6 Sure-Fire Approaches for Finding Your Next Copywriting Job
[In Issue #8 of The Golden Thread Online, Masters Student Beth Erickson shared some great ideas for getting new clients. For this issue, we asked for five more – but she came through with SIX.]
If you're like me, you probably worked through your Michael Masterson's Program for Six-Figure Copywriting with a sense of excitement. I remember the feeling of awe every time I discovered a new secret, another revolutionary technique that would forever change the way I write. I can't even count the number of times I thought, "Wow … how 'bout that …!"
Nothing excited me more than knowing I'd finally found a way to make a living as a writer. But I had one nagging thought: "How on earth am I gonna find clients?"
I got some answers to that question at the first AWAI bootcamp I attended in Baltimore. Since then, I've read every book I can get my hands on, every article that comes across my desk, and have developed a lively promotion plan that keeps me as busy as I'd like to be.
So … how do you land clients? Here are six cost-effective techniques you can start using today:
Pull together everything you've learned from AWAI and draft the strongest possible letter you can promoting your services. I've written a "generic" letter that I customize for each business I contact.
I do my homework. I study each company's past mailings and ads. Then I fill in the paragraphs that deal with its specific needs. I make sure I don't say anything negative about the company's past promotions, because there's always a possibility that the person I'm contacting may have written them.
- Never tell anyone your phone number. GIVE it to them. Print up a bunch of business cards and whenever anyone asks for your phone number, give them your card instead. For example, when I took our dog to the vet for minor surgery, the receptionist asked for my phone number so she could call me when it was done. I handed her my business card. Voila! Another contact. From what she tells me, I just may get some work from them.
- Build your portfolio by working for friends and relatives – then ask them to refer their friends, relatives, and customers. For example, my first business-writing assignment came from the owners of a local upholstery shop who needed me to write a brochure for them. OK … you got me. They were my parents. But the exposure I get every time my mother hands a brochure to one of her upscale clients is worth gold. Sometimes she even distributes my business card when a customer wants to know who writes her promotional materials.
- Place a small, inexpensive display ad in your local newspaper – and run it frequently for a prolonged period of time. This will help establish your credibility with potential clients and will make clear that you are running a stable business.
- Write a column for your local newspaper and/or trade magazines on any topic that might appeal to potential clients. This is a quick way to become recognized as an expert. Grab a current copy of the Writer's Market and start looking for publications that might be interested in your articles. It won't take long before you have a list as long as your arm.
- Another way to become known as an expert is to plant yourself directly in front of your community's business leaders. Prepare a short presentation and speak at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. While you're at it, hit every local civic club as well. Speak to them with authority and, before you know it, you'll be viewed as the best source for their copywriting needs.
All of these methods are low-cost (some are even paying propositions) and can be an important part of your marketing plan. As with all advertising, slow and steady wins the race. Don't give up and you'll eventually have as much work as you can handle.
[Beth also writes her own e-letter, Writing Etc, where she features even more ideas for finding clients and other great articles on writing. For information on how you can sign up to receive Writing Etc, go to http://fibertpublishing.com]
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