If you’re interested in becoming a freelance copywriter, let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can get there. The job isn’t very complicated, but it does require a few specific skills. And, as with any freelance career, it requires a good dose of determination and some work as we’ll see in this article.
- Here's the program
- What is a copywriter?
- What skills do I need to become an effective copywriter?
- Analysis of successful copywriting campaigns
- Find your niche before you start
- How do you get known and find customers?
- How do you set fair rates for your copywriting services?
- What are the tools of the copywriter?
- 10 tips for successful copywriting
- Pros and Cons
- Information recap
What is a copywriter?
A copywriter is a professional writer whose main role is to create persuasive and engaging content to promote a product, service, or brand. He or she has the marketing and communications knowledge to understand the company’s key objectives and uses his or her creativity and writing skills to design compelling texts that capture the attention of the target audience.
Copywriters can be tasked with writing advertisements, brochures, blog posts, video scripts, web pages, and many other communication media. They need to master persuasive writing techniques and be able to adapt their writing style to suit the medium and target audience. Finally, he or she must also be able to carry out in-depth research to understand the market, the competition, and the target audience in order to create a compelling and unique message.
In other words, your role will be to write texts capable of holding readers’ attention from the very first lines, arousing emotions such as curiosity and desire, and turning a simple visitor into a customer. You’ll become a valuable asset to the company you work with, thanks to your ability to influence and engage consumers and make a positive contribution to its success.
What skills do I need to become an effective copywriter?
As I said in the introduction, you need certain skills to get started in this business. Among the most important are:
- Mastery of language and grammar: You need to be very good at spelling and grammar since mistakes can damage the credibility of your text and divert the reader’s attention.
- The ability to understand consumer psychology: Knowing what motivates readers—what their fears, desires, and needs are—are very useful qualities in this profession. Understanding the psychology of persuasion is essential to writing persuasive copy.
- Creativity: Being able to think creatively and out of the box is essential to creating catchy, powerful messages.
- Empathy: Finally, the ability to put yourself in the reader’s shoes is an important skill. You need to understand your target customers, so you can speak to them directly and personally.
You could start out in this business without these skills and acquire them over time, with practice, passion, and perseverance. Be aware, however, that you’ll then be at a competitive disadvantage as you’ll be less effective and talented than the others. The solution to this problem is to take an online course that will give you the basics you need to get started.
The best way to do this is to take a short training course on platforms offering online courses, such as Skillshare or Udemy, but also to read books and blog articles on the subject, as well as any other content that will help you progress. In this way, you can quickly boost your knowledge and expertise in this field.
Analysis of successful copywriting campaigns
To better understand how copywriting works, let’s take a look at some campaigns that have had a significant impact on audiences and achieved their objectives. We’ll break down these examples to discover what makes them so effective and how they have succeeded in influencing consumer behavior.
1Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign
It’s one of the most successful examples as it has changed traditional perceptions of beauty by celebrating diversity and highlighting the natural beauty of women of all body types and ages. The campaign uses strong, positive messages to encourage women to take pride in their appearance and feel beautiful just as they are. Focusing on self-acceptance and self-esteem, it reached a wide audience and enabled Dove to connect with its consumers in an authentic and meaningful way.
2Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign
This is another excellent example of successful copywriting. This short, impactful slogan succeeded in conveying the idea that anything is possible if you give yourself the means to achieve it. The campaign featured inspirational athletes and used powerful language to encourage people to pursue their dreams and exceed their limits. Nike succeeded in establishing an emotional connection with its audience by using powerful words and telling success stories. This enormous success has enabled Nike to consolidate its position as the world’s leading sports brand.
3“Think Different” campaign
Launched by Apple in 1997 to relaunch the brand. Apple used this short but powerful slogan to encourage consumers to think creatively and “out of the box”. It captured the brand’s innovative spirit and succeeded in grabbing the public’s attention using simple but inspiring words. The campaign also featured inspirational personalities, such as pioneers from different industries, to reinforce Apple’s message and inspire consumers to adopt their products. This was a major turning point for Apple and contributed to its success.
As you can see, these campaigns share several key elements, such as using powerful and inspiring language, telling persuasive stories, creating an emotional connection with the target audience, and offering a clear and compelling value proposition. You also need to take into account consumer psychology and understand how to influence their decisions. This will enable you to create messages that effectively captivate and persuade the target audience.
Find your niche before you start
There are a multitude of niches and areas in which you can specialize, and finding your niche is a crucial step to success. It will enable you to develop your skills in a specific area, become an expert, and stand out from the competition, which today is sometimes very high.
Copywriting covers a wide range of fields, from digital marketing to healthcare, finance, wellness, travel, fashion, technology, and much more. Each field has its own communication requirements and peculiarities, so it’s up to you to see which one best suits your personality, affinities, current knowledge, and goals.
Take the time to explore each one to find the one that suits you best. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What subjects interest me most?
- In what area do I have particular expertise or experience?
