How to Write a Copywriting Sample
What is Copywriting?
Content writing means that you are contracted to write articles for company websites. The most common assignments are:
- Blogs: Most company websites have blogs that give the customers information that either directs them towards the products of services of the company, demonstrates the expertise of the company or gives the customer interesting facts.you will write on a topic assigned to you to explain something related to the business.
- Websites: You can also be assigned to write the copy that appears on a site to describe their business or product. Sometimes you will be re-writing the content that is poorly written on an older website.
- White Papers: Many companies try to attract customers by providing free downloads of a short booklet of information, which is called a "white paper." I've written white papers on zero energy homes, how to apply for a VA load and many other subjects. Worried you wouldn't know anything about those topics?The company generally provides you with the information you need or research sources.
Where to Get Writing Jobs
How to Start
Getting started in copywriting doesn't require any special training. If you have good basic writing skills and are willing to learn, you can get started. You just need to:
- Sign up with a Content provider.
- Provide a sample writing portfolio.
- Provide a profile and other information.
- Set up a Paypal account if you don't have one.
Tips for Writing Your Sample
1. Write Something New
I did a terrible job in my first sample copy because I had no idea what type of writing copywriters did or what sort of clients Interact Media was planning to attract. Not really knowing what to do, I picked something I'd already written for my MOPS group, "Celebrating Advent with Children" for my sample. Bad idea. It wasn't written in the style of the example I was told to follow which included headers and bullets, so I ended up totally re-writing it anyway and taking a long time.
2. Follow This Sample
Here is a good example. This one is a blog post for a medical office.
How to Keep Healthy During Flu Season
Feeling stressed about keeping healthy during the flu season? Here are some tips to balance your health and family:
Get Flu Shots for Everyone
Although the flu shot or mist is not 100% effective, you can reduce the chances of getting the flu and usually reduce the severity of symptoms and length of the illness if you do get a flu shot. Getting the shot earlier in the season is best because it allows full immunity to develop by the time the flu arrives.
Schedule Rest, Exercise, and Good Nutrition
Especially during the flu season, you need to take care of your body through regular rest, exercise, and good nutrition. Make a schedule for your family for bedtimes and exercise. Be sure you do that for yourself too. Spending time each week to plan healthy menus can make sure you aren't tempted to get fast food after a tiring day.
Prepare for Family Illness
No time is a good time for a person in your family to be sick. However, if you have a plan, you can reduce stress. Be prepared by:
- Purchasing medicine for illness ahead of time.
- Teaching family how to reduce spreading germs.
- Plan for how to isolate ill family member.
- Practicing good hand washing at home.
- Not sharing towels or using paper towels.
Take Time for Yourself
Stress can weaken your immune system, so balance care of your family with self-care. Relax, take a walk, read a book or chat with friends!
3. Don't Use a Something You Want to Post Elsewhere
If you do use something you've already written, make sure it isn't something you might want to post elsewhere later. Eventually, I really regretted submitting "Celebrating Advent with Children" because Interact Media takes the copyright of the piece and posts it on their own pages. When I later decided I would like to post it on my website, I had to start all over.
3. Write a Business Style Blog
Interact Media says you can write about any topic you want for your sample, but I think you will do better if you remember the bulk of the clients are businesses that need the copy for their websites. Blog posts are a common assignment and are pretty easy to write and find on the internet. Here are some of the common businesses that give a lot of assignments on Interact Media:
- Plumbing blog
- HVAC company blog
- SEO marketing advice blog
- Using Social Media in business blog
- Doctor or Dentist
- Construction company
- Landscaping business
Many of the clients are small businesses that are seeking to generate more sales through offering information on that makes them seem like a reliable source. Choose a small business you know something about and look at their blogs. You won't have to be an expert in the business to write a blog since information is easy to research on the internet. When you are asked to write an assignment, your client will often give you that information, but for this sample, you'll have to do your own research but it shouldn't take more than a few minutes.
