A Day In The Life of a Freelance Copywriter
Mad Men did many things to expose the world of advertising executives, but today’s advertising or freelance copywriter is a far cry from the alcohol sipping, suit sporting, and smug ad men of the show. The biggest delineation to make about copywriters is whether they work for an agency/company or if they are self-employed.
The work a copywriter does tends to be diverse and across many varied disciplines. Marketing, social media, product descriptions, SEO strategies, landing pages, editorial content, press releases, and speeches….you name it: some copywriter has gone through a dozen drafts of it. Regardless of your employment type, most copywriters experience the same big milestones in their average work days. Freelancers have more flexibility, of course, but let’s cover the “big stuff.”
A Day In The Life of a Freelance Copywriter:
1. Morning Routine
Any copywriter worth their salt will have a morning routine. It could be something as simple as shower, get dressed, and break out the laptop, or follow complicated rituals involving meticulously crafted espresso drinks and a heart healthy breakfast.
One might start the day off with checking social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for their clients to check on progress, reply to comments, or make a post.
Another important step in the morning routine is checking any professional networks like LinkedIn, Upwork, or a project management system, like Wrike.
Next, comes the making of the infamous “To Do List.” Personally, I like to craft my next day’s to-do list the night before, but to each copywriter their own preferences.
The final aspect of any morning routine is replying to or sending out important emails. Maybe you had a client reach out to you late last night, or you need to send out an important email before lunch time. Maintaining high levels of email etiquette and punctuality are crucial to any copywriter’s set of skills.
2. Research, Research, Research
Though the job of a copywriter often involves crafting unique, quippy, and timely copy for various products, services, or people, most of our time is spent doing “detective” work.
“Have any other news outlets covered this story before me?”
“Researching that 1200 word blog on non-fatty liver disease is due Friday!”
“The project proposal on the rebranding for (insert company here) is due next week, and I have to finish an entire retrospective of the last six months on comparable companies!”
You get the idea. On top of the research that copywriters do every day, we also do a fair amount of image searching. Finding the perfect stock photo or even taking and editing your own photos can be time-consuming.
The research process can seem endless, so setting reminders to get up every hour helps — not just for your body, but for your mind, too.
3. Refuel, Then Hit the Gas
Schedules vary, of course, but lunch is important to recharge your mind and prepare you for productivity. A personal trick of mine is to make a cup of Celestial Seasonings Fast Lane tea after I enjoy whatever lunch I have that day. It puts me in the perfect mental space to dive into projects of every kind.
Which brings me to “hitting the gas.” Potentially, the most important part of any freelance copywriter’s day is the actual content creation itself. Depending on the length of your daily To-Do List, this usually takes up the bulk of your workday.
Some days it means crafting a week’s worth of social media posts for one client, or an SEO-focused blog for another client. Other days, you might be writing copy for a billboard and attempting to craft that singularly perfect and topical tweet for yet another client. The beauty in freelance copywriting is that, for the most part, every day is different.
4. Admin – the “Boring” Stuff
The final part of any copywriter’s work day includes the seemingly humdrum and mundane activities of administrative duties. This includes (but is not limited to):
- filing timesheets, billing clients
- drafting invoices
- processing payments
- reminding customers to pay their invoices
- recording expenses
- getting another cup of coffee or tea
- reminding anyone involved (most likely yourself) of impending deadlines
Many copywriters use time management apps like Toggl to track their time between clients and produce detailed time sheets and reports on progress. However, if you’re a freelance copywriter, Freshbooks is a great app that provides time-tracking, invoicing, and project management all in one place.
As with most chores, these tasks can seem irrelevant but, if procrastinated on for too long, can resurge with a vengeance (and angry emails or phone messages).
5. Relax! Hopefully…
Lastly, (hopefully!) it is time to relax. For freelancers, this can be difficult since setting a specific work schedule is often hard to negotiate. Having to be creative on demand for a living, I know just how tough it can be to “wind down” from a day’s work.
Try meditation, exercise, or indulge in a good book or your favorite TV show. Whatever you do, it’s important to give yourself permission to pause when you’re a freelance writer and give yourself a break from your computer screen.
Are you a freelance copywriter? What does your day look like?