Copywriting for Beginners: Your Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you’ve decided that copywriting sounds like an attractive career option. Congratulations! As a copywriting beginner, you’re in the right place to find out how to become a copywriter.
Although it’s tempting to find your first client immediately, any professional copywriter will tell you there are a few steps to take before hitting the job boards.
This guide will walk you through our proven step-by-step process of becoming a highly paid freelance copywriter. Follow these copywriting-for-beginners tips and fast-track your copywriting career success from the get-go.
1. Learn the Basics
Learning the basics of copywriting is a smart way to get started in the field. However, if you want to excel at your craft and attract high-value clients, then you’ll need to do more than read a guide or two.
Successful copywriters commit to ongoing study and growth. They know that although copywriting principles stay the same, the tactics and writing techniques working in today’s digital landscape continue to evolve and change.
Here’s the thing …
A positive and resilient mindset is crucial to becoming a professional copywriter. However, no matter how confident and optimistic you are, you still need the skill set to support your ambitions.
So, read blog posts and articles, like this one. Listen to podcasts and attend copywriting events. Don’t just passively consume information; make it a habit to implement what you learn, too.
Finally, if you haven’t yet taken a copywriting course, consider starting with the fundamentals of copywriting: The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter. You’ll learn the exact strategies the highest-earning copywriters employ — in addition to proven secrets and tactics that have sold billions of dollars worth of products.
Commit to pursuing ongoing copywriting knowledge, and you’ll set yourself up for a satisfying and lucrative career as a professional copywriter.
2. Create Your Copywriting Roadmap
Direct-response, copy, sales letters, B2C copywriting, B2B copywriting …
As you explore the world of copywriting, you might start to feel overwhelmed and confused — and understandably so.
Between the many types of copywriting and the different niches and industries in which to specialize, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of potential copywriting paths you can follow.
So, when it comes to copywriting for beginners, how do you know which road to take?
Imagine you want to take a road trip. Would you just hop into your car and start driving? Probably not. Instead, you would first decide where to go and then determine the best route to get there.
The same is true for your copywriting career.
A well-structured roadmap won’t just help you put pen to paper — it will also ensure you achieve the writing lifestyle of your dreams.
Here’s how to get started:
Clarify Your Destination
You must decide which copywriting destination appeals to you.
What does your ideal writer’s life look like?
Maybe you value your time and freedom above all else. You want to prioritize your family, friends, or hobbies. So, you imagine a copywriting career where you can write for a few hours, then clock out for the day (while still making decent money in the process).
Or perhaps you envision making money as a copywriter. You want to write for the most inspiring and innovative brands — and you know you’ve got the chops to earn your place among the top 1% of copywriters.
There’s no right or wrong answer. What matters is knowing what your ideal copywriting business entails. Here are a few questions to help you tap into your dream writer’s life:
- How much money do you want to make?
- How much money do you need to earn to transition into full-time copywriting?
- What does your ideal day look like once you’re a copywriter?
- When do you want to arrive at your dream copywriting destination?
Choose a Route
Now that you know where you want to go, let’s focus on the roadmap to get you there.
Consider your copywriting-for-beginners starting point:
How much copywriting experience do you already have? Which industries or niches are you knowledgeable about?
Don’t underestimate the value of hobbies or a copywriting side hustle. Say you write a church newsletter or spend your weekends devouring personal finance articles — this is all valuable experience that can put you on the expressway to your destination.
Use this information to help you:
- Decide what industry or business sector you’d like to write in.
- Brainstorm a list of potential writing opportunities.
Your writing and life experiences can serve as an effective springboard to come up with freelance writing niche ideas. Don’t overanalyze it — you can always change niches later as you build your copywriting portfolio. If you want to add to your skills, you can do that, too.
As you’re creating your copywriting roadmap, consider how many hours you’d like to work and if you want to write for clients, for yourself, or both.
Once you consider these questions, your path to a well-paid copywriting career will become crystal clear. Rather than a confusing tangle of routes, you’ll see a definitive path toward your desired destination — and that is very good.
3. Practice Your Craft and Build Your Copywriting Portfolio
If you want to attract high-paying clients, you must practice copywriting.
Your first copywriting samples might be good, but they are unlikely to be great. That’s okay.
When it comes to copywriting for beginners, all that matters is that you’re writing. You will get better. You might even look back at your early writing samples and cringe. That’s actually good, because it means you’re becoming a better writer.
