There is no such thing as a designated cookie-cutter website content writer. Not if you want to change that.
No past is perfect and all experience matters.
When it comes to quality content writing, many of us (and I totally used to fall into that category), think we are not good enough for it. We started out writing a bunch of SEO-flattering, keyword-oriented articles for painters and cleaners. We were doing it just for the sake of better ranking, and that pretty much summed up our writing careers.
Then, we got hungry to write more and write better. We discovered the world of unique content that ticks all boxes. And then, we asked ourselves “Can I do that, too?”
Yes, you totally can.
So, what is stopping you? Do you fear your current experience will be frowned upon by potential clients? Will they underestimate you? Combine these negatives and add not having a killer copywriting portfolio, and you get a lot of doubts and discouragement. Let’s dissect these “negatives” and see what we can make of them, shall we?
“Negative” 1: The Unexpected Benefits of Cookie-Cutter Writing
It’s time you felt good about your experience.
In the world of written words, low-importance content writing is just as important as the high-importance one. It teaches you the basic premise of writing a piece of text with a set goal on a specific topic, following certain guidelines. That way, when you get a super-duper copywriting order/assignment, you will already know how to approach it.
In other words,
Brainstorm, research (topic and keywords), write, spill coffee on your jeans (optional), read, edit, proofread, repeat.
One of the amazing benefits of any kind of repetitive writing is it teaches you discipline. Creative minds, in general, and especially copywriters who have never done cookie-cutter writing are often “all over the place” in their work process and struggling with deadlines is pretty common.
You, on the other hand, had enough time to get into a more structured pace of writing. Your experience has taught you how to get into “the writing zone” faster, it has expanded your knowledge and vocabulary, it is the reason you speak text structure fluently and it has provided you with the vital skill of not dwelling too much.
Dwelling kills brain cells, time, ideas, and unicorns. It also gives birth to doubt. It’s not good.
Grammar, Punctuation, Vocabulary
It comes as no surprise but your cookie-cutter content experience gives you the solid foundation of the language you are using. In the world of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, you are an “old dog.” The only new trick you need to learn is to continue building on that foundation and being ruthless in proofreading your own copy prior to handing it over to the client or the actual proofreader.
“Negative” 2: Underestimation
Remember, lower bars are easier to jump over.
When dwelling on whether you have what it takes to switch from “same but different” content to becoming a website content writer able to produce inspired and unique copy, fear number one is — “They will not take me seriously.”
I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t take yourself seriously first, no one else will.
Sure, prospective employers might underestimate you when looking at your career bio, but this is where your personal determination, skill, and copywriting portfolio come in play. Persuasion beats experience. This leads me to…
“Negative” 3: Build a Copywriting Portfolio from Scratch
This will help both writers and those looking to hire them.
Of course, you most probably can’t use your cookie-cutter creations in your portfolio. Well, maybe just one or two (the prettiest ones in the batch) but that’s about it. What do you do from there?
#1. Approach local businesses and offer them your service.
You can even do it for free in exchange for a testimonial on your platform and including their copy into your portfolio. In a way, you are doing it for free (unless they also want to pay you), but you are mostly doing it for you. Don’t forget your end goal.
#2. Try freelance job sites and accumulate some copywriting projects.
This is a tricky one as you will most often be competing against lower pricing and ever-shortening deadlines, but hey, you might get lucky and get something out of it.
#3. Work with non-profit organizations.
They are often in dire need of your service and will be 100% happy to accept your help. You will not only get valuable additions to your portfolio, but you will also feel good about helping such an organization.
#4. Make up samples
Yep, you read it right. When you have nothing to go with, you make it up. My personal advice is to pick topics or even companies you admire and write your sample copy about that. Let your strengths really shine through. Think to yourself, “I was their website content writer, how would I want their copy to look like?”
The Other Side of the Fence
What if you are looking for a writer?
When looking for an SEO content writing service, for example, you will probably come across a writer with little experience or one with a cookie-cutter content past.
Don’t be quick to judge, we all started somewhere.
Also, pay close attention to their portfolio, not necessarily who they worked for, but what they did. Passion and dedication are not in writing copy for the Pope, they are in working equally well for all kinds of clients. It is about the willingness to give your best even for the smallest of projects. That’s pretty admirable, isn’t it?
That is also how most of us at 411Writers started out. We each had our own cookie cutters and we cut, and we cut, and then we cut some more. And then we stopped. We took the lessons and benefits from that experience and moved on. That is why our services are always delivered on time and carry the stamp of awesomeness.
Cookie-cutter writing gives you The box. And you can’t really “look outside of the box” if you don’t have a box in the first place, right?