10 steps to become a successful Freelance Copywriter

Being a freelance copywriter is a great choice for anyone who can write comprehensible text and learn some basic rules. It doesn’t have to be art or magic. The point of copywriting is to sell.

 

It allows the scrivener to live anywhere, have flexible timetable, and enjoy the good things of life. You can write your own ticket. Like I do. Now, I’m living in Mexico after living in few other countries over the years, namely Malta, Portugal and Spain.

 

I’ve been working as a content and freelance copywriter since 2017. Before that, I was an in-house fulltime copywriter. And it’s fair to mention that I did not have any formal training to become a copywriter. 


It’s actually one of those few (potentially) high-paying professions, which do not have any formal education.


Read on to find out my secret techniques to write faster and get quick results.

Start here: 10 steps to become a Freelance Copywriter
  • Practice copywriting by starting a blog
  • Practice copywriting by working for free for a business
  • Have a growth mindset and positive outlook
  • Give yourself time to develop your skill
  • Finetune your website and showcase your results
  • Get your first paying clients
  • Test always what works better
  • Keep learning more
  • Raise your prices
  • Live anywhere you want & work how much you want

What does a freelance copywriter do?

Like any niche profession, copywriters are a mystical bunch that speak their own marketing-related gibberish. It has nothing to do with copyright, but with texts that are intended to make more people buy. These texts are called ad copy.


Short for advertisement copy, and there is the origin for the name of the profession; a copywriter. But we are not copying anything directly either.


A copywriter is a master of persuasive words who paints beautiful mental pictures in the mind of a prospect of a bright future where the problem at hand is solved and life is all good and dandy.


Freelance copywriter is an independent agent that offers his copywriting service directly to businesses, and additionally can work with marketing and media agencies.


The prowess of his writing skills is measured by the income his copywriting directly produces. The actual script can live on a landing page, website, email, sales letter, banner ad, or in a video. Every ad has copywriting in it.


Even if you don’t want to be a professional copywriter, learning these skills can double your sales. It’s incredibly valuable to know what words make your clients buy.

How can you become a freelance copywriter?

Simple blogging could be a great way to start getting some action on your website. Or you could start writing copy for some business for free.


Practice is the key. Everyone sucks at first in any skill. Reading books about it helps, but it is like hoping to get rich by checking the winning lottery numbers. You need to play yourself.


Blogs aside, you could also create videos or a podcast, depending which media is the most comfortable for you to express your ideas and get your message out.


Having any experience in writing, being it creative writing or just mundane email support in a call center, is clearly an advantage. The more text you can produce, the faster you learn.

 

The surefire formula to become a freelance copywriter in long-term:

To get money by writing copy, build your blog library, or in any other media, to create for yourself a leads channel that gets views, clicks and impressions.


It will take time and dedication, especially when you are starting out, but over time you will gain traffic and trust, which will lead to paying clients.


To be perfectly honest, using ONLY this method, could take years to land your first clients, so see this as the long-term strategy to make your freelance copywriting profession thrive over time.


This is essential, however, because the teacher is the best student. When you need to create content about copywriting, you need to know what you are talking about. That way you are your own teacher, as well.

How can I become a freelance copywriter quickly?

Imagine yourself being excellent in writing copy.

The power of imagination and positive mindset are gravely underestimated by the vast majority who simply do not know better. Don’t fall into the same ignorance.

 

If you have a growth mindset, learning and excelling will be a breeze. However, simply dreaming about bright future is clearly not going to get you anywhere.


You need to take massive action and start learning persuasive writing.


You probably know some relatives or friends who are running a business. Talk with them honestly and offer your copywriting services for free. I’m serious, no-one will pay you if you start from scratch. You need to get some real experience and proof.

 

  • Find someone who agrees to give you a shot, and start writing and creating content for them for free, in any shape or form they want it.

It can be any business, or better yet, a marketing agency, to introduce you better and faster into the world of marketing. Being an intern for a while could change your life. “It’s not what you earn, it’s what you learn.”

Well, Markus, I don’t see how this is making me any money?

Fair enough! This is your main campaign to become the freelancer you want be. The main quest! Just like in a RPG, you start with a wooden sword and a loincloth!


Don’t fool yourself by thinking you can be the anointed knight to save the kingdom overnight. This will take 1-3 years and then some. Anything worth doing takes time and effort.

