Never in the history of the internet has there been such a spike in both demand and supply of content. However, in a world where at least 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search, engaging copywriting is the pillar of any (good) content marketing strategy. As remote writing jobs are some of the most popular positions for digital nomads, we reached out to Kirsty, our Editor in Chief, to get some tips on what it takes to become a remote copywriter.
How to Get a Remote Writing Job – Interview
We’ll dive into how to thrive in the remote workspace and how to land remote writing jobs when starting out. And, since she also evaluates recruitment applications for all copywriting positions that we have, you can get some more insight into what makes your application for a ‘Copywriter’ role stand out.
Kirsty has been with In Marketing We Trust for 7 years. She is currently running all editorial work for both IMWT and our clients, organises Google Marketing Platform meetups and admits that she’s more addicted to Slack than to Facebook. Did I mention that she’s thanked in Guy Kawasaki’s latest book?
It’s commonly known that the beginning is the hardest. What was the hardest thing for you to overcome when starting at IMWT?
We have a common saying at IMWT when we hire someone new. They’ll be “pushed in the deep end”. When I started, almost 7 years ago now, this was certainly the case. I was expected to figure things out on my own and either sink or swim. It goes without saying that Google is your best friend when starting out but I think this can be said of almost any new position when you’re learning the ropes.
What was your first remote job?
My first remote job was blogging for myself and later freelance copywriting and community management for websites.
How was it?
It was great but tough. When you’re freelancing you have to market yourself and always chase that next remote writing job. Work is never guaranteed. Thankfully I was never without work for long but I prefer to have something more concrete rather than the never-ending hustle.
What motivated you into pursuing a remote writing job?
I’ve never been one for heading into an office and I mean that literally. I’ve never not had a remote job. Unfortunately, this means I have nothing to compare it to but it does make me somewhat of an expert as I’ve been remote working for over 10 years.
What are your best tips on working remotely?
My first tip would be to figure out if it’s really the right thing for you. A lot of people head into remote writing jobs with rose coloured glasses but the reality is it requires constant dedication, passion and enjoying being in your own company, a lot. Once you know it’s for you:
- Communication is key. Never get complacent or lazy with your communication. People are either not going to chase you or they’ll get annoyed if they have to. Something we love to do at IMWT is to “work out loud”.
- Find your groove, whether it’s working from a coffee shop or at home in your PJs (unless you’re taking a business call – then I very much suggest getting a bit more formal and having a quiet place to talk). People work best in different environments. Personally I like quiet and I can’t comprehend that some of my colleagues work better in a noisy cafe with screaming kids and people chatting and heavy traffic around them. Do what works for you.
- Never work for “exposure”.
There are still a lot of misconceptions around working remotely (e.g. remote workers are less productive, more lonely, etc.). Which do you think are the most common? Did you have any before starting working remotely?
I definitely didn’t think these things before I got a remote writing job. But I understand many do. However, it’s been shown again and again that remote workers are actually more productive. That being said, remote writing jobs definitely aren’t for everyone and not everyone is going to be more productive working this way.
I’ve seen loneliness often in the remote workforce. I’ve seen friends and colleagues over the years unable to handle working alone and return to “normal” jobs. However, I’m seeing less and less of this as remote workplaces get smarter about communication. Not only does this help with clients but it also means remote workers get to know their colleagues as they would if they were working in an office environment.
At IMWT we use many communication tools to facilitate getting to know our colleagues, from friendly Slack channels (like our Let’s Rock channel where we share our latest music finds – which is too often not actually rock, much to my dismay) and Donut pairings, where we get to know colleagues we often don’t get a chance to connect with.
How do you sustain a healthy work-life balance?
I don’t subscribe to most people’s idea of a healthy work-life balance. Most remote workers suggest having a dedicated and separate work and non-work life. I love my job. Sometimes I’ll lie awake at night because I’m too excited about a project I’ll be working on tomorrow. But I do take time out to work on other things like renovating my 1950s house and exercising my friend, Spot.
I try not to work too much on projects outside of my dedicated hours, however, I do always keep communication open. To avoid delays, I will often chat with colleagues of a night and even on my wedding day! To be fair to IMWT, this is a choice I make for myself and not something expected. I just love my job and frankly, I’m far more addicted to Slack than Facebook.
Copywriting is one of the most popular remote roles. What are your tips on landing a good remote writing job?
Hustle! There are far more copywriters than there are good copywriting positions so it all comes down to how hard someone’s going to work for a role. This does in no way mean settling for less than you’re worth but you will probably need to hustle to stay afloat as it’s very competitive.
One of the top reasons copywriters miss out on roles is forgetting to proof their copy before sending. This seems like common sense but this is something I see a lot of. If you have the time, I very much suggest sleeping on your article and coming back to it the next day with fresh eyes. This will dramatically improve your chances of picking up any errors in the copy.
Assuming it’s the editors job to fix your copy isn’t a great idea. Fixing up simple spelling and grammatical errors that a copywriter shouldn’t have missed just makes us think: Lazy.
As Editor-in-Chief, what are your best tips for writing copy that converts?
Write for your target audience not the client. We all want to impress the client, but make sure you’re talking to your target market. Then impress your client later by showing them the numbers. Don’t rely on guesswork but follow the data.
Research is your best friend when it comes to conversion. Dig deep into the data, look at their testimonials and reviews (no one talks about your client clearer than their customers) and compare with competitors. When you’re ready A/B test to improve.
What does engaging copy mean in 2020?
Writing copy that engages is only getting harder as we have so much noise in the space. This has been happening for years and it’s only going to get worse which means you really need to have all your ducks lined up:
- Get more niche with your content as you have more to compete with.
- Your SEO needs to be on point (including keywords, you’ll need to start digging deeper to compete on an organic level with longer tail keywords).
- Make sure your copy isn’t boring (easier said than done, particularly in certain verticals).
- Make sure it’s edited well. Even if you get everything else right, if you skip this step then your bounce rate is going to be higher than it could be.
How would you describe your writing style?
This is something I quote a lot:
“Your company’s social media personality should be your company’s corporate personality after exactly one beer.”
This is how I tend to write most content for IMWT too. That being said, my personal writing style can be very different to my writing style for clients and on different platforms. Each client and each platform has a different tone of voice. The way I write IMWT social media posts is going to be very different from how I write 10x content for a client. And each 10x content will sound different depending on the client as they all require a different style.
This all comes down to researching your brand and audience.
What piece of advice do you consider the most important for someone just starting in the copywriting world?
Read. That’s my best advice for any writer in any field.
Stephen King said:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that”
Read widely, read content in your niche and outside your niche. By doing so you’ll develop ideas, your own style, learn what works and what doesn’t and you’ll get more efficient (which will also help your bottom line).
As the veteran employee of the agency, what is the best thing that you’ve learned so far at IMWT?
This is an extremely difficult question for me. I’ve learnt a lot at IMWT, in fact, the majority of what I know as Editor I learnt on the job so I have a huge amount of gold nuggets to pick from.
Perhaps the best thing I’ve learnt is how to work outside of organisational silos. Silos trip up marketing work a lot in most companies and I usually deal with the hurdles of this problem every day. Thankfully within IMWT, we have learnt how to collaborate effectively so that our teams in analytics, data science, growth and CRO work together to create better marketing.