15 Tried And Tested Free (Or Dirt Cheap) Tools For Copywriters

Getting started as a freelance copywriter is easy peasy. You just need a laptop and an internet connection, right?

 

Well, technically yes. But that’s a gross oversimplification.

 

Obviously, you need word processing software and research tools (duh). Tools to  communicate with clients and stay on top of your projects. And tools to create invoices when a project’s done (cause at the end of the day, don’t we all want to get paid?).

 

There are a ton of apps out there. And if you’re not careful, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and rack up hundreds of pounds in app subscriptions. But, as far as I’m concerned, the best thing about this business is that your overhead is as low as you want it to be.

 

Put simply, there are lots of free apps, or apps with free tiers, that are just as good – if not better – than paid ones.

 

Here are 15 of my favourites. I use these every day in my business and, frankly I’d be lost without them. If you’re just starting out, these will set you up to impress your clients without even going near your (probably tight) startup budget.

 

And if you’re a seasoned pro who feels they may be spending too much on apps… well, why not take these out for a spin?

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4 Content Marketing Lessons I’ve Learned From My Cat

 

Meet Jenny, my awesome cat.

 

She’s about nine years old. Or so I think. When I adopted her she was already an adult, you see.

 

Jenny and I have been through a lot together. We’ve moved four different houses in four different cities in two different countries. She’s travelled by car, including a seven hour stretch from London to Edinburgh. She’s been on buses. And she’s flown on planes (still needs to experience the tube though).

 

Jenny starts meowing insistently for food at 7 am sharp each morning and at 7:30 pm sharp every evening. The rest of the time, she does fuck-all. Unless you count snoring loudly. Which, as much as I love her, can get pretty annoying when I’m trying to focus on work.

 

But what does this have to do with content marketing at all, you may be wondering?

 

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Boosting Your Freelance Income: Overcoming Mental Roadblocks

obstacle

 

You’ve honed your writing craft and brushed up on your copywriting skills. You have a great website full of glowing client testimonials and excellent portfolio samples. You’ve picked a profitable niche and started marketing yourself relentlessly to qualified leads.

But despite your efforts, you’re still having trouble charging high rates.

What is the problem?

Is it the state of the market? Or are you sabotaging yourself somehow?

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How To Follow Up With Prospects: My Tried And Tested Technique

follow up emailIf you use cold emailing as a marketing strategy to grow your freelance business, it’s probably been drummed into your head that you have to follow up on every lead. Indeed, many popular writing blogs (some of which I count among my favourites) have at least one article on when and how to follow up with prospects. And some even explain in great detail what you should say.

When I first started out as a freelance writer, I used to follow these ideas religiously. I even had a spreadsheet in which I tracked each email I sent, from the date I made first contact to the date I was due to follow up and beyond.

Over time, however, I found myself moving away from this system and developing my very own follow-up technique.

I’m proud to say that this technique gives me 100% results. Every time. So I thought I’d lay it out step by step so you can give it a try if you like.

Ready?

Here goes:

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How I Tripled My Freelance Income By Working Less

freelance income

 

When I first started freelancing full-time, I didn’t really have a plan or a blueprint. I did, however have one objective:

Get clients. Pronto.

I proceeded to pursue this objective with characteristic single-mindedness. I’d send 10 to 20 emails to random companies every day, apply for everything on my two go-to job boards (ProBlogger and Contena) and say yes to anyone who got back to me.

Of course, I now know this was incredibly short-sighted of me. Sure, I got tons of clients. In fact, I consistently worked 50 to 60 hour weeks, often spilling over into the weekend. But my freelance income was so low I barely made enough to cover my expenses.

Back in January of this year I wrote a grand total of 50 blog posts, averaging 500 to 600 words each.

And I made £643.85.

Not good, eh?

Then, something happened.

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3 Ways To Come Up With More Blog Ideas Than You Can Handle

blog post ideas

Do you struggle to come up with blog ideas?

