Feel overwhelmed by copywriting? Like you’ve studied the tactics, and all the best writers, but when it’s time to sit down and write, nothing comes out. You can’t get started. You’re stuck. Too many possibilities. Too many directions.
Like a 90’s Mac upgraded to iPhone 8, you’ve got unlimited power but you don’t know how to use it. And that’s why I wrote this post. Today I’ll show you step-by-step how to become a paid copywriter.
Hang tight, because this article shows you how to actually get started. It’s not just mindset stuff. If you do what I say, not only will you start copywriting and stop feeling overwhelmed, but you will build your first marketing sales funnel that you can add to your portfolio and even make money with!
If that makes sense for you, let’s do this!
Step 1: Forget About Persuasive Tactics and Techniques
There’s one single rule today. That rule is that until I tell you otherwise, you are to completely forget about all copywriting tactics. Forget psychology. Forget the line breaks and handshakes.
Forget everything you’ve studied. You don’t need that stuff to get started.
All you need are two hands, a keyboard, and a blank page to write on. If you meet those simple requirements, then you can do this and I can show you how.
But Lex, why do you want me to forget that stuff?
Because all of that other crap is why you’re overwhelmed. If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by copywriting, get rid of the overwhelming stuff, duh.
Step 2: Start a Free Blog So You Can Just Write
Now that we don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed because you forgot the overwhelming stuff, let’s get serious.
To be a copywriter you have to write copy.
But what is copy?
Copywriting is writing that is designed to influence someone in some way. That’s it. The words you’re reading right now are copy because they’re designed to influence you. Make sense?
So your first task is to start a free blog. Start here with WordPress. Free. Set it up in one day. If you don’t know how to set it up, go to YouTube and type in the search box, “How to set up a WordPress blog.”
Do NOT take more than one day to set this up.
It should be a super simple blog.
Next, pick a topic you’re interested in. Model airplanes. Cars. Cannabis. Whatever. Just get this thing up and launched in one day, and if you can’t do it in one day…quit. Entrepreneurship isn’t for you.
Don’t quit. That’s lame. Just get it done.
Once your blog is live, create your first blog post.
Give it a title.
I don’t care what that title is. Make it creative, clear, or both or neither, doesn’t matter. But make it a title that focuses on one single aspect of whatever it is you’re writing about.
- “How to Change a Tire”
- “Six Ways to Take the Lugs Off a Tire”
- “The Right Way to Use a Jack Stand”
Once you’ve titled it, go down to the body area. Start writing about that topic. Whatever comes to mind.
Try write in an order that makes logical sense.
If the topic is changing a tire, you would tell people to:
- Loosen the lug nuts
- Jack up the car
- Pull off the wheel.
Alright, so start writing about that.
There’s no rules. No structure. No requirements.
When you’re done, read your text back to yourself out loud. If you can read through it without getting hung up anywhere, then you’re a great copywriter!
If not, note where you trip over words.
Go back and rewrite those parts.
You should be able to speak your blog aloud and it should sound like a conversation with a friend. If it doesn’t, then it needs work.
Once you finish your first article, write another, and another.
Keep writing articles until you start to feel confident in your abilities. Just write. Doesn’t matter how long it is.
And no tactics. No persuasive techniques. Write like a human, in your natural voice, like you’re talking to a friend.
Step 3: Share Your Posts in Front of Other People.
Once you have several articles done, and you feel like what you have to say is valuable, then it’s time to share your work.
In this step, your goal is to get people to click and read your post with nothing but your words.
If nobody clicks, it’s fine. That’s normal. That’s also a response. It tells you that you haven’t said the right thing. In other words, something needs to be changed.
Most likely it’s your article title or it’s what you said in the social post itself.
Change one of those areas and try again. Keep trying different things until you get someone to respond and click to your page.
You can use WordPress plugins or Google Analytics to track this and find out how many people clicked.
(I like ThriveThemes for tracking results, but it costs money. So start with Google Analytics, and upgrade to Thrive Themes once you have momentum. Or don’t. It’s totally up to you.)
Eventually, if you keep testing different things, someone will click.
When that happens, you will know that something you said worked. Pay attention to that. You’ll learn to use it again in the future. Once you get your first responses, then you must keep testing to improve your results.
Each time you get better results than you had before, use that as your new baseline, and begin testing again to find out what brings even more people to the blog.
In this process, you’ll discover a lot about what does and doesn’t work. You’ll get real practice, and real numbers you can use in a case study for your portfolio!
Step 4: Start a Free MailChimp Account and Set Up an Email List
Now that people are reading your blog, it’s time to move them to the next step. That step is an email list. Email lists are where copywriters make money.
Go over to Mailchimp and set up a free account. Then create a list and an opt-in form where you can send people.
Once you’ve set up your email system, you can add links to your sign up page from your blog.
Go back to your blog, and write a new post, or use old posts to link to your subscription form.
You’ll want to give people a reason to sign up. Consider offering some kind of lead magnet. Maybe a free video, a free course, a checklist, whatever. The point is, give them a reason to join.
Once you create your lead magnet, mention it in your article and drop a link. Try to get people to click on the link with your words.
For example, a good opt-in for this post might be this 30 point copywriting checklist to help you write great copy!
Since you’re trying to learn to write good copy, that might be valuable for you.
The key is to test variations of your pitch.
Try different things.
Just be natural about it. Natural voice. Get some results and then test to improve those results.
