While copywriting may sound like an easy job (I partially blame the popularity of Mad Men), it actually requires a variety of different skills. In addition to being an excellent writer, you need to have a bit of wit, a lot of creativity and a persuasive tone. Whether you’re writing for a website, blog or magazine, your basic goal as a copywriter is to effectively convey your product/company to the public and raise their interest.
Much like finding any type of job, looking for a legitimate copywriting job is not an easy task. Many of the positions advertised are poorly defined and offer low pay. So if you’re looking to break into the freelance copywriting world, build up your list of clients, or just earn some extra cash with a freelance gig, here are some tips.
Search the big websites- the right way. Yes, this one is a given, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t bother searching on large job search sites such as Monster and Indeed. The key to making the most of these websites is to properly utilize the search features to weed out results for jobs that are too junior, too senior, seem spammy, or just aren’t relevant for you. For example, if you have just a few years of experience, look for “Junior Copywriter” or try “SEO Copywriter” if you have some experience with that. Incorporate keywords and their synonyms- for example, you might be happy with either a freelance or part-time role. You’ll have fewer pages of search results to sift through and you’ll find what you’re actually looking for.
One Woman Shop Resource: Here are a few job searching Boolean basics that will get you targeted results more quickly.
Try niche websites. Sites such as Mediabistro and CommunicationJobs focus on a few specific areas, including social media.
One Woman Shop Resource: Minimize the amount of time you need to spend on these sites by setting up Google Alerts and/or Mentions with your keywords- like “copywriting AND chicago AND (part-time OR freelance).”
Use social media. Follow your favorite brands, companies and agencies on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. They often post job openings on their pages (especially if they don’t want to pay the big bucks to advertise them on job search websites). Interact with them, re-tweet their articles and form relationships- this can lead to a possible job or even a short e-mail full of advice. Also follow accounts that post field-specific jobs daily, such as Get Copywriting Jobs or HooJobs.
One Woman Shop Resource: Use FollowerWonk to find even more relevant Twitter accounts for your area.
Cold-call companies (or cold-email). Lots of companies don’t advertise all of their job openings on large sites- they tend to stick to posting open positions on their own company’s website. Usually these are listed on their “Careers,” “Work for Us” or “About Us” pages. If you don’t see any of these pages, you can always go another route and pitch a job yourself. To do this, find a list of companies you admire in your area and spend some time on their site. After getting a good feel for the company, send an e-mail (the “cold call” of today’s generation) to the hiring director/HR manager. Introduce yourself and your background, focus on what you like about the company and the field, and ask if they have any openings for contract copywriting roles. Even if the company doesn’t have any open spots right now, they might keep you in the loop for any upcoming vacancies. Either way, it’s a great way to network!
One Woman Shop Resource: Use this great Google trick to find more openings in less time.
Offer up your services. This one is a little daring, but has certainly worked for many go-getters. Find websites, blogs and e-commerce shops that seem to be lacking good copywriting- or any copywriting at all. Come up with a short write-up of what copywriting services you offer and how that could benefit their company. Give concrete examples, include links to your previous work, and explain any confusing terms. Yes, this takes a little time, but if you’re able to convince someone to hire you to help their company, then it’s all worth it.
One Woman Shop Resource: Here’s how to pitch a client without putting them on the defensive.
How do you nail down freelance copywriting gigs?