Copywriting

Part 3 of 10 ways to supplement your teaching income


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. 

Freelanceswitch  / Doris and Bertie / Copyblogger (this one is my personal favorite) / Makealivingwriting

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:

http://freelanceswitch.com/
http://uk.copify.com/jobs
http://www.indeed.com/q-Copywriting-jobs.html
http://www.freelancer.com/jobs/Copywriting/
http://www.webjobsbangkok.com

More Carl Heaton articles


Comments

Jeff, Carl, I'm going to ask you guys to agree to disagree - and we can all move on.

By philip, (1 year ago)

Jeff, interesting you feel trying to be condescending proves a point here.

I admit I dont write these articles for Ajarn.com for the good of my health but I do hope that readers find my posts inspiriting as I certainly wish I had extra income when I was a teacher.

Do let us know your superior thoughts on why putting ones brand name in a simple comment field is in anyway a problem?

I await with bated breath.

By Carl - Web Courses Bangkok, Thailand (1 year ago)

Your ulterior motive motive is clearly stated in your signature, Carl...

"By Carl - Web Courses Bangkok"

I'm amazed that this level of marketing still exists... because it certainly never went the full distance.

By Jeff, Thailand (1 year ago)

Hardly a recruitment drive or I would have put that heavily into the text. It's an overview and I think you underestimate the readers of Ajarn.com.

We have had actually a few highly experienced people contact us. People with brand development experience from a wide range of fields. However my aim for the post is to inspire people living on low ESL salaries to have more opportunities to earn extra income.

You are reading either to little or too much into this post. It is an overview with no ulterior motive.

By Carl - Web Courses Bangkok, Thailand (1 year ago)

It comes across as a long-winded recruitment drive for bargain basement copywriters, Carl.

The vast majority of NES teachers in Thailand, or anywhere else for that matter, have no marketing experience and wouldn't know what brand management is if it came up and bit them on the backside.

By Jeff, Thailand (1 year ago)

Jeff, please enlighten me with your 12 years experience why this reads like something from a manual and the disadvantage of that "fact"?

The simple aim is to give Ajarn readers another option to make additional income, as the series of my posts implies.

Also if this was a marketing article then I would raise the point that it is not marketing a particular product or service thus it is an information piece.

By Carl, Bangkok (1 year ago)

Good copywriters are abundant and earn appropriate salaries.

Exceptional copywriters are scarce and earn a bundle.

I held middle and senior management positions with blue chip marcoms agencies for 12+ years in London.

This article reads like something straight out of a marketing course, facilitated by hands-off trainers.

Sorry.

By Jeff, Thailand (1 year ago)

John, thank you for your points but I think your opinion of copy writing is somewhat skewed as it is quality over quantity every time with regards to rankings with the top search engines. Of course one can find "copywriting" for $5 for 500 words but the value of that is like Lays ready salted crisp vs a Angus Grass Fed Steak. The quality of writing is what drives the cost of the copywriting. As I mentioned the technical writing is part of the copywriting sphere and where people can earn a lot of money based on their expertise and in-depth knowledge of a subject.

By Carl - Web Courses Bangkok, Thailand (1 year ago)

Contrary to the impression given by this article, copywriters are extremely easy to find and aren't paid well. Head over to elance.com to see examples of real copywriting jobs and how little writers are willing to work for. It's unwise to try to compete with a billion Indians and makes teaching English in Thailand look well-paid.
The example of the student who wrote a manual is a red herring - he was a technical writer, not a copywriter, and he fee reflected that fact. It's not reflective of copywriting earnings; more typical would be copywriting a 20-chapter weight loss e-book for $50.

By John, Thailand (1 year ago)

Hi Carl,

Good post.

Unfortunately most services now pay pants for copy writing as competent writers from non native English speaking countries have saturated the market driving the price right down.

Like fiverr, iwriter and elance all pay roughly $4 per 400 words.

If you're good and you can commit daily - content divas seem to pay the best.

Articles/Blog posts: $18.00 per 1000 words.
Ebooks/Reports: $20.00 per 400 words.
Press Releases: $50.00 each

You need to be good though.

rob.

By rob carmichael, Thailand (1 year ago)

Ralph, I am sorry I don't really see your point.

The post is about how to become a copywriter. If you do copywriting you get paid for it. If you get paid you make money. If you are a teacher then you effectively a "teacher earning extra" thus re-asserting the point of this series of posts.

Try writing the comment again, re-read before you post and let's start a healthy discussion.

By Carl - Web Courses Bangkok, Thailand (1 year ago)

Very good SEO lets go.Blog write some words or 10 pages, hell of a SEO with all the back links, That helps teacher earn extra ermmmmmmmmm no. 14 back links but no real details how to make money sorry you are feeding your own needs

By Ralph Pilkington, United Kingdom (1 year ago)

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