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[How To] Get Better Paying Article & Copywriting Clients

Discussion in 'Copywriting & Sales Persuasion' started by Reaver, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I’ve been on this forum for about a year, and aside from my charming wit and biting sarcasm, I haven’t really contributed anything to this place. So this guide is my “thank you” to this forum.

    This guide is a combination of methods I’ve read about and personally tried. It’s not 100% original, but I have put some new twists on some old favorites. I share all of that with you. I want you to be a successful writer, and not a victim of forced copywriting labor.

    For those of you who will say something retarded like, “I make good money charging cheap prices,” whoop-de-freaking-do. Obviously, this guide is not for you. So keep stepping.

    This guide is for people who want to:
    • Earn more for their writing but don’t know where to start
    • Be seen as a professional
    • Be treated like a professional
    • Be paid like a professional
    • Work like a professional
    • Learn how to stand out in order to get better paying clients
    I’m not going to sugarcoat this, and I’m not going to baby you. This guide is over 2000 words long, so it might take you a while to read it. But I promise you it’ll be worth it.

    Don’t Think Like Other Writers

    Most writers want to compete with other, lower paying writers. That is why they charge what people call “competitive” rates. They think that there is nothing better out there. That’s like people who think that you can only get burgers at fast food joints. That’s just stupid.

    There are tons – and I mean tons – of businesses that will not go near a writer that charges less than 10 cents a word. There is absolutely no secret to finding and contacting these businesses. I know other copywriters like to pretend like there’s something major you need to do, but there isn’t.

    Actually, the more you charge, the less competition you’ll have. I know writers who charge $1 per word and they literally have to turn down writing assignments. That’s how much their skills are in demand.

    One writer I know charges $1500 for 2 or 3 pages of writing. She has no shortage of writing clients.

    It was from her and some members on this forum that I learned I needed to charge more for my writing. And once I put myself out there, I did not even remotely regret it.

    Position Yourself as a Professional Copywriter

    In order to do this, you will need the following:
    • A professional website
    • A professional email address
    • Impressive samples
    • Testimonials (optional)
    Your website should have its own domain name. Do not host your site on blogger, tumblr or some other Web 2.0 property. Get a real website with real hosting.

    As far as your design, less is more. I go with a minimalist design every time. I don’t want my clients distracted and possibly turned off by flashy designs, too many pictures or horrid colors. I keep it simple: black and white with one or two other complimentary colors.

    I only have two pictures on my website: my logo and a picture of me. There’s no need for anything else.

    Your website shouldn’t have any more than 5 or 6 pages:
    • Home
    • About
    • Samples/Portfolio
    • Contact
    • Pricing (optional)
    • Blog (optional)
    For pricing: I usually put “Starts at” pricing so that people can get a ballpark figure for what I charge. You can have a flat out price range for everything, but then you’ll get “scope creep” clients: they want you to do more and more work and they drag out the project without paying you more for it. So, if possible, try to stick with “Starts at” pricing.

    For your home, pricing, about and contact pages: Make sure that you emphasize that working with the client is based on whether or not you’ll be a good fit together. Again, be picky. You do not want to take anyone and everyone that comes your way (more about this later).

    Niche yourself: If you niche yourself, you’re more likely to get clients. General writers can be found everywhere, but niche specific writers can’t. I know you think they can, but they can’t.

    For your samples/portfolio: If you’re actually an authority in your niche, you’ll be able to show it in your samples. So make those things as impressive as possible. Go all out on them. Write them like a billionaire asked you to write them and he’s paying you top dollar.

    You’ll need at least 3 to 5 samples. If you don’t have them, then make them up. Or, better yet, do some work for a discounted price – or for free. You can actually get testimonials very easily like this. Just tell the client “I will do this for you at a discount/for free. In exchange I’d like a testimonial from you that I can post on my website.” They will almost always say yes.

    Where and How I Found My Clients

    I found most of my clients via LinkedIn, but Google is also your friend. Find companies in your niche that meet your requirements for a good client, then find their contact information. Craft a personal email (more about this later) and send it off.

    Yes, you need to be picky with your clients.

    If you take anything that comes along, you look desperate as hell. And desperate writers normally get screwed. If you screen your clients, you’re less likely to get your ass kicked. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but it won’t happen to you very often.

