SEO Copywriting – A Steady Diet of Steroids For Your Website

I know what you’re thinking: O.M.G! They have steroids for websites? They do, indeed, it’s called SEO copywriting and it’s legal. However, you have to have the right formula to pump up those site muscles.

SEO copywriter + website analyst + creativity = perfect formula for a buff website.

So how does SEO copywriting really work? I mean, so you write a couple of fluff pieces, send them out across the Web and, suddenly, more traffic, right? Well, not exactly… because the point of SEO copywriting isn’t just to get traffic, but to get targeted traffic using keywords. SEO copywriting is used to:

Promote Keywords

The best way to really promote your keywords, and thus hit your target market, is with web content. You want to get traffic, true, but you also want to generate sales leads. An SEO copywriting company, in essence, becomes your online marketing team. Every line of text, every blog comment, every article or Twitter post is a chance for keyword – and business – promotion.

Raise SERP Rankings

SEO content is the biggest muscle booster a website can have. The SEO copywriter doesn’t stuff keywords; they pay close attention to density and proximity – where the keyword is placed and how often. On reread, they answer the questions: Will it read naturally to visitors? Is the keyword in a high enough placement for search engines to easily pick it up? A mix of natural writing, keyword placement and keyword density is a steroid boost for your website, keeping visitors interested and search engines ranking you higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Get Your Message Out

It seems easy: “Look, people, I have this product, it does XYZ, now come buy it.” However, consumers are savvy. They understand, for the most part, when you’re shoving sales down their throats. An SEO copywriter provides a blend of sales and writing to get your message out in a pleasing, non-forceful way. It’s fine to pressure visitors into buying; anytime you see some form of “Act now!” it’s a type of pressure. It is not fine, however, to threaten their lives if they don’t buy. SEO copywriting says, “Yes, buy it, because it will help you with…”

Get Visitors To Act

No amount of SEO, copywriting, design or anything else does a bit of good if visitors don’t ACT. A strong call to action, blended with persuasive content, is absolutely necessary for boosting conversion rates. Whether you want them to share their email, buy a product or just comment, call to actions are the main purpose of all the content on your site.

So, is your website missing muscle? Does it need a little extra beef? Did your call to actions flex and hurt themselves? Hire an SEO copywriting company and give your website a steady diet of steroids! Your wallet will love you for it.

7 Steps to Becoming a Freelance Copywriter

Do you love words? Do you have a constant hunger for how and why words work? Are you the kind of person who watches TV ads, reads web pages, or sees an ad in a glossy magazine and thinks: ‘I’d love to give notice on my day-job and write stuff like that for a living instead’.

How about giving freelance copywriting a go? (No, not ‘copyrighting’, that’s all about protecting ideas, registering trademarks, etc.) Copywriting is a much more creative job that allows you to:

Work from home
Do something different every day
Enjoy an unlimited income
BE YOUR OWN BOSS

So What Exactly Does A Freelance Copywriter Do?

A lot of the marketing writing you see is not written by the company promoting the product or service, but by a professional freelance copywriter who works independently.

As a busy and well-paid freelance copywriter you could write persuasive words for:

Ads
Website pages
Blogs (‘internet diaries’)
Articles
Press releases
E-mail marketing campaigns (e-mails that promote a product or service, or simply inform people)
Printed marketing materials (brochures, leaflets, flyers and sales letters)
TV & radio commercials

What You Will Learn Here:

This how-to article will gently guide you though a step-by-step process that explains in plain English: how to train to become a freelance copywriter, how to work, where the work is, how much to charge, and how to get paid. The secret to knowing when to give up your day-job completely and make that exciting jump into a full-time freelance copywriting career will also be revealed to you!

Step 1: Train Up

1. You don’t need advertising agency experience or qualifications, but taking a copywriting training course will save you years of trial and error. You will also come away with examples of your writing (your course assignments), which could become part of your developing portfolio.

2. Study those TV ads you love more closely, and start reading marketing material with a laser-focus. On posters, magazine ads, websites and blogs, scrutinise the headline, the opening sentence, the subheadings, how the page ends and then tries to get the reader to do something, to act in a certain way (the ‘call-to-action’).

By immersing yourself in your craft, you will begin to see patterns and formulas. These are the different tried and tested copywriting techniques the professionals use.