Step 5: Write Emails Every Day
Once people start to join your list you need to write to them. It’s just like how you wrote your blog post.
People signed up to get stuff from you. Give them what they want. If they’re reading your blog posts, you know they probably like what you say. So think about how you can expand on those topics and add value by email.
Be thinking about questions you can answer for people:
- What problems does your audience face?
- What is hard about those problems?
- What tips do you have to help solve those things?
- What stories can you tell about how you overcame those problems?
- How have others dealt with similar situations?
- Who can you quote to mix things up?
These are prompts to help spark ideas.
It really doesn’t matter what you talk about or what your headline is. You just want to get in a habit of writing every day. Beyond that, you want to check your analytics on MailChimp or whatever email service you use (I use ActiveCampaign).
Check your stats to see which emails got opened, and what percentage of people opened them.
As you learn to interpret your data, you’ll start to reveal what your audience likes, and what is important to them. Then you can deliver more of what they want and less of what they don’t want.
This way you keep your list interested and engaged.
It’s how you start to get serious results with email marketing. It’s also how you get shared, go viral, and ultimately get people to buy your stuff.
For now, just start writing.
Talk to people like they’re your friend. Use the first name tag so you can insert the reader’s first name in your emails. It’s more personal that way.
Step 6: Set Up a Digital Product on Your Blog and Link it to a Free PayPal Account
At this point, you’ve got a blog. You’re writing every day. You’re sharing your blog posts. You’re earning readers. You’re sending readers to opt-in to your email list. You’re writing to those people every day (even if the email just leads to that day’s blog post).
If you’ve made it this far, you have all of the makings of a simple sales funnel except one thing. You need a product to sell. So the next step is to create a product and set it up on your blog.
Here are some ideas of digital products:
- How-To Book
- Recipe Book
- Video Course
- Text Course
- Email Course
- Musical Track
- Paid Email List for Insiders
- Collection of Guides
- Paid Blog Posts
- Checklist or Spreadsheet
Create some kind of product that costs you nothing to make.
If you want to get more advanced you can set up a membership system and charge for a paid email list or paid blog posts that go into more depth about your topics than other articles.
I recommend you keep it simple and stick with the free options for now.
If you choose to go the membership route, then Memberium + ActiveCampaign is awesome (it’s what I use) although there is a bit of a learning curve.
Don’t get distracted.
The goal here isn’t to get caught up in creation. It’s to get practice writing while building a real sales system.
Create your digital product.
Once it’s ready, you’ll need a way to sell it. With WordPress you have several options. Probably the best free option is:
Woocommerce + PayPal
Woocommerce is a free WordPress plugin that offers lots of paid upgrade options. The basic free version is all you need to start selling your product.
Install the Woocommerce plugin on your blog. Link it up with PayPal. Add your product.
You’re ready to sell!
Step 7: Try to Move People from Your Email List to the Product Page with Your Words
This is the last step in your core process.
With people reading and engaging with your emails, it’s time to make them an offer! That just means write emails like normal, and somewhere in those emails, link to your product page.
You can do this directly: “Want My 10 Step Guide on How to Kickass? Click Here!”
Or you can do it indirectly: “Last week I was working on my new ebook to help people kickass and I had a real ‘aha’ moment as I wrote.”
There’s no wrong way.
Write your pitch it into the content. Add it as a call to action at the end. Put it in your P.S. statement. Doesn’t matter where the pitch goes.
As usual, the key is to TEST TEST TEST.
Try different things. Pay attention to your results. Which pitches caused people to unsubscribe from your list? Which ones got clicks to your product page?
Once people reach your product page, you’ll need a little bit of copy there too.
Keep your product page copy focused on the benefits of your product and talk about the pain it helps the customer solve.
But just write.
If you’re getting clicks to the page, people are interested. If people are clicking from your emails, they’re interested. So the only thing left to do is tweak that product page until you get your first sale.
PRO TIP! You don’t have to send people to a product page. You could just send them to PayPal for checkout and have PayPal re-direct them to a free Dropbox or Google Docs link with your product once they’ve sent you money.
Start First. Study as You Go. Momentum Over Mastery.
So that’s pretty much it.
You got practice writing copy AND you got practice with building a website, setting up an email system, testing for optimization, email marketing, sales funnel structure, and how to create digital products to list for sell in a live ecommerce store.
Even better is that once you get those first sales, you have a clear path to create income anytime you want as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
Let’s review the key takeaways:
The only way you can make progress is to take action. So just get started. Start writing. Get moving.
2. Learn as You Go
You will run into obstacles along this path. There will be things you don’t know and times when you need help. So what? When you run into those things, just go to Google, search for answers, and figure it out!
3. Momentum Over Mastery
With any entrepreneurial path your goal should not be mastery. Mastery takes 10,000 or more hours. Do you have 10,000 hours to spend getting ready to act?
No. You do not.
Mastery is gained through a combination of learning and experience. If you aim for mastery before movement, you will never earn a dime.
So stop learning and start moving.
Momentum builds with every new blog post and every new email and every new sale you earn. Momentum builds up over time and eventually reaches a point where you have so much momentum you become unstoppable.
At that point, it doesn’t matter if you’re not an expert because your momentum carries you forward through any challenge no matter how hard.
The path to mastery is much faster through momentum than by learning alone. So just get started. Learn as you go, and enjoy the ride now that you’re a real copywriter with real results!