10 Ways to Land your Very First Copywriting Client
So, you’ve taken the leap and started your freelance copywriting business!
But now it’s time to actually hit the pedal to the metal and get some clients on your roster.
But…where ARE those potential clients with deep pockets that you’re looking for? Let me give you some tricks of the trade when it comes to landing your first official copywriting client.
10 Ways to Land your First Copywriting Client
Here are the 10 different ways that we’ll be looking at in more detail below.
- Copywriting Job Boards
- Join a Copywriter Directory
- Social Media
- Join an Online Community
- Reach out to a Digital Marketing Agency
- Cold Emails
- Reach out to local Charities
- Blog like a Beast
- Network with other Copywriters
- Guest Post for Publications
Join Copywriting Job Boards
There are tons of websites out there that publish job postings for content and copywriters. You might not find the highest paying clients there, but for getting the ball rolling early on in your freelancing career they can be a good place to start.
Just be warned: if you sign-up for some of these sites (like Upwork), they will take a commission, sometimes as high as 20%, for the referral.
Job Boards to Find Copywriting Clients
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Join a Copywriter Directory
Directories are another great way to find potential clients.
Directories have an advantage over job boards because clients are coming to YOU instead of the other way around, meaning there’s less haggling going on for your services.
To join a directory you’ll usually be charged a yearly or monthly fee to have your own profile published with info like;
- A short bio about you
- A link to your website
- Your email address
- Your social media links
Some directories also come with added perks like membership to a community, career guidance and additional copywriting training.
List of Copywriting Directories you can Join
- God Save the SERP SEO Copywriter & Content Writer Directory (applications opening soon)
- Surfer SEO Content Writer Directory
- Freelancing Females
- Pro Copywriter (UK Only)
- Journo Portfolio
- Clever Copywriting School Directory
Leverage Social Media
At the beginning of my copywriting career almost all my leads came via Instagram (and many still do).
Here’s how I got copywriting clients with Instagram👇
- I made sure my bio was super clear on how I helped people. I mentioned my ideal clients directly (online business owners) how I helped them with my copywriting services and a call-to-action which was to check out my services in the link in bio.
- Here’s a template “I help [audience] achieve [outcome and benefit] with [your services]. Check out my services below [link in bio > services].
- I posted regular content that would be useful for the type of client I was trying to attract. So I spoke about how to improve their performance on search, the process of hiring a copywriter, tips for writing better web copy and advice on content marketing for their blogs. I actually got one of my first clients based on how much they liked the way I wrote my OWN captions. So, even without seeing a portfolio, they liked how I wrote and presented myself and that was enough.
- I leveraged stories a lot and tagged my favourite creators who I know shared an audience with me. I would reshare their posts and tag them in the story and then they would reshare it to their audience and that got me exposed to more people
- I did lives with other copywriters who served a different niche than I did or people in shoulder industries like web designers etc. This was another great way to get me exposed to more people in my target audience
Instagram isn’t the only social media platform you can leverage to get in touch with new clients, a lot of copywriters also have success with LinkedIn.
Personally, I haven’t leveraged LinkedIn to connect with clients. But others who have tend to write articles on the LinkedIn platform demonstrating their expertise and how they can help potential clients to build their authority.
It’s also a good idea to make connections with people in shoulder industries (web designers, SEOs, graphic designers, developers) etc who you can share jobs with. It’s also a great way to show off any certificates and trainings you’ve done specifically for copywriting.
Join me on the ‘gram where I give advice about copywriting, SEO and content marketing.
Join an Online Community
When you start your freelance copywriting career there are so many things to learn.
Social media marketing, money mindset, content marketing, small business finances…the list is endless.
This means you need to accept that you are now a lifelong learner, but this brings incredible opportunities. Coaching programs and courses usually come with some type of community element like a Facebook or Slack group where you can connect with other business owners and find leads.
The first course I did was about building an audience on Instagram and I connected with someone (who is now my business bestie) and he was the first person to officially hire me. He knew I had no experience, but as we’d built up a relationship and he knew how hard I was working on becoming the best copywriter I could be, he hired me.
So investing in courses really can have a direct return on investment.
Think about some skills you’d like to develop to help you with your freelancing career and start looking for courses or coaching programs that come with some type of community element and enrol in one.
If you’re interested in seriously upskilling your SEO copywriting skills I recommend our course, SERP Slayer, which not only gives you access to 7 modules of course content, but also our God Save the SERP Slack community and copywriter directory where you can land new clients.
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With SERP Slayer – the SEO copywriting course that will teach you everything you need to know about infusing SEO strategy into website and blog copywriting projects
Reach out to a Digital Marketing Agency
Digital marketing agencies are always looking to subcontract work to freelancers.
Here’s my caveat though – be careful with them.
I’ve had many that were complete time wasters, but I also know lots of other copywriters who get a ton of work through them and have 0 complaints. Sooooo, it might be worth a try if you find a good one.
Send a short email presenting yourself or reach out via LinkedIn outlining what services you offer and if they’d like to set up a call to talk about future collaborations.
You might just find a great partnership.
Cold emailing is sending an email to someone you haven’t met yet and offering your services to them.