Step 2: Set Up Your Business

1. Decide where you’ll work – At home or from a rented office? Whichever you choose, ensure you can work there without noise or interruptions. You will also need an internet connection and enough space for your desk, filing cabinet, etc.

2. Put in place the things you will need – A phone, an internet-connected computer, a printer, a thesaurus and a good dictionary are the essentials.

3. Learn how to keep simple business accounts (a legal requirement) – For self-employment wannabes, Job Centre Plus in the UK often provides one-day bookkeeping workshops. Why not go along and see when the next one is?

4. Prepare a business plan – To give your business direction, always work to a strategy. Formulating a proper business plan is the best place to start.

Step 3: Build Your Portfolio

Be prepared to work for free for a while, to build a strong portfolio of work. Remember, you will also be developing writing skills with every project you complete.

In your portfolio aim to have a couple of samples of leaflets, web pages, articles, blog posts, press releases, etc. Then you can start making money from your skills.

Step 4: Establish Your Rates

Always be clear on your fees. Set an hourly rate. As you become more experienced you can increase your rates.

Step 5: Find Paid Work

1. Tell your family, friends and neighbours about your new business. The more people that know, the better. Sooner or later someone will say: ‘Actually, I could really use a flyer for my car wash business’.

2. Create a profile on freelance exchange websites, such as Elance, Guru and People Per Hour.com. (Companies looking for freelance copywriters post paid writing jobs on these sites). Learn how to use the sites, and start bidding for jobs.

3. Launch your own website. Potential clients could learn more about you there. They could browse your uploaded portfolio. And through your contact form they could get in touch with you about a paid project.

Step 6: Ensure You Get Paid

Before you start writing a paid project, have the client complete and sign a client agreement stating clearly that they are commissioning the work, what the job requirements are, and the agreed fee. ALWAYS get it all in writing. Also, ask for a deposit up-front. Typically this is 25% to 50% of the full fee.

Step 7: Become A Full-Time Freelance Copywriter

Don’t give up your day job completely and go full-time as a freelance copywriter until you have at least 6 months’ living money in the bank. Then, with your financial cushion in place, a client-base growing by the week, and the resolve to get up every day determined to find a paid copywriting job, you’ll finally say Goodbye to the rat race for ever!

You Are All Set

You now know how to set up, trade, protect yourself and progress as a freelance copywriter. You also know when to make the jump from part-time to full-time freelance copywriting, without feeling anxious about how you are going to pay the bills, eat, cover the TV licence, etc.

Why Do I Need a Copywriter? 5 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is a copywriter anyway?

A copywriter is a person who writes material for businesses. This could include text for a website, an email, a promotional newsletter, a brochure, or a press release. Essentially, a copywriter writes documents. This is not to be confused with a legal copyright agency where someone who has a text can register it to prove ownership and date of creation.

What does a copywriter do?

A copywriter consults with a business owner about the needs of the business and writes “to order” for an agreed rate per project or per hour.

What is the benefit to the business owner?

A professional writer has experience using words to convey specific messages to an intended audience. While a business owner may specialize in baked goods, they don’t necessarily have the ability to write about the mouth-watering goodness of fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chips cookies. Being able to emotionally appeal to an audience, a copywriter can express clearly to the customers what the business has to offer them and what benefit it will bring. This results in an increase in sales for the business owner.

What is a copywriter with Internet Marketing experience?

Internet marketing is when a business uses the Internet to reach more clients. An Internet marketing copywriter has experience with designing effective websites and attracting more traffic to the business website thereby increasing the amount of potential customers. A online copywriter may also use articles to promote a client and other strategies to make their business more profitable.

What if I don’t like what the copywriter writes for me?

Most copywriters expect to be paid in advance and it is a non-refundable payment. By communicating clearly at the beginning what your expectations are for the product or service and being clear about deadlines then you are likely to not be disappointed. Ask your copywriter to see a draft before the deadline, if you like, to see if they are on track and if there are any changes you’d like to make. Keep in mind that if you deviate too far from what you had originally agreed on there may be extra fees involved. Do your homework: view samples of their previous work to see if you like their writing style. In the end, “Communication. Communication. Communication.” Without communication there can be no progress.

