I’ll be honest with you: Freelance copywriting is overwhelming for a beginner.
I know this, I’ve been there too.
But the benefits you’ll get from learning copywriting is insane.
Aside from huge jump in the amount you’re getting paid, you’re learning concepts you can apply in your daily life.
Copywriting will change the way you write, the way you read, and the way you interact with people for the better.
I don’t want you to go through the mistakes I made when I was a beginner…
I want you to experience the joy of copywriting as soon as you can…
That’s why I’m giving you 10 free copywriting tools you can use right now so you can begin your freelance copywriting career the right way!
Tool #1: Swipe File
A swipe file is a collection of great copy.
As a beginner freelance copywriter, you use swipe files so you don’t have to start from scratch. Swipe files are so helpful that sometimes I call it my best friend.
Most copywriters use swipe files as their personal reference for new angles and ideas. It’s a powerful antidote against copywriter’s block.
Having your own swipe file means you’ll never have to wait for inspiration. If it usually takes you hours to write copy, your swipe file will help you get it done in minutes.
Less time spent writing = more copywriting jobs for you.
You can keep your swipe file anywhere:
- Under a single bookmark
- In your desktop folder
- On your Evernote
- On a private Facebook group
All that matters is you have a collection of tested and proven copy ready to help you whenever you’re stuck.
Aside from having my own swipe file, I also visit 2 helpful swipe file sites:
Swipefile.io – What I like about Swipefile.io is its easy tagging feature. You can find it conveniently placed at the top of the website so you can move from Sales Page swipes to Email swipes in one click.
Swiped.co – Swiped.co’s advantage is that its swipes have annotations from experienced copywriters. The annotations will explain why that specific part of the copy is a good idea. You’ll spot these annotations under red outlines.
Tool #2: Evernote
Evernote is a powerful way to collect and sort copywriting information online.
I used this when I was trying to make sense of Joanna Wiebe’s approach to copy while learning how to write headlines from Alan Sharpe.
Evernote helped me by allowing to take dedicated notes for each copywriter without mixing them up. That way, I can always refer to a specific information without getting confused.
Evernote also has a web clipper that helps you save copywriting links and articles you like to review later with a single click.
Evernote’s Web Clipper is a browser extension. If you want to save an article, all you have to do is click the Evernote Web Clipper button. The app will give you options on how you would like to save the article.
When you’re busy or running out of time, Evernote it.
Tool #3: Google Docs
There are 3 reasons why I prefer Google Docs over Microsoft Word:
It’s accessible, shareable, and easy to recover!
With Google Docs, you don’t have to worry about power outages or your laptop dying on you. All you need is a Gmail account and you can swing by the nearest Internet cafe to finish your copy.
“But what if I suddenly lost my internet connection?”
Google offers an offline sync mode where you can still write while the internet’s down. When you got your internet connection back, Google Docs will update the document with what you wrote while offline.
To share your copy on Google Docs, all you have to do is copy the document’s URL. With Microsoft Word, you have to upload the document by yourself and risk the chance of uploading the wrong file.
On Google Docs, you control how your copy is being shared. You set who can view, edit, and comment on your copy in just a few clicks.
Easy to Recover
Isn’t it frustrating when you accidentally delete your document and you can’t get it back?
If this happens to you as a freelancer, that’s money down the drain.
Google Docs has a version history that you can recover your copy with the exact date and time!
As a beginner freelance copywriter, you’ll be glad to know that Google Docs doesn’t have formatting issues, unlike Microsoft Word.
With Google Docs, clients will see your copy the way you wrote it.
Tool #4: AndCo
“Why is it so freaking hard to come up with a decent freelance contract?”
Trust me, I’ve been there too.
I used to copy and combine freelance contracts I found on the internet. It ended up becoming a monster list that scared a potential client away.
Don’t make the same mistake by using AndCo.
AndCo removes the anxiety and confusion over contracts. It took me less than 5 minutes to create my first AndCo contract. That’s how easy it is.
All you need to do is type in the information AndCo requires and they will send the resulting contract to your client’s email.
If you like to write copy for clients without the contract fuss, use AndCo.
Tool #5: Grammarly
Question: Do you know what annoys freelance copywriters in general?
Answer: When you only spot your grammatical errors and spelling mistake right after you click ‘send’
As a copywriter, your grammar and spelling are more important than ever. Even simple mistakes can stop the train of thoughts of a reader. Worse, it can even sow distrust!
Stop being a victim by using Grammarly.
Grammarly is a lifesaver for copywriters like me who have a specifically hard time dealing with prepositions.
This convenient web app helps you spot your grammatical errors and spelling mistakes easily. It will even suggest the right word or spelling to use!
