Classroom to Copy #1: An ode to teachers-turned-copywriters, and everyone else in between
10:35AM Mar 30, 2023
Hey everyone. So I have promised Kevin and Rachel that I will do this and I am two weeks or reduce. So let's just get started. I want to talk about something that's been on my mind a lot as a copywriter. And this post is dedicated to anyone who's transitioning from a previous career into copywriting, which I believe is about 90% of all of us because nobody in college bothered to tell us that this was a viable profession. And in particular, this post is a shout out to all of my fellow teachers out there, especially those who have taught the English language and you will see why in a moment. So for those of you who don't know me, my name is Tanya, I am from Singapore. And I fell into the world of copywriting in February 2022. So long story short, I started out as well to backtrack a bit. I worked as a teacher for six years, I taught literature and art. And when my contract ended, you know, I was finally free to do what I always wanted to do. Which was to go see the world. I wanted to become a digital nomad. And I wanted to open an online tutoring business, but that didn't work out. So I heard tell of this other industry that was very much aligned. With my skills, which was copywriting. So there's a mind boggling amount of free information out there about what copywriting actually is, and I wasn't sure where to start. I was very lucky to have a great community of people around me who gave a whole bunch of great advice. And I'm going to share some of that today. But fast forward to today. Right now I work at CARDONE training Technologies, Inc. I am a copywriter. I am also the assistant copy chief. So I both you know write the day to day copy. I also work on promos for acquiring customers for the company. And I help the copy chief to execute on all of our projects and plans and make sure that everything runs smoothly. So a lot of people look at the timeframe at which I accomplished everything. You know, technically this is my first year in this industry. And they kind of only see that you're and they don't see everything that came before that. I know some teachers on this forum who want to transition into copywriting and they think that they're starting completely from scratch. And I would like you to pause there for a moment and not take any of the wonderful and unique skills and talents that you have in you from your teaching career for granted. Don't take them for granted. Because I think the key to moving forward very quickly in order to transition very quickly from teaching or any other career into copywriting is knowing exactly what unique skills and talents you have to bring from your previous career and leveraging those so let me give you a few examples. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a whole bunch of copywriters starting out when you know I I did eventually get some tutoring clients so that's how I got by before I found more work as a copywriter. But also mean I had some free time. And the advice I got was to study one piece of copy a day. Write one piece of copy a day and create an one big idea a day. The best part about this habit, this daily practice is that it's free. So I took that to heart. And here's the number one thing I believe I leveraged that helped me you know, transition or break into the copywriting industry so quickly. I was an English literature teacher and breaking texts down into their parts and annotating them analysing them is not new to me. There's something I've done my whole life as someone who is obsessed with literary works of art. So once I learned the names for the different parts of copy and once I looked at a piece of copy it's like the part in the matrix when Neo sees all the code around him. You know, like once you know what you're looking at, in a promo or in email copy. You can identify the the argument the objection the claim the proof, the benefit you do that's half the battle won, and now you know what parts you need to put in your own writing. Another great thing about being a literature teacher is you're always very deeply attuned to you know that the question that I had to ask my students all the time, what emotion Do you think the author is trying to evoke in this text in this paragraph? So, after you know six years of doing that with my students doing that in college, that came very naturally for me to also identify the emotional flow and argument in a promo. And then once I can identify that I can reverse engineer that and use it in my own writing. So that's the first way in which I leverage my teaching career and that's where I believe you know, English teachers have that advantage here. Because, you know, if you're familiar with the different parts of the English language, and in particular, the different parts of a literary text it's the same thing with copy. I think it's really important to be able to go back to the basic principles of copy, being able to identify different parts of copy, and then learn to see that in the copy itself than in the copy that you read every day.