    Networking still works guys. I go to events where I meet business owners, give them my card and get clients that way. I’ve also networked with some awesome people on this forum and did some work for them.

    Sometimes, if I frequent a local small business, I will give them a call or email them and offer them my services. That’s what I did when I first started this method at the beginning of this year. It worked like a charm.

    Clients are everywhere. You don’t have to go far to look for them. Trust me.

    How to Email Potential Clients

    I did not just spray and pray.

    I carefully picked out which companies I wanted to work with. I found out how much revenue they made per year to see if they could afford me. Then I approached whoever was in charge of their marketing. (Content falls under marketing.) If there was no one, I sent an email to the owner of the company.

    I would follow up with emails until I got a response. I never stopped at just one email. People are busy. They may mean to respond to you, but then something happens. So keep yourself in front of them.

    This doesn’t mean you should spam them.

    This does mean that you should send a friendly reminder that you emailed them. Space these reminders out over the course of a month or two. One reminder a week is fine.

    If I don’t get a response after two months, I just assume they’re not interested, and move on.

    Writers contact these companies all the time wanting to work with them. You are probably the only one who sends repeat reminders. Most writers are just like other email marketers: one email and they’re done.

    You can’t think like that. You have to think outside of the box.

    So now you’re asking “Oh, but AI, won’t you annoy them if you send them multiple emails?”

    It honestly depends on the person you’re contacting. Some people are impressed with persistence, as long as you’re polite and professional about it. If you’re just spamming the hell out of them, of course you’re going to annoy them.

    I’ve been doing this for about 8 months now and I’ve only had 5 people contact me and tell me to stop emailing them. That’s 5 out of the hundreds of emails I’ve sent out.

    How to Craft an Email that Will Get a Good Response

    You’re going to craft an email that’s going to show them that you took the time to research who they were and that you’re not just spamming the crap out of them.

    Keep it 5 to 7 sentences long.

    So, here’s the template for the email:

    Now, let’s go over why this email works.

    First of all, make the subject line as specific as possible. Name the award, article or the website you got it from. “About your Search Engine Land Guest Post from May 2016” is going to get a better open rate than “About your article.”

    Second, addressing a business owner by their first name lets them know you’re their peer. It also allows you to get on a somewhat personal level with your client (but not TOO personal).

    Third, you do want to live up to your subject line. So opening the email with commending them on something is a great way to do that. It also eases their suspicions that it is spam email.

    Fourth, you need to do an elevator pitch. Explain what you do in just a few sentences. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. No one cares that you won awards, or that you’ve got an MBA in Toilet Training. You can put all that stuff on the about page of your website.

    Finally, the length of your email matters. If I’m a business owner, and I’m opening up an unsolicited email and it’s longer than two paragraphs, I’m ditching it. So keep it no longer than seven sentences.

    As I know some of you are lazy and are just going to copy this word for word, I’m going to tell you right now you are going to fail miserably. The purpose of a template is to give you an idea a foundation for you to start with. You have to personalize it. So please do your damn research and make the email your own.

    Clients want to see personality when you email them, not a boring email template that can be filled out by anyone. You’ll stand out if you sound like a real person, and not like some heartless automaton.

    How to Craft a Follow Up Email

    The follow up email is really simple. Just remind them that you contacted them a number of days ago, who you are and what you do.

    Here’s a template:

    As for the subject line, you really don’t need one. Just hit “reply” on your original email so that it’ll say “Re: (your original subject line).”

    After the third email you may want to switch up the follow up email. You can change the subject if you want (again, I never do) but the body can be something like one or two lines long. Something like:


    Keep in mind I don’t always “bribe” my potential clients. I only do this with clients I really want to work with, as in it would be hella impressive to have them on my list of clients, or I just really like them (like they’re a local company or something).

    The point of these follow up emails is to stand out from the crowd. Show them you’re a person, you realize they’re busy, it’s not a big deal they didn’t reply to you, but here’s a reminder.

    Don’t be afraid to play with this method. The worst they can do is say no, and really, “no” is only as hurtful as we let it be.

