Are You a Copywriter or a “Profit Accelerator”?
Tell me something …
When you introduce yourself as a “copywriter,” does the other person automatically hear the cha-ching of a cash register? Do they immediately ask you how they can make more money in their business?
Probably not. At least not right away.
No matter how much you see the value of your writing skills, if your prospects and clients see you as a dreamy word nerd who sits under a tree tinkering with her latest iambic creation, you’ll never make a lot of money.
So how can we sell our services to people who are obsessed with profits … but not copywriting? Easy. Just talk about what you do without using the W-word.
Joshua Boswell reached 6-figure status in his first year as a copywriter. But he never calls himself that.
In his LinkedIn profile Joshua Boswell says he “accelerates profit.” How? Not with writing, but instead by “taking a deep dive into sales metrics.” After he’s analyzed the sales metrics, he doesn’t say that he will write a document of any type. He says he will “analyze your messaging to ensure that key persuasive elements are present.”
Boswell often talks about the importance of creating rapport with your clients and prospects, and you can see from his profile that he is speaking in the language of business.
I recently interviewed him about how to describe your copywriting services in a way that is relevant and valuable. He explained how to do it, as I asked.
Mandy: I know you as a writer, because we’re both in AWAI. But that’s not the way you describe yourself on your website and LinkedIn profile. Why?
Joshua: I found that two things happened. Number one was the more that I wrote for companies, the more I saw.
A writer, if they are observant, when they write for a company, they’ll get right in the middle of all the marketing and the strategic consulting and the development. Especially if you are doing a lot of direct-response type stuff. You’re just right in the thick of things, and I noticed that there were other pieces to the puzzle, so to speak, that I could be involved in, and that wouldn’t cost me a lot more time but I could charge a whole bunch more money for.
As an example, one of the first big projects that I did, that I’ve talked about many times, is Corel. Corel, originally, hired me as a writer. As I got involved in the writing, I asked the question, “Well, who is this going out to?” And they fumbled, and I said “Well, why don’t we look at your database, and let’s look at how to segment your lists.”
At that very second I stopped being the writer, and I started consulting. As soon as I started into that, I got done with the first project, then they asked me to do a second project, and I said, “Okay, I’m happy to do it, but let’s look at what I could do in terms of consulting for you and then in terms of writing for you.”
And so I sent two separate invoices, and I was like, “Wow, the consulting and the strategic planning didn’t cost me a whole lot of time, and I made as much on that as I did on the writing, and I enjoyed it just as much, so why not offer more services?”
Over time, I eventually morphed my business into a business-growth consulting firm as opposed to just a writer. I found that if I sit down with people and go through their marketing, it’s like, “Okay, we can write this, but then how is it going to fit into your whole plan?”
Then I can help them craft a successful plan and do all the writing and get paid for the whole jalopy, and increase my odds of having winners that I can brag about later. Does that make sense?
Mandy: When you send the extra just as big invoice for the consulting, is it worth it to them?
Joshua: Yeah, it’s definitely worth it to them. The nice thing is, depending on the market that you’re in, if you’re smart then you’re doing stuff that’s for the sake of whatever their sales funnel is, however they generate revenue. When you’re in the middle of that conversation, it’s easy to have a return on investment argument, right? You can say, “Look, we only have to sell 20 of these to compensate for this consulting. It’s not that big of a deal.”
Mandy: When you are in the middle of where the money is being made, then the prices that you put up there don’t matter; you’re worth whatever you charge.
But a lot of writers struggle to show their value as a writer, and they struggle to get paid what they’re worth as a writer. Do you have a better solution, a better way for them to look at it?
Joshua: The bottom line there is that a lot of writers feel like they’re just writing, as opposed to being the core engine that runs the company. I, right at the beginning, started thinking of myself as the core engine that ran the revenue stream for other people’s companies, and so it wasn’t that hard.
Here’s the litmus test. If you’re doing the writing, and if the writing stopped, if it disappeared for your client, would their revenue sharply drop?
If the answer is no, if their Facebook page disappeared and nothing happened to their bottom line, then there’s no reason for them to pay you serious money, and there’s no reason for them to respect you, and there’s no reason for them to have a lot of value for you.
Conversely, if their Facebook page fell off the face of the earth, and they saw a 20, 30, 40 percent hit on their income, then they’re going to be like, “All right. Social media, we really need that. We’ve got to have that copy. You’ve got to get that writer back right now, because if not, we’re toast.”
Here’s the thing. Not every company has copy at the center of their revenue stream. That’s the first thing that you have to ask. Is the industry using copy as their revenue driver? The second thing is that, if they are, what kind of copy are they using, and who’s doing it? You have to ask, how are they getting their money?
Every company out there has to find clients. You’ve got to find clients. You’ve got to find buyers. So how do you do that? The answers to those questions will determine how much they are going to use copy and how much they’ll pay for it.
Joshua’s strategy of being a “profit accelerator” has increased his income by hundreds of thousands of dollars during his career. And it’s a strategy we can all implement.
If you are looking for ways to earn what you are worth, stop thinking of yourself as a writer, and start thinking of yourself as the person who accelerates profit and ensures a healthy revenue stream for the companies who hire you.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
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