These days it seems like just about everyone is a writer or content creator in some way, shape, or form, but for those that choose this way to make a living, it can come with a set of unique copywriting challenges.
The reason for such a high number of aspiring writers is that it is perceived as a relatively easy way to make money.
However, if you have ever tried to hire a writer or put together an article that is well crafted and SEO friendly, you will know that good copywriting can be tricky, and article construction isn’t quite as easy as it first seems.
While there are literally thousands of copywriters out there, finding a good one can be like searching for a needle in the proverbial haystack.
The market is flooded with subpar writers or agencies, sometimes from non-English speaking countries looking to churn out content and make a quick buck.
However, for those that are serious about the business, there can be solid relationships made with long-term clients that include benefits for both sides.
If you are considering a copywriting career you should have the basic skills if you are to be successful.
That means a good command of the native language you are using and punctuation, grammar, and spelling ability.
As with all careers, there are some problems you will undoubtedly face.
Here are a few copywriting challenges you are likely to run into.
1) Issues with clients
Clients cover the entire spectrum from being absolutely lovely and a sheer joy to work with, to being a total nightmare.
This particular copywriter challenge can often be avoided by setting out terms and deciding on expectations upfront.
Things like delivery dates, and pricing need to be realistic for both parties and a bit of advance negotiation can prevent things from getting off track.
Once in a while, you will get a client that you just cannot satisfy no matter what you do.
Know that there is not much you can do with these individuals other than damage mitigation.
The best advice is to complete the work the best you can and then cease working with them. Or offer a refund and get out – in a completely professional manner of course.
Try and avoid getting negative feedback or bad reviews by carefully handling the situation using tact and diplomacy.
2) Getting paid
Payment issues are a common challenge for copywriters, especially if you are new.
Sending an invoice then waiting nervously hoping and praying that the client coughs up the cash can be an anxious situation.
This can be avoided by agreeing on delivery and payment dates for work performed, or by asking for a percentage of the payment upfront.
The amount paid will need to be enough for the client to feel invested and to cover any time you dedicate to completing the work, so between 50 and 60 percent is a good number.
Tip: Be wary of a new client that requests large volumes of work before payment. Until you have an established relationship this can be asking for trouble.
3) High competition
Take a look online or on freelancer marketplaces and you will see hundreds of copywriters advertising their services.
However, do not let this shake you.
Just because they are throwing their name out there it doesn’t mean that they can write well or offer a quality service.
In fact, many clients find that after hiring a writer, their service isn’t what they are looking for.
The typical complaints are:
- Turnaround time
Feedback from clients is often similar and while they might find a writer that performs to an acceptable standard, the communication and updates can often be lacking.
The opposite is also true with some writers being completely on point with communications, but unable to produce work of a high enough quality.
4) Creative differences
Not everyone’s vision is the same and while a client may provide you with information about an article or blog to be written, the challenge for a copywriter is to produce something close to what the client wants.
This is where a style guide can come in really useful to convey things like intent, audience, and tone.
Many larger clients will already have a style guide for their copywriters and if they don’t, it can be worth creating one of your own for clients to complete.
It can help to paint a clearer picture of the work needed and avoid annoying rewrites.
5) Technical copywriting challenges
Creativity and technical ability do not always go hand in hand, but with almost everyone adding a blog to their site to drive traffic, it can be a good idea to learn some SEO basics.
Some clients may have their own SEO team or person in place so all you have to worry about is writing the text, but others are looking for an all-around service.
Having knowledge of SEO basics like keyword use, alt-text, and meta descriptions can stand you in good stead and give you an advantage over other copywriters.
If your client is looking for highly advanced technical writing or a level of SEO that is beyond your ability it is best to be honest before undertaking any work
6) Time management
Being a writer usually means being freelance or self-employed.
For many copywriters, this can be a challenge in itself especially when juggling numerous clients or managing high work demands.
Organizational tools can help overcome this.
Some copywriters with a handful of clients can manage with just a calendar. If you have a task list that is a bit more complicated then there are a number of online tools that can help.
Time management, scheduling tools, and project management tools can all be useful to help keep your work responsibilities on track.
Project boards like Trello have a free version and can be used to monitor work progress through a series of stages, so you always know where you are.
When it comes to copywriter challenges, being a bit too ambitious can cause its own set of problems.
If you do happen to be freelance or self-employed it can be tempting to accept any and all work that comes your way.
But this may not be the best recipe for success, in fact overextending can cause almost as many problems as not having enough work.
You will need to be realistic about the amount of work you can handle.
This number will differ across writers depending on things like how much time research takes or how fast they can type.
There is no ‘magic’ number, but you should have an idea of the sort of volume you can handle before becoming overwhelmed.
8) Knowing who your client is
Gaining clients is the lifeblood of any writing career. As far as copywriting challenges go, this possibly the biggest that writers new and experienced will face.
It is something that will need to be done routinely to make connections and keep a pipeline of possible clients. But it has to be said that not everyone is your client.
Resist the urge to pitch to anyone and everyone and instead focus on the areas where you have knowledge or expertise.
In other words, there is no use pitching to a client that wants you to write about nuclear fission if you have no clue what it is about.
More generic subjects can often be researched sufficiently to write a quality article, but advanced topics should be carefully considered before agreeing to the work.
Maintaining your career and overcoming copywriting challenges can be a blend of ability, communication, negotiation, and talent.
As well as connecting and pitching to clients you will need to be a thoughtful story crafter, a technical writer, and several other things.
Good copywriters are in high demand so positioning yourself to be an expert in your field can be quite lucrative.
It is a job in which you will wear many hats, but if you can do it successfully, it can be rewarding financially and in other ways.