Where to Find Clients
Hanging out a shingle isn't enough. If you want to persuade clients to hire your copywriting services, you have to do much, much more. In your first few weeks, or even months of freelancing, you can expect to spend most of your time selling yourself.
If you have never promoted your own services before, it can be a little intimidating. Don't worry. There really is no mystery to getting clients. It just takes a few simple techniques, some discipline, and good old-fashioned hard work.
The number one reason why freelance copywriters fail to get enough clients is that they give up too soon. Marketing and self-promotion takes time. Success doesn't happen overnight, especially when you first launch your business. But if you keep at it, and do the right things, the clients will come.
Who hires freelance copywriters? Not every business is a potential client. To make the best use of your time and marketing budget, you need to narrow your focus to those organizations that are most likely to use freelance copywriting services.
Creative Services Agencies
These include ad agencies, design firms, public relations firms, marketing consultants, and other firms involved in creating communications for their clients. Virtually all these firms outsource creative work from time to time, so this is a big market for freelancers. The best people inside to contact include the creative director, copy chief, account executive, and, at small agencies, the owner.
Midsized to Large Companies
The marketing or public relations department of just one big company can generate enough work to keep you busy full time. Even if the company already has an ad agency or design firm on retainer, they will still outsource writing projects to freelancers. The best people to contact have the words “marketing,” “communications,” or “public relations” in their job titles.
The mere size of this market makes this a lucrative opportunity for copywriters. There are tens of millions of small businesses throughout North America. However, small-business owners will often want you to provide additional services, such as coordinating design or distributing a press release. The best person to contact is usually the owner.
This is a big market for freelance copywriters. Some copywriters specialize exclusively in writing for nonprofits, cranking out such vital communications as fundraising letters, ads, grant proposals, newsletters, and speeches. Contact the executive director or fundraising director.
Some companies sell primarily through direct mail, television infomercials, and the Internet. They usually don't have stores or salespeople. So their marketing has to do all the work. That's why direct marketing (also known as direct response) is the highest-paying copywriting specialty. If you can craft a direct-mail letter, ad, or other marketing piece that actually generates sales, you can do very well indeed.