- What kind of products or services motivate me to write enthusiastically?
And don’t be afraid to try out several of them, to write a few texts on the areas you’re hesitating about, and see which ones you find easiest to work with but also get the best results.
How do you get known and find customers?
When you become a copywriter, one of the crucial steps to success is to make yourself known and attract customers for your services. So, let’s take a look at some effective strategies for promoting your business and getting your first contracts.
1Create an attractive portfolio to showcase your skills
Your portfolio is your business card. It’s where you showcase your past work, your skills, and your writing style. You could just create a Facebook page to show it all off, but the portfolio is still the most effective way. Here are some tips for creating an attractive one:
- Select your best work: Choose the most successful projects that best represent your skills. Emphasize the diversity of your projects to show your versatility. And if you don’t have any, write some.
- Highlight your results: Add figures or testimonials from satisfied customers to demonstrate the impact of your writing on their objectives. Don’t hesitate to offer your services free of charge to people you know to get you started.
- Present yourself professionally: Add a brief biography that highlights your skills, experience, and passion for your profession.
- Update it regularly: Keep your portfolio up to date by adding new projects as you progress in your career.
Here are some of the best free platforms to create a writing portfolio:
- Behance: Behance is specifically designed for creative portfolios, including writing. It highlights your projects with visually appealing layouts.
- Journo Portfolio: This platform focuses on creating portfolios for writers and journalists. It offers templates specifically designed for writing professionals.
- Clippings.me: Primarily aimed at journalists and writers, Clippings.me makes it easy to create a portfolio by emphasizing published articles.
- Wix: Wix offers a variety of templates that can be adapted to create an attractive and professional writing portfolio.
- Weebly: Weebly provides a user-friendly interface to create a simple portfolio, with the option to add articles and descriptions.
- Tumblr: If you prefer a more casual approach, Tumblr can be used to showcase your writing in the form of a portfolio blog.
2Attract clients and work contracts
Once you’ve created and nurtured your portfolio, it’s time to start looking for new clients. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
- Freelance platforms: Fiverr, UpWork, PeoplePerHour or ComeUp are a great way to get started. These platforms enable you to offer your services, showcase your work, and find your first customers fairly easily. Read this article if you’re interested in this option.
- Use social networks: Share your work, advice, and expertise on social networks. In this way, you’ll create a solid online presence to attract an audience that may be interested in your skills.
- Offer free trials: Offer free trials to potential new customers. They will then be able to see your talent in action and build a relationship of trust with you.
- Networking: Participating in copywriting events and discussion groups on Facebook and LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to meet other professionals in the field and make yourself known to potential clients.
- Offer guest articles: Write quality articles for blogs and websites relevant to your niche to demonstrate your expertise and attract the attention of readers and potential customers.
- References and referrals: Offer excellent service to your current customers to gain recommendations and referrals that will reinforce your credibility with future clients.
Making yourself known and finding customers may seem difficult at first, but by using the right strategies, you can attract your first contracts and grow your business in the process.
How do you set fair rates for your copywriting services?
Establishing fair rates for the services you offer won’t necessarily be easy, but it’s a crucial step you’ll have to take. The challenge here is to get the right value for your work while remaining competitive in an already crowded market. Here are a few tips to help you set the right rates:
- Evaluate your skills and experience: Take into account your level of expertise, as well as your professional experience. If you’re a novice, you may charge slightly lower rates to attract first-time customers, but don’t forget to adjust your rates as you gain experience and popularity.
- Consider the time required for each project: Analyze the complexity of each project and estimate the time it will take you to complete it. Take into account research, writing, any revisions and the time you’ll spend talking to the client.
- Research market rates: Find out what other copywriters charge in your niche and region, or more generally on the web. This will give you an idea of market standards and enable you to align yourself with competitive rates.
- Offer tailored packages: Offer different packages that include different levels of services and rates. This gives customers options to suit their needs and budget.
- Consider added value: If you have additional skills or specific knowledge in a related field (SEO, marketing, Photoshop, etc.), you can charge a higher rate by highlighting the added value you bring to projects.
- Reassess your rates periodically: Your skills and experience will evolve over time. Reassess your rates regularly to ensure that they remain in line with the value of your services.
You’ll probably be tempted to offer fairly low prices when you’re first starting out, but remember that copywriting is a necessary investment for businesses looking to improve their marketing and increase sales. By providing them with quality content that delivers tangible results, you justify fair rates for the services you’ve provided. Be confident in the value you bring to your customers, and don’t underestimate your work. Try to maintain a well-considered approach and a good balance between competitiveness and the value of your expertise.
What are the tools of the copywriter?
As a copywriter, you’ll need to work with a variety of tools to improve your productivity and maximize the impact of your writing. In this chapter, we’ll take a look at the essential software and resources that will help you excel in your career.
Essential software and resources to improve your productivity :
- Advanced text editors: Use text editors that keep you focused on writing without distractions. Tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or editors specifically designed for copywriters can make the writing process easier.
