A while back I heard a joke. “What phrase should all English majors learn to say?” The answer was, “Do you want fries with that?” At first I wondered what they meant by that. Thinking about it, I realized that the insinuation was that an English degree isn’t worth very much in the ‘real world’; in other words, it isn’t going to translate into any job other than being a fast food service worker.
Being an English graduate, I didn’t find this to be very funny. Since then, I’ve heard the joke told several different ways – Liberal Arts major, Language Arts, etc. – you get the idea. People don’t think there is much of a chance of using a talent for words to make a living. If you aren’t going to teach or write the next great best seller, then you are destined for the fast food industry.But that isn’t the reality. Everybody with access to a television, a computer, or a radio knows that there is an abundance of words out there. Spoken words in commercials come from a script, and a script has to be written by someone, why not you? Becoming a freelance copywriter may be the outlet you’ve been looking for to use your talent. Copy is another word for text, specifically text that persuades or sells. Freelance copywriting jobs are jobs that let you write the texts for different situations. You are your own employer, you set the hours you want, and you take the jobs that interest you. Freelance means just that, freedom to choose.
Freelance copywriting jobs come in a variety of situations. I have written advertisements for different agencies, web blogs, and promotional pieces. This type of freedom only could have been possible with the internet. Simply entering freelance copywriting jobs into your favorite search engine will produce thousands of possibilities, but how do you know which ones are worth pursuing? It’s no secret that there are less reputable sites operating out there on the World Wide Web. How should a person begin to sort out which are legitimate jobs and which are fraudulent?
When I began my search for a freelance copywriting job, I started by making a list of likely looking offers. Then I began my research. First, I checked out the company’s website. I was looking for a professional looking site that was easy to negotiate and offered support for its writers. Of course, most good sites will have a place for writers to leave comments and suggestions, either a forum, a question and answer page, or blogs. When you’re reading through these entries, look for the general tone of the entries. Do people seem satisfied with their experiences, pay, and support from the company? Are there good answers to questions, or do people seem to have the impression that writers with this company are on their own?
However, don’t put complete faith in glowing testimonials or ridiculous sounding claims; after all, the purpose of the site is to generate business. One of the most reliable ways to get honest feedback is to see what others have to say about their experiences working for this particular company. A trick is to type the name of the business into the search engine followed by either the word “fraud” or “scam.” This will usually generate a list of places where people have left comments about the business you are investigating. Looking through a few of these will soon give you a fairly good general impression of the degree of satisfaction that writers experience working for this company. I look for the ratio of positive to negative comments. I have never seen a set of comments that were all good or all bad, but I can usually tell fairly quickly if this seems like a venture I want to take.
Once you have a list of likely sites, you will need to apply for the jobs. Be ready to supply an original piece of writing that matches their instructions exactly. A good part of freelance copywriting jobs is writing to order, you have to be able to provide the customer what they are looking for in an assignment. Another important point is to be sure of accuracy. Misspellings, bad grammar, slang, or poor sentence structures do not belong in a professional work. Take the time to proofread your work!
Once you have been accepted as a freelance copywriter, take the time to familiarize yourself with the company. Read through policy statements and pay particular attention to FAQ sections (Frequently Asked Questions). Often times, if you have a question, others have had it, too. By getting to know what is expected of you as a writer, you will have a much better chance of securing a steady supply of work.