how to find freelance writing jobs Copify 3

New to copywriting? Get our 8 tips on how to find freelance writing jobs

Now that you’ve decided to start writing freelance and to finally get started on your dreams of working on a beach in Bali or Phuket, you’ve begun building your writer’s website. Your portfolio is in place and your email is all set up. But the crickets are chirping: why is it so difficult to even start finding work?

Fret not, there are a dozen ways to skin a cat and probably more ways than that to find clients that are looking for you to write for them. If you’ve been wondering how to find freelance writing jobs, here are some of the best routes to try:

1. Asking family and friends

A great, easy way to start looking for jobs can be simply to ask family and friends if you can write for them. Often, we know someone who owns a small business or is working for one, and who may need help with advertising. This is an opportunity for you to start writing SEO blog articles or landing pages for them, to help drive traffic to their business, or maybe you can help them start and maintain an email list too.

Make a post on social media like Facebook, or contact them personally. Just remember to keep it friendly and don’t push or you may very well find yourself straining relationships you had wanted to keep.

2. Write for community or local organisations

how to find freelance writing jobs Copify 2Are you part of a church perhaps? Or know a non-profit organisation in the neighbourhood that needs help with materials or grant proposals? You can get a kickstart in your job finding process by dropping these local groups and organisations an email asking if they would like a writer. Often these groups have a newsletter or mailing list that they need updating, or they require some simple reporting done.

Local groups are also often easier to approach, as you can offer to meet up to discuss details more conveniently, and in a more informal location such as a coffee shop.

3. Job boards

Over the years, remote work has become more and more popular, and job boards have popped up across the internet to match this demand. The most famous job boards are perhaps Freelancer.com and Upwork. There are several hundreds of job offers a day seeking remote workers to perform tasks from PowerPoint designs to ghostwriting books.

It’s easy to get started with an account on one of these sites and to start applying through the job listings posted. However, the downside is that you will often need to sift through several lowballing offers, which can offer as little as a dollar per article, as the listings sometimes come from low-income areas in underdeveloped countries, where the expected rates are below standard compensations.

Another key to succeeding on job boards is to have patience and to reach as many job posters as you can. Many of them receive an overwhelming amount of applications for their listings, and it’s your job to make sure that they remember you and contact you back.

4. Cold pitches

how to find freelance writing jobs Copify 1Instead of looking at job offers on sites, another way you can look for writing jobs is to send emails to companies offering your services. These are called cold emails, or cold pitches, and are the internet equivalent of the old school cold-calling that used to be touted in business circles. This can be an effective method to land clients, but on the other hand, it can also be a little intimidating to face your targeted company’s rejections.

Warm up the pitches by researching the company first, and talking to them about what you can do for them, rather than simply droning on about yourself and your accomplishments. It’s also okay to send a few emails following up and checking in on progress, especially if they haven’t had the time to read your emails more carefully or even to reply them.

5. Finding companies

So you decided to cold email or cold call companies. Fantastic! The problem is, where do you begin to find them?

Start with your samples and your forte in writing. What niches do they belong to? Check out companies in your field and make a list of them. See if they have any blogs that need updating or wherever you think your services will be a great fit for them.

Again, it can be easier to begin with local or smaller companies and expand from there.

6. Writing for publications

how to find freelance writing jobs Copify 4If writing for companies doesn’t take your fancy, you can tackle writing articles for publications instead. There are magazines, newsletters and all sorts of publications in almost any field you can think of. The trick is to really dig into your niche and find out what is being published in it.

Look up trade publications for more obscure niches, or research various internet-based publications that offer good pay rates for articles. It is often more helpful when you understand the tone of the publication and what sort of work they are looking for. Pay attention to their submissions page, or if they don’t have one, consider emailing their editor.

For magazines, editors often prefer if you email them with ideas and pitches for a couple of articles – although if they state that they aren’t accepting unsolicited submissions at the moment, do listen to them!

