“The market seems over-saturated with copywriters. Is there still work out there for freelance writers? How do I get work if I don’t have experience? Everyone tells me I can’t be a generalist. Do I have to choose a niche right away?”
These are the top three questions I’ve been hearing from Copywriter Café Members lately.
You don’t have to be an expert to grab your share. And you don’t need years of experience to get started.
The challenge for new writers is that it’s wide open.
When I first started, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to become a copywriter.
I was completely indecisive, however, about what direction I wanted to go in.
B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2B (business-to-business)? Get a staff position with a publisher, like some copywriters I knew of, or go freelance? Specialize in long-form sales letters or short web copy? Within B2B or B2C … what area?
Too many decisions. I was overwhelmed because everyone was telling me I had to pick a niche right away.
Your new copywriting business made easy
If you’re feeling the same concerns, let me offer you a few suggestions:
You don’t have to settle on a niche immediately. If you can, great, but it’s not imperative to start getting work. As you get more established and discover what area you like most, then pick your niche.
Look for voids in the marketplace. Don’t follow the crowds. There’s a lot of demand in niches like financial, alternative health, and self-help, but they also tend to be very competitive.
What I did instead was look at the world I knew from past experiences, business and personal acquaintances, and subjects I was familiar with.
As a result, I got projects early on with a sales training business, a fundraising company, an executive life coach, and a real estate broker. I didn’t have writing experience in those areas, and they didn’t care. They just wanted someone to help them grow their business.
Help those businesses find a “slight edge.” You don’t have to create a complete new idea or strategy from scratch. That can be a daunting task when you’re new.
An easier approach is to improve upon what your client is already doing. For example, I worked with a company that sold Pilates videos online. They were having some success with online video marketing. Instead of trying a new approach, I simply rewrote their video script using direct-response techniques, and their response went up by almost 50%.
Another example is a life coach who had a decent website but wasn’t getting any organic search engine traffic. Easy solution. Through a one-hour consultation, I discovered that she had a unique specialty within the vast area of “life coaching.” I rewrote her website content using targeted keywords, and she started getting traffic and leads.
The bottom line? You don’t have to know everything to get started. Just slightly more than your potential clients.
What other questions do you have as a new (or experienced) copywriter? Let me know and I’ll answer here quickly.
This blog post first appeared as an article in November 2012 in American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Writer’s Life, a free newsletter that gives you opportunities that enable you to live life on your own terms. If you’re looking for a new career related to writing, there may be an opportunity at AWAI that’s right for you. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/the-writers-life/.