If you read my article, How Do I Become A Freelance Writer, Part 1, you know my story so I’m not going to get into it here.
But what I will reiterate is that while magazine writing can end up being a useful place to promote your credentials or get some great travel freebies, it’s not a great place to make a living. The magazine industry is really struggling, and even in its stronger days, it was more of a buyers’ market.
What I’d like to point you in the direction is copywriting – marketing writing for businesses. Even with a recession, this writer’s market is hunting for good writers. Right now especially, businesses need to market hard. And to do so they require good, skilled, insightful writers. Best of all, because you’re helping businesses make money, you can get paid pretty handsomely, too.
This kind of writing is not about Ph. D. vocabulary. Quite the opposite. Copywriting requires being able to write as a person, to another person. Some of the most successful copywriters today started out as siding salespeople, carpenters, even grocery stockpersons.
But you can’t just jump into it. There are tricks to the trade and it does require working at your skills. And while there are some books I highly recommend, I think American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI) provides the best place to start.
There courses may seem a little pricey at anywhere from $199 -699, but when you understand that copywriters regularly get paid anywhere between $2000-$10,000 per project, that price starts to look small.
And they are really the real deal. They were created by copywriters who are sincerely interested in helping new copywriters get started. Sure, they like making some money teaching their craft, but they don’t shirk in what they provide for the fee. I’ve purchased several of their courses and each time it’s advanced my business, brought me new clients and new streams of income that have more than paid for it.
And when I’ve had a few questions about contracts or business protocol, I’ve called AWAI up and someone’s either referred me to someone who can help me or provided me with the information right then and there.
Finally, with just about all of AWAI’s courses, they come with access to spec assignments. What do I mean by that? Assignments you do on speculation. You see, once you become an AWAI member by purchasing one of their courses you have access to writing assignments for real businesses looking for copywriters – both general ones and ones specific to the course you purchased. You don’t get paid up front to do the assignment. But if the business likes what you submit they will pay you for the piece (usually about $1000) and you have something ready for your portfolio as well.
One of these businesses is AWAI itself. And not only do you get the job and the sample, but often you get the chance to work with a master copywriter on the project.
Through my work as a copywriter, I know that AWAI has a solid reputation for teaching good copywriter skills. Many businesses recognize the credentials of an AWAI course under your belt. Having networked with many copywriters who have started up in the last decade, I know that AWAI has helped them open many doors and get off to a solid start.
I would start with their most basic course,
The Accelerated Program For Six-Figure Copywriting This is square one. You don’t have to have a background as a writer or a marketer – this course will teach you what you need to know to become a good, solid copywriter. Responsible for helping 1000’s of students enter into this industry, hungry for new talent, this course will give you everything you need to get started.
The Master’s Program for Six-Figure Copywriting AWAI’s Accelerated course will give you the basics to write solid copy, but if you really want to master the craft, this course is it. Written by top copywriter and businessman Michael Masterson, this course breaks down great copywriting techniques like “The Velvet Curtain” and “The Four-Legged Stool” in each chapter. These are the solidly-tested techniques that make your copy fly a level above the rest. The course comes with a swipe file and spec assignments as well.
Secrets of Writing For the Health Market If you want to learn about health copywriting, here’s the place to start. This course draws from the solid experience of the Health Science Institute, a division of Agora Publishing that is one of the leaders in the direct response industry. In addition to excellent instruction, course includes a spec assignment, swipe file and directory of the biggest health mailers according to Target Marketing. Find out more about how who can get into this lucrative copywriting niche here.
Copywriting 2.0 Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts The internet continues to grow and provide opportunities for copywriters, even more so now that companies are trying to budget with their marketing. And if you’re going to learn about web copywriting, you should turn to Nick Usborne. I hired Nick as a personal writing coach and gained great insights through the experience. Nick relies on a very tactical perspective when he writes for the web. He explains this perspective and shows you how to apply it to web pages and e-communication. This course teaches you his special take on web copy that will turn your writing into gold. I highly recommend this course – to find out more go here.
Freelance Writing Success In a Box Once you’ve developed your copywriting skills, you’re ready to get going on your business . . . But wait, hold on, how do I set that up? For a thorough run through on how to set up your freelance business, this course is invaluable. From filing to marketing; from taxes to time managment, this course gives you a comprehensive guide based on the successes and mistakes of many AWAI students and teachers. Get your business-building toolkit right here.
The Ultimate Travel Writers Program How would you like to stay in a five-star hotel for free? Or get paid to travel to Thailand and sit on the beach? Or even just get a nice tidy side-income from taking photographs on your vacations or around your home town. Not only do magazines and newspapers pay writers for articles about traveling, but even better, hotels, restaurants, museums and more provide travel writers with complementary services! Written by well-established travel writers, this program gives you all the tools you need to set up a travel writing career – part-time or full-time. Get your ticket to travel.