can I become a writer without a degree Copify

Can I become a writer without a degree?

For many people, becoming a published writer, author or freelance writer is a dream on their horizon. However, not everyone has pursued a journalism or English degree and, therefore, the question many ask is: “Can I become a writer without a degree?” In short, yes, you can. There’s no pre-requisite for being a writer other than being able to write.

Becoming a writer…

can I become a writer without a degree Copify As Leah McClellan writes for Simple Writing, “It’s true that writers need to know a few things, at least. And many successful writers — not all — have degrees, often in English or journalism. Plus, if you want to work as a writer in a company that requires a degree, well, then you need one.” She continues, “but when it comes to blogging, freelance writing, or even writing a novel or a non-fiction book, it doesn’t matter where you learned what you need to know. I’m serious… It’s not about the degree. It’s about what you know.”

Indeed, qualifications aren’t the most important part of writing. Ultimately, it needs to start with a love of writing and a passion for the topic in hand. Carol Tice for MakeALivingWriting.com agrees: “If I’ve learned one thing mentoring freelance writers, it’s this: Writers are hung up on qualifications… Desire is more powerful than a degree… Here’s the secret: Freelance writers never feel legit. We all feel like frauds. The successful writers just do it anyway.”

Although it may be easier to break into freelance writing with an English or journalism degree – largely because of the skills you will have been taught – it isn’t a pre-requisite. Maggie Linders of “Freelance Writing Riches” notes “I don’t have either of those things, and look at me now! I’m a former chemist, making a six-figure salary as a freelance writer.”

Writing for Hobby Lark, Sallie B Middlebrook PhD, comments: “You don’t need a college education to write a novel, as long as you love to write, are good at storytelling, and have the determination and persistence that it will take to see your project through to the end. I’m sure that millions of people start novels they never finish.”

Learning to write

Whether you study for a degree or not, ultimately, you need to learn the skills required for writing. As Sallie B Middlebrook continues to explain, “Although it’s the bottom-line truth that you don’t need a college education to write a novel, unless you were born knowing how to write them (and some very blessed people, I believe, were), then you will need to learn how to write a novel. It simply doesn’t matter whether you learn by taking courses taught by others, or on your own.” You can improve your skills and love of writing through practice, reading, blogging, courses, workshops, and many other methods. Work with whatever suits you and your learning style the best.

So with all this in mind, how do you become a writer without a degree?

Practice makes perfect

can I become a writer without a degree Copify Ultimately, it takes a lot of practice in developing and honing your skill. While many people love to write and find a lot of it comes naturally to them, it still takes time working on your writing to get to the level you need to be in order to make money from it. This involves getting your spelling and grammar spot on. Also learning to edit your own work and cutting out unnecessary words can be hugely beneficial for you. Through writing on various topics, reading the work of writers you love, and submitting your work to various competitions and opportunities, you’ll find you grow as a writer.

Take courses that will help you learn

Although you don’t necessarily need an education, you may find courses are beneficial for getting ahead. The important thing is to make sure whatever you pick is right for you, otherwise it will be a waste of time. Look at the topics or styles of writing that they cover, the length of the study, how well respected the institution is, and what you will gain in skills by the end of it.

Create a portfolio

What most magazines and publishers want to see above everything else is a portfolio. They want to know that you can write and need to be able to see this in action. When you put together a portfolio, pick out your absolute best bits of writing. If you want to present yourself as an expert, try to show this by grouping together pieces on a particular topic. Creating a portfolio isn’t always straightforward and you may find you have to do several pieces of writing for free in order to kick-start your work. Alternatively, you may choose to become a writer for a site like Copify where you can quickly build a growing portfolio of work and get paid for it.

Begin networking

can I become a writer without a degree Copify One of the greatest ways of becoming a writer without a degree is through getting your name out there, meeting people and building relationships with other writers and editors. As the popular saying goes, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” By getting familiar with people in your industry, you will be able to hear about opportunities before anyone else and will also be the name they think of when they have a piece of writing that needs doing. It’s important to find out who the key individuals are in your industry, particularly if you are writing on a specialist topic. Look to speak to the commissioning editors as they are the people who have the greatest influence over your work.

Start pitching

Ultimately it’s about presenting your ideas for articles and looking to get them published. You will no doubt get knocked back many times, but keep persevering and it will eventually pay off. Hard work really is what gets you where you need to be. Have confidence in your ability; if you get told ‘no’ then move onto the next opportunity and don’t dwell. It’s important to keep sending out ideas regularly and not get too hung up on a rejection. The more you put your name out there, the greater chance you have of being published.

