Finding clients is the perpetual challenge for freelancers. As trends change, so do clients — and there are always new kids on the block (like AI writers) to keep copywriters on their toes. While machine learning is nowhere near good enough to replace humans outright, it’s undeniable that the playing field is changing rapidly… and getting more competitive all the time. To help you keep up with the times and maintain a successful career, here are a few tips to help you find new copywriting leads in 2022.
1. Upgrade your Blog or Website
The first and perhaps easiest thing you can do is spruce up your website. A copywriter’s website often serves as a fairly basic writing portfolio to showcase previous pieces of work. But as we marketers know, your website can be much more than just a display window — it can steer clients toward specific solutions to their copywriting problems.
So if you haven’t already done it, make sure you work some SEO magic with your content! Do some research on relevant keywords to see if there are any particular issues your target clients tend to deal with. Then create SEO content that addresses these issues and pain points, pulling from your own experience. The knowledge and personal insight you can offer on these topics will differentiate you from AI writers, as well as other writers not working in your niche.
Moreover, make sure that you have some way of capturing the leads that browse your website. Don’t rely on a “Contact” page that puts the onus on clients — add an exit modal or a free download that requires their email so that you can reach out and start a conversation with them. Or have a chatbox on the screen so that they can ask you more directly for help.
In other words, make it easy for potential clients to find you on the internet and contact you. They will not only appreciate the communication but also your savvy marketing tactics!
2. Find New Copywriting Clients by Writing a Specialized Newsletter
Speaking of capturing leads, another tried-and-true approach to finding new copywriting clients is to write a newsletter. Newsletters are usually more personal in tone than copywriting samples — perfect for showing your non-AI, human touch — and they offer more up-to-date, sometimes even opinionated takes on your niche. This unique perspective can be a huge selling point for potential clients, plus you get the opportunity to demonstrate expertise in your field.
This tip asks you to be a bit more of a thought leader than you may be accustomed to. You’ll have to dedicate time to keeping up with the latest news and discussions in your field, then summarize it all in a compelling manner. You should also brush up on your email marketing skills: working on subject lines, tweaking CTAs, and sorting out scheduling (depending on your niche and your workload, you might go for weekly or monthly emails).
But the sense of proximity that emails provide will pay off in the long run — you’ll get to nurture trust and interest from your “warm leads” in a way that’s difficult to achieve otherwise. Not to mention that you can always repurpose all those pages of writing and nuggets of wisdom to create an ebook! A published book can really boost your credentials, and you never know who might come across your hot takes and decide they need that voice for their own project.
3. Start a Podcast — or Become a Frequent Guest
If you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with more writing on top of your commissioned copywriting work, why not try out a new medium for your content marketing?
Though the pandemic has surely increased our collective listening time, podcasts have actually been the “next big thing” since 2004 — and the love for this format isn’t going anywhere. Indeed, modes of consumption that don’t require screen time are becoming more and more sought-after, and a podcast offers just as much knowledge and personality as a good newsletter or blog post without the screen fatigue. No wonder podcasts (and audiobooks) are doing so well!
Of course, running your own podcast takes time, effort, and money. You’ll have to script, record, and edit each episode, plus arrange and interview guests. But you don’t have to do it alone — you can co-host with another freelance copywriter. And in your quest for additional voices, you can (and should!) invite other specialists and hosts onto your podcast; it’s a great way to learn more, grow your connections, and cross-advertise.
If all this sounds like way too much work, a solid alternative is to connect with existing podcasters and get featured as a guest on their shows. You might start with copywriting podcasts, though over time you should look for podcasts in your specific niche — be it travel, tech, or any other field — or shows hosted in major cities like London or LA. Podcasters, like most creators, are always in need of fresh content, so they’ll likely be thrilled to have you!
4. Reach out to Old Clients
Finally, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably reached that point in your career where trawling freelance writing job sites is unlikely to yield projects worthy of your time and expertise. This is where you’ll want to reconnect with old clients who have given you quality work in the past. I’m not talking about regular clients you’re already writing for — I mean one-time clients you haven’t talked to since, but whom you’d love to work with again.
Beyond proposing another collaboration, getting in touch with previous clients is an excellent way to remind them that they can refer other clients to you. Particularly if you’ve worked with some high-level people with strong connections in your field, it never hurts to politely mention that you’d love to take on new projects at a similar level. Though it shouldn’t be your only tactic, word-of-mouth can be incredibly effective in such circles, so take advantage where you can!
Needless to say, when getting back in touch, aim for a friendly tone. Start with something related to your previous project, or acknowledge the client’s recent work, rather than telling them you’re available. Then segue into the business side: consider offering incentives, like discounts on future projects, so they’d be motivated to hire and recommend you. They may decline, but don’t be discouraged — just keep reaching out to people until you get a yes.
Finally, remember that whether or not you’re “connected”, it will take continuous effort to land good projects. The work might seem daunting, but whatever you choose to do, giving it 100% will be worth it in the long term. Good luck!
Continue Reading: How to Clearly Distinguish Your Copywriting from “Content Mill” Writing
Savannah Cordova is a content marketer and copywriter with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best publishing resources and professionals. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories — which is great practice for her work, of course.