how to get writing jobs Copify

New to freelancing? Here’s how to get writing jobs

When you’re itching to make your first money as a freelance writer and dying to know how to get writing jobs, it can be tempting to dash out and start applying for every job you can get your hands on, and you’ll probably have some success doing that if you apply for enough of them. But you’ll do far better if you do some planning, preparation and thinking about what you want beforehand.

What to consider

Everyone is different and we all have our favourite topics that we like writing about. Before you start applying for jobs, think about what you prefer to write. The whole idea of working for yourself is that you can be the one to pick and choose, without having a boss deciding for you. Why spend your time writing finance blogs, for example, if it bores you to death?

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Next, think about what types of writing you like to do. Do you want to be a ghostwriter for celebrities or fiction authors? Is blogging your area of expertise or do you prefer content marketing?

What type of clients do you want to work with? Corporate giants, small businesses, start-ups, digital agencies?

Whatever your preference, narrowing down your favourite writing types, clients and topics allows you to target your marketing and find jobs that are much closer to what you want.

Put your best foot forward

Next, you need to take a look at your author website, your portfolio, and your presence on social media.

Try to look at your web presence with an outside perspective:

• If you were your potential client, would you be impressed by your website?

• Does your site attract the kind of clients you’re looking for?

• Is your site SEO optimised to rank in the search engines for your keywords?

• Is your blog up to date, well-written and consistent?

• Do you post great content regularly on social media?

• Is your portfolio professionally presented, up to date and reflective of you as a writer?

While you don’t have to have everything perfect, and you can and should market to clients with what you have right now, these are some of the things to work on and constantly improve over time to attract more targeted and higher paying clients.

What’s your bottom line?

You can find writing jobs that go up to thousands of pounds for one project. But you can also find jobs that pay less than one pence a word. You might find that your success comes down to two things: experience and confidence. While it pays to have a portfolio behind you to show a client what you’re capable of, being able to sell yourself confidently can go a long way to securing you higher paid jobs, even if you have less experience.

If you know your worth, don’t just settle for any old job at any price. Look for jobs that pay the rate you want and which align with your skills, knowledge and interests and aim for those. Having a specialist background in one subject or niche industry can actually help command better fees.

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Remember, you need to eat and pay bills, and you deserve to earn enough to actually have a life too. Sometimes it can be a balancing act, and as a writer you’ll notice that there can be times when you have jobs piling up and others when the inbox is dry.

However, when you stand back and look at it from time to time, your copywriting career should be showing real progression; if you spend too much energy searching for lots of low-paid jobs, you’ll never make it big. So regularly review your salary goals and take steps to achieve them.

How to tell if clients can pay what you want before you pitch

On job boards and when writing for publications, you’ll quite often find that the projects advertised are fixed rate – either so much per project or so much per word, so it’s much easier to see if they pay the rate you’d like.

If you write for businesses, however, you need to have some idea that they have the budget to hire you before you spend hours crafting the perfect, targeted Letter of Introduction (LOI).

How do you know? Check out their annual revenue. If it’s in the millions, chances are they can afford to hire you. Where will you find that information? If they are a limited company, which with that sort of turnover they probably are, then you can search on Companies House, or try Company Check, which has a free version and paid plans starting at only £50 per year. Company Check will also tell you if they’ve had any CCJs and what their risk score is, so you have more of an idea if you’re going to get paid.

Look at their website, read their blog and see what sort of company they are. If it’s obvious they have a similar approach and tone to you, there’s a good possibility you’ll click and enjoy the working relationship.

Also, check how long your prospective company has been in business. If they’ve been around a while, there’s a great chance they understand the value of marketing and good writing and are likely to have opportunities for you.

Where to find jobs

1. Freelance job boards and marketplaces

There are plenty of freelance job boards and marketplaces out there, and here are some of the best:

All Freelance Writing Job Board

BloggingPro Job Board

Media Bistro

ProBlogger Jobs

Journalism Jobs

FlexJobs

Copify

Guru

When you apply for jobs on any of these sites, make sure you read the job listing carefully, and follow the instructions for how to apply.

