It’s the classic catch-22 situation. You’re looking for your first job and everyone wants someone with experience. But you need to get hired to get experience—and no one will hire you.
It doesn’t have to. As a freelance writer, you can land your first gig without any experience, you just need to know how. Then you can learn as you earn and refine your skills while making an income.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can get that all-important first gig, the first time. From there, you can set yourself up for a great future, and you’ll have that experience that everyone asks for!
What to do if you are a copywriter with zero experience
Choose Your Niche
While making yourself available for a wide variety of writing styles does have its merits, opting for the niche approach means that clients are more likely to trust you.
Think about it.
If you were a client looking for someone to write copy about your sustainable clothing brand, who are you more likely to pick? A jack-of-all-trades? Or someone who specializes in green and sustainable living? The answer is the latter.
Niche copywriters will find it much easier to build up a freelance repertoire than general copywriters because they have more opportunities to showcase their specific skills. Focus on a niche, get familiar with it and then target clients that need content that ties in. If you’re cold pitching with emails, you can always include a bit about your knowledge and highlight how familiar you are with a specific niche.
Have A Portfolio Of Samples Ready
As a newbie freelancer, the last thing you want is to be unprepared. Before you’ve even begun setting up your freelance profile, your portfolio of samples needs to be prepped and ready to go.
What you choose to include in your copywriting portfolio will depend on what niche you have selected for yourself. If you are trying to attract blog work, make sure your portfolio features several strong examples of your skill in that area.
The same rule applies to other forms of copy, such as social media content writing and SEO content writing. For an even stronger portfolio, include both short and long-form writing, B2B and B2C writing, as well as writing featuring both serious and humorous content.
You’re new and don’t have published material…what to do? Publish on your own blog. Publish on Medium. Look for guest posts so you can have your work out there. Get on Upwork and snag some jobs, even if they are below your pay rate — this is temporary. You just need to hustle a bit to get this done — consider it legwork.
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Once you’ve selected samples that you are proud to show clients, arrange them nicely in a folder with clear titles. Remember, your portfolio will be your impression on clients, so go all out!
Do Your Research
The freelance industry is highly active and constantly changing. This means you’ll need to do some research if you want to keep up with the crowd. Finding out what kind of copywriting content is in demand will help you curate your portfolio to meet industry needs and standards.
Following other writers’ profiles on social media, subscribing to copywriting and SEO YouTube channels, and setting aside a little time for industry research each day are just some ways you can keep your head in the bustling freelance game.
Inspire Confidence In Clients
In the freelance industry, getting clients to believe in your work is crucial for career development. You are your primary advocate, which means you need to learn how to angle your online profile(s) to inspire trust, assurance, and confidence in clients.
You can establish confidence in your work by being thorough, clear, and personable in your interactions with clients, and being consistent with skill and delivery. But it’s not just about how you work that inspires confidence. It’s also largely about how you choose to sell yourself in bios and conversations.
In order to gain other people’s confidence, you need to believe in yourself first. Spend time contemplating where your natural strengths lie and highlight them when clients ask. If you struggle to talk about yourself, getting testimonials from satisfied clients is another great way to inspire confidence.
Market Yourself In The Right Channels
It’s one thing to market yourself, and it’s another thing entirely to market yourself in the right channels. If you’re a copywriter who specializes in technology and IT content, don’t waste your time appealing to clients who are looking for lifestyle bloggers.
But it’s not just about marketing yourself to the right content crowd. Using freelance channels with standards, rates, and expectations that are similar to your own will mean a much higher chance of finding an industry foothold.
Using email marketing software to issue newsletters on current projects, interacting with the freelance community on forums and social media pages, and seeking out connections with other professionals in your niche are all practical, effective ways to market yourself in 2022.
When it comes down to it, freelancing is a competitive field rich with potential if you can play your cards right. With enough time, patience, and determination, you can become a part of the exciting and highly rewarding freelance community.