Starting out in Copywriting

29 replies
Due to a clerical error in God's talent department, writing has been encoded into my genetic sequence. Because of this, I've decided to give freelance copywriting a bash. According to my peers, I'm apparently adept at putting words into a coherent manner.

Having said this, I have two questions.

1) How do I convince someone that my wordsmith ability is worth hard currency?

2) What's the best approach to promoting myself to a potential customer?

I'm willing to make an effort. Mind you, I've failed at so many things so it wouldn't matter if I failed at copywriting too.
#copywriting #starting
  • Profile picture of the author BudaBrit
    May I point you in the direction of this board's great selection of stickies.

    http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...le-writer.html

    http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...pywriters.html

    http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...ooks-ever.html

    Other's will be along later with better advise, but you can't do much better than Joe's post (the one in the middle).
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Second the stickies. Invest in some new reading material. Write every day. And ya gotta dumb it down a bit. Save those $5 words and clever witticisms for your creative writing projects.
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    Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Originally Posted by Milhouse20XX View Post

    1) How do I convince someone that my wordsmith ability is worth hard currency?
    REFRAME: Wordsmith < Sales Writer

    Copywriting is about salesmanship, not prose.

    Writing that draws attention to its own cleverness typically flops, badly...
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    • Profile picture of the author Milhouse20XX
      Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

      REFRAME: Wordsmith < Sales Writer

      Copywriting is about salesmanship, not prose.

      Writing that draws attention to its own cleverness typically flops, badly...
      Valid point, Brian. I understand that copy writing is different to creative writing. I've spent 14 years in sales so I've got an up idea of how to write a good pitch.
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      • even though copywriting is all about selling and not about being a "wordsmith"..

        you need to love to write. Really love it.

        otherwise you're not gonna go the distance.

        if I was starting over I would invest in working with a top pro from the begining.

        will cut years off your learning curve and get you writing well in very little time.
        Signature
        "Peter Brennan is the real deal, In the first 12 hours we did $80k...and over $125k in the first week...if you want to be successful online, outsource your copywriting to Peter"
        Adam Linkenauger

        For 12 ways to sell more stuff to more people today...go to...www.peterbrennan.net
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        • Profile picture of the author Milhouse20XX
          Originally Posted by Quality Copywriter View Post

          you need to love to write. Really love it.
          I write because I haven't got anything else. I'm not engaged by some deep passion for the written word.
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          • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
            Originally Posted by Milhouse20XX View Post

            I write because I haven't got anything else. I'm not engaged by some deep passion for the written word.
            This confuses me. The way the OP was worded, it sounded like you love writing, are quite adept at it, and are trying to figure out how to monetize that talent.

            I come from a similar background - when I was laid off from my entertainment industry job in LA several years ago, it just so happened I'd read Peter Bowerman's The Well-Fed Writer. I thought I would give pro writing a try.

            In the process, I discovered I do love writing. I'd hated it for years, but the reason I'd really hated it was because in academia, you're told WHAT and HOW to write. In copywriting, no one can successfully predict with 100% accuracy what will work and what will flop. So you're free to really explore and innovate, which is what speaks to me.

            That said, if you can't bring yourself to write EVERY DAY, you have no business in this industry. This isn't something you can really just dabble in like you can with creative writing or blogging. To be GOOD, and to charge serious fees, you need to be practicing and honing every day.

            And without some driving passion, that may be difficult to maintain. Not saying it can't be done if you're not a slave to clever wording like I sometimes can be. But I'm giving it to you straight.

            If you want it, you need to really want it. That in and of itself requires passion.
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            Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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          • well find something you do love.
            Signature
            "Peter Brennan is the real deal, In the first 12 hours we did $80k...and over $125k in the first week...if you want to be successful online, outsource your copywriting to Peter"
            Adam Linkenauger

            For 12 ways to sell more stuff to more people today...go to...www.peterbrennan.net
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        • Profile picture of the author Harry B
          Originally Posted by Quality Copywriter View Post


          if I was starting over I would invest in working with a top pro from the begining.

          will cut years off your learning curve and get you writing well in very little time.

          How would a newbie go about finding a top pro to work with?
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          Your feedback is appreciated!

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          • Profile picture of the author Kees Hoekerd
            Originally Posted by Harry B View Post

            How would a newbie go about finding a top pro to work with?
            Coaching programs can be a good idea, if you can afford it.
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          • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
            Originally Posted by Harry B View Post

            How would a newbie go about finding a top pro to work with?
            Figure out who inspires you and stalk them... (kidding, mostly.)

            Seriously though, you do need to determine who is doing/has done what you aspire to.

