Marketing Copywriter

    Published • Application due Indefinitely

    Tofugu is seeking a marketing copywriter to write emails, page copy, and other written promotional materials.

    Know what you won't really have to do? Write social media copy. Although it's a huge part of copywriting today, we're not all that into it, because social media doesn't encourage depth of learning. In fact, as a medium—ignore the content itself for a moment—it encourages quite the opposite: shallow but high-volume "information processing," or in our case "learning." That's really just processing as much info as you can, as quickly as you can, letting it go in one eye and out the other. It feels a lot like learning, but this kind of medium is actually quite useless for teaching things. That said, we will use social media as a way to inform people of new articles, podcasts, and the like, but only with the intention of getting them off the social media website itself. I'll stop soapboxing now, because I could make this job listing into half a book. Suffice to say, if you're here to make Tofugu into a social media powerhouse through your marketing prowess, this isn't going to be the role for you.

    We're here to help people to learn and use what they learn, and this role, despite being categorized as "marketing," is a lot more about helping people to do just that. It's an untraditional marketing role, but at least you'll be able to go to sleep at night knowing that you're helping (or at least trying to help) people.

    Before applying for this job, I highly recommend you read through the following internal pages:

    Those are the guidelines we generally follow. But, because marketing tends (traditionally) to be more about bullshitting than helping people, I'd like to just take a moment to emphasize the following points. They come from the above pages, though, so make sure you read those pages if you're thinking about applying.

    • Be useful: Our marketing copy is about being useful. We want to help people to evolve into better versions of themselves. More specifically: helping people to become better learners and guiding them toward more life-altering experiences with Japan, and the Japanese language.
    • Tell the truth, not the "Truth": We don't lie to our learners. We try to tell it like it is, even if that means saying something good about a "competitor." Our mission is to help people to learn Japanese and to use their Japanese to create life experiences. It doesn't really matter to us who or what we recommend, as long as we're creating progress for the learner toward fulfilling that goal. Another big opportunity to lie is when it comes to talking about how "easy" it is to do or learn something. But, learning is difficult, and it needs to be in order to reach enough depth to be useful. Telling people otherwise is a disservice to them and their time, even though it means we aren't capturing the gullible or overly optimistic. They'll come around eventually when they realize the time spent using methods that prioritize easiness over actual learning is being wasted.
    • Exaggeration: Related to truth and truthiness, in a way. We avoid getting overly excited about things in our marketing. Most things don't deserve an exclamation mark. Most things aren't really "the best" or "amazing" or anything half that good. We may try to be humorous. We may try to make points that we think are important. But, we don't scream, yell, and flail our arms while doing it.

    If that still sounds good to you, keep reading!

    The Work

    • You will write emails to let people know about new Tofugu articles, grammar pages, podcasts, and other content, products, giveaways, or downloadables. You're not only expected to write copy that informs people about new stuff, but you're also expected to figure out how to make that more useful to the learner. That may be additional context, new content, or something else. You may even write emails that are their own original content, not specifically linked to anything else. Original content can help people, too.
    • You will write emails for WaniKani as well. New features, helpful lessons, and information related to learning kanji / Japanese vocabulary, sale time emails, and the like.
    • You will write page copy. Landing pages, feature pages, etc. If there are words on a page, you might help write them.
    • Sometimes the copy will come from you. Other times you'll get requests or "creative directions," then have to figure out how to turn that into something awesome.


    • You have enough Japanese knowledge to write about the things we do in a useful way: new articles, podcasts, features, pages, etc. That's probably something like JLPT 4 or 3 or so (or equivalent). If you don't understand the content you're writing about, that is, in technical terms, bullshitting. If you remember, we don't do that, which means you'll need enough Japanese to be successful in this role.
    • Some teaching experience (formal or informal) might help too. To write copy that's useful to the student (versus superficial marketing barf) you're going to need to be able to do some quality teaching in your copy.
    • You have a native-level English reading and writing ability. You can produce error-free content that follows our style guide.
    • You write well, you write fast, and you can manage tight deadlines. At Tofugu, by "tight" we usually mean in days and not hours. So, kind of slow when compared to a lot of copywriting jobs.
    • You're great at taking, processing, internalizing, and applying feedback in quick succession.
    • You have the creativity to take the general creative direction of something and turn it into effective copy. This can mean creating multiple versions of the same thing that are completely different from each other.
    • You are extremely detail oriented. Links go to the right place. Words are spulled correctly. You organize copy clearly so the right emails go to the right segments.


    Job Type: Hourly, Contractor (0-10hrs/week, fluctuating)
    Work Hours: Flexible
    Work Location: Remote, Worldwide
    Pay: $50/hr, +$10/hr after six months

    Hours for this role are flexible, though there will be times where you need to coordinate and meet with other members of the team.

    The person in this role will need to complete a paid trial of four to eight weeks, then if we both feel like it's a good fit, we'll formalize an ongoing contract. We'll also be able to adjust hours if there's more, or less, copywriting work to be done than initially expected.

    Before applying for this job, please read through our internal wiki: Working at Tofugu. It goes over what it's like to work at Tofugu, including the "anti-overtime" hourly pay rate.

    If you think you would be a great candidate, you can apply by putting together the following:

    • Your resumé or some resumé-like document, giving us an idea of your work history and experience. PDF format, please.
    • A cover letter-like document, in **PDF format. It can (and probably will) be more than one page, because we'd like you to tell us why you're applying, what your experience in writing/marketing/copywriting is, how you'll measure success in the role, information about your Japanese language level, and why/how you'll bring value to Tofugu.
    • Complete the following asynchronous (unpaid) Work Challenge. Please write copy for the following emails and compile them into a single PDF. You're welcome to add your own context, explanation, and the like, to show what you're doing and why you're doing it (if you think it will help).
      • Email copy to the Tofugu list letting them know about our New Japanese Learning Resources: Fall 2021 article. For context, this is a regular series, and we write one of these each quarter. Please write a subject line for the email as well.
      • Email copy announcing the 2022 WaniKani Winter Sale, directed at current paid subscribers of the annual ($89/year) plan. The sale lasts for a few weeks, bringing the "Lifetime" account price down from $299 → $199. Please write a subject line for the email as well.
      • Email copy announcing the WaniKani sale, directed at free users who signed up more than six months ago and are not "active." They've barely (or never) used WaniKani before, though they did sign up for whatever reason. Please write a subject line for the email as well.
      • Email copy to the Tofugu list letting people know about the は and が article (as well as the connected and grammar pages) that shows the learner why they're important, why they should read it, how to apply it to their Japanese and studies, as well as anything else you think would be useful. Please write a subject line for the email as well.
      • Come up with and write email copy of your own design for the Tofugu or WaniKani audience. Context: Tofugu readers are more generally learning Japanese. WaniKani users are more focused on reading, kanji, and vocabulary. Feel free to create or make up a segment (ex. advanced learners on the Tofugu list, WK users who are levels 1-3, etc.), just be sure to note that context somewhere for the person reviewing your work challenge. Finally, don't forget to write the subject line for the email, too.

    When you've put together the above, please fill out and upload all PDFs to the following form:

    If that doesn't work, you can use this link.

    We get a lot of applications, and there are a lot of work challenges to read for this one, so please be patient! We'll respond to everybody, whether they make it to the next step or not, though it might take us a while. The hiring process for this position is:

    1. Submit application + work challenge.
    2. Request for work challenge edits (maybe).
    3. Short interview.
    4. One to two month trial period at reduced hours.
    5. Continued agreement.

    The hiring process might change, but as of right now that's the plan.

    If you have any questions, please email