4. Carefully Check Your Grammar and Spelling!
5. Write Easy to Read, Engaging Text with Bullets and Headers
Remember that most people reading on the web are looking for the important information. They "scan" rather than read. You are probably doing that right now! So make your points easy to see by using:
- Headlines with only 2-3 sentences of text underneath each.
- Active verbs.
- Concise wording--edit out unnecessary words.
- Bullet points instead of text when possible.
6. Remember You Can Always Improve Your Rating
Lastly, it is important to remember not to get discouraged if your initial star rating isn't too high because your clients can quickly raise that rating up so you have access to more jobs.
I ended up with a 3-star rating on Interact Media, which limited the number of jobs I could do initially. That, and the fact that Interact Media was just getting started at the time I signed up meant that I didn't really get started writing until about 5 months later. However, after accepting a number of assignments from the job board, I managed to get a few regular clients. One of those clients regularly gave me 5-star ratings, so my overall rating went up to five stars pretty quickly.
Example of Blog
This sample copy was written for a wedding planner who specializes in organizing unique wedding events at exotic locations. This assignment did not want bullet points and asked for a cheery, upbeat tone.
Pre-Planning Trip Tips
Excited about your wedding location? Taking a pre-planning trip is a terrific way to work out the details. Make the most of your trip with these three tips:
Schedule the Wedding Season
If possible travel to your location at the same time of year as your wedding. That helps you see details that might fulfill or destroy your dreams. One location might have enchanting snow-covered mountains that are exactly what you've pictured for your winter wedding, while another otherwise beautiful location does not. Or a beach location might not be what you envisioned because there are too many tourists during that season.
Limit Your Choices
Bite the bullet and narrow your visit to two venues. If you don't, you'll spend too much time on the venue choice, leaving no time left for tasting menus, looking at flowers or checking out other details. Telling properties you need to maximize your time can get them to roll out the red carpet! Arrange with destination wedding planner to get the best recommendations for vendors.
Maximize your time with morning arrival. Use the transportation company that transfers guests to establish a relationship with them. Ask them about area excursions. You will want to know what to suggest for your guests. Maybe you can get ideas for your honeymoon too!
Finally, take a day of your pre-planning trip to enjoy local life. Don't forget, planning your wedding can be just as much fun as the day itself!
What is your interest in copywriting?
Sample Assignment: When to Call a Plumber
How Much Can You Make?
After you get used to the system, you can probably make about $10-$20 an hour. I currently earn about $500 a month writing part time for one site. If you want a full-time income from writing online, you will probably need to work for more than one site since there are times when there are not too many good assignments available.
For a couple of years, I took a break from copywriting to focus on HubPages, but this year I went back to work for Zerys (Interact Media) and found that there are more jobs available now than when I started there four years ago. Moreover, I am generally paid a bit more than before. I'm also starting to get some regular clients who want 4 blogs a month. The longer I write for a client, the easier it is to do their assignments and that means I can write more quickly and earn more per hour of work. I'm using this extra income to help put my son through college.
Currently, about half my income is from direct assignments from regular clients. The other work I do is from the job board. In the first 8 months of copy writing, I wrote over 250 articles while also writing 150 Hubs, teaching college English part-time and managing my family of 5 children. If you have fewer irons in the fire, you might be able to write more! There are other copy writing companies also, like Text Broker, so you could probably earn a full-time salary if you worked for several companies.
In the past 5 years of doing this work, I've often taken time off when I was too busy to do this extra job. Even so, I've now written well over 800 pieces and made over $10,000.
Whether you want to pay for extra expenses or pay your regular bills, copywriting can be a good way to have flexible work from home.
Questions & Answers
This may sound like a silly question, but does it matter what your sample writing is about? I would have thought it is more important how you write than what you write?
To a certain extent you are correct; however, most of the assignments available are writing business websites. Your writing will be clearer for them to rate if it is similar to what you will be writing for a content site. However, my "advent for children" sample was given a 4 rating (out of 5). I did write some blogs for parents which were somewhat similar to that piece, but the bulk of the 1000 copywriting articles I've written have been for businesses like plumbers, roofers or medical supply stores.