You landed a client as a freelancer. Well done! You should be so proud of yourself! 🥳
But don’t take the party horns and hats out too soon.
Your client expects more from you other than writing amazing copy for them. And there’s more to copywriting than being clever and creative with your words.
Being a freelance copywriter not only involves performing well for your clients. But it involves ensuring your client experience is as smooth as possible. Because one small mistake can leave a bad impression as a professional.
It’s about mastering a process that works for you in helping your clients get what they want.
Especially for new freelance copywriters, the client journey can be a daunting process. When you have a structured process put into place, that means:
- Happy clients
- Getting paid on time
- Fewer headaches for you and your clients
So leave a good impression the first time to make those clients come back by having a solid process put into place.
Being a successful copywriter isn’t (just) about writing good copy. And if your client is unhappy, you have failed.
Table of contents: Freelance copywriting process
- The freelance copywriting process
- Final thoughts on the freelance copywriting process
The freelance copywriting process
Freelancing can be a confusing process for beginner copywriters. But as long as you have a solid routine to keep you on track, you’ll be a pro as you grow in your career.
Here’s a step by step guide to help you be confident in your freelancing career as a copywriter.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 1
Client inquiry or interest
You have a potential client expressing interest in your freelance copywriting services. You’re doing something right to catch their attention. You’ve compelled them enough for them to reach out to you, well done.
This marks the beginning stage of the freelance copywriting process.
You have the choice to respond or not for whatever reason you wish to. Unless you’re desperate for work, you don’t always have to respond to every request.
If it seems like a client or project you feel isn’t a match, it’s good for your sanity to say no.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 2
Respond to client inquiry
Not only are you judging to see if you are a match with your client, but the same rule also applies to the other end. Treat your responses to potential clients in a manner you would appreciate.
Pick up the phone and jump on a call if you can. They would appreciate it more if it were a video call to see who they are speaking to.
Keep your responses brief and straight to the point in answering every question. Like the way you write copy!
Unless you’re not keen on working with a potential client, your response time counts. ⌚ Think about the impression you’re leaving by responding early or late.
From here, you’ll also want to find out what’s in it for you and the scope of work.
Worthy topics you may want to know from the inquirer:
- Budget – don’t be afraid to talk about money. After all, this is business.
- Deadline – not every client needs their copy right away.
- Request – what is the scope of the project to meet their needs?
- Goals – what is the client trying to achieve?
- Details – who and what their brand is.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 3
A copywriting proposal details the services, structure, pricing, and terms you will provide. But a copywriting proposal doesn’t only specify the conditions in print. It should sell your copywriting services.
This is why making your copywriting proposal should be simple, readable, and specific.
Things your copywriting proposal should include:
- Breakdown of Services
- Pricing Structure
- Terms & Conditions
- Deliverables & Timescales
- Any Assumptions
Your client has the option to decide to accept or reject your proposal.
Give them time to think about your offer. They may be shopping around for quotes from other freelancers.
If they do not accept your request, respect their decision. Let them know you’re available for future work and you would like to keep in touch.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 4
Every copywriter has a different timetable of when they invoice clients. Some copywriters invoice during the beginning stages after the proposal. Some invoice clients before the final deliverables.
For small projects, you can wait till the end before the delivery of documents.
For medium or large projects, you can invoice before you start your work.
For larger projects that take months, some copywriters collect payments in increments.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 5
Asking for a deposit is standard in any type of freelancing work. It secures your precious time by minimizing the risk of a client walking out on you for your hard work.
Generally, an upfront deposit of at least 50% of the invoice prices is what it takes to start work. You can adjust your rate at your or your clients’ preferences.
The rest of the unpaid bill is due before the handoff of your final deliverables.
If you encounter a client wary of paying an upfront deposit, it’s a red flag.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 6
Discovery, briefing, questionnaire
Get to know your client. 🤝 If you can’t meet each other in person, start a video call. Make it personal by getting to know them outside of business.
It would be weird to do business with someone you don’t have much information on. Befriend your clients and build relationships.
A copywriting client questionnaire serves as a plethora of free and resourceful information. The questionnaire helps you understand your clients’ goals, objectives, and needs. And the information you soak in will be a deciding factor of how easy your job will be.
Examples of questions you’ll want to ask your clients are:
- “When do you need your copy?”
- “What is the unique value proposition of your product or service?”
- “Do you have any marketing material I can see”
- “Who are your direct competitors?”
- “Is there anything else you’d like me to know when writing your copy?”
