Develop Your Copywriter Identity to Find Clients and Well-Paid Projects

Young man at home sitting on couch using laptop at coffee table

Maybe you’ve already chosen a niche. But, have you maximized the effectiveness of your niche?

In other words, have you really “owned” your area of expertise? Have all your efforts supported your identity as a go-to writer for that industry?

It’s to your advantage to do everything you can to impress potential clients with your knowledge and experience.

When you do that, it becomes much easier and faster to get the paid assignments you want.

Taking Your Niche to the Next Level

Declaring a niche is excellent advice, recommended by copywriting A-listers and experts.

I’m in total agreement with the experts. For me, choosing a niche made it much easier to get started as a copywriter.

My niche also helps me find clients who are looking for expertise rather than hunting for a bargain.

However, lately I’ve been thinking about what it really means to be seen as an expert.

This process may look a little different for everyone. But, there are two main areas to focus on: Your niche (industry expertise) and your specialty (your preferred type of project).

How to Really “Own” Your Niche to Attract Clients

To me, declaring a niche means so much more than just stating your chosen industry …

It also means doing EVERYTHING you can to show clients you really understand that industry.

Here are some ways to do that …

  • Highlight your credentials.

    Is your formal education relevant to your niche? Do you have training or certifications in your industry? What about your career history?

    List all of this on your website or LinkedIn profile. Include as much detail as you can.

  • Consider getting additional credentials to strengthen your online profile, if needed.

    Think of your online profile as your online resume, that will help you get copywriting jobs …

    What if you don’t have formal training in your niche? For example, maybe you’ve chosen the pet industry because you’re a lifelong pet owner, or the food industry because you love to cook.

    If that’s the case, go ahead and include your personal experience. I truly believe it’s valuable! And often, this is more than enough to find clients.

    But, it may also help to seek out some type of formal training or experience.

    For example: For pets, consider volunteering at a shelter or getting certified in dog training. For the food industry, maybe a nutrition certificate program or working part-time for a caterer would be of value.

    You’ll have to decide for yourself how much time and money to put into this additional experience …

    This is a long-term plan, so make sure it’s a good fit for your goals and interests, and the types of clients you would like to write for.

  • Create writing samples.

    In addition to work and education credentials, writing samples in your chosen niche are a great way to show potential clients you truly are an expert in your field.

    If you’re a new copywriter, here are some ways to get writing samples …

    • Write blog posts for your own website or LinkedIn profile.
    • Pitch articles to well-known publications in your industry.

      I personally feel this option is very powerful …

      When I was first starting out, I wrote two articles for a popular veterinary blog. Though I wasn’t paid for my time, the bragging rights of being published there gave me confidence and helped me impress potential clients who recognized the publication.

    • Reach out to all your industry connections, to see if anyone you know needs copy.
  • Participate in online communities.

    Post comments on articles or blog posts from big publications in your industry. Or, stay active in social media groups within your niche.

    Your potential clients may be active in these groups, too.

  • Refine your niche focus.

    If you have a large niche — say, health care or software, for example — consider narrowing your focus to a specific part of that niche.

    For myself, I know my clients find me because of my veterinary expertise and experience, which makes me more relevant to veterinary projects than other pet copywriters may be.

    But what about you? Does narrowing your niche make sense for your industry?

How to Leverage a Writing Specialty to Your Advantage

In addition to your niche, it’s also good to choose a writing specialty. That is, a type of project you’re the expert at doing.

For example, Gordon Graham made a name for himself as That White Paper Guy. He specialized in a specific type of project, rather than choosing a niche industry.

Similarly, Nick Usborne is an expert in web copywriting, and Heather Lloyd-Martin is an expert in SEO copywriting.

For me, I’ve gravitated toward content marketing over the last year or so. And I’m in the process of updating my online presence to reflect that.

By choosing a specialty, your website or LinkedIn profile could show up higher in the search results for potential clients who need that service. And, if the client views you as an expert, they’re more likely to pay higher fees.

So, which sorts of projects do you want to work on most? Which of those projects are in demand right now?

When you decide on a writing specialty, advertise it to clients by …

  • Listing all relevant training and certifications.
  • Listing previous clients you’ve worked for, with their permission, including testimonials.
  • Having samples of those project types available to show potential clients.
  • Explaining the benefits of your specialty to potential clients.

    For example, a site audit can make a website user-friendly, so prospects are more likely to engage or take action.

    Or, a monthly newsletter can help with customer loyalty.

  • Making sure your own website or online presence practices what you preach.

    If you’re a newsletter expert, you may want to have a newsletter yourself — or, at least write articles or blog posts that demonstrate your ability to create engaging content.

    And if you’re an SEO expert, your website should perform well in online search results!

Do This Process One Step at a Time

If all of this sounds like a lot to do … I hear you!

The key is, don’t try to do everything at once. Just check one step off your list at a time.

It may take patience to really develop your “expert copywriter identity.” But the time you put in will be worth it.

In my experience, having a strong online presence (which is like an online resume) makes it much easier to stand out from the crowd and get paying clients.

One More Important Thing to Note …

Remember, being an expert and having a specialty won’t limit you. You don’t have to stick to your niche and specialty all the time.

In fact, I recently did a project for a life coach and another for a friend with an English-Arabic translation website. Both of these were well outside of my veterinary niche!

A niche and a specialty don’t confine you — instead, their goal is to give you clout and help you stand out from the crowd.

The more you do to create your professional persona as the “undisputed champion” of your field, the easier it will be to find and work with wonderful clients.

I hope these ideas inspire you to take the next step on your copywriting journey!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: October 13, 2020

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