Business Building Tips from a Million-Dollar Copywriter

Carline Anglade-Cole is one of only a few “A-list” copywriters in the country. She’s written numerous controls for some of the country’s biggest direct mailers, including Phillips Publishing, Weiss Research and True Health.

To top it all off, she was selected to write a direct-mail promotion for Oprah’s upcoming book! Her success is nothing short of amazing.

I started the interview by asking her what I thought would be most important to you: “What should a brand-new copywriter do to build his or her business?”

Here’s what she said …

“For starters, if you made it through AWAI’s program, you have the skills to succeed. But, clients aren’t going to come knocking on your door. You’ve got to tell yourself, ‘okay, I will send out marketing materials and go after my first few clients.’”

Once you’ve made the decision to take action and look for clients, give yourself the best chances for success. And that, in her opinion, means not going after the big “dream” clients until you have some good experience under your belt.

For one thing, there’s a lot of competition from other copywriters to write for these big mailers.

She also added a second good reason … “You don’t want to start with big mailers because in the flakiest possibility you get an assignment, you won’t be ready for the challenge when you’re first starting out.”

So what does Carline suggest you do?

First: “Start local. So you can start building up your portfolio.”

“Look through your mail and see if there are any postcards or mailings from local businesses you can contact.”

Then contact these companies. Let them know what you do, and how you can write a better promotion for them. This gives you a good start.

Second: There’s another way you can get started small. She mentioned that “there’s also huge business in inserts and renewals, to get your feet wet.” And the money can be pretty good …

“I know people who make easily $65,000-$100,000 a year writing simple 2 page letters for renewals and inserts.”

Once you have a few projects under your belt you’ll have a portfolio you can use for the next step …

At this point, you have a little experience and more importantly – a few samples of work clients paid you to do. What you do now is make a list of all your “dream” clients. These are the big mailers you’d love to work for that pay out huge royalties. But … Carline says it still isn’t time to go after the big mailers …

Third: “Now, your goal is to research your dream clients’ competitors.” Carline advises, “Don’t approach the biggest companies yet. Approach their smaller competitors because those guys will more likely give a new copywriter a shot. Their budgets aren’t usually big enough to afford “A-list” copywriters.”

This is exactly how Carline got her start. She started small and eventually got a control writing for a male supplement. Now she had a story to tell. Whenever she approached a big client and they asked for a sample of her work, she would send them her “latest” control (who cares if it was her only control!)

Telling these big mailers you’ve got a control with one of their competitors gets their attention in a powerful way. Plus, you let your work do the talking for you.

Take Carline’s advice to heart and get started today building your copywriting business. And remember, when you’re starting out, clients don’t come to you – you’ve got to go after them!

Insider’s Tip from Carline:
Don’t want to wait to approach the big fish?

Okay … if you’re absolutely determined to get your foot in the door with a big mailer, Carline shared a little-known way to do it …

“When I write a package I’m creating 4, 6, maybe 12 new premiums (special reports) that the client then has to have written so they can send to the buyer. If you want to work with a bigger company approach them through the back door. Tell them ‘hey I write special reports and premiums.’ Once you’re in and they like what you’re doing, you can move up from there.”

[Carline Anglade-Cole writes multi-year controls in the alternative health field for clients including Healthy Directions, Health Resources, True Health, Soundview Publications and Sun Chlorella, USA.

She is the author of How to Write Kick-Butt Copy: Straight Talk from a Million-Dollar Copywriter, Anatomy of a Kick-Butt Control: How to Create a Winning Promo from Start to Finish and Which One Won? How to Write Kick-Butt Headlines and Boost Response!

Contact Carline directly by visiting her website at]

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: April 14, 2008

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