Getting into copywriting… What’s the secret?

A friend was asking me for advice recently as to how I’ve landed my current copywriting clients. So I thought I’d share some of the magical, mystical information here for all to see.

Sheer determination has been key for the most part. I’ve always been determined when it comes to hunting for work, and nowhere is more competitive than the freelance writing field. Building up a portfolio of work that accurately represents my skills and experience has been a long and difficult task – and I don’t think a writer should ever stop updating their portfolio. I’m always adjusting it and taking one piece out, adding in my newest article on travel or my latest product descriptions. I think it’s important your portfolio stays fresh and interesting – there’s no point filling it with work from years ago.

On that note, it’s also true that you need to send your samples to the right place, and make sure they fall into the hands of the right person. Checking a company’s website to see who to contact for freelance enquiries is a good idea – but remember that, especially in London, these firms receive hundreds of applications a day – is your work good enough to stand out?

I’ve actually found a few clients just through the wide range of reading that I do. Reading and writing have always been a passion for me – I was the nerdy kid at school who sat reading whilst everyone else was playing. Quite often I’ll come across a site with really punchy copy that grabs my attention. You know it’s magical when you get that tingly feeling in your tummy – its sort of like being in love, I guess. Usually this draws me in and I end up horribly addicted to the site – recent sites have included a cookery blog, hotel app and a London events website.

I draw inspiration from the twists and turns of perfectly woven copy and gather tips for use in my own writing. But back to the point – quite often I’ll email the company to see if they hire freelancers, particularly if it’s the kind of copy I could see myself writing.

I think my writing has a definite style – it’s at it’s best when it is not too serious and let’s some of my personality shine through. I love startups like Onefinestay and Yplan for their engaging writing style which weaves itself around your brain as you read.

In summary, what I told my friend is that working as a freelance writer is 90% perspiration – pound the pavements (via your PC) and get your work out there, speak to the right people and work will come your way. It won’t always be the work you want, sometimes it will be downright boring or time consuming. Sometimes it will be fascinating and inspiring! Oh, and as another friend who works on SEO told me the other day; I should also be using social media to market my services, and get myself a website!

I guess there’s no great secret when it comes to breaking into the world of content and copywriting. If you’re meant to write; you’ll do it, and work will come, money will follow. A little bit at first and then more, until the day you wake up and find yourself turning down work! (it will happen I promise you!)

Oh, and if you need any advice – feel free to leave a comment!

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