From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
Labor ... Or Ease?
I generally dislike meetings … for a wide variety of reasons. But a big company recently bought one of my clients and so I found myself in a drab meeting room in a drab office building, meeting the people from the big company.
These people are not really direct marketers, although they seem genuinely interested to discover more about direct marketing and direct response copywriting. The executives asked me to explain how direct response copywriting works. I had 15 minutes so the explanation was super-basic but I poured a lot of enthusiasm into the presentation.
A friend from the company that was acquired was in the meeting. After the meeting, he commented on my enthusiasm for direct response copywriting.
My friend was right, of course. I love writing direct response copy. I’ll be sitting down with my laptop, and this could be almost anywhere, and I’ll be working on some copy, and I’ll be thinking, “I’m loving this and I’m really fortunate to have something in my life that’s not really work, but generates a solid income.”
I know well over 100 copywriters. Some are good friends. Some are acquaintances. Some are just starting out. Others are extremely famous. But I can only think of a handful of copywriters who tell me they really love writing copy. One friend told me he hates writing copy. Another really famous copywriter rarely writes copy because he no longer enjoys it. Many top-level copywriters are no longer writing copy; they're coaching aspiring copywriters because it’s easier and the money is excellent … upwards of $1,000 an hour. For these copywriters, writing copy is labor.
Now, there are times when being a direct response copywriter is a major challenge to the point where it’s not a lot of fun. When does this happen? When clients don’t pay and I have to chase them. When clients use the 4.0 peer review process and other copywriters are critiquing my copy … totally randomly. When clients don’t communicate. When clients get super-critical about copy and get super-slow. I start to feel the natural loneliness that freelancers can experience. So … here are my ways to maintain my enthusiasm. Keep reading about direct response copywriting, sales psychology, sales, and direct marketing. At least 30 minutes a day. I also listen to MP3s and watch videos. Find great clients and avoid the bad ones. Fire the bad ones if you need to. Work with clients whose products and services get you excited. And work with clients who move quickly. Find diversions outside direct response copywriting. Dan Kennedy is one of the top harness racers in the country. I’m a part-time ski instructor. Make some friends who are also copywriters and stay in touch with them. Vent if you need to vent. Relish the process of finding great clients. It’s a little like a hunting expedition. Be patient but be persistent. Keep improving and learning more about direct response copywriting. Attend events where you can hang out with other copywriters. Remember the power you have to help companies and entrepreneurs. Vary your schedule and your routine. Find clients who share your passion for direct marketing. Find clients who really want to succeed and really value direct response copywriters. Some copywriters find they can only write copy for a few hours a day, usually in the morning. I can write copy all day … at any time of day … pretty much anywhere.
I feel sorry for the copywriters whose enthusiasm for writing copy has waned. It’s almost a tragedy. Writing direct response copy can be one of the greatest gigs on the face of planet earth.
So this labor day, ask yourself, “is copywriting going to be hard work … or fun?”
It’s fun for me … in part because I make a point to make it fun.
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter