This MacGyver-like Tool Will Set You Apart …

Linda Wilkinson here. MacGyver-like resourcefulness has been the subject of The Writer’s Life this week, and I’ll be wrapping it up today with the last tool in MacGyver’s toolbox – his creativity.

Yes, MacGyver had some great practical tools like his Swiss Army knife and his roll of duct tape. He also had some impressive knowledge. But, if it weren’t for MacGyver’s ability to apply that knowledge in creative – often ingenious – ways, the show wouldn’t have even lasted one season.

It’s the same for copywriters. Even when you’re armed with a detailed contact list, a swipe file and knowledge about copywriting in your niche, it’s really your creativity that will help set you apart from your competition.

For example, how do you handle it when potential clients ask to see samples of your work?

Here’s what I did when I was starting out as a freelance writer: I wrote articles for little or no pay. I then used those samples to get paying gigs and continued to build my portfolio.

The samples you choose to showcase should be related to the type of work you would like to do. I did this a couple of years ago, when I was transitioning from a magazine content writer to a web copywriter. I had many samples of published articles and advertorials for both print and web publications, but I wanted something that would highlight my copywriting skills.

So, one of the first things I did while still working my way through Jay White’s Email Copy Made Easy program was to rewrite an unconvincing auto-responder series I had saved in my swipe file. Once I got Jay’s feedback, I was able to add those emails to my portfolio … and I felt confident to write emails when one of my clients asked me to.

You can do the same thing for your own portfolio. Choose an e-newsletter or sales letter from your swipe file that could use improvement. Rewrite the copy and get some feedback to make sure it’s written persuasively. Maybe even hire a graphic designer to make it look professional.

Creating your own samples will show potential clients how resourceful you are. And, with your MacGyver-like toolkit at your disposal, you’ll be able to wow them with your creative copywriting skills and marketing ideas.

That wraps up this week’s The Writer’s Life series on MacGyver-like copywriting tools you can use to grow your business.

Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear your MacGyver stories. In what ways has your resourcefulness helped you overcome some of the hurdles you’ve encountered? Tell me about it in the comments.

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Published: August 29, 2014

3 Responses to “This MacGyver-like Tool Will Set You Apart …”

  1. I'm just getting started with AWAI and barely into Part 2 of the program. That said, I am enjoying these The Writer's Life e-blasts, which I will happily put into my toolbox for future use. I've been a writer all my life and made money doing it, but by dribs and drabs. My challenge will be to not only learn from this program, but to apply it in consistent, creative yet practical ways so I can turn that trend around. Thanks, Linda, for this insightful series.

    Sharon Vander Meer

  2. Sharon, I'm glad to hear that the MacGyver-inspired toolbox has been helpful to you, and I wish you well as you break into the copywriting world. I think you plan to apply what you have learned in "consistent, creative yet practical ways" is good way to approach it.

    Guest (Linda)

  3. This is exactly the sort of writ-experiencing going on in the/my world right now. I have avoided gigs from fear of "being controlled by a static outlet," and yet, am coming to find that I am always the outlet, and the writings that come thru the experiences can land where.ever. they land, and are meant to. Thanks for the tips, and encouragement.
    cheers :)

    Guest (Nate)

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