Copywriting: 3 – A taste of the real world

So I got a job. A first job in the real world of copywriting!

There are a number of freelance websites available for apprentice copywriters like myself. Notably there are three that seem most reputable: Upwork, Freelancer and People-Per-Hour. Given that copywriting is not a discipline which, strictly speaking, requires a qualification, I see entering into work on an open site is an opportunity for me to practice my new skills in a real-world environment alongside the Copywriting Apprentice course. This on-the-job practice will be vital for me to hone these copywriting skills and become proficient in the discipline.

How I got my first copywriting job

First I had to create a proposal. This needed to stand out from the other proposals the ‘buyer’ or client was receiving. I thought of how I would listen to what they were saying by close-reading their request for work. Close-reading is a term used in poetry to describe the process of looking in great detail at the language choices to get right inside the meaning – or meanings – of a word, line, stanza or poem. Employing it here allowed me to find an appropriate tone to write my proposal in. I settled on aiming for an informal and conversational yet professional tone with a good dose of enthusiasm!

I was also careful to cover the points the client had listed for the job and brought a sense of why I was the right person to do it. The subject was close to some hobbies of mine, so I drew on this to create a clear personal motivation. The client then requested a sample so I transferred this conversational tone into writing that 150-word test copy. Thankfully it appears I made the right choice to do so as I was then formally offered the job of creating around 8,000 words of copy.

How I found writing the copy

Clarifying the job and requirements was simple as the client was a good communicator. I checked in once with further questions that arose as I began researching the subject matter. I tried to only do this once so as to be as efficient as possible and will employ this approach again as it was effective in both time-management and clarity.

As I wrote the work I had to learn to use American colloquialisms as this was where the copy was destined. It was a good learning for copywriting in general: writing for readers from other cultures requires more research time to be included in planning if the voice is not my own.

Inevitably the project took a little longer than I had planned. I think this is inevitable as I learn the discipline of copywriting. The part that was most surprisingly time-consuming was editing and correcting. This may be a reflection of needing to take more care at the initial writing stage or just developing a more effective method of proofreading. I found the red pen advice offered by the Copywriting Apprentice course was helpful, as well as reading backwards helped me identify spelling errors.

How I finished my first copywriting job

Document completed, formatted to the specifications of the client and delivered a little ahead of time. And I received great feedback too! So all-in-all a great experience for a first copywriting job!

So now to look for another opportunity to practice. This may be through further paid work or by creating practice versions of copy based on tenders I apply for on the site. Either way, it is a realistic and useful approach to practicing and that is most important at this stage of training.

After all a discipline is mastered through practice, so practice is a must!


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