What is a freelance copywriter?
Before delving into the process of becoming a freelance copywriter, it's important to understand what this profession entails. A freelance copywriter is a professional writer who creates persuasive and engaging content for various media, with the primary goal of promoting products, services, or ideas.
Copywriting is all about crafting words that resonate with the target audience, encouraging them to take specific actions, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or clicking a link.
What is freelance copywriting?
Freelance copywriting is essentially the same as traditional copywriting, but with one key difference: you work for yourself. Instead of being employed by a single company, you offer your copywriting services to various clients on a project-by-project basis. This setup allows you to enjoy the benefits of flexibility, autonomy, and the potential for a diverse range of projects.
How to become a freelance copywriter
Becoming a freelance copywriter is a journey that involves several steps, from honing your writing skills to building a thriving client base. Here are some tips on how to become a successful freelance copywriter.
Master the art of copywriting
The first and most crucial step is to become a proficient copywriter. Learn the principles of persuasive writing, study successful ad campaigns, and dissect the techniques used in effective copy. Practice writing compelling headlines, persuasive calls to action, and engaging narratives. The more you write, the quicker and better you’ll get.
Develop your writing style
Find your unique writing voice and style that sets you apart from other copywriters. Whether it's witty and humorous or professional and informative, your writing style should align with your target audience and the brands you'll work with.
Create a portfolio
To showcase your copywriting skills, build a professional portfolio that includes samples of your best work. This is your calling card when attracting potential clients. If you're starting with no prior experience, create sample pieces that demonstrate your abilities.
Join local and online communities of copywriters, creative professionals, and businesses. Networking can help you connect with potential clients and collaborators, and it's a valuable source of support and inspiration.
Set your rates
Determine your pricing structure. Some freelance copywriters charge by a piece, some by a word and some per day. You will probably need to consider all three. Sometimes research is required and so a charge per word may not be sufficient to cover your work.
Consider your experience, expertise, and the value you bring to clients. Research industry standards to ensure your rates are competitive.
Building your online presence
In the digital age, an online presence is essential for freelance copywriters. Creating a professional profile online and engaging on social media platforms can significantly boost your visibility and credibility. Here are some key steps to establish your digital footprint:
- Website showcasing your work: Invest in a professional-looking website which shows off your work. It will save you the hassle of having to be emailing your portfolio every time you pitch for you.
- Build up your social media: Active participation on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, can help you connect with fellow professionals and potential clients. Share regularly your insights, tips and engage with relevant content to increase your position of an expert in copywriting.
- Content marketing: Consider starting a blog or contributing guest posts to websites in your niche. Sharing valuable insights and showcasing your expertise can attract readers and potential clients. Content marketing can also help you build your authority and credibility in the field.
- Reviews and testimonials: Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews or provide testimonials on your website or on platforms like Google My Business. Positive reviews can be powerful endorsements of your copywriting skills and professionalism.
When you go freelance, you’ll need to take certain steps such as registering as a self-employed with HMRC, updating your knowledge on laws and regulations regarding your profession and to that effect secure liability insurance for copywriters. Even if your work is factually accurate, misunderstandings or disputes with clients can occur, and insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection.
How to become a freelance copywriter with no experience
If you're starting from scratch with no prior copywriting experience, don't be discouraged. Here's how to build your career step by step:
Take advantage of online courses, books, and workshops focused on copywriting. These resources can provide you with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field.
Practice and build a portfolio
Create sample pieces or hypothetical projects to include in your portfolio. These samples showcase your abilities even if you haven't had paid work as a copywriter.
Volunteer or Intern
Consider volunteering or interning with non-profits, local businesses, or small startups to gain practical experience. Offer your copywriting services for free or at a reduced rate in exchange for the opportunity to work on real projects.
Job boards and freelance platforms
Start your career by taking on small copywriting gigs through job boards or freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. These platforms are a great way to gain experience, build your portfolio, and earn income.
Becoming a freelance copywriter is a journey that involves honing your writing skills, building a portfolio, and establishing a strong presence in the industry. Whether you're starting with no experience or transitioning from full employment to freelance copywriting, the key is to persevere, continuously improve your skills, and proactively seek opportunities. With determination and dedication, you can unlock the potential for a successful career as a freelance copywriter in the UK.