copywriting success is more likely if you don't follow the herd
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Big IdeasFreelance Writing Success

the Holy Grail of copywriting?

Find your grail

I was sitting at my local café today and ♪ Find Your Grail ♪ from Spamalot came into my head (and then wouldn’t leave).

It got me thinking that a lot of people seem to think there’s a Holy Grail of copywriting.

Any guesses as to what it is?

If you can write copy for one of the “Big Boys” of the financial newsletter or alternative health publishing niches, you’re in like Flynn.

You’ll become an in-demand copywriter, work 2-3 hours a day and pull in $20k a month writing one sales letter. Your royalties alone will pay for your vacation home on the Cape, and your name will be heralded throughout the copywriting world.

The money is good…it’s prestigious…you can write your own ticket…and best of all, you can make a boatload of money teaching others to do the same thing.

The only problem? Everyone thinks it’s the Holy Grail, and there’s a ton of people pursuing it.

Now, if you’re already in this niche and doing well, I applaud you. If you’re starting to make it happen, and you’re making good money at it, by all means, keep going! (And stop reading here.)

If not? Well, here’s the thing.

Copywriting for the financial newsletter or alternative health niches has become a game of follow the followers. I suppose it works out brilliantly for those who make the grade, and the giant publishers who hire them.

The ones who make it have unbelievable copywriting skills. They’re the top 1% of copywriters, or they’re maybe in the top 5% and took the time to apprentice under an A-level copywriter for a few years.

For everyone else chasing the Grail? Not so good.

Your odds of success aren’t great. More than making the Major Leagues, it’s like making the Major League All-Star team.

And if you do make the team, there’s a hundred people in line behind you, waiting for you to strike out just once so they can get their shot.

Don’t believe me? I know some pretty high-level copywriters who got in a short batting slump and got knocked out of the starting lineup.

A better way to go?

Find your grail. (Sing it with me, baby! If you don’t know the tune, YouTube it and have a listen when you’re done reading.)

There’s a vast universe of copywriting clients out there! They’re everywhere!

♪ It’s really up to you. You must choose what to pursue. Set your mind on what to find. And there’s nothing you can’t do. ♪

Sorry, the song is still stuck in my brain.

In all seriousness, why don’t more copywriters try to find their own grail, instead of following the herd?

Well, to start with, there’s usually not a guidebook or a program that spells it out to a T.

You have to figure out who you are, what you offer (a service, not a niche), and why that makes a difference.

None of that is cookie-cutter, and it takes time.

It also helps to develop your own Personal Brand, a topic that’s been sorely lacking from most copywriting training programs (something Kat Blakely and I are working hard to correct).

It requires some deep-level creative thinking, which is harder than following a paint-by-numbers program.

So if your copywriting business has been drifting, and you want to start shifting, stick around the Café. When you Find your Grail, you won’t fail. I promise. (And I promise, no more song lyrics!)

I’d love to hear from you on this one.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve found so far in getting established as a copywriter? Figuring out what you’re good at? Deciding who your audience is? Finding a good way to position yourself? Getting clients to come to you instead of chasing them?

Let me know here, and I’ll answer it and maybe even cover it in an upcoming Coffee Chat. Thanks.

Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (32 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers turn Big Ideas into profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and three-day business-building immersion retreats. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Great post Steve!

    I have only been following you now for a short little while and I am already pleased with ideas that you share.

    I love how you suggest that we as copywriters (and freelance writers) pursue our own “grail” instead of following the bandwagon of those that have yet to find it.

    I am reminded of what Grant Cardone always says, “Determine what you want to be known for in life (your calling) and pursue that with everything that is within you (spirit and mindset) by taking massive action towards that aim.”

    That aim (grail) is what I recommend people reading should pursue and not what someone else thinks the grail is.

    Thank you for this post.

  • Melzetta "Mele" Williams says:

    My biggest challenge has been figuring how to build a high-income business using my talents AND sensibilities. Oh, and determining whether or not that business will fit into the marketplace.

    Finally, I have a plan in motion. But it has taken me a long time to figure it out.

  • joseph derer says:

    thanks steve… good information…

    • Steve Roller says:

      Thanks, Joe. Glad to have you as a new email subscriber, too.

      Just so you know, most weeks I send out a brief email on Tuesday and Thursday at 2 pm CT.

      I try to give at least one tip or idea that you’re not hearing everywhere else, something that you can take action on right away.

      Let me know if I can ever help you in any way.

  • http://www./ says:

    Yet another reason I can share with my brother-in-law as to why the US is more awesome than Canada. They might have Tim Horton's but we have the Kindle

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