Yesterday, I received an email from an aspiring copywriter asking me how I got started. He had no experience, no portfolio and no website, but he was desperate to become a freelance copywriter, and being one myself, I was more than happy to give him the benefit of my experience.
And rather than simply keep my advice between the two of us, I thought I’d pop it down in a nice little blog post, for everyone to see!
So here goes…
1. Set up a website
Even if you have absolutely no history as a copywriter and no portfolio to show off, I’d still recommend that you set up a website advertising your services. A simple 4-5 page website can be built for just a few hundred pounds, and it will give you the “professional” image that you really need if you’re going to attract clients.
Don’t worry too much about a portfolio page. I’ve been a copywriter for many years, and I got rid of my portfolio page a long time ago! It became so time-consuming having to constantly update it, and it kept costing me money too, because my designer doesn’t work for free (selfish git!). These days, I just have a note on my site informing visitors that if they’d like to see any of my work then all they need to do is ask, and I’ll send some samples over. Many young copywriters seem to think that they need to have been writing for 5 years, or have a string of clients under their belt before they’re entitled to a website. That’s not true, and there are no barriers. If you want to set up a website and become a freelance copywriter. Just do it. Trust me. I did!
Note: If you need any help finding a high quality web designer who doesn’t cost the earth, get in touch. As well as being a copywriter, I’m also a small business marketing consultant and run an online marketing agency that specialises in web design, copywriting, SEO, social media marketing, and much more besides.
2. Sign up to Freelance Job Sites To Attract Clients
Once you’ve set up your website, the next thing you need to do is find some clients. Now, at this point you won’t be anywhere near the first page of Google, so you need to be a little more pro-active and go looking for work yourself. The best place to start is to sign up with sites like elance.com, freelancer.com and guru.com, which will enable you to bid on copywriting projects and secure work.
To begin with, try undercutting the competition in order to secure a job or two. At this stage, it’s not simply about making money. It’s about gaining experience, and possibly even securing a testimonial or two that you can then use on your new website!
3. Use Social Media Sites
Another great way of finding clients is to use Facebook and Twitter. No doubt you’ve already got an account with those two sites, so make use of your connections by asking all of your friends and followers whether they need any work done, or whether they know anyone who might.
If you’ve been unable to secure any work via the freelance sites, try offering your services for FREE. You should have quite a lot of people who will be more than willing to help you get started, and will love the fact that they’ll be getting something for nothing, especially if their company has a marketing department and they require this sort of service regularly.
If you’re successful and you manage to secure a job, you’re now officially a freelance copywriter.
The next step is to get your site ranking on page 1 of the search engines, which will bring you more than enough business to make a sizeable income. If you require any help with SEO, shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can do!
Nick Cobb – Direct Response Copywriter