7. Applying to content writing companies

Aside from job boards, cold calling and pitching magazines, there are also content writing and marketing companies. Often, companies don’t know where exactly to go for their marketing and copy needs, and so they approach companies like Copify to help generate traffic-boosting content for their site, blog or email lists. Beginner writers can find it useful to apply to such sites because it means that they don’t have to spend their time marketing – they can simply take on assignments from the content company and start writing.

Requirements can vary – some companies only require writers to take a short sample test, while others like ClearVoice ask for samples of works published in established magazines or sites.

8. Should I work for free?

Sometimes, situations arise where you end up asking whether the exposure is worth the lack of money for your work. It’s difficult to tell when it’s worth it, especially when there are many people who don’t feel that your writing is worth their money and treat it as something they should get for free.

This will be an individual choice for every writer. Perhaps if it’s a nonprofit organisation that you feel would add immense value to your portfolio, go for it. But if you feel that you’re going to be unhappy writing for your uncle’s best friend’s business for nothing, it’s okay to reject that too. Remember that your work takes time, effort and skill.

Regardless, the most important thing is to just get started with writing and to start looking for jobs today. If you’re interested in finding compelling work, why not try writing for Copify?

 

Main image credit: bruce mars
Image credits: Kaboompics.comBurstStokpic

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Here's how to become a copywriter with no experience Copify 2

Here’s how to become a copywriter with no experience

Have you always dreamed of working for yourself? Would you like to earn money from freelance copywriting? Many people feel that they cannot follow the career path they want because they do not have the correct experience. However, the only way to enter your chosen field, and build that experience, is to get started.

“If everyone waited to become an expert before starting, no one would become an expert” (CEO and author Richie Norton)

Becoming a freelance writer without experience is possible. However, you will need a few key skills to get started, including a great grasp of spelling and grammar, and an ability to construct interesting, engaging pieces of work. You don’t need formal or professional experience, but it does help if you have some personal experience of writing.

What skills are essential for a freelance copywriter?

Here's how to become a copywriter with no experience Copify 4

As we have already mentioned, great spelling and grammar skills are absolutely essential for a freelance copywriter. If you deliver work to your clients that contains mistakes and errors, they are unlikely to return for more. Freelance copywriters also need a good grasp of time. You will have to structure your own research and writing times in order to meet your clients’ deadlines, so great time management is crucial.

It also helps if you have some experience of writing. This needn’t be formal, professional experience. Do you write a blog on a regular basis? Have you written content for a friend’s business, or for a volunteer project? Share links to your work and showcase your skills. If you do not have links to share right now, why not set up a blog and start demonstrating your writing abilities? Pick a topic close to your heart, be creative, and start publishing examples of the work you could do for your clients.

Is a degree or previous experience necessary?

Every client is different, and every writing gig differs. Some clients may be fixed on hiring writers with a specific degree or qualification, while others may want to see examples of your work in a similar field before they will hire you.

Many freelance copywriters have studied English language, literature or journalism. Others get into the role through marketing and business degrees. Politics and law also lend themselves to the writing trade. However, absolutely any degree or other qualification can assist you with copywriting. If you studied sport, music, art or history, look for writing gigs that can make use of your specialist knowledge.

If you do not have a formal education, you can still become a first-class copywriter. The lack of a degree should be no barrier. Many clients are more interested in finding somebody with a flair for writing, an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, and a strong portfolio of writing examples.

Becoming a freelance copywriter with no experience

If you are interested in finding work as a freelance copywriter, we have put together some helpful tips which should show you how to become a freelance copywriter without experience.

Join a freelance writing agency

Here's how to become a copywriter with no experience Copify 3A digital copywriting agency like Copify is a great place to start your freelancing journey. You can sign up online today, and the joining process is simple and quick. You will need to provide a sample of writing for assessment, and once approved you can start taking orders immediately.

Agencies are great for new writers because they allow you to build that experience and grow your reputation as a writer. You also have access to support services, and you are guaranteed payment for your work. New freelancers often find that invoicing clients and chasing unpaid bills is one of the most stressful and time-consuming parts of their business. An agency takes that stress away – and ensures you get a fair price for your work.