5 Mistakes Businesses Make When Hiring a Freelance SEO Copywriter

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge part of building a web presence for your business. Hiring an SEO copywriter can be a wise investment for companies and individuals doing business online. Will you be preparing for SEO success or setting yourself up for failure? Here are five things that can start you off on the wrong foot – and ways you can avoid them.

1. Fail to identify the unique selling proposition (USP).

“We need writing for our Widget McWidget website.”
“OK. What’s so special about Widget McWidget?”
“Huh? Uh, we were hoping you could tell us that.”

What makes your business stand out? Why should people buy what you’re selling? What special value do you offer your current and potential customers? That’s your unique selling proposition.

Don’t waste your time or your SEO copywriter’s by forcing them to try to figure this out. Copywriters don’t create value. Copywriters communicate value. They translate the idea of a business into language that engages and compels people to take interest. SEO copywriters do that and make it easier for your customers to find you on search engines.

2. Provide inadequate details about what is needed.

“We need a blog.”
“Uh-huh. For what?
“Ummm, everyone else has a blog?”

If there’s anything that will set a client up to be disappointed, it’s the lack of clear guidelines for the work they need done. SEO copywriters are not mind readers. If they were, you would hire them to do that instead.

At the very least, before you hire an SEO copywriter, you need to know: What do you want? Who is it for? When do you need it? Where is it going? Why do you need it? How should it look, sound or feel? Better to err on the side of information overload than find yourself disappointed because you provided inadequate information.

3. Have no budget.

“We saw your ad, and we’d love to hire you as an SEO copywriter.”
“Great. What kind of budget do you have for this project?”
“Oh, that. Hmm. How low can you go?”

Would you buy a car without knowing how much you were willing to pay for one? How about a hi-definition TV? A house? Why should the decision to hire an SEO copywriter be any different?

As cheap as possible is not a budget. $3 per blog post is not a budget. $35 an hour is not a budget. Your budget needs to reflect what you’re willing to invest in SEO copywriting. Once again, this is your job. Before you even bother to contact someone, you need to do your research. If you have a three-figure budget, why would you waste time trying to hire the six-figure SEO copywriter? If the industry standard for SEO web copy is $450 per page, why would you only budget $600 for a whole website?

4. Forget to sign a contract.

“Hey, your payment’s way overdue.”
“We decided that we didn’t like what you did so we’re not going to pay you.”
“Er, say what?”

You can imagine how quickly this can turn real ugly.

Contracts protect you by spelling out exactly what you’re paying for. They keep your SEO copywriter sane by letting them know how much work they have to do and when they’ll get paid. Contracts don’t have to be complicated “legal speak.” They can be simple and straightforward, especially for a small job.

5. Pay peanuts.

“How many articles did you need?”
“10 or 15.”
“A week?”
“A day.”
“Uhhh, what’s your budget again?”
“$25.”
“Per post?”
“Total.”

If you pay peanuts, you’re better off hiring monkeys instead of SEO copywriters. That “short” 500-word article you need written that “should only take 45 minutes” realistically takes closer to 3 or 4 hours if you want it to say anything worth saying. And on top of that, you want keywords, relevant links and such.

SEO copywriting is more than stringing words together or plugging in keywords. It is real work that real people do, so you need to pay real money. Want original well-written content rich with keywords and strategically placed links? You have to pay for it.

Conclusion
Of course, there are many more ways to get it wrong, many more mistakes you can make when hiring an SEO copywriter. But when you hire an SEO copywriter, remember that you’re not dealing with a word machine. You’re getting a human being with specialized knowledge. If you treat your SEO copywriter like a skilled professional, you are far more likely to get it right.

Copywriting – What a Copywriter Does

Copywriting is the use of words to advocate an entity- a person or business, or concept- an opinion or idea. It should not be confused with Copyright, which is one’s legal exclusivity over a literary or artistic work. An alternate definition, as used in the advertising world, has copywriting as– the use of words (marketing copy) to communicate a sales message to sell a product. The aim of marketing copy or promotional text is to persuade the reader or listener to take action on the service or item being offered.

Generally used to connote media promotions, a copywriter is responsible for ads in television, radio, magazines, newspapers and others. The job likewise loosely applies to writing in print media. But reporter or writer is the more appropriate designation when promotion or sales is not engaged in.