 

Let me explain this strategy:

You first work for free to get your first paying client. This is big, because you can leverage your first experience to get that first contract.


To elaborate, you can create a case study to demonstrate how your writing generated results. You can ask for a referral, or testimonial. Both are very valuable in getting new clients.


Online, you can offer guest posting for free (for now) to get some easy PR. That’s Public Relations, if you are not familiar with the term yet.

The moment when a freelancing copywriter finally starts to earn money

By having one or two clients who you worked for free, and by posting your experiences on your own blog or other blogs, you will become successful with persistence.


The existing clients might want to continue working with you, or you could get a referral, and soon enough some client from online.


At this point, it’s essential that you have your own website. Check this super-simple tutorial to create one yourself. You can build a similar copywriting website in one night.


As a freelance copywriter looking for paying clients, you need a website, because people who are interested in becoming your clients, want to check out your website to learn more about you, and find a way to connect with you.

 

Make it as easy as possible for them.

Thanks! Now, give me more specific instructions to learn copywriting!

Like in martial arts, take karate for example, you have the original form of the art. But then you also have multiple different branches that were developed from the original.


Same goes for copywriting. Go ahead and listen or read the Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins. That’s the original, with sound and solid, timeless advice.


Then you can choose whichever teachers and styles have emerged after him, and pick ones you like. Copy others freely, and you will develop your own style over time. Don’t try to be a maestro when you are a beginner.


Secondly, start practicing writing copy every day. Make it a habit. Make it a commitment to become better and improve your level.


And don’t hide it in your drawer. Publish your texts on your website or on any social media. Everyone who’s successful now, started from zero.

My secret techniques to become a copywriter

You need strategic thinking and effective methods to make writing copy as easy as possible. This way you will enjoy it, get better at it, and actually pull through to become a real freelance copywriter.

 

Freelance copywriter blog:

For building your own blog, when you start planning your writing, draw a mind-map of the hierarchy of your sub-articles, leading to a parent article that works as a landing page to offer valuable information to people, and sell them your freelancing service.


Write at least 5 sub-articles (the longer the better) about the topic you want to rank for in Google, and then write the main article that each of the sub-articles point links to.

For actual writing:

Never start with an empty document! Write notes, write keywords, ideas and bullet points all over the page.


Then just start writing the body of the text somewhere in the middle. This allows you to bypass the critic in you mind who thinks your every line sucks. Just ignore and start writing.


Don’t care about the grammar or structures. Best copywriting doesn’t care about being grammatically correct, neither should you.

Copy copy from other copywriters:

What to write about? Starting from a scratch might be overwhelming. Therefore, is good to have things and ideas already on the paper. What things specifically?

  1. Find a reference website article you admire. Preferably from an authority source that has good Google ranking. You could use my website, Scriiv for example, and add a SEOQuake plugin to your browser, or use any similar plugin or website that allows you to paste in the URL, and get the word density list of that page.

You can get if from here: https://www.seoquake.com/index.html

 

Pay attention! This advice is one of my biggest secrets for fast and proven copywriting.
  1. Once you get the word list, take note which relevant words are used throughout the text, and copy / write them down on your word processor. By using the density as a guide, write the most common words multiple times on your list. One word per row.
  2. Copy everything on your clipboard, and then paste them on List Randomizer!
  3. Copy the randomized list and paste it on your word processor.
  • Now you have a randomized list to prepare your brain and give you visual cues to direct you when you start writing.

You can use the words from the list on your sentences and erase them as you go along.


I’ve been using this method for years, and it makes writing so much faster.

Sometimes I use the list, sometimes I just write on top it.

Cool! But why this works? Why this is a HUGE DEAL?

The main reason you want to be doing this is because you are using the same vocabulary that professional writers use on pages that actually rank high in Google.

  • Doing this gives your writing a better chance to rank as well
  • Doing this will teach you the jargon and key terms to use
  • Doing this helps you to stay on topic and say the right things

It is equally important to understand how to write well as it is to know how to rank your website on Google. While this is not an article about SEO, you must know it, or your most incredible posts stay invisible for the vast masses of internet search engine traffic.