The best way to send a cold pitch is to properly research the company you’re pitching to assess where they could use some support in their marketing. For instance, you might see that their last blog post is from 2 months ago meaning they may need help with their content marketing.
You should also make your email short and sweet. Remember, this person is busy and has no idea who you are, so get down to business quickly and let them know what’s in it for them.
Some people have success with sending a quick video (via Loom) auditing some part of their copy so you could experiment with this too.
My friend Taylor (and copywriting superstar) has created her own deck of customizable cold email templates that you can use to land your very first copywriting client, check them out.
Lily Karenza was kind enough to share her advice about landing clients via cold emailing:
I landed my first copywriting job through cold emailing – sounds horrifying (both to send and to receive) but I honestly love it and used it all the time when I first launched my business. The trick is to make sure that you know who you’re writing to and NOT to see it as a numbers game. Think small and carefully considered, make sure you have the name and personal email of the relevant person, not just an info@business address.
I made sure to include really relevant and specific examples of things I would do better, I made it easy for them to contact me and (and this is really important) I followed up if I didn’t get a reply. I actually used to follow up up to 5 times, just a quick one liner in the same thread. People often forget to respond even though they are interested so this is helpful, not pushy!
I was surprised at first how many people thanked me for cold emailing but think about it like this: They already knew they needed a copywriter and you just saved them the mammoth task of going out and researching suitable people, contacting several copywriters, sifting through websites… By sending that email and following up a couple of times you probably saved them 5 hours work at the very least!
As with all copywriting, think about what’s in it for your reader and you won’t go far wrong.
Reach out to Local Charities
Charities and NGOs need a ton of copy like blog content, emails, brochures, social media content… and they’re traditionally understaffed, so why not help out?
I’m not a big advocate of doing work for free, but if it’s to help a small, local charity I think you can take the hit. Most will be happy to receive a helping hand and it means you’ll be able to get your very first client, your first testimonial and you’ll start building your portfolio.
All of which will boost your confidence and authority when finding other, paying clients.
Blog like a Beast
If you’re a regular around here you know we believe in SEO in these parts.
Starting your own blog and optimizing your blog posts for SEO is a great way to attract clients, but I won’t lie to you, it can be slow.
But the great thing about being a content writer is that you can literally build your own portfolio with your OWN content.
Want to work with SaaS companies? Write a blog all about how to market a SaaS company and how your copywriting services can help.
You see? No portfolio, no problem!
Just don’t forget to write blog posts specifically about HOW to hire a copywriter (aka you) and guide them through the process. This is known as “bottom-of-funnel” content and will help you convert more curious readers into bonafide leads.
Not sure how to do keyword research for your blogs? Check out our FREE keyword research course.
Network with Other Copywriters
I know it sounds weird, right? Why would you network with…the competition?!
Don’t worry, there are enough clients in the pond for everyone and other copywriters are actually my number 1 referral network.
You see not every other copywriter serves the same market as you, or wants to write the type of copy you write or has the time available on their calendar for new projects so they’re always passing along leads.
Social media is also incredible for this. I have so many copywriting buddies that I met on Instagram who regularly share leads with me and vice versa. We also do lives together and benefit from each other’s audience so – buddy up!
Guest Post for other Websites
Guest posting for other websites has two main benefits:
- It gets you exposed to a bigger audience
- You gain a backlink to your site which is good for SEO
But how do you guest post for other sites?
First off, you should make sure that you’re choosing publications that can get you exposure to your target market, don’t just choose any old site.
Secondly, check to see if they ACCEPT guest posts before making your pitch.
Third, check their blog and see if you can identify a gap in their content, what could you write for them that would be useful for their audience and also demonstrates your expertise?
Your pitch should be short and sweet, it should include 2-3 ideas for a guest blog and highlight the benefit for the publisher. This benefit is usually great, relevant content for their audience but you can also let them know that you’d love to link to THEIR site in other guest posts and establish some type of partnership.
FAQs About Finding copywriting Clients
Final thoughts on Landing your First Client
By far the best way to find clients in my opinion is simply networking. Join courses, join online communities, attend in-person events equipped with your business cards and above all, make friends with other copywriters.
The copywriting community is one of the warmest, kindest and most open communities I’ve ever seen. If you get a chance to join a copywriting community it will probably be your number 1 lead generator.
So don’t be afraid of meeting up with and connecting with other copywriters because usually they are only too happy to pass leads your way.
Got another great way to find clients? Drop yours in the comment section!
SEO Copywriter & Content Marketer
Kerry Campion is a content marketer and copywriter for SaaS brands who are fuelling the creator economy. Her gig is creating customer-centric content marketing plans and writing SEO copy that sounds nothing like SEO copy 😎. Get in touch if you’re interested in working together!
4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Land your First Copywriting Client (with no experience or Portfolio)”
Hello, I am new to copywriting world and I really want to learn to be a better one. And also I am looking for a client that would give me a chance to help into their business while I am still improving my skills.
Try some of these techniques Rizza and I’m sure you’ll find them before long!
Heyyy! Thank you so much for this content, it was really helpful, but I have a question:
I am a Brazilian Copywriter, and I’m interested to get clients from USA. Does this tips work for me?
Hey – of course! I don’t think any of these are region specific and can be applied to people all over the world 🙂