Arif is a freelance writer with a keen interest in entrepreneurship and personal development.
Copywriting is the use of words to prompt the reader to perform a specific action—from buying a product, subscribing to a service, signing up to an email list, to simply reading through a blog.
Copywriting has become one of the more popular career paths in the last few years. In fact, many people today are leaving their day job to become freelance copywriters. But despite its appeal, many beginner copywriters find it hard to find their footing at the start of their journey.
Questions like, “how do I start?”, “how do I get clients?”, “what should I write about?”, “how much should I charge?” all start popping up.
Ultimately every copywriter’s goal is to turn their writing skills into a profitable long-term career. So here are the biggest answers to some of the most common questions beginner copywriters have.
1. How to Get Started
Here are a few great ways to get started as a freelance copywriter.
Just like any other skill, copywriting has to be learned and practiced. While you don't have to go back to school and take a four-year degree to start, learning online is probably the easiest way. A simple Google search will tell you all there is to know about copywriting like the many different types of it, namely:
- Sales copy
- Website write up
- Product description
Choose at least one of those types to start with and master it. Don't try to learn it all at once. Our brains can only take on so much information.
YouTube Channels and Content Creators
Nowadays, you can learn almost anything on YouTube, copywriting included. Some great copywriting YouTube channels are:
- Alex Cattoni
- Neville Medhora
- Mike Nardi
- Alex Fasulo
- Jessica Foster
Any one of these content creators will help you get your footing in the copywriting world. Some of them even have complete online courses that you can take for free on their YouTube channel, i.e., Mike Nardi.
Others like Alex Cattoni have an online boot camp you have to pay for, while others like Alex Fasulo have her own e-book you can buy.
Take your pick, and learn from the person that best fits you.
Websites like Udemy, Skillshare, and even LinkedIn are great places to start a structured copywriting course. Important elements of copywriting like the fundamentals of copy, SEO, content marketing, client outreach, and many others are all usually covered in depth.
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Learning sites like Udemy and Skillshare are usually pretty reasonably priced, so you don't have to worry about forking out a small fortune for it. These sites also are almost constantly having some kind of seasonal sale so watch out for those.
One tip to remember is to always read the reviews of these courses. Don't just blindly buy them. Read the general info about each course and see if there are any complaints about it.
Also, take into account how long the courses are. Each course can span from four hours to 15, while some can even go up to 30 hours. Be realistic and make sure you have enough time throughout the day to efficiently cover the course(especially if you have a day job).
Here are some of my top picks for the best online copywriting course:
- 155 Years of Copywriting Insights Taught In 1.5 Hour Course! (Udemy)
- Learning to Write Marketing Copy (LinkedIn Learning)
- Copywriting For Beginners: How To Write Web Copy That Sells Without Being Cheesy (Skillshare)
Do some research to find the course best suited for you.
In-Person Bootcamps and Training Courses
Just like online courses, boot camps and in-person training courses cover all the basics. But what's better than online courses is that in-person courses allow you to ask questions to your instructor and get an immediate answer, the classes are more interactive, and the best part is that you can now have a small network of fellow copywriters for you to grow and learn with after the training ends (but we’ll get to that later).
Look for boot camps that are reasonably priced. Avoid the ones that seem dodgy and are overpriced—these are usually fake gurus who are trying to make money selling courses rather than actually educating people on copywriting.
After you've consumed as much knowledge as you can, it's time to actually start writing.
Practice practice practice.
Start your own blogsite, write on guest-blogging sites like HubPages, or even write on Google Docs. Once you've written them, you must share them with others—you can't just keep them to yourself.
Once you've published your work, you can always ask for feedback from mentors, friends, and family. Or, if you join online copywriting groups, you can get feedback from there.
Another way to practice is by rewriting headlines or ads in your own words. See how perhaps you can improve existing copy or learn from them. You can also rewrite entire articles or blog posts in your own words.
2. How to Get Quality Clients That Stay With You Long Term
Copywriting is one of the most sought-after professions out there. Every business needs writers. So, there is definitely a demand for it. However, it is your job to stand out from the crowd and put yourself out there. Here’s how you can:
Find an Online Community
Having an online community of writers is one of the best ways to get connected with other writers out there. It’s also a could way to meet potential clients that are hiring. You can also post your work and get feedback.
Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to join online groups that fit your particular interest. Join as many as you can but always be mindful of their rules as you don’t want to be the guy who spams useless content. You could get kicked out for that.
Go to Networking Events
Connecting with people online is good, but what’s even better is meeting new people face-to-face. There are always networking events around; if you know where to look, you can search for events on Facebook or Eventbrite. Sometimes you may even get ads on your various social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter about upcoming events.
Networking events are a great way to meet fellow writers and also potential clients. Here you can exchange ideas, tips, and experiences with one another. Anything you can learn from them will be beneficial to you in your copywriting journey.
