How to Become a Copywriter: Step-by-Step

Discover our guide on how to become a copywriter and start pursuing your dream career today!

Being a copywriter can be a lucrative and creatively rewarding career. Basically, a copywriter writes words that sell products and services. Copywriting is becoming a popular and financially rewarding career choice. Junior copywriters can earn, on average, $40,000 – $50,000 per year, with senior copywriters earning over $70,000 per year.

A copywriter creates written content to promote a product, service, or brand. This content can include writing for website landing pages, social media posts, blog posts, product descriptions, advertisements, and more!

A skilled copywriter creates content that engages the reader and persuades them to make a purchase or sign up for a service. I worked as a copywriter, earning six figures for several years. In this guide, I explain how you can become a copywriter too.

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What is Copywriting? 

Copywriting is the act of writing words that sell products or services. A copywriter creates sales or marketing material that influences a target audience. Copy refers to the words on the page.

What Does a Copywriter Do?

A copywriter writes content that persuades an audience to act. Their role usually involves creating text for various advertising and marketing materials, which can range from print ads, to brochures, and billboards. Many copywriters work on website copy, social media posts, and email campaigns.

Copywriters must understand their target audience deeply to tailor their message effectively, often collaborating with marketing teams to align their content with broader campaign goals. They are skilled storytellers who can convey a brand’s message clearly, concisely, and appealingly, often infusing creativity and wit into their writing to make it stand out.

Their role often involves research, editing, and proofreading, ensuring that all content is factually accurate and error-free. A copywriter usually marries data with creativity. They’ll develop snappy taglines or story-driven copy and use analytics tools to determine what converts prospects into customers.

When I worked as a copywriter, I wrote social media copy, email campaigns, landing pages, and ebooks. I wrote this content with a team, and our goal was to convince more prospects to take out a software-as-a-service (Saas) product trial.

Copywriting can be a full-time or part-time job, with many copywriters choosing to work freelance rather than working for one employer. Freelance copywriters can pick and choose their work projects, but they also have to hustle for clients, pitch services, and seek work on freelancing platforms like UpWork or Fiverr.

How To Become a Copywriter

How to become a copywriter?
Nailing the basic grammar rules and proofreading your work before submitting it is essential

Nailing the basic grammar rules and proofreading your work before submitting it is essential when providing copywriting services to clients.

Now you know the basics of copywriting, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting you started on your new career path. Check out our tips for good copywriting and take the first step to becoming a professional skilled copywriter.

Step 1. Read Great Copywriting Books

Reading the best copywriting books is a great way to develop your skills and learn from experts. Unlike other kinds of writing, like creative fiction, copywriting isn’t taught in typical writing classes. So, it’s up to copywriters to find resources and seek advice from experts that will grow their skills.

There are many great copywriting books on the market that you can read to learn from top-tier copywriters. These books often contain popular copywriting formulae and advice for novices. If you’re a new copywriter, start with Everybody Writes by Ann Handley. The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy is another good choice.

Step 2. Take a Copywriting Course

If you want to take an online writing course, the American Writer and Artist’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is a good choice. The course includes interactive ebooks (PDFs), interviews, and short audio and video lessons. It covers everything from finding clients and determining what rates to charge. The course heavily emphasizes long-form sales letters, although lessons apply to other formats.

Step 3. Hone Your Copywriting Skills

A copywriter always strives to improve their ability to communicate the benefits of a product or service through the written word. Copywriting is a talent, and finding your style is essential before beginning to write professionally. Whether you are writing long-form or short-form copy, knowing your audience and practicing catering to different clients is essential.

One benefit of pursuing a copywriting career is that you don’t need formal education before beginning. Many clients value experience and portfolios above degrees and qualifications. You can become a professional copywriter through content writing, freelance writing, and different types of copywriting work. Hone your skills by picking up freelance work where possible, and practice, practice, practice!

Alongside great writing books, read popular psychology books so you can master the art of persuasive writing. Start with Influence by Robert Caldini and Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. You can also listen to podcasts to upskill your writing, like our interview with copywriter Geoff Kullman.

Step 4. Study Grammar

A good writer studies the fundamentals of grammar by reading grammar books. That way, they better understand when to follow or break a grammar rule. Excellent copywriting requires excellent grammar and attention to detail. A misplaced comma or incorrect use of “there,” “their,” or “they’re” can completely ruin a great piece of writing.

Nailing the basic grammar rules and proofreading your work before submitting it is essential when providing copywriting services to clients. Check any white papers, applications, tests, and pieces for grammar errors and typos, and use a good grammar checker, like Hemingway Editor.

Step 5. Learn the Basics of SEO and A/B Testing

As a copywriter, it’s essential to have some basic knowledge of search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is the practice of using keywords and structure to rank a piece of writing, such as a blog post, at the top of the search results page on Google.

