Pssssttt.... Do you want to hear a confession?
That's the number of words I've written so far today. And I wrote every single one of them from my couch, still wearing my PJ's (please don't tell my mom I'm not dressed yet).
And the day is not over yet!
I could end up writing close to 6,000 words; maybe more, maybe less. Or I may discover a unique new business opportunity and encounter some captivating people at the network event I'm attending tonight. Or I might just have some fun with social media.
Every day is different.
And that's one of the reasons why I love being a copywriter so much. The freedom and variety that come with the life of a freelance writer is exciting. But you're probably wondering: what does a freelance copywriter do exactly? Is it hard to find new clients? What kind of tools do you use? And how do you even start doing that, writing a text?
These are all questions I get asked often. Questions I plan on answering in this post.
Table of contents
- How it all started...
- So how does a copywriter find clients?
2.1. Networking is key
2.2. Start a blog! Like, yesterday!
- A writer's writing process
- Which tools does a copywriter use?
4.1. My favorite tools
4.2. Discovering StoryChief
4.3. Social media, a beast of its own
- A final confession? I love my job
How it all started...
In February 2018, I got fired.
I had just started my copywriting business on a part-time basis. And when I say just, I mean just. I had been into business for only three days. And while I had planned on freelancing part-time for a while first, the universe had bigger things in store for me.
I was let go from my job instead, a job that I loathed.
So with zero clients and three months of severance pay, I decided to jump.
And that risky decision - turns out - paid off.
So how does a copywriter find clients?
Are you thinking about starting your own business?
The one tip I would give you is to network. From the get-go and often.
Networking is key
This might surprise you, but I find most of my clients at networking events. I talk to people, share tips and tricks, show them my expertise. For me, it's always been about helping people make their businesses fly, and I believe that honesty and communication help do that. People notice that. And they often decide to work with me.
Because, let's be honest, every single person on this planet prefers to work with someone they know personally and trust. And guess what? That's not going to happen unless you actually get out, meet new people and talk to them.
But not only that. Going to networking events has allowed me to meet so many people who have started their own companies and are just about as crazy as I am. The first conference I ever went to was Traverse18 in Rotterdam, by a really cool company called Traverse Events. And to this day, I still believe that buying a ticket to that conference was one of the best business decisions I have made so far.
Of course, networking is not enough.
You have to do the work. Contact people, follow up on them.
And as a copywriter, it is imperative that you have a portfolio.
Which brings me to my next tip...
Start a blog! Like, yesterday!
There is no better way to show your skills than to - I don't know - actually write.
I started my travel blog months before I even tried to make it as a freelance writer, for the very simple reason that I absolutely love writing, and I honestly cannot put into words (which is pretty crazy considering that I'm a writer) how happy I am that I did. It functioned as my portfolio when I didn't have any project yet.
And in the end, that's what helped me succeed.
Because, believe it or not, content marketing is HOT. And showing to your clients that you know what you're doing is HOT too. Want to read more about content marketing? Check out these 8 Content Marketing Strategy Examples That Deliver Leads.
A writer's writing process
But isn't it really hard to write day in, day out?
But it helps if you have a process. Over the past year, I've learned a lot about my writing self and updated my writing process extensively, and I feel like I got a good thing going.
But let me warn you: what works for me, might not work for you. Because no two writers are the same, and no two writing processes will be the same. There are architects, who structure everything to a T, and gardeners, who prefer to just dive in and discover the story as they go. And then there are the writers who are a bit of both.
My writing process kicks off waaaaaay before I even begin to write.
It all starts in my head. I give myself some time to gather my thoughts first, create a loose structure in my head, up until the cogs start to connect. Like clockwork.
That's when I start writing. Preferably in the early morning, because that's when I'm at my most creative. The words often flow out, effortlessly at times. And even in this digital age, the one thing that gets my inspirational juices flowing the most is pen and paper.
So before opening my laptop, I've often already jotted down sentences, ideas and a rough structure on paper. Using paper empties my mind, lessens distractions (which can be SO important in an age full of distractions) and makes me more creative. An empty page.
