Freelance copywriting is a lucrative and flexible career choice that allows you to work from anywhere, set your own schedule, and choose the clients you would like to work with. If you have a knack for writing and are considering a career in freelance copywriting, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to becoming a successful freelance copywriter.
More people are becoming freelancers as we’re in the middle of a flexible work 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, whether it’s copywriters, software engineers, graphic designers or another position.
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.
What is freelance copywriting?
Freelance copywriting involves writing content for businesses on a contract basis. The goal of the copy is to motivate the reader to take action, such as making a purchase or scheduling a consultation.
Freelance copywriting can include digital copy like sales copy on websites and social media posts, as well as print copy like catalogues and space ads. It also includes spoken content, such as speeches and scripts for commercials and business presentations.
Freelance copywriter in demand
We’re seeing this freelance boom take place especially in 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 process.
So, maybe 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 is a guide from a freelance copywriter on how to become independent and successful.
How to start as a freelance copywriter
Starting a freelance copywriting business involves several steps, including covering the basics, choosing your services, developing your brand, and establishing your rates.
Cover the basics
Before you start your freelance copywriting business, you need to cover the basics. This includes setting up a workspace, getting the necessary equipment, and deciding on your business structure. Of course, you’ll also need to register your business with the respective local authorities.
Choose your services
As a freelance copywriter, you can offer a variety of services, including website copywriting, blog writing, email marketing, social media content creation, and more. Choose the services that align with your skills and interests, and that are in demand in your target market.
9 insider tips on how to become a freelance copywriter
1. 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.
Your brand is what sets you apart from other freelance copywriters. It potentially includes your business name, logo, and overall image. Your brand should reflect your unique selling proposition – what makes you different from other freelance copywriters?
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.
2. Promote yourself
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 and on 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 they are already familiar with you in their networks.
3. Establish your rates
Setting your rates can be challenging, but it’s an important part of starting your freelance copywriting business. You can charge by the word, by the hour, or by the project. Your rates should reflect your experience level, the quality of your work, and the going rate in your market.
4. Utilise your contacts
Start with “who you know” in the marketing world. 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.
5. Find a niche
Being an expert in a particular field will work wonders for you as a freelancer. 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 are half the battle, as clients will smell your passion (or lack thereof) a mile off.
6. 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.
7. Create an online 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: your writing samples are a crucial part of your portfolio. They show potential clients what you can do and give them a sense of your writing style. Apart from that, it makes you look a lot more professional and serious about what you do in the eyes of anyone potentially paying for your services.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have any client work to showcase, you can create your own samples by writing mock copy for imaginary businesses or rewriting existing copy to improve it.
8. Find clients and sign up to content production agencies
Finding clients is often the most challenging part of starting a freelance copywriting business. However, there are many ways to find clients, including networking, cold calling, and using job boards. LinkedIn and other social media platforms can also be effective tools for finding clients.
Furthermore, being on the roster of content production agencies like Contentoo is a great way to get experience working with high-profile clients. They’ll take on all the hard work by finding the best clients for you and matching your skills and experiences before asking you to work on projects.
9. 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.
The benefits of being a freelance copywriter
Freelance copywriting offers many benefits, including the freedom to work from anywhere, the flexibility to set your own schedule, and the opportunity to work with a variety of clients on projects you’re passionate about. It also offers the potential for a lucrative income.
For example, according to The Copywriter Club, freelance copywriters in the United States make an average annual income of €62,450.98. Not bad at all, in this case, it’s almost the exact median salary reported for writers and authors by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (€63,256.19).
However, freelance copywriting is not without its challenges. It requires self-discipline, excellent time management skills, and the ability to market yourself and your services. But with hard work, determination, and the right skills, you can build a successful freelance copywriting business.
Freelance copywriting is a rewarding career choice for those with a passion for writing and a desire for flexibility and independence. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can start your own freelance copywriting business and enjoy the many benefits this career offers.
Remember, success in freelance copywriting doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and persistence. Even if you’re a talented writer, there’s always room for improvement. Consider taking courses, attending workshops, or getting a mentor to help you hone your copywriting skills. You should also stay up-to-date with the latest trends in copywriting and your target industry.
But with determination and the right approach, you can build a successful freelance copywriting business and enjoy a fulfilling and lucrative career.