How to Get Your Own Copywriting Clients

In addition to proactively searching for writing jobs yourself, you can also market yourself so that future clients will come to you. Sounds pretty ideal, right? While it takes a little time, creativity and some good-old networking, you can successfully attract clients by putting yourself out there. Here are a few tips to get writing gigs by making them come to you.

Create an online portfolio: Having a physical copy of things you've written is great for in-person interviews, but you need to keep up with the digital age. Creating an online portfolio of your work is a must for getting freelance writing jobs (and full-time jobs too). Contrary to popular believe, you don't have to be a web guru to create your own website. There are many free and easy-to-use platforms out there such as Wix, Contently and WordPress where you can upload your information, photos, links and samples. You don't need anything too flashy or fancy, you just want a website that's easy to read and features your writing samples.

One Woman Shop Resource: Brandon Lee provides an in-depth look at the best portfolio-hosting options for copywriters on Sangsara.

Link to this portfolio everywhere: I have a "Hire Me" tab on my blog's navigation bar. While I wasn't looking for a full-time job, I kept this up for possible freelance writing opportunities. After a few months of having this up, I was contacted by the owner of a fashion boutique who wanted me to help with their SEO strategy and write copy for their store, website and blog. She found me through my blog and contacted me straight from my "Hire Me" page, so I'm living proof that this can work. If you don't have a blog and you're a writer, I suggest creating one. It's a great way to practice your writing, make connections and get your name out there.

One Woman Shop Tip: When guest blogging, include a link directly to this page in your author bio.

Use social media: Much like the tip above, make sure to link your online portfolio/resume to your social networks. They should definitely be on your LinkedIn, but also can be seen by many if you link them to your Twitter bio as well.

One Woman Shop Tip: Consider using standard words like "copywriter" in your bio- while we love fun job titles, they can limit you since most people search for more common terms.

Keep in touch with your connections: I always try to keep in touch with my past clients and organizations who I've worked with previously. Maybe that small agency you did a writing project for last month has another client who could use your help. If someone had a pleasant experience working with you, they are far more likely to hire you in the future or recommend your services to a friend.

One Woman Shop Tip: Use a site like Newsle to easily keep up with your network- when someone pops up on your radar, take a few minutes to reach out to them. 

How to Find a Copywriting Job

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?