You’d be amazed how many people don’t do this basic step, and you’ll put yourself ahead of the pack if you do!

2. Agencies

While approaching businesses direct will likely get you higher rates as there’s no middle man, there are plenty of agencies that are likely to either work with freelancers or hire them to produce copy for their clients.

Try digital marketing agencies, website development companies, graphic designers, and printing companies.

The advantage of approaching agencies is that they already have the clients, and you don’t have to go and find them yourself.

Try networking with them on social media, commenting on their blog, and building up a relationship with them first, then you’re not sending a cold pitch, you’re sending a warm pitch from someone that they are familiar with.

3. Businesses

how to get writing jobs 2Many businesses need freelance writers for everything from website copy, email marketing and product descriptions to case studies, white papers, and even technical manuals.

You can use the same approach as with agencies by networking so you can send a warm pitch, or pick up the phone and have a chat if you’re comfortable doing that. The worst you’ll get is a ‘no thank you’, and you might find you get a great response.

A lot of companies are so busy that they don’t have time to advertise for a freelance writer, so if you pop up with your well-crafted writer’s website and your excellent experience in their field, you could be just what they were looking for.

4. LinkedIn

Did you know LinkedIn has a jobs section? You don’t have to spend hours poring over it either. Just sign up for alerts for the type of jobs you are looking for, and they will email them to you.

And while you’re on there, why not do some networking from the comfort of your own home, and see who you can meet? You never know where it might lead

 

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Image credits: Markus Spiske, Pixelmattic WordPress Agencyhome thods

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Getting started as a freelance writer - copify

Getting started as a freelance writer: what you should know

When you’re getting started as a freelance writer, all the different advice can be confusing, overwhelming and downright contrary.

Should you focus on Upwork or similar sites, or look for your own clients? Should you have a website and what should you put on it? How do you even get clients and, if you do, what on earth do you charge?

Try answering those questions with a Google search and you’ll get a variety of conflicting opinions, which might make you want to throw your hands up in despair and go back to the 9 to 5!

Let’s see if we can shed a little light on the subject:

What do you need to be a freelance writer?

A computer and an internet connection, basically. And a means of getting paid, of course.

Being a freelancer of any kind also means you need certain characteristics, without which you might not succeed:

Obviously, you need good writing skills, though you don’t necessarily need a degree. You need to be tenacious enough to keep persevering in the face of rejection (sadly, you won’t get every job you apply for); adaptable and flexible enough to deal with a variety of projects and clients; and determined to keep learning and improving. You need to be organised and able to plan out your work, so you meet your deadlines and still have time to market and develop your business. While you might be wonderful with words, you also need to have a business head on your shoulders and be comfortable enough looking at your numbers to make sure you’re earning enough to be able to live.

Working at home has a rosy image of lounging on the sofa all day with your feet up, and working in your pyjamas, and we’re not telling you that doesn’t happen, but you do need to put in the work and take it seriously.

Getting started as a freelance writer - copify

Get your setup ducks in a row

Decide whether you want to be self-employed or to have a business, register with HMRC for tax, and do all the other things you need to do to start your business off on the right legal footing.

However tempting it may be to just get started, don’t skip this bit. It’s not glamorous, it’s not exciting, but it is necessary.

Your freelance writer website

Next, you need to consider your writer website. Here’s an excellent step by step guide from Jorden Roper on how to set your site up.

Bear in mind that if you use something like Wix or WordPress.com, rather than buying a domain name, using self-hosted WordPress and hosting your own site, you are giving away your real estate on the web. If Wix suddenly decides to change the rules tomorrow and remove your site, it’s gone and there’ll be nothing you can do about it, but if you host your own site, you’ll always own it, and no one can take it from you.

