In 1996, a master copywriter needed to recruit a team of 100 copywriters for one of his clients. He couldn’t ...Read more
In 1996, a master copywriter needed to recruit a team of 100 copywriters for one of his clients. He couldn’t even find one.
In the Socratic dialogue, Republic, Plato writes (as translated), “Our need will be the real creator.”
So in 1996, when copywriting was still very much nascent, this copywriter and two of his protégés decided to create a guidebook in the hopes of building a pool of copywriters – for them as well as for others.
It was then that Katie Yeakle entered the picture. Because of her background in publishing and project management, the three copywriters invited her to help map out the ultimate guide to writing great copy.
“From day one,” Yeakle says, “the response to this little guidebook was incredible.”
Still, they never intended for this single project to morph into a copywriter training school, but there were no other copywriting courses in the market, nor in higher education.
“Word got out as aspiring writers saw this was serious training that could change their lives in incredible ways.”
That’s how the American Writers and Artists Institute, or AWAI, was born, and it has been helping people transition into successful copywriting careers since 1997.
“We were the first to create a program that taught this lucrative form of writing – and introduced an entire generation to this ‘write from anywhere and get paid well’ lifestyle,” said Yeakle.
As the copywriting industry grew, the arrival of the internet and digital marketing opened new opportunities for copywriters, including emails, websites, and search engine optimization. Social media brought another boom with companies needing copy, ads and video scripts. AWAI kept stride.
“We kept reaching out to more experts to bolster our flagship course and create new ones,” said Yeakle. “Over the years we became this ‘proxy’ for what you need to know and thrive as a professional copywriter at any point, with any market change.
“Companies need writers who can engage and connect with their customers in good economic times, as well as bad,” Yeakle said.
Today AWAI offers over 100 training programs, from blogs to writing for vertical markets. It has approximately 40 employees, in addition to working with several freelance writers and project managers. Headquartered in Delray Beach, FL, Yeakle said they’ve always had a portion of their team working remotely, including executive leadership.
“Since Covid, we’ve successfully gone fully remote,” she said. “We work hard at maintaining our culture of staying connected to each other and our managers are very good at the day-to-day management of their teams. It’s always been important that we help people create the lives and careers they want, living where they want while doing fulfilling work. That applies to our employees, as well.”
10 tips from 25 years
Yeakle offers the following tips to new entrepreneurs:
Add to that one of the evident takeaways from the AWAI story, founded in age-old Socratic wisdom: Create what you need.