October 2018 1
From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
The Most Effective Way to Find Great Clients. Part 5.
My Advice to Newbies.
Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!
Some copywriters who contact me are thinking about being a copywriter. Others are just getting going.
I’ve never had an established copywriter contact me for advice but I’d still give the same advice I’m presenting here.
In the past emails in this series, I’ve talked about being passive and waiting for work to come your way or being proactive and going to get the work you want. I’ve also talked about the importance of changing your mindset and thinking very differently about finding clients.
Today’s email provides another step on this journey.
The world today is replete with digital marketing agencies. It’s also replete with advertising agencies. No surprise there. A quick search for “Denver Digital Marketing Agencies” turns up a ton of results.
Take a look …
Just a few of the hundreds in Denver, the nearest city to me.
I rarely work for digital marketing agencies these days because I’m more experienced and I can command higher fees than digital agencies are usually willing to pay. But I still have digital and traditional advertising agencies contacting me periodically and I’m happy to help them, provided the fees are there.
But when I was just getting going as a direct response copywriter, I sought out digital agencies. Why? Because I knew they had to have copy. The pay wasn’t stratospheric but it was good enough PLUS I gained valuable experience and built my portfolio. The head of the agency provided super-valuable training.
Need work? Then start contacting digital advertising agencies right now.
You need a couple of things.
One. A website. It doesn't have to be exotic but it needs to be solid. Two. Samples. Just getting started? Make up an imaginary product or create your own information product and start writing copy.
You’ll need to contact these agencies by phone, email, Linked In, or through their websites.
When you contact them, one of three things will happen.
One. You’ll be totally ignored. Keep pounding away with polite persistence. Two. The agency will ask to see samples. Provide these samples and follow up with polite persistence. Three. They will ask you to work on a couple of minor projects. Get going but don't undersell yourself.
Yes … you’re going to have to sell. You’re a copywriter. You’re in sales.
Just remember … there’s huge opportunity out there.
A quick search for “number of advertising agencies in the US” provides me with the number … 120,000. And THEY ALL NEED COPY.
Rejection? It’s no fun. People who never reply to messages? They’re no fun.
But just a little digging around will produce some results. You MUST be persistent. And once you start getting results, which you will, you will no longer be relying on Upwork, message boards, classifieds, and other passive ways to get (really bad) work.
I’m not afraid to contact advertising agencies. Some of the projects can be lucrative.
Is your thinking starting to change?
I came across a copywriter’s website the other day. The copywriter had blatantly stolen copy from my Linked In description. Don’t do this.
Are you stylistically elastic?
I recently wrote a letter to my local newspaper. The letter is below.
It was exciting to read that the American Planning Association named our pedestrian mall “One of America’s Great Public Places.”
Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but the list is not exactly exclusive. Florida alone garnered 10 citations.
Who is complaining? Not me, not yet, as I sit quietly on a bench on the mall, 34 yards from Wagner Park. I see the daily charge of canines toward the Rugby field. I relish the views. I see children organizing rubber duck races in the ersatz rivulets. I work on my laptop and send instant messages to friends in lands not cited by the American Planning Association as “One of America’s Great Public Places” and ask them how long they spent in traffic that morning.
All is well until I smell something, a combination of rancid gerbil vomit, untreatable halitosis, malfunctioning diesel engine exhaust, my smelliest socks ever, canine diarrhea, the Baton Rouge municipal landfill, freshly-squeezed anchovy juice, platypus flatus, and the weapons-grade BO from the 345-pound traveler in seat 38F when I’m in seat 38E for a 10 hour flight to Dubai.
The olfactory offense comes from the person on the adjoining bench who decides to smoke a cigarette. Said puffer renders any awards from the American Planning Association completely irrelevant. The smell I just described, in perhaps the longest sentence ever printed in The Aspen Times, before this one, wafts over me and “One of America’s Great Public Places” becomes one of its worst.
If the powers-that-be are keen to maintain the beauty of the pedestrian mall areas, then, perhaps, they will ban smoking and march the puffers to Rubey Park where it’s PERFECTLY OK to smoke within 7 inches of the signs that read, “No Smoking Within 25 Feet of This Sign.”
Scott T. Martin
Would I write direct response copy like that? No. The copy I write for my clients is totally different. One of the skills you gain as you write more is stylistic elasticity. Direct response copy must be simple, clear, and direct.