Your Guide to Learning to Be a Copywriter


Photo credit: John Cameron on Unsplash

How and where to choose a copywriting course

As I’ve been working on my business this week, copywriting seems to be the topic of the week.

Earlier in the week, in a freelancing Facebook group I’m part of, there was a question and subsequent debate over the difference between copywriting and content writing.

The topic of copywriting came up again on a Ninja Writers’ Business of Writing.

A couple people asked about copywriting as an option for an income stream for their business.

I agreed I’d write a post about copywriting and copywriting courses. Keith Grimes, who was also on the call, sent me some course suggestions which you’ll see below.

But as I began to think about the post and do some research, I remembered the earlier confusion from freelancers over what copywriting is versus what content writing is.

As someone who has done both content writing and copywriting for small businesses, I can tell you that there can be quite a bit of overlap between the two.

So, I think it’s good to talk about the difference between content and copy.

First, let’s get on the same page about content.

Content is information designed to be shared or targeted to a specific person or group of people, an audience.

Content comes in a wide range of formats. It can include written content, either online or print.

But content format can also be video, audio (podcast, radio, etc.), and even theater performances, movies, TV, billboard or store signage, speeches, scripts, and transcripts.

So a content writer then, can be involved with producing content in any of those formats.

Most commonly, but not exclusively, writers are involved with written work either in print or online.

Even billboard signs, restaurant and bookstore signage can be considered content.

With the progression of technology and the Internet, more and more content writers are involved in writing video or podcast scripts and transcripts, blog posts, website pages, script and screen writing.

A good majority of that content has a purpose or at least a secondary purpose of advertising or marketing a product or service.

But not all of it is copywriting.

What Is Copywriting?

Copywriting, by definition, involves written content with the specific purpose of advertising or selling a service or product.

So a copywriter then, is someone who specifically produces content, most commonly written content.

The purpose or intent to persuade someone else to purchase or at least take some kind of action, such as subscribing to a newsletter.

The purest of copywriters work on content designed to sell something.

But other copywriters may produce content that encourages people to take a specific action.

Copywriting can also be used to persuade, influence, and engage.

This can be as simple as getting someone to sign up for a newsletter or free mini email course all the way up to a significant investment in an extended course or certification.

Copywriters can expect to produce copy most commonly for advertising and promotional materials.

These can include social media ads, product descriptions, sales pages, blogs, email sequences, landing pages, sign up forms, and website page copy.

Even the copy on a book jacket can be done by a copywriter.

The results of copywriter work is all around you, in the mail, on storefronts, television, movies, magazines, etc.

And the good news is, many people don’t even realize that copywriting is something they can use to generate income.

What Skills Does A Copywriter Need?

For those who want to be an in-house copywriter, employed with a retail chain, publisher, etc. most employers will still require a Bachelor’s degree in English, marketing, or a related subject.

The good news is that as a freelance copywriter, the door is open to more possibilities, in many cases without a formal degree.

Many freelancers learn the skills they need on their own and by shadowing or learning from experienced copywriters.

A lot of the skills you need as a copywriter can be found in copywriting courses or certification programs online.

Some of the main skills needed are:

  • Writing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Digital Marketing techniques (email sequences, funnels, split testing, etc.)
  • Use of color, fonts, and other design and formatting techniques in advertising
  • Research skills
  • Spelling, grammar, and attention to detail
  • Extensive vocabulary
  • How to write engaging headlines

You may already have mastered some of the above skills.

And sometimes you can pick up several skills at once by taking digital marketing courses or basic SEO courses.

How to choose the best copywriting course for your needs

When it comes to the Internet, you have to be conscious of the fact that some content and courses might not provide what they promise.

For that reason, I encourage you to know what results you’re looking for and do your research before signing up for any course, regardless of topic.

But here are some things you may want to think about or consider:

  • How each course fits with your budget
  • Whether the skills offered match the skills you need to learn
  • What reviews and testimonials reveal about the course content and customer service
  • The amount of time you are expected to invest
  • Qualifications, experience, and other credentials of the instructor or mentor
  • Any other materials or technology you may need to purchase or use in addition to the course

Below are some courses to consider as you do your research for the copywriting course that is best for you:

  • Copyhackers
  • KopyWriting Kourse
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing Qualifications (CIM)
  • The World’s No. 1 Copywriting Course by The Blackford Centre
  • Emarketeers, the UK’s Leading Digital Skills Specialist
  • Copywriting secrets. How to write copy that sells via Udemy
  • The Freelance Copywriter Kickstarter Course by The Creative Copywriter
  • AWAI, American Writers and Artists Institute, Expert Help on Writing for Money and Freelance Writing Jobs
  • Miami Ad School Copywriting Course
  • Landing Page Design & Conversion Rate Optimization

Once you’ve got the skills under your belt, it’s time to go find copywriting jobs. You can do that through LinkedIn’s job board, a Google search, or any of the many job boards available online.

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With fifteen years of freelance experience, Meg founded Freelance Filter in 2019 to help writers and small business owners learn the technology needed to do business better online. She currently offers private coaching to writers and small business owners. Her favorite nonfiction writing projects deal with marketing, SEO, freelancing, productivity, and technology for writers and small business owners. She's currently working on an SEO guide for beginners and a series of short stories. She's a mother of four and "Grammi" of ten.

Madison, OH

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