Have you ever wondered how some people make a living by writing captivating content for various clients? Do you have a passion for words and a desire to work on your terms? If so, you might be interested in becoming a freelance copywriter.
A freelance copywriter is an independent professional who sells with the written word. To put food on the table, a freelance copywriter must write captivating sales copies for various businesses.
Whether you are looking for a side hustle or a career change, you are in the right place. You will learn what a freelance copywriter does and how to get started. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of what it takes to be successful in the field.
What Does a Freelance Copywriter Do?
“Freelance” describes someone who works independently, not tied to a particular company or agency. A “copywriter” crafts persuasive text, often for marketing or advertisements.
Merge these terms, and you have a freelance copywriter: a professional crafting words on an independent basis. This independence allows freelance copywriters to work with multiple clients across different sectors, giving them a diverse portfolio of writing projects.
So, what does a day in the life of this wordsmith look like?
Their days often kick off with coffee and email marketing – touching base with clients or hunting for new copywriting opportunities. By midday, they’re immersed in writing and refining each sentence for maximum impact.
They don research hats when writing, ensuring content is aligned with the client’s target audience. Meetings occasionally punctuate their day, discussing project details or seeking feedback.
While some stick to 9-5, others may prefer to burn the midnight oil.
Freelance copywriters give brands a voice, making connections that foster loyalty and drive sales. They achieve this by specializing in or writing any of the following:
- Website Copy
- Blog Posts
- Product Descriptions
- Advertising Copy
- Email Campaigns
- Social Media Posts
- Press Releases
- Case Studies
- Whitepapers and Ebooks
- Video Scripts
- Landing Pages
- Direct Mail Content
- Brand Messaging
So, how exactly do you become a freelance copywriter?
How To Become a Freelance Copywriter in 2023
Here is what you need to do:
1. Identify a niche
New freelance copywriters often struggle with their lack of experience and specialization.
However, becoming a successful freelance copywriter in 2023 requires more than writing skills. It requires a strategic approach that includes a niche.
Niching means writing only for a specific type of client, industry, or topic that matches your skills, interests, and goals. For example, you could find a niche in writing for health and wellness, technology, or education.
Niching enhances branding and marketing opportunities, attracts higher fees, and enhances branding and marketing opportunities.
To select a freelance copywriting niche, consider the following;
- Its alignment with your expertise
- Your passion and interests, and
- Market demand.
Selecting a niche that resonates with personal interests and passions can turn freelance copywriting into a fulfilling and enjoyable career.
Those genuinely interested in their chosen niche tend to be more motivated, dedicated, and enthusiastic towards their work, leading to better outcomes.
Copywriters should also consider niches with steady demand and ample opportunities for growth and success. Areas like technology, finance, digital marketing, and health and wellness are sectors worth exploring.
For instance, if you’re drawn to tech, specialize in tech companies. According to Statista, content marketing revenue is expected to reach $107 million by 2026, implying a demand for specialized copywriters.
You can complete projects more efficiently with in-depth knowledge and expertise in your chosen niche, reducing research time and overall effort.
Most importantly, niching can help you stand out from the crowd of generalist writers who write about anything and everything.
2. Hone your copywriting skills
Honing your copywriting skills is crucial for your success in 2023.
Enrol in highly recommended courses such as “The Strategy of Content Marketing” from the University of California, Davis, Google’s “Digital Marketing & E-commerce,” and “Creative Writing” from Wesleyan University, available on platforms like Coursera.
These courses cover various aspects of copywriting, including grammar, sentence structures, vocabulary, creative thinking, problem-solving, research, market psychology, and analytical skills.
Sharpening your copywriting skills will make it easier to resonate with a client\’s target audience and stand out in the competitive copywriting market.
To achieve this, you should focus on various aspects, such as improving your writing techniques, understanding the role of a copywriter, and identifying and working on your areas of weakness.
Engage actively in practice exercises and apply the techniques learned from these courses. Grab popular ads and rewrite them. Dedicate a solid hour daily. In 6 months, you\’ll see drastic improvements.
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3. Understand your market
Understanding the market allows freelance copywriters to tailor their copywriting to the target audience’s needs, interests, and motivations. Market research plays a crucial role in this process, as it helps you gather and analyze information about your target market, its consumers, and its competitors.
Start by conducting a competitive analysis on online marketplaces. Explore platforms like Amazon, Udemy, Coursera, Shopify, and Alibaba to gain insight into what other brands are doing to sell similar products and services. It increases your chances of engaging the customer’s attention and prompting desired actions.
Also, collect and analyze data from various sources such as consumer surveys, industry reports, and online research. Surveys and focus groups help copywriters create a Buyer Persona, allowing them to identify the customers’ demographics, buying habits, and preferences.
Direct interaction with your potential audience is another valuable market research technique. Engage in conversations and gather feedback to understand what your audience desires from a product or service.
