So, you’re wondering how to become a copywriter.
When you’re looking to work at an agency, you are probably either fresh out of college or an individual seasoned in your craft. Either way, you could always learn a thing or two about how some companies may do things differently from ones you’re used to. If you’ve arrived on this page, maybe you’re a client who is simply curious about what we do and how we do it, or perhaps you’re interested in working at Uhuru.
Whatever the case may be, we are excited to share more about what it means to be a copywriter at Uhuru. While there are certain things that tend to ring true for all copywriters, there are always nuances and unique elements to how things are done depending on the company—in this case, the Uhuru way—and based on the individual in the role. Every professional will bring their own flair into their writing. However, it’s critical that you make sure you’re not letting too much of that personality seep into client work, as your job will be to take upon yourself the role of the client in speaking to their customers.
Always be keen on the fact that the customers are not your own. Rather, the client is yours, but the target audience they need you to write for is theirs. And this audience comes with their own set of needs and expectations in regards to what they’re accustomed to getting from the company you represent. So, grab a coffee and take a seat because we’re about to jump into some things you would benefit from understanding about how to become a copywriter at Uhuru.
What Does a Copywriter Do?
If you’re wondering how to become a copywriter, you should probably first ask the question, “What does a copywriter do?” Here are some things to keep in mind that should help you in your search of how to become a copywriter. Get a glimpse into what processes can be like, in general, and how our copywriters get the job done at Uhuru.
When it comes to content production, it’s always creative, but if it doesn’t tell the story effectively and in the right tone or voice, people won’t want to buy whatever the services or products are. You’ll soon see how important that skill can be.
How to Become a Copywriter: The Writing Process
No one likes a case of writer’s block. Allow yourself some time to brainstorm, generate ideas, and help jog your mind a little bit. You always want to start by researching, outlining, and formulating a plan. That’s how you want to kick off the process, especially if you’re tackling a long piece. You want to do the research to make sure you can speak to the target persona from the standpoint of the client. This is also a crucial step because people like proof; they like to see stats and numbers.
Thus, the more facts and figures you can dig up, the merrier. Outlines are good so that you know you’re not writing aimlessly throughout the piece, but rather, you have an actual plan in place and can allow it to gently steer you in a way that makes sense and covers all the points you want to cover without being too repetitive or redundant.
Things can always evolve, but you need to begin with a strategy in mind. If you want to learn how to become a copywriter, you should understand that the most important part of a copywriter’s role, arguably, is making sure you’re keeping content as interesting and clear as possible—regardless of the topic—and that you’re delivering value to the reader.
A Tip or Two: Time Management
Often, if you feel you’re experiencing writer’s block, it can be smart to stop what you’re doing and take a break to move around. Breaks, whether they’re filled with inspiration or not, can really help get the juices flowing. You don’t want to feel drained by making yourself do too much at once. Others prefer to do their writing in one sitting at a time. But with anything, breaking something large into smaller chunks will ultimately help the progression of the piece. Walk away—temporarily, of course—if need be.
You can do other projects in between, too, or grab a snack and some water. Similarly to an editor’s process, you have to take your eyes off the screen once in a while and look at something with fresh eyes, or you’re not going to catch everything. If you’re staring at something for too long, you are naturally going to miss things. You need to give your brain time to process and absorb.
Burnout is real, and you need to plan around it to get through especially hefty pieces. Whether it’s the length, a complex subject matter, or even something as simple as the weather that day or whatever is going on in your personal life, work can feel much more intense when there are various factors at play. Be mindful of your needs as you dive into the writing process.
SEO, Keywords, and Optimization—Oh My!
You need to optimize your copywriting to make sure your content gets found online, and optimization largely comes down to the tools you are using. The internet is so saturated and search engines are trying to keep up and make experiences more valuable for the viewer while filtering out results that are less relevant or of lower quality. There are countless businesses out there that provide countless products and services. Everyone’s trying to get online, but realistically, not everyone can be in the spotlight at once.
There’s no point in writing content or creating any pages or blogs on your website if no one’s going to see them. As much as the quality of the content is important, SEO is equally—if not more—crucial to what you’re doing. If no one sees your content and your audience isn’t going to arrive at that page, how will your piece generate results for the client (which is the ultimate goal)?
It’s foolish to think in this day and age that you have a chance—or at least a reasonable probability—of ranking highly in the search engines without prioritizing SEO and keyword analytics, especially when it comes to digital and inbound marketing. The world is becoming more and more digital—not less—so, it’s essential to develop your skills in this area.
