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How to become a copywriter: A step-by-step guide

Updated: May 8, 2020

Check out our easy guide on becoming a fully-fledged copywriter and learn everything from setting your rates to finding your very first client.

Make sure you have a copywriting portfolio

Whether you have lots of content writing experience or are simply a copywriting novice, it does help to have practical writing experience you can share with prospective clients. If you have been working in-house or client-side as a content writer but want to transition into freelance work, then building a copywriting portfolio is the first place to start. If you are an inexperienced copywriter then gain as much experience as possible by writing content in your niche. This could be through guest posting, submitting articles on Medium, keeping a regular blog and even doing some pro-bono work to create the bulk of your copywriting portfolio.

Setting your rates and deciding your niche

It can be tricky to know how much to charge as a new copywriter but it is important to set your rates fairly so you take into account the hours you devote to your project. Decide if you want to be paid hourly or a set day rate and research the standard market rate for entry-level and intermediate copywriters. Your rate will be largely dependent on the type of projects you work on; for example, you may charge under £100 for a basic blog post but over £750 for a complete website copy refresh. Within your niche, rates may fluctuate so whilst ecommerce industries have plenty of work for copywriters, it may not be as lucrative as fintech industries that typically pay higher rates for content. Choose your niche wisely based on your experience and preference and consider upskilling so you can build a broader portfolio across multiple industries to gain more work.

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Getting your first client

If you are transitioning from a fulltime copywriter to a freelance copywriter, ensure you’ve built strong relationships with previous employers so you can confidently reach out to them for prospective work. You can also find freelance contract work on many of the job-boards including LinkedIn and Indeed as well as through recruitment agencies. Don’t forget the power of word of mouth too; ensure all your peers know you’re actively looking for work by promoting your services on social media often.

Promoting your copywriting services

Finding regular copywriting can be challenging as the industry is very competitive so it’s vital you promote yourself often. Make sure you’re attending lots of business meetups to network with startups who may be looking for your services, ensure you are guest blogging regularly on relevant business sites and of course be active on social media. The more visible you are, the more likely you are to be front of mind when prospective clients are looking for your services.

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