You’re a new copywriter who’s offering all the standard services: landing pages, marketing collateral, social media content, and so on.
The challenge: every other copywriter offers those services too. How do you stand out from the crowd? Recently one of my students said: “I’ve just created my first website, but basically I’m doing what everybody else does. Who will hire me? I’ve got a Google Business Profile, but my site’s nowhere. No one will find me.”
True. You can’t just be a generic “copywriter” and expect to get clients, you need to differentiate yourself.
How to differentiate yourself as a new copywriter
A tip: if you’re totally new, get gigs on one of the freelance marketplaces for six months or so. That will build your confidence that you can write to order. Then you can start to build your business.
Copywriters deal in persuasion, which means psychology. You need to understand your clients, and their various audiences.
So, to stand out from the copywriting crowd, decide:
- What you do.
- For whom you’ll do it: who your ideal clients will be.
If you know that, you’re already ahead of 95% of other copywriters and you can market yourself effectively.
Don’t worry about “branding” per se. You’ll brand yourself by what you do. Branding is more than appearance, although that’s what many people think about when they’re talking about a brand.
Your brand will emerge, once you’ve been writing for a while. We discussed how taglines encapsulate a brand; that happens over time.
Let’s look at some tips to help you to stand out.
1. Write down what you do, and for whom
This is essential. Please don’t omit it.
Expect to target your audience incorrectly at first. Everyone does.
At least once a month someone tells me “my clients won’t pay more…” If this happens to you, it means that your positioning is wrong—you’ve chosen an inappropriate audience. That’s OK; you can fix it easily.
Let’s look at an example. Perhaps you want to write website content: home pages, etc. Your audience is small businesses. Your niche is local professionals, dentists, et al.
Unfortunately, unless the dentists have a huge practice, it’s unlikely that they can afford a copywriter. Think in terms of larger companies, with 50 to 100 employees; they have larger marketing budgets.
This brings us to getting clients: your ideal clients.
2. Your ideal clients: how will you find them?
It would be lovely if your prospects found your amazing website and hired you, however, that’s unlikely if you’re a new copywriter. No one knows your name yet.
You’ll need to approach prospects, but how will you find them?
- LinkedIn helps you to connect with people who can hire you.
- News websites. Look at the business sections on local news sites. They’ll mention startups that have received funding and new CEOs.
- The web.
Prospects are everywhere, and the best gigs aren’t advertised. Approach people and be consistent, because it’s definitely a numbers game. You have endless opportunities, but you’ll need to dig to find them. It gets easier once people start passing your name around.
If you’re a new copywriter, you have endless opportunities
Everything begins with what YOU want to write—and identifying companies and individuals who are looking for you, and your unique talents.
Enjoy yourself. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.