Imagine telling interesting stories – some short, some longer – and being paid well for it because those stories help a company’s business grow. That is, in essence, a copywriter’s job description.
Inform the general public that you are a copywriter. There’s a good chance you’ll get a puzzled expression in response, probably followed by an interpretation of your words as ‘copyrighter.’
How to become a Copywriter and Make Money from it
Very many people confuse the word ‘copywriter’ with ‘copyrighter’ because they have little or no idea who a copywriter is. (I doubt that the last word exists. ‘Copyrights’ exists though.) I must say, that is where the problem begins. How do you enter into an industry that you don’t even know exists?
A copywriter does copywriting or writes copy. Copy is the text used for all advertising messages. That includes TV ads, radio ads, jingles, billboards and even online ads. But a copywriter does a lot more than that. He or she brainstorms with designers, illustrators and other members of the creative team.
Together they figure out a creative way to promote their client’s goods or services. It is not an easy job! It takes long hours of thinking, developing and creating to come up with ideas that work to sell the client’s goods, ideas or services in the best possible way.
Remember: The clients (companies) have competitors fighting with them for their share of the market armed with their own goods and services aimed at winning the attention and love of consumers. So a copywriter’s job role is very important because he writes the message which must be backed by a good enough idea. An idea powerful enough to win consumers’ hearts and pockets. Understandably, companies will pay you sizable sums of money to do that for them as a copywriter.
Does this sound like something you would like for yourself or someone you know? If the answer is yes, read on.
In Nigeria, a good number of copywriters work in the many advertising agencies, most of which are in Lagos. So how do you join the crew of copywriters?
1. You can start by being a better watcher. I’m not saying you should be a stalker or anything like that. No. Just watch what happens around you. Listen. Explore.
2. Ask questions. Ask again. Without being rude, of course. A lot goes on out there in the world. People act in certain ways. Why do they do so? Because they think a certain way. Why do they think a certain way? Because they believe in certain things. Why do they believe in certain things? Because they value certain things. Why do they value certain things? Because certain experiences have shaped them.
You think that’s a lot of questions? To a copywriter, we are really only just warming up. The world is full of questions and puzzles. To become a copywriter, you need to find the answers to as many questions as you can and the solutions to as many puzzles as you can.
3. You also need to try to find the answer to some more direct questions like: Why does Mr. A buy product x? What does he expect to gain from product x? What does he wish he could someday gain from product x? Is he trying to impress anyone by buying product x? Does product x make him feel a certain way? Does product x remind him of something?
As you’ve probably noticed, there is no end to the questions. Some of the questions above lead to even more questions and bring up deep issues. The deeper you go, the deeper your understanding of the audience gets and the more likely you are to create advertising that leaves your audience spell-bound and unable to resist buying your product, service or idea.
4. You must also be sure to study all the advertising you come across. Those TV adverts, radio adverts, billboards, selling one product or the other – those adverts on social media and other places online – you need to study them. Think about why you like them or don’t like them at all.
Think about what the ad is trying to say and how it is trying to say it. Think about how you would have written the ad to make it better. Go ahead and write it by all means, in your private moments. Ask yourself why people buy the product being advertised. Ask yourself how the ad you are examining contributes to making them arrive at the decision to buy.
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5. It is also a good idea to seek out a good advertising school that you can afford. There are a number of advertising schools outside the shores of Nigeria that will provide you hands-on training and give you a good start, even fixing you in an advertising agency to gain working experience.
Within Lagos, there are also a couple of advertising schools aka brand management schools that offer practical training to those intending to practice advertising.
6. You will also need to register with professional advertising body, APCON (Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria). A first degree or National Diploma is required for entry.
Note that you must be really interested in becoming a copywriter in order to excel at it. It is a tasking job. It is not for those who give up easily. It is also not for those who are too shy to question things. Too shy to challenge the old ways of doing things. Or too lazy to figure out new ways of doing things.
It is important that all of this is done. That is the only way to find success as a copywriter. That is truly the only way to make a difference as a copywriter in the business of clients. Seeing your good stories will make you happy.
Seeing the rising profits of your clients will also make you happy. You will see that all the effort you made in working as a copywriter was very well worth it.