Copywriting is also the skill of presentation via: billboards, brochures, white papers, catalogs, sales letters, direct mail material, web page content, online ads, e-mail, press releases, and other marketing stuff. Most copywriters are employees of advertising agencies, PR firms, or media establishments. And usually part of a creative team, with each member contributing a specialized know-how to produce advertisements.

What a Web Copywriter Does

In simplest terms, copywriters are wordsmiths– who create the textual elements of a promotional undertaking. Copywriters of the online (internet world) and offline (real world) realm are similar. But today a dividing line has been drawn between the two. Real world copywriters are now usually referred to as advertising copywriters. Their internet brothers and sisters now prefer to be called as web copywriters– as a means of differentiating one from the other.

Long time web copywriters, who have engaged in their craft for decades, posit that what works on magazines, newspapers and other print media have been found as inappropriate online. These experts, though years of actual experimentation with thousands of internet transactions claim to have been able to identify the methodologies that work online. It could therefore be said that the expertise of web copywriting is now in a league of its own; totally distinct from that of media advertising.

Despite the difference, the common thread remains: the parallel aim of producing leads, customers, sales and ultimately– profit for their employers.

Meanwhile, the distinction between ordinary web content against the output of web copywriters likewise needs to be made. Ordinary website contents are intended to inform, entertain or teach the site visitor; while copywriters are always out to convey a marketing or sales message.

What a web copywriter does can be compared to what a magician does. Tricks of magic make money appear from thin air. Copywriters perform similar “magic”– making money appear from almost nothing… just making use of words.

Raffy Chan is an architect, consultant, entrepreneur, writer and internet marketing enthusiast; based in California.

Small Businesses – Can You Afford (Not) to Use a Copywriter?

Traditional business lore says that half of all new businesses fail within the first year.

The latest statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA) show that “two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at lease two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years.” These numbers are far more encouraging. Still, why do one-third fail in the first two years, and more than half within the second two years?

This story is told at MarkTAW online: “In season 2 or 3 of The Apprentice, [a contestant] named Tana wasted a lot of time trying to repeat a past success. She’d started her own business during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. She bought a bunch of ordinary Olympics T-Shirts wholesale, and spent her time bedazzling them. She was able to sell them at a premium because her shirts were better than the competition’s.

“When given a new task: Sell t-shirts designed by prominent NYC artists, she was convinced that the key to profitability was to bedazzle the artist’s designs. She wasted hours trying to find a bedazzler and completely ignored marketing. After all, who doesn’t like rhinestones? The other team simply emailed a list of their artists’ fans and sold their shirts for 5 or 6 times what Tana’s team was able to fetch from strangers off the street.

“This might seem like an incredibly stupid move, but it’s probably very typical behavior.”

I agree. It’s a basic law of marketing that you may have the best product, but unless you have a marketing program as good as your product, you’re not going to sell it. And you’re in business to sell, aren’t you…and ultimately to make money? So while marketing does cost money, it’s an investment in your ultimate success.

Let’s say you just heard your great-aunt has died, and you’re mentioned in her will. You don’t know how much your share of the estate is, but you have reason to believe it’s significant. The only condition is that you must attend the reading of the will in person.

Further, let’s say you live in Massachusetts and your great-aunt’s will is going to be read in her hometown in southern California, a trip of considerable distance and expense. What’s your reaction going to be?

1. “No problem.”

2. “Oh, forget it. I don’t need Great-Auntie’s money.”

3. “I can’t afford to travel! Someone else will have to get my share!”

4. “Wow, that’s a big trip, but I guess I’d better go if I want the money.”

Now, if you’re already well-off, you may have the luxury of reacting as in number one or two. But if you’re a person who could really use the windfall, you’ll probably react more like number three or four. And if you have good sense when it comes to investing in the future, it’ll be number four.

The point is that by spending some money, you create the opportunity to gain far more.

If you’re a small business, this is the reality you probably face every time you consider something you could (and should) be spending money on: insurance, legal counsel, accounting, data backup, professional cleaning services. The list of things you shouldn’t be trying to do yourself may seem endless.

