I stumbled on direct response copywriting late December last year, but it took me a while to get enough information on it. I wanted to write for the financial niche. From January till April I read books, blog posts, watched videos, studied and marked up and even hand copied sales letters.
By May, I decided it was time to go after clients. Agora was my target. I read about how going for short form copy is easier in breaking into the industry so I cold emailed all of the companies under Agora offering short form copywriting (advertorials, email lifts, etc).
I had to email most of them several times before getting a response.
Here's how it played out (to differentiate each of the Agora companies without mentioning their names, I'll just calk them divisions):
The first Agora division (the person I emailed) indicated he was no longer with them and referred me to someone else. I emailed him and got no reply.
The second declined my freelance request, indicating they only hire in house.
The third asked for a sample and after sending it, he went silent (ouch).
The fourth said he'd forward my email to the person in charge. But I am yet to hear from them, despite sending several emails.
The fifth division gave me a spec assignment to write an advertorial for one of their current promotions. It was a VSL and I couldn't get a translation so I asked for it and got no response. I eventually worked my way around it, wrote the advertorial and submitted but still got no response.
The sixth gave me a spec assignment to write a headline and lead for a big idea. This was surprising as all the emails I sent, I sold myself as a short form copywriter. After writing the spec assignment, I got a feedback. My writing was good but I totally missed the mark on the BIG IDEA.
It's interesting how you read a lot about something -- I even annotated successful promos-- and feel like you understand it. But after going out to try it yourself, you find out you don't know shit.
He pointed out my flaws and asked me to go rework it. I was really glad he didn't just say, "your writing sucks, can't hire you" or something along those lines.
I reworked it and submitted. All of the back and forth between I and the publisher of the 6th division, lasted 3 weeks.
I was really into it and I thought I was about to break into the industry. But what happened next shattered that mirage. I received this email:
"Thanks for taking the time to write this. Round 2 was much better, but still comes up a bit short for our immediate needs.
Keep on writing and reach out in a year or so when you have more copy under your belt."
It took me a few days to recover from this rejection. I also even fell sick two days after. A week later now and I'm back on my feet with a plan.
1. I will study more successful sales letters
2. I will practice writing headlines and leads
3. I will cold email more companies (not just Agora companies)
I'll send two types of cold emails. The first I will offer short form copywriting, and the second I'll offer longform copywriting. For those who I offer short form copy, if i don't get my first email replied, I'll write an email or advertorial and offer it to them to use.
Just yesterday, one of the Agora companies I cold emailed and wrote a free advertorial for replied. He thanked me for the advertorial and asked where I was based. I feel my location (the country where I am) would disqualify me as I suspect they're interested in hiring in house or something along those lines.
Anyway, I'm happy to be back grinding. My illness really killed my momentum but I'm trying to get it back. I believe this post will help make me more accountable.