"Becoming a Copywriter in the Writers' Major Leagues - What You Can Do"
AWAI is, by far and away, the best when it comes to quality copywriting study material.
I disagree with them on only one issue; and that is their belief that "anyone can become a copywriter". That is the basis for writing this hub.
Beyond their assertion of this inaccurate stance (in my opinion), AWAI's study material is unmatched and they are a very reputable company.
What Do You Need On That Much-Traveled Road To Becoming a Copywriter?
Becoming a copywriter, according to some "copywriting gurus", means "you have to have some 'speaking' ability but you definitely don't have to be a good writer."
I found the above, bolded quote on page 29 of the American Writers And Artists Inc. (AWAI) book, "Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting".
It gets better.
Directly under that coaching brilliance is: "Being a successful copywriter has nothing to do with 'good' writing."
Think about it. American Writers And Artists Inc. is most likely raking in millions a year. Many of their buying customers include desperate, out-of-work, grasping-at-straws men and women completely unmatched in talent and skill to be a copywriter. These sad and discouraged greenhorns are wishfully reading, and worse, believing chapter after chapter of ANYONE can be a great copywriter.
This marketing ploy reminds me of the art school television commercial that's been running off and on now for over 40 years.
The 1 minute TV spot features a company rep asking, "can you draw this animal?" They then do the equivalent of an online squeeze page.
"Call this number and we'll send you this picture. Draw it and return where a group of judges will determine your artistic future. We will let you know in 4-6 weeks if we think you have the ability to be an artist." (puuuuhhlllleeeeeeze!)
Sincere, yet gullible people actually draw the animal, send it back and and 5 weeks later receive another package from the art school. The poor pigeons can't wait to see if they were accepted by the made-up fellowship of the judge.
O My God, they all passed! Imagine that... I had no idea so many potential artists were walking this planet, but there must be, I mean - they all passed the harsh, mean critics' high, rigorous standards over at the art school.
Yep... but the same tactics are dumped exponentially more on unsuspecting, sincere, yet misguided souls caught up in the wonderful world of copywriter recruiting.
In my studied opinion, EVERYONE is NOT wired to be a copywriter, despite American Writers And Artists Inc.'s skewed assertion to the contrary.
Becoming a copywriter requires:
- Literacy - Unfortunately, this is not taught in most of today's school systems. I read hubs and online articles that contain laughable grammatical errors, inexcusable spelling mistakes and a total lack of ability to convey a point. The result is instant turn-off and loss of credibility.
- Work Ethic - You should study copywriting techniques and trends 2-4 hours EVERY DAY and invest in appropriate software needed to become a great copywriter.
- Focus - Are you excited enough about the prospect of becoming a great copywriter that you are willing to devote most of your time to achieve your copywriting goals?
- Thick Skin - In becoming a copywriter, you will get a lot of rejection... can you take it?
Accountants, librarians and mathematicians seldom use the right side of the brain... These professional types use left brain, analytical, practical thinking almost exclusively throughout their day-to-day activities.
The right side of the brain is where creativity and imagination reside. The best copywriters, in contrast, use a ratio of 80% right brain to 20% left brain in all of their problem-solving activities. If you are right-brain-dominant, you are a good candidate for pursuing a copywriting career.
Deception is running rampant in the copywriter recruiting camps. Broken promises, false advertising claims, downloads that don't download... on and on.
I order a lot of material online in my effort to stay current with marketing and advertising. The quality and usefulness of 75% of this newly-ordered material is beyond poor!
It's true. Most of this stuff is pure crap and unusable. I get refunds on most of this junk, but I know I can't do too much of that or I will be black-listed. Sheer lunacy!
Secondly, every working copywriter is NOT pulling down 6 figures a year. In fact, MOST copywriters are doing well to win over two, maybe three good and reliable clients, but it takes months and in most cases, YEARS before those first clients trust you enough to hand over the keys to their online businesses.
But, topping my list is the realization that some "copywriters" are writing 300 word articles for 2 F%^$*^*# DOLLARS!???
I will not mince words on this subject.
If you are a working copywriter and you are creating articles for $2 a pop... you are a disgrace.
When are you guys going to wake up and smell the coffee? $2 an article? Why not just give it away? Are you so lacking in talent that you must charge such an obscene price for your services?
Forget about you; think about the rest of us out here who have invested tons of our time, talent and treasure working at becoming a copywriter. Undercutting us as you are is making a mockery of our profession. Go become a greeter at a discount store. You'll make much more money there and you will meet some desperately-needed friends.
The Price Was NOT Right
American Writers And Artists Inc's "Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting" is now in its second printing. I ordered the first edition 2 or 3 years ago. This book had a hard cover and the content mainly addressed direct mail copywriting.
The second edition is a spiral bound book and is dumbed down considerably in its content. In their defense, so is the price.
I paid around $695 for the first edition; the second costs about $200, and in my opinion is worth $200. However, the first book is exorbitantly overpriced to the point of being insane. I had to pay for the first edition in monthly installments. AWAI debited my account and soon after, 10-20 pages of new material would trickle in every month.
Here is what I realized: My monthly note was worth much more to me than the product material. For example, the first 5 months of received copy went on and on about how much money I was going to make as a copywriter.
How would anyone know that, also; that is totally out of AWAI's hands. The amount of money I could or would make depends on many factors, and the economy is certainly not residing at the bottom of that list!
I finally woke up one day and realized that I was, for the most part, receiving too little for my money from AWAI's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. I stopped payments after about 19 months.
Again, the second edition is much improved so about a month ago, I did order the rest of the material, so I now have the complete first and second editions of Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, and my decision turned out to be a good one.
The Good Ole Boy Network
I've been a professional musician 35+ years. I'm mostly retired from that world now except for playing a wedding here and a church service there. I worked the night club/bar scene for years and I've seen a lot and heard even more.
I identify with Billy Joel's song, "Piano Man" when he comes to the line,
"And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar and say, "Man, what are you doin' here?"
Making it in music is a combination of knowing the right people and being at the right place at the right time.
I've detected the same musclebound current holding back copywriting dreamers paddling up the river of high repute.
A handful of people are getting and keeping the truly good jobs. Some of these copywriters have a right to enjoy the fruits of their labor... they have worked long and hard to achieve well-deserved success.
However, there are many copywriters just as deserving, waiting for that one golden opportunity to show the real copywriting world (the group who rejects the $2/job insanity) a new copywriting style and voice.
So what am I saying here?
Becoming a copywriter takes total, complete dedication, long hours and hard work. Most importantly, you must LOVE the challenge of creating a collection of words that make for a "can't stop reading experience" on to a blank screen and have the talent to make that happen.
How do you know if you are a natural?
If MOST of your hubs are being indexed in the major search engines and your writer score is consistently 84+ then you've got a legitimate shot at becoming a great copywriter. Be prepared... the costs are great.
But if you have the willingness, tenacity and most of all, the talent, your writing will eventually shine through and instead of "becoming a copywriter", all of a sudden, as they say in the music industry, you are now an "overnight sensation".