    How to Screen Clients

    I can’t tell you what kind of clients would be best to work with. You have to figure that out for yourself. I can tell you a few of the things that I will not tolerate out of a client:
    • Micromanagement
    • Clients who ask for a discount (if you can’t afford me gtfo)
    • Clients who try scope creep
    • Clients who demand that I be available to them through any means besides email
    • Clients who are just flat out rude, and/or treat me like crap
    The list is actually much longer than this, but this is just a sample.

    The Importance of Having a Contract

    I generally don’t work with clients who refuse to sign a contract.

    Most professional companies will require you to sign a contract before you start working for them. I have no problem signing these instead of having the client sign mine (after I consult a professional). As long as there is a contract in place, and both parties agree to it, I’m happy to do the work.

    Most professionals will not flinch if you ask them to sign a contract. I consider it fishy if someone doesn’t want to sign one. It doesn’t hurt, it takes like 5 seconds, and it shows me you’re serious and you value yourself and your business. Those are the kind of clients I want to work with.

    The only exception to this is when I work with people on this forum, as I can easily SL them (or vice versa) if they don’t pay up as promised. And speaking of…

    Get Payment Up Front

    If you’re going to follow this guide, you need to get your payments up front. The client pays, then you get to work.

    I have zero problems getting up front payments. This is something that’s just expected with professionals and people who value your skills.

    I’ve made a few exceptions to this, but only for people on this forum. Again, you can easily SL them, but I’ve found that if you deal with senior members or jr. vips, you’re probably not going to get screwed on this deal.

    And Finally

    If you have any questions about this guide, leave them in this thread. I will answer them as soon as possible.

    I am not going to answer PMs regarding anything written here. All questions need to be posted here so that other people can benefit from whatever answers are posted.

    Thanks to: @Sherbert Hoover for being awesome/chill and giving me marketing advice
    @t0mmy for inspiring me to even put up this guide (your guides are always aces bro)
    @Apricot for being so cool about my codependent relationship with this forum
    @Ste Fishkin for teaching me important lessons about marketing and pricing
     
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  2. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    This is golden. Bookmarked. Can't wait to see what other member scrapes the content and puts it into a WSO.

    I loved the section on persistence, especially this tidbit:

    Great stuff, @alwaysinvisible!
     
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  3. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks. :)

    I realize that some jerk is gonna try to make this a WSO so I took the liberty of doing it myself. I added 4000 words and priced it at $67.

    Lol jk.

    Can you imagine though?

     
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  4. abhi007

    abhi007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I suggest people to be creative with their emails and not just copy what she has posted.
     
  5. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    What's stopping you? You would surely handle expanding a quality thread into an ebook better than fuckin' Roy has.
     
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  6. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Shhh! Don't say his name! You'll summon him!

    The original thread actually was ebook length but I cut it down to the meaty bits and posted it here.
     
  7. Absan

    Absan Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great and useful info! ;)

    Linkedin worked fine for me too.

    If I had to add something, I say: use video marketing anywhere!
     
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  8. Tunenchi

    Tunenchi Regular Member

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    Great thanks
     
  9. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You actually bring up a good point. I haven't tried video marketing with this technique but now I'm thinking about it. A one or two minute VSL can really pull in nice leads if done correctly.

    Way to think outside the box bro. :)
     
  10. Floopa75

    Floopa75 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I have been wanting to get into writing for a while. I was thinking of opening up a BST here, but after taking a look around I came to find it is really a race to the bottom between the sellers. $1/word sounds incredible. Is it possible for you to link me some content that you know costs a lot of money? I am in interested in picking through articles like that so I can determine whether or not I could do it.
     
  11. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Most magazines will pay you no less than ten cents a word. The big ones, like Cosmo, usually pay $1.

    Also, if you contact companies that make hundreds of millions or billions of dollars a year, they won't flinch at $1 per word.

    As far as the type of writing goes, I found that marketing materials works better than articles.

    Aside from national magazines, trade publications and some blogs, you're not gonna find general article writing jobs that pay $1 a word. These pay so high bc they need to be thoroughly researched. You need to quote real people as sources, do extensive research and get an editor to sign off on it before it's published. Basically you're just like a journalist. You gotta get your facts straight.

    That's not really my cup of tea, but I know writers who love it and are making bank doing it.

