I’ll likely make this a recurring series, but to start, here are five favorite copywriting tools to add to your content marketing toolbox.
Note: If you’d prefer watching a video about this topic, I’m embedding one below from my Ask the Copy Bitch YouTube channel.
I was using Zoom pre-pandemic, and I’ve loved it since the beginning. Why do I feel the need for conferencing software? Couldn’t a phone call work? Well, with Zoom, you can share screens, which comes in handy (for example, when showing a website mockup). Plus, I can record the calls on Zoom as well. I can also have multiple people join the call (which is sometimes necessary—I’ve been on calls with five or six people on the client-side).
I’m currently on the Pro plan, which works great for my needs and budget. (The reason I don’t recommend the free version: The 40-minute limit on phone calls. You WILL have calls that go over 40 minutes, and it can be embarrassing or ruin the vibe when you have to pause and send out a new invite.)
Note: I record ALL client calls. I always let them know and remind them that nothing will be used against them in a court of law. (Which always elicits a chuckle.) Recording eliminates the need for me to frantically take notes (which I can never read anyway). Instead, I can focus on the substance of the conversation.
I mentioned above that I always record my calls. From there, I upload the calls to Rev.com to get the recording transcribed. I’ve used both the manual transcription where a human listens and transcribes word-for-word and the AI (artificial intelligence) that does an automated transcription. The two biggest differences between the two? Price and accuracy. Humans are much more accurate, but I got to admit the AI is pretty close (depending on how good the recording itself is—a client on a landline vs. in the car).
I tend to use humans for complex interviews involving medical topics (I do writing for a urology practice). But the AI works great for almost everything else.
As for pricing, as I write this, the human transcription is $1.25/minute while the AI is .25 a minute. (And keep in mind that this is a legit business expense for a writer. I have a line item in my business expenses for Rev.com.)
Note: I’ve heard good things about Temi.com, another AI option.
3. Keyword research tools
As a freelance copywriter, you’ll be writing website copy and blog posts. (To name just a couple of items.) One of the goals of those two types of content is to bring people in via organic search. To accomplish this, you need to know what phrases people are searching on—and then develop a content strategy and content calendar to support those themes.
Confession: I used to bristle when it came to keyword research. I have no problem optimizing the content for search. But I preferred having the keyword phrases handed to me. Why? I didn’t always feel confident in my ability to look at numbers and stats. And earlier keyword tools (think the early to mid-aughts) weren’t as user-friendly (in my estimation) for regular folks like me. But they’ve come a long way, and in recent years, I’ve embraced doing the initial pass at the KW research.
Luckily, some good free keyword tools exist. So you can start with those if you’re just launching your freelance copywriting business. But if you find that you’re doing a lot of SEO copywriting, for example, and the free keyword tools aren’t cutting it, I recommend investing in a paid tool. My go-to is SEMRush. Some folks just starting out might find it a little on the pricy side (again, I’m on the Pro plan), but it’s something to consider as you grow.
Lettercount.com is quick, easy, and my favorite price: FREE. I’ve used this site for years. It’s just a box that does a quick character count. Perfect for double-checking meta descriptions, title tags, tweets, and anything else restricted by a certain number of characters.
Canva has free and premium versions. I’m currently on the free, and it works for my needs, right now. Canva has ready-made templates and designs awaiting your copy and finishing touches. I find it incredibly intuitive, too.
Got other questions about copywriting?