Misinformation about copywriting runs rampant, but we’re trying valiantly to set it right! Today’s article is part two in our series about the top ten misconceptions about copywriting. Prepare for clarity and then read on…
If you missed the first five of our top ten misconceptions about copywriting, you can find those right here. But if you’re ready and raring to see the next five most alarming, confusing and downright silly pieces of misinformation, let’s get started!
6. You have to do it full-time
Sure, copywriting is a career, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be your full-time career. You can get trained to do it and then pick up clients to write for in your evening or weekend hours and make some extra cash on the side. Of course, if you want to, you can transition to full-time after you’ve picked up some experience and gotten your footing, but that’s up to you.
7. Contracting is the same as freelancing
So, I’ve mentioned before that there’s a lot of potential flexibility in copywriting, but it’s not just full-time versus part-time or on-staff versus freelancing. Contracting is when you don’t work on-staff for a company, but you often work in their office on an hourly basis for a certain (usually project-based) period of time. This means you have the flexibility to adjust your hours, but you also get the benefit of being able to interact with people in the office. You usually charge by the hour and, for various reason, you usually make more than you would if you were on staff.
Freelancing, however, is slightly different: Generally, it means that you’re not on-staff for a company, but you work for them on a project basis and usually from home. You may come in for meetings, but it’s up to you to create your daily schedule. In this case, you usually charge by the project.
8. If you can write, you’re a copywriter
Yup, this one is unfortunate—mostly because a lot of well-intentioned people jump in with both feet, can’t get work, and then get discouraged and disappointed.
The truth is that copywriting is a career just like any other, and just like any other, it requires training. You need to know how to write copy if you want a copywriting job.
It’s not the same as any other kind of writing. There are structures, techniques, and tools that are totally different from anything else—including content writing. Writing blog posts or articles doesn’t mean that someone knows how to write copy. And no—people won’t be able to learn on the job. Creative directors want to hire copywriters who know how to write copy, not people who are hoping to learn.
9. You need to decide on a niche to be successful
A lot of people think that the best way to build a booming career is to get ultra-specific with their services right away; “I’m an email writer for high-tech health companies.” And you may very well find that you love some aspect of copywriting and want to focus on a niche.
But you can’t possibly know that until you’ve explored a bunch of avenues. When you’re getting started, you want to get as broad experience as possible: write for digital, write for print, write for in-house agencies, write for ad agencies, write for B2B, write for B2C…you get the picture.
You want to get experience in a bunch of different realms to show potential employers that you have flexibility. After all, you have a much better chance of getting hired if many employers are interested in you, instead of just employers in an ultra-specific niche. Sure, later, if you decide you just love a niche and want to focus on it, great. But don’t start there.
10. You can’t make any money at it
This is an egregious lie and I’m actually shocked that it’s gotten any traction. My guess is that people are confusing content writing (blog posts and other writing designed to entertain, inspire, or inform) with copywriting.
It’s, sadly, very true that content writers—and pretty much every other kind of writer—don’t get paid well. But copywriting is the exception. Companies recognize the importance of great marketing and great copywriting, so not only is there more demand for copywriters than ever, we’re also getting paid exceptionally well.
And there you have it: The top ten misconceptions about copywriting all cleared up. But now, it’s your turn! Have we missed any misconceptions or confusing things you’d like cleared up? Let us know in the comments below!