How to Fight Corporate Consolidation: Florida Exec Finds Winning Formula with B2B Copywriting
For more than a decade, Sharlet Brennan’s work took her to top destinations for free. She explored white-sand beaches … went snorkeling and sailing … sampled first-rate restaurants and spas …
It was all part of her job as a team leader at a travel marketing agency.
Sharlet turned her passion for travel into public relations programs that helped drive record growth for destinations and hotel companies. This created jobs for people who needed them. Working together, Sharlet and her clients racked up 14 industry awards.
“Any way you looked at it, this was a great way to earn a living,” Sharlet says.
One day, the agency owner announced he had sold the business to a larger firm 1,244 miles away.
And just like that, everything changed …
The new owners went right to work, eliminating “redundancy.” The process left Sharlet worried — and mad. Because of all the layoffs, she served a slew of new clients. But she didn’t think people needed most of their products. Worst of all, the long hours in the office left little time to spend with her family.
So after talking it over with her husband, Sharlet decided to make the leap. She would leave and start a PR consulting business of her own.
“I needed to take back control of my work life,” she explains.
How Do I Keep Clients?
Sharlet landed her first retainer client within four weeks. Another one followed soon after that. She was stepping into new territory now. Her clients were technology companies launching a string of exciting products.
Sharlet loved running her own business. But at the end of her first year of consulting, BOTH clients were acquired by large companies. The clients told Sharlet they were delighted with the results of her campaigns. However, their new owners had longstanding relationships with global, full-service PR agencies.
“Clearly, I needed a better plan,” Sharlet says. “My business wouldn’t thrive — or survive, for that matter — if I continued to offer only one service.”
Fortunately, one of the clients asked Sharlet to stay on and work with its content marketing team. “I told them ‘Sure, I’d be happy to help!’” she recalls.
But now she faced a new challenge …
Her client produced sophisticated B2B content. And Sharlet didn’t know much about content marketing.
The timing was right when she received an email from American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI).
It asked a simple question: “Can You Write a Letter Like This One?”
Sharlet read the email three times. She had always loved to write but never realized there was a whole world of people out there making a very good living with this kind of writing.
She purchased AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting and dove into the training. After completing the course, she joined AWAI’s Circle of Success (COS). This program provided unlimited, lifetime access to the AWAI Resource Library.
“AWAI offered an online training program for every copywriting skill I needed,” Sharlet explains. “The courses provided simple, step-by-step instructions with training on how to land and price projects. They gave me a blueprint for expanding my business.”
Sharlet poured herself into AWAI programs. Every night, she sat down at the kitchen table and studied the art and science of writing persuasive B2B content and copy. The next day, she applied what she learned to her client projects.
Soon Sharlet was putting best practices to work on a wide range of B2B writing assignments. She knew she was on track when she saw her content for her client trending regularly at the top of major industry websites.
It wasn’t long before sales and marketing directors throughout the company started contacting Sharlet about copywriting projects.
“B2B companies have an ongoing need for persuasive writing,” she says. “I was thrilled to be working in a market where business is booming.
“Joining Circle of Success made all the difference for me,” she continues. “I went for projects and recommended approaches I normally wouldn’t have as a new copywriter. Why all the confidence? Because I knew I could base every project on proven formulas and insider tips from the top copywriters in the business.”
COS membership also gave Sharlet free admission to AWAI’s annual FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. After a year of home study, Bootcamp offered a chance to ask questions to leading copywriters in person.
“Everyone was so friendly,” Sharlet says about Bootcamp. “They offered valuable suggestions on expanding my business. I felt inspired to meet so many people succeeding in their versions of the writer’s life.”
Reaping the Benefits
Sharlet’s business grew through higher retainers and referrals. Today, she serves as a B2B copywriter and provides consulting services on PR, messaging, and product launches.
During her first year as a COS member, Sharlet replaced her income from her former full-time job. And she’s on track for continued growth.
But for Sharlet, the rewards run deeper.
“I take on the clients I choose … do work that I love … and promote products that make a real difference,” she explains.
Best of all, her flexible workday means plenty of time to spend with her family.
“If I want to break for a long afternoon walk with my husband … I do,” she says. “When I want to visit my daughter who lives out of town by the beach … I do that too. What’s more, my schedule leaves time for traveling to new places I always wanted to visit. Life is definitely better with yourself as the boss.
“AWAI cut my learning curve by years,” Sharlet concludes. “I never would have gotten here as soon — if at all — without the training and inspiration I received through Circle of Success.”
4 Tips for Copywriters
- Jump in. Once you master the basics of persuasive writing and can access the AWAI Resource Library, you have what you need to provide valuable services to clients.
- Learn. When you start out in a new niche, your client’s sales and marketing team will know their products and market much better than you. Listen and learn all you can.
- Connect. Reach out to other AWAI and COS copywriters. They’re an invaluable source of advice, referrals, and support.
- Share ideas. You’ll get paid back in spades, personally and professionally.
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