Table Of Contents
- 1. Your Copywriting Business
- 2. How to Choose a Copywriter
- 3. Copywriting Courses to Jump-Start Your Career
Your Copywriting Business
Whether you’re new to setting up a copywriting services business, or are an established copywriter, there are many services you can offer. In this article, we’ll look at just seven of them.
Copywriters usually offer two or three of these services, although many just offer one: copywriting.
Let’s look at the seven:
- Copywriting Only – you just write copy
A “copywriting only” copywriter offers just one service: writing. He often has a subcontractor relationship with one or more advertising or graphics’ design agencies. Design and marketing decisions on projects are made by someone else.
You can develop a lucrative career as a Copywriting Only copywriter, but you will often face time pressures when several clients simultaneously demand copy.
Unfortunately there’s no way around these “I need it in 48 hours” demands: you’ll be brought in late in a project’s evolution (although you’ll argue that you should be brought in earlier, this is ignored), so you need to be able to think and write quickly.
- Marketing pro – you’re both a copywriter and marketer
As a marketing copywriter, you’re a strategist. You may oversee the complete launch of a new product or service, or you may offer advice in areas like Search Engine Marketing (SEM) with which agency copywriters are unfamiliar.
Marketing copywriters usually have a background in marketing, and although they’re paid in line with their experience and skills, they take on fewer projects per year than straight copywriters because the projects are more complex.
- Public Relations specialist – you’re a PR spin doctor
If you enjoy Public Relations copywriting and have contacts at newspapers and magazines, you can become a PR specialist. As a PR copywriter, you’re paid for your contacts – your ability to get publicity for your clients.
- Copy makeover specialist – you critique and rewrite others’ copy
Some copywriters add critiquing services to their copywriting services. You revise and revamp copy written by a business’s marketing staff. This can be lucrative, but you need diplomacy for this area.
- Project manager – you handle compete projects, sub-contracting design and marketing
As a project manager, you’re a team leader. You organize complete projects, managing the marketing, the design and the copy. You’ll sub-contact the work to others, overseeing the entire project, and ensuring that milestones and deadlines are met.
- Copywriting trainer – you teach copywriting
With professional copywriters in huge demand, and charging high fees, many people want to learn copywriting. Not only do they save on copywriting expenses, but they can get projects completed faster, because they’re done in-house.
Teaching copywriting is rewarding. You can offer in-person seminars and classes to corporate and other clients, or online classes.
- Copywriting consultant – you’re a strategist
As a copywriting consultant, you’re a strategist. You may develop branding concepts, offer publicity campaigns for businesses or individuals, or develop programs to achieve specific results such as generating leads.
Currently Pay Per Click (PPC) copywriting consultants are doing well. As a PPC copywriting consultant, you manage PPC campaigns, researching keywords, writing landing pages, writing ads, and tracking the results. As a PPC copywriting consultant, your fees are usually a percentage of the advertising spend.
So there you have seven copywriting services you can offer your clients – enjoy your copywriting career, it has rich rewards and is satisfying too.
How to Choose a Copywriter
Your product or service is near completion. You’ve thought before about the adcopy, but it’s now time to hire a copywriter.You understand that you need a specialist who will make the best impression for your product to your potential customers and get you the most sales.
This is a critical step and your quest can go smoothly or be a total nightmare. I hope that this report will help to answer some of your questions and make working with your copywriter a dream come true.
One of the most difficult aspects of giving your copywriting assignment over to someone else is your fear of their lack of commitment to you product or service.
You’ve perhaps conceptualize the product, worked with the developers and finally given it ‘birth’. The hardest step is now to give your ‘baby’ over to another for special care. Traditionally, copywriters never got the kind of respect that other professionals receive. For example, there aren’t many people who argue with their mechanics or doctors but everyone seems to have a better idea than their copywriters.
Everyone seems to think that writing is easy until they have to do it for themselves! The key here then is to give your copywriter the room and freedom to work.
You may know your product best, but your copywriter knows how to sell that product better than you do. This is the reason you sought him out in the first place.
