Most of the information you hear about copywriting is wrong.
Copywriting is a legit side hustle or full-time career option, but it’s not as simple as many courses would have you believe.
I’ve been writing professionally for around 12 years and have made millions of dollars (yes, millions).
I am familiar with copywriters like the late Dan Kennedy and Kevin Rogers. I’ve also paid millions of top-notch copywriters to work on my behalf.
So I’ve seen it all. I know what a copywriter’s day is like.
And it’s not what most copywriting schools teach.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible. I think it’s a great skill set to learn if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort.
But it isn’t easy money.
I’ll lay out a realistic and doable career path for you in this piece. It takes time and effort, but perseverance pays off.
If you’re wondering how to become a copywriter, here’s the general process:
- Read books to learn copywriting basics.
- Pick a copywriting niche (email, Facebook, etc.)
- Write for yourself or your pals.
- Hired from job boards
- Build your reputation to attract referrals
This post will go over each stage in depth. You’ll know how to become a copywriter and earn six figures.
Alright, so How To Become A Copywriter doesn’t exactly fit into a nice category.
At the end of the day, copywriting is a… unique way to think about making money.
It’s certainly possible to make money with off-the-wall businesses like this, but unless you’re interested in taking years out of your life to experiment with an unproven business model, I would look elsewhere.
My #1 personal recommendation if we’re talking about starting a fully-online business has got to be the Lead Generation & Ad Agency business models.
There are a handful of programs that teach you the ropes, but my #1 choice that combines both of those business models into one is the Digital Landlords program
But, if you’re hard pressed to jump head-first into an off-the-wall business model, let’s continue on to my full breakdown of How To Become A Copywriter.
What Is Copywriting? What Is A Copywriter?
Copywriting is not as easy as it appears.
Copywriting is a form of persuasive writing that seeks to inform, captivate, and persuade readers to make purchases of goods or services either now or later.
Before video and the Internet, “print salesmanship” was the most frequently recognized definition. Today, copywriters work in all mediums.
So, to be as comprehensive as possible:
A freelance writer or copywriter writes sales or marketing material to persuade prospects to buy.
You can use copywriting to write a letter in the mail or an advertisement on television, an email to subscribers, a landing page with a call to action for a product, an ad on YouTube, or a press release.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Copywriters work in all areas of sales and marketing. Many copywriters specialize in one form of job and overlook others.
Types Of Copywriters
A direct mail copywriter, for example, may never write an email or a sales letter. You probably discard their work daily.
But not everyone. Direct mail generates enough revenue to be a multi-billion dollar enterprise. It’s also one of the oldest.
A growing specialty is writing for email, Facebook (and other social media).
Other written copy types are:
- Sales letters — A one-page sales letter used to market information items. This one is for Paid to Write.
- Blog posts — While blogging isn’t generally considered copywriting, any blog post created to influence a sale could be authored by a copywriter (aka “content writer”)—Middle or bottom of funnel content writing.
- Product descriptions — E-commerce and catalog businesses commonly hire copywriters to revise product descriptions.
- App homepages – Copywriters will explain the features and benefits of an app and the cost.
- White papers – Many B2B companies develop white papers to showcase their products. Copywriters do this.
- Lead magnet copy — Even if it’s a brief piece of copy, a copywriter will frequently produce many variations of an opt-in web page or pop-up to offer a freebie in exchange for an email address.
A copy can be classified as either direct response or branding.
Direct response copy encourages immediate action. This includes lead magnets and sales mailings.
Branding copy builds trust and recalls for a product, company, or person. Branding can be seen in white papers, digital marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) copywriting.
Scripting For Videos, Webinars, And Ads
Keep in mind that copywriting no longer merely involves words.
Many copywriters write scripts for advertising, seminars, and videos these days.
There are many different types of copywriting, and most copywriters focus on one or two of them. Nobody is capable of doing everything. Several copywriters frequently work together on a single campaign.
Sometimes the objective is to influence you to take immediate action. “Direct response copywriting” is the name given to this style of copywriting.
How Copywriters Create Marketing Campaigns
A Facebook ad copywriter may create a post that links to a landing page. The landing page copy would be made by a conversion rate expert (another type of copywriter). For example, this email contains a link to a video sales letter (VSL) produced by an email copywriter.
There are four different kinds of copywriters in this simple marketing campaign. For instance, a conversion rate specialist isn’t even a copywriter.
In fact, most copywriters don’t even have “copywriter” in their job titles. Their title may be conversion rate specialist, media buyer, marketing consultant, or social media expert (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).
