Copywriters are often pigeonholed into writing texts for others. If you are one, then you know what I’m talking about. But the truth is that you can do a lot more than just write slogans for ads or content for company websites!
In this post, I will help you get thinking in that line by sharing a few ideas for career changes that you, as a copywriter, can consider.
It goes without saying that this is the smoothest career change from copywriting you could possibly make. Yes, you won’t be the one who’s writing the copy, and you’ll probably need to get used to suggesting corrections to other people’s work without enforcing your style on them.
Part proofreader, part editor, your responsibilities will be to review other writer’s work, making sure that each sentence and paragraph are not only grammatically correct—but also structured and understandable.
Most editors I know love their job. The work can range anywhere from fiction and non-fiction books to encyclopedic content (though not too many of the world’s encyclopedias survived the uprise of digital) and speeches.
Plus, one of the perks of most editing jobs today is that you can do them remotely.
I know, I know… you haven’t even read through half of this post, and I’m already giving you cliché tips. But since you’re already here, give me a chance and hear me out.
You’re a professional writer, and creating content is your number one skill. You’ve probably been doing this for others for a long time, so why not set aside an hour a day to finally start creating something for yourself?
By “something,” I mean posts for your blog. You can create a blog in minutes with a service like Easy W.P., and all it will cost you to get started is $48/year for the storage space plus $9/year for the domain name.
I bet you have at least one interest or hobby you could write about. And if you go through one of the blogging courses actually worth your money, you’ll learn how to research and publish posts in a way that gets you readers organically.
If you put in the hours and write helpful content consistently, your blog will start to rank in Google search pages in a matter of 6 to 9 months, with a reader base that’s growing exponentially as you post more and more content on it.
With a bit of luck and some tailwind along the way, you’ll eventually start to make money from display ads and affiliate links. If you’re into home gardening and your blog is on the topic, why not even write a book or create an online course!
Sure, there risk involved, as with any other venture. But believe me when I say it’s possible because, after a few years of daily posting on a few other blogs I own, that’s what happened to me. And if I can do it, so can you.
To put it simply, content managers are responsible for keeping the content on one or multiple websites up to date. Back in the days of dial-up Internet and weird websites, we used to call them “webmasters.”
As a content manager, you will draft, edit, publish, update, and manage content on your company’s websites and blogs. While this job generally sounds hassle-free, it can get pretty challenging during Halloween or Christmas if you work for a big brand that does a lot of marketing or during big events and breaking news if you work in the news.
Still, it’s a change to consider. You know the importance of well-formatted text, and you’ve probably worked with the administrative panel of a website before, so your learning curve shouldn’t be too steep.
The best way to get started is to look for junior content management job postings on a remote job board like We Work Remotely.
Even if you’re not convinced that this is the best career move for you, I encourage you to go there and check out the job descriptions—they will give you a better clue about the day-to-day work of the typical content manager.
If you feel like you need a career change from copywriting, but want to stay on the digital side, one of your best options is to become a marketer. Marketers help businesses sell products or services through marketing campaigns that create brand awareness, drive purchases, and encourage loyalty.
Typically, digital marketers create websites, mobile apps, or landing pages, to which they drive visitors by buying ads (on sites, social media, in search engine results), sponsoring content (on YouTube channels, in partnerships with online influencers), or creating content on a channel that their company owns (email newsletters, websites with lots of organic traffic, popular mobile apps, etc.).
As a copywriter, the chances are that you’ve already worked with marketing teams and helped create campaigns with the copy that you wrote. That’s especially true if you’ve written copy for ads, social posts, articles on a blog, email messages, or push notifications.
Generally speaking, there are two types of digital marketers:
- Full-stack marketers are generalists who can work across all aspects of a marketing campaign, from building a landing page to optimizing it for search engines or buying ads;
- Specialist marketers have niched down in a specific area of marketing, like media buying, search engine optimization and marketing (SEO & SEM), social media marketing, email marketing, and others.
There are ups and downs for choosing each path. In recent years, the demand for full-stack marketers has been growing. But history for any occupation shows that specialists will always be in need—especially when the generalists come across a problem that they can’t solve independently.
If you’re looking for my advice, start by taking HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing course. HubSpot is one of the most prominent marketing and sales Software-as-a-Service (“Saas”) companies out there. Their courses are entirely free and a great way to get introduced to the nuts and bolts of digital marketing as it’s practiced today.
N.B. In case you’re wondering, “inbound marketing” is an approach to marketing (also called a “marketing methodology”).
When you practice inbound marketing, you’re essentially creating compelling and helpful content that attracts visitors and converts them into customers (instead of interrupting or distracting them mostly with ads). This not only makes it highly effective but turns it into the perfect marketing methodology to get started with if you’re a copywriter!
User experience (UX) designers are the people who make your favorite apps so sleek and easy to use. So if you’re looking for a career change and have a knack for keeping things tidy and matching color, why not consider becoming one?
UX designers combine creativity with a few foundational pieces of theory, like information architecture and color combinations, to make the user interfaces (U.I.s) of apps engaging and seamless for their users.
The day in the life of a UX designer depends on the company they work for (and its products or services).
If they work for an agency that builds sites for Fortune 500 companies, they may spend most of their time designing wireframes and creating prototypes.
Those that work for a startup will usually spend most of their time designing a single product and making it as usable as possible through 24/7 measurement and optimization.
Recently, a web app called Canva, which allows you to create images and videos for social media quickly, has been growing in popularity and use.
What if you could own the roadmap of one of the tools you’re already using in your daily work? If you’re a person who likes the idea of taking responsibility and making decisions (even when the best decision is not apparent and the trade-offs are plenty), think about becoming a product manager.
A product manager is essentially the owner of a software product in a fast-growing startup or Fortune 500 company. Their job is to figure out what features and enhancements create the most value for a product’s customers and users, then work with its designers, developers, and testers to build them.
If you work on a business-to-business (B2B) product, you’ll probably be talking to customers directly. If you’re the owner of a consumer app, you will spend a reasonable amount of time looking at analytics dashboards to determine the features that users actually use (and how to improve them).
A good starting point is the University of Alberta’s Software Product Management Specialization on Coursera. It will teach you the foundations of product management with theory, interactive exercises, and group assignments, all of which ensure you come out with the best understanding of the domain possible.
Consider the type of product where your previous experience can be the most useful. For example, suppose you’ve worked in an agency and drafted copy for ads. In that case, you could be a great junior candidate for a company that’s trying to automate the generation of ad copy.
Career change is never easy. But I have yet to meet someone who felt like they needed it and took action by leaping—then felt sorry about it.
At the end of the day, it’s all about weighing the pros and cons of getting more copywriting clients and building up your business as a copywriter vs. starting from scratch in a new field of work.