How a Well-Defined Offer Can Help Writers Succeed

Writer sitting at desk with laptop

One of the top concerns that many writers have is how to find and land clients.

If that’s something you worry about, I want to put your mind at ease.


With a well-defined offer.

Most writers think landing work is about ‘connecting with clients’ … but that part is actually easy. Especially with tools like this one from Ilise Benun.

But once you make contact, what do you do?

When you have a well-defined offer, you can help marketers and business owners immediately see the benefit of hiring you … and that can get you to more yeses — and paychecks — faster.

What Do You Mean by a Well-Defined Offer?

Glad you asked …

A well-defined offer is a service you provide to your clients that’s easy to describe in terms of benefits, deliverables, timelines, and pricing.

Let me give you an example …

Say I’m at a networking event and someone asks me what I do. I could say, “I’m a copywriter who helps businesses with their content and sales materials.”

That’s not terrible … it could spark a conversation. But it’s pretty vague. Dollars to doughnuts says that person won’t remember what I do ten minutes after we conclude our conversation.

Or, I could say, “I write welcome emails for your new subscribers to help you establish a relationship with them faster. The result is quicker conversions and more customers.”

We’re not to the deliverables/timelines/pricing yet. But right off the bat, this person knows what I do, whether I can help them, and how. That’s likely to lead to a more detailed and more memorable conversation … one that could result in future discussions, referrals, and even a project.

Now, the objection most writers have at this point is the worry that a well-defined offer will result in them losing work and opportunities.

“What if they don’t need welcome messages?”

It’s true. They might not. But when you clearly know what you’re about, you inspire confidence, so even if they say they need something completely different, you’re in a good place to discuss that need and put yourself in the running for that project.

A well-defined offer helps you direct the conversation, and that means you have a better chance of getting to where you want to go.

But Wait, There’s More …

At this point, you might be thinking you can see how a well-defined offer helps advance client conversations at a networking event, but you’re wondering whether it’s an advantage in other situations.

It most certainly is.

You can use your well-defined offer in all sorts of places to bring people to you. Keeping with our welcome message theme, anyone who has an email list and wants better results from it is going to perk up when you talk about quicker conversions.

When you put your well-defined offer all over your online presence, a portion of those folks who want better results from their email marketing will reach out to talk to you about what you can do for them.

Just to give you an idea of where you can put your well-defined offer, here are a few places to consider:

  • In your LinkedIn headline
  • In your LinkedIn summary
  • In your bio when guest-blogging or doing podcast interviews
  • In your email signature
  • On your website homepage
  • In your warm email pitches
  • In some of your blog posts
  • On your website services page — at the top
  • On your Facebook business page
  • On a landing page
  • As a case study theme

Start thinking of your offer like a drumbeat, ever present in your self-promotion efforts …

Not in an “always-be-closing” kind of way … more of a background rhythm.

Ideally, you want the people in your niche (or areas of focus) to begin to associate you with your offer — specifically the benefits of your offer.

To help you figure out what you want your well-defined offer to be, let’s look at a few possibilities.

Four In-Demand Projects You Can Offer to Clients

Before we look closely at some of the easiest projects to build your well-defined offer around, I want to emphasize an important point … you can turn ANY writing skill you learn into a well-defined offer.

And remember, your well-defined offer doesn’t preclude you from doing other types of projects. What it does is give you a way to have more specific conversations with your prospects and clients.

Okay … on to our four project types.

Project #1: The Blog Post/Article/Email Newsletter

Content marketing is popular with companies — both consumer-facing and business-facing — because it works.

Good content brings in traffic, earns leads, answers questions, overcomes objections, gets shared, reduces customer service load, and primes readers to buy … just to name a few advantages.

So, being able to write a solid article, which can also be used as a blog post or sent out through email as a newsletter piece, is a seriously in-demand skill. And it makes a great well-defined offer.

When I say this is an in-demand skill, don’t just take my word for it …

According to Content Marketing Institute, 60% of marketers report that content brings in leads, 73% say that content is effective at nurturing those leads, and 64% find that content helps to increase sales and revenue.

At every step of the buyer’s journey, most marketers are saying content is improving results. If you decide you want to be able to write the staple of content marketing — the article, in all its forms — you can count on there being clients willing to hire you.