You will want to know what they wish to achieve, the campaign you’ll be working on, and goals.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 7
Research and planning
Now that you understand who your client is and what they need, it’s time to be a nosy raccoon.
Your client may have laid the foundation by answering your questions, but you may need to dig deeper.
- Analyze their competitors’ copy.
- Assess their current website, social media, and brand copy.
- Review current guidelines or style guides.
- Interview stakeholders or key parties for necessary information.
- Dissect past metrics based on performance.
The research and planning phase is a process that takes a lot of time. It’s no surprise most copywriters spend most of their time researching over writing.
Look at the research process to build a foundation to set your copy up for success.
You shouldn’t move past the research phase unless you know the following answers to:
- “Who is the audience I am writing for?”
- “What are my readers’ problems and solutions?”
- “What are my client’s goals or objectives?”
- “What sets my client apart from their competitors?”
- “What are the objections my readers may have?”
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 8
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of writing your copy. It’s what you excel at!
But hold your horses. 🐎 It’s called the first draft for a reason because it won’t be the last.
It may be tempting to go at it in its entirety, but know that you will be making changes throughout the whole process. Because what if your client won’t like your work?
Don’t settle for your first words.
Send samples of your copy to get feedback from your client. This serves as guidance to put you on the right track for a successful copy by not wasting each others’ time.
In this stage, communication is critical.
You don’t want to be writing at full force, later knowing your copy isn’t aligned with your client’s vision.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 9
After sending your first draft to your client, make sure to ask for feedback about your copy.
As a copywriter, listening is the most underrated skill one can have. Here, do more listening and less talking. Let your client do the talking.
Take any negative feedback as constructive criticism. After all, they are paying you for your service. And take positive feedback to drive you to keep on exceeding their expectations.
If there is something you disagree with from your client, take a step back, and understand their side. Then decide to see if their feedback will hurt or help their business.
After all, your clients also go to you as a specialist copywriter for advice.
Sometimes clients are 100% wrong. And sometimes clients know their business better than you. So learn to distinguish right from wrong in finding a middle ground your client will agree with on.
Remember to be professional at all times during communication with your client.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 10
Now you can instill your client’s feedback and continue writing for the second draft.
Like how you wrote the first draft, it only gets better from here. Now you have a clearer understanding of what will make your client and their readers happy.
Again, you have the option of sending your writing samples from this draft in batches or one piece.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 11
After going back and forth between drafts, it’s time for your client to review your copy.
This is when your client will be checking if the copy resonates with your client’s:
- Goals and objectives
- Voice, tone, and brand guidelines
- Factual data
In other words, your client is checking for accuracy.
To make your client’s life easier, it’s helpful for both parties to jump on a call for faster communication.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 12
After receiving final feedback from your client, it’s time to prepare the final draft.
This is also your chance for a final check of errors on typos, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Make sure you have the right copywriting tools to check your work.
- Read your copy out loud.
- Print it out.
- Take a break and revisit it.
Be proud of your work!
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 13
The sign off process consists of your client’s approval of your copy. ✅ It’s a formal client confirmation that gives you a green light to hand over the deliverables.
An example of your client’s sign off can be as simple as:
- “I approve.”
- “This is great.”
Have this information documented in writing or email.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 14
After the official client stamp of approval, you hand over the official deliverables.
There’s no wrong or right way of delivering your final product to your clients. At the end of the day, it’s what your client prefers on how they prefer to receive your copy.
Most freelance copywriters upload their files on the cloud for clients to download. This is the easiest and most convenient process for both parties.
Freelance Copywriting Process: Step 15
Analyze, test, update
In the world of copywriting, nothing is ever complete. How would you know if your written copy is converting without testing it? 📊
Examples of KPIs you should be monitoring for your copy are:
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
- Time spent on the page by visitors
- Total Revenues generated through online sales
Copy that sells is quantifiable and tested. It’s what grows and retains your clients’ followers.
So go analyze metrics, make necessary changes, and update based on your findings.
The numbers don’t lie.
Final thoughts on the freelance copywriting process
Copywriting is a skill that you get better at in time. And the same rule applies to the freelance copywriting process.
It doesn’t have to be difficult. Instead, you’ll find it will be muscle memory the more clients you pick up in time. 💪
Remember to always be professional from beginning to end. There will be moments you will feel unsure, scared, or not sure what to do. But it is important to remain calm and to poise yourself as an expert.
Because your clients want to work with someone confident and who knows what they are doing.
There is no right or wrong formula for your process on how to approach working with clients. Do what works best for you and don’t be afraid to move steps around. Invent a process you are comfortable with!