How I Transitioned From Being A Successful Teacher To A Successful Copywriter

What do teachers do when they burn out from the turmoil of public education?  Despite what many kindergartners believe, teachers don’t live at school.  They have to pay rent and eat like regular people.

I taught elementary school for 10 years. Teaching trained me for copywriting. A copywriter uses content to sell.  A teacher “sells” content.  Trust me, it takes some sales skills to convince seven-year-old kids to take a math test.

Never heard of a copywriter?  Their work is all around you.  Go to a website.  Does it have words? Pick up a package of food.  Does it have words?  Open mail from companies offering a promotion.  Does it have words?  The written material for direct mail, websites, and product description are all examples of copy. Copywriters write copy.

Good teachers start every lesson with an objective. It introduces the student to content they will learn during the lesson.

Good copywriters start every piece of copy with a headline. The headline tells the reader what content they will learn by reading the rest.

Good teachers use context to deliver effective instruction.  They don’t just describe fractions as an abstract idea.  Students divide a pizza into equal parts to put fractions into an applicable context.

Good copywriters use context to highlight benefits of a product. They tell a story describing how a person’s life changed by using the product.  Think of Jared eating subway sandwiches.

Good teachers learn about the audience. Teaching first graders about  types of clouds is very  different than teaching pilots about cloud types.  A first grade teacher may use cotton balls stretched out and glued on construction paper to represent types of clouds. Flight instructors rarely use cotton balls to teach future pilots about types of clouds. Not understanding the needs and levels of the audience can be disastrous for teachers.

Good copywriters learn about the audience.  Selling a weight loss program to women wanting to don a bikini in the summer uses a different approach than a weight loss program for battling type 2 diabetes. Not understanding the motivations of the audience results in offending the target market and losing the opportunity for a sale.

Good teachers explain the benefits of learning a new skill.  Students who take “ownership” of the lesson are motivated learners.

Good copywriters explain the benefit of products. Readers who relate to the “premise” of the copy are motivated to convert into customers.

Good teachers provide opportunities for students to engage with the lesson by  touching, seeing and hearing the information.

Good copywriters use words to evoke thoughts of touching, seeing, tasting or hearing the product. An ad might say, “Watch your kid smile when you give her a bright red, crispy apple. Washington produces sweet, juicy apples for on-the-go snacking.”

Good teachers always look at the data. A creative, engaging lesson doesn’t mean anything if the students can’t apply their learning.

Good copywriters always look at the data and metrics. Creative copy that doesn’t engage readers  with the product is worthless.

Good teachers use specific calls-to-action. Teachers call them directions.  Examples include “Sit down, talk to a partner quietly, show your work,” and the list goes on.  Not giving clear calls to action leaves students confused and unproductive.

Good copywriters use specific calls-to-action. Examples include “Click here, tell a friend, contact us,” and the list goes on. Copy without a clear call-to-action leaves the reader frustrated and unable to engage with the company.

The original blog post can be found at

I am interested in helping education based businesses with their promotional materials. Please leave a comment about the type of promotional and marketing materials your education business uses.


About the author: Heather Dodd

HeatherOwner and Senior Copywriter at CuttlefishCopywriting

A copywriter dedicated to marketing small businesses
You can usually find me with a mug of coffee, reading, staring off into space, or writing.  I read to research the best content marketing strategies for small businesses and different industries.  I stare off into space to imagine the problems and motivations of  others. I also ask people a lot of questions and people watch.  My powers of observation and imagination help me write powerful copy.  Finally, my daydreaming and nosiness has a purpose!   I write, write again, and rewrite all before sending it off to the client for potential revisions.

Before launching my career as a copywriter and content marketer, I taught elementary school for ten years. Believe it or not teaching was great training for writing copy.    I have three terrific children, one great husband, and zero pets.

I love travelling.  It would take me all my fingers and toes to count the countries I’ve visited. I haven’t made it to Africa or Antartica yet, but I will one day.I ski, hike and bike in beautiful Colorado. When you hire me to complete a project, you get someone who works hard, plays hard, and does her homework.

This article was first published by Heather Dodd