• Scott Diel

How To Become Professional Copywriter - 23 Tips From Expert Copywriters

  1. Don’t confuse art and commerce.

  2. Be able to write just about anything.

  3. In the beginning take every opportunity given to you.

  4. In the commercial writing world, professionalism trumps talent in almost every case. (See Woody Allen’s statement re 90% of life is showing up.)

  5. Know who the best in the world is at the stuff you’re writing and know how good you are. Charge accordingly.

  6. Aristotle's poetics are key for your commercial stories. Beginning, middle, end. Teasers. Write a car chase if you can. This is not art we're creating, but it should employ artistic storytelling techniques.

  7. This is not journalism. This is advertising. At best, it's creative non-fiction. We're not interested in the truth; we're interested in the story.

  8. There has to be something in the article that the reader doesn't already know. If you don't somehow surprise the reader then the article is pointless. Make sure your clients and subjects understand this.

  9. Always gently argue your point of view with your client--once. Then shut up and give them what they ask for.

  10. Send tight text. No misspellings or grammatical errors permitted.

  11. Work fast. This is commerce, not art.

  12. Avoid corporate-speak. Write like people talk when they're not being watched. Minus the swear words.

  13. Use a brief which your client signs off on before you write. The brief outlines the main points you MUST communicate. How you communicate that is the fun part.

  14. After your interview you should almost immediately see the story. Write an outline for it within an hour of leaving your meeting, even if you just scratch it down in a notebook. Write the best headline and ingress text you can right away. It's just a placeholder but sometimes you'll use it.

  15. You are expected to smooth over the language of a subject. But you cannot drastically alter his quotes. He'll usually get to approve them anyway.

  16. If you write for me, you must use my system. I insist on American magazine formatting rules for manuscripts (proper typeface, spacing, etc.). No exceptions.

If you agree with the above and wouldn't mind a job, read on!

You are eligible for working with Inkblot Media if you:

  1. …write a very pretty sentence

  2. …enjoy writing and don’t think commercial work is beneath you — in fact, you’re able to enjoy it

  3. …may NOT be a native speaker of English, but you write at near native level. What’s “native level” mean? Your English is close to flawless and you can ace an AP editing test or come impressively close.

  4. …like to work fast. Some of my clients expect to get their work the same or next day.

  5. …always deliver on time. You think “force majeure” is a bullshit excuse right up there with “the dog ate my homework.”

  6. …own Microsoft Word, or can at least fool us into thinking you do.

  7. …have a well-developed sense of humor.

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