The Newest Way to “Expand” Your Copywriting Business

Late last year, I took my first step into the fundraising niche. I'd been promising myself to do this for over a year, but I was busy with clients and other work obligations. I felt I simply did not have the time.

Finally, I realized I'd never have the time … so I just did it.

I followed AWAI's strategy of starting locally to build my portfolio. I contacted a local nonprofit Japanese drumming (taiko) troupe and offered to write a fundraising letter.

But once I started working with them, it was obvious they didn't need just a fundraising letter. They needed everything: letter, brochure, several different "buckslips," an overall presentation format, and mailing-list management.

I'd gone from copywriter to full-fledged marketer in the time it takes to say, "Okay, I'll do it."

It was a great experience. Fun. Instructive. Successful.

And then I found out that there's a name for this type of honchoing of all aspects of a DM campaign. It's called Desktop Marketing.

It turns out Desktop Marketing may be the best way to start and build a successful copywriting career.

Desktop Marketing also lets you tap into an extremely rich profit stream throughout your entire career.

I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me give you some details on exactly what Desktop Marketing is.

When you write copy for medium- to large-sized companies, they have their own marketing and design departments or have service providers in place. But when you approach a local business, they won't have those services readily available to them. They'll have little or no idea of where to find them. And they certainly won't have a coherent marketing plan.

That's where the Desktop Marketer (you) comes on the scene. You provide not only the copy, but the entire marketing plan, including graphic design, the design and execution of DM elements (like buckslips and envelopes), list management, and so on.

And you provide these services to your small clients at less than they would have to pay a marketing agency. You can afford to do this, because you don't have an agency's overhead … and your client will be doing some of the legwork.

For example, on my taiko project, my client already had testimonials, reviews, and photographs. If they hadn't, I would have asked them to gather them for me, saving me the time and effort. However, I was responsible for choosing and formatting what we used and presenting it in an attractive, compelling way.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn't much more than you do as a copywriter. In writing for larger clients, you suggest the design of the package as a whole. As a Desktop Marketer, you just take that process one step further.

And since you're working for smaller clients with smaller printing needs, you're not using large printing houses that require graphic files produced with expensive graphic design programs. You can do most of the work in Microsoft Publisher. You can even do many designs in Microsoft Word!

As I said, taking on the role of Desktop Marketer is a great way to break into copywriting in the first place or to enter a new niche you want to write for. It gives you almost immediate access to clients that quickly build your portfolio.

And I'm sure you can see how it could also grow into a regular revenue stream. The more work you do for smaller clients as a Desktop Marketer, the more skilled you become. The more skilled you become, the more you build your client base … and not just with smaller clients.

You branch out and work with larger clients, offering them services at a discount to what they would pay elsewhere. But because of your low overhead, you're charging and earning top dollar for yourself.

Plus – and this is the part I've loved about my work with the taiko troupe and subsequent fundraising clients – it's fun. You get to oversee all aspects of a project. And you never get a chance to be bored.

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 6, 2007

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