How to get started as a freelance copywriter

What does it take to be a successful freelance copywriter? Apart from talent which you’re either born with or not, there are one or two things you can do for yourself.

Here are five things that’ll help you get started as a freelance copywriter

1. Get started!

The hardest thing and the easiest thing really. Lots of people talk about becoming a freelance copywriter but never get round to actually doing anything. There are a number of ways of getting up and running. You can start out advertising writing services on sites like Fiverr. Or if you have a portfolio or samples of your work you can go to Constant Content, Elance or any of a number of freelance sites on the internet. Once you’ve got some real writing jobs under your belt it’s a lot easier to approach ad agencies because you’ll have something to show that you really can write.

2. Know who you’re writing for

When you first start out you might try your hand at writing articles about stuff you know a bit about. But what next? Who or what is your target audience? Who would want to read your article? What parts of the internet do they frequent? Once you know the specific group of people you are trying to get your message out to, then write your article and get in front of them. For example, if you’re looking to target teenagers you’re not going to go and put your article in front of twenty or thirty something year old soccer moms. Know where to showcase your work.

3. Learn how to write a good headline

One of the things you will have to know how to do if you’re going to succeed in copywriting is how to write a compelling headline. Some even say it’s the most important part of your copy. After all, if the headline does not prompt the reader to go on any further, then all your work has pretty much been for nothing. Look online for advice on what a successful headline should look like and don’t be afraid to experiment with it a little.

4. Get your own website

Regardless of how you choose to begin your copywriting career one thing is for certain. To be successful in the long run you will have to have your own website. A place where only your work and services will be presented. You can put one of these sites together quite simply using nothing more than WordPress. This will announce to people that you are a professional and serious about copywriting.

5. Remember the “3 Ps”

Last but certainly not least, practise, practise and then practise some more. Never stop learning your craft. Study the copywriting masters and emulate them – without plagiarizing them in the process! Find out what works for them and why. Then incorporate that into your style of writing.
Do these things well and you may be on your way to being a freelance copywriter.

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3 replies
  1. chris desilva
    chris desilva says:

    Useful advice for those getting started. Particularly like item 5. about “practice, practice and then practice some more”. Sooner or later you will get really good at it.

  2. Brittany
    Brittany says:

    What legal forms do freelance copywriters need? For example, retainers and contracts?

    • Copywriter Collective
      Copywriter Collective says:

      Hi Brittany. Good question! To be honest I’ve never bothered with contracts because I’m just so pleased to get the work and I don’t want to complicate things. Asking around, that seems to be the experience of other freelancers too. But in an ideal world of course it’s a good idea to protect yourself legally so if you feel it’s appropriate discuss it with your client. A retainer would be important if a client wants you to work regularly – almost as a part time employee. In that case I’d say it was essential to put down in writing what you expect from the client (and what they expect from you) so that there’s no room for confusion when it comes to payment. It’s really in both parties’ interests to build a good working relationship on clarity and openness. I wonder if anyone else has experience of these issues? Please comment!

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