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How to Become a Freelance Copywriter Online

Nov 19, 2019

Become a freelance copywriter online while learning the industry, developing and demonstrating your writing skills, correctly positioning yourself within the market, publishing your portfolio and marketing yourself.

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Launch Your Freelance Copywriting Career Online

While many copywriters have an undergraduate advertising or communications degree, starting a freelance career online is possible with the right research. A freelance copywriter can make a living while working their own hours, constantly improving skills and marketing a personal brand.

Required skills Spelling, grammar, attention to detail, editing, writing, creativity, communication, research, multitasking, meeting deadlines
Job growth (2018-2028)* 0% (for all writers and authors)
Median salary (2018)* $62,170 per year // $29.89 per hour (for all writers and authors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Five Steps to Become a Freelance Copywriter Online

Start your freelance copywriting career online today without leaving your laptop.

Step 1. Prove your writing ability

Gather your recent articles and projects into one place and select the absolute best ones for your portfolio. If you don't have any recent writing samples, create spec ads or posts based on existing copy for the clients you want to represent. Search for copywriting jobs on Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn or anyplace that lists freelance opportunities and develop clips through paid work gained via an UpWork profile or as a Fiverr seller. Put the results of these early jobs into a portfolio to help attract future clients. Potential clients will research you by name to see how well you write in various media, so keep your digital brand professional and move away from personal topics in favor of posts that demonstrate your copywriting ability.

Step 2. Learn the industry

Many copywriters become freelancers after years at an agency or with a degree in journalism, English, advertising or a related field. Many accredited universities offer full 120-hour undergraduate degrees in these fields online. Yet, even with four-year degrees, freelancers must round out their skills to meet changing needs. Use online tutorials covering anything copywriting - social media writing, web content, television or radio ads, and printed materials from postcards to newspaper ads all fall into the job. The ability to write copy that drives traffic and creates conversions is paramount to a freelancer, so SEO and marketing also go into the useful knowledge pool. Udemy offers self-paced copywriting courses. Moz.com offers a free six-part video series on SEO. And Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning has several marketing training options available from simple tutorials to full courses.

Step 3. Set internal rates

As a new copywriter, you will need to balance the amount of income you require to live with the experience level at which you can bill. CopyHackers has a freelance copywriter quote calculator to help attain that balance, but do your own research as well. Look at what other copywriters in your area of expertise charge for similar projects. While an agency veteran who consults for large companies can charge quite a bit, smaller businesses are often unable to include high rates in their budgets, and most companies won't give top dollar to an unproven copywriter. If you aren't comfortable charging a per-project rate, All Freelance Writing offers a freelance rate calculator to help determine an hourly, per page or per word rate. Once you have the range in which you can work, create an internal rates sheet for your own reference.

Step 4. Launch your portfolio

Create a simple portfolio site that allows you to post your best work as you get it. Companies like JournoPortfolio, Wix, Wordpress, and others offer pre-rolled portfolio options. The key here is to showcase your best work and demonstrate your copywriting skills. Keep the site simple and easy to update as you gain clients and work on more impressive projects. At a minimum, include your name, contact information and your absolute best piece to target the clients you want to represent. Include SEO in your portfolio as you would for any paying client - this is your brand and you want people to find you.

Step 5. Market yourself

While your UpWork or Fiverr profiles are good clip builders, they are not guaranteed to bring in repeat or big-ticket clients. Keep working with those and other freelance sites, but use the copywriting skills you've developed to market your brand via email, advertising and social media campaigns. Hire a freelance graphic designer (you can find one on the same sites you use to find writing jobs) to bring art to your copy and create digital business cards to send to potential clients. Your campaign is your time to show potential clients what you can do, so make sure it represents exactly what you want your future clients to see.

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