You should hire a copywriter who has experience in your product category and stand back and give the copywriter room to do his work. You should have an opportunity to review the work and make suggestions, but take the copywriter’s suggestions seriously-as you would take that of any other professional.
Samples of the copywriter’s work should be available for your review but each assignment is different so you can only get a ‘feel’ for the writing style here.
Go with your gut feeling. If the copywriter is familiar with the industry, jargon and language of your product category then your customers will be better able to identify with his writing.
He will appear to be a part of the group. This is why you should look for the ‘specialist’ in your product market. At the same time copywriting is copywriting, is copywriting.
So any copywriter who is worth his salt should be able to write for any market. There are cases however where technical knowledge in a highly specialize field will give one copywriter the edge over another.
After you are satisfied with the sample work then you should be sure that you understand his fee rate. This should be stated right upfront, not hidden in some fine print. If you cannot afford the rate it’s best to find another copywriter.
Most professionals will give you less than their best if you try to negotiate downwards from their price. In other words, you normally get what you pay for.
You should also find out if the copywriter has any other type of writing experience. Has he published a book? Done articles in professional magazines or newspapers?
Copywriting, like any other type of writing involves the ability to communicate clearly using words. If your copywriter has other writing experiences then this will be a plus for you.
There are a few people who will call on a copywriter and try to ‘milk’ him for all he is worth. These business owners are not normally interested in his services or intend to hire him but would like to get free consultation.
Most copywriters are aware of these freebie seekers; so if you are not serious about hiring a copywriter you should respect his time. This is the ethical thing to do.
I’ve often had potential clients who will send information for me to look over, materials to read and ask my opinion on different aspects of their business only to hire another writer or none at all.
Well, this was before I recognized the trend and started filtering out these free loaders by asking for the down payment before I can give any “free consultation”.
Here are some other tips on working with a copywriter:
- You should provide complete information about your product or service. I would normally ask my clients to fill out a questionnaire before I can start working on the copy.
The purpose of this questionnaire is to get the client focused on what they are really selling and also to provide ample information for me to work from.
There is no substitute to product knowledge when you are selling anything. A copywriter can never know too much information on the product he is trying to sell. Usually the more you tell; the more you sell.
- Be sure that you understand what you are paying for. Get it in writing if necessary. It is important for you to know both the cost and what exactly you are paying for before the project starts, not at the end when it is too late.
Some copywriters work by the hour but I normally work for a flat fee or rate. I would therefore tell my clients that this letter will cost you $XX dollars and requires a 50% down payment and the other 50% at presentation of the first draft.
If I work by the hour there may be surprises at the end, but not when I quote the fee forthright. So I prefer the flat fee.
- Give the copywriter his space to work. If you are promised the salescopy in three weeks, don’t call or write in two weeks to find out how he is getting along.
Writing is already a mentally taxing exercise, so the added pressure of your frequent inquiries will not help at all. In fact, the way in which I write is that I take 80% of the time to think and plan and only 20% of that time to do the actual writing.
So if you called me half way through the time period that I promised you the copy the answer will be that I haven’t written anything as yet.
Remember that you are involved in a partnership with your copywriter so you will want to keep this relationship as smooth as possible.
He is trying to make your business money, not to take your money-hopefully. I speak for myself here but I think that most ethical copywriters will say the same: “I get greater satisfaction from knowing that my salescopy made my client a lot of money, rather than knowing that I made a lot of money from my client.”
Because copywriting is a creative process there is a lot of personal pride that goes into every piece a writer puts out.
- Pay in the agreed time frame. Pay promptly. I can still remember that old saying that ‘an army marches on its stomach’. What about other one that says that ‘reward sweetens labor’?
The whole point here is that if you refuse to pay your copywriter he or she isn’t likely to give you his best work-just human nature. When you pay on time, you are saying that you appreciate you partner in business-which he is.
If you are not immediately satisfied with the work then you should indicate the changes that need to be made, but don’t hold his payment ransom by refusing the balance.
