There Are Some Skills Without Which a Copywriter Can No Longer Succeed

Many moons ago you could succeed as a copywriter simply by writing your copy on paper and then having it typed.

But once personal computers came along, copywriters who didn’t use them found they were being left on the sidelines, marginalized and ignored. Learning a few basic programs like MS Word became a basic requirement of working with clients.

Then the web came along and we all had to learn how to use browsers, do research and communicate online. Today it would be pretty tough to survive as a copywriter without being able to communicate via the web.

You don’t have to be the first copywriter to learn to use a computer or get savvy with the web. There seems to be a grace period. But then one day you wake up and it’s no longer OK to be behind the times.

We are going through that same process right now with online copywriting skills.

Just a couple of years ago you could be talking with a client or prospect and he might ask, “I love your print work, but I was wondering, do you write for the web as well?”

Back then, if you said no, you just worked within traditional media, it wasn’t a problem.

But with online copywriting we are now moving past that grace period. We are at a time now when it is no longer OK to tell your clients that you don’t have training or expertise writing for the web.

They know that online copywriting requires a very particular set of knowledge and skills. And they know that they need copywriters who have those skills. Across the board companies are moving more and more of their marketing budgets online.

So here is the question you need to ask yourself. “Can you afford to wait any longer before upgrading your copywriting skills to include writing for the web?”

I think the answer is no. Not any more.

It’s not OK to tell clients you can’t use a computer. It’s not OK to say you don’t use the web. And it’s not OK to say that you haven’t studied and built up a professional level of expertise in the field of online copywriting.

If you do, you will find yourself being pushed to the side, and others will take your place.

Not a good thing to happen – whether you are a freelancer or employed.

Now for some good news. Copywriters who learned how to write for the web a few years ago are doing very well. There is massive demand, and it’s growing fast.

In fact, billions of marketing dollars are moving online every single month.

Not millions … billions.

This means that if you upgrade your skills now, you’ll find a ton of online copywriting work waiting for you.

[Ed Note: Nick Usborne has been a copywriter for 30 years now, 11 of which he’s dedicated solely to online copy. He’s worked with, and has been a Web-copy consultant to, companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Disney, America Online, and The New York Times.

He is also the author of Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts, a step-by-step guide showing copywriters how to apply their skills to writing for the web, and confidently present themselves to any company, large or small, as an expert who can transform their online presence.]

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
No ratings yet
Published: September 8, 2009

1 Response to “There Are Some Skills Without Which a Copywriter Can No Longer Succeed”

  1. Thanks. I really think all these articles are so valuable. The information on this site is rich, rich rich!

    RJRSeptember 8, 2009 at 6:58 pm


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)