How To Get Into Copywriting If You’re A Complete Beginner [CHEAT SHEET]

by John McIntyre

So you want to know how to get into copywriting with no experience?

Perfect! In this post, I’m going to show you how to become a freelance copywriter.

As you’ve probably noticed while living in the digital information age: copywriting is everywhere. 

Google Ads, abandoned cart emails, highway billboards, OnlyFans descriptions, TikTok captions, podcast blurbs, and Amazon supplement listings.

Every business in every industry needs copywriting (and freelance copywriters).

And with the surge of AI (ChatGPT and JasperAI), now more than ever – unique, compelling copywriting is needed.

Which means there’s HUGE opportunity to become a copywriter with no experience.

There is a myth that you need experience to become a freelance copywriter.

It’s simply not true.

Yes, you do need to be a great writer, have a way with words, and be able to pitch yourself to clients (either via writing or speaking).

Learning how to get into copywriting is simple: you need skills (which can be learned), but you don’t need experience.

How do I know?

Because every copywriter once had no experience (i.e. they were a complete beginner).

I had no experience before I started copywriting.

Many of my copywriter friends were engineers or accountants before they jumped into copywriting (and very few people actually study copywriting or literature in college anyway).

Now – they all have successful freelance copywriting careers and are teaching other people how to get into copywriting in their own right.

Thankfully, you can literally find everything you need to become a copywriter online.

If you want to kick-start your freelance copywriting career with no experience, here’s what you’ll need to do to get started….

How To Get Into Copywriting

1. Understand The Basics Of Copywriting

In order to become a copywriter, you need to be able to answer the question: “What is copywriting?”

Copywriting = selling with words.

Content writing = any form of written information which could be educational, research-based, or for entertainment.

copywriter working from a laptop

There is a bit of overlap between the two, but where the main goal of copywriting is to sell or get conversions (i.e. clicks), the goal of content writing is usually to inform someone of something, like an “about us” page or a “how-to” blog post.

Both types of writing are important and necessary to increase sales and conversions for businesses, but copywriting is usually higher paid (as you’re helping increase sales).

2. Develop Strong Copywriting Skills

If you want to become a copywriter, you probably already have some basic-intermediate skills on how to write.

If you’re an English-speaking native, you have a big advantage here (and it will be much easier for you to learn copywriting).

If you’re not from an English-speaking country (and want English-speaking copywriting clients) you can definitely still become a copywriter. However, you’ll need to make sure your written English is perfect.

Otherwise, you could always try to get copywriting work in non-English speaking countries.

Copywriting is definitely an art-form.

If you good at writing fantasy novels or send a thousand work emails every day, you’ll likely have a strong writing foundation.

But you’ll still need to study, develop, and hone your skills as a copywriter so that you can sell through your writing.

Which leads me to my next point…

How To Learn Copywriting

3. Study The Work of Successful Copywriters

In order to become a top-rated and highly paid copywriter, you need to study successful copywriters (a key component of learning copywriting).

The number one book I recommend you read is Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. It’s considered to be the bible in the copywriting world.

It’s super short, succinct, and explains the science behind advertising and copywriting.

Other than that, if you want to learn how to become a copywriter with no experience – research some high-performing sales pages, emails, or ads, and re-write them by hand. (And if you need some accountability, check out CopyHour).

freelance copywriter handwriting sales letters

There’s no “get-rich-quick” path in copywriting.

The quickest way to get better is to put in the hours writing each day. Spending one hour every day rewriting high-performing copy will help it sink into your subconscious mind.

You’ll start to notice things: Patterns. Phrases. Techniques.

And then you can build these into your own copy when you write.

It’s easy to take a course, read a book, and browse blog posts about copywriting (which is part-one of the process that explains how to get into copywriting).

While these things do help, the biggest impact will come from writing by hand each day and analysing high-converting sales pages.

Set yourself a daily goal, and give yourself a reward / punishment to keep you on track.

How To Start Copywriting

4. Pick A Niche To Specialise In

Because we live in the digital age where copywriting is everywhere, it means you need to specialise in a particular industry or type of copy.

For example, maybe you love writing blogs – so you could be an SEO blog specialist.

Or if you’re great at writing emails, you could be an email marketing expert.

Alternatively, you could niche down by industry and be a financial markets copywriter or an ecommerce product copywriter.

Learning how to get into copywriting is all about choosing something that interests you, but also something that people need. If your niche is too broad, there’ll be too much competition. But if it’s too narrow, you won’t have enough customers.

There are some industries that pay more than others, like finance, health/supplements, and tech.

But every industry can pay well if you can solve your client’s problems and make them sales.

It all comes down to the client, the problem, and your solution.

Especially in the beginning, picking a specific niche can help you land your first few clients (even if you change your niche later on).

It shows you’re experienced and knowledgeable in a particular field.

5. Create Some Killer Portfolio Pieces

A key part of learning how to get into copywriting is this: you need some killer portfolio pieces to land your first few gigs.

Before you rush out and start writing samples like there’s no tomorrow — don’t!

Find clients or jobs that interest you (on job boards like ProBlogger or Upwork) and write a custom portfolio piece for each client (this is where specifying a niche really helps).

laptop screen displaying images, sitting on a desk

For example, say that you find a job listing for an email sequence for an animation company.

