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Copywriting Journalism

My journey from journalist to copywriter.

I decided to become a Freelance Copywriter after an advert caught my eye. It was to write for a training provider. After several years working as the education specialist on a local newspaper, I thought it would be ideal. But the company wasn’t looking for a journalist, it wanted a copywriter. And my application bombed.

The idea of working freelance and being my own boss stayed with me though. And copywriting interested me.

Journalism had attracted me because, with thorough research and powerful writing, an article can be a force for change. Effective copywriter can also be powerful. Persuasive web copy can help a start-up to build a successful business. A college prospectus can entice a student to sign up for a course that can change their life. And with powerful copy, a charity can attract new volunteers and donations.

I was excited about how I could use my writing skills to help businesses and charities to achieve their goals. But to add copywriting to my writing skillset there were a few steps that would help me out. And in this post, I’m sharing the path I’ve taken so far.

Become a certified copywriter.

Signing up for a course has given me confidence in my abilities as a copywriter. After researching online courses, I chose the College of Media and Publishing’s Copywriting course. The course gives you the chance to learn and practice different types of copywriting, ranging from Direct Mail to Social Media posts. The content and tutor support are excellent. I already knew about readability and press release creation. But I know much more now. And after spending hours poring over the details of the ASA’s Code of Practice, it’s engraved in my brain.

Read lots of helpful books.

Reading helps your writing to improve. And I love reading, both fiction and non-fiction. I have also developed an addiction to books written by top copywriters. These books have taught me a lot about the process of copywriting and selling.

My recommendations to date are:

  • ‘Write to Sell’ by Andy Maslen
  • ‘Copywriting Made Simple’ by Tom Albrighton
  • ‘How to Write Seductive Web Copy’ by Henneke Duistermann.

And on my ‘to be read’ pile is ‘The Art of the Click’ by Glenn Fisher.

Join a professional organisation.

One of the first things I did when I decided to go freelance was join ProCopywriters. It provides opportunities for copywriters to:

  • Learn and develop through webinars, blogs posts and conferences.
  • Gives them the opportunity to showcase their work.
  • Helps members find work.
  • Post their profile on a database of writers.

Learn from other copywriters.

There are many copywriters to learn from. I’m grateful to learn from copywriters who:

  • Run successful mentoring programmes.
  • Host helpful Facebook groups.
  • Email out handy and entertaining newsletters.
  • Write thought-provoking blog posts and social media content.

The steps I have taken to date have helped shape me to be the writer I am today. But you can never stop learning, which means this journey has not ended, and my development will go on.

Do journalism and copywriting have anything in common?

Journalists and copywriters use the written word for different purposes. I’m proud to be both a journalist and a copywriter. And it means I can offer my clients a broad range of writing services. Can the qualities of a journalist complement that of a copywriter? Watch out for a future blog post when I’ll discuss that.

This journey has reinforced how much I love research and writing. Whether it’s an article, a piece of sales copy, or this blog post. And I’m lucky to be able to offer my services doing what I love. To find out how my writing can help your organisation drop me an email at joanna@joannawoodhouse.co.uk.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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