How Kammy Thurman Got Her First Writing Job … Then Her First Copywriting Job – and What She Did When They Asked Her for Samples
Kammy Thurman lives in south-central Montana near the Beartooth mountain range, Montana's highest peaks. Besides being a full-time mom of three boys – 9, 6, and 4 years old, Kammy works on her copywriting course and her freelance writing career.
A couple months ago Kammy wrote us to say she landed a column with a newsletter publisher that wasn't even advertising for a writer. She sent them her resume, a couple writing samples and expressed her desire to write for them. It turns out they needed someone to contribute one or two articles a month so Kammy's initiative was welcomed.
She's since used the same technique to land a copywriting job with this company too. We asked Kammy for a few pointers other students can use to approach clients and get writing samples …
TGT: To land your newsletter column, you sent the publisher a couple of writing samples along with your resume. Since you were a very new writer at the time, how did you get them?
KT: The first thing I did was approach our local newspaper to ask if they had a need for freelance articles. They gave me a weekly column that spotlighted new businesses in the county. Then after one or two of those submissions, they asked me to contribute feature articles once a month. It was a great way to build my writing portfolio.
I also approached a friend about doing a newsletter for the nonprofit organization he worked for, and I started writing a newsletter and other promotions for the church my family attends. I included all these samples in the packet I gave to this new company.
TGT: I hear you worked with your coach, Will Newman, to put together an information package to help sell your services. Tell us a little about it.
KT: Will helped me tremendously with this. He explained all the little things that make a polished presentation. We talked at length about different self-marketing ideas. Things like putting ads in the Yellow Pages and trade publications, joining associations, etc. But when all was said and done, we agreed that sales letters and the information packet would be the best tools for me to use. From there, he helped me refine them.
The kit is already helping me land clients. After getting the go-ahead from my editor, I sent one to the marketing director of the newsletter publisher I write for. The marketing director e-mailed me last week asking my availability for several projects. I know this had everything to do with the packet because she mentioned it.
Another organization raved about my "very impressive" packet, and said that they'll be getting in touch with me about projects in the next couple of weeks.
And just last week, the info packet gave me the edge over another copywriter and helped me land a new client – an insurance brokerage company.
TGT: How has copywriting affected your life?
KT: Total life change!
When I started writing freelance articles, it didn't take long to discover I'd barely make enough to pay the babysitter while I went out on interviews, much less make a living.
I've been with AWAI for two years now. I'm absolutely convinced that in the next 1-2 years, I'll be able to more than replace my husband's income, allowing him to quit the 14-hour days and stress of trying to do a 3-person job by himself and go a different direction with his career. This is a huge priority for us. I've enrolled in Michael Masterson's productivity program ( http://www.agora-inc.com/reports/700SDDGC/W700D410 ) for additional help to reach that goal as soon as possible.
TGT: What advice would you give to other copywriting students?
KT: Make the copywriting program a priority. When you're in a program like this that allows you to work at your own pace, it's easy to put the work aside when "life" gets in the way. But if you're serious about making copywriting your career, it's important to treat it like a training class and look at it as an investment in your future. Because it really is.
Also, continually add to your knowledge. There's an old adage: Writers are readers. So I took Michael's advice and made reading goals for myself. He reads a book a week. I haven't accomplished that, but I can usually get through 1-2 books a month.
And pay attention to things you pick up from copywriting, graphic design, marketing, and business publications. This has helped me land clients and do a better job for them. I see how copywriting fits as one cog into the marketing gear and I know at least a little about the other parts too.
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