Living The Writer's Life: Apryl Parcher
How did you first get started writing for profit?
I got started as a part-time freelance journalist for the local paper. I wrote an op-ed the editor liked, which turned into several years of doing “local life” features, and evolved into magazine work from there. During that time, I took the AWAI program and branched out into copywriting for businesses.
You’re prolific on Twitter, with over 5,000 tweets and 8,000+ followers. How has your writing career benefitted from your Twitter time?
Twitter keeps me in front of a large group of people and establishes my expertise. I also use it to do research (Twitter’s a great search tool), and to seek out new connections. Some of my social media colleagues prefer to communicate via Twitter rather than email. I also help my clients who use Twitter optimize their tweets and drive traffic to their websites.
You have a background in direct response, social media, and white papers — to name a few! What’s your favorite type of copy to write?
Hmmm, that’s a good one — it used to be that white papers were my favorite, but now that I’ve got a book under my belt, I would have to say that I enjoyed that process more, especially since it’s about one of my favorite topics, social media. I like to help educate businesses about social media because in order to be successful with it, you have to have a steady supply of good content to support it. So I come at social from a “content first” perspective — not as a quick-fix or a magic cure.
Who’s your favorite expert to learn from?
I think I have to mention two: Bob Bly had a big impact on my early copywriting career. I think I have a Bly wing in my library dedicated to his books. He’s also a really nice guy, and he is always coming up with good stuff! The person who helped me launch the second half of my career (from white papers to social media) is Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner. He took me under his wing as his white paper apprentice, and that’s when I jumped into social media and eventually became a consultant.
What’s your number one, can’t-live-without it productivity tool?
The tool I use the most to help my productivity with planning social content is Hootsuite. It lets me schedule different posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and G+ for myself and my clients.
How do you take advantage of the freedom that comes with the writer’s life?
Since my work is virtual, I can do it from any place that supports a laptop. So if I want to take a week down at the shore, as long as I have a way to hook into the Internet, I’m still in business. Being a writer has also opened relationship doors that furthered my career and helped me get to the place where I could conduct speaking engagements, train other people, and even co-author a book with another social media expert. That’s huge! If I hadn’t been a writer first, the rest wouldn’t have taken place, and I wouldn’t have the flexibility for speaking and training opportunities — something I really love to do.
Any tips you can share for someone just starting out?
Sure — 1) Learn as much as you can: AWAI was the springboard to my copywriting career, and helped me figure out what I wanted to write, and who to study.
2) Get your portfolio/website going: Sometimes it can feel like the chicken-or-the-egg, but you have to develop a good portfolio of samples (even if you have to do some for free or low-price).
3) Develop relationships: Word-of-mouth referrals were a huge part of my early career, and still are. Get to know people in your niche, as well as others that can help you find work (such as graphic artists, web designers, bloggers — even recruiters). Local chambers of commerce are a good place to start. The key to networking is to give FIRST without expectation of receiving anything in return. How can you be helpful to those in your network? LinkedIn is great for this, because you can offer to give people you know recommendations (and many will reciprocate).
April's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
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