How to Break Into Copywriting

By Robert Half on May 24, 2015 at 2:00pm

You’re in the creative industry but you’re not a writer. You write pretty well and enjoy it. Colleagues and friends say you’re witty and clever. And you’re looking for a career change. Now might be the time to explore making a move into copywriting.

The need for quality written content is real. But how do you break into the world of copywriting if you don’t have “writer” somewhere in your job title? Consider these ideas:

Educate yourself

Start by reading great writing on, well, copywriting. Some excellent books on the subject include:

  • Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan
  • The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly
  • Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

The Internet is also rich with information on how to break into copywriting. Check out sites such as Copyblogger, The Copywriter’s Crucible and Copyhackers. Taking online copywriting courses is another great option. For example, HOW Design University offers a Copywriting for Designers course, and Mediabistro has a range of copywriting classes.

Raise your hand for copywriting assignments

Make it known internally that you’re interested in copywriting, and that your knowledge of the industry, creative campaign or target audience will be an asset. Most employers will appreciate the initiative.

Read why copywriting is a hot profession today!

Write for a cause

Consider taking on pro-bono work as a way to build your copywriting portfolio. According to Content Marketing Institute research, 61 percent of nonprofit marketers use content marketing. And 69 percent are creating more content than they did one year ago. Reach out to an organization whose work you’re interested in and ask if you can assist them with their communications.

Find a mentor

Locating a mentor doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming. It could be as simple as asking for a one-time informational interview with an established copywriter who’s on your staff or in your professional network. Explain that you’re interested in copywriting and want to know more about that side of the business. If the meeting goes well, request the opportunity to help on the next project. Pay close attention to the advice and edits provided, and offer your appreciation for the feedback. Soon the copywriting team may be asking you for work.

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