This is our third and final article on copywriting for you. The other two focused more on the details of how to write effective copy, whereas this last post concerns itself more with marketing the skills you will attain using the training found in the other two posts.
There are some readers that may want to explore either offering their services online to others, or even those that want to set up a business offering their services like an agency. This tutorial will give you more information from this perspective.
So let’s get started!
WHAT IS THE MOST PROFITABLE TYPE OF COPYWRITING
Copywriting involves a wide variety of products that clients need such services for. If you are in the business, you may be asked to create copy for one or more of the categories,
Some are more common than others, of course, but it pays to get to know about all of them and gain some experience in each…
One of the most common requests in the online marketing niche is a requirement to write a sales page, but you can just as easily be asked to write blog posts, email swipes, articles for site magazines or newletters, or even reports, research papers, or an eBook.
While we are on the subject…There is a big difference between a copywriter and an author. Whereas an author can most often choose their own topic, then decide how long or short their project may be, a copywriter has no such luxury.
A professional copywriter is someone, or a firm maybe, that is hired by a client to do a specific writing task or tasks in accordance with the guidelines of their request, to include length,topic, and writing style.
A copywriting job also normally will have a deadline assocuated with the project, while an author can take as long as they need or want to finish one of their projects.
Their are always pros and cons to every issue and this is no exception…
(1) The upside is that you have a very clear path to follow on what the expected outcome is, when it must be done, and the general style it must have.
(2) The downside: You are underpressure to make sure you get it done to the satisfaction of the client. You definitely don’t have time to wait around for a creative spurt to come to you.
Yet another benefit to copywriting over authoring is that you know you will get paid once the project has been delivered and accepted.
(1) As an author, you are subject to the whims of potential readers…The author has to hope that people will buy their book. Normally there are few guarantees for most authors.
(2) This guaranteed income is another good reason that many writers are choosing to write copy over authoring books or fee-based articles for a living.
As I mentioned at the start of this section, there are many different projects that copywriters in the online or offline marketing business can get involved in potentially.
You may want to examine several of them before deciding if you want to specialize in just one area or a few areas. Some areas that you might want to consider include:
(1) Sales Pages For Internet Marketers – Internet marketers are creating and promoting their own products all the time. The NEED good copywriters a LOT.
(2) Sales Pages For Corporations and Businesses – Many larger corporation or business may employ their own copywriting team, or they may outsource this work to save overhead. Look at this as another opportunity to expand your own business through offering such services to them on an agreed to fee basis.
(3) Editing or Writing Research and White Papers – These can be high paying projects that normally take a longer period of time to complete. Depending on your background, you can get paid for your skills at researching and writing about a particular subject you know a lot about. Examples might be the finance, engineering, nutrition or other fields…Lots of potential here if you can get the word out that you are available to complete such projects…
(4) Writing Contract Proposals. This is an area outside of internet marketing but one definitely exploring. Years ago I was getting paid $2000 a day to write and collate business proposals for large companies seeking government logistical contracts. Typically a project would last 30 days and often 60. Do the math, this can be a lucrative area of copywriting.
(5) Magazine Articles in the Trade or Airline Segments – Although the money you can ask may not be as significant as with contract proposals, These magazines are always looking for new and fresh material, and if you have the skills, you can get published in a lot of these on a regular basis.
As you can see there are a number of paths to establishing a solid copywriting business. Therefore, do not limit yourself in any way regarding potential segments of copywriting. You can break into any or all of them if you choose to.
Obviously you may want to start with those that you feel most comfortanble with first, and branch out as you gain more experience and expertise.
For example, If you feel that you could write sales page copy well then by all means start there. What is an interest to you now will likely be the first area that you can excel at. Then start to branch out into other areas…and build your skill set, bit by bit…so it can go.
Remember that no matter which area you may choose to start with, or ones you may expand into, all of them will require that you be willing to work with deadlines. You have to deliver your work on time.
On time delivery is a cardinal rule for the copywriting business. Do not follow it, and you will not be in the business for long. In fact, make it a habit to deliver agreed to copy early, and overdeliver as well whenever possible.
OK, we have covered what areas to consider delving into for copywriting projects, now let’s talk about marketing what you have to offer…
MARKETING YOUR COPYWRITING SKILLS
If you are good or have a knack with putting words together in an effective manner that will compel readers to take action, this can also jumpstart your career as an entrepreneur.
Copywriting is a basic skill that can help in many areas of business. If you can orally present your ideas, in the same manner, you have the basis for building an unlimited size business.
Truly it can be said that copywriting for online areas of businesses is one of the strongest industries to ever come about as the Internet has been fleshed out.
Whether it is online or offline, you can definitely sell your copywriting services and to others enjoy a job that you like and will excel at because you have the knack for it.
