I was lucky; I fell into copywriting completely by accident. At the time, I was a romance novelist. To my mind, real writers wrote novels. Writing copy, on the other hand, was business. I was wrong, and right. Copywriters are real writers, and copywriting is writing for business.
In a very real sense, it’s creative writing for business. BUT… Although copywriting is intensely creative, that’s not all it is. As David Ogilvy famously said:
“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”
Copywriting Is Seduction: Powerful Attraction.
We’ve discussed copywriting tips every writer should know, and “when in doubt, remember AIDA”:
“AIDA” is the basic copywriter’s formula. AIDA means Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. You can apply AIDA to anything: a blog post, a novel, a classified ad – an email message.
Consider this: copywriting is seduction. It’s attraction. When someone reads your copy, it’s your chance to seduce him to your point of view. Sex sells, of course, but your words can seduce in more than one way. You plant images in the readers’ mind.
Enough of theory. On with three quick tips to help you to get your new freelance copywriting business off the ground.
If you’d like to learn copywriting, our Master Class covers the nuts and bolts of building your copywriting skills, and your copywriting business too.
1. Write Your Own Copy: Practice on Yourself, and Others.
You’re a freelance writer. You need to sell yourself to clients, using copywriting skills. They’re skills you can practice, and you must practice. Start with yourself as your first client.
Write your own creative material. “Creative”, in marketing terms, is advertising materials like ads, Calls to Action, and images, developed for a business. Read the Advertise Yourself article for the basics.
Start paying attention to advertising. It’s all around you. If you study advertising, you’ll build your skills.
2. Review Stuff. Get Attention (and Money From) Your New-Born Copywriting Efforts.
Here’s a tip that’s working well for my students to get attention: review stuff. These days, companies are notified whenever their name, or the name of one of their products, is mentioned. When you write reviews of products, or even just mention them on your blog, you’ll get a “thank you!” at the very least.
Write back – thank the company for noticing. Ask whether they have any “influencer” campaigns coming up. If the company’s small, offer to create one for them.
Mention a company – promote it – enough, and you will get noticed. Remember, everything you create, and post, is a sample of your writing. One of my students won a large contract from a local company, because she reviewed companies and events in her local area.
Reviewing is a subtle form of promotion. You’re not asking people to hire you directly. You’re firing their curiosity. It’s a good reason to blog… 🙂 If you review on your blog, you will get noticed. Do it enough, and you’ll become an influencer yourself. And you won’t have to ask people to hire you. They’ll ask you to work with them.
Of course, you can also sign up as an affiliate marketer for a company if they have an affiliate program and make money from your reviews that way.
3. Ask Questions: Get Known.
Another simple trick which works for my students. ASK questions.
If you’re a shy copywriter, that’s fine. Ask your questions via social media or email.
Asking questions is at the heart of every freelance writer’s career, not just a copywriter’s:
- You ask for writing gigs via queries and proposals;
- You ask for answers when you’re researching something you’re writing about;
- You ask questions to know what to write…
If you’re not doing it already, start asking questions, and don’t stop.
One of my students asked her local librarian for her recommendations on copywriting books. The librarian was intrigued to learn that the student was starting a copywriting business. Within three days, the student had her first copywriting clients. The librarian mentioned her name to others, and she got calls, which turned into commissions, and a long-term contract with a local radio station..
If there’s one secret to a successful freelance writing career – any writing career – it’s questions. Get into the habit of asking what you want to know. You’ll get answers, and you’ll get known too.
I’ve always said that if you can write an email message which gets a response, you can write copy. Copywriting is a powerful skill. And if you want to start a freelance copywriting business, start today. These tips will help.
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