Writers have the ability to make people feel a palette of emotions, plant thoughts in their minds, and inspire them to take specific actions. Words combined with images paint a brand's message that presents it to the world. If businesses want that message to be powerful and unique, they should make sure to include a quality writer in their team.
A (copy)writer's typical day
There's a lot more to writing than typing words. The process of creating good copy relies on crucial steps that come before and after it. Those who aspire to be writers are terribly wrong if they think they'll only be producing words all day long.
Meetings and correspondence
Whether you're a freelancer or employed in an agency, you need to know what you'll be writing about. Sure, you can specialize in certain areas, but as long as you're creating content for someone else, they'll be the ones to decide about the specifications. The more details, the more constricted you'll be, but that's not a bad thing. Having a client or employer who knows what they want and can put it in a briefing is a blessing because it eases up the writer's job and speeds up the entire reviewing process. Beware of those who tell you to "do your thing" and undefined tasks, as you'll most likely find hidden desires and preferences behind them.
"Write what you know" is the best piece of advice you'll get as a writer. When writing novels, the scenery is usually inspired by authentic places visited and experienced by the author. An agency life requires knowledge of multiple subjects, so writers need to roll up their sleeves and inform themselves as much as possible. The research process will gravely depend upon the purpose and importance of what needs to be written. Sometimes, reading a few online articles will do; other times, it's necessary to conduct interviews and pull professional literature from dusty library shelves. Keep in mind that interviews also require further transcribing and editing.
Our vocabulary is the product of what we hear and read. If you're to be an eloquent author, you'll have to devour books, articles, ebooks, and even movies, TV shows, and podcasts. The more opinions, sentence constructions, and expressions you hear and read, the more diverse and attention-gripping your content will be. No one likes bland paragraphs and sleazy already-seen-before slogans! Besides, it would be a shame to limit ourselves to the same old patterns, especially when languages are so full of potential.
After the research phase, we come to the meat and potatoes of the job. Or do we? No matter how experienced a writer is, they still depend upon something they can't control: inspiration. A writer's block is notorious for its ability to paralyze authors, giving them no other option than to keep reading or staring at walls until they're ready to create again. In its absence, writers improve their work over the years. In most cases, they'll talk about the same subject repeatedly, twisting the same words in different ways each time. Apart from struggling with writer's block, this is the most challenging part of the job, along with covering subjects one has no interest in.
Even if the author is pleased with their work or considers it done, their commissioners have the last word. Writers usually send the first draft to check if they're going in the right direction before stepping out too far. Once approved, they carry the work to completion and ask for feedback again. After the comments arrive, writers edit and rewrite what's necessary and send the piece back for another review. The back and forth goes on until the paying party is satisfied. The frustrating part is waiting for approvals, as each handoff is often delayed or even forgotten.
Edits aren't only required when the commissioner or the main editor wants to change something about the piece. Some articles or books contain data that need to be updated, or some new facts come to light that change the statements made in writing. It's also not uncommon for authors to finish their work only to decide they don't like it and then rewrite it completely. This is a tedious business that drives crazy even the most skilled writers.
Writers will charge different prices based on their skills and experience. Those who had more notable success can charge extra fees, and with reason, because their work will generate more sales. Although they're usually quite versatile, writers can specialize in creating ads, scenarios, ebooks, or technical documentation. Overall, their average salary per year in the US ranges between $50-60,000.
Becoming a (copy)writer: get started
As cliche as it may sound, the necessary ingredients to become any kind of writer are talent, hard work, and practice. Talented writers are those who naturally express themselves through captivating storytelling and find it impossible to stay away from putting words on paper. In a way, it's not about talent as much as the need to keep writing. Giving in to this need means practicing and perfecting their skills almost unwillingly. If you don't possess the passion for storytelling and playing with words, writing is most likely not a career you'd thrive in.
However, if you do believe that's a job you'd like to do, there's no need for us to tell you to start and keep writing—Short stories, articles, advertising copy, novels, you name it. Collect your finest work, seek out the opinion of your family and friends, and continue working on your "portfolio" so you can demonstrate your work to potential employers.
If you'd like to get some advice from experienced copywriters, some courses could help sharpen your writing skills.
Your first job as a (copy)writer
Getting hired as a short- or long-form writer isn't as difficult as you might imagine. If you have a portfolio to show, you'll find freelance writing is in demand. You can start off by searching through well-known online platforms, Upwork and Freelancer.
Another way to get your work published is to contact your favorite websites and offer to write for them. Alternatively, you could create your own website or blog and use it as an online portfolio.
Here's another suggestion: contact local marketing agencies and slip into the copywriting business through an internship. Being surrounded by creative professionals will fast-track your learning process.
A (copy)writer's career path
Anyone can become a content writer or copywriter at any point in their career and life. It can begin as a side job and become a full-time job or stay something you do while developing another career. For example, many people who specialize in a particular area of expertise write books about what they've discovered. It's also not uncommon for engineers or scientists to become published novelists.
But suppose we're talking about writers employed in a marketing agency. They could evolve from interns to copywriters, content writers, editors, editors in chief, content managers, and marketing or project managers. It all depends on their organizational and people skills. It's also essential to rise above writing and learn the ropes of marketing campaigns.
A writer's primary tool has always been a pencil or quill. It wasn't until the late 19th century that typewriters were introduced to the general public. Modern times brought us computers which are indispensable for writing, editing, and storing text.
Microsoft Word and Google Docs are the basic means to store and exchange written content, the latter having the collaborative advantage of comments and suggestions. It's much easier to spot what needs to be edited and why. Comments allow discussions to happen right where the author and client or chief editor have different opinions. This way, the need for emails is eliminated, along with the confusion of which comment references which sentence.
Correct spelling is required above all else. Fortunately, today we have apps that will correct our errors automatically, letting us focus on the content we're writing. One of the most popular apps that fulfills this purpose is Grammarly. Other than basic spelling corrections, it suggests edits and better sentence constructions.
Speaking of sentence constructions, Hemingway is an app that should help you write more clearly and boldly. Combining it with the Grammarly add-on makes writing smoother and allows you to concentrate on what you want to say rather than how you want to say it.
Every business needs content to open their doors and show everyone what they do. It all starts with ads and lands on information about the offered products and the company itself. Nowadays, customers care about the price, quality, sustainability, and reputation of a brand, so content creators need to convey a powerful message to stand out in the crowd.
Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to hire a freelancer based on your needs, a part-time or full-time employee. If you sell specific products that require in-depth knowledge, you'll need someone who will stick around long enough to learn all the technicalities. It's easier and quicker to produce content when familiar with the subject.
Secondly, let the writer's words speak for themselves. Ask for a portfolio, and you'll quickly grasp their style. The more it fits your brand, the easier it will be to cooperate with the author.
It's common for companies to ask candidates for 500-word pieces on a specific subject to test their quill. Experienced writers will, however, often refuse such a challenge even in advance. The reason behind this refusal is mostly the waste of time and effort because they feel a collection of their work is proof enough of their abilities. Also, potential employers have been known to take advantage of materials obtained via job postings, making writers feel robbed.
So, unless you need particular skills, try to avoid tests and carefully look through the writer's previous work. If you absolutely have to test your candidates, make it short and quick, and don't ask for something you could use later. Like any other professional, writers frown upon providing services for free.
Writers are usually lone wolves and don't need to interact too much with the rest of the team, so it's not vital for them to have strong people skills. They do need to attend meetings or be adequately briefed to produce the necessary content. The personal qualities you should pay attention to are timeliness and flexibility because you'll need someone who can finish their assignment on time and adapt their work to the requested goals.
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