How To Become a Freelance Copywriter (With Skills and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you enjoy technical or creative writing, it may be time to consider venturing into freelance copywriting. These professionals can help produce content for a variety of clients, and they may specialise in unique services. Learning more about this career could help you determine if it's something you want to pursue. In this article, we discuss how to become a freelance copywriter, outline everyday responsibilities, list valuable skills and answer some frequently asked questions about this career.

Related: 20 Popular Careers for Writers (With Salaries and Job Duties)

How to become a freelance copywriter

Here are the steps that can guide you on how to become a freelance copywriter:

1. Find a specialty

Your niche or specialty is the type of content you want to create for your client. For example, some people want to specialise in beauty and fashion copy. Meanwhile, others might be interested in technical writing, such as producing brochures and instruction manuals. Consider contemplating the copy you're comfortable writing and the clients you wish to engage. Discovering your niche allows you to build your independent brand as a freelance copywriter.

2. Gain some experience

Once you know the type of content you want to produce, you can gain relevant professional experience. A work placement can help you gain valuable job experience and learn how to interact with clients. You may discover employment opportunities through friends, relatives or professional connections made at university. Alternatively, you could research local organisations like non-profits or small businesses and volunteer to create content for them. You may pursue a career in a marketing agency or at a local business. For example, you might produce a new blog post for a local restaurant advertising its new menu.

3. Build your copywriting portfolio

A portfolio helps you showcase your skills, creativity and experience. You share samples of past projects on your portfolio for prospective clients to see.

Here is a list of the things that your portfolio may contain:

  • Table of contents: This is a list of the sections contained in your portfolio and their page numbers. The table of contents can order your portfolio so it's easy to navigate and help clients find what they need efficiently.

  • Links: It helps to attach links to your website or your sample articles that have been posted online.

  • Descriptions: In the descriptions section, explain the purpose of the content, such as whether your articles are for advertising or informing an audience. You may include dates to show when you wrote an article.

  • Contact information: You may also include your contact number or email address at the top or bottom of your portfolio. This way, future clients that want to work with you can easily contact you.

4. Build your brand

Consider developing a personal brand to help you establish your freelancing services. Here are some ways to establish your brand to promote your services and increase your clientele base:

Design a logo

Establish your brand with a phrase and symbol representing your values as a copywriter. For example, you could start by drawing your initials and inserting a slogan. Consider attaching your logo to your social media profiles, business cards and website.

Create a website

Creating a website is a brilliant way to market and make yourself visible. Clients can also use your website to enlist your services and learn more about the copywriting you offer. Additionally, you can upload your portfolio here, including your rates.

Social media advertising

Try to grow your presence on major social media sites, particularly the platforms where your target market operates. Social media can also help you reach out to potential clients and post advertisements. You might also consider finding online groups to immerse your brand in writing communities.

What does a freelance copywriter do?

A freelance copywriter is a professional who specialises in writing copies for clients. Freelance copywriters do this on a project or contract basis. The content they create aligns with their clients' businesses and marketing needs. For instance, a company looking to launch a campaign to promote a new product may engage the services of a freelance copywriter to create blog posts or product descriptions. The work of a freelance copywriter might appear on the following:

  • newsletters

  • websites

  • graphics

  • billboards

  • magazines

  • social media

A freelance copywriter's daily tasks can vary depending on the client they currently work alongside. Common tasks for each project may include:

  • conducting market research on the respective subject

  • giving recommendations to clients about targeting consumers

  • adhering to the client's set style guides as you create content

  • making sure to incorporate strategic keywords in the assigned work

  • searching and attaching relevant royalty-free images to improve the content

  • copy publishing to a content management system (CMS)

  • tracking the content analytics

  • whenever necessary, applying the client's feedback to the copy

Skills relevant to the freelance copywriting field

Freelance copywriters might use the following technical and soft skills for a successful career:

Written communication

Copywriters may use written communication skills daily to create content for clients in a specific tone. These professionals may learn how to write complex sentence structures and create diverse copy. Copywriters may also learn to write in various formats, including reports, website copy, blog posts and articles. They might use this skill to adapt to multiple styles like AP, technical and creative.

Time management

Freelancers are typically their own managers, meaning they might maintain their own schedules. Throughout their career, these professionals may use time management to work for numerous clients at one time. To keep on top of their workload, freelance copywriters might use content calendars, write lists and schedule their day by the hour.

Many freelance copywriters use this role as an additional source of income, meaning they may also have another part-time or full-time role. These professionals might manage their time to sustain a healthy work-life balance.

Related: How To Be Self-Employed (With Steps and Career Options)

Editing

Excellent editing skills allow freelance copywriters to create content without errors. These professionals might use this skill to proofread their work before sending it to a client to ensure it meets their brief. After they have finished writing, they might run through their work and look out for spelling and grammatical mistakes. Freelance copywriters might also check to ensure the writing complies with the correct style during the editorial stage. Some clients also require freelance copywriters to use extra editing techniques, such as a plagiarism checker.

Related: What Is a Copy Editor? Career Details and How-to Guide

Research

Freelance copywriters use research skills to understand their market value. Research gives them an insight into the various prices that organisations offer for copywriting content. Completing this research helps professionals set and earn a reasonable rate.

Research helps freelance copywriters assess competitors and develop a strategy to make their work stand out. These professionals can also use this skill to find credible resources that ensure accuracy in their assignments.

Creativity

Creativity can help freelance copywriters create authentic and engaging pieces. These professionals can use this skill to diversify their content for the same client. Creativity is also helpful to any professional looking to establish their own brand.

Business management

Business management skills can help freelance copywriters establish their service rates. The ability can help them strike a balance between rates that are profitable and reasonable. You might confirm charges based on the type of content you're creating and the word count. Business management skills may also help you collect, process and organise your customer invoices.

Frequently asked questions about freelance copywriters

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

How can copywriters improve their skills?

Here are some tips that could help improve your copywriting abilities:

  • read other copyrighters' work

  • work with various organisations to help identify your strengths

  • adhere to different writing styles

  • diversify your portfolio

  • ask for professional feedback from clients and other industry experts

How much does a freelance copywriter earn?

On average, a freelance copywriter earns around $70,787 per year. These figures depend on several factors, such as rates and the number of clients. For instance, a freelance copywriter with a larger client base may earn a higher salary. Also, the more experience you gain, the higher your price rates could go.

What is the work environment for a freelance copywriter?

A freelance copywriter is usually self-managed, meaning they can work almost anywhere. These professionals usually organise a workspace at home or use public co-working spaces. Many freelance copywriters complete this job while travelling, so it's common for them to complete work on transport or other public places. Contracted freelance copywriters may attend an established place of work maintained by the contracting company.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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