There is a good number of reasons why you might be wondering how to become a freelance copywriter. Motivations might include a passion for writing and a drive to share your creativity with the world. There’s also the tempting prospect of a flexible freelancing life and the potential for earning more than you might in a full-time role. Whatever your individual circumstances, we appreciate that you may be feeling uncertain or anxious about the prospect of making the freelance jump.
We’ve set out a number of recommendations in this blog to help you realise the benefits and overcome the obstacles that are presented when setting up a freelance copywriting business.
Your organisational skills should come to the fore when setting up as a copywriting freelancer. You will have to decide whether to trade under your own name or under a suitably creative pseudonym. There will also be the option of registering as self-employed or as a registered company. You can learn about this and other aspects of organisation in our blog on handling the admin side of freelancing.
You might be excited by the prospect of working for clients across a range of industries. However, you should be aware that there are a range of benefits and drawbacks associated with specialising and generalising as a copywriter. It’s quite common to begin with a broad scope; becoming gradually more focused given the satisfaction found in particular types of work. Measures should be taken to prepare your freelance business for times of uncertainty, which will be quite inevitable during the building of your client pipeline.
There’s no single pathway to setting up as a freelance copywriter. It is an unregulated industry, not requiring any formal qualifications for entry. Having said that, there are some characteristics common to successful copywriters. You will, of course, require outstanding writing skills, including the ability to engage and persuade. You should also have the gift of the gab, given the need to sell your freelance copywriting services and extract essential information from your clients.
You may be expected to write various forms of content, depending on your specialisms and the types of clients that you are employed by. One day could be spent writing a suitably insightful long-form post for a client blog. The next may be spent crafting a concise and conversion-boosting website landing page. You will also have to set aside time for the crafting of copywriting pitches; emphasising your experience and the value that you will be able to add.
Other key copywriting skills include:
While qualifications aren’t a pre-requisite, there are a number of courses that you can take in order to build the skills required for success. If you’re a traditionalist then you might want to hone your craft at a bricks-and-mortar university. Alternatively, there’s the option of distance learning; with some widely-recommended copywriting courses available online.
There are a number of portfolio-building options for those without the budget to spend on formal training. You could review your local newsletter for advertisements and advertorials that stand out for the wrong reasons. Such poor examples of copywriting could be re-worked and shown to the respective businesses as evidence of your talents.
Alternatively, there’s the option of offering your copywriting services to local business contacts or charity representatives at little or no cost. However, it’s important that you don’t get into the bad habit of undervaluing your professional offerings.
The principle of continuous learning should be adopted for ongoing success in your copywriting endeavours. It’s worth signing up for communities such as the Pro Copywriters network. There are also a good range of industry events, which provide the opportunity to mingle with fellow copywriting professionals and develop your skills.
If you’ve acted on the previous recommendations then you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful copywriting freelancer. However, it will be important to continue with the marketing of your services, using a range of freelancing tools to make the best impression. In the early stages you might make speculative approaches and present your copywriting pitch via the phone or email. It would also be worth attending a variety of networking events (most of which are online at present) to spread the word among the business community.
A mixture of inbound and outbound marketing is likely to prove most fruitful for your copywriting business moving forwards. It’s worth signing up with freelancing websites such as The Work Crowd and contacting the business owners who are actively seeking your services. You should also consider building a website for the sharing and promotion of your copywriting services.
We are sure that the recommendations above will be of considerable help when it comes to the establishment of your freelance copywriting business. And you can look forward to further guidance on everything from the setting of meaningful career goals to the identification of your growth marketing formula in our community events. Watch this space as we provide the guidance that you need to become a happy and prosperous freelancer.