Keyword Research in Copywriting
Two helpful applications we like here at Uhuru are Ahrefs and SEMrush. SEMrush features the Keyword Magic Tool, which is handy because it will suggest other similar keywords if you happen to type one that doesn’t have great results. With other SEO tools, you often have to take a few guesses at first. When you are choosing a keyword to focus on for your blog, you want to mainly focus on the keyword difficulty and the monthly search numbers.
The difficulty rating that the various keyword analytics tools share is how hard it would be to rank for that word. Aim to find and use keywords with a difficulty rating under 70. Keep the difficulty as low as possible and the monthly search as high as possible. The monthly search could be in the hundreds, the thousands, or even tens of thousands, and those would all be great results. On the other hand, finding keywords that come up with results under 100 might not be as exciting, especially if the difficulty rating is too high.
If you’re analyzing your keyword research correctly, you’ll know what’s relevant, what not to use, and what to remove. Some keywords might even be good but not fantastic, so only keep the very best words and phrases.
A big thing with keywords and optimization is that you don’t want a sentence to feel forced. Think creatively. You need to be able to work it in so that it feels as seamless as possible and doesn’t feel too “salesy” right off the bat.
Even though you are coming from a bit of a sales perspective in a way, it needs to flow. Test out your readability. Utilize a text-checker tool like Grammarly or the Writing Assistant tool on the aforementioned SEMrush platform. Read it to yourself out loud and gauge whether you feel you’re experiencing a concept being shoved down your throat. If that’s the case, it’s not going to feel natural, and you should be able to tell almost right away that your writing needs to be reworked.
Picture yourself on the other end of it. If you were the reader, is it something you wouldn’t want to continue reading? Clearly, this would be a bad sign. If you don’t believe in your copy, why should anyone else? Each paragraph should read nicely and be engaging so that readers don’t want to stop or click out to another page. This process can be done on your own, but what a lot of writers like to do is pass their first draft off to an editor or another copywriter on their team to get another perspective.
No matter your knowledge on how to become a copywriter, the more eyes on a piece you are writing, the better. Senior-level professionals need to ensure their work is proofed, too. If it looks solid to everyone, odds are, you’re safe.
Because of the inner-workings of search engines, you also want to make sure that you aren’t forcing keywords. Platforms like Google are getting smarter, and they can tell if you’re doing something known as “keyword stuffing.” This means you’re overdoing your keyword placement for the sake of getting the keyword in there as many times as you can to make it rank. When you do this, the search engine thinks you’re trying to cut corners—even if you’re just innocently typing along and not paying much attention to how you disperse your focus keyword.
Google can penalize you if it thinks you’re not genuinely concerned about quality. The two-percent policy is a rule of thumb we like to use to make sure our keyword utilization stays under control. That means, we insert our main keyword into the text approximately every 200 words and always make sure the article is under two percent keyword density. If you’re caught trying to cheat the system, it will hurt your ranking, and you may as well not have bothered with any keywords in the first place.
Just think of it as a “sprinkling.” If you’re a foodie (like much of our team), there’s your one culinary reference on how to become a copywriter. The goal is to sprinkle your focus keyword throughout the copy so the ration is just right.
Links and Sourcing
When a piece is more technical, you have the opportunity to learn about different topics and different verticals on a deeper level than you perhaps otherwise would if you were not in this type of role.
For example, even though I’m not a doctor, I did get a chance to learn a lot about the medical field in a copy role at a previous company, and even more once coming to Uhuru. It’s enlightening, and you’ll get excited to learn even more about healthcare subjects. With any vertical, you get to dig deep and dive into something you may have known very little about previously.
As we discussed, you need to be sure to do your research with more technical pieces. When you get clients from industries that you’re not as familiar with, you must make an effort to learn as much as you can. That way, eventually, you’ll be much more comfortable writing for that vertical. Do your homework.
And when it comes to linking, what do you look for in a powerful, reliable source to link? How do you know that linking to a certain webpage will, in turn, help your page rank?
Make sure that you are linking a source that’s relevant enough to the topic and the content, published recently enough that it’s still timely, and contains the original information that you are hoping to include in your own piece. For example, a lot of sites are linking to each other. If you use a site that has a fact or concept that you’d like to include in your copy, but their content is sending you to other sites where the original source of the information was published, you want to hunt down the original link. Ideally, you shouldn’t use a link of a link.
In your journey on how to become a copywriter, you’ll learn that direct sources are generally best—original studies rather than a non-accredited fan’s opinion on studies. Aim to track down where a fact really came from, then make sure that end resource is credible. You can usually find plenty of resources out there from big and reputable companies, like studies from Forbes or Gartner or another verified organization with many years of experience under their belt whose data is trusted by a lot of different companies. For healthcare writing, try the CDC or NCBI.
