Tell Me Your Elevator Speech

You’re at a networking event full of promising potential clients …

And while standing at the bar waiting for your drink, the person beside you introduces themselves and follows it up with the following question:

“So what is it that you do?”

This is your chance!

You just need to tell them what you do, let them know you’re available to take on new clients, and engage them in a conversation.

Easy, right?

Or a lot of pressure?

This week, we’re working on your self-promotion strategy, and the first thing I want to tackle is your answer to that question.

Your answer is often called your elevator speech because it should be short enough to be able to communicate in the time it takes for a short elevator ride – about 15-30 seconds.

And it’s important to have an answer ready to go at any time because, as a freelancer, every person you meet could be a potential client.

I’ve made great connections at networking events and conferences – which are to be expected.

But I’ve also made connections on planes … at a fitness bootcamp … even once at the dentist!

And having a well-rehearsed answer to that question will give you the confidence you need to take advantage of the opportunity that question presents.

One of AWAI’s first $10K Challenge Winners, Krista Jones, says she would hem and haw when someone would ask her that question, and answer with something like, “Well, I’m a copywriter. Not the kind that gives you a copyright for a book, but …”

She admits it was completely embarrassing and always made her feel uncomfortable. But once she developed her elevator speech – or as she calls it, her verbal tagline – she was able to turn this question into a conversation with the person.

“I’m a freelance copywriter. I write direct-response sales letters that help self-help publishers increase their business.”

Says Krista, “At this point, most people will want to know more, and that's where you can really shine. Here are some tips for coming up with a response that will etch your name in their minds:

  • Do some soul-searching. Figure out what kinds of products and services you'd enjoy selling as a copywriter. Be true to yourself – because if you're not excited by or interested in the product, believe me, it will come through in your copy.
  • Think about the service you provide. Come up with a few words that describe what you do best and include them in your response. Remember, this isn't about you. You want to tell your prospect what you can do for him.
  • Get to the point quickly. This will show that you know what you're doing. After all, your job is to help your clients get their messages across in a compelling way.

“Once you've formulated your elevator speech, be sure to practice saying it. It should flow from your lips naturally and with confidence. And when it does, you'll definitely increase your chances of finding clients!”

Taking this one step further, you should then modify your elevator speech to create a simple tagline to use on your freelance website and business cards.

If you’re not familiar with the word, a tagline is usually a single sentence that conveys your big promise to potential clients.

To come up with one, simply think about the service you provide and the benefits you bring to the table. Then, using a few words, describe what you can do for potential clients.

For example, AWAI Wall of Famer Penny Thomas uses: Writing Direct Response Copy that Opens Wallets.

And the winner of last year’s Build Your Freelance Website in Four Days Competition, Mike LoSasso, uses: Veterinarian Copywriter: Who Knows Your Market Better?

Along with selling you, your tagline can also serve as an example of your writing – especially if it appears on your freelance website where clients can see firsthand just how good your writing is.

Your homework for today is to write your elevator speech and tagline, and share them with me here by posting a comment below. (Or rewrite them if you already have them and it’s been a while since they’ve been updated.)

And then tomorrow, we’ll tackle a big piece of the self-promotion strategy …

Your self-promotion letter.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Average: 4.3
Published: April 12, 2011

37 Responses to “Tell Me Your Elevator Speech”

  1. I'm a freelance writer. I write web sites, videos, and case studies for companies who need to master their message.

    FlexWriteApril 12, 2011 at 8:43 am

  2. My ELEVATOR SPEECH I write non-fiction, earth science articles and I'm working on my memoir. I'm a founding member of the Writers & Editors Network.

    4silverApril 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

  3. My name is Kathy Daly-Unfricht.
    I am a Web Targeted Content Consultant.
    I help people and businesses optimize and strengthen their online presence.
    You can check out my website at www.webtargetedcontent.com. How can I help you with your project today?

    Kathy Daly-UnfrichtApril 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

  4. I am a freelancer Copywriter and author of two books.As a Grant Writer, it was my privilege to help a rural village in India get World Bank Grant for Drinking water Project.My copy writing clients in Hotel Industry have increased their sales significantly.Count on me to help interpret your message to customers in your best interest.