Reach out to potential clients

You can also approach the clients you would like to write for, and offer them your work. Pitching work to publications and companies can be scary at first, but with a little practice and perseverance, it will soon become second nature to you. Work you complete independently from an agency is great for building your portfolio, as long as the client gives permission for it to be used. The more comprehensive and relevant your work examples become, the more likely you are to secure work through pitches.

Network with other writers

Here's how to become a copywriter with no experience Copify 1As well as reaching out to clients, take the time to find other freelance writers in the online space. Following key influencers on social media is a great idea.

Try following content marketing guru Ann Harding and author Paul Jarvis, plus suggested contacts linked to these accounts, to get you started.

Copywriting professionals are usually happy to answer questions and share advice with industry newcomers, and they often link to writing opportunities that pay freelancers. You could also link with writers who cover topics you are interested in and read and share their work. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips.

Establish a niche for yourself

Getting into freelance copywriting without experience is a lot easier when you draw on your existing skills. Do you enjoy playing video games? There is always demand for gaming reviews. Are you great at gardening? Horticulture blogs and businesses will love your expertise.

Here is an example of a writer who is using her personal knowledge of the fitness industry to make her copywriting business work. You may not have formal writing experience, but you do possess a unique blend of knowledge and skills that could be extremely valuable to the right client.

Building your freelance writing business

Once you have established yourself within the freelance copywriting field, you can start to look for bigger, more profitable jobs and aim to secure long-term clients. It can take a little time and perseverance before you break away from small-time writing jobs and start making a good living, but the more you put yourself out there, the more chance of being spotted by the right client.

Over time, you will start to build a writing portfolio – and you may well collect reviews and recommendations from your client. The more work you get, the more your reputation will grow. Before you know it, you will be an experienced freelance copywriter!

 

Main image credit: Suliman Sallehi
Image credits: imagesthai.combruce marsrawpixel.com

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how to get started as a freelance writer Copify 4

8 tips on how to get started as a freelance writer

If you love writing and feel like you have lots to say, becoming a freelance writer may be the perfect career choice. You have the flexibility to be your own boss, work from home and cover the topics that interest you the most. It’s a great way of working, but also challenging too. Getting going can be tricky and is often where the greatest stumbling blocks lie. So here’s how to get started as a freelance writer…

1. Know your area of interest

how to get started as a freelance writer Copify 3As Carol Tice writes for MakeALivingWriting.com, “Some writers have a passion for ecological justice, while others love to write about celebrities, fly-fishing, or politics. Start by identifying your interest areas. Don’t limit yourself to one — try to list at least a half-dozen.”

Although you will naturally have a few key areas you love writing about, the problem with being too niche is that you may struggle to get published. To make a career as a freelance writer, you need to be writing on a frequent basis and only covering one or two areas will limit how much there is to be said.

2. Become an expert

If you have a particular area of expertise, this can be really handy. You’ll be able to become known as an expert and, eventually, publications will start to turn to you when they need commentary on a particular subject. It can really help to set out your beliefs and viewpoint so people know what to expect from you and can identify you as a reliable source of writing.

Allena Tapia, writing for The Balance, agrees:

“The first thing to do is hone in on your expertise. If, for instance, you have experience as a technical writer and previously worked in-house for an IT company (or were a staff writer for an IT publication), you would explore your options by joining an industry association such as the Society for Technical Communication.”

If you find you like writing about topics more broadly, you will probably enjoy writing for Copify, where subject matters vary daily.

3. Find your favourite style of writing

Closely linked with knowing your area of interest is also knowing the way you like to write. Are you stronger at features, reviews, news articles, case studies, blogs, opinion editorials, factual reports? This can have an influence on the topics you cover and the way you write about them. It will also impact how you pitch the pieces that you want to write.

4. Identify which publications are right for you

how to get started as a freelance writer Copify 2Once you know what you want to write about, make a list of which publications suit your style of writing and the topics you want to cover.

Look at what they have previously written about to ensure you won’t be duplicating anything, and get a feel for the types of people writing for them. Read their pieces to see if your style matches with their style, and identify what their role is in the publication. Are there a lot of freelance writers or is a lot of it handled in-house?