But they create materials to persuade the buyer. In my opinion, they’re all copywriters.
How To Become A Good Copywriter
That being said, let’s look at becoming a successful copywriter.
Do you need a degree? A B.A.? A diploma or certificate from high school?
These questions cheer me up.
Copywriters are the marketing and sales industry’s pirates. They hate “chains of command,” disappear for months or years at a time, and are driven by opportunity.
In other words, a copywriting degree is as ludicrous as a pirate school.
However, aspiring copywriters can find plenty of learning resources online. They’re just not formal. Many are free.
Free And Cheap Copywriting Resources
Reading copywriting books is an excellent way to develop your writing skills.
I suggest Cashvertising (affiliate link) as a book for beginners because it gives a good summary of those in a more modern writing style.
Purchase a copy of Tested Advertising Methods (affiliate link) (already out of print). Books from the past like The Robert Collier Letter Book, David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising, and Scientific Advertising are also worthwhile reads.
Personally, I began my copywriting career at the library. A few books were available, and I devoured them all before moving to Barnes & Noble. I spent hours reading copywriting books before returning them to the shelves.
Ethical? Perhaps so, but when I was starting out, I was willing to be escorted out of the bookstore if necessary because I was so broke.
There are also several high-quality podcasts available for free these days. This Kevin Rogers piece is outstanding.
What To Look For In Copywriting Courses
Eventually, you might want to purchase courses.
Avoid following common copywriting advice. Usually, it’s just a recycled version of free or inexpensive books.
Invest in a course specializing in a particular skill, such as writing effective email copy or creating engaging webinars.
The niche is rather unique, as I just mentioned. Every one of them resembles learning a new language. You can learn a second or third specialization far more quickly than a second or third language.
So choose one.
Also, see student testimonies about paid copywriting jobs (or lack thereof). Many copywriting classes teach the mechanics of a specific style but not much about getting clients or working with them in the real world. If I were starting over, I’d want a course that taught me everything.
There aren’t many right now, but there may be some shortly…
Writing Copy For Yourself And Friends
Of course, writing copy is the best way to learn. It’s everywhere.
In the end, copywriters are judged on sales. The more you write good copy, the more you will notice how it affects sales and learning.
Suppose you have nothing to sell.
You have two choices:
- Promote a partner’s item. You can write an email campaign or webinar for someone else’s product. You’ll make money while honing your copywriting and writing talents. While promoting a course written by someone else’s, Jason Fladlien wrote all of the content himself and profited over $10 million.
- Request data and permission to write a case study from a business owner buddy. You’ll learn a lot, aid a buddy, and demonstrate your expertise simultaneously.
While books, podcasts, and courses might teach you copywriting, writing copy in the real world can teach you more.
That leads to the following key topic…
How To Become A Freelance Copywriter
You might’ve heard freelance copywriting is the highest-paid type of freelance writing — and you’re right, it is.
I’ve made millions from it, and I’m NOT one of the top-earning copywriters. Like Clayton Makepeace and Gary Bencivenga, some greats make me appear like a wimp.
But here’s the problem…
Many people teaching copywriting like to make you believe it’s normal, and it’s not.
How Much Do Freelance Copywriters Really Get Paid?
If you aspire to be a great copywriter is not an easy task. To be like Gary or Clayton is like aspiring to play basketball like Michael Jordan.
Is it possible?
Sure, but I might grow wings and learn to fly. It’s conceivable but not normal.
In most places, an in-house copywriter makes roughly $60,000. For a freelance copywriter with a few years of expertise and a few strong clients, you might safely charge $75,000 – $80,000.
Many seasoned, successful copywriters make six figures. Still, you must prove your copywriting skills and the constitution to take the strain. I mean…
How To Become A Six-Figure Copywriter
Top copywriters earn a lot of money.
Business owners don’t just wake up and declare, “I’d want to give a copywriter $20,000 today!”
If they pay you $20,000, they expect the campaign to bring in $100,000 or more.
And you’re supposed to provide. Unless.
A professional copywriter is an athlete. You must perform. To perform at that level takes years of training and practice.
Are you ready for that?
To get those rates, you need to show you can deliver.
What Potential Clients Are Looking For
Your customers, case studies, and testimonials depend on how much you can make.
I advise copywriters to find a reputable and influential client as soon as possible, even if it means working for little money. Then, throughout their career, the proof they will obtain from that customer is worth millions. That serves as evidence.
When working with a small clientele, make sure you…
- Collect data about your copy’s impact
- Ask your clientele to approve your testimonials.