Articles are ubiquitous. I can’t guarantee your chosen niche or focus markets use articles, blog posts, or email newsletters, but if I was placing a bet, the odds would be in my favor. By a lot.

Most articles run under a thousand words, and you can charge anywhere from $150 to $850 per article. The fee you set will vary by industry, your experience, and especially your confidence. You’ll also encounter the demand for longer articles — closer to 2000 words. You can charge more for those.

You have options for how you structure your well-defined article-writing offer. You can focus entirely on the benefits. Or you can define the pricing and timeline details, too. You can offer a single article or a packet of articles. You can augment your article offering with other services or not.

Let’s look at a few possibilities …

Keeping it Simple—

For a simple article-based offer, you might zero in on the benefits rather than the details and offer a single, straightforward article as a first project with a client. That offer might look like this:

“I can help you with the staple of content marketing — well-written articles that attract traffic, earn leads, and support your sales process. For new clients, I do a single article to start, at my standard rates, to see if we’re a good fit.”

Notice how that leaves the door open for future projects if things go well on the first one.

A Package Deal—

Once you start to get busy with clients, and you realize you love writing articles, you might decide to require a bigger buy-in from new clients. And you might give them more details about your fees and timelines. In that case, the simple offer above might become something like this:

“I can help you with the staple of content marketing — well-written articles that attract traffic, earn leads, and support your sales process. I offer a package of four articles for $2,000 with a two-week timeline.”

A Few Bells and Whistles—

As your expertise grows, you might naturally start to include some things with your articles, like SEO optimization, image suggestions, or social media posts for increasing reach. When that happens, your simple offer could become something more like this:

“I can help you with the staple of content marketing — well-written articles that attract traffic, earn leads, and support your sales process. I offer a package of four articles for $3,000. Each is SEO optimized and I include image suggestions and two social media posts for each. My timeline for this package is two weeks.”

Now, you can start out with the bigger package and all the bells and whistles in place. Or you might decide you like keeping it simple and want to keep offering single articles to a variety of clients. It’s entirely up to you.

Project #2: The Landing Page

A landing page is a page on a website where people arrive via a specific link, like a paid advertising link, a link in an email message, or a social media link.

Companies that use paid advertising and social media marketing often have an ongoing need for landing pages. Smart companies use landing pages as part of their email marketing campaigns. Landing pages can be useful in all sorts of scenarios, but these scenarios are the big ones.

Tailored and targeted landing pages are powerful. According to Hubspot, companies that use 30 or more landing pages in support of their specific sales and marketing campaigns generate seven times more leads than companies that have 10 or fewer landing pages in their rotation.

These companies need fresh ideas and fresh copy for their landing pages … and if you’re a writer who understands how to put a good landing page together, they’ll take an interest in what you have to offer.

The fun thing about landing pages is they’re often quite short. If the purpose of a landing page is for someone to sign up to receive a free report, for example, that landing page might have 300 words or fewer.

Of course, if you’re making a direct sale on a landing page, that will call for longer copy … and command a higher fee.

Typical fees for short, lead-generation landing pages range from $500 to $1000.

Fees for longer, sales-oriented landing pages are a lot bigger … as much as $5,000 or more.

Your well-defined landing page offer could look something like this:

“I can help you get more leads with landing pages that are tailor-written for your specific campaigns. For new clients, I provide two initial landing pages at my standard rates, which allows you to start testing and improving your results right away. Then, if it looks like we’re a good fit for each other, we can build from there.”

Like the article example, you can expand this into a bigger package or add extra features for a bigger fee.

Project #3: The Ecommerce Product Page

Online shopping is kind of a big deal. Globally, online purchases account for trillions of dollars. That’s trillions. With a T.

And most of those purchases have something in common. The person making the purchase usually did so from a product page.

Product content is extremely important to ecommerce websites. Poor product content leads to abandoned sales. Strong product content means more revenue. So, it’s not surprising that there’s a ton of potential here for a well-defined offer.

The companies that use product pages are typically business-to-consumer companies with an online store or that sell their products through a retail site like Amazon.

Product pages vary widely in length. Some run just a couple hundred words. Others may be 500 words or longer. It will differ from site to site.

Rates for product pages range from $250 to $1,000 per page.