Of course every case must be judged on its own merit, but if you did your research well it is hardly likely that a job could turn out so bad that you think that it doesn’t deserve a fair reward. This brings us to the next point.
- Be rational on how you critique the work you receive. If you send statements such as ‘I don’t like the copy’, ‘It’s too boring’ or ‘I expected better’, these statements are too general to mean anything to the copywriter.
You should be more specific and say something like, “I think you should emphasize how unique our product is in the market place”, or “I think that you should strengthen the guarantee more”. These statements are all more specific and measurable.
You should also make it a point to indicate what you love about the copy before you state what you don’t like about it. You are working with a human being-not a machine-who have just given a piece of his soul on paper.
To be just outright critical will surely hurt-the same way in which a writer’s heart bleed after his manuscript comes back from his editors! Remember that it is always easier to criticize what already exists than it is to create something from scratch.
- Read the copy as a customer not as a business owner. After you’ve spent so much time on the creative side of the fence it’s hard to see your product from the customer’s side.
What may appear as second-nature to you may be rocket science to the customer. Only the customer can decide how effective the copy really is-with their credit cards. When the salescopy is placed into operation your sales will be the only acid test for the power of the copy.
Whether you like the style, language or any other aspect of the copy doesn’t matter one bit to the customer.
Customers are only concerned about the benefits they can get from your product, not your image. This is a very hard pill to swallow for many business owners who take too much control away from their copywriters. It goes back again to an innate lack of respect for the copywriting professional.
- Be generous with your praise and update on sales. The majority of clients will receive the copy, make their payment and unless they need to hire the copywriter again, never make another contact. You should send a ‘thank you’ note and especially when the copy sells well, you should inform your copywriter about your success.
This will help him to improve his skill and also may save you some money on your next project. Again, remember that reward sweetens labor and a word of thanks can be very powerful indeed.
Who should know about the power of words than a copywriter?
- Copywriting is only one number in your sales equation. There are other factors other than the effectiveness of your copy that will determine how successful your sales are. Bad copy can sell a great product but great copy cannot sell a bad product.
So don’t be too quick to blame your copywriter. I know of some copywriters who would not take on your project if they think that your product will not sell.
This lack of sale may be a result of a saturated market, heavy competition, bad timing, a low perceived value of your product and a bunch of other possibilities.
If you carefully performed your market research before you created your product or service then this shouldn’t be a problem. But just be aware of it.
Here is a final note that involves how you rate a copywriter. Let’s say that a copywriter wrote 100 letters that sold 10,000 products for a total of $500,000. How would he compare to a copywriter that wrote one letter that sold an aircraft worth $1,000,000?
Do you rate a copywriter according to the total value of the products he sold or the number of letters he has written?
That must be left up to you as a client to decide. But suffice it to say that some of the most famous mail order salescopy were done by copywriting students who wrote very few letters in total.
Such a case is The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches by Joe Karbo, which sold over 3 million books at $10 each. According to copywriter Joe Sugarman, Joe Karbo wrote this ad right off the top of his head with little editing done after the ad was released.
Also, Karbo wrote few other ads apart from this one. I guess he didn’t have to. He could live comfortably from this one short salescopy!
As you shop around to hire a copywriter you must look for talent as well as experience. But even if a writer doesn’t have years of copywriting experience you may still be looking at a potential Joe Karbo!
I wish you only success in your business!
Copywriting Courses to Jump-Start Your Career
When I got started in copywriting, I took the long, uphill battle. I decided I was too good for the copywriting courses out there (and perhaps too cheap), and turned instead to all the books I could buy (at bargain basement prices) on Amazon.com.
And honestly, I’ve done pretty well for myself. I quickly got a job in a marketing department, writing copy regularly, and helping out with other marketing activities. I then transitioned to sales, where I could continue to hone my copywriting abilities while earning a commission selling my company’s products.
And all along, I chased secret after secret to copywriting success in cheapo books from Amazon.
But, let me tell you a little secret.
I wouldn’t do it that way again. In fact, in the last couple of years I’ve changed my approach a bit – and shortly thereafter, I broke out on my own as a freelance copywriter, and have started working with some of the biggest names in direct marketing as a result.