More highly paid copywriters understand Google Analytics and how to run practical A/B tests on their copy and for clients. These are technical skills outside the written word but worth acquiring if you intend to write copy online. CXL offers several recommended courses in Google Analytics and SEO.

They’re also comfortable working with other professionals in different disciplines like design and SEO. Even if you’re not a designer, speaking the language of design is still important as it complements compelling copy. You might also be interested in our guide on how to become a technical writer.

Step 6. Pick a Copywriting Niche

If you’re starting as a freelance copywriter, pitch for copywriting jobs across industries so you can gain more experience. This approach will help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses. It’s a good idea to become a specific type of copywriter. Examples include:

  • An e-commerce copywriter
  • An email copywriter
  • A sales page copywriter
  • A direct mail copywriter

Senior and highly paid copywriters also focus on one industry or niche. This way, they only have to keep up with trends within one industry rather than many. And they can acquire referrals more easily. Examples of profitable niches include:

  • B2B Technology
  • Health
  • Finance
  • Personal development
  • Food & drinks
  • Beauty & skincare
  • Travel & tourism
  • Finance

Step 7. Build a Swipe File

Effective copywriters study what works. They often save clippings of excellent copy into a swipe file and refer to proven copywriting formulae. In other words, they only write a sales page or product description from scratch each time. Create your swipe file using tools like Evernote, Dropbox, Google Sheets, or a dedicated email account. Add items like:

  • Sales letters and pages you like that convert
  • Effective product descriptions
  • Email funnels and sequences
  • Hero banners and headlines
  • Direct email

Your chosen industry and format determine what goes into this swipe file. As a copywriter, I regularly saved sales pages, product descriptions, and popular headline formats from my client’s competitors.

Step 8. Set Up a Copywriting Website

Setting up a website is relatively easy these days. Either use WordPress or create a landing page about your services. Add your website to Google My Business and explain your services on the homepage. Provide potential clients with a way of contacting you. That way, you’re more likely to attract inquiries from interested local businesses. When you acquire testimonials, add them to your site, too.

If you have the time and inclination, go one step further and write SEO-optimized articles related to copywriting and publish case studies about your work. This type of content should also perform well on social media, increasing your website traffic. Consider your personal branding, too – do you talk about copywriting consistently across your social media channels? Is your headshot clear and professional?

Step 9. Browse Freelancing Platforms

There are many freelancing platforms that copywriters can use to find work. Freelancing is a great option for aspiring copywriters looking to build their portfolio before applying to jobs or for working with a more flexible schedule than the typical corporate job. Some of the best freelancing sites include UpWork, Fiverr, Contently, LinkedIn, and Writer Access.

Utilizing freelancing sites is a great way to line up work as a copywriter, as you can apply to any job listed on the job board. Often, clients reach out to freelancers to request writing which is an excellent way to build a portfolio, up your income, and create good client relationships.

Freelancing is also a great way to increase your monthly income as a copywriter. Whether you’re employed in the copywriting industry or a different profession, copywriting as a side hustle can be rewarding financially and creatively.

Step 10. Apply for Copywriting Jobs

After completing the necessary steps to become a copywriter, such as learning the craft and honing your talents, it’s time to apply for jobs. One of the most common ways to find job openings is by searching online job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. These job boards allow you to search for copywriting jobs based on job title, working hours, location, and industry.

However, if you enjoyed freelancing while gaining experience, it’s more than adequate to continue a career in copywriting without applying for a job. Copywriters can earn a full-time salary while freelancing, but it isn’t for everyone due to the uncertainty and additional administrative tasks such as applying for copywriting gigs.

Networking with industry professionals is a great way to learn about job opportunities. Attend conferences, workshops, and other events to meet other copywriters and potential employers. Joining an online networking community is a great way to connect and scout out potential work opportunities.

Step 11. Work for an Agency

Content marketing agencies regularly employ copywriters to produce their clients’ articles, ebooks, and guides. Although these jobs typically don’t pay well and involve long hours, they’re a great way of gaining experience rapidly. Working with an agency also means you’ll spend a lot of time in the company of other writers and an editor. Feedback from these people will improve your copywriting skills rapidly.

Step 12. Work as an In-house Copywriter

After gaining a few years of experience or enough testimonials, consider applying for a copywriting job at a bigger company. It’ll pay more and offer some job security. You’ll also work with other professionals, like an art director or a product marketer.

These vacancies usually appear on traditional writing jobs websites and services like Flexjobs. Employers sometimes give these roles different terms, like content strategist or content writer. Although, you probably have enough skills to do both.

