According to CopyBlogger, “Copywriting is the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action” (“Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy”). Copy, the text itself, is usually composed in a persuasive, engaging, and personable tone. This type of text is commonly used in advertisements, marketing materials, and websites. This brings us to online copywriting: writing text for websites, blogs, and other webpages. There are countless opportunities for writers to find work online creating text for webpages. The types of topics, businesses, and styles are endless. Therefore, copywriters are usually flexible people in terms of work and experience.
What distinguishes a regular copywriter from an online copywriter?
A regular copywriter usually specializes in writing that will be in print, whereas an online copywriter writes exclusively for pages on the Internet. This distinction allows for peculiarities to arise. Online copywriting is geared towards an online audience, respectively. Online users differ from usual readers of print media. The Internet is more young, more ADHD, and more about grabbing attention by any means. Therefore, as an aspiring online copywriter, you should be familiar with Internet users as a diaspora.
How do you become an online copywriter?
Online copywriting commonly implies freelance copywriting, as there is agency copywriting and corporate copywriting, which are not usually exclusively online positions. However, when writing for agencies and corporations, there will be opportunities to write for websites, blogs, and other online content. But concerning this article, let us focus on freelance positions, as they make up the larger portion of online copywriting jobs.
Some people say that to become a successful online copywriter, one does not need an education, experience, or a portfolio. I would call a bluff on those people. Having at least a bachelor’s degree, having prior experience copywriting, and having a solid portfolio of previous work makes your application much more promising. Sure, it is possible to get hired without these three elements, but it would be much more difficult. Copywriting is not dishwashing: employers enjoy hiring people who have a proven track record.
So, the first step to becoming an online copywriter is getting an B.A. degree in something related to writing. A degree in journalism, English, writing, editing, communications, or linguistics is preferred. However, there are great copywriters that have degrees in mathematics, for instance. So, having a degree not related to writing should not discourage you from making online copywriting a career.
The experience you have does not need to be based on agency work or corporate employment. However, your experience presented on your resume should show that you are capable of completing the tasks you will be hired for or paid for. Your resume basically shows that you can do similar work to what you are applying for and that you can add something to the business that wants to hire you. If you have no paid experience, try to go for an internship or volunteer work that is connected to copywriting, or to writing or editing in general. Having sales experience can also be a boost in the eyes of an employer. Copywriting is designed to sell a product or service in a persuasive and engaging way, so having sales experience can easily transfer over to copywriting.
A portfolio of your work should be compact, yet profound. You should have no doubt about the quality of work that you put into the portfolio. Also, your portfolio needs to be varied, as copywriters apply to many different gigs that are diverse in nature. Most employers will ask for your portfolio, as they want to see the quality of work you are capable of. You should have another person look over your portfolio, as you can never been certain in your judgement of your own work.
The best way to land a job as an online copywriter is to ask for opportunities from your contacts. According to the Glassdoor Blog, “Personal connections land jobs. Indeed, in surveys, it’s typical for roughly half of employees to say that they found their job through a friend, family member, or other type of social network contact” (Kiviat, Barbara). However, not always those closest to you help you obtain a position. Usually, the type of contacts that help you are those who are acquaintances rather than friends: “The classic answer to the question of which contacts matter for finding a job starts with the work of Mark Granovetter, who in the late 1960s and early 1970s interviewed a few hundred Boston-area job seekers. To his surprise, Granovetter found that people were much more likely to land jobs from information passed on by people they weren’t particularly close to. In interviews, Granovetter asked people whether a friend had told them about their current job, and time and again people said things along the lines of, “Not a friend, an acquaintance”’ (Kiviat, Barbara). This indicates that having lots of acquaintances will dramatically increase your chances of getting an online copywriting job.
Besides gathering tons of contacts, it is important to know where to start online to find the work you want as a copywriter. There are hundreds, if not thousands of sites dedicated to freelance content creation that offer clients to post work and for copywriters to pick up assignments. Websites such BloggingPro, FreelanceWriting, Upwork, and Craigslist are great places to start your search for online copywriting jobs. Be sure to register on several websites at a time to get the most orders you can. But, be wary of taking too many orders at a time, as you don’t want to commit to too much and have your quality suffer in the process.
Doing the work
Working on your own terms means being responsible for the content your produce, and if that content satisfies your clients. If you are working on your own, far from any office, it is best to be careful with what you want to pass off as your work. The amount of work you get and your career depends solely on the quality of work you do. If you do a fantastic job for each assignment you complete, then you will have a steady stream of return customers. However, if you submit work to clients that is lazily done, they will mostly likely notice, and they will not only hire you again, but might even tell their friends about your weak work. On the flip side, if you blow your clients out of the water with spectacular content, word will spread fast about your expertise.
You should also know your pace and preferable working schedule. With pace in mind, you should allocate a certain number pages to work on per day. After working one month on online copywriting jobs, you will get a feel of what your limits are in terms of the production of content. With this in mind, you should also figure out what times are your best working hours. Some people excel in the morning, while others are inspired at night. Some people prefer to work 8 hours at a leisurely pace, while others prefer 4 hours of tense work. The main idea here is to understand what your working personality is like, and to adapt to that accordingly. Though you are your own boss, you need to add some pressure on yourself in order to perform effectively.
Online copywriting tips
1. Active voice
Passive voice is okay in creative writing and textbook writing, but with copywriting, you need to be engaging. Therefore, make sure when writing sentences that the subject is doing the action rather than the subject is being acted upon.
2. Focus on the key details
There is no room for fluff in copywriting. Your readers are expecting you to concentrate on the main points of your topic, and not to trail off.
3. Practice writing effective headlines
Surprising, intriguing, or eye-catching headlines are favored. Do not try to catch your readers off guard with clickbait, however. Cheap tricks are not appreciated.
4. Make your content scrollable
Most readers of articles, blogs, and other stuff on the Web do so by scrolling through it. This means your content should be scrollable, or easy to flip through. You should have short paragraphs, lists, section headings, and other organizational elements that show readers where and how to read your content.
5. Find ways to be concise
Besides writing shorter sentences and paragraphs, make sure you don’t write in a way that is taking the long route to expressing a simple fact. Get to the point, and readers will thank you.
6. Common vocabulary
Don’t try to sound like a professor. Readers should connect with your writing because it sounds like how they would talk, or like to be talked to.
I hope this information was helpful. Best of luck on your online copywriting journey!
“Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy.” Copyblogger, www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/;
Kiviat, Barbara. “Why Personal Connections Matter & Can Get You Hired.” Glassdoor Blog, 25 Oct. 2013, www.glassdoor.com/blog/personal-connections-matter-hired/;
Team, Writtent. “20 Killer Web Copywriting Tips.” Writtent, 2 Mar. 2017, writtent.com/blog/20-killer-web-copywriting-tips/.