It allows you to craft more effective marketing campaigns, identify unique selling propositions, and set yourself apart. This knowledge will enable you to emphasize the client’s strengths and convey a compelling value proposition to potential customers.
Knowing your market inside out will enhance customer satisfaction, promote repeat business, and encourage referrals and the growth of your freelance copywriting business.
4. Build your freelance copywriter portfolio
Today, businesses and companies need trustworthy freelance copywriters to deliver high-quality work. That’s why a portfolio is crucial for aspiring freelance copywriters in 2023.
It instils confidence in potential clients, demonstrating that you can multiply customer engagement, leads, and sales.
Take advantage of portfolio platforms like Copyfolio, Weblium, Carbonmade, and LinkedIn. These platforms provide easy-to-use templates and tools to create professional-looking portfolios without the need for graphic design skills or technical knowledge.
Your portfolio is a tangible representation of your copywriting skills, expertise, and experience in the field. It showcases your capabilities and allows potential clients to assess your work’s quality, style, and results. It proves your expertise and understanding of different writing styles, target audiences, and industries.
Don’t just present your copies as standalone pieces. Include brief descriptions of each project, explaining the goals, target audience, and the results achieved.
Add depth and context to your portfolio using analytics to showcase your ability to approach copywriting projects strategically.
For instance, here are some A/B tests I ran on Facebook ads for an electrical equipment supplier in Nairobi.
The above portfolio shows that we generated 189 WhatsApp leads and 721 link clicks, both for $40. The conversion rates were 10% and 5% respectively.
The average revenue per lead was $30, generating revenue of $1648.5 for the business and a return on investment of more than 4021%.
5. Set a price for your copywriting work
Most copywriters underprice their work since they believe lower rates attract more clients. However, this approach makes it difficult to sustain the freelance business. It also gives potential clients the impression that your copies are low-quality.
But once you know how to write copies that convert leads into sales, the next step is to set a price for your freelance copywriting services.
Websites like Glassdoor, Freelancer.com, and Upwork offer information on industry rates, allowing you to benchmark your pricing against other freelance copywriters.
You can adopt;
- Hourly rates,
- Per-item rates,
- Per-project rates or a
- Flat fee based on the scope of the project.
Entry-level copywriters may typically charge between $25 to $50 per hour.
As you build a reputation and establish yourself as a sought-after copywriter, clients may be willing to pay a premium for your services, enabling you to command higher rates. You can raise your rates to $75 to $100 per hour.
I prefer hourly rates if you anticipate extensive revisions or additional tasks beyond the initial scope.
Per-item rates may work well for specific deliverables like product descriptions or headlines. Per-project rates provide clarity and simplicity for you and the client, as they know the total cost upfront.
However, the answer to how much you should charge as a freelance copywriter will vary due to your experience, expertise, and the current market rates.
Analyze the industry payment standards, considering factors like the complexity of projects, the target market, and the level of competition.
6. Get your first copywriting projects
“70% of freelancers find most of their work through online marketplaces.”Payoneer
Getting your first copywriting project as a freelance copywriter in 2023 can indeed feel daunting, but with the right strategies, you can seamlessly attract the jobs that will kickstart your career.
You can employ several strategies;
- Work for free,
- Guest posting,
- Write your copies,
- Utilize freelance platforms
- Cold emailing and pitching techniques.
Seek volunteer opportunities with non-profit organizations, connect with local businesses, and offer your copywriting services for free. Volunteering allows you to work on real projects and demonstrate your ability to deliver a high-quality copy.
While working for free may not provide immediate financial compensation, the long-term advantages in terms of experience and credibility outweigh the short-term drawbacks.
Guest posting is another effective way to attract your first copywriting project. The exposure can attract potential clients who might be seeking copywriting services. Being published on reputable platforms demonstrates that others in the industry value and recognize your work.
Cold emailing and cold pitching are proactive approaches that involve reaching out to potential clients directly. To land your first copywriting project with these techniques, you must personalize your emails, highlight your unique selling proposition, and provide relevant samples.
Once you get that first client, it is crucial to understand the project instructions and requirements.
7. Follow the project instructions to the letter
“It means diligently following the client’s guidelines, briefs, and requirements for each copywriting project.“
The importance of following instructions in copywriting cannot be overstated. Overlooking or disregarding instructions can lead to misunderstandings, dissatisfaction on the client\’s part, and potential damage to your reputation as a freelance copywriter.
Adhering to the instructions is essential for building trust, maintaining long-term client relationships, and increasing your chances of securing repeat projects or referrals. It also establishes your professionalism, reliability, and ability to meet client expectations.
Start by understanding your client’s expectations, desired tone, style, and specific instructions related to formatting, word count, SEO, or target audience.
Following these instructions, you can tailor your writing to suit the intended audience and deliver content that aligns with the client’s vision and brand identity.
If any areas require clarification, communicate promptly and ask for further guidance.
As client expectations continue to evolve, demonstrating your ability to understand and implement instructions accurately will be essential for your success as a freelance copywriter.
