Yes, I'm speaking for all copywriters in this post, lol. If you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes, keep reading.
You know what they say — "When you assume, you make an A** out of yourself!"
Well, I’d have to agree in this case.
Hearing people’s take on the copywriting business cracks me up. Most think it’s SO glamorous…
☕Writing from exotic destinations or bespoke coffee houses.
📸 Posing coyly with your laptop and books as a photographer snaps hundreds of branding photos to share on your website and social media accounts.
🏖️ Escaping to international vacation spots several times a year while maintaining a robust client roster with endless revenue opportunities.
Ah, the life of a copywriter!
I won’t lie, though. Full-time copywriting is a fulfilling career and has its perks — one of them being autonomy. However, there can be pitfalls and unexpected “surprises” along the way…many you don’t anticipate.
✍🏾 Good grammar and creative vision often clash.
Many of us graduate from college, English degree in hand, with the mindset that there is a “right” way to approach writing, and veering off the beaten path of grammatical correctness is a no-no.
Newsflash: Copywriting is non-restrictive!
It’s pretty liberating, so that textbook won’t get as much use as you think (sorry, fam...I had the same "come to Jesus" moment!).
In fact, your English studies can sometimes hinder you from flexing your writing muscles if you’re unwilling to expand your mind and creativity to perfect your craft. Here's what advertising king, David Ogilvy had to say about grammar:
"I don't know the rules of grammar. If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language."
Some clients and projects may call for a “buttoned up” approach to grammar and creative vision, and that’s OK. Copywriters are chameleons, strategic shapeshifters, and adapt naturally to changing circumstances. It is that very adaptable mindset that helps us learn to work with different personalities and writing preferences throughout our careers.
✍🏾 Most of us are educated…but not in the way you think.
Speaking of college, you’d be surprised to learn most of us don’t have English, marketing, or communications degrees. While I earned a BA in English and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology, I learned way more about copywriting when I graduated.
I had these classics in my arsenal as a college student:
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
After I graduated, I added these gems to my bookshelf:
Here’s the thing…
What you learn in college writing and English courses won’t be helpful all the time in your copywriting career. That’s why some copywriters bypass the formal education route and train themselves, which can be beneficial to build the foundational craft of writing, such as developing your voice, language, and storytelling skills.
This may be an unpopular opinion coming from a copywriter, but anyone willing to invest the time can learn to write copy. It helps if you already have a love or gift for the craft. I should know. I was writing full-on fictional stories in elementary school as a self-proclaimed “word nerd!”
Some of us hold degrees in completely unrelated fields that give us a unique perspective. For instance, my instructional technology degree helped me land technical writing projects that called for a keen eye for detail.
A degree or certification is not necessary to be a top-rated copywriter.
FUN FACT: David Ogilvy — yeah, the advertising genius mentioned above — didn’t finish college, and it was never a hindrance in his career!
✍🏾We develop a love/hate relationship with copy.
No matter how many projects you complete, dynamic clients you serve, or credentials you amass, your work will challenge you in unimaginable ways (if you’re growing, that is!). This is the not-so-fun part.
You may find yourself biting your nails and questioning your skills after
submitting a project to a client, especially one with some clout.
OMG, will they like it?
And here’s the most nerve-wracking part. Everyone has their version of creativity, so your innovation may fly over your clients' heads.
What worked for one brand may bomb for another. The silver lining is writing your content, which allows you to break all the rules without blowback from a stakeholder.
Of course, you are your own worst critic, and second-guessing becomes a way of life. You start overthinking and sitting on content until it “feels right.”
But those times when you kill it, you know you kill it. It’s the greatest feeling in the world, and it keeps you challenging yourself while anticipating the next chance to do what you love!
✍🏾 Some projects are a straight-up snooze-fest.
As you gain experience as a copywriter, you write for clients in different industries.
And with these projects, you figure out very quickly what kind of copy and clients you like and those you never want to see again!
They can't all be winners, fam. Some industries aren't your jam. I could name a few, but I digress.
At the beginning of your career, taking on several projects to grow your portfolio is essential. That’s the only way to discover what pumps you up and bores you to death 💀! Eventually, you’ll earn the autonomy (and revenue) to pick and choose what clients you want to serve and the focus of your copy.
But baby, when you find your groove, it's a game-changer!
Shocked by these copywriting truths? I was, too, before I immersed myself in the industry. Copywriters are professionals who put a ton of hours into their careers, but it takes time and patience to perfect our craft.
If you're fine staying in your lane and doing the work you love, we applaud you. We have an exceptional team of copywriters with many backgrounds and experiences to serve your business.
Friend, you don’t have to be your business’s DIY copywriter or AI prompter anymore (if you know, you know 😏). Empower yourself by outsourcing your copywriting projects to us. As you see, we DO THIS.