If you take a trip across the Internet to learn about copywriting or find a copywriter, you’re likely to walk away with the impression that anyone can be a copywriter. Unfortunately, there are many people out there who claim to be copywriters but have no experience and no knowledge of how copywriting differs from narrative, expository, or any other form of writing. And let me just say right now that I do not think hard sales letters which promise you’ll be a millionaire if you buy this 10-DVD set or similar pie-in-the-sky claims can be included as copywriting. They’re a different animal all together.
So that brings us back to my original question. Can anyone be a copywriter?
My answer to that question is yes — if a person takes the time to learn how to put a sentence together and learns the fundamental theories or marketing, consumer behavior, and targeting. That doesn’t mean you have to have a degree in marketing from a top university (although that can help), but it does mean you need to understand that writing marketing copy requires far more knowledge than grammar, spelling, and the ability to put together clever phrases.
Frankly, I think copywriting should be taught at the university level as a required course for undergraduate marketing majors because the ability to craft effective marketing messages can benefit even the less-creative marketing majors (heck, I had to take 2 semesters of accounting at the undergrad level and another semester in grad school, and I will never, ever be an accountant – copywriting should get the same face time). It would also be a useful course for writing majors, giving them exposure to a completely different form of writing than they’ve ever done before.
I cover all of this and more in my book, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, which was written for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and beginner copywriters. I’ve written copy for some of the largest companies in the world working on multi-million dollar campaigns, and I’ve written copy for solopreneurs and small businesses around the world. With all of that experience and knowledge, I can tell you that you can learn to be a copywriter, but you need to think more like a marketer and less like a writer to be good at it.
Stay tuned for my upcoming series, Copywriting Quick Tips, here on Freelance Writing Jobs where I’ll offer simple tips to become a copywriter who can actually create compelling copy that moves customers to action and helps businesses attain the return on investment they want and need. In the meantime, do you have any specific questions about copywriting? If so, leave a comment and I’ll incorporate them into upcoming posts in the Copywriting Quick Tips series.