Step 13. Take on Copywriting Clients at A Discount

A copywriting portfolio is an excellent way of attracting jobs from high-paying clients. If you’re an aspiring copywriter without a portfolio, you don’t necessarily have to write for free. Instead, find potential clients online who need a better-written copy on their website.

Critique this copy and send over suggestions or a writing sample. Propose fixing these issues for a modest fee and a testimonial. Even if they don’t reply, this process will help you study the market and overcome what most writers fear: rejection.

Step 14. Build Your Reputation with Reviews

Gaining a reputation as a copywriter will solidify your position in the industry and increase your likelihood of success. A great way to do this is by asking clients for reviews, which you can publish on your website or social media. Many copywriters choose to share their projects and reviews on LinkedIn to generate conversation and encourage new opportunities.

Step 15. Increase Your Rates

Once you’ve built your experience and developed a strong portfolio of work or gathered essential work experience, it’s time to consider raising your rates or asking for a raise. Whether you are employed or freelancing, ensuring that your pay compensates you for your skills and value is important.


For freelancers, you can begin increasing your rates whenever you feel ready. Do this gradually and communicate the change with clients in advance so they know the timeline. Don’t feel pressured to raise rates drastically – choose a price that feels good for you but is also fair for the client.

Be prepared to negotiate. This is a prevalent technique used when freelancing, where the client and freelancer mutually agree on a new price that works for them both. It’s important to set your rates based on your value as a copywriter, and it’s always okay to walk away from clients not willing to pay a fair price.

Employed Copywriters

As employed copywriters gain experience and knowledge in your workplace, your value increases as an employee. Recognizing your value and asking for a raise when appropriate is important. Many great self-help books can boost your confidence before asking for a raise. Remember to always ask for what you’re worth. This can drastically improve your job satisfaction.

The Skills of a Copywriter

A proficient copywriter possesses a diverse skillset comprising both creative language skills and an aptitude for analytics. They’ve got a solid grasp of copywriting fundamentals, encompassing persuasive and effective communication principles.

They’re well-versed in online content strategy and creation, understanding how to craft content that resonates with digital audiences. This includes a keen awareness of various marketing strategies and the ability to adapt content to suit different platforms and objectives. Digital copywriters. A digital copywriter usually knows how search engine optimization (SEO) works and also how to A/B test their copy.

Key skills also include exceptional writing, reading, editing, and proofreading abilities, allowing them to produce clear, error-free, and compelling copy. Research skills are crucial; they often delve into diverse topics to create authoritative and accurate content. Problem-solving abilities enable them to address challenges creatively and effectively, while time management and organizational skills are essential for meeting deadlines and managing multiple projects efficiently.

Types of Copywriting

If you want to launch a copywriting career, many different paths exist for freelancers and employees. Here are the three main types of copywriters:

1. Agency Copywriters

Marketing agency copywriters are employed by a marketing agency that works with multiple clients. This can be a great way for copywriters to find work without pitching to clients themselves. Agency work is a great way to begin a career in copywriting because it will take the pressure off trying to find clients if you’re starting.

With agency work, copywriters will be expected to work full-time and often have a high workload and challenging projects to keep up with. Although marketing agency work is a fantastic way to gain experience and a guaranteed income, the copywriter will not be free to pick and choose the clients they want to work with. Looking for more? You might be interested in our explainer on will AI replace copywriters.

2. Corporate Copywriters

Corporate copywriters have excellent job stability because they are employed within a company. This kind of copywriting often involves working within the marketing department of a corporate company. It will require the copywriter to work on advertising campaigns, social media posts, website landing page copywriting, and more. Typically, these positions are more consistent with assignments and require less creativity and flexibility in terms of work.

3. Freelance Copywriters

Freelance copywriters are self-employed and find work through platforms like UpWork and Fiverr or pitch services directly to potential clients. They can also use social media such as LinkedIn and Instagram to promote their services and find potential clients.

Working as a freelance copywriter gives you much flexibility to work on your schedule. Pick clients that suit your skills and interests, and you can earn high amounts of money. Although finding clients when starting as a freelance copywriter can be challenging, the benefits of sticking with it and building a client base over time can be immense.

What Is a Copywriter’s Salary?

A full-time copywriter’s salary averages $61,620 in the United States, while the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average salary of a writer at $83,400. Top-tier copywriters working for a corporation can earn upwards of $160,000. In short, rates vary by industry and by experience.

There is no floor or ceiling for freelance copywriters. A freelance copywriter starting with only a few clients will earn less than a full-time corporate copywriter. However, once a freelance copywriter has built a great reputation, sourced multiple high-value clients, and increased their income streams, they can earn much more than a corporate copywriter.

Copywriter Skills To Master

Copywriter skills to master
Proofreading is a vital skill that will help you become a successful copywriter

A copywriter must master several key skills to excel in their field. Firstly, hone your writing and storytelling skills. Both are key for creating compelling, engaging content that resonates with a target audience. This includes a strong grasp of grammar, punctuation, and style and the ability to adapt tone and style to different brands and mediums.