 

Main image credit: MD Duran
Image credits: Kari SheaAndrew NeelNathan Dumlao

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how to learn content writing skills for free Copify

How to learn content writing skills for free

As a copywriter, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of producing repetitive content that may end up feeling stale. For this reason, it’s important to continuously develop your skills. Not only will this help you become better at the more technical aspect of writing, but it can boost creativity, expand your dictionary and refine your writing style.

Even better? You’ll be on top of your game, acquiring many methods that will develop and hone your content writing, shining a light on current trends and successful ways of writing. For freelance writers, this is particularly important.

Below we take a look at how you can learn content writing skills for free, and in turn, increase the chances of securing higher paid work, new clients and exciting job opportunities. Read on to find out all you need to know.

Check out your competition

As a copywriter, having a refined tone of voice and recognisable style is the key to success. The best way to know how to direct your copywriting style is to research and get to know your competition.

When doing this, find a selection of freelance copywriters, marketing agencies or content creators who are leaders in your chosen field. This will give you a good understanding of what is currently attracting clients and readers, as well as what is achieving financial success. You can use their work as inspiration, with it giving you guidance on how to refine and develop your own copywriting skills and style.

Get up to scratch on your grammar

how to learn content writing skills for free Copify

When you’re a freelance writer, are in a fast-paced agency environment or are in a senior position at work, it can be easy to slip up when it comes to grammar. Especially when you’re working to sudden deadlines or you’re juggling multiple jobs at once. Avoid easy mistakes with the help of writing assistants and websites that have been created to improve grammar and offer essential writing support.

Grammarly is an excellent writing assistant that you can use to write entire documents on, or simply copy and paste completed work into. It can even be installed as an add-on in your browser or in Microsoft Word. The free version of Grammarly will automatically check the spelling and grammar of your work, as well as offer synonyms. It is free, but you can upgrade it for additional support which includes advice and suggestions on sentence structure, as well as a plagiarism checker, that will compare your work to over 16 billion web pages.

Another useful writing assistant is Word Web. Similar to Grammarly, this online writing assistant can be linked to almost any Windows program, can be used for offline working and can be referenced to Wikipedia or other web references.

Finally, there are a number of online reading resources that will enable you to learn more content writing skills to benefit your career. Jack Lynch’s Guide to Grammar and Style is an extensive guide created by a lecturer. It takes an in-depth look at grammar and usage in writing, with plenty of links to further reading and additional resources.

Get technical

For more in-depth guidance on your copy, the UseEnglish.com Text Content Analyser is a free text analysis tool. It provides useful statistics about your text that include the Gunning Fog readability index (a popular readability test that is applied to English writing), number of sentences, word count, unique words, average words per sentence and lexical density. This is an ideal resource for very specific briefs.

Get your creative juices flowing

how to learn content writing skills for free Copify When you’re locked into particular content work or a working environment, creativity can sometimes take a back-seat. However, did you know that creativity and imagination, even when they don’t seem relevant, can be applied to your content writing work? Creative outlooks are more likely to benefit companies with out-of-the-box-thinking and unique ideas.

A simple trick is to take 5 minutes out of work to listen to some music that will stimulate your mind and help drum up inspiration. One of the most common mistakes for copywriters is to continue writing and pushing through a ‘writer’s block’. If you ever feel like you’re losing your focus or train of thought, take a step back from your work and give your mind a moment to catch up.

There are also a number of great online creative writing prompt tools, that may be completely unrelated to your professional writing, but can be applied to benefit how you work. Writers Digest creative writing prompts is our go-to, with an extensive list of interesting, exciting prompts that will get the creative juices flowing and help you learn content writing skills. Poets and writers is another great one to use. They post a unique poetry prompt on Tuesdays, a fiction prompt on Wednesdays and for added creativity, a nonfiction prompt on Thursdays.

Break the cycle of linear thinking

how to learn content writing skills for free Copify Corporate copywriting causes linear thinking and can often seem impersonal or mundane. However, personality and creativity can be applied to these types of content too, to result in more engaging, interesting content that will benefit any company.

The best way to get out of a cycle of linear thinking is to start creating ‘word clouds’ and diagrams that encourage more abstract approaches to a brief. You can simply use a notepad to create spider diagrams to explore words and ideas, or you can use clever online tools such as Vocal Grabber. Vocal Grabber is a visual thesaurus that takes an in-depth look at your chosen word or sentence and its affiliations.

Gain access to in-depth and unusual resources

To learn content writing and give yourself an edge, create a useful database of resources that others may not have. This will help you create unique, interesting copy that sets you apart from the rest.

For example, if your copywriting speciality is in fashion or beauty, find leading data and news resources that will give you insider information on these industries.

You should also have access to copywriting-improving resources such as expert advice on CTA practices and SEO copywriting tips for improved link building.

