First of all let me say that good copywriters are hard to find and thus extremely valuable. It is a niche job that has become more and more popular in the web sphere and has always had strong roots in print and media. As English teachers, you will already possess the strong skills you need in spelling and grammar but can you tell a story? Can you look at a product or service and entice and excite people enough to comment, sign-up or break out their credit card?
In this, the third article on ten ways to make extra money as a teacher, I will discuss the skills you need to to be a copywriter and where to find work.
To specialise or not to specialise - that is the question
The first thing you need to consider is what type of copywriting you will do. Being a jack of all trades may mean more potential customers but I find having a niche and sticking to it is more beneficial in the end. So consider the following:
Marketing copyrighting - the aim here is to raise awareness and you should be able to intrigue the reader quickly and get the brand to stick in the reader's mind.
Sales copywriting - the hardest and the most sought after type of writing. Essentially you are implanting the desire to get the user to complete a CTA (call to action). This is often done using short punchy sentences and positive inspiring language. Break up the text with striking headings that ask questions and then answer them below and social proof i.e. the use of reviews testimonials and stats. Try and keep this type of writing like a conversation between friends and you'll see your clients getting more return on your work and thus you'll get more work from them.
SEO copywriting - this is a combination of the two above. The aim though is to have the clients keywords (phrases that their target audience will type into search engines to find them) woven into the copy to create a seamless flowing conversation on the page. This often requires you to research a topic and come up with articles the client will use to drive traffic to their site.
Technical copywriting - if you come from a specialist background this can be a highly lucrative income. I once had a student who wrote manuals on how to turn on....wait for it....oil rigs! He literally wrote the book of starting and running oil rigs and was paid well over 10,000 USD per manual.
There are many more copywriting fields and I recommending visiting this website to see some examples of a company doing it here in Bangkok.
Websites on copywriting
There are some great sites out there on the topic of copywriting and here are a few that I always like to check out and heartily recommend you do the same.
Five steps to copywriting
Research - this is key and it is important to look for what people are not saying rather than trying to copy. Matt Cutts (the spokesperson for Google) said that "original research" is one of the keys to getting a web page at the top of Google. Look at something from a unique perspective or join the dots nobody has seen before. Research the keywords that people use when searching for the product or service.
Target the audience - Think of who is going to read this, what is the business targeting, what are they interested in, what they hate and how can you make them feel something? "Do you hate the feeling when you wake up with a hangover?" or "Are you worried about missing out on ASEAN?" Play to the readers emotions and they will buy into the message. When targeting the audience write down their age, location, likes, dislikes income and even family status. From there you have the information to target them more effectively.
What's in it for me? - the reader is reading this for his benefit not the good of his health. Concentrate on the "you" not the "we" and make sure the user sees what they will get out of this product or service quickly.
Avoid TMI - it is so so easy to overload the reader with information. Keep it is short and sweet is my advice. There are literally hundreds of things I could talk about on copywriting but I give you just enough to get started and hopefully inspire some interest too.
Read it Out Loud - you're done, you're proud and you're ready for the pub. But don't leave just yet. You need to make sure your copy sounds real, flows and has a good rhythm. Ask a buddy to listen and literally read out your text and see where you stumble, ramble or need a break. Copy is a conversation not a monologue.
Finding Work as a Copywriter
Well first of all we are looking for copywriters at our Bangkok Design Agency so if you are keen to give it a try let us know. Other places include: