3 Things to Know Before Becoming a Freelance Copywriter

With new businesses launched all the time, and new websites launched every day, there's a huge demand for freelance copywriting services. I'm talking about marketing copy - copy that sells or persuades a reader or visitor to do something (from clicking a link to requesting a quote to signing up for an email newsletter subscription).

Do you think you have what it takes to succeed as a freelance copywriter? Before jumping into freelance copywriting, take some time to learn more about the following three things: marketing fundamentals, sales, and consumer psychology. Understanding these three things to a better degree will absolutely help in a copywriting career.

Marketing Fundamentals

You can't write effective copy for a client if you don't fully understand who their target market is. Not all clients can tell you that - they expect you to figure it out. So brush up on market research. This is also going to help you work with the client on using the copy in positioning them against competitors.

Sales

Take some time to look at existing sales and marketing materials (company websites, brochures, sales letters, landing pages, etc.). Find samples from sites you know are successful, and look for similarities, trying to understand why certain things work.

Consumer Psychology

You know your target market, and you've looked at lots of examples. Other than simply copying the copy of others, you need to understand at least a little bit about consumer psychology in order to go from being an average copywriter to a great one. What does this mean? You'll want to understand why consumers do what they do, buy what they buy, and react to things in certain ways. For example, consumers react differently to different colors, and that knowledge is used in crafting marketing material all the time (so you might want to know what colors headings should be in a sales letter for example). This also goes back to market research. It's one thing to identify who that target market is. It's something else to really understand them and what motivates them to do what you want them to do (and what makes them decide against it). For example, if you're writing copy for a company targeting parents of young children, you'll need to understand what concerns those parents have, and what values they have when it comes to making purchases that affect their children.

You won't become an expert on all three fronts overnight. But start early, and make it a point to continue learning. Here are a couple of resources to get you started:

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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6 thoughts on “3 Things to Know Before Becoming a Freelance Copywriter”

  1. Knowledge about search engine and copywriting (or both, SEO copywriting) are added value for freelance writers.

    There are certainly a lot to be learned if someone decides to offer their service online because many things are different.

    Btw, you do have a copywriting category, don’t you? I was looking around but for one reason or another it doesn’t appear in the sidebar…

    Reply
  2. I’m not sure why it wasn’t showing up before. In the admin area, even though the post was live it was saying there were no posts assigned to that category (the category was just added with this post, so there’s nothing else there yet). It seems to have just been slow to update it for some reason (maybe because I wrote the post yesterday and had it drip today – categories only show after it registers that there’s a post there). So I re-published the post manually, and it seems to be displaying fine now. Thanks for bringing my attention to it. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Thanks for sharing the info, Jennifer. Knowing your client’s target market and understanding consumer psychology are so important in order to write effective copy.

    Reply
  4. The great thing about copywriting is that you can (and will) continue to learn about marketing, sales, and consumer psychology throughout your career.

    So, really, you simply need a foundation in these subjects. Fortunately, you don’t have to “know it all” before you get started.

    Reply
  5. I’ve been practicing sales letter writing.

    Once I become proficient at this, how do I
    go about finding freelance work writing
    sales letters?

    Reply
  6. Hey you know what I learn a lot from this article from the point of view of the writer up to the audience comments, I also want to become a professional writer someday so I do browse and look for a good quality post like this. About jill you can find work if you have the talent in writing don’t you worry theres a lot of work waiting for you when time comes.

    Reply

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