            Whose work excites you and inflames you with a sense of awe and envy when you read it?

            Whose career arc would you most want to emulate?
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            • Profile picture of the author Harry B
              Originally Posted by Kees Hoekerd View Post

              Coaching programs can be a good idea, if you can afford it.
              Do the coaching programs include the process of approaching new clients, etc?

              Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

              Figure out who inspires you and stalk them... (kidding, mostly.)

              Seriously though, you do need to determine who is doing/has done what you aspire to.

              Whose work excites you and inflames you with a sense of awe and envy when you read it?

              Whose career arc would you most want to emulate?
              I see

              I follow a couple of folks in this thread already, including you!
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              Follow Along: My Social Media Funnel
              Your feedback is appreciated!

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              • Profile picture of the author Kees Hoekerd
                Originally Posted by Harry B View Post

                Do the coaching programs include the process of approaching new clients, etc?
                I'm sure it's something you can include in any deal you make.
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          • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
            Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

            REFRAME: Wordsmith < Sales Writer

            Copywriting is about salesmanship, not prose.

            Writing that draws attention to its own cleverness typically flops, badly...


            To the OP, sounds like a "Chicken-Egg" problem. If your writing is worth it, your writing should be able to sell your writing. If it's not, why try to get people to pay you for it?

            But, based on your "I've failed at so many things, it doesn't matter if I fail at copywriting..." sounds like confidence is a problem. Winners EXPECT to win, they pick something they have a strong desire to win at and they don't accept failure. They just learn, adjust their approach and keep tweaking.

            If you're not convinced, don't expect anyone else to be either. Sometimes the first, and most important, sale you have to make it so yourself.
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      • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
        Originally Posted by Milhouse20XX View Post

        Valid point, Brian. I understand that copy writing is different to creative writing. I've spent 14 years in sales so I've got an up idea of how to write a good pitch.
        Well, the answer to #1 is this. You answered it yourself. Take your sales experience and put it in print.

        The answer to #2 is explored in great detail here.
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        Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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    • Profile picture of the author jdchis2
      Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

      REFRAME: Wordsmith < Sales Writer

      Copywriting is about salesmanship, not prose.

      Writing that draws attention to its own cleverness typically flops, badly...
      Exactly. "Don't write for other writers." Write for your ideal/most common consumer base, as they will be the ones reading your writing and buying your product.
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  • As well as some good copywriting books get some selling books as well.

    Go to amazon and type in "Selling" and "Closing the Sale"

    Choose from the 5 star reviews.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
    Originally Posted by Milhouse20XX View Post

    I'm willing to make an effort. Mind you, I've failed at so many things so it wouldn't matter if I failed at copywriting too.
    If this is true, you'll get there.

    Effort is required.

    But the big plus is honesty. The ability to be honest about yourself, your work can get you far.

    I realise this goes against the Halbert and Kennedy philosophy of self aggrandizement... but clients and prospects (with the exception of a few markets) often appreciate directness and transparency over hype.

    So how do you convince? How do you promote yourself?

    Simple. You need to learn to sell with words. Like Brian said, copywriting is more about selling, and less about being clever with words.

    If you really can write copy worth selling, you'll know how to sell your copy.

    Seems like you just need to do the work and learn the fundamentals.

    There are quite a few resources for freelancing and building copy businesses - John Carlton, Steve Slaunwhite, Clayton Makepeace and Dan Kennedy to name a few.
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    Scary good...
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  • Profile picture of the author Tan Shengg
    Originally Posted by Milhouse20XX View Post

    Due to a clerical error in God's talent department, writing has been encoded into my genetic sequence. Because of this, I've decided to give freelance copywriting a bash. According to my peers, I'm apparently adept at putting words into a coherent manner.

    Having said this, I have two questions.

    1) How do I convince someone that my wordsmith ability is worth hard currency?

    2) What's the best approach to promoting myself to a potential customer?

    I'm willing to make an effort. Mind you, I've failed at so many things so it wouldn't matter if I failed at copywriting too.
    The best way to convince someone your ability is to show them your proof of your skills. Proof can be in the form of your previous copywriting work, testimonial etc.

    Try to learn from the expert in copywriting. Keep doing more and you will surely improve.
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  • Profile picture of the author TMS2014
    I am a bit confused. I have a product I want to create and place on clickbank. Do I need a content writer? Video creation expert? Web page developer? Sorry I am a newbie but these are things I need guidance on.
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
      Originally Posted by TMS2014 View Post

      I am a bit confused. I have a product I want to create and place on clickbank. Do I need a content writer? Video creation expert? Web page developer? Sorry I am a newbie but these are things I need guidance on.
      You should start a new thread where the answers will be specific to/for you.

