Being a freelance copywriter gives you the freedom to choose when, where and how much you work. However, often that work is one-off writing gigs that although might pay you well, it can leave you wondering where your next job will come from. Getting regular work as a writer is a skill in itself, so read on for tips on how to do it.
Build your Portfolio
If you are just starting out as a freelance copywriter, getting those first gigs can be tough. Before you go to the different freelance websites to tout for work, it is a good idea to build up a portfolio of work that you can showcase. To do this, you might contribute guest posts to blogs, or submit journalistic articles to various niches. You might also start your own blog so clients can get a feel for your writing style.
When going for jobs, having links to your work is something that can persuade an employer to pick you over anther writer.
Have a Great Website
Let clients find you by having a personal website where you can describe the services you offer and your contact details. Your website is like you shop window and you only get one chance to make a good impression. Make sure it is well designed, that your pages are well written, and it is easy to navigate.
Links to your portfolio pieces are a must, as it gives people an idea of the writing styles you can do.
Narrow Down your Target Market
Who do you want to write for? Is it businesses in the financial industry, or do you prefer to write lighter lifestyle pieces? Perhaps you have a skill that you can share in your writing.
When you narrow down your target market, it allows to promote your business better. Where does your target market hang out? Be there. I could be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or it could be LinkedIn, or forums.
Be social and interact with comments and conversations, and you get your freelance services in front of the eyes of your preferred clients.
Freelancing Job Boards – One way to get regular clients is through freelancing websites such as PeoplePerHour.com, Elance, Upwork and Freelancer.com.
When you join one of these websites take the time to create an amazing profile that details your services and add example of your work.
Sites like these give you a reputation rating when you finish a job for someone, and it is your overall score that gets you hired over someone else. The only problem with this is that you need to get hired in the first place, with a review rating of nothing. However, if you are prepared to do one or two lower paid gigs, it can get your first reviews in and make your profile more visible.
One downside to these freelance websites is that they are full of scammers and people who want to pay your very little for your time. Never release your completed work until you have been paid – I speak from experience. At the beginning of my freelance writing career one client scammed me out of over £400 worth of work! Even clients that seem trustworthy can be out to scam you, so protect yourself.
Only when you fully trust a client that you ‘meet’ on freelance job boards, such as completing and being paid for several projects, should you begin to work outside of the freelancing websites.
Personally, I both love and loathe freelance job websites. On one hand, I have landed many regular clients through websites like these, but it takes time and you have the ball-ache of sending pitches and having to compete against many other freelancers. However, amongst the crap there are some genuine clients who are happy to pay you well for your skills, and when you do a good job for them you become their go-to copywriter.
Eventually you will get to a point where you won’t have to actively seek new clients from these website, they contact you.
Start Pitching – This is where you can really begin to make a difference to your earnings from freelance writing.
To bring more clients in, you need to let them know that there is a damn good copywriter available that can help revamp their webcopy, write blog posts, or take care of those time consuming marketing emails.
Find some small businesses, entrepreneurs, influencers and bloggers in your niche, and send them an email describing what you offer as a writer and how you can be indispensable to their business.
There is an art to writing a good pitch, and there is some important parts that you should include:
How you found them.
Your name, and what you can do to improve their business life. E.g. give them more time by allowing you to write their blog posts.
Your contact details. Have your email address and phone number clear on your email.
Ask Family and Friends – You’d be surprised at how much work you can get simply from asking your family, friends and acquaintances.
When people know you are looking for freelance writing work, they will be your ears on the ground and be able to recommend you when they know of a job. Perhaps your friend’s boss is looking for someone to improve the readability of some documents, or the manager of your favourite café is wants someone to write a promotional piece. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Getting regular work as a freelance copywriter takes a bit of time, but once you get your first repeat client it is a great feeling. If you are just starting out, then freelance writing alongside a part time job might be worth considering until you get enough clients to earn a regular wage.
However, making a living as a freelance writer is totally within your reach so don’t give up! Hone your skills, keep looking for work, and you’ll get there.