When planning to start a copywriting business, you must decide on which services you can offer your customers and prepare writing samples. When all this is done, you can then go ahead to market yourself.
Below is a step-by-step guide to starting a copywriting business.
1. Make Your Foundations Solid
Opening a copywriting business is much like any other. You will need some basic tools, like office space and a website that can help you market yourself. You need supplies: a computer with a good internet connection will serve you well. You may have to officially register your business and handle all necessary documentation, including taxes.
2. Develop a Strategy for Your Copywriting Business
A business without a real plan of action may fail. To develop a good strategy for your copywriting agency, you should analyse your competition, what are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Analyse yourself, what do you aim to do? What is your target market? How can you get clients flocking to your door? Develop a workable plan of action and stick to it.
3. Choose Your Services
There are several parts to the copywriting market. You have specialisations like advertising copy, website content, email marketing copy, and so on. You may choose to begin your business by offering the services that you are most skilled at. This offers you the advantage of specialisation and allows you to be able to deliver quality and establish yourself in the market.
4. Develop Your Brand
You must be determined to set yourself apart from your competition. Work to create a brand with a strong personality which clients will be happy to recommend to their friends. Your brand is the entirety of your physical presence, from your logo to your manner of communication with clients and the strength of the work you do. Don’t compromise on your quality!
5. Decide What Your Rates Should Be
Setting the right rate is often difficult but it is also one of the best things you can do for yourself as a copywriting service. A good place to start is to look at what others in the field are doing. If there are other copywriting agencies offering the same services as you, check their rates before you settle on yours. Beyond learning from the competition, your cost of operation can also influence your rates. A good trick at the onset is to set a low rate that will attract customers then you can rise steadily to your ideal rate. It is always wise to set an hourly rate and a per-word rate.
6. Put Your Writing Samples in Order
Whether you have worked for a big agency in the past or you are just an amateur writer, you need copywriting examples to market yourself. If you have worked anywhere before striking out on your own, you need to gather your best work, gathering copy that best exhibits what you can do. If you are relatively inexperienced in the market, your best bet is to do a few spec jobs to show what you can do. Spec work means creating free content for big-name brands without being in their employ.
7. Build an Online Portfolio
Every good business must be visible. Your portfolio shows the world who you are and most importantly what you have to offer. Once your samples are ready, build an online portfolio that tells the world what you have to offer. Your portfolio must contain writing samples, a list of your services and a short bio that may help clients connect with your personality. If you do not know how to create a portfolio, templates are available on WordPress or Squarespace to guide you. If this fails, hire a professional.
8. Improve Your Existing Skills
You must always be on the move – it is “game over” when you stop learning. Improve your writing skills, take tutorials and enrol in great courses. Some skills will help you remain relevant: learn them! These include SEO, technical writing, and so on. Learn through online platforms like Udemy or Skillshare or even enrol in a local college. Never stop improving yourself.
9. Create a Legal Contract
A legal contract will help you protect yourself from a market that can sometimes be brutal. When you begin, you may want to create a legal document that you can send to your clients. This will serve as a form of contract between you. It should state the service you aim to provide and the timeline for delivery and your rates. Always get it signed before you begin a job. If you do not know how to go about this, the internet has lots of resources you could use.
10. Set up an Accounting System
If you do all we have listed above, money is likely to roll in, which is why you should gain some knowledge of small business accounting. It will help you to manage your accounts when the cash starts flowing. You can choose one of the many systems available to record and manage your invoicing.
11. Pitch to Clients
The business will not always come to you, especially at the outset. You must make moves and try to win clients by sending out pitches. A perfect pitch tells prospective clients who you are, what you have to offer, and why yours is the best content writing service for the job. Advertising agencies prefer to work with freelancers on a project-by-project basis instead of putting them on retainer, so you may want to begin your pitching with such organisations. Remember to add links to your portfolio and ensure that relevant samples are attached or linked.
12. Attend Lots of Networking Events
There is a great opportunity to connect with prospective clients at networking events. As a start-up, you need to gain new clients as often as you can in order to stay in business. Go to every networking event around you, it does not even have to be a copywriting event; if it is remotely related or possesses a high likelihood that clients can be found there, go to it!
13. Ask Your Clients for Referrals
The best advertisers are satisfied clients. Remember to ask them often, especially when you have delivered a great job, to refer you to their friends and colleagues who might need a copywriting service. To make this work better, offer your existing clients a discount on their next order for each new client they refer to you.
How Much Should a Freelance Copywriter Charge for Their Services?
A freelancer’s charge is dependent on their level of expertise and their areas of specialisation. Their rates could be hourly, per word, per page, or based on the project. The rate lies between $25 and $100 per hour.
To establish the best rates, a freelance copywriter should consider the following:
- Your competitors’ rates.
- Your expertise. The higher your expertise, the higher your rates.
- Your expenditure: every penny you spend to carry out the job should be considered when setting rates.
- If you chose to set hourly rates, ensure that you are paid well for the hours you will spend on the job.
Is a Degree Necessary Before Someone Can Become a Copywriter?
There is no law that says you need a degree to become a copywriter but most employers are now on the lookout for copywriters with a degree in a related field. A degree in English, Communication, or Journalism will work with some of them. A degree may allow you to network and build a portfolio, since some of these degrees require internship training.
What is the Job of a Freelance Copywriter?
The biggest duty of a freelance copywriter is to write copy. Here are some of the types of copy a freelance copywriter specialises in: advertising copy (print or digital), website content, blogging, speech writing, and social media content.
Most copywriting businesses can be run by one person. However, as your clientele grows, you might need to hire more copywriters to help out with projects. Growing your operation depends largely on how much work you have and how much you can maintain. If you want to remain a small copywriting business, you will only need freelance writers; however, to grow your copywriting agency, you will need to employ full-time staff.
To find out more about our copywriting services and how they could be of benefit to you, feel free to get in touch with us.