Copywriting Q&A: How to Know if You Have What it Takes

Is it in your genes to be a successful copywriter? Find out now!Before you make a decision about choosing or changing a career, you want to have some indication that you’ll actually be good at it and successful at it, right? Well, read on for a few clues about your future copywriting success…

Today’s question comes from Nick O. who asks, “I’m interested in copywriting, but I want to be sure I’ll be good at it before I make a full career change. How can I know?”

Like last week’s post, today’s answer has a short version and a long one—and I’d strongly recommend you read both.

First, the short answer: If you want to be absolutely positive you’ll be good at something…well…you can’t be. I’d be lying to you if I told you there was some magic theorem that would calculate exactly how successful you’d be at copywriting.

After all, there was no guarantee you’d be good at your current profession, right? If you’re like most people, you either got a job and discovered you were good at it (the “falling into it” method), or you saw something you liked, learned enough about it until you were preeeeetty sure it was what you wanted to do, and then started making moves toward doing it (the “dip your toes in” method).

The simple fact is that you’ll have to do the same thing. Since it’s pretty hard to find a job in copywriting without training or experience, though, I’m trying to give you every opportunity to dip your toes in, and then get that training and experience.

Okay, on to part two.

Get answers to you questions about copywriting

Now, with all of that said, there are some personality traits that bear some indication of success in the copywriting field. After all, if you have a steady hand and an exhaustive memory, you have a better chance of being a successful surgeon than those who don’t. Here’s a list of the characteristics that successful copywriters should have:

  • A love of words. Very simply, you have to like using the tools you wield. You have to appreciate their power and love their flexibility.
  • A willingness to hustle. Self-starters and hard workers tend to get ahead in most professions and it’s no different in copywriting. In many ways, your success is in your own hands and the degree to which you achieve it is based a great deal on hustle.
  • A willingness to speak up. Don’t get me wrong: I know a lot of introverts who are successful copywriters. But, at the same time, they’ve had to learn to overcome any shyness and speak up in meetings when they have ideas or when they need to explain a concept. The good news? It gets much easier with practice.
  • Humility. Very rarely is your copy going to be absolutely perfect right off the bat. You’ll sit in creative reviews and get valid feedback from five different people and then have to incorporate it in your work. You’re not too good for collaboration—you’re good because of collaboration.
  • Objectivity. You are not your work and your work is not you. A major part of copywriting is getting feedback from other people and then revising based on that feedback. If you can’t separate your self-worth from your work and if you can’t avoid getting overly attached to certain lines, you’ve got a short copywriting career in front of you.
  • Strategic thinking. Your job is to get a message across to an intended audience and make that message resonate with them. This requires a lot of thinking, researching and strategizing.
  • Creativity. Oh, yeah: that. :) Creativity is important, but it doesn’t rank any higher than any of the other traits on this list. There are plenty of copywriters who are “creative” but lack in a couple of these other characteristics and can’t find work.
  • Pleasantness. People don’t want to work with jerks, plain and simple. Be nice, friendly and professional and you’re already ahead of the game.

Your turn! What traits do you have that you think will make you a great copywriter? This wasn’t an exhaustive list—what have I missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Oliver says

    Excellent post! I’m working on a portfolio right now.

    So often I wake up raring to go and have ideas buzzing around in my head. Other days I’m plagued by self doubt and even fear, as I have invested so much already.

    This puts my mind at rest, somewhat.

    Just gotta get hustlin’!

    • Nicki says

      Hi Oliver,

      Everyone is plagued by doubt and fear at one time or another—definitely don’t let that stop you! Put together a plan of attack and…yes…hustle! :)

      Thanks for commenting!
      Nicki

  2. Mike Robinson says

    What a superb list. I think you also need a degree of natural salesmanship, or at the very least understand how to persuade someone. That said, much of your list could apply to getting on in the corporate world in most fields. A love of words, though, obviously makes it much more specific.

    • Nicki says

      Hi Mike,

      Absolutely – persuasion is the essence of what we do. I think a lot of our ability to persuade, though, comes from an understanding of (and ability to wield) the tools of copywriting like being able to convey the benefit, using words that resonate with the target audience, etc.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Nicki & the Filthy Rich Writer team

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