When you’re a new writer, it can be tough to present yourself professionally.
After all, you don’t have any clips! How can you impress clients?
You can’t tell copywriting clients you’ve gotten results for your previous clients.
You can’t tell editors you’ve been published in X and Y magazines and show them previous articles.
It’s hard to see how you can get started in this line of work! It’s that old thing where it’s hard to get a job without experience, and hard to get experience without a job.
There is an easy way to break out of this cycle, though. You can create a writer website that impresses clients and make them want to hire you. Yes, even as a newbie.
Lots of new writers put off creating a writer website because they’re waiting to get some gigs and have some clips to post.
That’s a mistake, though. Let me explain why:
The problem with self-created samples
Often, I see new writers create some samples on their own to get their portfolio started.
You write an article. Or a brochure. Or put up some of your own blog posts.
It’s better than nothing, but it’s not very impressive.
Why? You haven’t shown you know how to satisfy a client.
Your prospects know you just wrote that article for yourself. So it was easy to get it “approved.”
The one sample that can get you the gig
There’s one type of sample you can create that will impress clients and get you hired.
That’s because even though you create it for yourself, ultimately it does have to satisfy a client.
It’s the copy on your writer website. Its job is to convince prospects to pick up the phone and call you.
If your website copy can do that when you don’t have any other clips, you know you’ve got some strong writing skills! And so does the client.
Newbie writer website copywriting 101
If you don’t want to lie, what can you write on your newbie writer site to attract clients?
You could have a blog under a tab, or a link to a blog you write elsewhere. That’s a start. But optional, especially if you’re not interested in paid blogging gigs.
What you definitely need are three things:
- A compelling Home page
- A strong About page
- Easy-to-find Contacts
The Home page is all about the prospective clients you want, and how you will solve their problems. Think about the type of magazine or business you want to write for and what they need. Write about how you do that.
Emphasize the strengths you bring to the table. Are you prompt? Reliable? A stickler for grammar? Let them know.
End it with a strong call to action that tells them what to do next: Contact you.
Your About page tells clients why you love the types of writing you do. What made you the writer you are today? Fill us in a bit on your personal life…but through the lens of what a client would want to know.
In other words, not the story about how you wrote a poem with the first crayon you were ever handed at age 4. And not your whole life story, blow by blow.
But let us meet the writer you and see a bit of your personality. That will allow clients to see if they might get along with you on a personal level.
Keep your copy short and sweet. A lot of prospects hire writers because they don’t know how to be concise. So if you can do that, you may gain a client right there.
Finally, look at your tone between these pages and get it consistent — and a bit personalized and creative.
Keep in mind that these pages are a writing audition. Broadway hoofers sing their song and do their tapdance…and we write our site.
So make it shine. Keep rewriting it until you love it.
As you get clips, you’ll create a portfolio page and add more. But you may be surprised how far you can get with just those two pages, a few key words for the search engines, and your email address.
The secret of newbie success
New writers often tell me they feel no one would ever want to hire them. Why would they do that, when they could get some experience pro?
Then they don’t do things that could help their career, like put up a writer website.
Which is too bad, because I can tell you not every client wants or can afford a highly experienced writer. Wherever you’re at in your writing career, somewhere there is a prospect who would love your help.
So if you’re new, own it. Don’t pretend you’re anything you’re not.
Then, write your way to success with your website copy. A strong writer website can help you get the gigs that will give you something to put on that Portfolio page.