Recently, I’ve had a lot of people asking me questions about being a freelancer and what a freelance job would entail. Since I’ve been a consultant on and off for almost a decade now, I absolutely LOVE helping people who are ballsy enough to dip their toe into the freelancing pool. I’ve worked mostly as a designer and brand strategist, but in that time I have learned a TON about what to do, what not to do and what companies look for in almost every field.
What is EVERY company looking for? SOMEONE WITH THE ABILITY TO HELP THEM HIT THEIR BUSINESS GOALS.
That’s it. Seriously. What can YOU do to help THEM be successful? When you start thinking that way, it helps to really hone in on what you have to offer.
Let’s get to the specifics: Freelance Copywriting.
What sort of copywriting positions do companies hire for? As for freelance copywriting positions in GENERAL, there are a lot of different options out there. A few positions most companies are always looking for are:
Content Development + Strategy
This position involves being part marketer and part copywriter — understanding how to write messages that help sell. Responsibilities include establishing a voice and tone for the brand to help with creating a cohesive brand message. This would include writing stories for landing pages, explaining the product and helping comprise emails. This requires understanding the company’s customers and what messages resonate with those customers. Some prompts would be: Why would potential customers use your product? How are you different from competitors? How will this help better your customer’s lives? If you can help a company address these questions, you’ll help them engage with their audience, which in turn: HELPS THEM MAKE MORE MONEY.
A ton of companies actually pay people to write for their blogs, since it takes time to craft interesting pieces and companies are spread thin on great content. If there’s anything you’re specifically knowledgable or passionate about, I’d recommend finding companies with that audience and pitching yourself as a freelance writer. The key here is to choose a company who’s content you identify with, and then choose a topic that resonates with THEIR readers. Does the company write about politics? Business? Design? Cats? Great — you love cats and have tons of insights and tips on things you’ve learned while living with ten of them. Now you should contact whoever is in charge of their content and pitch them some really strong article ideas around cats — just list a few potential titles and the content you plan to focus on. Keep it quick and simple, you just want to see if they’re interested.
Some companies will hire copywriters just to EDIT. This mostly requires combing through blog posts and site content to ensure that things are consistent and error free.
Those are just a few of many various copywriting descriptions you may run into. Some companies might expect that you do ALL those things and more, in which case it’s really important to clarify what your specific role and responsibilities are. A lot of companies might not even know what they need, so it’s on you to tell them what they need. Look at their site, product and customers before taking on any job. What are they doing well? Where could they improve? If you come into the initial consultation with the company armed with that info, congratulations, you’re 90% guaranteed* to get the job.
* This is not a real number, I’m just sayin’ that most of your competition won’t be this prepared, so you’ve got a huge advantage.
A good way to help get your foot in the door with any company is to establish yourself as a copywriter.
I recommend putting up a website, even if it’s just a simple page that says what you do and slowly start to build a portfolio/client list. Maybe write for a friend’s site or do small jobs here and there to get a small portfolio under your belt. Medium
is a great place to just write articles and stories about things you’re passionate about, which shows potential clients your voice, writing style and the types of things you enjoy writing about.
Here are some references & resources to help you see how to position yourself as a copywriter:
Maybe you want to stalk a couple of great copywriters who are getting tons of work to see what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
• Alexandra Franzen
: Alexandra helps companies establish their brand message — and she’s so good that she’s booked until next year.
Maybe you want to peek inside what companies are looking for, or get a better grasp on what to offer and how to price your services. These online classes can help.
• The Copy Cure:
Great course geared towards writing copy for brands. Basically, a bootcamp for learning how to write marketing copy and how to speak to target customers. This all may seem like common sense if you’ve been writing for a while, but the course does a great job of breaking things down and helping you to develop a writing process.
• Sentences & Money
: This course will teach you how to make money doing what you love: writing. It teaches you how to position yourself as a writer, what you should offer and how to tackle pricing for your services. Plus, it’s created by the witty and wonderful Ash Ambirge behind The Middle Finger Project, who’s helped bazillions*
of brands find their voice and build their audience.
Hope that helps to spark ideas for you and gives you a place to start. Just keep doing what you love and keep telling people that you do it — that’s the key to getting work!
Have any other amazing copywriters who’ve inspired you? Have any tips or questions — let me know!