Experienced copywriters have walked the copywriting pathway before you. They have learned a lot through experience, made mistakes and have figured out solutions to these pitfalls.
What if you could tap into this valuable information? It could speed up your journey to the top while saving a considerable amount of pain and anguish. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Riding the tailcoats of copywriters who came before you will let you work from home more efficiently, deal with clients like a pro, and know how to write killer copy.
Here are some valuable lessons from seasoned copywriters to help skyrocket your copywriting career.
Working From Home
“By 2027, more than half of American workers — 58 percent — will have had some experience as independent contractors.” — MBO Partners Looking Forward: What Will the Independent Workforce Look Like In 2027?
You are happy to be working from home. In fact, you feel lucky. Oh, what a relief that the chaos of the everyday commute has been long forgotten. Now, your home is your office. You work in your pajamas and life is great.
Working from home is a tricky undertaking that calls for strong work ethics to help you overcome the various challenges and temptations that come your way.
Here are 15 tips to keep in mind as you begin your work-at-home journey:
1. Manage Your Finances Well
Financial gurus recommend you set aside up to 20% of your monthly copywriter income for a rainy day. That’s for the folks in full-time employment.
As a freelancer, you need to do better than that. You need to set aside at least six months’ worth of living expenses to be on the safe side. Jobs dry up and clients disappear with your paycheck, leaving you high and dry. At that point, you need enough money to tide you through the lean times.
Again, you’re responsible for every aspect of your life: medical insurance, retirement funds, investments, you name it. Once you get your hard-earned cash, avoid the temptation of using it all up.
2. Watch Personal Use of the Internet and Social Media
The reason you can’t seem to get enough of the internet or your favorite social media is because you’re up against a superior force. These platforms are powered by years of marketing research and studying human behavior. They know just how to push your buttons and engage your brain.
Ever wondered why Facebook chose blue as its official color and delivers notifications in red? Or why they keep tweaking their buttons every so often? Each action is deliberate and aimed at keeping you glued to your screen. A quick 10 minutes can easily turn into a whole day wasted browsing the internet. The internet and social media can be ever-alluring distractions unless you are using them for work.
A quick check of your social media handles can quickly turn into hours of watching YouTube videos, scrolling Facebook posts or checking out Instagram photos instead of working.
Use tools to help you stay focused and away from personal use of the internet and social media.
3. Avoid TV and Smartphone Use During Work Hours
Television was the king of distraction long before the internet came along. The folks behind the TV shows are even more skilled in helping billions of people escape reality.
Having the TV running in the background is distracting. It forces you to multitask, which is a fancy word for decreased focus and productivity. You will take longer to deliver client work, and even when you do, it might be riddled with errors and mistakes.
Turn off the TV during working hours and block off specific times to catch your favorite shows. Or consider working from a different room in the house.
Smartphones are excellent time vampires since they condense all the distraction power of both TV and the internet into a fun-sized gadget that fits snugly into the palm of your hand.
Having your cell phone nearby results in endless interruptions as you rush to check the notifications coming in. Interruptions reduce your output since it takes a while to get your flow back on track.
Switch off your phone while working or put it on silent mode and only attend to urgent calls. Or you can opt to leave it in a different room in the house.
4. Time and Manage Your Breaks
It’s advisable to write in chunks of two to three hours before taking a short break to rest your eyes, have a snack, or do a five-minute workout. However, unless you time your breaks, they can disrupt your workflow.
Let these time management apps be your break buddy.
5. Schedule Your House Chores Outside Working Hours
Take charge of the never-ending cycle of house chores. Create a work schedule and allocate time for house chores outside your working hours.
Otherwise, you may miss important work deadlines over doing laundry, cleaning the dishes, or watering the garden.
Dealing with Clients
Clients bring in the work, so you need them as much as they need you to craft good copy. How you deal with them makes all the difference between a smooth and successful project versus a frustrating job that makes you lose sleep.