After, when I feel like I've written down everything that came to mind, I'll usually do my keyword research (a focus on SEO is often necessary for a copywriter's projects). I use KWfinder for this and am really happy with it. I'll also look up a client's website's speed via GTmetrix, check their site's domain authority via Moz and try to get an insight into their Google Analytics (if they have it installed and their numbers are accurate).
This helps me determine a few things and shows what I need to focus on in my writing.
And then I write again, until I have a complete first draft. But they're just words at this point. There's no real connection. So I edit, and I edit some more, until I am satisfied.
Which tools does a copywriter use?
I already mentioned a couple of tools throughout this post: pen and paper (still my main tool, I'm old school), KWfinder, GTmetrix, Moz, and Google Analytics. But there are so many other tools I use on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
My favorite tools
It's crazy how many tools I use on a daily basis. My most used ones for writing are probably Microsoft Word and Wordpress (for my websites as well as for my clients').
But it doesn't stop there.
I work with Microsoft Excel to analyze many different things, so that I can make the right business decisions. I use Mail, Slack and WhatsApp to keep in touch with clients. I employ Google Search Console to keep track of how my keywords are performing, Onfact to help me keep track of my invoices (I suck at admin, guys), and iPhone Notes to scribble down random thoughts and ideas throughout the day. There's just no end!
I'm also an a variety of social media channels, but I'll focus on that later.
I'd like to talk about StoryChief for a while first.
Do you remember how I told you before how important networking is?
That's exactly what happened with StoryChief.
I met Iva, StoryChief's marketing manager at Media Fast Forward and it all sort of started rolling from there. I've recently started using StoryChief and I love its design.
StoryChief is a tool that is clearly designed with content creators in mind.
As a writer, I need as little distractions on my screen as possible, and StoryChief does this wonderfully. There's almost nothing but white space! I also love its speed (it's SO MUCH faster than Microsoft Word and Pages, which both sometimes crash on my not-so-new MacBook) and am impressed by StoryChief's in-build SEO helper.
But one of StoryChief's main draws is its possibility to invite users to collaborate. I can add clients to my projects (or be added to my clients' projects), request approval with one simple button and effortlessly edit based on my clients' comments and feedback. And you know what? It's so much easier than sending back and forth 13 different drafts.
And the icing on the cake? MY CONTENT GETS SAVED AUTOMATICALLY. 🤩
As someone who forgets to save on a regular basis (#ashamed), this is HEAVEN.
Social media, a beast of its own
I already hinted at this, but social media is an important part of my job too.
I don't only write social media messages for clients, I'm also on some of its most famous channels myself: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. And while I use most of those channels to promote my travel blog, I couldn't function without.
And I'm going to guess that you can't either.
Did you notice I shared one of my tweets in this post already? That's another great thing about StoryChief. It's SO easy to embed media. Take a look at this Instagram post for example. It didn't even take me five seconds to add it. Cool, huh?
There is one function of StoryChief that I still haven't tested properly, but it looks really promising and I can't wait to check it out. It's social media related.
Want to guess what it is?
StoryChief helps you publish your content multichannel and allows you to distribute your post to everyone you want to reach with one simple click. You can not only share your story on social media like Facebook, Google My Business, Twitter and LinkedIn, but you can also publish on your personal websites and update journalists and subscribers via email.
And as if that wasn't enough, the data analyst in you will be happy to hear that you can also analyze each and every story with easy-to-understand reports and ROI-tracking.
A final confession? I love my job
Being a copywriter isn't always rainbow and sunshine, but I wouldn't trade my job for the world. So excuse me, I'm going to go write some extra words (yep, still in my PJ's).
Or did you want a real confession? Snow and ice terrify me.
Good thing I have job that allows me to stay inside when it snows, right?
I'm curious. What is your confession? ;-)
Lisa is a freelance copywriter, SEO expert and travel blogger with a passion for helping brands create awesome content. Contact her at www.lisavandenbossche.be
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