What to charge

Now we’re getting to the good bit! Presumably, you’re not running a charity and you’d really like to make the big bucks with your freelance writing.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a list of rates for each type of freelance writing, but here’s where you start:

Take a look at Brennan Dunn’s Freelance Rate Calculator and work through how he suggests you calculate your rate. It’s in dollars, but ignore that and use it as if it was in Pounds Sterling and it will still work for you. You’ll also get a free nine-lesson email course from Brennan that can help you increase your rate, which is well worth signing up for.

Getting started as a freelance writer - copify

You’ll note that he doesn’t suggest you just double what you were paid per hour at your old job or have a guess at

what to charge. The whole idea is to work out how much you need to earn to live, and then look at how much you *want* to earn. That way you’ve got a far better starting point than picking a figure out of the air.

When you freelance, you have to pay your own taxes and National Insurance, and you don’t get sick pay, holiday pay and a bunch of other benefits either, so your rate needs to be enough to cover those too.

After that, do some research and look at what other freelancers are charging. It will also help to join a writing community like Carol Tice’s Freelance Writer’s Den so you can chat with other freelancers and get advice on pricing.

Marketing and finding jobs

Again, the Freelance Writer’s Den is a brilliant place to get advice about finding work. There’s a very active forum, and you can build relationships with other freelancers, which is an excellent thing to do. You may find you’ll be able to refer jobs to each other or even work together on bigger projects.

Not only that but the Den also has a huge list of courses included, where you can learn everything from how to get started to the more advanced courses on Content Marketing, writing Letters of Introduction (LOIs).

The Den is a paid membership and costs $25 per month (around £20) but it’s well worth it.

Failing that, if you don’t have the budget for that yet, try Carol Tice’s other site, Make a Living Writing, which is free and utterly brilliant. Try the Start Here page to choose what you want to learn.

Marketing and getting writing jobs is a huge topic that could fill several books, never mind just another article so we can’t cover everything here, but here are some places to start:

Earn Money Online: Monster List of 161 Markets for Freelance Writers

Problogger jobs board

• Read our article, 6 freelance writing opportunities for beginners, for other job boards and a section on cold pitching.

• If you want to blog for a living, explore Sophie Lizard’s excellent Be a Freelance Blogger site for advice on how to get clients.

• Get your portfolio set up

• Collect testimonials from satisfied clients and put them on your website for social proof.

• Going back to Double Your Freelance Writing, Brennan Dunn has amazing articles on starting out in freelancing, marketing, and a whole lot more.

Getting started as a freelance writer - copify Keep learning!

Nobody knows it all, not even if they’ve been freelancing for decades. The trick is to always keep learning. You can’t rely on what you knew ten years ago to still be entirely relevant now. Ten years ago, for example, video wasn’t as popular as it is now, and nor was writing video scripts as lucrative.

Keep on top of the trends, improve your writing with a copywriting course, and keep learning new skills, and you’ll always have something valuable to offer your freelance clients.

 

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Image credits: CV UribeLuz BratcherMichael Coghlan

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Becoming a freelance editor – what you need to know Copify

Becoming a freelance editor – what you need to know

Becoming a freelance editor can be a great career choice. You have the freedom to choose what type of editing you want to do, where you work and what projects you work on. But being an editor does require a certain level of knowledge. You can’t just set up your shingle as an editor without an in-depth knowledge of spelling, grammar and punctuation, and if you want to be a developmental or substantive editor for novelists, you’ll need to understand story arcs, character development and a whole lot more before you can promote yourself as a professional.

If you’re thinking of a career as an editor, read on to find out what you need to know.

First of all, what is an editor?

Becoming a freelance editor – what you need to know

Really simply, an editor makes sure that any copy that goes to print, whether online or offline, is factually accurate, formatted to any house guidelines, free of plagiarism, and accurate in terms of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

“An editor makes sure the writer’s work says what the writer intends and says it in the writer’s voice and with his sensibilities.” – From The Editor’s Blog.

Some editors may also be responsible for choosing articles for magazines, books for publication, and even helping with design layout.

An editor’s job can vary widely depending on what type of editing they do.

What is an editor’s typical day like?