Creativity and conceptual thinking are crucial for generating original ideas and approaches. Research skills are also essential, as copywriters must understand complex topics quickly and thoroughly to write authoritatively about them.

A good copywriter must have excellent communication and collaboration skills, as they frequently work with other creatives, such as designers and marketers, to develop cohesive campaigns.

Understanding basic marketing principles and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is increasingly important if a client or company wants a copywriter to create landing pages that rank in search. Finally, time management and adaptability are key, as copywriters often juggle multiple projects with tight deadlines in a fast-paced environment.


Attention to detail is essential for copywriting – you need to be able to think clearly and hone in on each word. Sometimes, the key to great copywriting is using as few words as possible to convey a message, which requires great attention to detail when choosing each word. 

When writing long-form pieces of copy such as blog posts, attention to detail can also mean having an eye for facts. Ensuring that all the information is accurate and that sources are shown correctly when necessary is essential for a successful blog submission.

It’s also important to have the ability to look for typos, formatting mistakes, and more. When submitting a piece of work, the client will appreciate the attention to detail and, simultaneously, will notice if a piece is rushed and full of mistakes.


Networking is a key skill for becoming a successful copywriter. Not only does networking open up career opportunities and client building, but it also allows you to connect with other copywriters to share experiences and learn from each other. If you’re considering starting your own copywriting business, networking is a great way to get a head start on building a network of copywriting clients.

Creative Thinking

Whether you’re working as a freelance writer, content writer, or in advertising – creativity is the key to success as a copywriter. Clients look for good copywriters who can think outside the box and bring a unique perspective to their writing. This is particularly useful for ad campaigns, landing page writing, and social media. If you can think creatively and pitch concepts that will engage consumers in your client’s product or service, you’ll become a valuable resource and bring irreplaceable skills to the table.


Proofreading is a vital skill that will help you become a successful copywriter. No matter the type of copy you’re creating, if it’s submitted to the client with typos, spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors, it can be hard to win back the client’s trust. Downloading a grammar checker such as Grammarly can greatly improve your proofreading skills and enhance your copy before submitting it.

What Qualifications Does a Copywriter Need?

You don’t need specific qualifications to become a copywriter. However, copywriters often have a degree in English, marketing, communications studies, advertising or even literature. They also have taken courses or read books about copywriting and have a portfolio that they can point to.

Examples of Great Copywriting

Examples of great copywriting
Social media is one of the most important ways for brands to connect with their audience

Great copywriting exists across various mediums. For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign stands out for its succinct, motivational message that encapsulates the brand’s spirit of determination and athleticism.

Apple’s “Think Different” campaign is another exemplary case, using minimalistic yet powerful language to position the brand as innovative and unique.

Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign skillfully uses empathetic and inclusive language to challenge beauty stereotypes, resonating deeply with a broad audience. These copywriting examples share common traits. They’re concise, memorable, and emotionally impactful. They also demonstrate how great copywriting conveys a message, drives conversions, and builds a brand’s identity.

Marketing Campaigns

Oatly is one of the most quirky and creative brands flooding the marketing world with its tongue-in-cheek humor. Most recently, Oatly launched a marketing campaign to promote their “Spam by Oatly” newsletter.

It’s a hilariously to-the-point and self-deprecating piece of copywriting that informs the audience of what they will get while relating to the consumer personally. The simplistic nature of this copywriting, “Spam,” is a great example of how copywriting can be complex, creative, and simple.

Landing Pages

Landing page copywriting is a popular kind of copywriting that generates regular income for many freelance writers. The concept of landing pages instantly shows users what they can get from the website, who the company is, and why they should use the services.

A great example of landing page copywriting is Wix. When clicking on their website, you’ll be welcomed by the phrase “The Leader in Website Creation – Start Now.”.” This clear statement tells the reader exactly what Wix does, conveys the confident and helpful tone of the brand, and encourages the user to begin creating their website today.

Social Media 

Social media is one of the most important ways for brands to connect with their audience. Copywriters can work with brands to write social media post captions for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. One great example of social media post copywriting is Starbucks’ Instagram. A recent caption states, “All your cinnamon, caramel, and creamy cold foam wishes come true. ✨🤩 The new Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew.”

This caption is relatable, cute, and friendly, and speaks directly to the audience without sounding overly sales-y. Starbucks is an established brand that doesn’t need to boast of generating sales. The goal is to build and maintain positive relationships with its customers. Take a look at the language used and feel the tone of the caption – this is what great copywriting is all about.

Loved this guide? Check out the most common copywriting mistakes to avoid in your next project.