You must also know that exact copying will only lead you to trouble. The internet knows when you copied something directly from another page, and your website will be penalized. Don’t copy, just take inspiration (and word density lists).

But what about actual copywriting?

Granted, the advice above is not the typical copywriting advice, because I’m sure you read it somewhere else already.

The shortest possible formula for good copywriting is something like this.

What?
For Who?
What’s next?

 

 

What?

Get attention with a headline that attracts the target audience by speaking about their problem or dream outcome. New, different, secret, free. These meanings rouse interest.


For Who?

Talk about them. You, you, you, like I do. Form every possible sentence to convey the idea how they are using it, benefitting from it and enjoying a greater life because of it.


Offer the reasons why it’s important to get it. Offer the counter-arguments for their mental counter-arguments. Be in their mind and try to guess what they would be asking in the mind next, and then go on to answer that.

 

What’s next?

After giving them all the benefits and valid reasons to buy, and testimonials and guarantees to lower their fear, it’s time to direct them to the next action.


I remember reading from a psychological study done in a university (Sorry, my memory fails me to remember the exact details) about donating blood. They gave students a clear brochure about the topic and procedure. But no-one came to donate blood.


They were wondering why…


Until they added in the last page of the brochure, clear instructions where the right room is, and how to get there. People started flowing in immediately.


For successful communication and copywriting, you need to direct people by giving them clear instructions.

 

What’s next is the question in the reader’s mind.

Say clearly; click here, go there or send this form.

Then they know what to do.

Getting ready to become a Freelance Copywriter

See, nothing too hard here. And the internet is open for you to take advantage. See how other copywriters write. See how customers review products and take notes. 

 

Study newspaper headlines and YouTube thumbnails that grab your attention. Try to understand why.

 

What is interesting? How to stand out?

Train your mind to pay attention and review what you see around you.

Take notes of bad examples as well to avoid them.

 

Copywriting skill is worth gold

In the current Information Age, we have an overload of content in all possible forms bombarding our senses. If you become a sensei who can glue those eyeballs to your headline, people will pay you.

 

Attention is THE currency. I think that’s Gary Vaynerchuck’s quote so I’ll give it to him. If you can grab and hold the attention for any period of time (and get better at it), you have a skillset that is always in demand and pays handsomely.


Every business, endeavor, NGO, politician and organization need and want effective communication that moves people to take the action they want. That is copywriting.

Looking Forward

If you follow this advice, over time you will have an ample number of followers and you get to choose the good project you want to work on.


Future businesses will need good copywriters. AI copywriting is like Fiverr. Yes, it works to some degree, but it still sucks, because it’s not really creative by design. It’s for cheap exploitation.


The main point for this text is that like me, founding Scriiv few years back, you can also learn the basics, and become a freelance copywriter.


My reasons were always the freedom to live where I want and work how much I want, and when I want. Copywriting allows that. Simply by writing words that sell better than the control.


You can create your own brand and success over time. But let me remind you that at first clients do not come knocking on your door. You need to build your business with some hustle.


Consistently publishing articles, you will become a known figure in your space, and get paid. The response your writing gets is measurable and improvable. There’s never one right answer, simply testing.


You can become a force in LinkedIn and hit easy targets, as the platform is still ripe for hard-working freelancers who can produce consistent and interesting content.


Market needs copywriting. Posts, campaigns and writers to find an audience.

Copywriting is designed to maximize the impact.


Once you can master that skill, you can also hire more people to put your business on a bigger trajectory. You only need to type.


For more motivation, try out this Foundr guide

My promise

You will succeed, if you write a page every day. Do a little bit of research, follow my advice, and post every day, and your timeline will change.


The great news is that anyone can create a copywriting business. The other great news is that most people are too lazy to become great at what they do, so you can excel and thrive by simply keeping learning and studying more, even a little.


I hope this copywriting guide inspires you and helps you to stretch your current vision for your future.


We all deserve a future we can enjoy, but how many will work for it consciously? Be intentional and follow the steps to learn headline writing and copywriting.


Copywriting will never be outdated. Now most clients want video scripts. They need email copywriting, product descriptions and landing pages. The demand is huge. 


Pick your niche and dive in!

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Markus Hietanen copywri

Would you like some help?

Hi, I’m Markus. Let’s craft your message for the right marketplace to get better results.

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📧 mark@scriiv.com