Reader Question: Copywriting

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Question: Do you think it’s possible for someone to succeed in the world of copywriting? I REALLY need to get some kind of ongoing writing work going for me this year, and after doing the math, soul-searching and weighing my options based on what free time I can create for it, I’ve decided that copywriting would probably be my best bet. Please let me know your thoughts on this, and maybe even some ideas on how to get started.

Answer: Good question. However, you may not be thrilled with my answer because it’s: It depends.

Copywriting has been bandied around as an easy to crack niche, a way to get create a professional wage, a solid source of steady work. And it is. Kinda… sorta… sometimes.

Thing is, along with the rest of the economy, copywriting is evolving. Gone are the days when you could slap up a website, promote it a little, and BOOM! You’ve got writing gigs. Today you need to be a savvy marketer as well as a killer copywriter to land the big clients with even bigger budgets. In fact, I hear it’s even becoming difficult to land mid-range clients without a fair amount of experience, a great track record, while developing a good working relationship with your client.

Sounds a lot like standard freelancing, eh?

So, here’s my current advice for all aspiring copywriters (heck, this advice hasn’t actually changed in the last ten years now that I think about it): First, build your copywriting skills. Study persuasion, perhaps even a little psychology. Next, start small. Work with local businesses and build your business acumen. Next, make sure you produce good work. Remember, copywriting is all about the numbers. Remember to connect with other copywriters and study the craft together.

Don’t pay big bucks to gurus promising to “reveal secrets.” Nab pretty much any book by Bob Bly (easily available on Amazon) and you’ve got the majority of the deep dark secrets for pennies on the dollar.

Finally, don’t fall for the hype. You can make a nice living as a copywriter but to make a gazillion bucks in a matter of months? Seriously. Really? It’s a career path, nothing more.

Got any ideas? Voice ’em in the comments area.

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