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? Let’s break it all down…
Today’s question comes from Renee W., who asks, “I want to start getting some copywriting jobs, but how much experience do I need? And is that experience in terms of years, or more in terms of kinds of projects?”
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.
So how much experience do you need? Well, yes, if 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!