How to Make a Living From Copywriting: A Beginner’s Guide

Copywriting helps businesses turn words into gold, but did you know that it can be both a profitable and fulfilling career?

Those who have already mastered the art of copywriting agree that there’s a certain level of satisfaction that you get from seeing your work turn naysayers into followers for your clients. Sometimes, the fulfillment also comes in the form of praise and sincere gratitude from those you’ve helped.

The best part is that you can make a living from something that may have started as a simple hobby.

Of course, there is more to being a copywriter that meets the eye. Before you can offer copywriting services in Dubai (or anywhere else in the world), you must first understand how copywriters work and the steps you need to take to head in the same path to success.

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Copywriting: The Basics

Before you can even dream of seeing a lot of zeroes in the right places in your paycheck, you must first learn about the basics of copywriting.

First, its definition and true nature: Copywriting is a job that requires both skill and talent in using words to make a significant impact on people.

Next, you also need to understand your role as a copywriter.

Essentially, you’ll be penning copies that will be used for marketing. This can include a wide range of things, from website landing pages and sales pages to blog articles and social media posts. In some cases, you may also need to write white papers and case studies to support the claims of the business you’re writing for.

You must also understand that being a copywriter is more than just working as a writer per se. You’ll also need to master behavioral psychology and marketing to be able to create an effective copy that your target audience will notice, read, and act on.

The Paths to Copywriting

In copywriting, there are many paths you can take. However, the two main choices you have are to become an in-house copywriter or a freelancer.

In-House Copywriting

In-house copywriters are those hired by a company to pen marketing and sales copy for their company exclusively. Writers who work for a marketing agency are also considered to fall under this category.

In-house writers get tons of advantages, including a steady stream of work and income. They may also get some bonuses and perks, depending on the company they work for.

The only clincher is that they get paid the same basic salary every month, regardless of the workload. Unless the role allows remote work, they could also be required to go to the office and have fewer choices when it comes to what they’re going to write about.

Of course, that last bit can be turned into an advantage, as it may open an opportunity to hone your writing skills in a wide variety of niches. It also gives you the chance to work with big brands and get mentorship from seasoned copywriters and editors.

Freelancing

Meanwhile, freelance copywriters are people who get their own clients directly. This means they get to decide who they will write for, how much they must be paid, and what topics they would write about.

Freelancing also supports flexible work hours. This means you can start copywriting on the side while still rendering complete hours in a full-time day job.

However, there is also a steep learning curve when it comes to managing your own work.

Another downside here is that you also need to work on marketing yourself as a copywriter to be able to earn a steady stream of income. You’ll also need to learn how to charge for copywriting to attract good clients without underpricing your abilities.

How to Get Started: 4 Tips From the Pros

While professional copywriters might make it look easy, starting as a copywriter still requires effort, time, and knowledge. To help you out, here are four tips that expert copywriters always remind their mentees:

  1. Never make grammatical errors

While this should go without saying, many new copywriters still make the mistake of taking their first gig lightly to the point that they miss errors in their output. However, a copy that contains grammar errors or even misspelled words can have an adverse effect not just on you, but also on the company you’re writing for.

When people see errors in copy, especially in short-form pieces, it sheds a negative light on the service, product, or brand.

Of course, everyone makes mistakes. While it is understandable to see an error or two in articles that are thousands of words long, when it comes to copy made up of only a few lines, such errors would be glaringly visible and cannot be tolerated.

That said, don’t give in to the urge to rush through the process of writing copy. Check your copy several times before it goes live. Even better, have someone else proofread your work.

Although you only need a few words, you must make sure that you weave them in a way that would achieve the primary goal: to effectively persuade readers to take action.

  2. Persuade your audience

Persuasion is the key to a strong copy, so you have to make sure that you fully understand your target audience and the topic you’re writing about. You should also remember to write to convince people to complete your desired action (e.g., buy a product or sign up for a newsletter).

Here’s a good way to put it:

Rather than thinking that you’re selling a watch, focus on selling luxury. You’re not here to sell insurance, but instead to sell security and peace of mind.

Once you’ve identified the feelings you want to incite from your audience, it would be easier to find the right words or phrases that could reach those emotions and help bring them to the surface.

  3. Master headlining

The headline serves as your first point of contact with the readers, so you must make sure that you’re an expert in writing one.

When people see headlines, they immediately decide whether to read the piece or not. This makes headlining such a crucial skill for copywriters. After all, if you cannot get people to open an article, you won’t be able to talk to them and persuade them to perform your desired action.

There are plenty of ways to weave an excellent headline, but the following are deemed most effective when used in the right situations:

  • Tease them with an interesting part of the story to trigger curiosity about the rest of the copy
  • Capitalize on people’s emotions
  • Put numbers on the headline
  • Use action words in your headline

Copywriting as a Business

Copywriting is a niche that requires both creativity and mastery of technical skills. As a beginner, you can use this article to kickstart your career in the business, and eventually make it your business.

AUTHOR BIO

Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade’s expe­rience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analyt­ical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you – so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.

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