Haris Halkic: Hi Melissa, thanks a lot for agreeing to share some tips on copywriting and your background. Let’s start with how you got started in copywriting? Please tell me more about your story.
I’ve been a writer all my life, but it wasn’t until after college that I started copywriting. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of a copywriter before I started freelancing at a PR Firm and started writing press releases and product descriptions.
Haris Halkic: How did you transition to freelance copywriting from your previous job? What’s your best piece of advice for someone who is employed and wants to become a freelance copywriter?
I dove into freelancing full time after closing my photography studio. I had been freelance writing on the side, so I had a few clients already and was able to take on some retainer clients right away.
If someone were looking to dive into copywriting while still employed, I’d say to do it on the side until they were sure that they had enough clients to make it work. It’s scary to try and get enough clients month in and month out, and while I do believe in the concept of giving something your all, I don’t agree with starving in order to do that.
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. Could you tell me more about how you get clients?
So, I’d be a liar if I said this wasn’t still a major struggle for me. The thing about freelancing is that clients come in waves, and part of that problem is simply the plight of the freelancer. When we have a ton of clients we aren’t out there marketing, so the well dries up.
I’ve found that the best clients I’ve gotten have come from referrals from other amazing clients.
I also have had good results from online networking and participating in Facebook groups. Another thing that has helped a lot lately is choosing a niche. For a couple years I was anti-niche and refused to buckle into one specific area. I finally gave in and now I find that I get more inquiries and more quality clients (just like the experts said would happen!)
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources that you can recommend?
My very first copy jobs basically consisted of me being thrown into the fire without a lot of guidance. I spent countless hours scouring the internet for information, and I landed on Copyhackers’ website, which is by far the best resource out there. I’ve taken their courses, I read their articles, and I’m always interested in what they’re up to. I’d highly recommend getting on their email list to any aspiring copywriter!
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
My preparation for a writing session might seem a little crazy, but as an actor there are techniques that I use in prepping for a role or audition that I also use in my writing. What it boils down to is the reality of experiencing what the ideal audience is experiencing so that I can write about it in a meaningful way.
I ask myself questions “as if” I’m in the circumstance that the reader of the page will be in when they land. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What is the environment they’re in?
It helps me to get into the mindset of the reader. Other than that, I do a lot of client based research and often have a few conversations with my client’s clients so that I can write messaging that will resonate with them.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
I really love fun copy – one brand that does a great job with this is Mailchimp. It’s hard for me to narrow down a favorite writer or piece of copywriting though!
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
One thing I love about it is that I get to learn so much about so many different things. I have a habit of always wanting to purchase what I’m writing about, but that’s because I try to take only clients that are doing work I’m passionate about. Of course, that’s not always possible, but when it is, I am so grateful to get to do what I do!
Haris Halkic: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?
Working out. I can’t do my best work if I don’t feel my absolute best.
Haris Halkic: If someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?