What is Freelance Copywriting?

Malcolm Tatum

Freelance copywriting is the process of composing text for the benefit of a given client, while not being a full-time employee of that client. Professional writers who prefer to work with a variety of clients will often offer their services as independent contractors, allowing them to accept projects from a wide range of customers. The text composed by a freelance writer is often compensated at either a fixed rate per word, or a flat price for the delivered project, pending the approval of the customer.

Freelance copywriters may work for print publications, such as magazines.
Freelance copywriters may work for print publications, such as magazines.

The benefits associated with freelance copywriting apply to both the writer and the client. From the client’s perspective, the idea of outsourcing copywriting functions to an independent contractor means that the employer is not responsible for collecting taxes on the earnings of the freelancer, or providing any type of ongoing benefits like health insurance, paid sick leave, or retirement. This makes it possible for the business to still obtain the quality copy it needs for sales brochures, marketing materials, web site content, and any number of other tasks that require the preparation of various documents, and maintain a relatively low overhead.

Freelance copywriters may be hired by newspapers to work on their classified section.
Freelance copywriters may be hired by newspapers to work on their classified section.

For the writer who chooses freelance copywriting as a way to earn a living, this option means the opportunity to work with many different clients in a variety of walks of life. It is not unusual for the copywriter for hire to enter into contractual agreements to provide copy for specific clients on as as-needed basis, while also accepting single assignments from other clients. This approach allows the writing professional to seek work in any number of settings, since copy or text is needed in just about any type of business operation. From this perspective, a copywriter with a proven track record for excellence is highly likely to have access to more work than he or she can manage, even during periods of recession.

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Freelance copywriters are often able to focus on projects they enjoy.
Freelance copywriters are often able to focus on projects they enjoy.

In the world of freelance copywriting, some writers choose to specialize. The writer may choose to focus on travel copywriting, providing text to clients that has to do with the wonders of various exotic locations, the resorts and amusement found in these locations, and the modes of travel that are used to get to those locations. The writer may choose to focus on radio copywriting, preparing text that is used in radio programming. The advent of the Internet has allowed freelance writers to also make a living preparing content for different web sites, either in the form of single assignments, or long-term associations with specific clients.

The pay for freelance copywriting varies from one setting to another. In general, writing copy for print media tends to be more lucrative for the writer than accepting online projects. However, the turnaround on the receipt of payment is often much quicker with online projects. This fact has led many freelancers to diversify, focusing some of their attention on writing for online clients as well as taking on projects for different magazines, newspapers and other print media.

Unlike other types of writing, freelance copywriting often involves preparing text and selling it outright to the client. The text is sometimes ghostwritten, although many clients will allow the writer a byline, making it possible to add the work as samples in a writing portfolio. In most cases, the writer transfers all rights to the finished copy to the client, and will not earn additional revenue from the project. While some consider this a disadvantage to freelance copywriting, others feel the benefits outweigh the liabilities in terms of establishing positive working relationships with clients and the solid references that come along with the effort.

Freelancing often allows copywriters to work from home.
Freelancing often allows copywriters to work from home.

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