A Complete Guide To Beginning Your Journey As A Freelancer Writer
People, especially students, are always looking for ways to earn some extra cash. If you have a knack for writing, being a copywriter might just be your thing.
Who Is A Freelance Copywriter?
Working as a freelance copywriter means that you will be working on creating, or writing content, for a brand or product on a contractual or project basis.
As a copywriter, you might be writing advertising, blog posts, press releases, or other social media content optimized for search engines. You might also be asked to come up with creative names for products or brands.
Take a look at Upwork, a global freelancing platform, for the kind of work required from copywriters. They are required to write Instagram captions, blog posts, create brand strategies, be a scriptwriter, etc.
The duties of copywriters include the following tasks:
- They should be able to curate content for social media in line with their client’s image and brand.
- They should collaborate and work closely with the different departments of their client’s brand, including marketing and PR, to understand the content they are expected to create.
- They should manage multiple deadlines and be willing to put in extra hours when the deadline for their client’s approach.
- They should be able to propose ideas for attractive marketing strategies to their clients.
Does this sound interesting to you, and is this something you might want to do? If yes, then read on to find out how to begin your journey as a freelancer.
Start Your Journey Of Freelancing Career
If you are a student on a budget, consider yourself lucky because copywriting does not require any technical equipment or investment. All you need a laptop and a stable internet connection.
If you think that just because you have excellent writing skills, you are all set to become a copywriter. You are wrong. You might have a more comfortable journey, but to write creatively, you need to practice your skills.
Also note, even if you have excellent writing skills, to get gigs as a professional copywriter, you might not be able to secure a full-time job until you complete a four-year degree. If you enjoy freelancing and want to pursue it as a full-time professional, we suggest getting a degree in English, Journalism, or Communications.
So let us highlight the most critical components of becoming a successful copywriter.
A Better Reader Makes A Better Writer
If you are just starting on your journey as a freelancer, you need to start reading as much as possible.
Identify the niche that you will be writing about and just devour any information that you can find.
Read similar blog posts, go through the websites of related brands, and look at the kind of written content that they are publishing.
Identify the market leader, the leading blogs, and find out what sets them apart. Try to replicate their writing styles.
Make Work Schedules And Calendars
As a freelancer, it is your job to decide how many hours per week you want to work. You will have the luxury of making your schedules and workflows.
However, this can get a little messy due to the human nature of procrastination. Without a workplace and set work hours, keeping up with tasks can be a difficult feat to accomplish.
Here is a list of some of the most widely used apps that can help you with scheduling and organization of your work.
is readily available as a Chrome plugin. It will let you create a complete project and then set goals and tasks within that project.
There is a timer in Toggl that you can use the time spent on achieving every goal. The result will be clean reports that will show you the time and days worked.
allows you to interact with your clients. You can share relevant documents instead of emailing where they can get lost in hoards of emails.
Once the project is decided, Asana can be used to set a deadline and let you manage your workflow.
Once you can manage your workflow, keeping up with deadlines will become more manageable.
Create A Writing Portfolio
If you plan on embarking on a freelancing journey without a portfolio, you probably will not be able to land a gig.
Most jobs will require writing samples or published work, which you cannot have without writing.
So how do you create a writing portfolio without work?
Start your blog, write for your friends and family, or just write for fun about topics that interest you.
Another way to add experience is to write spec ads. A spec ad is an advertisement that you have written, but that is yet to be published. You were not hired by the company to write the ad, neither were you a part of the company. But this lets you demonstrate your creativity to potential clients and employers.
For example, you can write a jingle for your favorite soft-drink that you think is more captivating than the original. Or you can demonstrate your creativity by writing a catchy slogan.
Speculative ads will show the employer your creativity and let you practice the kind of work that you are interested in doing.
Add this all in a file that can be conveniently sent to the jobs asking for writing samples.
Develop Researching Skills
Apart from being a good writer, a copywriter should have exemplary research skills.
Research skills are essential when you are writing to increase traffic for the website of the company that you are working for. By optimizing your articles for a better position on search engines, will you be able to increase traffic?
