Interview with Freelance Copywriter Brit McGinnis On Starting Her Copywriting Career

Haris: First of all, thanks a lot for agreeing to share your best tips on copywriting and your background. Let’s start with how you got started in copywriting? Please, tell us more about your story.

Brit: I was a freelance writer and reporter for a few years out of college. It was a great career path, but the lack of overall support for those in the profession worried me. I also saw the state of journalism changing and wanted something with far more control.

Haris: How did you transition to freelance copywriting from the job you had before? What advice would you give to someone in a similar situation?

Brit: The biggest thing I did was give myself a title and a future company name. Having a business of my own forced me to take my business and prospecting efforts seriously. If you can see it, you can do it.

I had to be honest with myself about how much journalism wasn’t working for me as a field. I loved it so much! But I needed to accept the fact that I craved more stability and control over my own pay. So I slowly phased in more copywriting work until it was finally out of my lineup. That’s how I would advise anyone else do it.

Haris: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. Could you tell us more about how you get clients?

Brit: Showing up in the same places day after day, making myself available, and not being afraid to stop doing things that aren’t effective.

Haris: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?

Brit: I’m always learning how to write copy. I can’t think of a single copywriter who isn’t always learning, always trying to keep on their game.

The second you stop learning, you’re dead in this business.

The Copywriter Club Accelerator helped me the very most in the beginning of my copy career because it taught me how to take my business seriously in a very real way. I read a lot of very old old advertisements. Studying for the Google AdWords test (which I never took) was huge. Every little thing I learned help prepare me for the next step.

Haris: How do you prepare for a writing session?

Brit: I need complete silence. Silence or a track of gentle rain playing. I also find that I work best when I’ve already exercised that day. My body’s quiet and ready to obey!

Haris: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?

Brit: I’m a big fan of a lot of the classics, particularly the “Think Small” ad for Volkswagen. “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” from Marcella Allison ranks up there. But my favorite ad ever was actually a fake ad for Tampax, parodying the ads that obscure the actual use of tampons. Not sure I can talk about it here!

Individual copywriters never interest me as much as actual ads themselves. I don’t like creating cults of personality around work that may or may not be worthy of veneration.

Haris: You’ve published several books that are available on Amazon. What are your books about? How did they come into being?

Brit: Writing books is always what I’ve felt I’m meant to do. Honestly, I began writing copy as a way of supporting my book writing career.

As for where the books each came from, that’s a whole other interview!

Haris: Compared to other copywriters, you promote your services on various platforms and channels. You have an email list, active social media presences, a private facebook group, a newsletter etc. (did I miss anything?). Which of these have made the biggest impact on your business?

Brit: Social media has been a part of my life for over a decade. It’s an extremely intuitive part of my day.

But newsletters perhaps have been the best ROI for my money once they were properly directed.

Overall, it’s most important to pursue authentic relationships. Wherever your customers are, show up and try to sound like a real person!

Haris: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle special?

Brit: It’s special because I am my own major success factor. Whether I succeed or fail, that’s all on me. At times that’s a paralyzing thought. But it’s a million times better to my sensibilities than allowing a single company to dictate my pay and my livelihood.

Haris: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?

Brit: Reading. It’s so cheesy, but I get my best work done on days when I sit down to read as part of it. It forces my brain to focus on one thing at a time.

Haris: If someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?

Brit: Contact me on my website! I answer emails within 72 hours.

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