Your offer here could begin with something simple, like:

“I write product pages for your online store that get more conversions and reduce cart abandonment. For first-time clients, I offer a five-page bundle at my standard rates.”

Again, think about ways you could expand this offer to make it bigger or add extra features.

Project #4: The Email Welcome Message

Email welcome messages are messages sent automatically to new subscribers.

When done well, they help the relationship with the new subscriber start on good footing. A typical welcome message or series thanks the subscriber for joining, establishes expectations (how the reader can expect to benefit from joining the email list), and delivers any incentives that were promised.

It might also ask the reader to follow the company on social media, talk a little about the company and its mission (framed in terms that benefit the reader), and share a few links to resources the reader might appreciate.

And the welcome message might offer a special discount on a purchase or invite the reader to send in a question.

In other words, a solid welcome message (or series) does a lot to make the new subscriber feel welcome and at home … and excited about what’s to come.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t use welcome messages, or they send out one that’s bland and boring. Which is too bad, because the first message that goes out to a new subscriber has an open rate between 50% and 95% depending on which research you’re looking at. That’s a lot of eyeballs on that initial message … so why waste it with boring copy?!?

A typical welcome message runs between 300 and 500 words. And a welcome series might have three to five messages in total. You can charge between $250 and $500 per message, which can add up to a tidy sum. And then, once you’ve written the welcome message and done a great job on it, you’re in the perfect position to start writing other email messages for them. It’s a great break-in project.

Your simple, well-defined offer for this service might read like so:

“I write engaging welcome emails that result in faster conversions and longer relationships with your email subscribers. In most cases, a three-part series works best, and my typical turnaround time is two weeks.”

So there you have it …

Four possible project types you can turn into a well-defined offer to help your prospect see immediately the benefits of hiring you. But remember, you can take any project type and turn it into a well-defined offer. Just use what you learned here as inspiration.

Now, you may be wondering … what if you don’t feel confident with any of these projects? Don’t worry.

Our next step is to look at a process you can use to feel comfortable and confident with your project type in just a few weeks.

How to Quickly Become Competent at a New Skill

Before we go into the steps you can take to learn a new project type, remember, that there’s no limit to the number of projects you can learn how to do … but you need only one to start getting paid.

If you’re just starting out, pick one and learn it, so you can offer it with confidence as soon as possible.

Now the obvious way to learn how to tackle a new project is to take a course, preferably one that will give you feedback on your work. And AWAI has courses that teach each of the project types that I introduced in the last section.

What I want to give you here is a primer plan, so that when you do take a course, you already have a feel for the project type you’re learning, which will allow you to absorb the nuances from your course rather than struggling with the basics.

What I’m going to lay out here is something you can do in advance of a course or while you’re taking a course. It will greatly increase your confidence in and understanding of the project type and get you ready to start offering that project to clients faster.

Sound good? Great! Let’s dive in.

Step One: Read All About It

When you decide which project type you want to master first (or next), start by focusing on it and only it. Don’t worry about studying other things at the same time. Plan to make it your focus for the next three to four weeks — and block off time for it. I recommend 30 minutes to an hour a day.

In the first week, dedicate that time to reading about your project type. Not examples of the project … but expert discussions about the project and what makes it work.

So, if you want to write blog posts, search AWAI and Digital Copywriter for “blog posts” and “how to write a blog post.” Read what you find there.

Then go out to the internet at large and do those same searches on Google. Do other searches like “blog post structure,” “writing blog posts for clients,” and “blog writing tips.” Read what you find there, too.

You’ll start to notice a lot of commonalities among what you’re reading. Take note. Those are likely to be the most proven strategies and tactics for your project type.

By the end of your first week, you’ll find yourself fluent in the terms and common approaches to your project type.

Step Two: Study Examples

The next step is to take your new knowledge and use it to critically study examples of your project type.

Continuing with our blog post example, in your second week, start reading blog posts in your niche or area of interest. If you want to write blog posts for companies in the parenting industry, start reading blog posts in that industry. At the end of each post, do a breakdown.

Based on what you learned in the previous week, identify what skills and approaches the writer used. Analyze the structure of the post. How is it organized?

Study the writing itself. What passages flow well? Where does the pacing lag? How clear is the information? As the reader, do you know what to do next?

Make notes about each example of what you see that’s working and what you would improve.