You’ll know Grammarly is working when you see a little light green circle at the bottom right of text boxes. You’ll know when you made a grammatical error when the green circle turns red. Like this:
Grammarly will underline the specific error and will even tell you the number of errors you’ve made by listing the count inside the little red circle.
When you’ve fixed everything, the intimidating red circle will turn green.
Heads up when using Grammarly:
- Grammarly is optimal for simple grammatical errors like your dreaded prepositions. For the complex ones, you’ll need a deeper analysis or the paid version.
- Grammarly doesn’t work in Google Docs. You can use Grammarly’s editor or just check your writing on Facebook, where the web app works perfectly fine.
Tool # 6: Hemingway
Copy is nothing if it isn’t understood by your readers.
It’s the sad truth.
Remember this copywriting advice:
“Write copy like it’s for grade schoolers.”
It’s not an insult to your readers. It’s an acknowledgment that your copy isn’t the only one clawing for your reader’s attention.
If you want your copy get understood, strive for clarity.
Clear writing helps you get the message across faster. Long-winded paragraphs and complex sentences won’t.
I admit clear writing isn’t easy. It requires a lot of effort and focus.
That’s why I use Hemingway.
Hemingway is a web app that helps you write better copy by:
- Cutting out fluff
- Breaking down complex sentences
- Learning how clear writing works the hard way
Hemingway uses metrics to weigh your writing.
‘0’ is the best grade which means your writing is extremely simple to read. Getting a grade of ‘post-graduate’ is the worst, this means your writing is unreadable.
Hemingway helps you write better by detecting complex sentences and highlighting them with a specific color. You’ll know if you improved the writing when the highlights are gone.
You’ll know your writing is good enough if your grade is 6 and below.
A study by the Institute of Education Sciences shows that an ‘average’ American reads at a 7th grade level.
Writing copy at a Grade-6 level means your message is easier to consume and digest.
Tool #7: WordCounter
Ever wonder if you’re using a word too many times?
If you fear you’re being redundant, WordCounter will help.
WordCounter ranks the most frequently used words in your writing. You’ll immediately confirm your suspicion if you’re using a word too many times.
All you have to do is enter your body of text and the counter will show your result like this:
It’s not a surprise that ‘Sentence’ tops the list.
The body of text came from Hemingway App!
Tool #8: Pexels
Sometimes, words are not enough to write effective copy. Including a compelling HD photo can magnify the effect of your copy by at least 10x.
But here’s your problem:
- The good photos are not for free.
- The free photos require attribution.
The last thing you want as a copywriter is being hounded by legal problems because you forgot to attribute the owner.
Pexels removes this problem away by providing HD photos that are free and doesn’t require attribution.
Pexels have over 40,000 HD photos on their website. All are under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
This means you can use, copy, and modify any photos you want without any payment or attribution.
You don’t have to worry. I’ve been using Pexels since 2015 and I haven’t encountered an attribution problem. I wasn’t asked to pay up either.
If you need stunning HD photos to 10x your copy, Pexels is your first stop.
Tool #9: Momentum
As a freelance copywriter, it’s easy to get lost in the dark side of freedom (Read: Netflix, Online Games, Social Media).
But in between tabs, there’s a convenient productivity app waiting to get installed…
The ultimate to-do list app: Momentum.
Momentum is a browser extension that helps you keep your productivity or your ‘momentum’ in motion by replacing your blank browser tabs with this:
How does it work?
Momentum stops you from the lazy cycle by:
- Showing you the number of tasks you haven’t crossed off your to-do list
- Showing you the time, which will remind you how much you’ve wasted
- Reminding you of your main focus for the day
- Giving you a quote that would turn the productivity gears inside you again
Momentum gives you the right nudge you need to keep yourself moving forward towards your goals.
Tool #10: Headspace
Copywriting is a mentally-demanding activity that requires rest and relaxation.
Headspace is a quick and convenient meditation app that helps you de-stress and clear your mind through guided meditation.
Does it work?
Yes. Headspace earned the Editor’s Choice badge and have a 4.5-star rating from 71,976 users. And it’s the only meditation app that worked for me!
All it asks from you is 10 minutes of your time for 10 days.
The speaker will give you an eye-opening perspective on how to approach meditation the right way. This will help you control unwanted thoughts that always seem to creep up throughout the day.
While Headspace is totally free, paying a monthly subscription fee of at least $5.74 will unlock tons of more meditation content for specific problems.
But for me, the free 10×10 meditation offered by Headspace is more than enough for me.
What happens after?
This toolkit will help you write better copy faster and skyrocket your freelance productivity. In time, you might eventually discover your copywriting superpower!
Do you have a favorite copywriting tool we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments below. We read each comment!
Author: Ches Roldan
Ches is a freelance copywriter who loves reading crime thriller novels and watching sci-fi films.