Just like with freelance writing, there’s not really any such thing as a typical day.

You might be doing client work for the majority of your day, but you’ll also need to spend time on marketing yourself as a freelancer, acquiring new clients, and the general admin, filing and accounts work that goes along with running your own business. Taking some time to look at how your business is doing, and planning for the future and where you would like to be is also vital.

You’ll work closely with clients to produce a polished, finished piece, whether that’s with fiction authors, non-fiction authors, website content managers, magazine editorial teams, in-house publishing houses… There are many people and types of business that might need a good editor. And that’s good news for you as there are a lot of opportunities in this field, and with the internet growing as it is, and more websites popping up every day, demand for good editing skills is only going to increase.

If you pursue this type of career, you’ll find that it can be a high-pressured job with long hours, especially when coming up to a deadline.

Types of editing jobs

There are more types of editing jobs than we have room for here, and as a freelancer, you may well find yourself offering several different types to your clients:

Proofreading

Sometimes known as proofing, or final edits, proofreading is the last edit before the copy goes to publication. A proofreader will look for any remaining errors in tense, grammar, spelling or punctuation, and depending on the type of job, may also check for accurate page numbering, indexing, that the table of contents works and links to where it should, consistency across headers and design elements, and more to produce a final, polished product to be proud of.

Copy editing

Becoming a freelance editor – what you need to know

A copy edit is not the place for huge structural changes or alterations to the story arc if you’re editing fiction. This is where you’ll check for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, and ensure that all the styles are consistent, for example, the same speech marks are used throughout. You’ll check references, and perhaps look at where any artwork is placed.

Fact and reference checking

Pretty much what it says on the tin – ensuring all of the facts and statistics presented are accurate, and checking any references used for accuracy and validity.

Indexing specialist

You may go through a manuscript and produce an alphabetical index from the copy, or you may additionally use indexing software to actually create the final, formatted index that goes into the finished item.

Stylistic or line editing

Every writer has their own distinctive voice, and if you’re editing fiction, every single book, even from the same writer, will have its own feel and tone. Your job is not to edit that out of the manuscript, but to bring the individual voice and tone out even more and enhance the manuscript. You’ll remove clichés, smooth the writing, clarify what the writer means, work on polishing dialogue and description, and perhaps check that the reading level is right for the audience.

Developmental editing

This type of editing involves taking a project from start to finish and working with a team of people from the writer to the designers, and possibly with some involvement from marketers, too.

You might update and polish an already existing book or marketing brochure, assist the team to pull together their old blog posts into a book, or help the team work out how to get started with their project and what direction to take it in.

With fiction, you’ll quite likely work with the author to help them develop the story arc and the goals for the story. You might give notes on character development, themes, plot devices and dialogue. This is a very deep edit, and you do need to know what you’re doing to attempt this.

Substantive and structural editing

An author may need help with their story structure and style, and when doing this type of edit, you’ll use your copy-editing skills, but also look at the flow and the organisation of the plot and the style to make sure the manuscript gives a clear, coherent, compelling and well-styled story.

Again, this is a deep edit and not something you should attempt if you aren’t familiar with plot devices, story arcs and structure and the other rules of writing good fiction.

Further editing jobs might include acquisitions editor for a publisher, where you evaluate manuscripts and help to choose what books go through for publication. You might assist with magazine editing as an assistant or managing editor, or oversee a team as an executive editor. Some of those jobs may not be available to freelancers, depending on the company’s preference, but you may still find freelance opportunities if you look.

What do you need to become an editor?

For most editing jobs, you will need a degree in English or journalism. Membership of a professional body, such as The Society for Editors and Proofreaders, can reassure potential clients and also offer you training to expand your skills.

What traits and skills will you need?

Becoming a freelance editor – what you need to know

• Obviously an excellent command of the English language, grammar, punctuation and spelling
• Adaptability
• Excellent computer skills
• Reliability
• Accuracy
• The ability to work under pressure
• Thorough and detail-oriented
• The ability to stick to deadlines
• Being a people person, as you’ll need to work closely with others to do your job
• Creativity

How to get started

If you know what you want to do early enough, you can get experience by working on the school or student newspaper or perhaps do some work for a charity to get some experience.

