How To Be A Successful Copywriter In 2018

By Jamie McSloy / January 8, 2018
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How To Be A Successful Copywriter In 2018

So you want to be a copywriter?

It’s as good a New Year’s Resolution as any.

I’ve written what feels like hundreds of posts on this topic. Check out the archive for as many copywriting posts as you can handle.

In this article, I’ll give you the answers to the following:

  1. How to learn copywriting
  2. How to get copywriting clients
  3. What you’ll be doing as a copywriter and the mistakes 99% of people make
  4. The lucrative niches for 2018
  5. How to put that all together

Let’s get to it.

Learn Copywriting In 2018: Same Way As Ever

You have three major elements when it comes to learning good copywriting:

  1. Understand the theory behind copywriting (aka human psychology)
  2. Understand how to translate that into usable material (i.e. how to write a sales page)
  3. Hand copy or otherwise digest examples of successful copy so that you internalise how to do the above

There are resources available for all of these. You can read copywriting books to understand the psychology. You can build a swipe file to build a library of examples. Finally, you can use those examples to get an idea of the structure of good copy.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

Unfortunately, most copywriting courses aren’t very good. (I’ll fix that at some point.) They tend to focus on one or the other of those three parts as opposed to the whole.

Handwriting ads is the best way to learn, but without understanding the theory, it’s hard to understand what you’re internalising or how to use it.

Watch this space.

How To Get Copywriting Clients In 2018

Copywriting is a fantastic skill, and it’s more lucrative now than it’s ever been. People are consuming written material at a higher rate than ever and traditional media is falling whilst the internet is replacing it.

That means it’s sunny days and we have to make hay.

A lot of would-be copywriters say, “How do I get clients?”

If you’ve internalised the principles of copy, then you’ll already know. But here’s a quick guide and it follows along these guidelines I wrote about a couple of years ago.


  1. Go and find the clients and use your copywriting skills to write them a letter
  2. Create profiles wherever your target demo hang out online, or go find them in the real world. Then do the step above
  3. Over time, build your own profile or website that’ll act as a web that your unsuspecting clients fall into

Over time, you should find you’re putting in less effort to make more money.

Above all, you must be comfortable with saying, “I can do this and this is the cost of that benefit.”

Don’t promise anything you can’t do and tell everyone about what you can do.

Oh, and above all: Your own projects. Start them and start them yesterday. Copywriting is the skill of selling stuff through words. Find stuff to sell and sell it. You might never need to find a client if you do this step right.

So, we’ve talked about how to learn copywriting in 2018, and we’ve talked about how to get started with building a client list in 2018.

But what will your copywriting jobs actually entail?

What Does A Copywriter Do?

My basic three-tiered system for building a freelance business is this:

  1. Find a needy market
  2. Work out a solution to their problems
  3. Provide a high-quality service that provides said solution

Now, this all seems straightforward.

Yet there are people who fail at every part of that simple three-point checklist. Hopefully, you won’t be one of them.

Let’s talk about the third point, seeing as we’ve discussed the other two.

If you want to be a copywriter of any sort: Be it a creative copywriter working for an agency, a direct-response copywriter working for an affiliate marketing company or a guy building his own products who wants to sell them, there will be things you have to do.

You will write material that’s intended to generate a specific reaction. If you do this, then you’ll be able to define your worth and thus get paid what you’re worth.

That means you’re objectively on the hook. If you can’t write words that sell, that’s your problem. Clients won’t be happy. So that’s number one.

Secondly, be a god-damned professional. Too many freelancers are rubbish at this and that’s your opportunity.

If you say you can deliver work on time, you must do it. It doesn’t matter if your grandma is sick or your cat just died.

Thirdly, get it right first time.

This isn’t strictly necessary, but the more time you spend messing around and getting ten drafts done before your copy is ok to show the world is time that you’re not going to get back, and time that you’re not making a profit on the project.

It’s also a pain in the neck for your clients if they have to keep correcting you. You are a professional, act like one.

BONUS: Which Copywriting Niches Will Be Big In 2018?

“Jamie… What should I write about?”

If you’re a stone-cold beginner to copy, then I’d be a hypocrite if I gave you advice that I didn’t use myself. So here it goes; write whatever you get paid to write.

I can tell you the lucrative copywriting niches, but if you’ve got no experience and haven’t built your skills, that’s a waste of time. There are markets that pay five figures plus royalties for a sales promo… but you can’t just start writing with those because you’re competing with copywriters who’ve been doing it years.

That said once you’ve put in the hours and got some results, you’ll want to concentrate a) on stuff that interests you (unless you have a stomach for writing whatever you’re paid) and b) something that has customers that are willing to pay well that your skills are a fit for.

The lucrative niches are the same ones you’ll find anywhere: high-cost services, financial services, health products, tech… anywhere there are high-ticket items that get sold with the written word.

Now, lest you think I’m keeping the good stuff to myself – cryptocurrency is the big boom thing right now. It’ll be lucrative for copywriters, affiliates and the traders and investors themselves. That said from my cursory research it’s not a market you can hop into with no knowledge and hope to make out like a bandit with the money.

You will need to do your research because it’s jargon central and crypto-dorks will eat you alive.

Beware, but also bear in mind I’ve been officially “back” at work for about three days in 2018 so far and I’ve had two queries from clients about writing crypto stuff.

Putting It All Together

I’ve given you quite a lot to think about there. It’s not a step-by-step guide like a million other blogs do, because that’s not realistic. You can’t just follow a simple step-by-step and be a superstar overnight.

Instead, I’ve tried to give you enough that you can get started if you’re willing to research yourself and put in the hours. That’s good, because that’s what it takes.

If you start copywriting in 2018, carve out a skillset that makes people profit and keep learning about new stuff, testing things yourself and applying everything you know to creating a better service, then you won’t go hungry.

Remember, copywriting boils down to writing things that create a response. That might be sign ups, donations or sales. If you can guarantee that people will do what you want them to, then you always have a service that you can deliver to any market.

Then it’s a case of finding people who need the above skill. The net is wide because pretty much any business needs something like that.

Once you’ve found them, you’re away. All you have to do is be professional and provide the service you said you will.

Do all those things, and you’ll have a great 2018 and beyond.