At the top of that list is marketing. Saying, “I can’t afford to work with a copywriter!” and trying to create your own marketing package is equivalent to saying, “Someone else can have my market share!”

To make sure you get a copywriter who’s right for you, take these steps:

1. Determine your budget. If you’re a startup, you may not have an official budget, and you may have no idea what copywriting normally costs. So determine how much you think you can spend without serious hardship, and be ready to listen to the copywriter’s ideas about how your marketing dollars are best spent.

2. Don’t aim for a top-drawer copywriter, but don’t aim for a bottom-drawer one either. The lowest bidder is probably the lowest bidder for a reason. Your best bet is a middle-drawer copywriter–one who has a decent portfolio (usually on his website) but isn’t necessarily writing for nationally known clients.

3. Ask the copywriter if she offers any kind of special package or “deal” for new and/or small businesses. Some do; some may never have thought about it, but might be open to the idea. If you feel comfortable with the copywriter, and suggest that you’ll have future work for her, she may be willing to work with you at a discount rate for the opportunity of getting in on the “ground floor” of a successful business–yours.

4. Don’t ask the copywriter if you can write it and he can “improve” it for a lower fee than starting from scratch. You may be a good writer, but unless you’re already trained in copywriting, it’s going to be just as much work for him to “fix” your work as to start from the beginning.

5. Be prepared to learn something. The copywriter is a copywriter (and you’re not), and she has training and experience you don’t. It’s okay to ask why this or that is done a certain way, but trust that she knows what she’s doing. If you’re not comfortable with the copywriter, find a different one.

Bottom line: if you’re serious about making money (and if you’re not, why are you in business?), make marketing a top priority. Finding a copywriter is easy. Just search for “copywriter” or “copywriter + [your niche]”. Fill out the online inquiry form or e-mail him or her and ask a few questions. If a free consultation is offered, go for it.

Then choose the copywriter who’s the best match for your business needs and get going on making some money.

Copywriting Services – Which of These 5 is Best For You? – And What Do You Need to Know About Them?

Whether you’re looking to learn about various copywriting services, or you’re looking for things to consider when outsourcing copywriting services, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, not only will I list 5 types of copywriting services; I also hope to give you some insightful ideas that will help you see new communication channels through which you can reach your market.

This is not an exhaustive list, but rather, a list of 5 selected types of copywriting services that are representative of all possible types. Your professional copywriter can help you determine which type, or combination of types, is best for you.

So…What Are The 5 Copywriting Services?

To begin, we an classify all the various types of copywriting services into two broad categories: off line and online.

Infomercials, direct mail, and radio are all examples of offline advertising. However, since this article is written with the Internet-oriented business owner in mind, online services are what I’ll focus on. (Keep in mind, however, that with proper guidance, most offline advertising can be transferred online, and vice versa. An infomercial can easily be converted into an online video format and placed on your site. Conversely, your best-converting pay-per-click ad can easily be printed in a newspaper classifieds.)

Copywriting Service #1: Sales Page Copywriting (But Not What You Think)

Though all marketing should lead to the page where the prospect becomes a buyer, this isn’t the only type of copywriting I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about the OTO, the one-time-offer page.

The OTO is a salespage your customer sees after they have just made a purchase. It’s part of a strategy based on the fact that a certain percentage of your buyers are likely to buy again…especially while they’re “hot.” And because it’s a one-time-only offer, they won’t see that same offer at that price again. If they close the page or refresh, they lose out. They can buy later, but not at this low, one-time price. Of course, the offer presented here is complimentary to the purchase they’ve just made. In fact, it may even be an enhancement/upgrade of it, or even a “platinum” version.

Because of this one-time situation, and if your copywriter has done a good job at presenting your one-time-offer, your buyer will feel very compelled to make a second purchase. In fact, it might not even be a hard decision at all, because if your copywriter has done a great job at presenting your one-time offer, your customer will clearly be sold on your offer. This can drive profits by up to 65% or more.

The OTO is a very profitable example of how a good, pro copywriter can add value to your bottom line.

Copywriting Service #2: Video Copywriting and Marketing Services

Is a PowerPoint-to-video presentation best for you? How about an infomercial-style video? How does the fact that most people are visual learners influence how you’ll produce a visual message? I’m sure you know that online video is a huge trend, confirmed by the growing number of video sites like YouTube, Metacafe, and DailyMotion.