- Keyword research tools: Using relevant keywords is essential for optimizing the SEO of your writing. Tools such as Google Trends, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can help you find relevant keywords that your audience is looking for.
- Spell and grammar checkers: To ensure the quality of your texts, use spell and grammar checkers such as Grammarly, Scribens, Writer or Language Tool, which will help you avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
- Image banks: Visuals are essential to capture the reader’s attention. Use free or paid image banks such as Unsplash or Shutterstock to find high-quality images that match your writing.
Can artificial intelligence help copywriters?
Yes, artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to generate written content autonomously. Advances in natural language processing (NLP) have enabled the development of AI models capable of producing texts that resemble those written by humans. These AI models, known as text generators, use deep learning techniques to analyze large quantities of text data and learn to generate coherent, persuasive sentences, and paragraphs.
However, it’s important to note that AI is still in its infancy and has certain limitations. While it can produce quality written content, it can also encounter problems such as inconsistency of tone, factual, and contextual errors. What’s more, AI doesn’t have the ability to feel emotions, come up with creative ideas or understand the subtle nuances that make the difference in a text written by a human being.
As a result, you can use AI as an assistance tool to generate ideas, improve productivity, and perform repetitive tasks more quickly, but it will never enable you to write ready-to-use texts. You will always have to proofread, then rewrite and correct the results obtained with AI.
10 tips for successful copywriting
Let’s end this article with a few tips to help you work more efficiently, and more importantly, achieve your professional goals.
- Pay attention to customer feedback: Listen to your customers’ comments and feedback to improve your skills and adapt to your audience’s needs.
- Establish templates: To save time, create templates for recurring content types, such as e-mails, sales pages or blog posts. These templates will help you quickly structure your writing while maintaining consistency.
- Subscribe to newsletters: Subscribing to newsletters will enable you to learn more about the business and keep up to date with the latest trends.
- Offer your services in different languages: If you’re lucky enough to be multilingual, you could potentially increase the number of orders you receive tenfold. If not, why not use a translator to find new markets?
- Be transparent with your customers: Clearly define your rates and payment terms from the outset. Avoid unpleasant surprises by communicating costs openly.
- Know who you’re talking to: Do thorough research to better understand who your target audience is and what they want. Also, research your clients to get to know them and their needs.
- Practice constantly: Writing isn’t like riding a bike, but it’s something you gradually forget over time. Practice regularly to improve your writing skills, and above all, make sure you don’t lose the ones you’ve already acquired.
- Be flexible and professional: Adapt to different customer needs and meet agreed deadlines. The happier they are with your services, the more likely they are to call on you again.
- Broaden your knowledge: Experiment with different types of copywriting to broaden your skills.
- Be persistent: Be persistent and don’t get discouraged by challenges.
Becoming a skilled copywriter and succeeding in this challenging profession requires a blend of skill, passion and dedication. We’ve explored the basics of copywriting, understanding the essential role it plays in online marketing and the skills needed to excel in this field. By using AI tools and learning from the best in the business, you can improve your productivity while preserving your creativity and personal touch.
To succeed, you’ll need to promote yourself and find customers. An attractive portfolio showcasing your work and the right marketing strategies will help you attract contracts and grow your business. Don’t forget to set fair rates that reflect the value of your services and periodically re-evaluate your progress. By continuing to broaden your knowledge, practicing regularly and keeping abreast of industry developments, you can become an accomplished copywriter, able to influence and captivate your audience through words.
I won’t hide from you the fact that the competition will be tough at times, but your ability to create content that stands out, captures attention and arouses interest will be decisive in your success. That’s why it’s so important to know your business well, to learn all the tricks of the trade and to spend the time necessary to learn it.
Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.
These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.
Copywriting, as an activity primarily based on the use of digital and online resources, has certain environmental aspects to consider. First of all, the intensive use of computers and servers for copywriting, research and project management can result in high energy consumption. To reduce the carbon footprint of this activity, you could opt for eco-responsible practices such as using energy-efficient devices (entry-level laptops) and joining renewable energy suppliers if possible.
On the other hand, by favoring telecommuting and online communications over physical travel, you’re helping to reduce transport-related CO2 emissions. Finally, you can choose to specialize in ecological niches or work with companies committed to sustainable practices, enabling you to promote positive environmental initiatives through your work.
- You can work from home or while traveling.
- Ability to freelance and manage your own schedule.
- Opportunity to earn money based on volume of work.
- Work on a variety of interesting subjects and projects.
- Positive influence on companies by helping them achieve their marketing objectives.
- Tight deadlines can be stressful.
- Clients with high expectations.
- Strong competition in the copywriting industry.
- Location: From your home or elsewhere
- Investment: Low
- Earnings perspective: The equivalent of a company employee salary or more
- Required: Fluency in language and grammar, ability to understand consumer psychology, creativity and empathy.
- Risk level: Peu élevé
- Implementation time: Fairly quick
- Material needed: Laptop and smartphone