Remote workers often ask: "How can I become a professional freelance writer if I don't have a specialized education?" or "Is it possible to master copywriting to earn money with its help if I am not a philologist or linguist?"
We answer: copywriting has the same attitude to philology as breakdancing to ballet. The letters are common, but the essence is completely different. And, yes, anyone can become a professional freelance writer from scratch if they know where to start.
Many remote workers want to become professional freelance writers, completely not understanding what it is and what awaits them. They imagine sitting at home or somewhere else, writing texts on the Internet, using special freelancer tools to optimize their work, and getting money for it. It seems like nothing difficult if you got straight A's in school on essays, right? Well, it's not.
The texts themselves are of no use to anyone. It's just a faceless mass of thousands of characters arranged into words and sentences. Employers only pay money for it if it makes any commercial sense.
So, let's discuss how to become a professional freelance writer.
Step 1. Understand what copywriting really is
99% of people don't know what copywriting is and think it is writing texts or articles for money on freelance websites.
Copywriting is solving problems (more often commercial ones) with text. The main purpose of copywriting is to make money by selling goods, services, or ideas through text or to get some other useful effect.
Copywriting can be cheap or expensive. Cheap copywriting is when you must generate a useless mass of text for pennies all day. There is no profit or joy from such work, only burnout, disappointment, and undermining of health in 99% of cases.
In expensive copywriting, everything is much more interesting, profitable, and pleasant, but there is a nuance: you must learn a lot. This is a separate niche with laws, principles, and pitfalls.
Step 2. Realize that a classical education won't help
There is no higher education in copywriting. They don't teach it in school or college. Nor do they teach how to make money. You have to understand and accept this. Classical education aims at memorizing rather than the practical solution to problems.
Suppose a person has a higher philological education. In that case, it is rather a disadvantage for professional freelance writers because philologists cling too much to the text and lose sight of the general system. The only thing that helps is higher technical education because it instills a systematic approach. But technical people have a different problem: they, for the most part, cannot write for people. For machines, yes; for the same technicians, yes. But not for ordinary people.
To become a true freelance writer, you need to be able to see the system, solve problems and work in 3 areas at once:
- Psychology. Any freelance writer's text is a work with an audience, living people, and their values.
- Marketing. In most cases, the freelance writer solves commercial problems.
- Texts as a medium. Texts are not written from scratch. They are preceded by analysis, then prototypes are created based on the analysis (layouts of future pages, articles, etc.).
If you practice a lot, you will quickly become a master of writing.
Step 3. Choose your own direction of writing
Freelance writing is fairly broad, and many writers choose their specialty. It can be compared to medicine: there is a general practitioner, and then there is a surgeon, an ophthalmologist, or an ENT. There’s a great number of freelance content managers writing academic and scientific research after consulting with Essay Writer Pro professionals as choosing a writing area is not an easy task.
Let's briefly run through 5 popular directions in freelance writing:
- Prototypes. These are layouts of future texts with plugs for images, buttons, and other interactive elements. If you don't know where to start - start with them. Prototypes develop your copywriting skills and your marketing, structural and spatial thinking.
- Commercial proposals. These texts are used for active sales in the B2B segment.
- Email marketing. It is a separate difficult but lucrative area of setting up and running email newsletters, which many freelance writers choose as their related specialty.
- Scripts. These are speech structures on what and how to tell sales managers. It is a sophisticated but expensive direction.
- Content marketing. These are articles and other publications based on the specific strategy. Many freelance writers love this direction because they can make money without customers.
A systematic approach and basic marketing analysis will be common to all these content types.
Step 4: Practice problem-solving
Freelance writing is not a theory. It is a constant practice of problem-solving and getting experience. Therefore, to become a good freelance writer, you must spend over one thousand hours developing texts in your chosen direction.
Pay attention: practice is always the development of texts on the conditions of the initial data. Self-education, watching courses, and reading books can not be considered practice. It is a theory.
Practice is a great value for freelance writers. When you are constantly solving clients` problems, you automatically have a portfolio.
Step 5. Start earning
With a thorough approach till this step, there should be enough knowledge and skills to handle the typical tasks of a freelance writer.
You can choose an alternative direction if you don't want to work with clients. For example, you can start your blog or write scripts for chatbots to earn on it in parallel with developing your skills. And this is a very important point: good freelance writers never work only for clients. Because clients are good, of course, but they come and go.
That's why if you are serious about becoming a professional freelance writer, try to think of the future, not only about customers but primarily about yourself. If you can take care of yourself and make money without customers, you can do the same for them. This will only increase your value.
Freelance writing is the same as programming or law. There are subtleties and nuances, things you need to know and be able to do. It is not difficult and not easy. But it's important to understand that mastering writing takes time and effort.
Vanessa Friedman is a content marketing professional, who previously worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup company. You can reach out to her at GuestPostingNinja@gmail.com.