[How To] Get Better Paying Article & Copywriting Clients

Hey @Reaver I just read the entire thread. Well done! I'm sure you've built quite a decent clientele with these business practices. If you don't mind my asking, what's your preferred niche? Personally, I could write all about the performance automotive world, war fighting & tactical firearm shit, and bohemian fashion style (helped the wife for a while on that... probably too much)
 
Hey @Reaver I just read the entire thread. Well done! I'm sure you've built quite a decent clientele with these business practices. If you don't mind my asking, what's your preferred niche? Personally, I could write all about the performance automotive world, war fighting & tactical firearm shit, and bohemian fashion style (helped the wife for a while on that... probably too much)

Actually a man writing on women's fashion is great. All of my favorite shopping buddies are men. They are brutally honest, and I love it.

I prefer to write about mental illness, natural remedies and healthy lifestyles.

I actually did have decent clientele for a long time. It was getting really good towards the end. I never got past $1.25 per word though.
 
Just sent the final draft to a satisfied client. Thanks again for the guide @Reaver
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What would you guys do about a potential client who's insisting on having a Skype conversation? I don't want to lose out on a potential 5 figure payday (Bulk order), but my spoken English sucks :oops: Any creative ways to weasel my way out of an audio conversation?
 
Just sent the final draft to a satisfied client. Thanks again for the guide @Reaver
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What would you guys do about a potential client who's insisting on having a Skype conversation? I don't want to lose out on a potential 5 figure payday (Bulk order), but my spoken English sucks :oops: Any creative ways to weasel my way out of an audio conversation?

Have you been able to do any writing for them yet, other than correspondence? Make sure everything you have done on PAPER, is as close to perfect as you can get it. They SHOULD be able to side step your "pronunciation." Be incredibly respectful, sir/ma'am at the end of every question. Basically bury your head as far deep into their ass as you can hold your breath.
 
Just sent the final draft to a satisfied client. Thanks again for the guide @Reaver
rejoice.png


What would you guys do about a potential client who's insisting on having a Skype conversation? I don't want to lose out on a potential 5 figure payday (Bulk order), but my spoken English sucks :oops: Any creative ways to weasel my way out of an audio conversation?

I don't do Skype conversations. No one has time for that. I have to question if I want to work with someone who wants to talk to me directly about an order. There is literally no reason for that.

Aren't we both business owners? Shouldn't we be too busy to talk on the phone with someone?

Alternatively, you can hire someone to talk on Skyoe for you. Pay them to do it. I mean, if you really want the money. I'd pass, but that's just me.

Also, congratulatioms. I am very proud of you. ;)
 
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


I am greatly indebted to you for writing this and opening my eyes. I will send the first payment I got to you straight away.

Thank you very much!

Warmest Regards,

Deby.
 
This is some pretty great information and I appreciate that someone would take the time to line this kind of thing out for free. I know it isn't a novel or anything, but these seem like real experienced tips so thanks for that.

I guess you must have spent quite a bit of time studying the copywriter trade before launching yourself out there for real. May I ask what sort of programs you learned from or was it almost entirely this forum where you skilled up and cut your teeth? I'm interested in seeing if I have what it takes to be a copywriter. I like writing about things I am interested in and wouldn't mind it at all if I could make some money doing it. ;-)

Thanks in advance!
 
This is some pretty great information and I appreciate that someone would take the time to line this kind of thing out for free. I know it isn't a novel or anything, but these seem like real experienced tips so thanks for that.

I guess you must have spent quite a bit of time studying the copywriter trade before launching yourself out there for real. May I ask what sort of programs you learned from or was it almost entirely this forum where you skilled up and cut your teeth? I'm interested in seeing if I have what it takes to be a copywriter. I like writing about things I am interested in and wouldn't mind it at all if I could make some money doing it. ;-)

Thanks in advance!
I'd recommend reading the Yahoo Style guide for starters.
 
Excellent post.

It's not often these days that I gain something from reading guides on writing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I hope to find more from you.

Cheers.
 
This is a great guide, but I'm gonna thank you just for the "Get paid upfront" section of your guide. It really saves you from significant heartache.

Thanks again.
 
Update: I've been writing for years charging clients an average of four cents per word. After reading this post, I decided to change the pricing on my new website from 4 cents per word to 20 cents per word. I figured it was a good place to start my journey as a premium writer. A few days ago, I got my first potential client who needed content for her website.

I figuratively held her hand, finding out what she needed and giving her an estimate of how many words it would take. When I gave her my price of $400 for 2000 words, she didn't even flinch or haggle.

So when I write this article. I'll be making what I make in about three days in about three hours. It's a real eye opener. There's always someone out there willing to pay you what you're worth. Now keep in mind, I barely get any traffic on my site. It has 301 views all time! The price was set at 4 cents a word for about half of those views and I only got one sale. I set it at 20 cents per word and I get a sale.

Of course, I consider myself to be a very good writer and my samples are awesome.

This is a new phase for me as a writer, but given what I'm charging, I'll probably hire an editor for about 5 bucks to give it a second read. I'm yet to start emailing prospective clients like the OP suggested, but I certainly will in the near future. I'm also considering setting my price higher at about 50 cents per word.

I'd appreciate your opinion OP.
 
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.
This is great advice! Adding these comments also make clients realise that they are receiving tons of value (similar to workshop facilitators periodically asking, "by the way, is this useful?"). I believe it might be a good idea to request a 5-star review if they found your work valuable, right after these comments.
 
Okay this has been bookmarked. This is too much of a read at once. Not that its very long. But I have to read it and process it in parts. Will take my time and read it thoroughly.

This is very helpful.


What's the once golden rule that you always follow when looking for a client. Or when you get an offer from client.
 
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