10 Essential Quick Tips Every Beginning Copywriter Should Know (And Use)

Here are 10 tips from AWAI to help you go after – and land – your first paid assignments.

  1. Find a list of target prospects that match your experience. For example, if you were a nurse or you used to work in a health food store, a promising group of potential clients for you to go after will be health product and service companies in your area.
  2. Prepare a pitch letter and sample fulfillment package – check out Bob Bly's website at www.bly.com for samples.
  3. Plan to contact 50 prospects by mail – and follow up each one with phone call.
  4. Discuss your experience doing follow-up phone calls with other beginning copywriters. Talk about what happened and try to figure out how to improve your approach. The best way to do this is to find an AWAI buddy on the student forum page of our website.
  5. When contacting a client be prepared with a list of your strengths as a writer (a.k.a. benefits you can bring to your client). Some suggestions would include your background and experience if you have any in their particular industry.
  6. When you get a good lead for a job, get guidance from AWAI on how to negotiate and close the deal. Simply summarize your potential client/upcoming project in an email and send it to us.
  7. When negotiating, keep in mind that the fee is secondary. When you're just starting out, it's more important to get your clients to promise samples and referrals/references.
  8. Do peer review of your copy to make sure it is A+ before you send it to your client. Again, try fixing yourself up with a partner (an “AWAI buddy”) and see if you can bounce ideas off each other. (See issue #39 of The Golden Thread on our website to review Michael Masterson's Panel-Review Technique.)
  9. Consider getting a coach/mentor. This could slash years off your development time as a copywriter.
  10. Send a thank-you note to every contact you speak with – whether you get the job or not.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: January 20, 2003

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