Video marketing, when done well, can be a profitable marketing channel for you. One need look no further than Blendtec’s popular “Will It Blend” series of videos on YouTube. Though the traditional definition of copywriting services didn’t include video marketing, when you consider the fact that 52% of all Internet traffic is video, or video-related (eMarketer, December 2007), it becomes apparent that you should consider the services of a professional video marketer. You can also ask your copywriter if they provide video marketing services to their clients. Currently, there are very few who do, but since video is increasingly used as a viable marketing medium, the need for video marketing services will increase, and copywriters are in a very good position to offer this.

Copywriting Service #3: Pay-Per-Click Campaign Management

Last month, one of my copywriting coaches told me something I had heard numerous times before: that a small change in an ad can yield a significant increase in response.

In addition to writing pay-per-click ads for your marketing campaigns, a professional copywriter can also manage them. That is, a good copywriter who understands pay-per-click advertising (Google AdWords is a prime example) can monitor each pay-per-click ad. Some will be profitable for you, whereas a few will break even or fail to yield a positive ROI. Your copywriter can deactivate the losing ads, and direct more effort toward creating ones that resemble those that return a positive ROI.

Copywriting Service #4: E-Mail Copywriting and Autoresponder Series

If you’re wondering what an autoresponder is, I’ll explain in a moment. Not only can compelling sales messages be written for web pages; they can also be delivered to your prospect’s inbox. Before going further into the subject of e-mail copywriting services, we should note that being CAN-SPAM compliant is one thing to keep in mind.

For years, it’s been said that over 80% of online sales take place after 7 exposures. That is, your prospect may need to see messages from you 7 or more times before they make a purchase.

But the tricky thing is this: depending on the market, people may not welcome overt sales messages being delivered to their inboxes, even if they’ve subscribed to your e-mail list.

So…how do you keep in touch with your e-mail subscribers, without scaring them off by repeatedly sending them “buy this” messages? Send them e-mails that discuss on how much better their lives will be as a result of having your product, or service.

In addition to regular, timely e-mails, an autoresponder series is a great way to automatically keep in touch with your prospects. An autoresponder series is simply a number of sequential, pre-written e-mail messages that are sent to your e-mail subscribers.

I’ve seen entire products devoted to e-mail marketing. Last month, 2 colleagues of mine attended a seminar devoted to e-mail marketing, and I know of at least one copywriter who specializes in writing autoresponder e-mails. All these things confirm the validity of e-mail marketing and how, when done legally and properly, it can be a profitable way to keep in touch with your prospects and customer base.

Copywriting Service #5: Split-Testing and Conversion Tracking

What if all your advertising got better and better? I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Most marketers either haven’t heard of it, or simply don’t do it the profitable way. Without going into too much detail, split-testing is just testing two ads or messages, finding out which of the 2 works better, and improving our findings. For example, what would you do if you had an advertising campaign that gave you an ROI of 2:3? ($2 profit for every $3 invested.)

You’d be running a loss…but why? You could simply just say, “I guess my advertising’s bad…” But why?

Most marketers never look beyond this point.

This is where a pro copywriter and marketing strategist can help you. Let’s say that we find that you advertising campaign consists of 2 different ads. Upon close inspection, we find that one of the ads is losing money, and the other one is actually profitable for you. The losing one costs you $4 for every $1 it brings in, whereas the winning one produces $2 for every $1.

At this point, we can deactivate your losing ad, and focus more of our advertising into the ad that works. The overall effect of this is that your previously-losing campaign will now turn in a profitable ROI of 2:1. There’s a little more to it, but that’s essentially what split-testing is. Imagine how successful you’ll be after just a few months of new, proven, ROI campaigns?

Conversion tracking is a little more involved. Basically, it’s a split-test that tracks your prospects throughout your marketing funnel. In conclusion, I hope I’ve begun to open you up to the many profitable opportunities that exist for your business. As I said earlier, this is in no way an exhaustive list of copywriting services, but rather, my best attempt to represent all the various services, using a manageable number of examples. A great copywriter can help to implement everything I’ve discussed here.

What Does a Freelance Copywriter Do?

