5 Essential Copywriting Tips for Beginners the Pros Won’t Tell You

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Being a newbie sales and marketing copywriter can be intimidating. Creating samples, finding clients, and getting those big juicy conversions so that they keep hiring you can be difficult when you’re new to the business. The good news is that making a living being a copywriter is very easy once you learn the ropes. The bad news is that learning the ropes can be hard when the people with all the info want to charge you hundreds of dollars for an online course or coaching. Information is a commodity, after all, so many are reluctant to part with it for free.

In this article you’ll learn five things that most people will never tell you about copywriting, especially the so-called “gurus.” With these tips, you’ll be in a better position to market your copywriting services and make the kind of money you should be making. This information should make you a better copywriter.

  1. Manage Your Expectations

In some ways, the industry of copywriting is built on mythology. You’ve probably heard of all the big names and legendary figures who dominated the industry in decades past. Large-than-life figures who mastered the art and science of copywriting and made millions of dollars for their clients and themselves. Yeah, you know the ones.

Well, the truth of the matter is that the age of copywriting legends is dead and gone. This is, of course, thanks to the Internet. Yes, some copywriters still get paid extremely well for their work, but most “legends” these days are just gurus looking to sell you a course that contains information that you could find for free online.

To put it bluntly, don’t expect to get rich being a copywriter. Sure, you can get rich doing it, but instead of diving headfirst into this business with dollar signs in your eyes, take a more realistic approach and focus on covering your living expenses first. At the end of the day, being a sales and marketing copywriter isn’t anything special; it’s just another job, and you’re just another worker. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  1. It’s Not Always Your Fault if Your Copy Doesn’t Convert

So, you’ve written an amazing piece of copy and submitted it to your client. They get back to you and tell you that it didn’t convert. How is this possible? How could a piece of copy so good fail so miserably? Well, maybe it wasn’t as good as you thought it was. Or, maybe your client is the one who screwed something up.

The thing is, as a copywriter you’ll get credit for copy that converts and be blamed when it doesn’t. That’s the nature of this business, but it isn’t always accurate. The truth is that a bad piece of copy will never convert, but even the best copy can also fail to convert. This may sound crazy but it’s quite common.

The sales and marketing copy you write is just a small part of a larger whole. A good analogy would be comparing your copy to the engine of a car. The car isn’t going to work without it, but even if you design the best engine ever, other problems can also cause the car to not work, like a dead battery, busted radiator, or flat tires.

Likewise, your sales copy is just one part of a larger sales funnel. Sure, it’s one of the most important parts, but even so, a critical failure with anything else in the sales funnel can render your copy worthless. For example, if you write a Facebook Ad promoting your client’s new mobile game intended for teens, and they turn around and mistakenly target their ads to general audiences, it isn’t your fault that conversions will be lower. That’s on them.

Just remember that there’s a lot that can go wrong with a sales funnel, and just because your copy isn’t converting doesn’t mean that it’s your fault. However, you should try to evaluate your copy as objectively as possible so that you can recognize when it actually is your fault that your client isn’t getting the conversions they want.

  1. Caring Too Much About the First Draft

Writing and editing are two separate skills that take two separate mindsets. As a sales and marketing copywriter, you need both. However, you shouldn’t be trying to do both at the same time. Not only can this decrease the quality of your work, but it can also lead to writer’s block.

When you sit down to write a fresh new piece of copy, don’t put too much thought into it. Instead, just write whatever comes to mind. Having an outline helps, and in many cases running it by your client before starting can cut down on the need for revisions.

In any case, your first draft is going to be trash. And that’s the way it should be. The real magic of sales and marketing copywriting is in the editing. In a way, you’re more of an editor than a writer since you’ll spend more time editing your work to perfection rather than writing rough drafts.

In other words, don’t worry about how good or bad your first draft is; just get it typed out so that you have something to work with. There are no such things as making mistakes when writing the first draft since you’ll probably be changing a lot of it later anyway. You can think of your first draft as dumping the pieces of a puzzle out of their box, and the editing as actually putting the puzzle together. It doesn’t matter how messy the pile of pieces is when you dump them out since that has practically no impact on the final product.

  1. Not Firing Clients When You Should

If you work for an agency, you don’t have to worry about this for obvious reasons. But if you’re a freelancer you need to keep in mind that your clients are your customers, not your boss. You are your boss. This means that if you run into problem clients, you are fully within your rights to fire them and move on as long as there aren’t any contractual obligations keeping you from doing so.

Gritting your teeth and working with bad customers isn’t something you should be putting yourself through. The money isn’t worth the stress and hassle, especially when there is always the risk that a bad customer will end up asking for a refund in the end anyway. Whether or not you’re obligated to give a refund depends on the situation, but it’s almost always best to cut them loose before it gets to that point.

Firing problem clients is something that can be difficult if you’re a newbie copywriter since you’re probably desperate for money. Yeah, it’s something that pretty much every copywriter goes through in the beginning. Even so, that doesn’t give clients the right to take advantage of you and make your life miserable.

So when should you fire a client? If during a job you think even for one second that it isn’t worth it, then it isn’t worth it. End of story. If you can get to the end of the project without too much hassle, then feel free to try and stick it out, then refuse any future work from that client. On the other hand, if you simply can’t bear working with them another day, cut your losses and get out as soon as you can.

  1. Not Building Connections

If you’re spending more time looking for work as a sales and marketing copywriter than actually doing the work, you’re doing something wrong. You didn’t get into this business so that you could spend most of your time submitting proposals and negotiating with prospective clients. It’s a bad use of your time because the writing is where the money is.

The best way to cut down on the amount of time you spend looking for work is to build connections. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one of the best is to ask clients for referrals when you complete a project with them. If they’re satisfied with your work, and know of someone who could use your skills, they’ll be happy to pass the word along.

Other strategies are networking events in real life, copywriting groups online that you can join, and networking sites like LinkedIn. Also, be sure to let your friends and family know that you’re available if they happen to know someone who needs a sales and marketing copywriter. You’d be surprised at how many doors of opportunity this can open.

The important thing here is to be assertive, not shy. The more you promote yourself, the more work will come to you. Simple as that. If you do this right, you’ll probably reach a point where you don’t even have to look for work anymore because you’ll have so many prospects contacting you. The best thing about this is that it gives you leverage to raise your prices and only do business with those willing to pay higher rates. Work less. Get paid more. Not a bad deal, huh?

One thing to keep in mind though is that you want to make sure you keep track of your contacts. Just having them on your phone isn’t going to cut it, so familiarize yourself with how to use a spreadsheet so that you can keep all of your contact information organized.

Some Things Can’t Be Taught

One final bit of advice is that there are certain aspects of being a sales and marketing copywriter that simply can’t be taught; you’ll have to learn them for yourself. In fact, many of the tips and tidbits of advice you get will go right over your head when you’re a beginner, and you won’t fully understand them until you’ve gotten some experience under your belt.

The only way to become a better copywriter is to write copy. There are no shortcuts, and no amount of blog posts, articles, training, or coaching will ever make up for real-life experience. Write more. Learn more. Earn more. That’s all there is to it. If you’re willing to stick with it, copywriting will reward you. That’s a fact.

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