    AarkayApril 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

  5. Elevator Speech:
    My name is Kathy Daly-Unfricht.
    I am a Web Targeted Content Consultant.
    I help people and businesses optimize and strengthen their online presence.
    You can check out my website at www.webtargetedcontent.com. How can I help you with your project today?

    Tagline:
    Results Driven Content Targeted To Your Audience

    Kathy Daly-UnfrichtApril 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm

  6. You know how some people sit and stare at a blanks screen when they need to write something important? Like a lot of business owners -- they usually don't have the time or inclination to write their own stuff -- so I do it for them. I write things like web pages, white papers, and case studies -- the types of projects that business owners need help tackling.

    Guest (Kari)April 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm

  7. I'm a professional resume writer.
    I write resumes and cover letters that bring my clients more job interviews faster. As a result, they gain additional income and avoid the stress of a long job hunt.

    Tim CunninghamApril 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

  8. My name is Bob Youngblood. I am a freelance advertising copywriter. Software companies hire me to help fill the sales pipeline with leads that increases their top line revenue.

    Bob YoungbloodApril 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm

  9. Personally, I like Coca Cola. Always have. Though, when they experimented about 30 years ago with their original formula, and got rid of it for a short time, I was none too pleased. Not long afterward -- after the PR black eye -- Coca Cola returned the original formula under the guise of Coca Cola Classic.

    Guest (mark reynolds)April 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

  10. Iam a free lance copywriter and I write POETRY FOR EVERY OCCATION.I'LL CREATE A PESONAL MASTER PIECE TO WARM THE HEARTS OF YOUR CLIENTS." WHAT I DO IS ALL ABOUT YOU!"

    Guest (MARILYN)April 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm

  11. One of the biggest problems in communication is the illusion that it's taken place, and as a freelance copywriter I make sure my clients don't have that problem. My clients? Small business owners. As one myself I understand their challenges and can help them successfully market themselves.

    JudyB-RaleighApril 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  12. I am a direct response copywriter.
    With words, I press the 'buy' button in potential customers, helping businesses get all the customers they can handle.

    Fresh Copywriting For Cost Effective Marketing

    Guest (Sylvana)April 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm

  13. I hope to be able to shift entirely to Copywriter once finished with Jay's course. :-)

    Opener: I am a freelance copywriter. I specialize in emails that help businesses grab and grow their customer bases.

    Response to "Tell me more": You tell me the result you want. We look at what resources you have. I break it down into enticing bite-sized pieces for your customers - while directing them to your desired result. We build happier customers.

    Guest (Sunny Gil)April 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm

  14. I'm Alice Zyetz, an online copywriter. Your most effective message online is one that's in plain English. I can help you write it.

    Alice ZyetzApril 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

  15. I have fun being a freelance writer and copywriter. I enjoy writing science fiction, children's literature, and creating words that help enrich peoples' lives!

    Guest (Teresa)April 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  16. "I help entrepreneurs convert their prospects into raving fans by the power of my pen"

    webcopywriterApril 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm

  17. You know how finding the right niche and delivering the perfect marketing message can take too long. I help the small business owner zero in on their audience, craft a message that sales, and streamline the process to make it as easy as pie.

    Corrie AnnApril 13, 2011 at 2:14 am

  18. 2I'm a freelance commercial writer: I write the words for websites, brochures, sales letters, reports, etc., putting your business into words that sell.

    P.S. I stopped using the word "copywriter" in my intro because of the confusion with "copyright". "Commercial writer" has the emphasis on "writer", not "commercial" so it doesn't sound as though I only write commercials!

    GreatCopyApril 13, 2011 at 6:55 am

  19. I help businesses move sales online.

    Nick BurnsApril 13, 2011 at 9:54 am

  20. Good afternoon. My name is Bill Mazzacca. I'm a freelance copywriter that specializes in White Papers and Case Studies for B2B Companies.

    Guest (Bill Mazzacca)April 13, 2011 at 11:13 am

  21. I am a business to business copywriter. I write direct response emails from one business to another, directing their attention to the products/services of the first business. I also provide other written copy, such as case studies, white papers, landing pages, lead generation, company newsletters and blogs.

    Tagline: My writing for your company lets me do what I do best, so you can do what you do best.

