How to Make $3,000 to $10,000 Per Assignment – Without Writing a Single Word of Copy

Here’s a way for copywriters to generate more cash: teaching and training the staffs of client companies.

For copywriters who have done it, training is a sideline. But these experiences are an enjoyable break from writing. They’re creatively stimulating and they win you recognition and applause.

Throughout my 30-year career as a copywriter, I received invitations to visit the offices of my clients – mostly newsletter publishers – to train their staffs. I learned almost as much as I taught, and I was treated like a celebrity. I traveled to interesting places worldwide. And it was gratifying to share my knowledge, especially with industry newcomers. The pay was OK, too: $3,000 to $10,000 per assignment.

Publishers hired me to teach their employees to be better direct marketers and copywriters. You may know of companies in this situation. They may not have the budget to hire a freelancer for every direct-mail or online marketing project. Or promotions may need to be written quickly, in house. So staffers need to have the appropriate skills – or learn them.

Before you offer to teach or train, however, you’ll need to know a few things. To save you a lot of time and trouble climbing the learning curve, here’s how I did it – and my “best practices” for corporate training.

  • Develop your presentation

    Most clients want a one- or two-day training session. On day one (or the morning session), include everyone. Deliver a captivating presentation, preferably with visuals. For the second day (or the afternoon session), conduct “breakout” events with smaller product units, departments, or individuals. In these more informal groups, you can consult, critique, coach, and offer ideas and solutions for the company’s creative problems.

  • Customize it to your client’s needs

    Tailor your presentation to each client’s specifications. If the person who hired you asks for a certain format or type of content, accommodate those requests. Fortunately, though, you don’t need to create a totally new curriculum each time. Stockpile a “base” of material you can draw upon – that will become easier after you’ve delivered a few presentations. You’ll be able to recycle much of the content and adapt it to the needs of each client.

  • Be prepared

    Preparation is critical. Be certain that the client supplies you, in advance, with sufficient material to give you a full understanding of the problems, challenges, needs, and concerns of the company and of the people you will be addressing. This includes background information on the firm, its products, promotions, results, market research data, competition, and more. Request a list of attendees invited or expected, along with their titles and responsibilities. This roster will also help you remember and recognize participants’ names when you meet them for the first time.

  • Develop an agenda

    In collaboration with the client, create a written agenda. This device serves several important purposes. It ensures that you’re both in agreement about the curriculum and that it meets the requirements of the company and its staffers. In addition, the agenda can be distributed to all attendees in advance (along with a speaker bio), so everyone will know what to expect.

What do people who hire trainers look for? Executives told me that the ideal presenter is someone who:

  • Has broad practical experience
  • Possesses the ability to offer proven advice, hard facts, and specifics that save the company time and money
  • Knows what works and what doesn’t
  • Offers recommendations that are immediately applicable and useful
  • Presents well and can communicate ideas in an organized and systematic manner that facilitates learning

So how do you nab your first training assignment?

Suppose a client offers you a staff position or says something like, “I wish we had someone with your skills here every day.” Counter with an offer to deliver a presentation that will equip employees with the knowledge and skills they need. Or tell your existing clients, and prospects, how the company and its employees could benefit from what you’ll teach them.

You may discover that some will jump at the opportunity, especially when they calculate the potential payoff. My clients were invariably pleased with the results of my “classes,” and I always found my teaching experiences to be rewarding and enjoyable.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: September 19, 2008

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