Bootcamp Success Strategies

Bootcamp is coming up soon. So – to help you get the most out of this year’s event – we asked three of last year’s attendees to share their experiences.

The Hidden Benefit of Your Bootcamp Experience

By the end of my first Bootcamp in 2004, my life had changed forever. After making several contacts at the Job Fair, I landed a full-time copywriting job in just three months.

Returning to Bootcamp the next year was a “homecoming.” Given my past success, I honestly didn’t think I could match it. Boy, was I wrong! Bootcamp 2005 was just as good, if not better.

What I learned my second time is that networking (not just at the Job Fair) is the secret benefit to attending Bootcamp.

Attending as a working professional presented brilliant networking opportunities. I met fellow copywriters with too much work on their plate already … graphic designers hounded for copywriting referrals by clients … and even direct mailers and publishers who need a steady stream of good copy.

Come prepared to network with the biggest names in the industry. Have plenty of business cards and screw up your courage so you’re prepared to use them.

And search The Golden Thread archives for networking strategies from self-promo experts like Ilise Benun (who’ll be there again this year).

I’ve already planned my schedule for 2006!

3 Truths for Making a Great Impression With Potential Clients

As a marketer attending AWAI’s 2005 FastTrack to Success Bootcamp Job Fair, I was impressed with all the participants. However, there were three things the copywriter we chose to work with did that really set her apart.

I’m happy to share these “truths” with you for when you’re promoting yourself at Bootcamp and beyond.

Truth #1. Marketing Managers Are Busy.

Don’t make extra work for us. We’ve tried to include all the information in our assignment packets. If you feel you need more information to do the job right, try to find the answers yourself (by searching online, etc.) before emailing us with questions. This is your chance to show how resourceful you’ll be when working for us.

Truth #2. Emails Are Samples of Your Writing.

If you don’t write your emails in a professional, courteous manner, why would anyone want to see additional writing samples? (I’ve received great emails from budding copywriters … and horrible one-line demands like “Send me all your information about your available copywriting projects.”)

Truth #3. It Shows If You Don’t Know Your Subject.

Start your career with industries where you already have knowledge. A busy marketing manager won’t have the time to teach you the ins and outs of their business.

The copywriter we chose to work with from the 2005 AWAI Bootcamp introduced herself to me briefly, tailored her portfolio specifically for our company, followed up with a professional-yet-friendly email, and demonstrated empathy for our target audience in her spec assignment.

Find your niche and use your copywriting skills in all your communications. There’s a new client out there who will be extremely happy to meet you.

Do You Have a Book Inside You?

Do you dream of seeing a book with your name printed on the cover in Barnes & Noble?

As fun as that sounds, it doesn’t begin to describe the rewards you gain as a published author. Exciting rewards, like …

  • Peer recognition
  • Instant respect from strangers
  • Evidence of professional development
  • Open doors for speaking engagements
  • Open doors for writing opportunities of all types
  • An advance plus royalties from the publisher
  • Higher-paid copywriting assignments (due to your author status)

How can you achieve this status when statistics say only 2% of would-be authors make it into print? Perhaps my story will provide insight.

Before attending AWAI’s Bootcamp 2005, I’d never been published. I owe my fast-track success to the priceless advice I received there.

Within seven months of Bootcamp, I’d written a book, prepared a proposal using my enhanced copywriting skills, landed a literary agent, and received a contract from prestigious John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Bootcamp blasted me out of my dreadful job.

Maybe you’re considering attending Bootcamp to boost your copywriting career. But go with an open mind. I didn’t expect to be a published author within a year of my first Bootcamp. But here I am. And that could be you.

I look forward to seeing you at the 2006 FastTrack to Success Bootcamp. Perhaps we’ll do lunch.

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 14, 2006

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