Want to get started as a freelance copywriter?
I’ve had several “how do I get started?” questions from aspiring copywriters, so here are five easy tips you can use today.
(I’m serious. Make a note of these tips, and put them into action. Just reading them won’t help.)
1. Become Determined: You Can Do It
I’ve been helping copywriters for years. Long before I start working with a writer, I can predict whether the writer is likely to succeed.
Here’s what the writers who become successful copywriters have, which the others don’t have: determination. They WANT to write copy, and get good at it.
They’re enthusiastic, and that comes through from their very first email message.
Take action… Get a piece of paper (or start a new computer file.) Write down five reasons you want to become a copywriter.
2. Stick With Fields You Understand (or can swot up on)
I’ve written copy for clients in areas ranging from fertilizer manufacturers to cosmetic companies. It just occurred to me that they might have something in common… :-)
I understood the fertilizer manufacturers a because my parents and grandparents were farmers. I love the land. As for the cosmetic companies, I pay for stuff to dab on my face and body, so I have an interest.
Over the years, I’ve turned down clients because I just didn’t like their business: a couple of clients in the adult area, and one memorable client who wanted me to write a newsletter on electrical conduits.
My point? You’ll be learning a lot about your client and what he sells. Stick with areas you know well, or can research.
Take action… Think about your life experience. What do you know? Can you write for companies in fields like business, technology, manufacturing? You’re just trying to gauge where you interests lie. Copywriters tend to be people who have an interest in almost everything, and are naturally curious.
3. Create a Tiny Website For Your Portfolio
I mean it. A teeny tiny, dinky little website. Use wordpress.com or blogger.com. No one cares, but you MUST have an URL you can give out to prospective clients.
Take action… Create a website. Now. Go and do it NOW.
4. You Can’t Start at the Top
I’d love to write copy for Apple. (Sigh…)
If I’m being realistic, I know I have as much chance of that as running a marathon, or of climbing Everest.
When you’re starting out as a freelance copywriter, write copy for anyone who asks. You can get choosy later.
Take action… Go browse the outsourcing sites. Bid on three projects.
5. Mingle and Network: Who Knows YOU?
Everyone knows someone; you’d be surprised just how easily you can get in touch with people who need copy written yesterday.
Once you’ve got your dinky website set up, tell everyone you know that you’re a new copywriter, and are looking for gigs. Make it clear that you’ll take on jobs as a learning experience, for minimal pay, as long as you can use the material in your portfolio.
Take action… Call five friends. Tell them that you’re getting started as a freelance copywriter. Ask them to mention it to their contacts. You never know where your first, or next, copywriting gig will come from.
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