You could start at entry level as an editor’s assistant and work your way up, and then branch out on your own as a freelancer once you have enough experience.

With such an array of different editorial jobs out there, you’ll need to pick what appeals to you. A fashion editor for a magazine, for example, will need different experience and knowledge than a book editor for science fiction.

While this earlier post from our blog is about becoming a freelance writer, a lot of the advice will apply to you as an editor, so it’s well worth a read. You’ll need a website, samples of your work to show to prospective clients, and testimonials from satisfied clients.

Where to find editing jobs

You could start with the freelance job sites, such as Upwork, and browse boards such as the Problogger job board.

Once you have some experience under your belt and some great feedback you can use as testimonials, start looking for companies that might need your services – marketing agencies, publishers, magazines, and even businesses – and start pitching them your services via email, or on the phone if you’re feeling brave!

Want to read more? Try this excellent guide from CopyPress on how to be an effective editor.

And to close, here’s another perfect quote from The Editor’s Blog on what editors really do for their clients: “Editors are enhancers. They work to make what is good better, what is great, outstanding. They challenge writers. They challenge themselves.”

 

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Image credits: Markus SpiskeNic McPheeChris Dlugosz

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5 best freelance copywriter courses on the web - copify

The 5 best freelance copywriter courses on the web

Copywriting is a brilliant career, but there are so many options to choose from that, when you’re just starting out, the amount of different job types and things you need to know can seem overwhelming.

Luckily, there are plenty of places on the web where you can learn, with some truly excellent copywriter courses available:

1. Copyblogger

No article about non-fiction writing is complete without mentioning Copyblogger, and they have an amazing free resource in the shape of My Copyblogger. This, quite seriously, is better by a mile than a lot of the paid courses out there. Devour every last word of this and put it into action, and you will know more about copywriting than 90% of the copywriters out there.

Here are just some of the topics:

  • A Content Marketing Strategy that Works
  • Email Marketing: How to Push, Send and Grow Your Business
  • How to Write Magnetic Headlines
  • Landing Pages: How to Turn Traffic into Money
  • Keyword Research: A Real-World Guide

And did we mention it’s free?

Following on from that, and if your speciality is content marketing, you could join their Authority training programme for advanced training on content marketing, and a supportive network of other professionals to help you build your career and improve as a writer. As their sales page reads, they have over 300 hours of marketing training already online, there are weekly sessions with the Copyblogger team, as well as forums, discounts on tools you’ll need and a whole lot more.

If you’re an advanced writer and really want to grow your career, Copyblogger also offer the Certified Content Marketer programme. It’s not open all year round, so you’ll need to keep checking back – either that or sign up for their mailing list for more copywriting goodness in your inbox, and they’ll let you know when it opens.

Why do this programme? This is for you if you’re a serious writer and are prepared to spend a considerable amount on your own education to learn and grow. What do you get? Extremely advanced training, a thorough review of your work by the Copyblogger team, and certification as a content marketer to the Copyblogger standard. This does cost a lot, but the kudos of being able to say you’re Copyblogger certified could add some serious zeros to your bottom line. And you get listed in their directory with a direct link from Copyblogger’s site to yours. How’s that for link juice?

2. Be a Freelance Blogger

Run by Sophie Lizard, BAFB as it’s known is another site with a brilliant blog where you can learn so much without paying a penny.

When you’re ready to look for paid training, however, Sophie has several options available, including live mentoring!

 5 best freelance copywriter courses on the web

If you’re just starting out as a blogging freelancer, her course on getting started is ideal. You’ll learn all you need to know from getting your website sorted, identifying your markets and topics, and setting your rates to setting up your accounting, and growing your business.

If you’re further along, you could take her The Freelance Blogger’s Client Hunting Masterclass if you’re having trouble finding clients on a consistent basis. Find out where to get better-paying clients, how to negotiate, how to pitch, and more.