A freelance copywriter is anyone who produces content or text on demand. The ‘freelance’ indicates that they operate as a free agent, usually carrying out clearly bounded copywriting projects or commissions on an ad hoc basis and for a range of clients. ‘Copywriter’ is a loosely defined term, since copywriting often includes a range of tasks that may be much more precisely defined in other industries (such as publishing): writing, rewriting, structuring, planning, editing, copy-editing, proofreading and liaison with a range of other professionals such as graphic designers and web developers.

When they work with businesses, copywriters provide support to the marketing function by writing marketing materials such as brochures, advertisements and websites. Typically, the freelance copywriter will deal with the marketing manager or marketing director, although in a smaller firm the MD or CEO may approach the freelance copywriter direct.

Freelance copywriters also work with agencies, where they support the creative work of the agency by adding a copywriting function to their service portfolio. While many agencies offer writing services, they may choose to use a freelance to do the actual work – either because they lack the capacity for copywriting in-house, or because they need the skills of a specialised copywriter.

Freelance copywriters also work with other types of client – public sector organisations, charities, academics – anyone who needs something written might be interested in the services of a copywriter.

Many freelance copywriters list their services in traditional directories, just like any other business. However, for the vast majority, the key way of linking up with new clients is through the internet. Most copywriters now have their own web presences, often optimised for search engines so that they can attract web users who enter terms such as ‘copywriter’ or ‘freelance copywriter’. To reduce competition, they may also seek to rank for terms such as ‘copywriter Norwich’ or ‘copywriter London’. To build up the profile of their site, copywriters may seek coverage in online copywriting directories, such as these examples at Yahoo and FreeIndex.

Once contact has been made, the freelance copywriter meets with the client to determine what kind of copywriting is required. This means considering such important aspects as purpose, tone of voice, target format and (most importantly) the situation of the reader and the response that the copywriter is aiming to elicit from them. Good copywriters will carefully gather all this information before beginning their copywriting.

Before beginning work, the freelance copywriter will seek to agree a price with their client. Most copywriters charge by the day, although some may agree to charge by the hour, or (for some types of commission) by the word or thousand words. Charging by the word carries the risk that many revisions will be required in order to get the copy right, leaving the copywriter undercharging. However, for some tasks (such as the creation of large amounts of search-engine friendly copy), the per-word basis may be appropriate.

A realistic estimate of time requirements is essential, and the client needs to appreciate how much work can go into a freelance copywriting commission. For example, the creation of a three-word slogan might involve several days of liaising with company executives, reviewing competitors’ content, brainstorming and evaluation.

Many copywriters work without a full, legally binding contract in place. While not ideal, there are many reasons why they might choose to do this. First and foremost is the desire to please the client by getting on with the actual writing instead of getting tied up in negotiation. In any case, an email from the client to the freelance copywriter with explicit authorisation to proceed is usually sufficient basis for the copywriter to begin work.

How Freelance Copywriters Work

Once a job has been arranged and commissioned, the freelance copywriter is ready to begin writing. Some freelance copywriters find it easiest to write in the format and tone of the target medium, while others may prefer to brainstorm ideas, perhaps not even using any writing medium at all. Some copywriters find that their best ideas occur to them when they are in a situation far away from orthodox work environments. Most experienced freelance copywriters keep pen and paper to hand around the house, so that if a catchy slogan or compelling concept occurs to them, they can jot it down and ensure it gets used.

It’s a safe assumption that most freelance copywriters are now using Microsoft Word or a similar word-processing program for their writing. The sheer ease of use in being able to write, rewrite and restructure your work makes this a no-brainer for the vast majority of freelance copywriters. However, many do prefer to use pen and paper for some assignments, particularly highly creative or short-copy work such as writing company taglines or advertising slogans. Computers offer a huge range of distractions for the freelance copywriter, such as checking their email or updating an online profile, and it can be worth getting away from these in order to focus on the core task of creative writing.

Most freelance copywriters will go through several iterations of their writing before sending anything to their client, typically removing a great deal of writing that isn’t needed before they submit their first draft. In fact, it could be argued that the most important skill of the copywriter isn’t creating text, but taking away the writing that isn’t required.