By reading examples of your project type and critically analyzing them, you’ll start to really internalize the knowledge you gained in your first week.

Step Three: Start Rewriting

In your third week, take the samples you studied in your second week, and rework them based on what you learned in your first week and the notes you took when you analyzed them.

Find passages where the original author’s meaning is unclear and rewrite them for better clarity.

Find the bumpy spots and smooth them out.

Is there a different structure the author could have used that might have worked better? Reorganize the piece based on your thoughts.

By taking existing work and editing it to improve it, you’ll be applying the skills you’ve been learning without having to worry about a blank page.

Step Four: Write Your Own Samples

After reading about your project type, studying random examples you found online and critically analyzing them, and then improving them with your own rewrites, you’ll gain a good feel for how to approach that project.

So, your next step is to write two or three samples of your own, from scratch.

If you’re not sure what to write about, think of the last purchase you made. If you’re learning about writing blog posts, write a blog post or two that would fit well on that product’s website. If you’re learning about writing landing pages, write a landing page selling the product or asking people to sign up for an email list with updates about that product’s industry.

Just to make this a little more real, if the last product you bought was toothpaste, you could write a blog post on the best electric toothbrush and another on five surprising health benefits of flossing. Or you could write a landing page selling an electric toothbrush or asking readers to sign up for a newsletter all about oral health.

Step Five: Take a Course for Deeper Knowledge

If you have the time and the resources, complete your study (and mastery) of your project type by taking a course that teaches it. With a course, you’ll be able to take your learning to a deeper level. And because you spent the time doing this primer study, you’ll be able to get everything out of the course that you can.

At the end of the process, you’ll feel confident and ready to say to a prospect, “I can help you and here’s how …” Followed by your well-defined offer, of course.

Now there’s just one more piece to this puzzle … how you can use your well-defined offer to open doors, and even better, to get clients to reach out to you.

Three Ways to Use Your Well-Defined Offer to Attract and Land Clients

Once you’ve selected a service to build your well-defined offer around and mastered your project type, the next step is to use your well-defined offer to get your foot in the door with new clients.

This is where the engine starts firing and forward momentum begins. It’s also where most writers start to get a little uncomfortable. (Learn a writing skill? Yay! Talk to potential clients? Eek!)

If that’s true for you, don’t worry … you aren’t alone. And, even better, having a well-defined offer makes client conversations easier and a little more relaxed.

So, to wrap things up, we’re going to look at three ways you can use your well-defined offer to attract and land clients.

But first, let’s talk about some key mindsets that will help you no matter how you’re approaching clients.

Getting in the Right State of Mind

I can remember when I first started my writing business a generation ago (hehe — that’s actually true), I would go into every client conversation with a sense of dread and desperation. They just had to say yes. It was make or break. If they didn’t say yes, my business would die.

Okay, I probably wasn’t quite that dramatic, but I made things way more stressful than I needed to.

So, if you want to avoid that stress, start working on these three mindsets. When you get them nailed down, client conversations can actually be kind of fun.

Mindset 1: You’re practicing.

Most things get better with practice. That is definitely true for talking to prospects. The more you do it, the easier and more natural it gets. Look at every client conversation as practice for the next one. No matter how it goes, take a few minutes afterwards to consider what you did well and what you can do better next time. This mindset is a game changer, I promise.

Mindset 2: Detach from the outcome.

There’s no make-or-break moment. To be fair, there are moments that, when they fall your way, can level-up your business. But any single client conversation is not going to be devasting for your business if it doesn’t go your way. The best way to go into a client conversation is without an emotional investment in the outcome. If it works out, great. If not, on to the next one.

Mindset 3: Be Curious.

When you’re having a client conversation, it’s easy to rush ahead to your pitch. Resist that urge. Take a breath. Slow down. And be curious …

Be curious about your prospect’s business, their product, and their audience. Be curious about what excites them and what worries them. Be curious about their bigger goals — there’s something beyond making sales that they want to accomplish, I can all but guarantee that.

Enter each conversation with a genuine desire to understand your prospect and their business, and by the end, you’ll see more clearly how you can help them. Then, when it comes time to make your pitch, you’ll be able to present your offer in terms of how it helps them specifically, and that’s so much more powerful than a generic statement.