Of course it isn’t always the perfect job, no job is always. To find out how to really sell your services and what you can expect out of it, consider these elements:
Without being able to show what your skill set is you are going to have a hard time selling anything. You have to prepare a strong and powerful portfolio of all the things you’ve ever written. Focus on the best ones you have delivered. Overall, this portfolio needs to provide a good representation of what you, as a copywriter, can do…It needs to accurately showcase your abilities.
For example, if articles you have written have already been published, indicate where they appeared and when. You may want to Include the URLs of the websites on which your articles and write-ups have appeared, after getting permissions of course from the site owner.
Realize that a potential client will have different goals for hiring you as a copywriter. Some of them will simply require some content while others may want your version of copy to help better sell their products. Others may want to have you prepare email swipes or eBooks. So be sure to include ALL forms of copy that you may have worked with in the past.
Some would say this is an optional step but personally, I highly recommend doing this – It will help you build a stable of clients and it is an opportunity to promote your service and quickly present your potential, past perfiormance to prospects.
Most full-time and part-time copywriters have websites of their own, and they regularly add new content, write blogs, advertise their services and establish communicate with clients. You can even sell content or services from that site. It is YOUR piece of real estate on the internet.
When you start, the outsourcing sites are good to build a portfolio. I would move as quickly as possible from that to start building business through networking. Start with people or businesses you know to help you build your confidence level and then ask for referrals.
There are many offline ways to build your business as well. For instance, you could get in touch with local individuals, businesses, professionals, private organizations, clubs, and associations who might need your copywriting services.
Online you could also seek out or bid on available jobs that people post online in places such as Craigslist or similar such sites. Think it through, maybe using a mind-mapping exercise (see how to do this HERE), and develop a plan of action on building your client base. This is an investment in YOU, remember that, or as some say, it is “sweat equity.”
To simplify things for yourself and your clients, think through and establish base rates for a number of swrvices or packages you will offer to clients. You can earn decently if you do not do this, but the client will feel more comfortable if they have something they can see to start with. It’s best for both sides to set the rates for your services.
When you determine your rates, consider your qualifications, expertise and experience. There are upsells or sidesells that you can routinely charge more for, such as photocopying fees, extra time or manpower spent for projects, perhaps a fee to meet with clients, etc.
You can also set charges based on the type of writing copy that the client may require. There will be different levels of quality the client requires. Web content, for example, will likely not demand the same quality, style and expertise from you as will writing a business proposal or a press release.
It is a bit tricky when determining what your price structure should look like. You want to be competitive with the market, yet not go too cheap, or you are giving money away. Plus charge too low and you might not be taken seriously. If you charge too high a price you’ll scare your clients away.
I recommend checking how much that other Copywriters in your locality are charging or doing some research to see how much the going rate may be for a particular type of copywriting.
As a rule of thumb, most copywriters, will charge from $45 an hour upwards, depending on the project and their background. This is just a starting point. Without doing the above research, you may be way off. Spend the time to see where your prices should be…
As you gain more experience through working with a variety of clients, approach the ones that like your services…They are a very good resource for selling your copywriting skills to other potential clients.
When past clients ARE satisfied with your deliverable/output, always make it a point to ask if you can use them as reference or testimonial for future potential jobs and clients.
Do not underestimate the power of social acceptance. People today make this a regular part of the purchase process. They want to know what others think of a service or product. If you have real-life people who will back up your claims. it will help you more quickly gain the trust of prospective clients.
One powerful selling technique that works in almost anhy market or niche is giving away something for free. There are a lot of people that won’t buy until they have a real good idea of what the product is and what it will do.
As mentioned, having the website, the portfolio, about me page, and testimonials all will help. There will be a portion of potential clients where all of these will suffice to induce them to take action and hire you. Others, however, may require yet more…hence the free or reduced rate tool…
I suggest that you consider offering coupons, package discount rates, specials, etc. as part of your pricing package. People like to feel they are getting a deal, or they have gotten one over on you. Let them…Then make it back when you overdeliver and they come back, again and again, to give you more business.
OK let’s move on to the next subject in this tutorial, wjich is the kind of services you can offer clients…
Types of copywriting services you can offer
This section is rather brief, but I thought it important to add in because you need to use the creative portion of your brain to think about the kinds of copywriting services you can offer. There is a LOT more than just “I can write something for you.”
Just in case you have no clear idea what type of copywriting services to offer, here are some of the things you can do:
(1) Website Content– Lots of kinds of content you can help with – banners, blogs, articles, widgets, sales pages, opt-in pages, etc, come to mind for me. Also, there are some industry-specific sites that will have even more specialized copywriting requirements.
(2) Press releases – These are very important to some of the corporations and businesses out there. In my experience, if you get these in the right hands, the releases can go viral and you will get clients information to a wide swath of the internet and even hard copy printed mediums.
