Don’t Be a Copywriter!

You have a dream of being a copywriter. But today I’m telling you to stop trying to become a copywriter.


Not at all. I have a great resource to back me up on this. Dan Kennedy.

You may have heard of Dan Kennedy before. He’s not just a super-successful copywriter. He’s a wealthy, much-sought-after marketing expert. And he’s one of this year’s all-star Bootcamp presenters.

In researching for last week’s issue of The Golden Thread, where I encouraged you to meet me at Bootcamp, I ran across the presentation Dan gave at the 2009 Bootcamp. His presentation inspired me to tell you to stop trying to be a copywriter.

He told his audience back then exactly that. But he added this following advice …

If you’re really interested in becoming mega-successful in this business, you must be more than a copywriter. You must become the marketing resource for your clients.

Hinckley, buzzards, and your success …

Dan built his presentation around a yearly event in Hinckley, Ohio. Every March 15, Hinckley Township celebrates the return of the buzzards to their area. It’s become a big celebration with lots of visitors coming to the area to view the return. Visitors toting, in Dan’s words, “picnic baskets.”

One year, the buzzards were late. But the spectators came on time. With their picnic baskets.

Nothing. No birds. And then one lone buzzard appeared on the horizon, and the crowds rushed to see it and take its picture. Other birds soon followed him. And they all congregated in an area they don’t normally visit, probably drawn by the crowds.

Another buzzard arrived at the buzzards’ regular roosting area. No one was there to see him. But that wily buzzard spotted the myriad of picnic baskets left by the tourists who’d rushed off to see the other buzzards.

That buzzard feasted grandly on the pickings left by the crowds of tourists. Picnic baskets galore. Tons of food fit for a buzzard king.

Had the whole batch of buzzards returned when and where they were expected, pickings for each bird would have been sparse. But this day, because the smart buzzard targeted picnic baskets other buzzards left alone, he waddled away fat and satisfied.

The buzzard strategy for copywriting success …

Dan’s point is crucial for your success. There’s a natural impulse when you start out in copywriting — in any new career, for that matter — to want to get the “best clients.” The classy ones. The ones with the top reputations.

Most beginners think they pay top dollar. They often do, though not always. But they’re also surrounded by tons of buzzards fighting for scraps. Competition is fierce around these high-visibility clients.

Smart copywriters like you should look beyond these high-visibility clients. Especially when you’re starting out and trying to build your reputation.

Dan provided three reasons why you should target smaller clients so you can become a mega-successful copywriter:

  1. There are more good clients who do not now use copywriters than there are potential clients who already do use copywriters. You can help these clients develop their businesses and succeed in their niche.
  2. The surest route to success in this business is to be a resource for your clients — a resource that goes beyond simply writing copy. The hardest clients to exert that kind of influence on are experienced clients.
  3. Your best potential clients are the ones poised for improvement, growth, and expansion. This growth comes with your professional guidance.

Who are these clients?

Here are three types of small- to medium-sized businesses that will help you build your success as you build theirs …

You can target one-dimensional direct-marketing clients who are only using one mode of marketing. For instance, maybe they’re relying solely on a poorly conceived Facebook campaign. As their go-to resource, you’d show them numerous other avenues for promoting their business including direct marketing, opt-in email campaigns, and other successful marketing strategies.

Another lucrative small market to target are businesses that still sink all their promotional resources into traditional marketing avenues like newspapers, radio, and the like. They’ve never tried direct marketing … but could benefit tremendously from it.

Lastly, look toward local and regional small- to mid-sized brick and mortar businesses to target. Many of these businesses still use regular marketing strategies that are barely helping them (if at all). These clients could be using direct marketing to great advantage.

How these hidden clients will make you successful …

These are the clients who will make you a successful marketing resource … and a successful copywriter. There are far more of them, and few (if any) other copywriters have targeted them. Competition for their dollars is low.

Right now you can provide them with better marketing and written copy than they’re currently using — even if you’re just starting out in copywriting.

As their businesses grow, their loyalty to you grows, too. They’ll stick with you as their marketing genius. And your fee grows along with them.

You’ll also reap another sweet benefit when you adopt Dan’s buzzard strategy to copywriting success. As your small- to medium-sized clients’ businesses grow bigger, so does your reputation as a marketing genius. And with it, your marketability among other potential clients.

The AWAI Method™

The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter

The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »

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Published: May 26, 2014

1 Response to “Don’t Be a Copywriter!”

  1. Thank you for this insightful article. I'm very new to copywriting - I've just started the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. Your analogy of the buzzards hit home - mainly because I live in the town right next to Hinckley Ohio, and have been to Buzzard Day many times. I have begun thinking of what businesses in my area that I can approach with my services. Thank you again for giving me these great ideas to reach out to and begin getting clients.

    Donna Cardwell

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