaches, the better your client's interests are served.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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