From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Finding Your Niche

Hi Scott,

I love the The Golden Thread Mailbag. I usually read it first. My question is, how do I figure out my niche? I’m having trouble getting a fix on it. I’ve had a wide employment history and am interested in the alternative health market, catalogs, and the amusement industry. I don’t have much of a portfolio yet outside, of the AWAI assignments and a postcard promo I did for a bio-supplement company.

Elizabeth R.

Hello Elizabeth,

You should start out writing for products, or an area of products, that you are passionate about. It is hard for a copywriter, particularly a new one, to write about something you are ambiguous about. Sounds like you have three good choices to start with.

And, as a faithful reader, you know we recommend spec assignments as one of the best ways to get yourself in the game. This strategy works because it doesn’t cost the client anything to give you a shot. You can write your own samples, too. Tell potential clients that though they are not actual assignments, they are representative of what you can do.

Dear Scott,

Long story short – I need your help. I need to get a reactivation piece written soon! I’ve searched around, but the only information I can find was in the 3/28/05 issue of The Golden Thread – “7 Key Principles for Writing Riveting Reactivation Letters.” I desperately need an example and anything else you think might be of use.

Grace S.

Hello Grace,

Remember, the people you are writing to already know the value of your product, so the reactivation letter will be shorter than a full promotion. You should restate the USP and the major benefit in your letter. And keep in mind that reactivations usually include a discounted offer.

And, as luck would have it, Katie just told me that Target Marketing is offering AWAI members a discount on their Who’s Mailing What Archives.

For over twenty years, the Who’s Mailing What Archive has been the leader in direct mail intelligence. Now online in a searchable database with direct mail package details and scanned images, The Who’s Mailing What! Archive lets you see the mailing packages other companies have mailed in order to learn from their tests and direct mail controls.

You can sign up for a year’s subscription at Thumbnail scans are included in the price. Viewing and downloading full-size scans can be ordered online for a nominal fee.

Hi Scott!

Thanks for giving useful and practical tips for copywriters in every issue of The Golden Thread newsletter. I am busy updating my new website and applying the tips I have learned from the newsletter and the program.

Dan P.

Thanks Dan – and 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: January 17, 2006

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