How to Get Copywriting Clients
If the idea of writing copy interests you, then you need to have someone to write that copy for. In other words, you need clients.
There are many ways to find opportunities for work. Copywriting clients can turn up in online searches or just as easily among the people you meet every day. The trick is often recognizing the opportunities when they come along.
Before approaching any potential copywriting clients, though, you need to make sure you can prove to them that you’re capable of doing the work. And for that, you need a strong copywriting portfolio.
Charm Clients with your Copywriting Clips
How can clients judge whether or not you're a good fit? They need to see examples of your work in what we call a portfolio.
A portfolio should contain samples of your best work. It should be kept online on a blog or web site where employers can access it easily and quickly, and it should include examples of the kind of copywriting work you’re after.
If you apply for a job writing sales copy and you don’t have any sales copy to show your prospective client, it’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t get the job. Tailor your portfolio to the kinds of work you can do with as much variety as possible to give yourself the chance to at least be considered.
Once your portfolio is as good as you can make it, you can begin searching for opportunities to write copy and earn money. But where should you look?
Finding Copywriting Clients Online
These days it’s easy to find work as a copywriter. Please note that I said it’s easy to “find” work – not to “get” work. There’s a big difference, which I’ll explain briefly.
A simple Google search will bring up hundreds if not thousands of potential copywriting jobs. You can fine-tune your search to look for certain types of writing jobs, salaried or contract, permanent or temporary, office- or home-based. The more selective you are, the fewer jobs will be available, and the more competition there’ll be.
Some sites list jobs that you can simply click on and apply for there and then, while others like eLance require that you bid for the work. Bidding can be a soul destroying experience, depending on your point of view. Clients might not go for the lowest bid, but then again they might. That means you’re competing against writers of lesser quality and having to offer your services at knock-down rates, just to write a few measly product descriptions.
I know this is the case, because I frequently get work that was initially offered to writers on similar sites and who were incapable of completing the task. When it comes to me, I charge my usual hourly rate and finish the work promptly and efficiently. It doesn’t matter if the clients paid the original writer or not; they have to pay me for my time and expertise regardless.
Often the best places to find copywriting clients online – and where I got my first copywriting job – are writers’ forums. Sites such as MyWritersCircle include “Writers Wanted” boards with updated job listings covering a wide variety of work, from basic article writing to e-books and screenplays. FreelanceWriting.com features links to popular writing sites such as eLance ( now Upwork), Craigslist, Guru and so on. There are two important things to remember about online job sites:
- You should never have to pay a site to apply for a job
- Job sites come and go so you need to keep checking that the jobs you want to apply for are still available
National newspapers regularly feature jobs for copywriters, and most of these have an online presence. As with most websites these days it’s usually possible to subscribe and get jobs sent directly to your inbox. You can do the same on most bona fide writing sites, or by using Google alerts.
Finding Copywriting Clients Offline
If you’re a copywriter, you’ll notice opportunities for work everywhere. Every newspaper article you read, every menu you pick up, every brochure you thumb through… you’ll cast a critical copywriter’s eye over them to see if they can be improved. And nine times out of ten, they can be.
Shortly after I began working as a freelance copywriter, I moved to a new part of the country. I rented an apartment overlooking the sea and began getting to know the local community.
I quickly discovered that the realtors I used to acquire the apartment had their own website, and after reading it I could tell they’d written it themselves. They weren’t writers, they were realtors. I offered my services for a modest fee, and they agreed to let me rewrite it for them, also recommending my services in the future.
Everywhere I go I see work crying out to me. On a recent trip to Italy, the local tourist brochure was begging for a rewrite. I’m sure if I’d had the time it might have been a lucrative prospect, but I was only on holiday for a week and didn’t want to spend that time negotiating. A simple rewrite of two or three pages in impeccable English would no doubt have gone a long way to securing a deal.
If you keep your eyes open you will see work just waiting to be done. You might know some local business people who run garages, restaurants, or other service-oriented establishments. They all use copy to promote the work they do, and somebody has to write it. If you can improve on what’s already there, pulling in more business, they’re going to be well pleased. And that means the possibility of additional work for you in the future, especially when word spreads about your skill and talent.
If you’ve got the time and the money, consider sending a mailshot to businesses in your area. Put together a brief overview of what you can offer and include any testimonials you’ve received. Also, consider advertising in local directories or magazines distributed monthly.
Where To Find Copywriting Clients
National newspaper sites
Read sites and articles and suggest changes
Talk to local people, find out what they need, and offer your services
6 Quick Tips on Getting Copywriting Clients
Just for fun, I typed the phrase “copywriters wanted” into Google today. 416,000 results came up. Naturally, some of these results will be copywriters promoting themselves, some will be out of date, and some will be keyword-stuffed -- but not all of them.
The point is that there’s plenty of work available if you’re prepared to look for it. Every website and business owner has to promote himself, his products, his services and his rates. They can’t do that without copy that captivates customers, and all you have to do is… write it!
The Ultimate Copywriter
Find out just what copywriters do, how they do it, and where to look for work in my own copywriting book called The Ultimate Copywriter.