- Conference speaking builds reputation
- Famous blogs and magazines
There is a halo effect from talks and publications, which means that the more you have to show for your ability to drive sales, the more work you will obtain.
Where To Find Copywriting Jobs
How do you persuade potential clients to hire you if you’re a newcomer with no track record?
Apply to as many positions as possible.
Work is plentiful on sites like Upwork. Most of it will be from small clients that don’t pay well but can provide case studies and writing samples. You can also find good clientele if you look hard enough. They exist, and some can lead to full-time copywriting jobs.
You can also check out Copychief.com. They have the busiest job board. Many six-figure copywriters still get work there.
Your teacher can refer you if you specialize in a particular copy form. These instructors are glad to suggest their students. For example, when I need either, I usually go to Justin Goff, a well-known email copywriting and upselling teacher.
However, Justin only works with six-figure copywriters and charges students over $25,000 each year, so referrals from him may initially be out of your reach.
The first step is volume, regardless of where you obtain gigs. Expect to apply for tens of part-time writing gigs and receive only one or two. Your success rate in applying for freelance employment will improve as your copywriting portfolio develops. Expect to work hard and wait.
A Word On Working With Agencies
Copywriters can find steady work with advertising and content marketing organizations. How it works:
- It engages you as a copywriter (typically salaried, but small agencies may retain you as a freelancer)
- You get compensated while building writing skills and connections with agency clients.
- The client pays the agency. You don’t get a cut; the agency compensates you.
It’s a service business model. You pay $200 an hour for a lawyer’s services.
Or, if they maintain you as a freelancer, you operate as a subcontractor, like a plumber or an electrician under a general contractor.
Working through agencies offers stability and frequently a guaranteed wage. It also helps focus. You can focus on serving your clients because the agency will get them all.
But you won’t get paid as much as if you worked directly with clients. In the long run, the trade-off might not be worth it. Therefore starting your own copywriting business or agency may be a better alternative in the short term.
How To Become A Copywriter Step-By-Step
Overwhelmed by all the data?
Not sure what to do first? Second? Third?
So, let’s review the processes and conclude with some concrete actions:
#1. Read Books To Learn Copywriting Basics.
One of the most critical questions is:
Is it your goal to become a great copywriter?
Yes, it’s a terrific career, but only if you genuinely enjoy it, which you can’t tell until you do it.
That’s why I recommend reading a copywriting book. If you enjoy it, keep going; stop and do something else if it’s a drag.
Worst case scenario, you lose the book’s price.
#2. Pick A Copywriting Specialty (Email, Facebook, Etc.)
After deciding to become a copywriter and learning the essentials from books, you can focus on perfecting a specific copywriting skill.
Next, get a course on one of the copywriting specialties. Meanwhile, simply Google “insert copywriting course here” to see what’s available.
Another alternative is to consult a general community like Copychief.com for recommendations. Copywriters who have taken the courses will be happy to recommend you.
Enroll in your first specialty copywriting course.
#3. Make Some Copy For Yourself Or Your Pals.
It’s now time for practice.
Let’s say you run a blog, email list, or Facebook group. If yes, you might want to try creating engaging content for yourself and selling your own or someone else’s products.
Instead, propose writing some sales copy for a friend who owns a small business. They are frequently present in the specialty course you buy.
Don’t forget to collect DATA.
The most critical component of this step is testing your persuasive content “in the wild.” You’ll learn about your weaknesses and even construct your first case study.
Get copy published and collect data.
#4. Get Your First Jobs From Job Boards.
This one is difficult.
Nobody likes being rejected from job after job, but it’s part of the process. Sign up for numerous job boards, including big sites like Upwork, and start looking for copywriter gigs.
Apply for 100 jobs. Applying for ten jobs per week takes ten weeks.
Apply for ten jobs a week until you acquire your first three.
#4. Establish A Reputation For Recommendations
If you’ve made it this far, you’re on your way to becoming a great copywriter. Congratulations!
This process is also a lot of fun in general. You’ve figured out what you’re doing and are ready to start establishing a reputation for yourself.
Here’s how you do it:
- Make a presentation at a conference (either marketing or industry-specific)
- Make a guest blog post
- Publish a case study on your own website.
You’ve Just Learned How To Become A Six-Figure Copywriter!
That is the entire process! A good copywriter is not just a writer.
It takes time. Yes, some elements are scary (especially job applications!) And yes, there is more to learn – I just gave you the big picture.
But you’re off to a good start. Each stage will be easier with a road map in hand.