Finding Good Prospects

In a minute, we’re going to talk about attracting clients to you and also doing client outreach. But first, I want to share a couple of tips for finding higher-quality prospects … the kind who have a budget and who value what you do.

Start by choosing a niche or at least an area of focus or two. Your niche might be the software as a service industry or SaaS. Or, if you’re not ready to commit to a niche, you might decide you want to reach out to local clients and IT companies because you find them interesting. Taking this step removes some of the overwhelm from researching potential clients … it gives you a way to focus your efforts.

Next, watch for prospects with two attributes. First, you want to see that they’re investing in their marketing. If they have an up-to-date website, that’s a sign that they have a marketing budget. An active email list is another sign. So are paid advertising campaigns. Second, look to see that they’re using what you want to offer. If your well-defined offer is built around articles, focus on the companies that have a blog that’s been updated in the last year or who have articles published on their site.

When you see they have a budget, you know they’ll be able to pay your fees. And when you see that they’re already using what you offer, you know they have a need and that they understand the value of what you offer.

All right, let’s get to the actual offering …

Three Ways to Use Your Offer to Land Clients

Earlier — way back at the beginning of this page — I mentioned how you might use your well-defined offer to advance a conversation at a networking event.

Networking is a great place to use your well-defined offer. Your offer becomes what you say when someone asks what you do. Instead of “I’m a copywriter,” you can say, “I write blog posts that help you get more traffic and higher quality leads.” Then, as the conversation unfolds, you can talk more about how that works — all part of your well-defined offer.

I also promised you that networking wasn’t the only place to use your offer, so let’s talk about three other ways your offer can help you attract and land clients.

Help People Associate You with Your Offer

This is an attraction method. It’s about using your offer in all your marketing materials so that people begin to think of you in terms of your offer. If you write blog posts that bring in traffic and leads, put that in all the places people interact with you.

Your LinkedIn headline …

Your LinkedIn summary …

Your email signature …

Your website …

Over time, you’ll become synonymous with writing effective blog posts. When one of your connections needs that kind of service, you’ll be who they think of. More importantly, your connections will also send other people who need a good blog writer your way.

Make Direct Pitches

As you start to identify good potential clients, take a look at what they’re doing in regard to what you offer. If you offer product pages, look at their product pages. If it’s welcome emails, sign up for their list and see what they’re sending.

Think about how your well-defined offer can help them get better results, and then send them a pitch with the details. Keep this pitch on the shorter side. Introduce yourself. Provide a comment or two on what you like on their site. State your well-defined offer, and then give them a specific pitch — one that’s tailored to their needs, product, and audience.

If you send three to five of these every day, it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing results. Keep in mind, most direct pitches don’t get a response. That’s okay. Keep at it. I’ve talked to writers who give up after three, five, maybe ten pitches. That’s not enough to know if what you’re doing is working. Remember, consistent action over time is what will yield the best results for you and your business.

Become a Guest

Once upon a time, guest blogging was used to improve search engine rankings. It doesn’t work as well for that purpose anymore, but it’s still a useful way to grow your audience and to become better known for what you do.

Being a guest on podcasts and webinars is also effective.

Put together several article topics that are related to what you do and how businesses can use your project type for bigger success. Also think about the kinds of things you might talk about in an interview or a training session.

Armed with those ideas, start looking for blogs and podcasts that your target audience is likely to follow. From those, identify the ones that welcome guests. Then read through their guidelines for submitting a guest post or becoming a podcast guest.

Follow the guidelines and put yourself out there. When you do get published or invited on for an interview, make sure your well-defined offer is part of your bio.

Getting clients and building your business takes time and effort, but having a well-defined offer simplifies the process. When you make your offer a consistent part of your marketing efforts, you’ll see faster growth in your business, and before you know it, promoting your services won’t feel so scary.

The AWAI Method™

The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter

The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »

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Published: March 20, 2024

1 Response to “How a Well-Defined Offer Can Help Writers Succeed”

  1. Awesome! Heather, You have suggested and written valuable insight and an in-depth path to lay your well-defined offers to clients. I would love to know the wisdom and knowledge about how many clients one can have. However, it varies from person to person and depends on how much time one can devote each day. But a clear path helps to lay a strong foundation.

    Sanket Somaiya

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