 

Main image credit: kaboompics.com
Image credits: snapwiresnaps.tumblr.compixabay.comSebastian Voortman

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how to break into copywriting - Copify 4

So you want to know how to break into copywriting?

Welcome on board! There has never been a better time to join the world of copywriting with more and more businesses seeking copywriters, and more businesses who don’t realise they need you yet.

Copywriting is a competitive industry to break into, but that doesn’t mean you CAN’T break into it. It’s all about knowing what to do to get your foot in the door, gain experience, gain clients and become a world-class copywriter. The first step of breaking into copywriting is to read the points below which will help get you started.

1. Make sure you have enough experience

how to break into copywriting - Copify 3There are a lot of people who wake up one morning and decide they are going to be a copywriter then expect to find work right away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work like that.

Copywriting is like any other job, you’ve got to have some form of experience in the field. That doesn’t mean you need to have a degree in English, Journalism, or a degree at all, but experience in writing is something you will need.

It’s a good idea to gain experience in a variety of areas of interest. This means you can keep your options open when it comes to looking for work and opportunities for writing. When you are first trying to break into the world of copywriting, it’s important to keep an open mind about what you are writing. If you haven’t found your niche yet, then this is the perfect opportunity to try lots of different styles of content, to find what you excel at.

A great way to gain experience whilst making a steady income is by using crowdsourcing sites such as Copify. These websites offer you the chance to try your hand at writing for a range of different copies and writing styles. For example, you may find you’re a whizz at writing web page copy, or perhaps you love writing blog posts on travel and tourism. Either way, these websites help you find your favourite topics and develop a niche.

If you don’t have enough experience in an area you’d like to write for, then the best thing to do is reach out to websites or blogs to guest post on topics you enjoy. You can then use these as evidence of your skills. Most guest bloggers go unpaid, but the writing is an investment into your future as a copywriter.

2. Build yourself a website or blog

Before you begin actively seeking clients, it’s important you have space where you can showcase your talent and the experience we mentioned above. This should be in the form of an online portfolio. Thanks to websites such as WordPress, it’s never been easier to make a free online portfolio. When you approach clients, you can provide them with a link to your work, a bio and of course your rates. This showcases a high degree of professionalism to a potential client and will help you stand out from the sea of copywriters.

It’s also a good idea to include reviews of your work on an online portfolio. Don’t worry if you haven’t got any paid clients to review your work, simply ask those who you have written content or blog posts for free, for a small review. You’ll typically find most will be more than happy to help you out. Reviews will again help you stand out from the crowd and instil confidence in potential clients.

3. Don’t just stick to one job search method

how to break into copywriting - Copify 2Many copywriters take one search angle and stick to it when trying to break into copywriting. This isn’t the correct choice.

If you only commit to one search avenue, then you lose out on the possibility of other jobs. You should aim to try a variety of different methods for finding different copywriting jobs. For example, as well as searching on job boards, such as Reddit, you could email small businesses, attend business events and network, or use LinkedIn to your advantage.

There are so many brilliant websites to source freelance writing jobs and they are an excellent resource for breaking into copywriting.

4. Go completely freelance

If the thought of an in-house copywriting job doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t worry, you still have option B: freelance copywriting. This is what most people do when they are trying to break into copywriting and searching for a full-time employed job. However, lots of people enjoy the freedom of being their own boss and working to their demands, and that’s when freelance copywriting works a treat.

Unfortunately, the world of freelance work is just as competitive so you will need to work just as hard to gain your experience and search for work.

A great way to source clients when you are starting out in freelancing is to offer discounts for your writing. Such as a reduced per-word fee for the first 1000 words to new potential clients, a free blog post or piece of copy for newcomers, or even a referral discount if a client recommends you to another client.

Again, take advantage of crowdsourcing sites such as Copify, which can help provide you with freelance writing work and increase your confidence and experience.

5. Don’t give up

how to break into copywriting - CopifyThe last point on how to break into copywriting is one of perseverance. It’s unlikely you will get lucky straight away, and there will be setbacks, but as long as you have confidence in your abilities and you’ve proved that through your work, then there is no reason to give up.

The world of copywriting is rewarding, so stick with it until you reach copywriting success. Just look at Nicki Krawczyk, founder of Filthy Rich, who makes a six-figure income from copywriting. Whether it’s finding a client to do freelance writing for, or applying for that in-house position, once you do get started you will be on your way to a fulfilling career in copywriting!

Hopefully, you found this guide on how to break into copywriting useful. Follow these tips and you’ll be one step closer to starting your career as a professional copywriter. Just remember, as you become more successful and build your list of clients, be sure to help those around you who are looking to get started as well.

