As one of the longest active and full-time copywriters in Warrior Forum... and as someone who helps mentor newer copywriters grow their businesses, I think I have some insights on what it takes to become a busy copywriter. I think I also have a good handle on things around here.
Honestly, it's just been a negative shift in the last 6-12 months among the copywriters in WF. I don't see the sniping, dog-eat-dog behavior in any other forum I belong to or moderate at.
Prior to 2009, this was a positive friendly forum where people frequently helped each other.
Based on the mentoring I do and private conversations I have with other copywriters, I think I have an idea of what's going on for many copywriters.
Here's my take on things... please take it as such. On some points, I'm going to be brutally honest.
The thing is... I think these are things that need to be said. I miss the way this forum USED to operate and want to see it return there, so I'm going to put myself out there and say what I think needs to be said.
I think that the global economy tightening up has caused a lot of copywriters see their business tighten up in kind. Some may still just as busy as they were in 2006-2008, but chances are they are seeing less leads out there because a lot of businesses (and people) are feeling the pinch this year.
IMHO, I think that's why so many 'quick cash' or 'easy cash' WSOs have been so popular this year... a lot of people have been pinched in 2009 and are looking to raise cash fast anyway they can.
There's not as much credit available for businesses... which makes it harder for them to budget for future projects. I have two good friends with brick and mortar businesses lose $20-50K credit lines this year even though they had never been late with a payment on them. The banks/credit card companies were just tightening up their potential liabilities by making less credit available to everyone. Needless to say, my friends have been faced by a real cashflow crunch as a result.
So businesses are feeling pinched which means service providers like copywriters are getting pinched too. Clients missing payments or being late with payments. Copywriters get hosed out of contract guaranteed royalties and having to go through legal channels to collect.
There's less businesses looking for copywriting help because many business owners cut marketing not expand at the first sign of a recession. It's like they dive into a dark cave and wait until everyone else tells them that the recession is over and they can come out again.
Back to copywriters.
The marketing savvy ones are marketing harder to keep business leads flowing in. They are finding ways to position themselves from their "competition" in areas besides price. Things like extended client consulting, increased attention to quality of work or customer service, value added services, and so on.
I've own a business through 2 previous recessions/downturns and I know some of my peers with similar business experience have been using a lot of the same recession-busting strategies to keep their business sales coming in.
In 2009, I saw more online marketer/copywriters creating their own info-products to produce new revenue streams to replace or supplement their copywriting sales.
Personally, I think every copywriter should be creating their own info-products every year, regardless of what the economy might look like. It truly can become a passive income stream outside of your copywriting business.
The marketing challenged copywriters... well, they are the ones are getting angry and frustrated with their business leads drying up. Alot of them are hurting for business.
That anger and frustration is spilling out in public forums like WF which probably the worst place to do so because potential clients read it and decide to do business elsewhere.
They are bickering and sniping about copywriting pricing when they don't need to be.
Take a sales letter from scratch... say under $500, $500, $1000, $1500, $2000, and so upward in price.
Every one of those points is a completely different target market out of the entire large pie of businesses... a huge pie that needs copywriting help for every single piece.
The prospective client who is looking for a $500 copywriter is doing so because that is what they are willing or able to pay.
Beating a prospective client up in a public forum because they only have a budget of 'x' (fill in the blank) is not good business sense. Yet it's happened more than once this year in this forum. Not in years past.
Maybe their budget is indeed all they can afford. Maybe they don't know how much copywriting can cost and have set what they think is a reasonable budget for it.
In either case, it doesn't mean they deserve to publicly pummeled. And the people who read the threads but don't post... well, take a look at the number of views for some of those threads and you'll see what I mean.
By forum pummeling a prospective client, you're chasing away alot of other potential clients too. Not only will the person never hire you as a copywriter, but they probably won't buy any info-product you ever create either. Chances are, some of the lurkers reading your posts will make the same decision.
If you don't believe me, then shoot me a PM and I'll share a few names of well-known marketers that I've gotten business from simply by being a polite professional in marketing forums like this one.
By forum pummeling each other, it chases ALL prospective clients away too.
If you think I'm nuts, then look at any other sub-forum in WF. You won't find nearly as many squabbles each month there as we regularly see here.
That's why Allen shut this forum down at one point. That's why moderator John Taylor -- one of the longest standing members of the WF -- issued a warning to everyone and even tossed a few people in the ban brig to cool their heels.
There is no reason in the world why copywriters should be engaging in forum pummeling, especially with prospective clients.
The fact of the matter is:
1) There's a ton of business people who need copywriting help.
2) Every major price point is a different target market. The prospective clients I target are different than another copywriter who charges a significantly different price than I do.
There's also a lot of niches out there too, many of which are much bigger than internet marketing and don't have nearly as many copywriters actively prospecting for business there.
3) It's up to you to figure out how to get your business in front of your ideal prospects' eyeballs and ethically sell them why they should hire you for their marketing needs.
Ripping another copywriter over what they charge won't do it. Ripping a potential client over their stated budget won't do it either.
I hope that 2010 sees this forum get back to doing business the way it used to be. But it's going to take everyone working together and not against each other to do it. It's going to take checking your ego at the door sometimes too.
For the marketing savvy... keep doing what you're doing that is working. Help some of the up & comers just like veteran copywriters helped you when you were an up & comer.
For the marketing challenged... put your thinking cap and start figuring out how to market yourself besides cheap price. Competing on low price is not a sound long-term strategy.
If you don't know what the heck I mean, then check out this graphic cartoon (courtesy of WF member Mr. Subtle):
For everyone... make more of an effort to act professional in this forum. If everyone does this, then we will see more people -- alot more people -- come to this forum for copywriting help, instead of being scared off by a bunch of copywriting ogres. And yes, I plan on following my own advice.
Turn more people into allies instead of enemies.
Author Jeffrey Gitomer says it better than I could:
"All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends. To climb the ladder of success, you don't need more techniques and strategies, you need more friends."
I have developed a lot of friends and allies in WF. I have developed very few enemies. The friends and allies have helped me grow every aspects of my businesses and continue to do so. I've never done a bit of business with any enemy.
Back to prospective clients.
Look, there's a lot of businesses out there with lousy marketing who need professional help. The best way to improve the global economy is to help other businesses start making more sales... sales that they can use to hire employees... make new products... expand their warehouses and so on.
That's why copywriting is always in demand. We are truly the rainmakers when we put our minds to making it rain money for our clients and ourselves.