      This thread is about learning to become a freelance copywriter.
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  • Profile picture of the author DanteRomero
    Often the most blunt advice is the most useful. Without all the fluff in the way, it's suddenly clear and actionable ... rather than vague and unhelpful.

    If you need to ask how to market yourself, you aren't ready to be a copywriter yet.

    If, on the other hand, you just want help brainstorming, comparing and contrasting options ... the best place to close a large number of deals is face-to-face at seminars or other live events. Aside from that, third party referrals are your best bet.
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    "Perfection isn't important. Improvement is."

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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Originally Posted by Milhouse20XX View Post

    Due to a clerical error in God's talent department, writing has been encoded into my genetic sequence. Because of this, I've decided to give freelance copywriting a bash. According to my peers, I'm apparently adept at putting words into a coherent manner.

    Having said this, I have two questions.

    1) How do I convince someone that my wordsmith ability is worth hard currency?

    2) What's the best approach to promoting myself to a potential customer?

    I'm willing to make an effort. Mind you, I've failed at so many things so it wouldn't matter if I failed at copywriting too.
    Hi there,

    TALK to people. Screen them In or Out. Here's a simple process for doing so (and there's a well-known copywriter who followed this process for a week or so and got about $7,000 worth of business):

    http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...riter-how.html

    Let me ask you a few questions:

    Would you have to convince someone who was already used to outsourcing?

    Would you have to convince someone who had already worked with remote copywriters?

    Would you have to convince someone who already knew what a copywriter does, and found that skill valuable?

    Get out in front of your target market and do a little more filtering. It's not hard. You can be closing four-figure projects in a short time.

    But most people give up after a day. The real question here is: How much do you Mean It, and do you believe in yourself?
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  • Profile picture of the author Milhouse20XX
    I'm very grateful for the comments everyone has given. I'm still keen to try writing copy. Even if it means doing some exposure work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery Moss
    The only thing that will sell copywriting services are actual samples of things you have written, whether for your portfolio or for clients. These examples of your writing talent do more to prove your worth than anything else.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Originally Posted by Jeffery Moss View Post

      The only thing that will sell copywriting services are actual samples of things you have written, whether for your portfolio or for clients. These examples of your writing talent do more to prove your worth than anything else.
      How about a referral from a trusted friend?

      I say that only because I don't show samples. Clients refer their friends. Clients know best who I am and what I can produce.

      I also have a few other strategies (that don't require samples.)

      - Rick Duris

      PS: But I get your point, samples are very helpful. Even ones you write for an offer you made up.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnRussell
      Originally Posted by Jeffery Moss View Post

      The only thing that will sell copywriting services are actual samples of things you have written, whether for your portfolio or for clients. These examples of your writing talent do more to prove your worth than anything else.
      Not true. I've closed lots of deals (high 4 figure) without ever showing one piece of copy.

      Sometimes you can just talk the talk and people get that you know what you are talking about.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesDLayton
    Honesty, simplicity, and the overall motivation of allowing the reader; to think that buying is a choice they made wisely.
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    "We are what we think about
    all day long." - Earl Nightingale
    One of the easiest transformations I ever undertook as a copywriter was reading that quote every day.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jomuli3
    Originally Posted by Milhouse20XX View Post

    Due to a clerical error in God's talent department, writing has been encoded into my genetic sequence. Because of this, I've decided to give freelance copywriting a bash. According to my peers, I'm apparently adept at putting words into a coherent manner.

    Having said this, I have two questions.

    1) How do I convince someone that my wordsmith ability is worth hard currency?

    2) What's the best approach to promoting myself to a potential customer?

    I'm willing to make an effort. Mind you, I've failed at so many things so it wouldn't matter if I failed at copywriting too.

    Milhousexx,

    If you seriously want to become a copywriter, carefully
    note my observations and recommendation arising
    from your thread.

    a) You are writing to impress in your first paragraph.
    Your choice of words demonstrate that fact.

    That won't help you much in your chosen career.
    We write to persuade --- in copywriting.

    b) Do not rush to ask about how to persuade someone that
    'your wordsmith ability is worth hard currency.
    If I were you I wouldn't try to ---
    --- 'cross the bridge before i come to it.'

    First learn how to become a copywriter and then ask about
    effective ways of getting clients.

    In your last paragraph you reflect a negative mindset.
    You shouldn't say you have failed several times so you
    aren't worried about failing again.

    Visit 'YouTube' there are a lot of motivation quotes there ---they
    will help change your mindset.

    John
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