Many copywriting projects can be completed by a copywriter working alone. However, others require a level of partnership and co-working in order to produce the most effective copy. Adverts, for example, rarely depend on copywriting alone for their impact: the most effective ads are created by a copywriter working in partnership with a creative designer or art director, perhaps supported by a client account manager who represents the client’s wishes and priorities. This type of setup is most likely in an agency arrangement. The copywriter and art director work closely together, perhaps brainstorming ideas and refining them in partnership before collaborating in the actual production of the ad.

Once the actual creative content is being created, the copywriter takes responsibility for the words, while the art director considers what images or graphics will best convey the message. However, the two roles can and should overlap: good copywriters will often suggest designs or images to go with their words, while experienced art directors may well suggest an ‘image plus slogan’ idea. In this situation, it’s down to the expert in each area to confirm that the idea is sound and refine it as far as possible. Savvy creatives know that good ideas can come from anywhere, so they won’t mind sharing the credit.

Once upon a time, the copywriter might have submitted their work to the client via fax or even mail. Nowadays, of course, they will usually send a first draft in the form of a Word document attached to an email.

For many freelance copywriters, meeting the client is a rare occurrence, and in fact it is becoming more and more common for freelance copywriters to work with clients that they have never met or even spoken to by phone. While this can make the freelance copywriter feel rather isolated, it does bring the benefit of allowing them to work with clients who are located anywhere in the world. It can also made communication between client and copywriter quicker and more efficient.

If appropriate, the freelance copywriter may send comments along with their writing, either in the text itself or in an accompanying email. This helps the client to understand the context of the decisions that the freelance copywriter has made, as well as allowing the copywriter to raise queries or request more information that will help them to write the next draft.

When the client receives their writing from the freelance copywriter, they will review it to confirm that it meets their expectations and is fit for purpose. They may then provide feedback to the freelance copywriter in the form of comments directly into the Word document, or perhaps via email or phone. Most freelance copywriters will allow the client to provide feedback on their writing in the form that the client prefers, although in some situations they may wish to achieve some kind of paper trail or record of the changes that have been requested, particularly if the material is commercially or legally sensitive in some way.

The Price of Copywriting Services

In the freelance world, it is very hard to evaluate the price for copywriting services since each project is custom-made. However, if you consider some factors to determine how you will charge a client, you can have a lucrative business out of copywriting services.

The first thing you need to do is to do some research on the latest copywriting rates from different online sites. Compare the prices. Most online sites for freelance copywriters have a list of prices depending on the nature of the project. At most, the rate is per page or per word. There are also projects which have a rate of bulk order. Some clients need a continuous supply of contents to update their websites, and they will pay the copywriter either weekly or monthly based on the agreement or the copywriting contract.

Aside from price comparison, you can also look for some background in the copywriting industry. If you will stay for long in the business, there are available books and electronic books where you can look for the ABCs of copywriting. However, be sure that your sources are updated since the price rates for copywriting services can change through the years.

Figure out what your time and effort that would be appealing to you. Are you ready to price expensive rates and probably have less working hours, but more rates per project? Or, do you like a stretched list of projects with affordable rates for your portfolio? In the end, you have to figure out what your needs are and how much you are willing to charge your clients.

Check out what the normal freelance copywriters make in your area, or in the World Wide Web. Divide that rate by 52 (weeks every year) and then by 40 (hours a week). This is the estimated rate you could look forward to earn per hour.

Determine if you would like to become a professional in a subject or a field. If you become popular for a literary genre or a field of interest, you could practically look ahead to charge for higher fees, more than the average writer who writes about topic on general interest.

You should also consider your expenditures. If you need to travel to do research, purchase a special software, or a specialized equipment, then let the client know so that you can stretch out your rates. A good investment on your resources such as a good laptop with a quality processor is great since you will do most of the writing with your computer.

Appraise the difficulty of your projects. For instance, if you are required to develop a legal study and they provide you the recorded court proceedings and different legal papers and manuals to begin with, you can ask less than a legal study wherein you need to do most of the research. If you need to conduct a survey or research, then you should charge for higher rates for your expenses and time.

However, the freelance business has flexible rates since your decision on the prices is based on your decision. Some clients may ask for a cut-off price with some agreements so you need to develop your sense of reasonable business if you need to give a discount. If you are a beginner, start with affordable rates to kick off your reputation in the industry.