The International Copywriters Association

ICA Getting Started


Part 1 - The Premise

Know your next step

Part 2 - Audience

Know who to serve

Part 3 - Clients

Find your clients

Part 4 - Positioning

Position yourself

Part 5 - Marketing

Market your position

Part 6 - The System

Know the system


Welcome to the ICA Getting Started Series. I'll be taking you through a process to help you understand what it takes to become a professional copywriter.

Before we go there, what is a professional copywriter? In 3 (and a bit) words: You Get Paid (by adding value to your clients' businesses).

NOTE: Every now and again you'll see a word CAPITALISED in BOLD. It's a reminder of a keyword.

The Premise

Speaking of which, the first of these keywords is PREMISE. A premise is not a promise (or a place to run your business - at least not in this context). It's a preconception. If you have no premises, your life will be chaotic.

This is because whatever you do will be grounded on nothing.

To give you an example, a common premise is that if you have a converting sales funnel (ie. your copywriting is working), then all you need do is add traffic (the premise is that traffic drives sales).

If this premise did not exist, and we had no other. All we'd be left with is a converting sales funnel with no idea what to do next.

How is this useful? Premises tell us what to do. They give us a next step. Also, every premise has a conclusion: Eg. [the premise]: "If we throw traffic at it..." [the conclusion] "we'll know if it works or not."

What has this got to do with copywriting? Everything. Let's go deeper.

The System

Copywriting is a SYSTEM. Life works because of systems (even though it seems chaotic at times).

Nature is the perfect example of a system. Mess up one part, and a whole bunch of other parts are affected. Everything relies in one way or another on everything else.

Nature "knows" this and compensates accordingly, because ultimately, it is nature doing all of it. Nature defines AND tests the system.

If our premise is that we need traffic, and we test it out, then we're good if it works. If not, we find out why and test again.

For example, it might be the cost of the traffic (we still get conversions, but they're no longer profitable), or it might be that the traffic is bad (wrong audience, so no one buys at all).

A good premise tells us what to do next.

Systems Thinking

Every system has a start and an end (most are circular, but they still start somewhere). With copywriting, that start is always the AUDIENCE (it's not the traffic, the ad, the copy, or the product).

What do we know so far then? We know we need at least one premise to make a start. We know that without a premise, chaos ensues. We know that a premise is part of a system. And we know the system (how to become a professional copywriter) starts by finding an audience.

And from that we have another premise: Copywriting only works if we start with an audience.

So that's where we're headed next in part two. Please bookmark this page if you want to take this more slowly.

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International Copywriters Association

PS. Each part of this series is fairly concise. You will most likely get more value by reading each part more than once.

My object is to get you very clear on the system. This will give you confidence. And confidence in business is vital if you're going to charge the sort of money you need to charge to take up copywriting full time as a professional.