We can’t help but facepalm when a student tells us, “but I’ve heard you have to [insert terrible advice from a so-called copywriting ‘guru’]?”
Despite its wealth of information, the internet has created an echo chamber of bad advice, especially for new copywriters. In this episode, Nicki and Kate roll up their sleeves and dig into some of the worst recommendations out there, from hand copying ads, to niches, and–dare we even mention–Upwork. You’ll also find out what *truly* works instead–well, at least for our 10,000+ copywriting students…
Looking for closed captioning or a transcript? Watch the episode on YouTube!
A Sneak Peek at the Episode
[3:19] There is NO benefit in hand-copying ads when you’re trying to learn copywriting. Instead, Nicki and Kate encourage students to analyze copy out in the wild, as that focuses on the principles and strategies that went into creating that copy.
[10:16] Many so-called copywriting gurus will tell you that “the riches are in the niches.” But choosing a niche when you’re just getting started unnecessarily limits yourself and is not the smartest move when you don’t yet know what you’re going to like or not like.
[15:22] Clients, by and large, are looking for a depth and breadth of experience across different industries and different types of copy. Copywriting itself is your niche.
[18:20] The perception is that you can charge more when you have a niche. In reality, if you only have very narrow experience, you are not providing more value and it could be a red flag for clients. Breadth is valuable and makes your work more varied too!
[23:28] Copywriting and content writing are not the same. Using blog writing as a way to break into copywriting is bad advice because they are very different skill sets–plus, content writing is not paid anywhere near as well as copywriting. If your goal is to be a copywriter, then you should focus on writing copy and getting experience writing copy.
[29:41] Using job bidding sites like Fiverr and Upwork is not the best way to start landing work. Pitching and following up is a much more effective strategy for getting clients, and gives you more control over who you work with and what you charge.
[35:57] New copywriters tend to worry about bothering people who don’t need their services. But when you send a pitch that is based on providing value, clients are much more likely to hang onto it and call you when they do have a project.
[38:57] Don’t undermine your own copywriting skills by leaning on templates and formulas. The challenge that you’re going to be solving is going to be very specific to that company, that target audience, and that tone of voice. By all means use them for inspiration but remember it is your own creativity that will create great work.
[42:00] When you volunteer to work for free, you are essentially saying that your skills are worth nothing. Even if you don’t have any clients yet, you have experience, which means that you have skill, which means that you should be paid for it (even if it’s friends and family!).
[49:33] The internet has created an echo chamber of bad advice, so be discerning about where you get information. Taking advice from people who are successful and have been successful for a while will prevent you from veering off the path to success.
As with every episode, we highly encourage you to listen to the entire conversation! But here are a few of the highlights:
“Our brains want things to move really fast, we want that instant gratification, we want that instant yes. The analogy I like to use is it’s like planting a garden, each pitch is a seed that you’re planting, and the follow-ups are like watering it and eventually it will sprout into a big, beautiful, and wonderful garden. It’s a long-term strategy, it doesn’t have to take tons of time, it’s just not necessarily going to happen overnight. And so I think people do that, get discouraged, go to Upwork because they think, ‘well I can just go to this platform and tomorrow I’ll have a client’ and then they spend hours on Upwork and realize ‘Oh I’ve just wasted weeks and weeks of time on Upwork because I thought it was going to be easier, I thought it was going to be faster’ and then they came back to pitching and realize that that is actually the most effective way.” – Kate
“You may not have clients yet, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have experience. Again, our CCA students know, you’re going through the action sheets, you’re getting feedback, you are honing your skills, we have a lot of action sheets in there, we have a lot of opportunities for you to practice and to get feedback and make changes on that feedback and improve. So yes, you might be at the moment that you do not have any clients yet but you have experience, which means that you have skill, which means that you should be paid for it.” – Nicki
“One of the things that I’ve learned in my career and just in my life–and I’m glad that I did–only take advice from people who are successful and have been successful for a while at what it is you want to do.” – Nicki
Mentioned on this Episode
- 5 Ways to Improve Your Copywriting
- Why Choosing a Copywriting Niche is Terrible Advice
- What’s the Difference Between Copy and Content?
- Artificial Intelligence Copywriting: Do You Need to Worry?
- 1 Copywriting Tactic You Should Avoid at All Costs
- What is a Copywriting Test and Should You Do One?
- How to Avoid the Copywriting Niche Trap
- What’s a Copy Test?
- Content or Copy: How to Tell the Difference and What Should You Charge
- The Real Math on Job Bidding Site “Success”
- Should I use job bidding sites like Upwork?
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About the Build Your Business Podcast
Ready to turn your love of writing into a successful copywriting career?
Join professional copywriters Nicki Krawczyk and Kate Sitarz to get the tips, tools, and training to help you become a copywriter and build a thriving business of your own. Nicki and Kate have 20+ and 10+ years of experience, respectively, writing copy for multi-billion-dollar companies, solopreneurs, and every size business in between.
Whether you want to land an on-staff job, freelance full-time and work from wherever you want, or make extra money with a side hustle, the best place to start learning is right here.