That’s not to say that a small company you haven’t heard of can’t have good information. But if you can find data or studies from those bigger, widely trusted companies, your clients will appear more trustworthy to their customers. You should also check multiple sources for the same fact to solidify that a stat that perhaps seems too good to be true is accurate.
How to Become a Copywriter: Client Relationships
Any copywriter that’s working at an agency will have a variety of clients—and that can mean completely different content, depending on the types of industries the agency focuses on. Whether you’re at the very beginning of learning how to become a copywriter or you have a plethora of experience, the fact of the matter is: no one is born being an expert in any area, and you can’t really be an expert in every single industry, either.
You’re speaking from your client’s standpoint, you want your client to appear as an authority in the space, and you’re writing for them in their voice. That’s crucial. Learn about competitors from other leaders in the industry, and you can even interview someone from the client team who is particularly knowledgeable about the topic.
We like to do all of these things at Uhuru, especially if it’s more of a niche space, as the client will always know their business better than anyone. You are their partner, not their replacement, and both parties should work together. Just be sure you’re nurturing the relationship throughout the engagement, as partnerships and collaboration always work best when trust and rapport have been built between groups.
You want them to be confident in coming back to you again and again because you have an understanding of their business, and they know you’ll deliver value to them and their readers. While working with them, you’ll pick up on style nuances and preferences along the way, and you want to make sure you’re hyper-communicating and staying as open as possible while still offering your guidance.
Make a point of developing and adhering to a client-specific style guide to ensure you’re incorporating things they’ve asked of you and things you’ve learned about what they like into future posts. That way, you won’t forget, things stay consistent, and the client stays happy. They like this because they like to feel you’re listening—you may have your own preferences, but when writing for clients, always keep in mind that ultimately, you need to make it about the customer.
How to Become a Copywriter HERE: Skills Needed to Work Remotely
When thinking about how to become a copywriter, working with us adds unique challenges and benefits. Since Uhuru is a globally distributed, virtual team—spanning from the Philippines to Serbia to New York and Hawaii—we need candidates to be great communicators and highly organized to be able to work in a remote landscape. You need to be a true team player, be self-sufficient (despite always having a team who has your back), and be able to juggle priorities.
We are fast-moving and work within an agile marketing framework, which means we have “sprints” where many tasks get done under tight deadlines. We have fun doing it, but we need you to keep up if you’re going to jump into the ring. We are flexible enough to pivot to clients’ changing needs, and we are accountable enough to be able to get the job done within our respective time zones without physical supervisors watching our every move. We live in the cloud when it comes to the technology we use so that we can collaborate unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Other than that, you should be able to accept people appearing in pajamas during internal video calls—or “huddles”—where we check in with one another and dogs or children excitedly poking their noses in over your teammates’ shoulders. That’s the work-life balance people love. There is never a dull moment. We work hard and play harder. With a reliable internet connection and a dedication to your work, there’s a chance you’ve got a shot at keeping up with our team.
Do You Have What It Takes to Become One of Our Copywriters?
At Uhuru, again, the copywriter works closest with the editor, the strategist, and even the designer. You work with them a lot because those three people—or departments, depending on the size of the agency—will virtually always have their hands in the same project that you’re working on at different stages. You need all those team members to create the finished product, which is why we’re such big fans of collaboration and hyper-communication here. Remember, the more eyes on a piece, the better.
When it comes to the editor and the strategist, you’re passing something off to them and they’re catching small things that you didn’t. These aren’t necessarily mistakes, because when you’re keen on how to become a copywriter, you’re fairly used to producing error-free content. Instead, these may merely be varying opinions on how to convey the same message. They might be things that they—as another person who comes from a unique background—see in another light and approach in a different style.
They may pick up on something that can be said an alternative way to provide more clarity to the specific audience. This will ensure things are headed in the right direction before the client even touches it to add their own feedback. Of course, client edit requests are worked into our pipelines because we always want the client to feel that they are in the driver’s seat. We are merely their guide—or sherpa, as our CEO, Peter, likes to say—as a consultancy and marketing agency. With both internal and external collaboration, the pieces come together beautifully to meet client needs.
If this all sounds thrilling to you, you might be just who we need. We’re ramping up our copywriting department, and now that you know how to become a copywriter—and have learned a bit about our processes and what things are like here—perhaps you’re ready to make your decision on applying. Check out our careers page, read carefully, and apply now to see if you have what it takes to become the next Uhuru copy expert.