What change did I make? Well, in short, I started investing in copywriting courses as well as the books. I’ve let loose a little bit, and told myself that because I’m investing in my business and my career, I can afford to stretch to take courses that will help me become a better copywriter, and run a better copywriting business.
And, the copywriting courses have helped. A lot.
What You Get From Copywriting Courses
That You Won’t Get From Books
Let me tell you a little bit about books, before I move on to copywriting courses.
Most copywriting books are advertisements for the copywriter’s services. It’s a not-so-secret secret. Write a book, be seen as an expert. Be seen as an expert, get hired – and at higher prices, too.
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Sure, there are some good books. Ones I strongly recommend other copywriters read. Yet, most books seem to fall short by quite a bit when it comes to becoming successful as a copywriter. Because those books are designed to show off all that the copywriter knows about how to write good advertising. They’re not designed to show you all the thinking you need to have to succeed as a copywriter.
Yet, it’s the thinking that sets great copywriters apart from good copywriters… And, this thinking is what I’ve found to be the biggest takeaway from the best-of-the-best copywriting courses out there.
So, let me answer three of the most common questions around the copywriting courses out there… With the hope that I can steer you in the right direction for a successful career.
Question 1: “How Do You Evaluate Copywriting Courses?”
When it comes to copywriting courses, I look to the teacher of the course as my single-biggest factor. And, I have one big question.
“Do they walk the walk?”
Let me use a quick story to illustrate. A famous copywriter got a call from a new potential client. This client was trying to sell a book about “How to get rich with your own mail order business.” The advertisement wasn’t working well enough, so he turned to this copywriter for help.
So, this copywriter asked, “Have you gotten rich with your own mail order business?”
Can you guess what the answer was? “No.” He hadn’t. How much stock could anyone put in his advice, then? What was the value of learning how to get rich in mail order, from someone who hadn’t done it themselves?
There are crooks and charlatans all over the place who talk the talk, but who don’t walk the walk. When I’m looking to invest in a new copywriting course, I ask, “Have they done it? Have they succeeded as a copywriter?”
If the answer is, “No,” that’s my answer to buying the course. Yet, if they have… If the copywriter who’s teaching the course is an already-successful copywriter… Then I can make the investment confidently.
Beyond this, when you’re evaluating copywriting courses, I recommend looking for courses that teach two additional items beyond just how to write a good advertisement.
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I recommend courses that also help you learn the entire marketing process of getting customers, maximizing customer value, and creating entire marketing strategies – because this helps a good writer become a strategic partner, which can skyrocket your income.
I also recommend courses that help you promote and market yourself as a copywriter – because a copywriter who can write blistering sales copy yet who can’t get and keep clients has no chance of long-term success.
Question 2: “What Choices Are There In Copywriting Courses?”
It seems like just about every day a new copywriting course comes on the market. So, the choices are seemingly endless.
Yet, if you use the “walks the walk” criteria, you’ll find that 80% of the copywriting courses available for purchase can be ignored completely. And, of the 20% that are left, only 20% of those are going to meet my other two criteria – teaching you marketing strategy and how to succeed in your copywriting career.
And, while opportunity seekers may gravitate to the promise of “How to write a million-dollar advertisement,” the people who will find the most success will be those who learn “How to be a pro copywriter, A-to-Z.”
So, that narrows down your choices to the select few copywriters (and there really is just a select few) who have proven themselves over and over again in the marketplace by writing winning advertisements.
And then, those who make it a point to teach you more than how to write a good ad – to those who also share marketing insights and strategy, as well as tips and recommendations on how to achieve maximum success as a copywriter.
A Final Word On Copywriting Courses
I hope you do what I did and finally choose to pull the trigger and move forward on investing in yourself. Invest in good copywriting courses. One that’s focused on how to apply the knowledge of copywriting to being a successful copywriter. It can be worth far more to you than a dozen books on just writing ads well.
I know for me it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made – to invest in myself, to invest in copywriting courses that would help me get ahead. I think it could be the same for you.