From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Finding Out Who Wrote a Promotion

This week, we’ve got two questions – one that almost every aspiring copywriter asks … and one that may not pop into your mind until you’ve been working at this craft for a little while.

First, this question from Marta R.…

"I just signed up for the program and I am so new I have not even received the materials yet. But I’m excited about it – and I have a question about making the leap from my existing job to being a ‘copywriter.’ My question is, without already being a full-fledged copywriter, with a portfolio, how can I get a paying assignment? I know we all want to just send an email and get rolling with leads, but how do people move into their writing and follow through? How do I get my first assignment?"

– Marta. R.

This is a question we’ve addressed in The Golden Thread several times, Marta. It’s the central issue for a new copywriter – second only to learning how to write the copy. So I think it bears repeating every so often.

There really is an abundance of work available to anybody who cultivates a skill for writing copy. Direct mail is a humongous industry that can support many more writers than it already has.

If you begin calling or sending letters to the companies that have sent you promotions (the promotions that you should be putting in your swipe file), I have no doubt that you will find a paying assignment. Direct-mail companies tend to be open to trying out new copywriters.

Your most valuable resource may be, our job search website. We launched this site earlier in the year and there are already over 125 jobs posted on it. The site is open only to our members – and the companies that post the jobs are expecting our newly trained copywriters to apply.

Finally, of course, there’s The Golden Thread. Often, the main article or Quick Tip has helpful information on marketing yourself. We also post a handful of job opportunities at the end of each issue.

And from Joyce Z.…

"I recently received a promotional letter from National Home Gardening Club. I didn’t want the product – but I literally had to stop myself from ordering it, the promo was that good! It has AWAI technique written all over it.

"I also regularly get Early to Rise and recently read Michael Masterson’s reply to a novice AWAI copywriter in which he stated that he diligently studied other people’s work to learn this craft – and named several.

"My question is: How can I find out who wrote the National Home Gardening Club letter – and how can I get other work by this writer that I can study?"

– Joyce Z.

I’m glad to hear you are reading the promotions you get in the mail, Joyce. That really is a very important part of learning to write copy. You should continue to collect the best ones and save them in your swipe file.

I don’t know that there is a "sure bet" when it comes to finding out who wrote a particular promotion. I would suggest that you call the company that sent it to you and ask to speak with their marketing person. He or she will know who wrote it and may be willing to tell you. Now, honestly, not all marketers are willing to share this kind of info … especially if they think you could be a competitor. (That’s how valuable good copywriters are to a marketer. They’ll want to keep you to themselves!) But, it’s worth a shot. Be sure to let them know why you’re asking … that you’re a student of copywriting … not a competitor … that you admire this writer and are interested in studying him … and maybe you can throw in that once you get the style down, you’d be happy to do a project for them.

That’s it for this week. Thanks to one and all. Keep those emails coming!


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: August 8, 2005

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