Additional Cutting-Edge Skills for a Freelance Copywriter
Here are other skills to elevate your freelance copywriting career;
Effective communication with clients
“The average loss per company due to inadequate communication is $62.4 million per year“SHRM
Regular updates, clarifying expectations, and addressing any concerns or revisions are all crucial aspects of communication in freelance copywriting.
A misunderstanding could lead to unending revisions, delayed timelines, or even project cancellations.
Therefore, communication should be an ongoing focus for freelance copywriters throughout the project lifecycle – from the initial discussions to project completion and delivery.
Copywriters may communicate with clients through email exchanges and video conferences. However, prioritizing tools designed for professional communication, such as Slack for real-time messaging and Asana for project management, would be best.
While virtual platforms are indispensable, don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face interactions. Where possible, arrange periodic in-person meetings. According to the Harvard Business Review, face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than email requests.
Efficient time management
Neglecting time management has severe repercussions. Imagine losing an important client because you couldn’t deliver their copies on time. This can tarnish your reputation and even affect your income.
Therefore, mastering the art of managing your hours effectively is paramount.
Begin with a clear recognition of your work rhythms. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Allocate high-concentration tasks, such as researching or writing, to your peak hours.
Employ tools like the Pomodoro Technique to break your day into work sprints that optimize your attention span.
Crafting a well-defined schedule is equally important. Set achievable project deadlines and include buffer times to account for unexpected delays.
Time-tracking apps like Clockify, TimeCamp, and Harvest can help manage your time and monitor your productivity. They track the time you spend on each task, analyze your efficiency, and make any necessary adjustments to your workflow.
Given that a freelance copywriter juggles multiple clients, these tools become indispensable in ensuring that no deadline falls through the cracks. Time management tools and apps will also ensure that you give adequate attention to each aspect of your work.
Good time management equals more income, better work-life balance, and a thriving freelance copywriting career.
Many freelance copywriters neglect the financial aspects of their work and focus solely on honing their craft. This often culminates in financial vulnerabilities like irregular income, limited savings, or debt.
Note that freelance copywriters are responsible for their finances, including invoicing clients, tracking payments, and budgeting for personal and business expenses. Therefore, budgeting, saving, investing, and tax planning, are non-negotiable if you aspire for success in this field.
Other recommended financial handling techniques include separating business and personal finances, building an emergency fund, and diversifying income streams. These will guarantee a safety net in times of fiscal uncertainty and foster your sense of financial independence and freedom.
I use QuickBooks to track my income and expenditures. This financial management tool offers valuable insights into my spending habits. It will also allow you to allocate funds wisely.
Continuous education and improvement
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”Mahatma Gandhi
As a freelance copywriter, it is crucial for you to prioritize continuous learning and development to increase your value and give your clients high-quality copywriting services. Continuous education ensures your work remains effective and relevant in a rapidly evolving market.
Continuous education refers to the ongoing process of learning and acquiring new knowledge, while improvement focuses on sharpening existing skills and expertise.
It may mean mastering different writing styles, such as SEO copywriting, social media copywriting, or website copywriting. This can attract you many clients and increase your earning potential.
Platforms like Alison and Udemy offer courses by industry experts covering various aspects of copywriting. My favorite is reading digital marketing books, blogs, and podcasts.
You should also follow influential copywriters like Neil Patel and John Morrow on social media and subscribe to industry newsletters and publications.
Marketing and self-promotion
Marketing and self-promotion are essential skills that every freelance copywriter should possess.
One effective strategy is to create a compelling website and portfolio that showcases your skills, experience, and previous work samples. This is where potential clients learn more about you and your services.
Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with potential clients and share your work. Writing informative blog posts and contributing comments on industry-related blogs can also help position yourself as an expert in the field.
The essential tools for effective marketing and self-promotion are Grammarly and Canva. Grammarly is useful for grammar and spelling. It ensures your marketing materials are error-free. Canva creates visually appealing images for your website, blog, and social media posts.
Become a Successful Freelance Copywriter
You can carve a rewarding path in this freelance career with the right skills, strategies, and dedication.
Identify a niche, hone your copywriting skills, understand your market, build a strong portfolio, set fair prices, acquire clients, and follow project instructions meticulously.
Do you have further questions on becoming a successful freelance copywriter? Feel free to comment below or contact us for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much should a freelance copywriter charge per hour?
The hourly rate for a freelance copywriter depends on the level of experience, quality of work, and location. The average hourly wage for a freelance copywriter is $27, but it can range from $25 to $240 per hour.
2. What are the searched Fiverr keywords for copywriting?
Some of the most searched Fiverr keywords for copywriting are “copywriting,” “sales copy,” “SEO copywriting,” “email copywriting,” “website content,” and “blog post.”
3. What is the best way to create copy that performs without spending hours writing it?
- Know your audience
- Write a catchy headline
- Use the AIDA formula
- Edit and proofread your copy
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