Experienced copywriters want you to know the following when dealing with clients:
6. Create a Freelancer Contract – And Always Use It
Your contract contains your terms and conditions and they can protect you against rogue clients. A good client will have no problem signing your contract.
Be sure to include the following key areas in your contract:
- What you are hired to do
- What the fees you charge entail
- The payment terms for your work
- The terms under which you are hired
- The timelines and when you should have finished the project
7. Don’t Be Greedy for Jobs
Quality and quantity don’t often go hand-in-hand. Therefore, don’t take on more writing projects than you can handle in a given period.
When you rush copy, you are likely to deliver low-quality content, disappoint your client, and end up ruining your ongoing prospects for work.
8. You Deserve the Rates You’re Charging
Charge your worth and don’t apologize for it.
You may come across clients who downplay your rates. Some may haggle, some may manipulate you to accept payment in the form of “exposure.” Don’t fall for it.
You are better off working with clients who value your services and are willing to pay you on your terms without delay.
Read this definitive salary guide to learn industry standard rates.
9. Treat All Your Clients Well – Even the Worst Ones
Working with excellent clients can be one of the best parts of your copywriting career.
Unfortunately, you are guaranteed to come across some truly unpleasant people in life. This will be the same with your copywriting clientele.
Unreasonable demands and impossible deadlines can put a strain on your working relationships. What to do in this situation?
Always remain professional, a shouting match over Skype or an email thread is a surefire way to say something silly that you can’t take back.
Remember, exhaust all possible solutions for making your work situation with them better. If nothing is working out, don’t endure a terrible client. Fire them and move on to better ones.
Treat your difficult client with respect throughout your dealings with them. When it comes to finishing your contract with them simply choose not to renew your work.
Remaining professional can result in your terrible client introducing you to potentially lovely contacts of theirs. If you keep things cordial you don’t have to worry about this monster client spreading rumors about you either and potentially ruining future relationships.
Always take the high-road when it comes to your career and your reputation as a copywriter.
10. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Yes, communication is crucial. In the virtual space, when you go silent, the client won’t know what you are up to.
Therefore, keep the client updated on their project progress: ask relevant questions, seek clarifications, and be available to answer their questions and concerns within the shortest time possible.
These project and task management tools will make your communication life easier.
Writing GREAT Copy
The difference between good copy and great copy lies in the subtle art of skilled crafting. Experienced copywriters know this too well, and that’s why they want you to know the following.
11. Don’t Be Boring
“Tell the truth but make truth fascinating. You know, you can’t bore people into buying your product. You can only interest them in buying it.” — David Ogilvy
No one likes being bored, and this includes when they’re reading your copy. Here are a few tips to make your writing more interesting.
- Use humor
- Use personality
- Use controversy
- Use great imagery
- Use your big idea
- Use reader-friendly formatting
12. Don’t Use Passive Voice
Want a weak story? Use passive voice.
Want a ruthless tool to help you weed out the passive voice from your copy? Use the Hemingways App.
13. Use You Instead of We or Us
Your copy is about the customer, so it shouldn’t be about you or the company you’re writing for.
- Use you and the copy speaks directly to the customer.
- Use we or us and you turn into another boring company.
Solution: Ditch the “all about us” copywriting trap and show your readers how they will benefit by using magical YOU.
14. Use Different Mixed Media to Create Interest
We human beings are a visual lot. Now, to satisfy that need, sprinkle relevant high-quality media throughout your copy. Here are some ideas:
- Photo galleries
- Illustrative photographs and more
15. Read and Write – A LOT
To be a successful copywriter, you need to practice because, as they say, “practice makes perfect”. Therefore, read and write as much as you can. Keep at it, and you will deliver polished pieces of copy each time.
Now You Know…
Experienced copywriters have poured out their hearts and given you nuggets of copywriting wisdom. Now that you are in the know, make good use of the tips you’ve discovered in this blog article.
Thirsty for more valuable information regarding copywriting and online work? Check out the Small Revolution blog now.
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