Google the writers to see where else they write and what their background is. You may also be able to follow them on social media and find their contact details. This can help you strike up a friendly conversation where you introduce yourself and your areas of expertise.

5. Do your research

As Elna Cain writes on her website,

“When I first started I did a lot of research. I found other freelance writers, read their blogs and looked at their writer website and learned as much as I could about this business.”

She goes on to say that she would even message writers to ask questions about setting her rates. The inspiring thing is that being a freelance writer is like joining a community, and you’ll always find there are those who are willing to give you the time of day.

6. Start networking

Whether you do it through social media, e-mails or physical events, networking with other writers and editors is a great way of getting your name out there and starting to learn more about what it takes to become a freelance writer. You may even hear about potential jobs through writer contacts, so it really pays to start integrating yourself into this community.

As well as career opportunities, networking will help build your confidence and introduce you to new people that may well become friends and allies during the tough writing periods. It always helps to have a friendly ear who knows exactly what you’re going through.

7. Create a portfolio

“Most job ads you’ll apply for will ask to see your work. They want to see samples of published work. If you’re new, you won’t have any published work – unless you already have a blog. So, how do you show prospects you can actually write?” says Elna Cain.

how to get started as a freelance writer Copify 1It’s not as simple as just starting a blog and writing once every few months. You need to prioritise your own self-promotion just as you would that of a client. What’s more, you need to create some samples of work which you upload to your website or online portfolio as a Word, Google doc or PDF.

As Cain points out, you can even publish them on Medium or offer them as a guest post to another site. Ultimately, by getting posted on other people’s blogs, it gives you a link to show your prospects and proves your writing is of a good enough standard to be published.

Allena Tapia gives a good overview of what to expect when you start out in freelancing when she says,

“Even if you have to do an internship, work for peanuts, or do volunteer work, the first step to getting hired is having an example (or clip) to show employers. And, the more clips the better. It doesn’t matter how recent they are. What matters is how well-written they are and that they show your writing style and diversity.”

She continues, “You can’t put together a resume without an example. Just like there’s no reason to have a website or blog touting your services if you don’t have an example of those services. No matter how stellar sounding your resume, or what kind of freelance writing you want, your number one step is having a good clip (or two).”

8. Start pitching your ideas

Before you succeed, chances are you will fail many times. This may knock your confidence but you will get there eventually. It just takes a lot of time, effort and consistency. Carol Tice agrees:

“If you don’t get a response, move on to your next best bet. Writers want to hear that there’s one easy, simple, magical, best way to quickly launch their careers, but in fact, every writer is different. It’s trial and error. So get out there and start trying.”

Make sure that each pitch is well thought out, details your angle and anyone you’ll be interviewing as part of the piece, why you think it is relevant and the proposed word count. It is also key to make it personal to the publication you’re pitching to, so show them why it’s right for them most importantly.

 

Main image credit: Rich Brooks
Image credits: StockSnaprawpixelLukas

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How to become a seriously good copywriter Copify

How to become a seriously good copywriter

If you don’t love language, stop reading.

A passion for communication is the ultimate requirement for anyone who’s aiming to level up from a good copywriter to a seriously good copywriter. And everything else? You can start polishing those skills today.

You might have read our previous posts about writing content and copy for the web, but for the purposes of this piece, we’re considering all marketing writers to be copywriters. Whether you specialise in copy for email marketing or you’re a whizz with a whitepaper, to become seriously good, you’ll follow the same formula.

So let’s get started.

8 traits of seriously good copywriters

How to become a seriously good copywriter Copify

1. They listen more than they talk. Much more.

The creator of the product you’re selling through your copywriting is the best place to start. This person will be a fountain of knowledge and could easily provide you with the points that inform the bulk of your copy.
But remember who you’re writing for. Listen to them, too. The audience will tell you about what they want or need, even if they don’t do it directly. Social media has given us a way into these conversations (which often helps us get to grips with the ideal tone of voice).

