Working with copywriting can be a good way for someone who likes (and has a talent for) writing to make a living. It is often possible to work from home, which is appealing to a lot of people, and with the right skills and some hard work it is possible to make a reasonably comfortable amount of money. The copywriting industry has boomed in the Web 2.0 age, with so many new websites needing regular, well written content, as well as businesses needing other more traditional types of copy for advertising and sales purposes. Here we look at some of the most common types of copywriting, and how being a successful copywriter works in practice.
Web Content Copywriting
The easiest kind of work in copywriting is providing articles for websites and blogs. This style of writing means that the copywriter will need to be able to handle researching and writing about a diverse range of topics, though it is possible, if you have a specific industry knowledge or enthusiasm for one field, to focus the majority of your work in one niche. Popular examples include business, technology, health and travel. The style for this kind of work tends to be accessible and easy to digest, though you may sometimes need to apply certain specific styles such as humorous writing or writing for a fairly specific market.
Most freelance copywriters find clients for this sort of copywriting through online freelancer websites and forums, and if their delivery rate and quality is high they can build up a portfolio of clients who can provide regular work quite quickly. This is how most new writers get started. It is usually important that writers looking for this sort of work are native speakers of the language they want to write in (and are aware of differences in national audiences where relevant, for example the variations between US and UK English), and also it is often expected that they will have an understanding of SEO, as this is important to most people buying web articles. Clients will usually want to see samples, so new writers may want to establish their own blog to use as a demonstration of their ability and style in copywriting until they build up a portfolio of paid work.
Plagiarism is checked for using tools like Copyscape, and not tolerated, so you need to provide original work every time.
Often still used as web content, sales copy requires the writer to adopt a persuasive style and use devices like calls to action in their work. While sometimes the tone of this type of copywriting can be blatantly promotional, in other situations some subtlety is required, for example the copy taking the form of a product review. In most other respects it is the same as web content, but you do need a slightly different skillset when it comes to the way you write, and some experience or training in sales will usually be a huge advantage. SEO will usually play a significant part in this kind of copywriting if it is intended for online use.
Writing Press Releases
Press releases are written to try and stir up interest from other writers and media outlets about something that is going on. They can be quite promotional in nature, but are delivered as news and need to have a timely, relevant element to them. There is a standard format which most press releases follow and popular directories onto which they are often posted, so they are generally a more specialist form of copywriting than standard articles or marketing copy.
Some copywriters find work writing fiction, usually in the form of short stories though work can also be found ghost writing things like novels and screenplays. The writer will not always get named on the finished work, so budding fiction writers should be aware that this is not necessarily a route to making a name for themselves as story writers, but for those interested in this style of copywriting it can be interesting and rewarding work.
Social Media Content
Some businesses hire copywriters to compose content for their social media presences, for example ordering batches of tweets or Facebook statuses they can use for their own promotional purposes. A good understanding of social media is essential for this kind of copywriting work, as these types of message have a style all of their own.
Academic Copywriting and Editing
Some copywriters work with students on all sorts of different academic courses to assist in providing essay writing and editing services, or compiling research. While it is not entirely ethical to pay someone to write an entire thesis on your behalf, many students use these services to improve the quality of their final work (for example if they are submitting a paper in their second language) or to help them pull together information they need to complete their own essays. This can be a good source of work for people with specific skills or qualifications in academic areas such as law or medicine, and can be quite lucrative.
As ebooks are easy to produce and distribute, and sales of the devices they work on as well as the documents themselves are soaring, many copywriters get involved in either ghostwriting ebooks for paying clients or producing and selling their own. Ebooks vary in length from short guides to subjects through to full novel length editions, so it is important when applying for projects like these to have a good understanding of what is expected so you can charge appropriately for your time.
These are the most common types of copywriting that copywriters working online will find. While there is plenty of work available out there, to make their venture a success a copywriter needs to also be highly motivated, serious about quality, and also have a reasonable amount of business sense, given they will have to find and keep their own clients. Copywriting can be a comfortable and rewarding career, but for the freelancer it is also a self employment situation, so commitment and drive are highly important.