Past Fear to Hero-Status: Why Writers Are Headed Toward the Spotlight

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I’m probably not the first person to tell you this pandemic may stretch well into 2022 …

It’s a line I’ve seen now in countless articles, backed by stomach-dropping predictions.

And I’ll be honest — it’s got me down. Way down. Down in a way that can’t be fixed by a pie and a sappy movie.

But there’s one major thing I’ve got going for me, that you probably have as well …

Which is the fact that my work — my income, my way of life, my daily bread — won’t be affected by this everlasting virus.

Paid writing like the kind we AWAI members do — copywriting, content writing, connection writing — it’s skyrocketing in demand.

That’s been the case for the last six months, though, so it’s not really a newsflash.

What is a newsflash is the fact that the rest of the businesses who need us are about to come around …

Writers Have Built-In Safety Belts

Plenty of businesses hopped online and hired copywriters as soon as the pandemic shut down in-person commerce.

Plenty of other businesses didn’t. They held out, convinced there was some kind of “normal” just around the corner.

You can hardly blame them … isn’t that what we all wanted?

But as airlines continue to cut schedules and schools stay closed, it’s becoming apparent this is not just a marathon — it’s one of those 100-mile “ultra-marathons” that only die-hard runners and crazy people attempt.

Except now all the rest of us are in the race.

Us writers, we’ll be fine. We can walk. We’ll get to that finish line unscathed.

But all the businesses out there who have to function with just a fraction of visitors to their shops, or none at all?

They’re scared. They need a hero.

They need YOU.

Kennedy-esque Writer Heroes

This isn’t meant to step on the toes of the heroes who’ve been fighting the blazes on the west coast of the U.S., or the heroes stuck in Zoom classrooms with a tremulous connection to kids on the brink, or the heroes in hospital wings around the country.

But writers can be heroes too. Especially in these times.

It reminds me of a story million-dollar copywriter Dan Kennedy told once, about a business owner on the verge of bankruptcy.

This guy had seen it all and knew he was toast. So Dan offered him some copy-driven marketing ideas, and the guy basically said, “Have at it. It probably won’t work.”

That same guy was running a million-dollar company just a few years later, all thanks to Dan’s copy.

But what I’ve always found striking about that story isn’t how Dan brought that fellow from the red to the black by way of smart writing …

It’s about the way Dan took pride in saving that guy’s livelihood, making sure he was still able to put food on the table for his family and his coworkers’ families.

Can you imagine how that would feel?

We may not be saving lives with our copy, but we sure as heck can save livelihoods.

Entry to the World That Needs Your Help Right Now

If you’re curious where to start with this, take a drive through your town. Look for the shops that are shuttered during business hours still, or the ones that are open but only at 25% capacity or something similar.

Get a hold of the owners. Ask them what they need.

Ask how you can help.

It could be they need a website. Or lead generation emails to start building a list. Or a landing page to start collecting names. Or blogs to drive SEO traffic to their sites. Or catalog copy to sell their wares.

You can still charge fair fees (refer to AWAI’s Pricing Guide for starting points).

If the business owner is already down on her luck, you can ask for a percentage of sales brought in by your copy.

If you’re brand-new to writing, offer to write something in exchange for a testimonial, or request that you get paid only if your copy brings in customers (which it probably will; people are hungry to connect meaningfully with stores they used to frequent).

An alternate approach is to contact nonprofits or places of worship. They’re all hurting for donations right now, with most of their usual drives and in-person events either canceled or minimized.

Offer to write a donor letter. Offer to update their website copy. Offer to put together an email pledge drive campaign.

And then you can either charge a fee (which would still be fair since you’re coming from a professional angle), or ask for a letter that notes your copy was a donation in-kind.

The bottom line here is that you’re needed right now. Your writing services can save livelihoods and change lives.

And given how much dredge is going on in the world right now … it’d sure feel great to step up and stand with the givers and doers, right?

So I encourage you to put your own worries aside … to move past any confidence woes or hesitations about inexperience …

And become a doer. Because a lot of people could use your help right now.

Now is the ideal time to get started as a writer. Do you have any questions? Share with us below so we can point you to other resources.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: October 28, 2020

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