Which brings us onto our next trait of a seriously good copywriter…

2. They have exceptional interviewing skills

Even if you’ve got a well-defined speciality as a copywriter, you’ll step outside your core subject matter from time to time. That’s part of the joy of copywriting: the constant opportunity to learn about something new.

A few Google searches don’t make for effective research. It’s a great first step, but the best copywriters will then seek out appropriate stakeholders and industry voices for interviews. It contextualises desk research (all of those preparatory Google searches you did to begin with), sheds light on things you never would have known before and provides different points of view, which can often lead to the ‘hook’ of your copy.

No, not the ‘news hook’ a journalist might write. In fact…

3. They understand the difference between being a writer and a copywriter

How to become a seriously good copywriter Copify And that difference is huge.

Both writers and copywriters are creatively-minded and have a true passion for the written word. But unlike journalistic or fiction writing, copywriters are ultimately selling a service. You might be writing a blogpost, but its end goal is a lot more aligned with a slogan than a piece of investigative journalism – despite the fact that the format can be so similar to the latter.

When you see the work of someone who is a great writer but a terrible copywriter, you’ll see strange literary devices that work fabulously in a novel, but have no connection with an audience member’s day-to-day vernacular. Often, they’ll be misty-eyed about the ‘golden age of advertising’ and fight for long-form copy, no matter what the audience.
Audience-neglect is the cardinal sin of copywriting. That’s why it’s important that…

4. Great copywriters take extra steps to understand their audience

Because there is only one person more important than your client. It’s the person they’re trying to reach.
David Ogilvy, one of the most quotable copywriters of all time, has said:

“If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”

Undertaking ‘Buyer Persona’ research is step one for a copywriter. It defines ‘vertical interests’, which can be defined as what your reader thinks about when they’re not thinking about the product you’re trying to sell – which is a lot of the time. It seeks to emulate the language they use among their most trusted circles. Perhaps most importantly of all, it taps into an audience member’s pain points.

When writing for a new client, ask if they’ve done any research on their Buyer Personas. If not, show initiative by doing some of your own and explaining why you’ve gone for more (or less) colloquial language than they may have used before.

5. Top tip for effective communication with a specific audience

As we wrote in one of our previous posts about copy writing or copywriting, picturing the audience as one person, not a whole congregation, is a brilliant little device often used by top copywriters. It’ll feel personable and trustworthy: two of the greatest hallmarks of fantastic copywriting.

6. Becoming a seriously good copywriter means brushing up on your SEO – all the time

How to become a seriously good copywriter Copify Mad Men, we aren’t. The days of scripting TV advertisements, writing press releases to post to a journalist and printing brochures are (for most of us) long gone.

Content managers, web editors and SEO copywriters make up the bulk of opportunity in copywriting today. Writers who understand the latest movements in SEO and social media consumption will have an edge for as long as online content remains king.

7. All hail the headline: it’s the most important part of your long-form copy

This one’s for the long-form writers: those who spend most of their time on blogs, articles and press releases.
To borrow some information from David Ogilvy (again – told you he was quotable…):

“On average, 5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Wow. Better get it right.

Start with a working headline. Once you’ve written the body copy, come up with around 5 headlines that you think could work. You might want to include a number, which will indicate that the content is digestible; or perhaps a pull-quote from the article itself. Keywords are important (see our post on SEO copywriting) but so is standing out on the SERP (search engine results page) or social platform. Once again, knowing your audience and where this piece of content is most likely to draw views from is absolutely crucial.

If your client’s CMS has the option of A/B testing a blog post’s headline, that’s great! You can show them that you’re always looking to improve on the end goal: informing more viewers about their business.

8. Seriously good copywriters are always learning

And that means following copywriting hubs and influencers like:

  • Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger: @BrianClark
  • Ben Settle, email marketing guru: @BenSettle
  • And last but not least, Copify: @copify

You should also check out our post on the top copywriting experts to follow for tips and advice when you want to know how to become a good copywriter.

What are your tips for becoming a seriously good copywriter? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Main image credits: bruce mars
Image credits: rawpixel.comNick Morrison, PhotoMIX Ltd. 

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