Perhaps, you’ve been putting off even starting a blog, because you don’t know what you’d write about?

Or maybe you’re simply scared you’ll run out of steam at some point?

Sometimes, words don’t come easy, even when you know exactly what you want to talk about in your post. Add having to come up with topic ideas on a regular basis and blogging starts looking like an even more daunting proposition.

But just as you can defeat writers’ block, you can also overcome a dearth of ideas and create an awesome business blog that truly helps your brand. If, that is, you play your cards right.

Here’s my system  for coming up with more blog ideas than I can handle. These tricks have saved my ass more than once. And, if you’re a business owner or someone entrusted with maintaining a business blog, I’m sure these strategies can help you too.

Onwards.

 

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Do You Need Project Management Software As A Freelancer?

project management software

 

I love lists. I really do.

What I love even more, though, is crossing shit off lists.

Maybe I’m easily pleased, I don’t know. But it honestly gives me immense satisfaction.

These past few months, I’ve been using my love of checking off tasks to my advantage, with resounding success. Every week, I make a list of tasks I need to do; and I cross each item off once it’s complete. For some reason, it’s been a powerful motivator; and my productivity has skyrocketed.

So I decided to take things up a notch.

I downloaded project management software.

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4 Freelance Contract Clauses You Should Always Include

freelance contract

Whether it’s a small job or a major project, you should always have a freelance contract in place.

Always. 

There are various reasons for this, some of which I’ve touched on before. However, I think the most important one is that a freelance contract sets out everyone’s expectations in writing and makes each party’s duties and responsibilities clear from the get go.

Now, let’s be clear. No-one wants things to go awry. And most of the time they won’t. But deliberately ignoring the possibility is not only short-sighted, it’s downright stupid. The one time things go wrong, not having a contract WILL come back to bite you in the ass. You can take that to the bank.

A contract avoids a lot of unnecessary strife because – guess what? – you can’t argue with a signed document that sets out in plain language exactly what’s going to happen.

Unsurprisingly, contracts are routine in most business transactions; and they should be routine in your freelance business too. A serious client will have no problem signing a contract. In fact, they might just suggest one themselves.

But, you may be wondering, what types of clauses should you include in a freelance contract?

Let’s have a look.

 

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Defeat Writers’ Block And Nail Your Writing Assignment In 5 Easy Steps

writers' block

 

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a complete newbie, at some point it’s bound to happen. You’re going to find yourself in front of your laptop screen, staring at a blank page.

The cursor will blink accusingly at you.

The whiteness of the page will threaten to blind you.

Meanwhile, you’ll keep stealing glances at the clock on the top right of your laptop screen, feeling the pressure and trying to stop yourself from breaking into a cold sweat.

You guessed it, my friends. I’m talking about that most nefarious of mortal enemies, aka writer’s block.

Unfortunately, if you’re a professional writer, waiting for that pesky Muse to get the fuck back here and do its bloody job isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to have to find a way to power through this.

You’ll be happy to learn that this isn’t as hard as it sounds.

Read on for my proven five-step approach to stop writers’ block in its tracks and nail every assignment.

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Signs A Client Won’t Pay You (And What To Do About It)

Freelance Client Payment

If you run an online business (or any other business, for that matter) there’s a good chance you’re going to have to deal with at least the occasional late payment. While this is unfortunate, it’s also completely normal. More often than not, the client is in good faith and the matter can be resolved quickly and amicably. No harm, no foul.

Unfortunately, though, there are times when, whichever way you look at it, the client was in bad faith. Perhaps they tried to talk themselves out of paying you with a variety of excuses. Or, even worse, they simply went AWOL the minute you delivered the work.

It’s a sad fact of life that there are unscrupulous people who take advantage of the veneer of anonymity the Internet provides to score free work. And, if you’re not careful, you could end up putting in a lot of time and effort into a project without getting paid what you’re due.

Thankfully, it’s very easy to weed out these people from legitimate clients and to nip any potential problems in the bud. Here’s how.

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