Now, many aspiring copywriters know they need writing samples to get hired. But maybe you’re wondering, What if I don’t have a writing sample? And how do I get writing samples if I don’t have any clients?
Here’s the good news:
Building your copywriting portfolio is easier than you think. You need only a couple of samples to get hired, and you can use your practice work to quickly and efficiently build your portfolio.
One of the best ways to get started is to complete a copywriting course with a hands-on learning component. The AWAI Method™ is an excellent place to start, because you’ll get professional feedback from working copywriters on every assignment.
We’re often not the best judge of our own work (especially when we’re just starting). Investing in a copywriting course with personalized feedback is a proven way to get the experience you need — and to bulk up your writing portfolio with strong samples.
Another easy way to practice your copywriting while building your portfolio is to create material for your own writing business.
Do you have a professional website or a writing blog? What about a lead-generation magnet on a sales landing page? Do you send out email marketing newsletters?
These are all excellent opportunities to showcase your writing abilities. Plus, you’ll build your business, too.
The truth is, your copywriting website doubles as your portfolio; it might be the first and only sample your prospects see before hopping on a call with you. Make sure it’s a powerful representation of your skills.
Want even more copywriting tips and inspiring examples for building a high-quality portfolio? Read our in-depth guide to building a copywriting portfolio.
Pro Tip: Don’t let perfectionism stop you. There’s no such thing as perfect, so strive for constant improvement instead. You’ll accelerate your success and improve your skill set through the process.
4. Join a Professional Copywriting Community
If you follow only one step from this guide, make it this one: Join a copywriting-for-beginners community.
You’re going to have questions as you build your copywriting business. Sure, Google can do the heavy lifting for many of your queries. But when you need personalized support for pressing concerns and struggles, nothing trumps a community dedicated to helping you grow your copywriting business.
I’m not just talking about a Facebook group or a copywriting forum (though these valuable resources have their place, too).
Your professional community is where you’ll get immediate access to resources and the expert guidance you need to build a profitable writing business.
So, where do you find a professional copywriting community?
The Barefoot Writer is a great place to start. As you launch your copywriting career, there’s no better place to find community support, motivation, and resources to learn the craft.
Once you’ve fully committed to a career in copywriting, the Professional Writers Alliance is an incredible source of inner-circle expert discussion, career advice, and encouragement from peers in the industry.
A professional community is like the navigation system you need for your road trip. Why make the journey alone when you can get support from people who blazed the trail before you?
5. Promote Yourself to Get Your First Client
You’ve invested in a simple but sleek website. You’ve built a copywriting portfolio. You’ve taken the right copywriting courses and practiced your craft. Now it’s time to sit back and watch the clients roll in.
Well, not exactly.
Your ideal clients are out there, and they want and need your services.
The only problem? They don’t yet know that you exist.
It’s up to you to put yourself in front of your target audience.
But what if marketing doesn’t come naturally to you? How do you find copywriting clients?
Many beginner (and even seasoned) copywriters experience something called impostor syndrome, the experience of feeling like a fraud. Maybe you feel like you’re not good enough, and eventually, everyone will find out. Or perhaps you worry about making copywriting promises you can’t fulfill.
Here’s what you need to remember:
These feelings are normal. It’s scary to market yourself as a copywriter — especially when you’re still wondering how to get copywriting experience.
However, if you’ve followed the steps in this copywriting-for-beginners guide, then you can rest assured you’ve created a solid foundation for your career. You’ll continue to grow and improve as you continue on your copywriting journey, and you’ll gain confidence with each happy client you serve.
In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you nix impostor syndrome for good:
- Share your doubts with your copywriting tribe — then let them build you up.
- Keep a running record of your successes and achievements — extra points for client or teacher testimonials.
- Ask for help when you need it so that you can support your clients with certainty.
In the meantime, here’s one easy way to start marketing yourself today:
Tell your family, friends, and co-workers about your new copywriting business. The people in your community want to see you succeed. Plus, you never know what copywriting opportunities and connections your network can facilitate.
Becoming a successful copywriter can be achieved if you have the right mindset, work on your skills, and have a clear destination in mind.
With this guide, we’ve laid out what you need to do to get started on the right path. You’re ready for this — and your dream copywriting job might be one email away.
Take your first steps today: Learn the tried-and-true fundamentals of copywriting and up-to-date strategies from industry leaders at The AWAI Method™.
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »