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I noticed that many freelancers, although very skilful, lack one major skill that can boost their performance and help them dominate the market.
That skill is copywriting.
In the following sections, I will go over what copywriting is, where you use it and I will share some tips and resources on how to get better at it.
What Is Copywriting
Copywriting is re-arrangement of words to get something from the other party. This can be a sale, tip, advice.
I consider it a pseudo-form of social engineering.
I love writing code for a living but if there was some other discipline that I had to choose to make a living it’s digital marketing where copywriting is an essential skill.
Where Do You Use Copywriting
Okay, now that you know what copywriting is, where do you even use it?
A picture is worth a thousand words so let me share with you these two client pitches and you decide which one got me a contract.
The first one is a message that I sent to someone who posted in r/slavelabour almost two years ago.
Yep, it’s pretty embarrassing. Hey, but you can’t become the best without first being the worst. But yeah 12$ an hour is still pretty embarrassing. I have written a post on common mistakes as a beginner and how you can avoid them. Check it out here.
As you can see there are quite a few problems with the first image. It’s all ask, ask, ask without providing anything in return. Why should anyone work with me?
The other picture is one of my recent submissions in r/forhire. Although it didn’t have the best results it turned out quite good in the end and I managed to land a client.
As you might have noticed in the second image I’m not asking the client to send me a DM or invite them to talk with me.
I am being honest, transparent and providing solution to ultra-specific problems (ADA compliance and progressive enchantment).
I am providing them with a solution if they want to hire me but want someone who can commit full-time.
These were only two examples where the power of text can mean the difference between a steak and canned tuna for dinner.
How To Improve Copywriting
If you reached this section you are probably interested in improving your copywriting game.
I’m no expert marketer that brings 5-figures a month doing affiliate marketing or AdWords but the one thing that helped me is practice, practice, practice.
I’m a firm believer that there is no end to learning and improving.
I constantly change my copy, my portfolio site and my pitches to test what brings in the most leads.
Below you can find a couple of tips that I picked up over the past couple of months.
Like What You're Reading?
Explain What You Bring To The Table
When I started freelancing I usually introduced myself as a full-stack developer with X amount of years of experience with Y and Z technology.
I quickly found out that clients usually don’t care about that.
If you don’t trust me just take a look at classical in-office software development jobs. Imagine a company puts out an ad saying they need a .NET developer.
You want to apply but you only worked with Java for the past 5 years.
Will they reject you immediately because you don’t know every nook and cranny of .NET ecosystem.
Of course not.
It’s the same story with freelance clients.
Clients don’t want to hear how many years of experience you have in X technology/framework/tool.
Clients are more interested in how you can bring value to their business or make their lives easier or both.
In conclusion, tell them about how you can improve their lives and not everything that there is to know about some piece of technology.
Put Yourself In You Clients Shoes
My second tip is to put yourself in your client’s shoes.
Every industry and every person is different so you must write your pitch for them and them only.
Don’t even think about creating or using a template for your pitch. It never goes well.
Ask yourself why should this person respond to me or even why should this person if read my message or email?
Maybe it’s because of a catchy title. Or maybe because you are giving them something for free. Or perhaps you have prepared them an exclusive offer that they can’t refuse.
In essence, you need a hook to keep them interested in your services if you are expecting them to respond.
Use Your Brain
Before you click that send button I want to you do me a favour.
Read your pitch and then turn off your computer or do something else.
Wait until tomorrow and after reading your email again ask yourself: “What would I feel if I got this email?".
If the answer is “this person wants me to take my money” or “this person is trying to sell me something” then you are doing something wrong.
In my opinion, your initial contact should be all about the client and not about yourself at all. Ask them about their business. Show genuine interest in them. Ask them to give you a bit of advice on something you know they are experts at.
Here is a great article on how to write “advice emails”.
Now this one doesn’t work in every case. Use this when you are pitching yourself to a client. DO NOT use this when a client has spread the word that he/she needs a freelancer to help them out. In this case, it’s best to reach out to the client as fast as possible.
Gremmer Mistake is a Fatal Mistake
Did you notice that I spelled the subtitle of this sections ‘Gremmer’? It stands out, doesn’t it?
I know this from personal experience. If you misuse “you’re” and “your” you probably won’t see me around your content anymore.
I use Grammarly to avoid mistakes like these.
Grammar mistakes make you look unprofessional and kill all your efforts instantly in most cases.
In conclusion, I’d wager that someone’s ability to present their skills is as important as the skills itself.
That’s why I consider copywriting one of the essential skills for any freelancer.
If you are eager to learn more about copywriting I highly recommend to check out: