Haris: Hi Amar, thanks a lot for agreeing to share your best tips on getting copywriting clients and your background. Let’s start with how you got started in copywriting? Please, tell us more about your story.
Amar: It’s actually a funny story. Like most beginners, I didn’t have the slightest of clues what I was doing at the start. I got a great client, we agreed on a favorable price and they ended up hating what I wrote. At that moment I realized that I shouldn’t be selling what I wouldn’t buy, so I started working on improving some of the aspects of my copywriting prowess. This led to a long road of improvement of my copywriting skills, as well as my own personal growth.
Haris: How did you transition to freelance copywriting?
Amar: Like most young people, I was doing some manual labor gigs after coming out of high school. I really hated that. I just couldn’t bear the thought of being used as a cheap labor to make someone else money. When I was around 19, I started looking into potential jobs I would want to do for the rest of my life. Given my creative nature, my mastery of the English language and my love for psychology, it wasn’t much of an internal debate about my career choice. I’ve been doing it ever since!
Haris: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. Could you tell us more about how you get clients?
Amar: Getting clients on a regular base is without a doubt the biggest challenge freelancers have in this day and age.
There are so many competitors out there in whichever field you are unless you are highly specialized. This specialization of services is something else that freelancers have to balance out if they want to succeed — there is a fine line between casting the perfect net and casting one that’s too large to catch anything.
As for my personal direction when it comes to client acquisition, I have used a mainly digital approach. I strive to get clients who need exactly what I can offer, who I can establish a great business relationship with (based on respect) and who can effortlessly provide the money for my services. I have had to reject a number of clients who were just outside this zone I strive for. When I work with a client and the terms are set, I treat them very well. Some of my benefits for clients are featuring them on Product Hunt (if they have an interesting product), offering them unlimited revisions until they are 100% happy with the copy or offering some other benefits I find fitting for the client.
Haris: How do you prepare for a writing session?
Amar: Before I begin with a project, I send the client a number of questions that I need to be answered in order for me to do a great job. These questions vary because every project has its own set of specifications, needs and client requests.
Once I have the answers, I will begin researching my client’s business, as well as their biggest competitors. This allows me to see what the norm is in that particular industry. Once I have done this, I will begin with the actual writing, combining copywriting principles and methods with the goal of creating the best copy possible. I am a big proponent of the use of conceptual combination, which is what allows me to use different methods, frameworks and creative thinking to put pen on paper.
Haris: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Amar: Through trial and error. Like I mentioned, my first gig was a complete mess. Once I figured out that I sucked, I began consuming learning materials from all over the web. I read the classic copywriting literature like the works of Ogilvy, Halbert, D. Kennedy, J. Sugarman and many others. In order to learn more about web copy, which I do most dearly, I followed the works of Copyblogger and especially Joanna Wiebe, who was one of the first copywriters to dive deep into web copy and the influence of copywriting on why people take action.
When it comes to books, I would recommend every copywriter to get Copyblogger’s Super Mega Brainy Bundle. The books have a very modern, hands-on approach to writing copy, unlike some older books that are conceptual in nature. Another book worth mentioning is Eric Whitman’s CA$HVERTISING. Yet another niche book is Eli Altman’s Don’t Call It That, which is already a classic for me when it comes to the art of naming brands. Finally, I would recommend Sugarman’s Triggers, which will help you put some tricks up your sleeves.
Haris: What’s your best piece of advice to someone who wants to break free from working for someone else and become a freelance copywriter?
Since everyone has a different life situation, there is no one right answer to this question. If you can afford to go down this road, make sure you are set up for it and regardless of how cliche this sounds, JUST DO IT.
Haris: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
Amar: I might be biased because we are in the same niche, but I love Joanna Wiebe’s work on web copywriting. If I could choose one copywriter as a favorite, that would be her. My favorite piece of copywriting has to be famous “Think Small” advertising campaign of Volkswagen in the 1960s. When an ad campaign has an extensive Wikipedia page, you know it’s good.
Haris: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a copywriter?
Amar: The fact that you can influence the actions of other people through the words you write is amazing for me and it’s what drives me forward.
It’s amazing to be able to change people’s lives without ever meeting them. I would say that this is the most important advantage of being a copywriter.
Other pros of being a copywriter are the ability to work remotely and for yourself, as well as having a creative outlet for your ideas and concepts.
Haris: If someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Haris: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us.