5 Tips for Increasing Your Competitive Advantage Over Other Copywriters

“It’s really easy to compete with most copywriters out there.”

Last month I interviewed up-and-coming copywriter and Wealthy Web Writer member, Henry Bingaman. And his comment about the competition hit a nerve with me.

Not because I think he’s being naïve, or big-headed …

But because I know he’s absolutely right.

Let me explain …

Henry wants to be the best health copywriter around, earning a million dollars a year when he hits 30 — just five years from now.

He only started his career just over a year ago, and already he’s quickly learning what it takes to be successful. And that includes competing head-on with other writers in his notoriously-populated niche.

Henry was pleased to learn that competing was actually going to be one of the easiest challenges he would face in his career.

He found that many copywriters overlook some of the most obvious details that keep clients coming back time after time. A mistake he’s been able to use to his advantage.

So, to make sure you’re on the same career trajectory as Henry, I’m going to share with you five things you can do — in addition to writing killer copy — that will help you easily rise above your competition.

And, that’s not the only benefit …

These five tips will also ensure your clients:

  1. Properly value you and your work;
  2. Are willing to pay you what you’re worth (and then some!);
  3. And will continue to give you assignments again and again.

Ready? Let’s dive in …

The first seems obvious, but it’s the most important tip of all.

Meet ALL deadlines.

Remember, you agree to the deadlines when you accept the project. So, if you can’t make them — don’t say that you can!

You need to understand that many other people are typically involved in a project — the copy is just the first step.

Since Nick Usborne has spent a lot of time working for some the most well-known companies in the industry, I asked him to weigh in …

“One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a freelancer is to miss an agreed deadline. Nothing damages your reputation and personal brand faster. If clients don’t feel they can rely on you to deliver good copy, on time, they will simply avoid you in the future.

What many copywriters don’t seem to understand is that their deadline is just a small part of a complex schedule within the client company. Your contacts have their own deadlines, often involving different people and departments, all working towards the delivery of some element within their marketing campaign.

When a freelancer misses a deadline, it impacts the entire schedule. It’s not just about inconvenience. It’s about disturbing the work of numerous people, and maybe missing a media spot that has been booked and paid for.

It also makes your client contact look bad within his or her own company or organization.

More and more, I see copywriters becoming casual about deadlines. This is incomprehensible to me. It’s unprofessional, and a 100% certain way to destroy your own freelance business.

Why work so hard to acquire clients, if you are going to lose them by missing deadlines?”

Bottom line, if you can’t meet a deadline, tell the client at the very beginning. Or, just don’t take the job.

But never, ever agree to a deadline and then miss it.

Now, that’s not to say that you should rush the job in order to make the deadline either. It’s your responsibility to make sure you have adequate time to do your best work.

In fact, that’s my next tip …

Make sure every project you submit is your best work yet.

It’s easy to get lazy. It happens to all of us. But, don’t fall into the trap of getting complacent with clients you’ve had for a while.

Nothing irritates a client more than when they KNOW the copy isn’t your best.

My advice is to treat every project like it’s your first project. Give it your best effort, just as you would if you were trying to win the client.

Do the necessary research. Spend the time planning out your copy. Make sure you schedule enough time to review, and rewrite as necessary.

It only takes one “not quite your best work project” to completely negate every good project you’ve submitted so far. No matter how long you’ve had the client. And, that leaves you vulnerable to copywriters going the extra mile like Henry who can easily swoop in and take your client.

The minute you turn in low-quality work, the client will simply think you’re either at capacity, you’ve reached your limit, or you simply don’t care anymore.

And that’s a hard place to come back from!

That’s it for the “don’ts” … so let’s move into the “do’s” …

Become an idea machine.

Funny enough, this was a piece of advice my mom actually gave me in college when I accepted my first marketing job in publishing.

She told me: “Contribute new ideas whenever possible. Most of them will be turned down, but that’s okay. The ones that are accepted have the potential to create new opportunities for you, and either way, you’ll be seen as an idea person. And, that adds value to any company.”

Today, I give the same advice to my own employees. And for freelancers, it’s not only a great way to increase your value with clients, but just like my mom told me, it’s a great way to create opportunities for yourself.

I often tell the story of how Henry Bingaman landed AWAI as a client. He pitched me an idea to market Nick’s Money-Making Website program on Facebook, to try and reach a younger audience. There was very little financial risk for me (only $500), so I thought, what the heck. Let’s see what happens.

