Whether you’re new to freelancing or an experienced copywriter looking to up your game, securing copywriting jobs starts with developing a winning business strategy.
While every writer is different, and each will have their own thoughts on how to secure steady business, there are a few foolproof tips you can employ to increase your visibility to potential freelance copywriting jobs.
5 Tips for Landing Competitive Freelance Copywriting Jobs
Tip 1: Build Your Street Cred
Freelancing is similar to other beginning businesses; when you start, you have no street cred on the boulevard. You can tell potential clients how great your newsletters, landing pages, and blog posts are, but until you have enough published words to back those claims up, it can be a precarious pitch. It is important that you look at all of the experiences you have, even beyond writing, and leverage details in your background to catch the eye of possible employers. In the process, you’ll begin to build your street cred.
Highlight your existing experience and education. Let potential employers know about what you have written, and any formal education that you have. Building their confidence in your previous experience will help you land the right freelance copywriting jobs.
Evaluate where you can grow and build your skills. Are there specific skills you can pursue to make your offerings more marketable? If your clients are seeking design assistance, too, can you get good at Canva to make you stand out from the rest of the freelance copywriters in the crowd?
Earn certificates, and take free courses to continue to build your credentials. Hubspot, LinkedIn, and YouTube are great places to access inexpensive or even free courses you can take to increase your marketability. Some even offer certificates that you can post on your LinkedIn or professional website. By learning more skills, and demonstrating your mastery, you will raise your street cred considerably to help you land that next freelance copywriting job.
Tip 2: Grow Your Ecosystem
The #freelancinglife has associations of spending time on your laptop in trendy, digital nomad coffeeshops, or maybe sitting at a desk in a shared office space that looks like a San Francisco start-up, but the reality of the profession is that it is often spent at home, alone on your laptop. It can be an isolating vocation, so it is important that you extend yourself to professional contacts whenever you can. One of the easiest ways to do this is by leveraging your social media platforms.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Mastodon, Instagram, and even TikTok are great platforms to market your talents and connect with potential clients. Pin your Linktree with selections of your best work, or your professional website to the top of your profile, so visitors see what you have to offer. Spend some time following the journals, blogs, and companies you would like to write for. Find out who the editors at those outlets are. Follow them and interact with their posts. This will give you a great idea of the type of content to pitch to them, and the decision-makers will be more apt to recognize your name and social media handles.
Tip 3: Start with Gigs Over Profit
Building your portfolio is vital to any freelance writer. Yet, sometimes copywriting jobs will come along that could help your name recognition, but the final payout isn’t as high as you had expected. It is important to spend some time considering these lower offers, especially when you are beginning your career, and your street cred isn’t quite as high as you’d like.
It’s a good idea to never take a job for free (Super Bowl exceptionnotwithstanding…). Your professional content is worth something. However, you might consider taking a low-pay contract if it is a low ask, with fewer touch points. Interviewing with the potential client will help inform you of some of these details. If the copywriting job doesn’t pay much but also doesn’t require much bandwidth from you or time conducting research, it might be a fair opportunity for you. You’ll get another byline, you’ll get more exposure, and ultimately, that low-paying assignment could be the one that opens up new conversations with future, potential clients. It is important to evaluate the return on investment. How much work are you putting into this piece, and what opportunities could arise? If you see the future value in today’s (low-paying) labor, take the gig!
Tip 4: Ask for More Work
The best time to ask for more work is right after you deliver a top-notch piece of content. It can be as easy as, “If you liked that, I could always do something on [a topic that fits the client’s communications/marketing plan]. Let me know!” You leave the conversation sounding like the authority that you are, and offer a deliverable, right here, right now, that fits their brand.
To that same end, make sure you circle back to former clients and check in to see if they have any projects they need assistance on. Sometimes you’ll catch your former client buried under their to-do list, and you are a well-timed respite to their staggering workload. Let your former work stand as a reminder of your deliverables, and give them highlights of content you have written in the last few months. Show your street cred. You are not bugging them! Oftentimes, you are exactly what they are looking for, so don’t let your trepidation stop you from hitting the SEND button!
Tip 5: Have Multiple Revenue Streams
“The day you sign a client is the day you start losing him.” – Don Draper of Mad Men.
Of all the great Don Draper quotes, that one is particularly important to today’s topic. Clients come and go – this is part of the business. Things could be going great with a client; weekly blogs, assisting with an email campaign, great ROI reports… and then you get a message that they no longer need your services.
Often, it has nothing to do with your writing or other aspects of your job performance. Perhaps they are pivoting to more video, or they think the new intern could handle the job (they can’t), or the comms budget was dramatically cut. So many times, it is so beyond your control, but it happens all the time. It is important to keep this transitory workflow in mind for your copywriting jobs, and always be looking to add another project.
A good rule of thumb is to maintain three ongoing sources for steady work, every month. And if you can juggle it, have five sources. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. One of those baskets is going to fall over at some point, so keep several baskets under your watchful eye and chosen word processing platform.
One of the easiest ways to increase your professional network and land more freelance copywriting jobs is by joining the Copywriter Exchange. Find helpful articles, learn skills, network with other writers and potential employers, and prepare yourself for your choice of top copywriting jobs. You can even watch a free webinar that dives deep into this topic!
Doug Kenck-Crispin is a podcaster and freelance writer in Portland, Oregon. He pens features for newspapers and magazines, long reads, website copy, landing pages, email campaigns and other marketing mediums. You can find more about Doug on Linkedin, Twitter, or his website.
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