You have directly benefited from the work of a freelance copywriter if you've purchased something based on what you read in an ad, on a website or even heard on radio or television. While many of the larger companies hire in-house copywriters to persuade the public to buy their products or services, many small and medium sized businesses hire freelance copywriters to do the job. Here are some keys to becoming a candidate for hire:
1. Start with Web Copywriting
Copywriting is the backbone to marketing online. Everyone from entrepreneurs to non-profit associations are marketing their products and services online, and therefore need good copy to persuade Internet users to buy. They can't afford to hire an in-house copywriter, and therefore they'll outsource to freelance copywriters. You should position yourself to be a web copywriter and take advantage of the opportunities in online marketing. Freelance copywriting on the web can range from writing web pages to product descriptions for online stores. You can bid for jobs on websites like Elance, or check online job boards that list freelance writing jobs.
2. Improve Your Writing Skills
You may be a good writer, but can you write in a way that makes people want to buy? Can you write for busy readers who have only a short amount of time to scan your copy? There are many areas to pursue as a freelance copywriter, but if you're new to it, you may need to learn to write in a brand new way. For example, it may be a challenge for you to write in a conversational style using less than 600 words when you're used to writing 25 pages on one topic, complete with footnotes. The key is to read good copywriting put out by leading companies in the industry you want to pursue, and practice writing some yourself. You can also dive in and try to get smaller copywriting gigs. The more you get to write copy, the more you'll improve over time.
3. Create Winning Samples
Every employer will ask you for a writing sample. This is your chance to prove that you are the copywriter they need to hire. However, what if you've never been hired before? In that case, create a speculative sample: pretend you are hired by a company and complete two copywriting projects for it. Unlike other writing samples that may be more informational, your goal with copywriting is to promote something (a product, a service, a business, etc.). If you're submitting samples to an employer who wants to hire you to sell something, then your sample should be a direct mail copy in which you're persuading customers to buy the product or service. If you send out generic writing samples for a copywriting job, you will get trampled on by the competition.
4. Take a Copywriting Course
This may be a worthwhile investment if you're new to writing for the purpose of selling. Copywriting is not about writing articles and other informational pieces. You must have the skills to sell in your writing. You're being hired to make people who read your work take action. There are seminars and courses that will teach you how to become a good freelance copywriter, although you want to avoid courses that promise you'll become a millionaire with their copywriting course. The average salary for copywriters starting out is $1,000 to $3,000 monthly.
When you decide to become a freelance copywriter, keep in mind that your goal is to build up your reputation for providing excellent, well written and persuasive copy. The above key points can start you on the path to launching your career.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.