How I Became a Copywriter

It Started With Cocktail Parties

“What do you do?”

They always ask.

If I had a dollar every time they asked me this question, I’d be looking at early retirement. Or to buy my own island.

I’ve spent my career developing software and giving technical presentations to C-level executives in several technology industries.

But there was only one thing that really helped me improve my articulation skills when explaining how technology worked and why it was important.

It was talking to other people about my work at cocktail parties.

 This “what do you do?” question has always tripped me up.

Whenever I talked about my job, I got blank stares or confused looks. So I needed to change the way I talked about my work. I needed to find an engaging way to show why my work was important to anyone outside of my industry.

Over the years, I learned how to talk about software and technology in ways that actually generated interest, as opposed to having people’s eyes glaze over in boredom.

Fast forward about ten years later, I discovered a valuable skill I almost did not know I had. It was while I was organizing a large group event at a comedy show, of all places.

I Wrote Marketing Copy for a Comedy Show

As one of the board members of the Hearing Loss Association of America, an advocacy and fundraising organization that serves deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals all over the U.S., I organized a group event at a local comedy club and wrote the marketing copy for it.

The comedy club event was a huge success. All tickets sold out within a few days. The club even added extra seats to accommodate the sudden onslaught of popularity, and it STILL was over capacity. I tell the full story in a blog post here.

Afterwards, some people asked me if I had any interest in becoming a copywriter. At the time, copywriting seemed like a polar opposite from my software development job. It seemed foreign.

But I was curious…

How I Transitioned to Technical Copywriting

To satisfy my curiosity, I read some books about writing marketing copy from the greats like Joseph Sugarman, a master direct response copywriter. As I read through these books, it became obvious why my flyer converted a higher turnout than expected. Intrigued, I began to practice writing marketing copy. Years later, I eventually started a successful business with this skill.

With plenty of practice explaining technical concepts in an engaging way, it was only natural that I eventually transitioned to technical copywriting.

Indeed, the best performing marketing copy I’ve written was usually related to software and technology.

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