(3) Online and Print Advertising – This is a good area. Online advertising is growing ata tremendous rate, and is pulling more and more advertising dollars away from traditional advertising mediums such as newspapers, billboards, radio, tv, etc. Print advertising and the other older mediums do live on however, so do not disregard then completely.
(4) Promotional Materials – Another area that will be interesting and provide some good income. It can also help build your portfolio so do not ignore this potential area for your business efforts.
(5) E-mails for Direct Marketing Emails are still the most effective means for selling online. As other platforms have gained in significance, the pwer of email has held its own. Preparing a series of swipes for a campaign or product can be very lucrative. Start saving the good one you get to refer to when you start charging clients for this service!
(6) Newsletters – These are still popular, although from what I have seen, less so than in earlier days. Now more people are using curated sites or other means to get such information out…BUT there is still some business to be had in this area. Explore and stay open on this…
(7) Copy for brochures, pamphlets and catalogs – Always in demand, these requirements have been around forever. They can provide some regular income for you and lead you into yet more lucrative and interesting projects.
(8) Proposals for grants and businesses I mentioned above my own experience in this segment. You can demand top dollar if you have a specialty that few have, and can combine that with your copywriting and organizational skills…In my case, this translated into charging $2000 a day plus expenses, not a small sum I think you would agree.
(9) Ghostwriting – There are many would-be authors out there that simply do not have the skills to do it themselves. You can do it for them, for a price!
Bottom Line: You can consider entering any or all of the categories of copywriting jobs that are available in the marketplace. Because you want to maximize your potemtial, it would be wise to become familiar with all of them…
Some more tips…
As mentioned in earlier posts, start collecting your own folder of effective copy that you can refer to when you are working on your own projects, These can be extremely helpful. Have you ever read a
As you look through these every so often, you will begin to see some similarities or elements that all seem to have. To save you time, here is a list of these…
(1) This Moves Me, or Using Psychology
To be most effective, your copy has to move people. It has to evoke emotions that lead consumers to make decisions based on the emotion you conjure.
The best copywriters use that knowledge of the power of emotions to their advantage. They write cleverly worded copy that will make an emotional connection succinctly.
Use words in your copy that will evoke emotions with readers to compel them to take action…They can’t help themselves…MORE important than the product information!
(2) What Sells, or “What Are Readers Buying”
The focus is on the reader. Effective copywriting isn’t about the product at all, it’s about the consumer of the copy, or the audience as some would say. What is that they may want? What seems to be their problem? How will the product or service presented make their life better?
Study what it is you are selling from the consumer’s point of view, the better to make your words compelling and irresistible. Answer their needs, their wants, their problems, provide what they are missing. etc.
(3) Closing Starts and Ends In The Headline
The best copywriters will spend a LOT if time, often hours or days to come up with that perfect headline for sales copy.
- It is a well known “secret” that you have about three seconds to capture the reader’s attention.
- If you have not, they will bounce on you.
- Think about statistics that point out that 8 out of 10 people may read a headline, but of those 8, only 2 will read the rest of the copy.
So the implication is that the headline has to instantly grab your reader’s interest and attention to cause them to read further, or they’ll be gone from the page
Possibly the MOST important element of your copy, give the headline its due when you are creating copy…
(4) Repeat after me…AIDA, AIDA, AIDA
There are a number of copywriting formulas you could use, and some have been around forever it seems…Consider this time tested formula that has proven again and again to work.
This formula is one you may have heard of, and if not this is your lucky day! It is called AIDA, and it stands for:
Copywriters that follow this formula will know they have to grab attention with the headline. They know they have to get the reader interested and keep them interested by telling a story, or through asking a question. With the active voice and strong words used they build up the readers’ desire for the product. They point out all the benefits, how it will solve the needs of the reader NOW, and finally the words include a string call to take action – The copy TELLS the reader what to do.
Follow a tested formula for creating your copy, include all elements of good copy as you write, then check your result against that formula…
(5) Only x More Available – Use Scarcity
I would be willing to bet you have seen such similarly worded copy more than a few times in your life…
- Only 5 more at this price!
- Offer only good for X number of days!
or maybe a version of the above in one form or another…you get my point…
Either hinting or stating directly about scarcity emotionally triggers a sense of urgency in the mind of the reader…Makes sense, they are going to lose out if they don’t act RIGHT NOW.
Three such tools you will see often used by the best copywriters include scarcity, urgency and exclusivity. They all make readers feel like they need to act immediately so they get in on the action. f they miss out by NOT acting NOW, they will still be stuck with their problem tomorrow.
Use scarcity, urgency, and exclusivity in your offers/copy. They work, and work well!
