Five Things to Act on when Becoming a Freelance Copywriter – Part 5

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The last in this series of guest blogs from Nexus Copywriting

Over the past 4 weeks we’ve looked at how to establish your new copywriting business.  For the final instalment of this series I want to think about the future, ensuring you remain relevant and in touch.  With each new job you will naturally develop in experience and grow as a freelance copywriter, but it’s important to ensure this growth draws from sources beyond your own writing.

The danger in this profession is that you’re isolated.  Usually you will not work with other copywriters; instead your interaction will be with businesses who know little about writing copy – that’s why they’re hiring you!  If you’re not careful this process can become like a runner with a bag over his head – unleashing plenty of energy, but soon losing his sense of direction.  And if he’s not careful, running off a cliff.

It’s tempting to feel once you’ve completed your training, that’s it – you’ve triumphed over the learning and now you just need to apply it.  However, as great as the Copywriting Apprentice course is, it can only ever be a primer.  It sets you up to begin your copywriting career with confidence and credibility, but there is a huge world of information out there and it’s constantly changing.  You need to stay in touch with this and keep growing as a copywriter.

There isn’t a single copywriter in the country who doesn’t need to do this – no matter how experienced – because the world of marketing is forever evolving and what worked a year ago may not be the best approach today.  Tap into all the information you can to ensure you know how Google’s algorithms are changing, what the new advice on best practice for email campaigns is, which examples of copy are getting the marketing world talking, and on and on and on…

How do you do this?  The easiest way is to join Twitter and follow other copywriters – there’s actually a great community out there.  Twitter will soon ‘learn’ you like following copywriters and will suggest new ones to add to your list.  You’ll find they share links to interesting articles or discussions and you can also follow their blogs.

One of the most popular is Copyblogger, which offers excellent insights into current issues and ideas applying to a wide range of copy.  You’ll get news on the latest developments and changes to Google straight from the horse’s mouth at the Google Webmaster Central Blog, but keep in mind this is Google’s mouthpiece.  It’s intended to be helpful but it’s not going to flag up the potential downsides of algorithm changes, so you need to hunt around for the latest comments about this on independent blogs.

You should, of course, be contributing to these online conversations yourself and writing your own blog is a good excuse for research into the latest thinking about your chosen topics.  And whilst the internet is clearly the source for the most current information, don’t neglect the many excellent books on copywriting – there’s a great deal of wisdom and experience waiting to be tapped.

As an ongoing process you should also be nosing into any copy you find, deconstructing what other writers have done and keeping examples of anything you think is successful.  You should create a filing system into which you can gather and organise these examples, so when it comes to a new case study, for instance, you can quickly put your hands on examples you thought were inspiring.  This applies electronically as well, with folders of powerful websites and emails.

And, of course, you can pop back to the graduate section of the Copywriting Apprentice Learning Gateway!  You’ll always be welcome.

Copywriting is such a fascinating career not only because of the variety of businesses you will deal with, but because it’s a constantly changing field in itself.  Never allow the demands of the former to overwhelm your determination to keep up to speed with the latter.  Your success will depend upon being on top of your game, so be sure your copy-shots are never wide of the mark because you hadn’t noticed everyone else moving the goalposts!

I hope you’ve found this series useful and I wish you the very best of luck with your new copywriting business!

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