    But if you expand into marketing materials like sales pages, case studies, ads, etc., companies will pay you $2000 for 1-3 pages. I know someone who did a case study for Microsoft and got $5,000. It was only 4 pages long. That's over $1000 per page. That's nothing to sneeze at.

    I'm on my phone right now but when I get back to my laptop I'll post examples.

    That's why I said niche yourself. I switched to marketing materials (namely sales pages and video sales letters, but I also do case studies) and I have yet to have someone flinch at my prices.

    Edit: These are the type of case studies that pay big money. Not the kind that floats around IM. These are customer stories that prove to people that a company's product or services are worth investing in. It falls under marketing, which is why they will pay thousands of dollars (and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars) to have them written.

     
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    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  12. Infoprenerd

    Infoprenerd Newbie

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    Just to say, I'm gliding in here on a BHW Noob ticket, and as is customary for negotiating the bowels of some unexplored forum, I spent 20 minutes drowning in submenus before I got anywhere near where I wanted to be.

    In that respect, this thread is a lily afloat on an alien swamp.

    I may just stick around.

    Back on topic, it's certainly tempting to cut back on fees in the hope of being top piranha in the foaming pool, but words are one of the few commodities whose value can be set by their originator.

    If more people understood this, we'd see fewer vampiric 5c/word "opportunities" scoring bites on jugulars.
     
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  13. jiungsong

    jiungsong Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    "I did not just spray and pray."

    What are you referring to? ;)
     
  14. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Peeing of course. What else would I be referring to? :p
     
  15. Weltenbummler

    Weltenbummler Registered Member

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    Hey alwaysinvisible, excellent guide! Came just in time for me - a lot of valuable tips, thank you (gonna visit my LinkedIn profile first time in over a year lol).

    If you don't mind, I’d love to add a few ideas from my short personal experience (I've been full-time for three months now) for someone who’s looking to make some extra $$ writing to pursue other projects or turn copywriting into a full-time job.

    Don’t underestimate the power of a blog. Have at least 3-5 posts on it (that’s all I have, and it helped me A LOT). Make the posts thoroughly researched, with graphics and statistics, in your area of expertise. For example, if you are targeting journals, write a post about “5 essentials of every engaging journal article” or “How to promote products by educating your readers and helping them solve their problems” (just made that up, check what’s most important in your niche).

    Offer a casual Skype call/chat. It's much easier to make someone agree to a 5-minute conversation than it is to close a deal in your first email. I’m not even a native speaker, and so far no one dismissed my proposal after hearing my accent (some of them had probably rejected it even before we talked because of that but you can't make all people happy).

    Focus on the pain points and hidden expectations – if you are offering content, don’t just say it’ll be interesting – tell them exactly what benefits it can bring to their business and why it's important. The same applies to samples - explain what makes a chosen sample relevant to their project/business needs.

    For some reason, when I send the text in .docx to my clients, they LOVE reading extra comments that explain why I wrote this or that. I don't know why, but I believe this positions you as an expert.

    Keep learning – Pursue what you want to offer to others. If you want to provide social media content, build up your own social media profiles - you will bank even more in the long run. Don’t worry if you earn $0.01/w in the very beginning - especially if you’ve never written before. Keep overdelivering and polishing your skills while looking for what you want to specialize in.

    Good luck to anyone who’s going to follow OP’s guide. If you do the work and stay professional, you will make the $$$.
     
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  16. Jayarbo

    Jayarbo Regular Member

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    This is amazing thank you so much for writing this. I am giving writing a serious look as I was told I write okay in here. Would you mind if I PMd you sir?
     
  17. jiungsong

    jiungsong Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    A game :D
     
  18. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Excellent, EXCELLENT points. Thank you very much for adding this. I'm going to have to use one myself - I absolutely love the extra comments bit. I do that sometimes but not often enough. I'll have to start doing that regularly.

    If you need help I'd prefer you post it in this thread so that other people get the benefit of the answers to your questions.

    Well now I feel stupid. :(
     
  19. Auctoritas

    Auctoritas Newbie

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    Definitely agree with being the PREMIUM copywriter and not the commodity. Great post!
     
  20. Cratos

    Cratos Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    great post with some valuable info. You can definitely put a spin on this to hit potential client's contact forms instead of just emails.