Positioning Yourself for Bigger Projects

If I ask you what you do, you might deliver your 30- or 60-second elevator pitch, right? Or you might just give me your unique selling proposition – what makes you different from other writers. Or you might just stick to the basics: "I'm a B2B copywriter specializing in the technical software industry."

All good answers … when you’re talking to a friend or casual acquaintance.

But when you're talking to prospective clients, you have to go deeper.

When you sell yourself … what are you selling them? Great copy to bring in more customers and profits, of course.

But unless they've worked with you before, they don't know you can deliver, do they?

They're either going to hire you or not based on what they believe you can do for them.

Hope and … ?

You're really selling them hope and a promise.

The better you can do that (and back it up by delivering the goods) by positioning yourself as the go-to guy or gal, the more your schedule will be booked up with projects. You'll be able to command higher fees. And you'll enjoy more prestige as an authority in your niche.

"Positioning" is a little more abstract than "5 ways to write faster" or "7 steps to bringing in more clients." But it’s more important. So let me break it down.

It's about good, qualified clients seeking you out versus you chasing clients. It's about acting more as a consultant than a salesperson.

It's about establishing yourself as an expert by getting free PR through public speaking and writing. This type of publicity is more effective than paid advertising for improving your reputation among prospective clients.

Three ideas to get started

These are not concrete "to-do's" in the normal sense, but I'll elaborate in today's article:

  1. Always over-deliver. This is especially true when you're first starting out and establishing your reputation. The foundation you lay as a new copywriter will set the tone for your career and can quickly lead to more clients and bigger projects.

    As an example, my first web copywriting client was an insurance company that catered to seniors. I knew the vice president of the company, and he gave me a shot because I had positioned myself as a web copywriter. Remember, you know more than they do, and they're looking to you for guidance.

    I spent twice as much time on the project as I estimated, but it paid off. The client was thrilled with the copy I wrote, and that led to more work writing four new brochures for them. The word spread in the company, and a few months later, the president asked me to write a speaker one-sheet for him. He was impressed, and a year later, referred me to the vice president of another insurance company who needed their website rewritten. Finally, the marketing director referred me to his wife, an executive life coach, who needed her website redone.

    Result: One small project turned into four more, three of which were bigger. When you deliver more than you promise, you convey an authoritative image and you won't have to chase business. Good clients will seek you out.

  2. Act as a consultant, not a salesperson. This is another form of positioning, and clients can quickly spot the difference.

    A few months ago, I landed a project with an online fitness marketing company who found me through my website (it doesn't happen very often, but I've gotten a few clients that way).

    I knew I was going head to head with another copywriter. What I found out later (because the client told me) is that I took a completely different approach than the other copywriter. He launched into his proposal right away, telling them about his past successes and what he was going to do for them. In other words, he went into "selling" mode right away.

    I approached the client as a consultant.

    I spent a lot of time asking questions. I got to know the client and her business. I found out who her typical buyer was, what his most common fears and anxieties were, what kinds of purchases he had made online in the past, what objections he had, how old he was, whether he bought into alternative therapies or not, what level of education he had attained, his socioeconomic status, and more.

    If you've gone through the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, you're thinking, "Doesn't every copywriter ask those things?"

    No, they don't. And that's why I mentioned on Monday, you know more than 99 percent of people about marketing and copywriting!

    Result: My copy hit the mark – I won the A/B test by a three-to-one margin and beat the control by 21%. When you take a consultative approach, your client will notice. You'll command more respect, earn higher fees in the future, and also be more likely to get repeat business, which I did in this case.

  3. Look for free PR through speaking and writing. When I gave a speech to a Social Media Breakfast group last year, 65 business people hung on my words for an hour.

    It didn't lead to any projects immediately, but just last week, I got a call from a guy who will be speaking next month for the same group. He had seen my profile online from last year and asked for advice on what he should speak about, as well as some insight into the group's members.

    He also happens to own a tanning bed company, and we're going to be meeting soon to discuss how direct response marketing could add to his bottom line.

    Result: If you speak or write on a topic, you won't have to establish your credibility and "sell yourself." You're already viewed as an authority on the subject.

How do clients perceive you?

Positioning starts with getting away from operating in the here and now, and moving toward a big-thinking, long-term, abundant view of your career and your world.

So how exactly do you make this transition from working project to project, month to month, earning an average income but not getting rich … to living the good life? Check out my article "Go From Paying the Bills to Maximum Thrills (and Start Enjoying the Finer Things in Life)" to find out how.

Have you turned the corner toward big income? Even if you haven't yet, what was the defining moment when you knew you made the right decision to pursue the writer's life? Let me know by posting a comment below.

It's a beautiful thing when it finally hits you that you're in the right place. I hope you're on your way … or already there.

Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert

How to Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert

Everything you need to know to become a social media marketing expert, as well as four different ways to make money using that expertise. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: October 19, 2011

6 Responses to “Positioning Yourself for Bigger Projects”

  1. In order to keep this within the 500 word limit this may be more like bullits than prose. Without buying "how to" books I simply want to know how a new freelance travel writer/photographer, and published author, can get work? If you like I'll share with you the abbreviated version of a recent edited article about Italy. It has facts, places to stay and eat (I've been to all),and about food and wine (I am a chef) written with heart and gusto. We can discuss this, I hope, via e-mail or telephone.

    Guest (Lorenzo Schechterman)

  2. I knew a writing career was right for me after I finished reading AWAI's first letter. It was then that I finally got up and got out of my own way!!! It's been a flurry of plans and reality-based dreams from that point forward!!!

    Guest (Donna)

  3. For me, it was just getting to the point where I can work to my own schedule, I am so much more productive when I am able to set the time I want to work.

    Guest (Tim)

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)