You’ll get there.
It will all be worth it when you start making big dollars.
Are There Alternatives To Copywriting?
Yes, there are plenty of other business models to choose from if you want to pursue this making money online. Here are just a few:
Is Copywriting Legit?
Time for the $1,000,000 question: is Copywriting actually a scam?
I wouldn’t technically call it a scam, though others might.
It’s technically possible to make money with this program, so in that sense, it isn’t a scam.
No one is riding off into the sunset with your money, leaving you empty-handed… technically speaking.
But the second, more important question is: is Copywriting actually worth the investment?
My honest answer is that for most people out there, probably not.
There are countless other business models that are proven & easily scalable, so why risk it for… not an incredibly huge payoff?
I’d rather have a program with thousands of successful students & plenty of room for others to join.
If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know I recommend a few different programs depending on your skills & goals.
My current top choice is becoming a Digital Landlord, because you have a proven, systematic path to 6-figures, and you can do it from anywhere you want.
I’ve got friends in there posting deals from the middle of the woods in a camper-van with their pet pig… which is cool.
What Is My Top Recommendation For Making Money Online In 2022?
Alright, time for me to get real with my lovely readers for a moment:
I’ve personally tried all of the major online business models:
- I’ve sold fidget spinners through Amazon FBA
- I’ve dropshipped a toilet bowl putting green on Shopify
- I’ve sold women’s health supplements via Clickbank affiliate marketing
And I made money with all of them, so trust me when I say: there is no “perfect” business model.
THAT BEING SAID: I would at least recommend you implement something that is tried and true, because I’ve seen TOO MANY people (including friends and family) get burned by stuff like Copywriting.
They come out of left field with some random idea, make it seem attractive, and then make themselves a quick buck by luring in unsuspecting people.
This is a big reason why I only recommend proven, tried and true business models, like Lead Generation & Ad Agencies.
There are a bunch of programs out there that teach you those skills, but my top choice is the Digital Landlords program.
Why? It has proven leaders with their own 7-figure businesses implementing exactly what they teach you.
I’ve also got over a dozen personal friends in there, so I feel comfortable telling you it works.
Whether you’re a complete newbie or you’ve been around the block before but have never had that “big win” to propel you forward, their program works.
1)Time: If you’ve got a spare hour or two each day, you can do this. If you want to drop everything and go all-in, you can do this. More time obviously means faster results, but even putting in a few hours per day is enough to see real success.
And because of that flexibility, you don’t need to trade your time for money. Once the income starts, it’s recurring (for the most part).
That means you can take a month off, travel the country, pursue a passion project, chill on the beach, or charter a boat across the world.
But you can only do that once you’ve created an income stream that doesn’t require YOU to be there all day, every day.
2)Big Margins: With most businesses, you’re often going to have really slim margins. That means you need to hit a serious scale to make serious money.
Being a Digital Landlord, your profit margin is nearly 100%. Watch here to learn how.
Just a reminder: these Digital Rental Properties are worth (at a minimum) $500/mo in semi-passive income. And each time you create another one, your income increases, and the effort to create the next property decreases.
Best-case scenario, you have properties bringing in over $3,000+/mo on “auto-pilot.”
3)It’s Effectively Copy-Paste: Here’s my favorite part: once you have your first Digital Rental Property up, you can literally copy-paste another version of it and find another willing “renter” in a few days. DOUBLING your income doesn’t get much easier than that…
If you wanted to double your income with copywriting, you would need to write sales or marketing material that entices prospects to buy. And I can guarantee you that’s a lot harder than a few clicks & a phone call.
4)You’re Helping REAL People: My biggest gripe with copywriting is that you’re basically only helping yourself.
But when you’re a Digital Landlord, you’re helping solve REAL problems that people are ASKING for help with:
Small local businesses around the world need one thing: customers. Without them, their business would fall apart. If we can provide those customers, they’re going to be really happy – and they’re going to pay you for it.
You’re helping a struggling mother or father put food on the table for their families, put their kids through college, or simply live life a little bit more comfortably.
Having this type of impact on the world is what will help you sleep soundly at night.
So, the rest is up to you. You could keep looking at other off-the-wall business models like Copywriting and maybe hit it big one day.
You could keep researching and researching for the next few months (or few years), never making a concrete decision.
OR, you can look deep inside, think about those dreams, hopes, & desires, and make the decision to ACTUALLY make it happen, just like it has for thousands of other students before you.
Making a fortune while actually helping real people that need it.
If this sounds like you, click here to see how it all works.