Through that opportunity, he was able to show me that he could think outside the box, meet deadlines, deliver on his promises, and demonstrate his creativity.

And even though the campaign failed, I gave him another project. And another one. And another one.

In fact, if you’re a Platinum member of Wealthy Web Writer, you probably recognize Henry as the 3-Minute Guru, who turns out how-to videos on anything you need explanation on for your career.

That was his idea. He pitched the idea, and landed himself a retainer on a project that I never knew I had available.

My next tip not only helps you jump above your competition, but also helps you make more money at the same time …

Learn the complete marketing system from beginning to end.

The more you understand about how your copy is going to be used, the better opportunities you have to upsell a project into something much bigger. And, if you’ve done any coaching with Nick Usborne, or attended his webinar on the Wealthy Web Writer website, you know just how easy it is to ratchet up your income from every project you accept.

To illustrate, I’m going to use AWAI as an example. Let’s say my partner, Katie Yeakle, hires you to write a simple landing page for $500.

The job of the landing page will be to get visitors to sign up for a free e-letter.

Figure the job will only take you a few hours — so that’s a pretty good rate.

BUT, if you know about marketing to free e-letter names, you can turn that $500 into a lot more money …

By digging deeper, you find out that the e-letter Katie is starting will ultimately sell a membership to a new website.

So, you pitch an autoresponder series to get the free readers to continue reading the e-letter, and convert them to the paid membership. For that, you’ll charge her an additional $750.

Then, you tell her she’ll also need a sales landing page to sell the membership. You’ll be happy to write that landing page for $1,000, since it’s a little more complex than the free sign-up landing page she originally hired you to write.

Of course, then you’ll recommend another autoresponder series to retain the members once they buy (also called a stick series). That will only cost her another $750.

And then, she’s probably going to need content for the website itself, which you are happy to provide her with for an $800 a month retainer.

That small landing page project just got a WHOLE lot bigger, right? And, you are now in the position to continue working with Katie as long as you want it.

You’re also in the position to do my next tip …

The door is open … use every opportunity to pitch your services.

Think you could write a landing page better? See something newsworthy that requires a press release? Perhaps the client isn’t using all the marketing systems his competitor is.

Up-and-coming copywriter and Wealthy Web Writer member, Ann Jordan-Mills quickly learned that this technique would get her business. She took advantage of the guaranteed spec assignment at this year’s Web Intensive. And, once that door was open, she never let it close …

She never waits around for me to call her. She’s always looking for opportunities where she can pitch her services.

She never emails me with something like: have any work for me?

Instead, she emails me with very specific project ideas. “Seems like this webinar would make a great special report. Can I write it for you?” or “This feels newsworthy. How about a press release?”

Sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no, but I always look forward to opening her emails because I know she’s got something for me.

So, there you have it. Five things you can do to compete with other writers, while at the same time ensuring your clients keep giving you work, AND pay you very well for your services.

For more tips on being competitive and making more money as a freelancer — without having to work any harder — I highly recommend you check out Nick Usborne’s newest program, Profitable Freelancing: The Definitive Guide to Earning More Money as a Freelancer from Day One.

Over the last 15 years, Nick has developed a proven formula to better freelancing that allows him and the freelancers he coaches to earn more while working less, in addition to earning passive income while off on vacation, and earning more from every project they take on.

And in his program, he shows you how you can do it, too. Whether you’re just starting out, or already working as a freelancer, your career and the way you approach your business will be changed forever.

It’s that good.

This article, 5 Tips for Increasing Your Competitive Advantage Over Other Copywriters, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.

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Published: August 4, 2010

6 Responses to “5 Tips for Increasing Your Competitive Advantage Over Other Copywriters”

  1. great tips! thank you!!!

    Guest (picklesandrufus)

  2. Rebecca, you are absolutely right - on all counts! Before turning work in, I like to let it sit for a while, then look it over with fresher eyes, so I set myself an earlier deadlines. Doing that has also helped me out when things have to move faster than originally planned, or when an opportunity to take on more work comes along.

    Quinn Eurich

  3. It's always great to read an article that gives tips on getting the advantage on other up and coming copywriters. I'll use every one of the five tips. Thanks.

    David Adame

  4. Rebecca, Thanks for this outstanding information. It's concise with high-value insight. That's just what every freelance copywriter needs to help keep focused.

    KB Johnson-Ohio

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