Smart ways to grow your brand and establish your business

So, you’re officially a “copywriter”. Congrats!

But the chances are you’re stressing over how to market yourself on a pauper’s budget.

Granted – it can be a worry.

However, if you think there aren’t any affordable ways to build your copywriting profile, think again.

Growing your brand and establishing credibility starts with gaining experience, building visibility and inspiring trust. Here are 5 no/low cost tactics to get you started.

#1 – Work those word of mouth referrals

The best way to build your authority is to do a great job and have others build it for you.

Initially you might pick up work from friends and family. And that’s great (so long as you make sure expectations and deliverables are clear from the start).

If they’re happy with the results, ask them nicely to recommend you. (If they’re not happy and they don’t refer you, you might question whether you’re in the right profession – or just have the wrong friends).

As affordable ways to build your copywriting profile go, word of mouth delivers best value. Tales of your accomplishments told by a trusted source give you an immediate stamp of approval – and the edge over unverified competition.

How it’s done: To encourage referrals, I urge satisfied clients to #spreadthewordsnest, sometimes sweetening the deal with a discount offer for both parties.

#2 Rack up rave reviews

Customer testimonials play a huge part in influencing buying decisions.

A Search Engine Land  survey reports that 85% of consumers read up to 10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business. For a newbie copywriter, scoring social validation should be top of your list. It boosts prospects’ confidence to read nice words from happy clients.

(It also means you don’t have to blow your own trumpet which is great if you’re a little shy.)

How it’s done: When a job’s complete, ask about your client’s experience and if their answers can be used in a testimonial.

Try a short feedback form or template where they need only fill in the gaps. Make it as simple as possible for clients to post their praise on your social channels.

If you have business directory listings, ask them to add reviews there too. Turn your testimonials into tweets or memes and sprinkle generously.

#3 Wow them with your website

You’re a writer – let your words speak for you.

Though the initial set up of a website isn’t cheap, consider the opportunity cost of not having one and then beg, steal, borrow or contra to fund it. The words on your website will play a big part in a client’s decision to hire you.

How it’s done: Find a theme and web developer you like and trust. Do competitive research but don’t be a copycat and aim for a clear point of difference.

Tip: It’s very easy to let analysis paralysis/procrastination/perfectionism set in – resist! If your portfolio looks a bit bare, try approaching a non-profit and offering your services gratis. You’ll be giving back to the causes you love and gaining work examples in the process.

Volunteer your copywriting services at Vollie.

#4 Blog and guest blog

Building your copywriting profile is about showing your personality, and how well you can write and communicate with your audience.

Writing blog posts for your own website doesn’t cost you a cent, helps you develop your voice and style, plus seeing how you engage with readers and think creatively gives prospects a feel for your talents.

If a prospect enjoys what you’ve written in your blog, they’ll be more inclined to hire you.

Guest blogging is another fantastic (and free) way to reach a wider audience.

How it’s done: Try a fresh look at an old topic or write about something you enjoy.

While you may not be an authority on copywriting just yet, your own experiences are as valid as the next person. Have the confidence to let your personality shine.

For guest gigs, pick blogs you enjoy reading and start by leaving helpful comments.

When you feel confident you’ve got value to add, pitch your own post to the editor. (You’ll never know unless you try.)

#5 Get social media savvy

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn friends and followers may be few and far between at first, but active social channels show you’re switched on and ready to connect. It’s a free opportunity to engage so make sure you maximise it.

How it’s done: Keep prospects captivated with an assortment of social sweet meats. Be funny, helpful and be engaged. Connect with other copywriters, digital professionals and business owners in niches that interest you. Share other’s content and answer questions if you can but avoid blatant self-promotion.

Tip: Remember the 20/80 mix (20% posts about you, 80% posts about other stuff.)

Show them who you are and what you do

There are heaps more affordable ways to build your copywriting profile: joint ventures with graphic designers, web developers or social media marketers; networking events (you might have to kiss a few frogs but you may find a prince). Using video in your blogs and social media posts; learning SEO so you can improve your position in organic search.

(Start here at Kate Toon’s 10-Day SEO Challenge).

Try them out and see what works for you. Once you’re on your prospects’ radar the work will start to flow.

Editors note: Kate Toon

A smashing post with some really useful tips for newbie (and oldbie) copywriters.

Over to you

Have you had success with one of these tactics or do you have other affordable techniques to share? Let us know in the comments below.

About Lisa Cropman

Lisa is an SEO copywriter,and editor at The Word Nest in Melbourne. She helps small business owners translate jumbled thoughts into powerful messages.

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