London-based freelance copywriter, Lee Bell, gives his top tips for going it alone in the world of content.
We’re in the middle of a freelance revolution. More than ever, employers are outsourcing; hiring remote workers and turning to freelancers to expand their talent pool. In some instances, companies are ditching employment contracts altogether in favour of a full-time freelance workforce.
According to a recent report by Payoneer, 40% of freelancers said that during the coronavirus pandemic, demand for their services either remained the same or increased. It’s been reported that many independent workers believe COVID-19 has helped accelerate their freelance careers.
An area we’re seeing this freelance boom is within content production. More than ever, brands are turning to freelance content specialists, such as journalists, copywriters, content strategists and the like to bolster their content marketing prowess.
So, whether you’re a copywriter working full-time and considering the jump to a freelance career, or perhaps you’ve just been made redundant and are weighing up the pros and cons of working independently, here are eight pro tips from a freelance copywriter on how to go it alone and make a success of yourself.
Be your own brand
These days, everything is about having your own personal “brand”, and it’s this way for a reason. People need to know what you’re about and who you are before they can invest in you.
If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, get your name out there any way you can. Make sure you’ve got all the top social networks covered. LinkedIn is a must, Twitter is super helpful, and Instagram will come in handy. People need to see, clearly, who you are and what you do. So brand yourself as soon as you can.
Once you’ve got your own brand established, get seen in the right places. Comment on and share posts on copywriting-related subjects or within freelance communities within social channels so that the most relevant people, such as marketing heads, become more aware of you and what you do. They’re more likely to consider hiring you if you’re already familiar with you in their networks.
Utilise your contacts
A lot of freelance copywriting is “who you know”. If you already have some contacts in the industry, whether through previous work, placements or friends – use them. Don’t be afraid to ask for favours. If someone you know is in the network of someone you think you could work with – get them to introduce you. The more people who know of you, the better, and could be the difference between getting hired, or not.
If your contact book is a little thin, don’t worry – network the best you can to fill it up, even virtually. Linkedin is a great place to start if you’re not able to get to physical events for the time being.
Find a niche
Being an expert in a particular field will work wonders for you as a freelancer because many brands call in freelancers on contract to help with a project due to their specific skills. If there’s an area you worked on in the past that you think you’re particularly good at, really hone in on this and make it your ‘thing’. It’ll work wonders for you in the future.
If you’ve no experience in the niche you want to go into yet, at least make sure you have a passion for it; enthusiasm and personal knowledge is half the battle as clients will smell your passion (or lack thereof) a mile off.
Don’t overthink it
Going freelance after working full-time can be very daunting but if you’re confident you can get enough work you just need to bite the bullet. If you’re unsure if there’s enough work there, then perhaps go freelance part-time around your current job and once you’ve built up enough regular work, jump in.
Have a portfolio
A potential employer will probably want to see examples of your work. Make a website and upload some examples of your writing to this. This is paramount: it makes you look a lot more professional and serious about what you do in the eyes of anyone potentially paying for your services.
Sign up to content production agencies
Being on the roster of content production agencies like Contentoo is a great way to get experience working on high profile clients. They’ll take all the hard work out of finding the work for you and best match your skills and experiences to upcoming projects before asking you to work on them.
Be open to all types of work
While it’s good to have a niche and be known for having deep knowledge in a specific topic, don’t limit yourself. As a freelancer you’re going to have to be flexible – especially at the beginning when you’re finding your feet. The content world is changing and there’s many more copywriting opportunities around now than ever before. Be open to taking on different types of work to expand your remit and experience.
You’ll be surprised by how varied the projects you can work on as a freelance copywriter (and that’s the beauty of it!), so having an open mind and being prepared to learn on the job is key.