Optimization is the result of using appropriate keywords and phrases. You have to incorporate those keywords into your writing and make it captivating to entice and lure the readers.
Researching will help you in identifying the keywords being used by your competitors and your crucial clientele.
What Kind Of Freelance Writer Do You Want To Be?
Now that you know how to become an effective freelance writer and manage your project, it’s time for you to find out what kind of freelance copywriting you want to do.
You need to know that it’s a good idea to try a little bit of everything as you are starting. Once you find out what you enjoy, it will be a good idea to focus on that only. So here’s a list of the different types of copywriting and freelance writing you can do.
Content writing is the art of writing blogs, newsletters, and social media content for the brands or products for whom you are working.
Blog posts will require you to write in-depth about the products of the brand or functions of the brand. These articles should be empathetic and try to solve problems and give answers to the concerns that clients might have.
News releases are short stories about a new development or progress that the company has made. These releases are only sent out to journalists and should be captivating enough to capture their attention from amongst hundreds of emails.
While you will be writing blogs here, content writing is more serious, whereas creative content writing is writing engaging content for branding.
You will be required to work on advertising campaigns that create a story in the minds of the brand’s client. Thus, it would involve creating catchy jingles and catchphrases that can instantly be associated with the brand.
SEO writing would mainly involve creating content for websites such as blogs, that increase the number of pages. Increasing the number of webpages means your website will rank higher on Search Engines, increasing its visibility and leading to more leads.
However, an SEO writer cannot just dish out content; he needs to optimize the content using keywords and backlinks.
SEO writers are highly paid. Go through this link to find out the best courses available on SEO to make a great living.
Brand Content and Marketing Strategist
Marketing copywriters are expected to create advertisements, catchphrases for billboards, and write emails for press releases regularly.
If you are just starting, the smart thing to do would be trying everything that you are offered. Soon you will be able to find the type of work and writing style you enjoy. After that, you can create a niche for yourself. You don’t have only to confine yourself, if you think you excel at more, continue doing that.
How Can You Make Good Money As A Freelance Writer?
The last point we will address is how you can make good money once you start freelancing.
Well, you’d be surprised to know that copywriters make a median annual salary of $61,820. The top 10 can, however, earn $118,760 annually.
Freelancers make good money. However, as seen above, there can be a considerable variance. Work is not always consistent, and you will still have to be on a lookout for lucrative opportunities.
For that to happen, you need to learn a few skills and develop some habits that will ensure that you earn well from your freelancing career. Here are a few examples:
Learn To Sell Yourself
You have to put in lots of effort and time in the beginning to get good work and clients. Don’t just give out on opportunities because they do not pay well.
You should learn how to market and sell your skills. For that, you can start with a LinkedIn page and eventually move onto a website. You can also create social media accounts outlining the work that you can do.
Social media accounts are also very beneficial for adding to your portfolio. You will also be able to network with other copywriters who are excelling in their fields and ask them to mentor you.
You can also get internships in the marketing departments of companies and networking from there to build your clientele. Working in the marketing department can also give you expertise in advertisements for product releases, creating press releases, etc. All of which can come in handy for your freelance career.
Set Your Work Rate And Fee For Different Projects
Freelancers have the luxury of not only deciding their work hours but also the rate that they will work. You can determine whether you will charge per word or have different standards.
An easy way to decide would be to make a sheet with all the skills that you have to offer and the rates you will be charging for it.
For example, copyediting will not have the same fee as a blog or article writing due to the different nature of work there. Even in copyediting, there will be categories of the type of work that will be done. Website copyediting will have different rates than copyediting a book.
You should work out what you feel is the best and compile a comprehensive list. While setting your fee, you should factor in your experiences. Don’t go about asking for money that experienced copywriters ask; you will not be able to find any work.
In conclusion, a freelance writer works on writing projects on a contractual basis instead of having a job in the company. To get started as a writer, start reading, writing, and creating your portfolios.
You might have to work extra hard initially in the beginning and put in extra hours on finding clients through Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook. But eventually, once your reputation gets better, you would comfortably support yourself as a freelance writer.