 

Main image credit: rawpixel.com
Image credits: rawpixel.combruce marsKat Jayne

 

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How to find freelance writers for your business Copify 3

How to find freelance writers for your business

If you’re looking to improve the quality of your web content or other offline marketing materials, then finding a freelance writer can be a great way to go. In fact, publishing regular content on your site is important, and a study by Hubspot found that publishing content 16 times per month can drive almost 4 times more traffic to your site than to your competitors. With so many different freelance writers available, you can be sure to find one with the experience you need and who is passionate about your industry. So, to help you get started, here are 7 great places to find freelance writers.

1. Online marketplaces

How to find freelance writers for your business Copify 4One of the most popular ways to find freelance writers is to head to an online marketplace, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, where talented freelancers post their skills. Here, you can then search through to find different writers who you like the look of. You can either hire them immediately or strike up a conversation to discuss their skills in more depth.

Many writers also include examples of their past work as well as reviews from previous customers. This is invaluable as marketplaces can be a mixed bag at times so it allows you to vet writers to ensure they are up to the task at hand.

2. Job boards

If you have the time to rifle through lots of CVs and proposals, then using job boards is another way to find freelance writers. On job boards, you write up a summary of what you are looking for and then ask potential writers to respond. It saves you the effort of sourcing individual writers and then asking them one by one if they are interested.

This way it places you in the driving seat as you get to select who you might be interested in and to discuss things further. But, as mentioned, you are likely to receive through a lot of proposals, many of which will be easily dismissable. There are a number of potential job boards you can use, and some of the most popular include Craigslist, Reddit and Blogging Pro.

3. Google for independent writers

How to find freelance writers for your business Copify 4Google is the go-to place to search for anything these days, so if you don’t mind spending a little more, why not use it to find yourself a writer? Just go ahead and type in the sorts of services you are looking for, such as “digital marketing freelance writer”. You can then scan through and directly find companies and individuals who specialise in writing about your niche.

Better yet, you can assume any individuals you find have a good depth of understanding around SEO. Being able to rank for phrases like this is not easy, as they are very competitive. The fact that their company ranks highest shows they have put work into their own content plan and know what works.

4. Speak to contacts

Of course, one of the best ways to find a freelance writer is to use the old-fashioned method of speaking to people you know. If you know other people in your industry and have a good working relationship, then you can ask them if they have a freelance writer they could recommend. It’s not the quickest way to find writers, but you never know what they might come back with.

Using this method has a few obvious benefits as well. If you hire via the other methods mentioned, then you are going off what others have reviewed online. Though such reviews are generally very accurate, you can never be too sure. However, if a friend or colleague is personally recommending a writer, then you can be better assured that they are indeed up to the task.

5. Reach out to your favourite bloggers

How to find freelance writers for your business Copify 2Perhaps one of the most underrated methods used to find freelance writers is to reach out to bloggers directly. If you are passionate about your industry, then no doubt you keep abreast within recent news and developments. This would mean regularly reading certain blogs and also reading the articles published by major publications like Forbes or Inc.com.

Over time you will likely start to recognise the same authors cropping up. So, why not reach out to them directly? They are the authoritative voices in your industry and you already know how good their work is. Sure, you might find their rates to be slightly higher due to their reputation, but it’s hard to put a price on top quality writing.

6. Social media

Social media is a powerful tool for achieving a lot of daily business tasks. And it just so happens that finding freelance writers is one of those tasks. In fact, doing so is incredibly easy and it’s best to use Twitter or LinkedIn to start off with. Simply log into your profile and search for “Freelance Writer”.

The suggestions it will come back with are people who have this as their job title. Better yet, the initial results to come back will be people who are most closely linked to your own inner friendship circles. Therefore, you can speak to mutual friends and ask for introductions. You can then also scout them out online beforehand to check that they offer the sort of writing services you require.

Ultimately, knowing how to find freelance writers comes down to experience and trying the different methods above. Once you work on a few platforms and try out a few different writers, you will soon get a feel for what quality to expect. Afterwards, you can then build working relationships with a few key writers who you know can consistently produce the sort of work you require.

7. Content agencies

How to find freelance writers for your business Copify 5Another great way to find freelance writers is to use the service of a content agency, like we offer here at Copify. We have a whole host of freelance writers who have experience writing across all sorts of industries. This includes things like travel & tourism, business, digital marketing and interior design. Our professional writers are well-versed in producing all sorts of content, from web pages to blog content.

The benefit of working with Copify is that you don’t need to rifle through loads of writers to find the right one. Instead, our writers see your jobs and then pick the ones that best suit their skills. Your content will also be vetted internally to ensure it’s up to scratch. Over time, as you become accustomed to certain writers, you can then choose to work with them exclusively. Want to find affordable freelance writers? Get started here.

 

Main image credit: Tim Gouw
Image credits: stokpic.comPhotoMIX Ltd.JESHOOTS.combruce mars

 

 

 

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