Instead of writing a custom email about animation that they could use for free, write one for a video-editing company. Tell them “here’s a sample of a piece I wrote for another client I had in the video-editing industry, so I have experience in copywriting for your niche”.

It gives them a taste of your writing style, you can show them your skills in a closely-related industry, and it will help you stand out against other applicants who just submit generic samples.

This is something that a lot of websites forget to mention when explaining how to get into copywriting.

If you have a background or career in a different industry, you can use this to your advantage as well.

My copywriter friend worked as an accountant and landed a gig writing blog posts for an accounting firm in the US because she had experience in that industry (even though she was a beginner freelance copywriter).

You can leverage your skills and create a customised portfolio as you apply for jobs / client work.

And if you’re writing every day like I mentioned above, creating your own samples – you can also use these as submissions if they’re high quality.

Soon you’ll have a wide rage of copywriting samples to showcase your talents.

How To Be A Copywriter

6. Network And Build Connections

This isn’t super relevant in the beginning, but it’s worth mentioning as a step on the path of how to get into copywriting.

A beginner copywriter student of mine has three monthly retainer copywriting clients but knows VERY few people in the industry. He hasn’t attended any copywriting events, zero conferences, and has done only ONE copywriting course (which cost $200).

So you can definitely succeed at copywriting in the beginning without networking (especially if you’re willing to do lots of cold outreach, and hustle like he did).

However, it definitely helps to have a network of business owners and connections.

I got a bunch of clients when I was in the DC (Dynamite Circle) years ago.

Being part of a mastermind or group with other business owners will help you land more clients faster, and builds connections and referrals.

These types of groups do charge a monthly fee, but you can definitely make it back in client work.

If you have the budget for it, do some research and find the best one for you. It can definitely fast-track the client acquisition process (assuming you’re a top-notch freelance copywriter of course).

Step 7 of becoming a copywriter (one of the most important tips) is this…

group of freelance copywriters learning how to get into copywriting at a mastermind

7. Learn How To Do SEO Research

SEO was a game changer for me.

Regardless of the type of copy you want to write – SEO is a must-have.


Because SEO is a proxy for demand.

By doing SEO research, you’ll discover the problems people have, what the market is in demand for, and then you can write copy that provides a solution (and thus makes it rain in traffic so that your clients will love you forever).

Emails, ads, and social posts don’t need to be optimised with SEO keywords, but blogs, website content, and YouTube videos do.

A little bit of keyword research and targeting goes a LONG way – especially if you incorporate your SEO research and customer pain points into your copy (including emails and ads). SEO is a form of market research which highlights where the demand is for certain products or services.

I use AHREFS for all my SEO needs (it’s very data heavy which I love).

But if you’re just getting started, Mangools KWFinder is super easy to use and cheaper than AHREFS.

Next up on the list for is…

8. Don’t Spend $$$ On High-End Courses As A Beginner

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on high-end courses or training as a beginner. Save that for when you’re making $100k+ per year.

Wait until you’ve gotten your feet wet in the wonderful, wild world of copywriting.

Land a few clients first, test it out, and see if copywriting is for you.

Do you actually like being a freelance copywriter? Is it everything you thought it would be? Or do you hate it with a fiery passion, wondering “what the f*ck was I thinking?!

Once you’ve tested out the industry (and decided it’s for you), then you’ll be able to see where your skills are lacking, and take courses that improve your weak spots.

laptop, pen, and a coffee

9. Get A Mentor In The Industry

A super important thing to consider when learning copywriting is this:

Find someone in the copywriting industry who is doing what you want to be doing, and has a business that you’d love to have.

Someone who you admire, look up to, or whose writing style you can’t get enough of.

You don’t have to meet up with them face-to-face (you never even have to contact them).

Just find a mentor who aligns with where you want to go.

Watch what they’re doing. Join their email list. Re-write their copy. Learn as much as you can from them (but don’t be them, and don’t copy them obviously).

Let them fuel your copywriting fire.

And you can always join an online community with other writers to inspire you on your journey.

10. Make It Happen!

If you want to know how to become a freelance copywriter – you have to go out and make shit happen.

No one can make you become one.

You have to do the work yourself. And it will be work at times.

But hopefully you’ll enjoy it and get a kick out of it (otherwise you probably want to consider picking a different career path).

All of these steps can be applied whether you’re wanting to be a freelance copywriter, or land a job as a copywriter.

If you want to work for someone else, you can pack your cover letter and resume with creative, engaging copy that grabs their attention.

Make sure there’s no typos, grammar issues, or errors – as this will immediately disqualify you from the job (my friend who works for a marketing agency said the exact same thing).

Traditional job boards can also be a great way to seek out new clients.

Instead of agreeing to a full-time job, ask if you can do contract or freelance work. If you’re a solid copywriter, companies will be open to discussing flexible arrangements (I know from experience).

Apply, apply, apply!

Success in life is largely a game of statistics.

If you apply to 5 jobs / clients, you probably won’t get anywhere. If you apply to 50, or even 500 — statistically you WILL get responses, leads, and opportunities.

So don’t give up. Keep trying, learning, and pushing yourself.

Expect rejection – it’s part of the process. And it will help you grow both personally and professionally.

Learn from it, keep trying, and every day you’ll get better.

That’s it! Now you know how to get into copywriting.

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