Reach Out to Potential Clients on LinkedIn
This is where you can really set up your writing profile. Come up with a LinkedIn profile that stands out, and make sure you write an engaging description of yourself.
When describing yourself, you should be clear about what you can offer and your objectives. This makes it easier for potential clients to know if you fit their needs.
Because LinkedIn is catered to professionals, you can easily connect with people within the industry you are interested in. You can connect with recruiters looking for copywriters and also get professional tips from other copywriters with way more experience than you by following their LinkedIn feed.
You can even connect with brands you like and see if they are hiring. Reach out to clients on LinkedIn by sending your elevator pitch to them.
What’s an elevator pitch, you ask?
It’s a brief and concise statement you can use to pique the interest of a client. Convey to them in a clear way what kind of service you can offer. Think of it as asking someone on a date—you gotta pepper it with a little intrigue.
Once you’ve scored your first job, treat it like a relationship. You must always think about what’s best for the client. Get them to trust you and show them that you are committed to providing the best work you can possibly do. Always ask your client what exactly they are looking for and clarify any doubts you have to better understand a particular job or task. This will let the client know that you are someone who cares deeply about the relationship.
Build Up Your Portfolio
Just like any other creative job, you have to have a solid portfolio. This is where you can compile all of your past work and projects into one cohesive, accessible document and send them out to clients.
3. What Should You Write About? (Finding Your Niche)
You may have heard of the word “niche.” As a freelance copywriter finding your niche is important. It helps you narrow down the kind of copywriting you want to focus on. So what is a niche?
A niche is a specialized segment of the market defined by a product or service that appeals to a unique and specific audience. It can be health, fitness, finance, travel, food; you name it.
So, how do you choose one to focus on?
First, ask yourself :
- What do you like?
- What are your passions?
- What are some topics you find interesting and wouldn’t mind doing research for?
One way to answer these questions is to ask yourself, “What are the things you can talk about for hours and hours and never run out of things to say?” You can even ask your friends or family about what they think you know the most about or what are you most known for?
Answer these questions for yourself and choose at least one thing you like, and focus on it. Don’t try to do too much. At the very least, have a list of things you find interesting and go through them one by one. Rank each one in terms of your knowledge, expertise, and overall interest. You should start with the one with the highest rank.
If you write about things that you yourself find interesting then your writing process will be much easier and your thought process will be smoother. You can also generate ideas better and get more creative because you are already somewhat of an “expert” on the subject.
You can always do research for niches that you may not have a keen eye for. But niching down can really help you become an expert in at least one field and help you better sustain a long-term career as a freelance copywriter.
4. How Much Should You Charge for Your Writing?
As a beginner, it can be difficult to gauge how much your work is worth, especially when you don’t have any significant experience. And to make things worse, many beginners feel that they don’t deserve to charge clients the amount they’re worth. I won’t be giving an exact dollar amount; but here’s an objective blueprint on the factors that can influence your pricing:
- How long will the project take?
- Take into account your time and effort to do research.
- How many deliverables do the clients want?
- For example, if your writing capacity is two articles per week, you can charge more if the client wants more than that.
- The faster the client needs the deliverables, the higher you can charge. But this is not an excuse to cut corners just to fit in the deadline.
- Know your own capacity. Don’t take on too much work, knowing you won’t be able to handle them all.
- Don’t sacrifice the quality of writing just because you want to earn more.
- The more experience you have, the more you can charge, but don’t worry too much if you don’t have a lot of experience.
- A lot of companies like writers with fresh minds who they can mold and train. However, if you’re a beginner, expect clients to offer a lower rate.
Long-Term Relationship Potential
- If you believe that a potential client has the potential to retain you for the long term in a retainer contract, then you may want to consider lowering your fees.
- You may want to charge less for the first project and see if there is a mutual fit.
In the end, it’s all about knowing your worth. Don’t be afraid of charging what you think you’re worth despite your experience or lack thereof.
5. How to Turn Copywriting Into a Long-Term Career
Copywriting can be a very lucrative career path as long as you have the discipline to work on it.
Something you can do every day is to write. Have a journal with you at all times, and write down your thoughts, ideas, and all your general muses of the day. It helps you get into the habit of writing. Not only that, but you also have to read regularly. Reading and writing can help you with your thought process and allow you to generate free-flowing ideas more efficiently.
If you have any piece of writing you’ve written for yourself, then don’t be afraid to post it on social media, especially LinkedIn. It’s a great way to get feedback and also build up your portfolio.
Last but not least, you must also always put yourself in the perception of your readers. Always strive to add value to them instead of writing for yourself.
Remember—It Takes Time
There is no secret formula to guarantee your success as a freelance copywriter. Just like any other skill, it takes time and patience to master it. It’s going to be a long road ahead until you see the fruits of your hard labor. But as long as you are brave enough to start and brave enough to keep on hustling, you’re already halfway there.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.