    Sandra KApril 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

  22. I'm a freelance business to business writer, educating and influencing customers through effective customer success stories, or case studies.

    Tagline: Telling Your Business Stories

    Pamela DeLoatch-B2B StorytellingApril 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

  23. "My name is David Adame, I'm a freelance Christian copywriter. I write direct mail and online advertising for christian products and services and fundraising establishments"

    Guest (butch247)April 13, 2011 at 3:17 pm

  24. (Revised) "My name is David Adame and I am a freelance Christian coptwriter. I write direct mail and online advertising for christian products and fundraising establishments" Tagline: Clean, honest direct response writing that sells!

    David AdameApril 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm

  25. I'm a Document Dancer - which means I help small businesses craft ebooks and information products that captivate customers into their sales funnel and waltz all the way to the bank.

    (A longer comparison of copywriting and bellydancing follows if interest is piqued.)

    Lynn AllenApril 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

  26. I am a freelance advertising copywriter. You know how businesses are always looking for ways to get more business? I know most all there is to know about how to do that.

    Guest (David Franklin)April 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

  27. I'm a web copywriter that specializes in business marketing and customer/lead generation. Researching different markets like insurance, coffee, weight loss, and mma.

    I get customers to come to you and find customers for you.

    Guest (Adam E)April 15, 2011 at 4:32 am

  28. Background: I am a graphic designer & copywriter. Here's my Elevator Speech:
    I’m a marketing chef.

    Have you ever taken a healthy delicious looking apple to work only to bring it home with you because you forgot to eat it? The same thing can happen with you’re marketing materials.

    People may pick up you attractive brochure but never consume it. By skillfully combining the ingredients of creative design and targeted writing, I create marketing materials that customers will not only pick up and read but more importantly be motivated into taking the specific action you want them to take.

    After all, who wants to spend the time and money making a meal that never gets eaten.

    Guest (Kathi)April 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

  29. Hi, Rebecca:
    I tell people that "I write catalog descriptions of products that they cannot do without". Then I mention which catalogs for which I write and ask if they have seen any of my handiwork. This usually starts a conversation about my work. (This is the niche that I want and I will break into it soon.)

    K BarbaraApril 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

  30. “I’m a freelance copywriter. I write direct-response and online sales letters that help marketers grow their business by helping customers solve their problems.”

    Tag Line: "We help you help people!"

    Jerry BuresApril 17, 2011 at 9:19 pm

  31. I write mostly for the corporate training industry (trying to transition to direct marketing). My current elevator speech is:

    "I teach people how to do work."

    Rick GregoryApril 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm

  32. Thanks, Rebecca, for this post.

    Elevator speech is a necessary part of the business of being a freelancer.

    People don't have the time to listen to long-winded explanations about what it is that you actually do to earn a living.

    If you are asked, do not give an analysis of the Divine Comedy by Dante: it just does not clinch the deal.

    People want to be told, but short and sweet. So, the key point--brevity.

    Ho humming just shoes lack of confidence and lack of clarity and vision. Cheers.

    Archan MehtaMay 16, 2011 at 4:50 am

  33. (Elevator Speech!)
    My name is Roger Chappell. I am a freelance copywriter. This is a person that writes sales, marketing and fundraising letters for companies and organizations to attract donations and increaded profits.
    (Tagline) Writing copy that attracts donations and increased profits for companies and organizations.

    rogerc84May 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm

  34. [Elevator speech]:
    I'm Oludami Yomi-Alliyu. I'm a freelance copywriter and web content consultant. I help businesses get found, and get more traffic and sales on their websites.
    [Tagline]:
    Quality web writing for massive traffic and sales!

    Oludami Yomi-AlliyuJune 2, 2014 at 8:58 am

  35. Hi, I am John.

    I am a direct response writer.

    I can provide you with the most exceptional copy to motivate people.

    What can I do to make this happen for you.

    upmarketJanuary 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

  36. Hello, My Name is Carl

    I'm a Travel Copywriter. I write online material that helps increase your business!

    Guest (Carl Pruit)April 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

  37. I am a Freelance Copy writer, helping businesses go all the way.!!!

    Michael WayneApril 28, 2018 at 12:36 am


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