Speaking About Success

A number of years ago, I experienced serendipity in my vast rural county. And that serendipity led to an unexpected client. Here’s what happened …

My wife Linda and I were on our way to lunch at one of our local restaurants. A reporter for our regional newspaper (circulation in the low thousands), stopped me and asked if I wanted to do a TV interview for a show he does about writing.

After some hemming and hawing, I agreed. Three hours later, a 30-minute interview about copywriting was in the can and ready to be aired on the community access station.

If you live in New York, Chicago, or the San Francisco Bay Area, you might not call the response to my interview overwhelming. I got a whopping five people I knew who said they saw me. However, when you realize this broadcast went out to probably fewer than 20,000 people, that's not bad.

What makes this important to you is this. A couple of weeks after the interview, I got an email from a man who works from home in the town 10 miles north of mine.

Like me, he doesn’t make money locally. But he’s a very successful web developer, working all over the world. Not long after our email contact, I started doing some work for him. Hardly my biggest client, but I’ve enjoyed working with him on and off over the last few years.

Don’t wait. Do it now …

I didn’t do the interview with any expectation of getting work from it. But I did. Why? Because I put myself out there. I let other people know what I do.

This is what you should be doing right now!

Don’t wait until you feel you’re ready. Start spreading the news about being a copywriter immediately — even if you haven’t been paid for writing … yet. (You will be!)

Opportunities to put yourself out there are vast …

How do you do it? How do you put yourself out there? Start talking anywhere and everywhere about copywriting and about yourself as a copywriter. Here’s some ideas …

Check with your community access cable channel and see if they have a program like the one I was interviewed on. Get on it and talk about copywriting. So what if only 6, or 60, or 600 people see the show? One of those people might be a future client!

Why would community access channels want to interview you? Because they’re always looking for program material. You’re doing them a service by offering to be interviewed.

Here’s another idea. Some of you know I'm a member of Rotary. Our club is always looking for speakers to present programs during our meetings. So are all the other Rotary Clubs throughout the world. And in addition to Rotary, there are Lions, Kiwanis, professional fraternities and sororities, and other clubs.

Start by doing Internet research for clubs and organizations like this near where you live. Find a contact email or phone number, and call. I think you’ll be surprised by the response.

A spoken advertorial for your services …

Programs for these organizations usually run 20-30 minutes. But be careful. They are not commercials for your services. Look at this as an opportunity to present a “spoken advertorial.” You want to be informative. When you speak to the group, convince your audience that copywriting is a cost-effective business solution. Do that well, and you’re the copywriter they’ll think of.

Come prepared with business cards and a one-page handout with something interesting to them as business people. A good choice could be a concise, well-written comparison of the effectiveness of direct marketing versus TV or radio advertising.

Write the handout yourself. Put the copyright symbol with your name on the bottom. (For example, © 2013 Your Business Name) It’s a subtle bit of self-advertising. Make sure your complete contact information is on the bottom, too.

Also, be sure to contact local and regional Chambers of Commerce and ask to speak at their meetings. Use the same strategies as when you speak at service clubs.

Public speaking: Easier than you think …

I can hear a chorus of moans right now. “I hate public speaking.”

But here's the secret to success doing this. The people you're talking to want to hear you. They're interested in what you have to say and in the information you're giving them. They're on your side. They support you and want you to do well.

If you're still uneasy, start small. Prepare your talk thoroughly. Then give it in front of a friend or spouse or in front of several people you know who’ll sit and listen to you. Ask for their feedback. By doing this, you’re not only practicing what you need to say and getting suggestions for improvement, you’ll also find that you did far better than you thought you would.

You can also look up Toastmasters in your area. They’re a wonderful way to become comfortable with public speaking.

Success is the bottom line …

Put yourself out there. Do it now. Don’t wait. Don’t stop.

And never, ever feel you aren’t ready or aren’t good enough.

You are ready. Right now. You know more about copywriting than 99% of the people you meet. So get out there and start talking! And start getting clients!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: December 24, 2012

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