(6) Make Promises
Do not quibble on your promises. make them striong and emphatic. You miust reassure then in no uncertain terms that their problem will be solved. What you are selling is what they need. Make iron clad guarantees that are difficult to pass up on.
Some examples of such reassurance you can offer might include using one of the below statements:
- Double your money back if not satisfied.
- Free, no obligation trial period
- Free samples
- Free 7 day trial
- $1 for 7 days
- 30 day no questions asked refund if not fully satisfied
It is OK to make promises, it reassures and will often tip the scales in favor of a sale for you…Remember to always follow through on these promises however!
(7) Repeat after Me, I Repeat…
Readers will not refer back to the key points you mention in the beginning of your copy, so you have to remind them, again and again…
The best copy reminds the audience of the key points more than once on a sales page, and sets them apart using bullet points and sub-headers.
The best copywriters start the foundation of their copy using a unique selling point and build the whole of the remainder of their copy around that.
The unique selling proposition is essentially a thread that runs througout the copy that reinforced why the reader should buy from you, and not from competition.
Different forms of the thread you will see used, but all good copy has this binding it together and keeping it focused. We used to use a version of this, calling it the points of difference.
This method does not directly attack the competition, rather it shows how your products are different and better in specific areas versus the competition. Indirectly, you are saying that they are inferior of course…
So be different, a better different, and let the reader know you are a better different!
(9) Show Me The Way
The end is as the beginning. After you have led the reader past the headline, through the copy that points ouw why they need the product, how others have had their problem solved, lastly you have tell them what to do – add in a strong and clear call to action. The last argument against taking action has ben addressed, now they are ready to move…You tell them clearly the exact move and what they will get immediately…Voila – a sale!
Add in strong calls to action that explain what you want the reader to do and what will happen when they do take the desired action…
We are not done yet (almost there!)….Read on to learn about setting up your own copywriting business agency…
HOW TO SET UP YOUR OWN COPYWRITING BUSINESS
If you have decided that copywriting is a business model you want to pursue, and you have gone through the effort to establish, organize, and prepare for clients, your next step is obviously to go out and find those clients.
This can often be the trickiest step of all, but not to worry you do have options. Here are some suggestions to get you started…
Freelance Sites. Today there are a lot of freelance sites There are plenty of freelance sites, some rather well known, available on the internet where you can post or advertize your services.
Many copywriters today use these sites as an easy way to help build up their portfolio quickly, as well as to make some fairly good money. The downside is while it is a relatively easy way to access potential clients, you are competing for available projects.
Sometimes the client is more concerned about price than the quality. This means that you may get paid less than you want to get the business. Starting out, I would call that sweat equity and the cost of building your business.
Specifically look at Odesk, freelancer dot com, fiverr, and Elance. I believe that Odesk and Elance have merged. You can easily do a search on freelance sites copywriting and see what is there, and choose one or more to list your service offerings with.
My advice is use these sites only to estblaish yourself and get started. Once you have a good portfolio, move out of these low range projects you can offer to clients in to the bigger ones that will net you a LOT more income for your business.
Of course if you are going to have a copywriting business, you are going to have to create your own website. This can be done easily and quickly, I would recommend getting your own top level domain (com) and a reasonable cost web hosting service. You can do both for around $20 USD to start.
Most such web hosting service will provide WordPress as a framework for building your website. This backbone service is the easiest method around to quickly get your website online and saves you from having to learn html code and building a website from scratch.
WordPress has thousands of free themes that you can choose from. Search for themes with the words freelance, magazine and portfolio to find suitable themes for your new business. Your webhost may also have a library of themes available to select from…
One of the pages you will to include your site is an About Me page. This is where you secribe your experience level, your interests and a way for potential clients to contact you. Make it personal, yet professional. Include a picture or more pictures if practical…
Another page you should definitely add is a portfolio page. This is where you can link and show examples of your projects and past work. Make sure that you have permission to link from your affected clients before doing this.
Most clients are happy to have you display their work to others, it is a form of free advertising for them, but some are not open to sharing their information. If you have not clarified this , you run the risk of losing a client because you didn’t get their permission to share.
The next thing to think about is how to get your website and services offered in front of potential clients. This is similar to the dilemma that all businesses have. One way to do this would be by adding another page to your site wo add in blog posts.
There you could blog regularly about copywriting topics that would be of interest to potential clients. When they do a search for copywriting services, your site wuld part of the results they would see.
Another good way to get views and traffic would be by opening sites for your business on social platforms such as Google+, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. All of them are a great way to connect with others and get the word out oon your site and services. You can connect on a whol other level.
OK this wraps up another series of posts on a subject that we all need to know more about and learn how to do ourselves, or minimally need to be able to see what others are doing for us if we outsource.
I know you have had a lot thrown at you over the last three sessions, my advice is to read through the posts again, and take notes, and use what you can for your own program/business!
Use the material to improve your