13 things to consider before you turn your passion for blogging into a freelance copywriting career.
If you have an aptitude for writing and a mind that's equally as creative; a personal or business blog is an excellent place to start to explore your passion. You have all the opportunity in the world to get your thoughts, feelings, and experiences down on proverbial paper AND share your creativity with the world.
Perhaps you've been freelancing as a business blogger, or you're getting your words out there via your personal blog, but the next logical step to further your reach is to explore the world of freelance copywriting.
There's no doubt that a career as a freelance copywriter can be highly lucrative if you put the necessary steps in place and you already have one step up on most people; you can write, and you can write well!
If you're ready for the next step in your career, here are 13 things which you must consider to successfully transform yourself from blogger extraordinaire into a winning wordsmith who is running a successful freelance copywriting business.
1) Research the services you need to provide.
While business blogs will undoubtedly be a part of your service list, there are more services that a freelance copywriter will provide. Do thorough online research before you begin to market yourself. Your services will include, but won't be limited to the following:
· Website copy
· Brochure copy
· Email campaigns
· Product descriptions
· Advertising copy.
While you won't necessarily specialize in the whole suite of services, it's important that you're aware what could be asked of you before you begin.
2) Take advantage of online learning.
As a freelance copywriter, you're fortunate that there is a broad range of online learning tools available, and many of these are free. Sign up to webinars, online courses and download eBooks. Immerse yourself in the copywriting world for as long as possible because the more you practice, the better you get. While copywriting requires a certain amount of creativity, it's also scientific, and it's just as important that for your copy to be useful you learn how to write while following specific formulas. Fortunately, to improve your knowledge base you don't even have to leave your computer, so get Googling.
3) Join Facebook groups and forums.
There are many copywriting groups on forums and social networking sites such as Facebook which are dedicated to helping you improve your skills and become a better copywriter. Join as many of these as you can to take advantage of the benefit of the expertise of those much more experienced than you. Ask questions, get involved in discussions, and soak it all up like a sponge.
4) Decide how to quote.
Now comes the tricky part! Every copywriter charges differently; some charge per hour, some charge per article and once you've decided how to charge – you need to decide how much to charge! When deciding your rates, don't forget to allow for the value that you're bringing to your clients, but also be aware that you're just starting out and experience costs more! Browse some freelance sites to get an idea of where people sit on the price scale and set your rates dependant on that.
5) Design a briefing form.
I can almost hear you shouting at the screen that you can make do without a briefing form. I know this because you won't be the first, you won't be the last and many a copywriter that has walked this path before you have uttered the same words ‘I don't need a briefing form.'
This is one of the biggest myths to circulate the industry – YOU NEED A COPYWRITING BRIEFING FORM!
There are many online templates for you to follow the structure, but included in your briefing form should be everything you need to match your finished product with the client's goals.
If you don't have a briefing form, you're as good as mind-reading, and with copywriting being such a subjective art, it's vital that you have solid paperwork to refer to if, after the first draft, your client doesn't like your work. There will always be customers who say they would rather go ahead without a brief however as a freelance copywriter, you should insist upon it.
6) Design a workflow.
Just like with charges, all copywriters work differently, and while it's entirely up to you how you work with clients, there are some things I can recommend:
· Set a maximum number of edits (standard is two)
· Set a time limit for these revisions to take place (standard is one to two weeks)
· Set a payment term.
It's important that everyone knows where they stand from the outset to avoid any payment disputes or misunderstandings, so it's vital that these conditions are documented and agreed upon before you begin.
7) Make yourself aware of relevant marketing concepts.
While this isn't essential, it's highly recommended that you make yourself aware of marketing concepts which you need to have a basic level of understanding of. SEO, web design and brand management are all areas you need to do a little extra-curricular reading around.
8) Build a portfolio.
This can be a vicious circle in the very early days because you can't win jobs without a portfolio, but you can't build a portfolio until you've won jobs! You might need to consider working for a low rate in exchange for testimonials so that you can create a document to showcase your work. A portfolio is a standard tool in every freelance copywriter's toolkit, so it's essential you keep records of your best work.
9) Advertise your services on freelancing sites.
You'll never feel completely ready to take this vital step, but until you do, you won't know what you don't know! Register a profile and start to bid on jobs that you would feel confident to complete within the required time frame. Once you've taken this fundamental step, then the real fun will begin!
10) Sell yourself!
You need to sell yourself both on and offline. Once your name is out there, people will know who you are and what you can do to help them improve their business. Online networking is critical but also make visits to local businesses in your area too. Many companies prefer to work with a copywriter face to face so forging these strong local relationships will contribute greatly to helping you build your freelance business.
11) Collaborate with other freelancers.
Copywriting goes hand in hand with other freelancing industries, and there is great power in creating those collaborations. Link up with designers, web designers and even other copywriters who can pass their overflow to you. You will need to network, research, and come up with an offer to begin creating these lucrative alliances, but there is strength in numbers at war, and freelancing as a copywriter is no different!
12) Be prepared to let go of your creativity.
Copywriting is scientific and doesn't always require a large amount of creativity. Unfortunately, you might create a piece of work that you're so proud of you'd like to decorate your lounge room with it, but your client might hate it! While that can be soul destroying if you let it, you need to develop a thick skin because hard as this might be to swallow; your clients have the final word.
Taking the leap from blogger to freelance copywriter is one of the best things you can do if you're a wordsmith who is ready to spread your freelancing wings! These simple steps will help you to become successful, financially viable, and build up a client base which will afford you the life of luxury you deserve in no time!