And, you know, this is something that comes naturally to me. It's something that I enjoyed. And I think that's what helped to accelerate the process. So I don't like to think of, you know, oh, I'm a brand new copywriter. I'm starting from scratch. I like to think of it as what in my six years of teaching, you know, can I draw from to help move this process along quicker? And I'm sure it's the same thing for you know, if maybe you came from a different background maybe in a data analysis background, you know, you will be much better than me at understanding all the data's data points and stats that we see for the we need for direct response copywriting whereas most of the time my eyes just glaze over. And it takes me a while to make sense of what the data means for my writing. So I would really encourage thinking about, you know, what do you bring to the table before you decided to break into copywriting? So the second thing that I've brought with me from teaching into copywriting is the way I approached my students. So what I mean by that is think about it. I worked with high school kids who are deeply immersed in social media, and don't really want to pay attention to a boring adult human being in front of them. So I was always thinking of new ways to catch their attention at the start of every lesson. You know, you can't get away with like, Okay, open your books now to page 247. You can't get away with that. And in a way, this is kind of like a pattern interrupt that we would use to disrupt a prospects day and capture their attention. And I found myself when writing for the Cardona audience, putting myself back in the shoes of a teacher and thinking I only have a split second to get this person's attention in their email inbox and when they opened my email, I have I don't know how many seconds. I'm very bad numbers, but it's not a lot of seconds, right? The first line, what can I say? That's gonna get them to sit up and pay attention to me? Even if, like when I was a teacher, I'm going to be teaching the most boring thing in the world. By sight sidenote, you know, I love literature and nothing about it is boring. So you know, leveraging that ability to empathise with my students boredom and transferring that skill over to copywriting, I think has served me well because I really had to before I just plug away at the keyboard and start writing. I found myself just going into that headspace like, Okay, what's gonna get them to sit up? And listen to me today? So that's another way that I leveraged my teaching experience in my copywriting career. And I think no matter what subject you teach, you probably know what I'm referring to and have your own unique way of getting your students attention. And that's something that's really useful and transferable to copywriting. Alright, and here's the third thing embracing AI and technology. I've always enjoyed using the latest tools and it in my lessons, because our kids are, you know, digital natives. They were born with like screens and their mouth is wide like this. And I just find I just found I had better results every time I used some form of technology to engage them. But I think the pandemic accelerated all of that, like teachers were forced to embrace new technology to survive. And in a slightly different way from other professions. I found myself you know, I had to force myself to learn five or six new kinds of apps and programmes and there was a lot of urgency to learn those things as well because I wanted to keep my students engaged. I wanted to stay in touch with them. I wanted to, you know, check in on their well being and the only way that I could do that during the pandemic was to find as many technological resources as I can, right, I didn't, you know, our kids struggled so much during that very isolating period, then they missed their community of classmates so much. And nothing can substitute being, you know, in the classroom, in person with one another. But teachers really had to learn very quickly. And I think that's another thing we can leverage right now. instead of fearing all of the new technology that is coming our way as copywriters with different types of AI tools and AI writing tools. Personally, I've embraced it. It saved me tonnes of time. I personally think that being able to attend Sam Woods copywriting AI copywriting workshop, was you know, it came at the most opportune time because it came at a time when, at my own job, I knew I wanted to write more sales copy. My main role back then was to write for the real estate newsletter, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But you know, creating that level of analysis and depth and capturing grant cardones voice, it can be very time consuming. And while I value that aspect of my role, I also wanted to push myself in sales copy, and I came away from Sam's workshop. Just mind blown. I was able to write my real estate issue several weeks ahead of time. And I think that's also you know, what helped to boost my career a lot because I could, you know, free myself up to support the copy team to support some urgent copy needs and sales copy needs, and help to move the needle for the company. So yeah, like Don't diss AI. Don't be afraid of it. No, I don't use it raw and wholesale. I definitely go back in and add data points. You know, I have to double check all of the statistics or ideas that they provide in the in the AI and make sure that it's aligned with Grant cardones viewpoints and voice but it still saves me a tonne of time. And it frees me up to focus on things that really move the needle for the company. So those are just three ways that I believe teachers can leverage their teaching experience, you know, to break into the copywriting industry to boost your career as a copywriter. If you already you know, if you're already doing projects for clients, or if you're already in a role, and I just wanted to start this conversation, because I think it's something that is sorely needed amongst teachers and anyone else who is in between, you know, a career and copywriting like, learn to value your past experience and leverage that because I've I've just met too many teachers who feel alone and like they're starting over and that they bring nothing to the table as copywriters. I know I felt like that when I first started. So I wanted to start this conversation. You know, I would love to get to know you. You know where you're at in this journey. And if you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me some and you know, let me know what you would like to hear more off because I am thinking of, you know, expounding more on this topic and we'll see where that takes us. Alright, thank you for listening. I hope you have a great day.