Writing Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Are you willing to write outside your comfort zone, or do you refuse to consider working with companies outside your sphere of experience? Many copywriters needlessly restrict their income when they don’t consider that *every* business is a potential market.
If you’re a copywriter, you can write copy for any business, even if you know nothing at all about that specific industry. For example, I regularly write copy for a heavy equipment manufacturer and a national hire company. I know zero about their businesses. I’ve also written for chemical manufacturing companies, medical supply companies, real estate developers — and I don’t know much about their businesses either.
As their copywriter, this is good. If they can explain a product or a service to me so that I can understand it, then I can explain and sell it to others. Knowing too much about something when you write about it can be a problem. You assume that your audience knows more than they do, and your copy goes right over their heads. If you think I’m saying that ignorance is good for a copywriter, you’re right.
Take your courage in both hands and write outside your comfort zone. Approach manufacturers, local politicians, government departments — any and all LARGE local businesses which need and can pay for copywriting services.
You will find this difficult at first. You will naturally feel you need to know about their business. You don’t. You need writing skills, and you’ve got those.
When you’re looking for new clients, head for your local manufacturing area, or industrial park. I guarantee you, that you will come away with several new clients each time you do this.
Here’s how to proceed
At each business, ask to speak to the marketing manager. If he or she is unavailable, in a meeting, or on vacation, ask for the individual’s name and complete title. Take careful note of this, so you can follow up with a phone call later. Leave your business card.
If the marketing manager is available, and has a couple of moments to spend with you, ask to see a sample of their marketing materials.
Tip: don’t be tempted to show your portfolio and talk about yourself. At this early stage, avoid talking about yourself. Ask questions, but listen more than you speak. When you see the sample of their marketing materials, ask if you can take the sample with you.
Ask about the kinds of communications material they need. Again, listen. People are busy, and they’ve got their minds on all sorts of problems. They need some time to work out for themselves what they need, that you may be able to supply.
This initial meeting is simply an introduction, and that’s all it is. At the end of five minutes-ten minutes maximum-shake hands and leave, with a promise to be in touch.
As soon as you leave the business, pop back to your car, and write up everything you learned about the business. Within a week or so, send a brief letter, or make a short phone call, to remind the marketing manager that you exist. You can also offer a couple of ideas or proposals, if you want to.
If you spend a couple of hours once a week making visits to businesses in your local manufacturing areas and in industrial parks, I promise you that within a couple of weeks you’ll have more work than you can handle.
All it takes is a willingness to move out of your comfort zone. You can do it.
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