The concept of “experience” for copywriters can be a bit tricky: Adequate experience for one project might not be enough for another. And just what constitutes ”experience”, anyway? Is it years? Types of projects? Let’s break it all down.
Experience is made up of a combination of knowledge and practice. You gain a base level of knowledge first through training, you practice by writing copy for spec ads and small clients, and your knowledge naturally increases as you practice.
At the most basic level, you need enough experience to be able to help your client. And when I say help, I mean really and truly provide useful service.
That means that clients who have less complicated needs and less general marketing expertise will benefit from you first. Even without a great deal of experience, you can be of service to most small businesses.
As you acquire more experience, you can broaden your client base to include solopreneurs (who tend to be more savvy about marketing than typical small business owners), design studios, and then in-house agencies and ad/marketing agencies.
So, how much experience do you need? Not a ton for your first group of clients.
But also, as you build your experience, you need to make sure you stay focused on building your portfolio and populating it with great work across a broad range of clients and media.
Your portfolio proves that you know what you’re doing. It showcases your skills and talent without you having to lift a finger. Even if you don’t have much experience, clients and hiring managers may be willing to take a chance on you if you’ve got a portfolio that shows that you’re a superstar.
If, however, you’re trying to land an ad agency job, you need more than just a few months’ worth of experience. But you don’t need more than that to start landing clients and start building your career so that that ad agency job can eventually be yours.
Your turn! What’s your biggest “experience” stumbling block? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on May 10, 2023
David Hidalgo says
Would you say it is a good idea to take for example your course and using the practice examples we create in our portfolio?
Nicki Krawczyk says
Yep – in the course we encourage you to create “spec ads” – basically, ads that you create as if you were creating them for a real client instead of on your own. (Our whole Academy is about writing copy, of course, but one of our deep-dive courses is devoted solely to how to create spec ads.) They’re a great way to build your portfolio before you’ve get paying clients.
Thanks for commenting!