How to Get into Copywriting with No Experience: 4 Ways
You probably landed here because you’ve decided to become a copywriter. The only problem is you don’t have any copywriting experience. It’s a chicken and egg conundrum, isn’t it? But don’t worry. I’ve got your back.
Below, I’ll discuss how to get into copywriting with no experience. I’m living proof that it is possible. I’ve been doing this copywriting thing for over twenty years, and when I started my freelance business, I had zero copywriting experience, too.
The trick is turning “zero experience” into “some experience” and parlaying that into more and more paid gigs.
Note: For this blog post, I’m assuming you already know how to write well, meaning you know the rules of grammar and punctuation, you know when you can break those rules, and you’ve had people tell you you’re a strong writer. If you’re struggling with the writing piece, focus on developing your writing chops first. Then, come back to this blog post and carry on.
If you’re more of a visual/audio learner, scroll to the end, where you’ll find my video on this topic.
How to get into copywriting with no experience: Take a course (or two).
You can never go wrong with education. And the nice thing about education is you’ll often have copywriting assignments that include instructor feedback. So it’s an excellent way to learn, practice, improve, and connect.
Copyblogger and American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI) have courses. Copyblogger’s are priced at $149/each, and AWAI has various levels. You’ll get feedback from veteran copywriters (and you’ll make meaningful connections to boot; you never know when an instructor might recommend you for a paid gig).
If you’re nervous about jumping straight into a copywriting course, you might want to start with HubSpot Academy. My regular readers have heard me praise HubSpot and for good reason. HubSpot spread the concept of inbound marketing back in the mid-aughts and has remained the leader ever since. It is passionate about educating people in all things inbound and content marketing.
HubSpot Academy is its education hub. Here, you’ll find many free certifications. Start with the following:
- Inbound Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
As you complete the courses, update your LinkedIn profile with the certifications.
How to get into copywriting with no experience: Reach out to small business owners you know and offer to do some work pro bono (for a limited time).
You’ve taken courses. You’ve gotten your certifications. Now, you need to apply what you know to real businesses to get some all-important samples for your copywriting portfolio and develop your confidence while you’re at it. Consider people you know who own small businesses. I can almost guarantee you know someone—or you know someone who knows someone.
It could be the owner of a . . .
- Local hair salon
- Limo company
- Garden supply store
You get the idea. Small business owners need help with their marketing. Reach out, let them know you’re breaking into copywriting, and ask if you can do X, Y, and Z for them—free of charge, with no strings attached, and no obligation to work with them after you complete these three items. (This is the ONLY time I recommend writers work for free.)
They’d be foolish to say no, right?
The key is being super specific with what you’re offering. Say something like, “I’ll write two blog posts, a month’s worth of social media posts, and revise your About page.”
Right there, you’ll get plenty of experience and samples you can use in your copywriting portfolio.
And if you do a great job and demonstrate your value, they might ask you to continue doing work for them, at which point you’d say something like, “I’d be happy to continue doing work for you. Here’s what I charge for blog posts, social media management, and revising website copy.”
How to get into copywriting with no experience: Approach local nonprofits or organizations you’re involved with/volunteer for.
Nonprofits and charitable organizations always need marketing help. (I’m talking about smaller organizations, not the big guys like the American Red Cross.)
Take the same approach I outlined above for small businesses.
How to get into copywriting with no experience: Just do it.
The best way to learn anything—how to draw, play tennis, and cook—is by doing.
- Rewrite the emails you’re inundated with from various businesses. How would you revise the email subject lines? The body copy?
- Revise the direct mailers that come to your house.
- Same with any sales letters or letters from charitable organizations (professional direct response copywriters often write the latter, so they can be good pieces to study)
- How would you rewrite the radio commercial and the TV spot?
- How would you revise the home page, navigation, etc., for every awful website you encounter?
Practice, practice, practice.
You do that enough, and you’ll develop the confidence to tackle steps #2 or #3 if you haven’t already. Plus, you’ll likely feel confident enough to apply to gigs, network, or even send cold emails or make cold calls.
Now that you’ve learned some ways to get copywriting experience, dig into these relevant topics:
- What does a copywriter portfolio look like
- How to start a copywriting business
- How to get clients as a freelance copywriter
- How to be a good copywriter
- How to charge for copywriting services
Got a Question for the Copy Bitch?
That’s me! I’m the Copy Bitch. Contact me or visit my YouTube channel and leave a comment on one of my videos. I might make a blog post or video with the answer.