Freelance copywriting, or online content writing, is an ever-popular profession in 2021. If you’re thinking of becoming a freelance copywriter, there are lots of things to consider.
Do you have some content you need help with? Here at Honchō, our content team handles all types of projects, from product descriptions & category page content to a long-form blog post strategy and full content plans. All expertly crafted with SEO in mind. Get in touch to learn more.
This useful beginner’s guide is full of advice that will help you decide whether a job in freelance copywriting is right for you, as well as tips for starting out and getting your first jobs. Read on below to find out exactly how to become a freelance copywriter.
A freelance copywriter is someone who writes copy on a contract or project basis for commercial purposes. This can include adverts, websites, digital media or blog posts. The copy will have a specific aim such as to persuade, inform, rank well in search engines (mostly Google), convert customers and more.
Freelance copywriters can work directly with clients or through an agency, such as us here at Honcho, acting as intermediaries between the copywriter and the client.
If you’d like to know how to streamline your content with conventions, check out our insights here.
An SEO copywriter creates content that’s optimised for Google Search in order to increase traffic to a web page. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
This type of copywriting is a bit more specialist, as you need an understanding of the way Google Search works, and how pages are ranked in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP.)
SEO copywriters understand how the following affect your page’s performance on Google:
SEO copywriting may include carrying out keyword research, but more often than keywords are provided. This type of online copywriting is highly valued, so it’s worth reading up on SEO and getting some experience where you can.
Freelance copywriting is one of the most flexible jobs available. There is no set 9-5 and you can work from home, in a coffee shop or even while travelling.
It also offers you the ability to pick your projects. You can work on things that interest you or write about a subject you are passionate about.
Working as a freelance copywriter is perfect if you’re looking for something creative. Projects can offer lots of freedom for you to be imaginative and unique in your copy to produce work that really gets you noticed.
For budding writers looking to start an exciting career, here are some of the skills needed to become a freelance copywriter.
The most important part of being a copywriting freelancer? Writing copy. Everyone can write. But not everyone can write copy.
You must have a strong understanding of the English language, including impeccable spelling and a strong eye for grammar.
Good copywriters stick to grammatical rules. But the best flout them.
Why? To grab your attention.
In school, you would have been taught to never start a sentence with a conjunction. Like ‘and’ or ‘but’. But some of the best copywriters don’t listen to this rule. One of the most famous examples of this is from Apple.
Now there’s obviously more to it than this. But our main point is that a good freelance copywriter uses language to get your attention.
And if that means going against something that Miss Foreman taught you in GSCE English, go for it.
Freelance copywriters get the chance to work on a huge range of projects. One day you might be writing an informal copy for a company’s blog post, and the next you might be working on some technical writing for a B2B client.
Because of this, it is important that you know how to change your writing style so you can adapt the language in your copy.
Try experimenting with a variety of styles to make sure that you are familiar with the ways you can switch up your language and tone.
The freelance copywriting industry can get very competitive at times, so it’s important to be confident in your abilities.
When getting in touch with prospective clients or agencies, outline your strengths and skills and let them know what makes you a great freelance copywriter. You need to believe in yourself.
You could even prepare a few short paragraphs that you can keep on file to use to introduce yourself when approaching agencies or clients.
Being a freelance copywriter means you are your own boss. You need to be organised enough to manage your own workload, hit deadlines and sort out invoices for your projects.
Consider creating a spreadsheet to use as a tracker so you can keep on top of your ongoing projects, upcoming deadlines and finances.
This way, you know you’re prepared to send off a completed project on time, or provide the client with updates if they ask how you’re getting on.
Make sure you know exactly what a job as a freelance copywriter entails and what tasks you may be asked to carry out before you start applying for jobs.
You can do this by researching other freelance copywriters and looking at their blogs to get an idea of what their day to day life is like.
Take a look at some freelancer top tips from Lucy Gray, one of our talented freelance copywriters, who shares her industry experience and advice.
Building a portfolio of writing samples is one of the best ways to show clients and agencies that you are capable and talented.
However, if you’re just starting out as a freelance copywriter, you might not have any published pieces that you can show.
Don’t worry, you can just assemble a few pieces you have written that showcase your abilities.
These could be things like essays or articles for school or university magazines. You could even take on some unpaid work for friends or charities, or start up your own blog or own website to get your writing out there.
Or even just craft some examples of SEO copywriting for an agency or client you’re trying to impress.
Freelancing websites are great for finding anything from entry-level to experienced copywriting jobs.
All you need to do is create an account and answer a few questions about your skills and the type of jobs you’re looking for.
Freelancing websites are great for building up a base of clients that you can communicate with directly. If you do a great job on a piece of copy for a client, ask them to keep you in mind for their next project.
Have a look online for agencies who hire freelance copywriters for their projects, like us here at Honchō.
Send a friendly email introducing yourself and your skills, along with your portfolio of work to see if they have any work available.
If they aren’t outsourcing work at the time of your email, don’t worry. Just ask them to keep your details on file and they may get in touch with some work in the future.
You may find yourself working as an SEO copywriter, helping with their content marketing or even crafting some email copy. Working with an agency means you
Hopefully, this article has answered lots of your questions about how to take the first steps towards breaking into freelance copywriting.
We work with lots of fantastic freelance copywriters here at Honchō and are always looking for new writers to join our growing copywriting network.