Starting A Copywriting Business

By Ali Hale

This is a guest article by Andy MacDonald.

Today companies are realizing that cleverly written copy can seriously affect the responsiveness to their ads and marketing collateral. Online and offline content has to be designed in a cleverly written manner to induce the reader to purchase the business’s products or services, or otherwise do what the advertiser wants them to do. If you have excellent writing skills and have copywriting experience, this could be the ideal business venture for you.

To start this type of business, you would need excellent writing skills and past experience with writing creative advertising copy. So let’s take a look at a few key areas involved in starting your own copywriting business.

Since you are providing a service that has no inventory, your initial costs will be minimal. You will have to pay for the design, development, and hosting of your Web site. You will have to invest in an appropriate computer, software and a printer. Other costs that you will incur are associated with promoting your copywriting service online and offline. The cost to start this type of business will generally range from $4,000 to $10,000. (Note from the editor: I believe you could start operating with even less, perhaps $100. Setup a domain name with a free and clean WordPress theme and you are ready to go.)

If you were starting this venture a home-based business you could run the business single handedly for as long as is necessary; however if you wanted to start this as a full-time business all you would need to get going is one full time employee. If your business requests exceed what you’re capable of handling, you might consider hiring an additional employee as and when required.

This business has strong international potential, and with the presence of the Internet, it’s the kind of business which can be run from anywhere in the world. If you were fluent in other languages you could even advertise for copywriting jobs in other countries. This of course depends on your level of knowledge with the foreign languages and cultures.

It is important to remember that if you are writing copy for a company from another culture, you should understand the culture for which you are writing the copy. In many instances advertising firms have designed and implemented a marketing campaign before understanding what the culture was all about. This has resulted in offending millions of individuals with advertisements that offend the home country’s culture. If you decide to take on any international projects, make sure you do your research first before you write your advertising copy. One bad experience could seriously hinder the future of your copywriting business.

With the internet playing an ever-increasingly role in everyday life, there are now many ways you can advertise and promote your new business on and offline.

Here are a few tips on where you should be promoting this type of business.

  • Participate in newsgroups and discussion forums related to marketing and advertising with a cleverly designed signature file.
  • Participating in advertising and marketing-related mailing lists would enable you to display your expertise while directing traffic to your Web site.
  • Develop links from as many advertising, marketing, and business-service-related Web sites, meta-indexes, and directories as possible. Use caution with your link trading strategies though!
  • Participate in marketing related e-zines through contribution of appropriate articles that feature your expertise and knowledge of your craft.

And finally, a few tips on where you could earn additional income with this type of business; you might want to consider offering graphic design services to your clients. Since this would complement your copywriting service, you would be able to develop extensive promotional pieces for your clients. Another option is to offer ghost-writing services, press release services, advertising copy, marketing copy and any number of other related topics.

Copywriting is now big business both on and off the internet. Advertisers are increasingly looking to skilled copywriters to craft their promotional copy, trying to gain every edge over their competitor. A highly skilled copywriter can earn thousands of dollars per month if he has the time and skills to dedicate to such a venture.

Guest post by Andy MacDonald, author of The SEO & Marketing Tips for Webmasters Blog.

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7 Responses to “Starting A Copywriting Business”

  • jeff zbar

    Great tips and insights. I would agree that you have to know your client’s company culture, and the domestic and international prospects are great. The upside potential of copywriting can be impressive and alluring.

    But be prepared to sweat and work and struggle and sweat some more as you grow your business.

    I launched my “writing” business in journalism almost 20 years ago. I studied journalism in college, and transitioned into corporate copywriting about a decade into my home-based, freelance writing career.

    But I sweat no less today than in the early days. I’d just say I’m compensated more for that effort.

    I also would argue that as a soloist, for the most part, I cannot bring on an employee – unless that’s a virtual assistant who’d handle the back-office functions of the home office. My clients hire me for my style and my capability to handle their projects quickly and efficiently. Sure, I’d like a clone – with insomnia. But for now, it’s me – and my abilities.

    So if you want to become a corporate copywriter – for individual blogs or large corporate engagements – focus. Work hard. Don’t fall for the “easy money” schemes, and instead strive to deliver clean copy that satisfies your client. Then do it again. And again.

    More than anything, enjoy the ride. After all, that’s why we freelance, isn’t it…”

  • Andy MacDonald

    Many thanks for posting my article. I notice its received quite a few stumbles which is great. I look forward to contributing on more of a regular basis hopefully.

  • abusinessman

    Business owner is seeking every single free marketing channel to help boost the sale, http://www.boxforyou.com is another local free classifieds site. Here we can buy & sell new or used goods, look for a car or job, find local events and lots more. Another free channel to promote business, and we can do it all for free!

  • Alfa King

    Useful tips. And I can agree also with jeff zbar; it’s sweating, but in the end rewarding.

  • Dina Santorelli, editor & publisher, WHY magazine

    I’m so glad you addressed the importance of understanding the culture for which you are writing copy. So many writers don’t, but the good ones do.

  • Eugene

    I am currently a copywriter for an advertising firm. Have been pondering whether to come out on my own as a freelance copywriter. The burning question deep inside is this.

    If I am to provide freelance copywriting services, how about the graphic elements? Don’t both come in together?

    Of course I understand if I do freelancing for advertising firms, graphic design firms and web designing firms, then I have nothing to worry about.

    But what about freelancing directly for businesses?

  • sheree

    I am a student studying graphic design. However, my true talent is in copywriting. Would be too much to start my own business doing both graphic design work and copywriting?

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