Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had two ambitions in life:
- To be Ariel
- To be my own boss
Without knowing a sea witch, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to acquire my fin. But becoming my own boss is something I know all about…
Back in 2014, pregnant with my first son, I decided that I wouldn’t return to employment after maternity leave. Instead, I started down a path towards becoming a freelancer, which I believed would give me the much-needed balance between being a mummy to my little boy, and continuing with a work that I adore.
In the beginning…
Since studying my A-levels, I knew I loved marketing; a creative outlet where anything was possible, and yet everything happened for a reason.
Then graduating with a degree in Business and Marketing back in 2006, I was fortunate to land an incredible opportunity with a tech start-up. Here I was able to explore all areas of marketing. Over the next decade I continued to gain experience, both in-house as a marketing manager, and working agency-side as a consultant.
Gaining this breadth of experience made me realise that the thing I love doing most (and the thing I’m best at) is copywriting. And turning freelance 5 years ago, I decided that if I wasn’t spending time with my boys, I would be spending my time writing copy.
Taking the first step…
Being a mummy, I knew I wanted/needed the freedom of freelance. And making that transition is something I’ve written about previously…
But being a freelancer might not suit everyone. So whether you’re flying solo, looking to work with an agency or heading in-house, there are lots of resources available to help you get started in your career as a copywriter…
Become a member of ProCopywriters
ProCopywriters is ‘the‘ industry body for people working as copywriters. It shares lots of best practice on its blog, promotes copywriting jobs currently being advertised, there’s a monthly #ProCopyChat on Twitter, and it hosts big conference in October.
As a member, you get listed in the member directory, invited to attend webinars and you’re able to access past events. There are also special offers for members, with money off books, award submissions and insurance. And it costs from as little as £6 per month.
Find jobs on LinkedIn
The jobs section on LinkedIn always has numerous positions for copywriters (sometimes freelance/contract). It’s definitely worth taking a look to get an idea of what’s available, and to help you decide if you want to niche yourself into a particular area. Plus, you’ll be able to see if/how you connect to the roles being advertised for that all-important personal introduction.
Join us on Twitter
There’s a wonderful community on Twitter of copywriters who genuinely want to help and see you succeed. The best way to get involved is to join in #ContentClubUK. It’s a Twitter chat, held every Tuesday at 11am. It’s 30 minutes where the copywriting community comes together to answer three questions and share our experiences. Even if you can’t be there live, it’s worth checking out the hashtag afterwards to catch up as you can learn a lot.
We all take it in turns to host the chat and set the questions; there’s a separate Slack group (or the inner sanctum as I like to call it) where the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff goes on, and you can talk privately to other copywriters about issues you might not want to shout about publicly on social media.
There are loads of other regular chats on Twitter, but I love #ContentClubUK because of the people that contribute, the fact it’s every week, and it’s just copywriters.
Brush up your skills with a course
Everyone can write, right? But that doesn’t make them a copywriter. Keeping those skills fresh and pushing yourself to be the best you can be is what’s going to set you apart in this space.
The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) runs some great courses. From generic all-rounders that look at all aspects of copywriting, to very specific ones on elements of copywriting.
The Content Marketing Association (CMA) also runs some specific courses that are worth a look.
While the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is broader in its scope, it still hosts some excellent training around content marketing and copywriting.
There are also lots of online courses; Udemy has some amazing (and also terrible!) ones that are really cost-effective.
And finally…(ok, strictly speaking it’s not a course!) as mentioned above, the annual ‘Words at Work’ conference, has some great sessions with some of the industry’s top copywriters. Attend and you’re sure to learn a lot.
Curl up with a brew and a book
There are sooo many good books out there that can help you develop your craft and become an exceptional copywriter.
These are some of my recent favourites that I think every copywriter should read:
- “Tribes: We need you to lead us“ by Seth Godin
- “Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age“ by Jonah Berger
- “The Art of the Click: How to Harness the Power of Direct-Response Copywriting and Make More Sales” by Glenn Fisher
- “They Ask You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan
That said, you can learn a lot from any piece of writing. From research for client projects, through to personal development, I must read hundreds of pieces of content every week. And I find the greater the variety of content I read, the more I understand how to structure things better and write in a more engaging and compelling way.
And if you want to hear from some great professional copywriters, check out The All Good Copy Podcast by Glenn Fisher, it’s well worth a listen…
So vast in its scope, it’s possible to carve a copywriting career in numerous different forms. So if you still have questions about entering the wonderful world of writing, I’d be more than happy to answer them and share my experience, or I can point you in the direction of some other amazing copywriters.