And if you need further help, or want to chat about something not covered in the courses, you can pick Sophie’s brains by signing up for a mentoring session or two.

3. Make a Living Writing/The Freelance Writer’s Den

Both run by Carol Tice, a hugely experienced freelance writer, these sites are designed to ensure you get paid proper rates for your writing, and learn everything you need to know.

Make a Living Writing is the main site, where you can read the blog for free and learn from some brilliant and well-experienced writers. You can also find a list of all the books Carol has written and buy some of those if they fit the subjects you need to learn about.

If you’re just dipping your toe into the freelance writer life, this is a great place to start for advice and education, and could save you from getting burned by poor paying or unethical clients.

For taking your career further, Carol offers 2 options – The Freelance Writer’s Den, and The Freelance Writer’s Den 2X Income Accelerator.

The Freelance Writer’s Den is a paid membership site ($25 per month – about £20), with a very active forum filled with writers at all stages of their careers. You can have your website critiqued by Carol, ask for help on your pitches, and find advice on just about anything else you can think of related to writing.

Not only that but Carol regularly runs courses for writers on a variety of subjects, which for non-members can be anything up to several hundred dollars, but are often included in the Den membership for no extra charge. Access to the forum alone is well worth the membership, but the addition of these courses makes membership a no-brainer.

Courses include:

  • How to Write a Sales Page Bootcamp
  • Self-Publishing 101
  • How to be a Well-Paid Blogger
  • Close the Sale
  • Article Writing Masterclass

And so much more, you’ll be spoiled for choice on where to start.

The Den 2X Income Accelerator is for writers further along in their career who are already getting regular clients and making 5 – 6 figures a year but want to move up to the next level.

In Carol’s own words, the Accelerator is:

“…a 6 month, small-group mastermind with 1-on-1 coaching and my exclusive Road Map program. Den 2X guides and supports you through a series of simple steps designed to double your income within 1 year.”

There’s direct support from Carol via coaching sessions, Skype calls, monthly masterminds, and access to the Den 2X Grads group for ongoing support after the Accelerator finishes – all that, and access to the Freelance Writer’s Den, too.

4. Bushra Azhar’s Persuasion Revolution

This is not technically a copywriting course, but if you’re trying to sell anything as a writer, you need to know how to persuade, and Bushra is a master persuader. She’s also hilarious and completely outspoken, so you’ll have fun while you learn!

5 best freelance copywriter courses on the web

Again, there’s a free blog you can start off with to see if you like her style and to learn without having to pay if you’re on a budget.

Her paid Persuasion Hacks Lab is a masterclass in what to say to persuade people to open your emails, sign up to your course, join your webinar, and more. It also covers dealing with clients on things like raising your rates or asking for testimonials, along with scripts you can use straight away.

5. Ittybiz

As a freelancer, you’re also running a business, and Naomi Dunford’s Ittybiz is perfect for learning both how to do that well, and how to write great copy.

The blog is free to read and brilliant whether you’re trying to learn how to blog, figuring out what to say to your clients, or finding out how to write better copy.

And in the store, you’ll find an array of products and courses designed to help you produce great content quickly and get products out there, such as ebooks, templates on digital marketing, and courses on building your list, getting more clients, and doubling your sales.

And if you’re thinking ‘how does any of that teach me to be a better copywriter?’, if the only thing you do is read Naomi’s blog, you’ll come out of there a better writer for reading her fun and amazing style, and soaking up her knowledge. Apart from that, looking at the topics above, don’t you think your clients might want you to be able to write better emails to build their list, and copy that can get them more clients? The answer, in case you were wondering, is ‘YES!’.

The very best copywriters are always learning, and one of the best ways to do that is to follow other freelance writers who’ve been there, done that and started earning the big bucks! Here’s a list of the 10 of the best blogs about writing to get you started.

 

Main image credit: WOCinTech Chat
Image credits: Be a Freelance Blogger, The Persuasion Revolution

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