Check your local college or university for a technical writing certificate program. Look at the faculty of the program to confirm you are being taught by professionals in the field or working content writers who are familiar with the demands of the writing industry. Certificate programs can be beneficial for writers who are new to content writing or technical writing.
Competitor research is important, but you also have to be extremely familiar with your own product or service. Rolls Royce was one of the first major accounts Ogilvy won when his agency was in its early years. In his book, he talks about spending a full three weeks reading about the car to come up with one simple headline: “At sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.” This might not seem like the type of detail that would take you three weeks to find, but sometimes you need to give your brain time to let the information soak in.
Setting the letter aside for some time will allow you to be more objective about it when it’s time to check and edit. Right after you’ve written the letter, reading it over and over again won’t be too productive. But after you’ve left it for some time, this would give you a clearer eye and a fresher perspective which, in turn, makes it easier for you to spot mistakes.
Talk about the benefits of your product or service. These benefits will show your readers that they need what you have to offer. To make it more readable, use arrows, bullet points or other types of clever formatting. If you have a lot to say about your product or service, don’t hesitate to include everything. Unlike other business letters, one meant for sales doesn’t have to be just one page.
I’m currently taking a course on how to write case studies. Being a fiction writer, one of the aspects I love is the research and being able to talk to SMEs. I figured writing case studies would be a good fit. I was thinking about focusing on case studies for professional services. Which leaves it open to a pretty broad spectrum. As a newbie in this field, is it TOO broad? Should I narrow it down and focus on a specific TYPE or professional service?
If you’ve ever slogged your way through reading a piece of marketing and only finished reading because you had to, then you’ve experienced bad content marketing. When I speak to companies about content marketing I tell them that content is good if they genuinely want to read it. Content is great if they’re willing to pay to read it. If you want to see great examples of content, just look at what you’ve paid to read, watch, or listen to lately. If you watched The Lego Movie this year, you saw one of the greatest examples of content marketing to date. Oh, you thought they made that movie in order to sell movie tickets? Think again. That was a 100 minute toy commercial, and rather than using a DVR to skip it you paid good money to watch it. Is it any coincidence that Lego recently leapfrogged Mattel, the creators of Barbie, to become the largest toy company in the world? You may not have the budget to make a feature film to promote your company, but you can still give potential customers valuable information.
I got my first writing gigs by responding to a craigslist ad for a blog post writer. The pay was horrible, like $5 per post, but they only took about 15 minutes to write so that is $20/hour which according to one of Neville’s posts that is about average pay for a freelance copywriter. Good experience in that it showed me what companies were looking for in word counts, topics, SEO. It also forced me to work quickly.
Thanks for this write-up Nev. I know it is old but I just started getting my hands dirty copywriting. I have read your book on copywriting (this book will teach you to write better..) and I have read all the boron letters too. I have done some little (copy) writing (mostly sales page without any intent of them being a great copy, just a necessity I had to go through). I must thank you for all these resources. My writing has gone up by over 1000% doing all the stuff here. I figured out I need to communicate clearly and use conversational style and that is just what your writing style is and what you advocate for (Imagine! this was easy for me to write. Damn!. Normally I will struggle to have my thoughts gathered together for this kind of writing). I am still practising, I have to thank you again. As for the tripple skills threat, I am a web developer (I have an engineering degree (masters), which makes this even a more sweet spot for me). I am able to apply writing clear copies to write clear code (least effort, no convolutions or complicated ideas if not needed). Damn, I enjoyed writing this piece. Feels like I finally get my word(s) across. Thank you and please recommend me how else I can improve.
Most people count on incorporating popular holidays such as New Year's and Thanksgiving in their marketing efforts, but you don't have to limit yourself to these important marketing dates. If there are niche holidays that might appeal to your audience, it could be worth publishing content on your blog or on social media. HubSpot's Service Blog Editor Sophia Bernazzani compiled this ultimate list of social media holidays -- keep an eye on it when you're planning your calendar.
Premium or gated assets are typically longer form, and/or more time-intensive pieces that don't exist on a blog. They might be used to generate leads or contacts, or for brand-building purposes. These are typically created by the dedicated long-form content creator if your team is large enough to have one, but sometimes bloggers get involved too, as blog posts are good testing grounds for what performs well and is thus worth investing in.
You may also want to consider doing an internship at a publication you hope to work for full time in the future to make connections with editors and other writers at the publication. Many of these internships will likely not be paid, at least not at first. Be prepared to receive compensation in the form of connections and contacts. But be wary of being taken advantage of as free labor. If you feel uncomfortable working for free, try to find internships that pay.
So please allow me to publicly give you my heart-felt THANK YOU, not only for helping me to sharpen my copywriting skills and for being a great business mentor to emulate, but in particular, for being the catalyst for me launching my freelance business with my first paying customer. I know I sent you a private email but I want to thank you again for the invitation to write for you back in February (https://kopywritingkourse.com/how-to-write-a-cover-letter). That guest post resulted in a nice spike to my email list (I still get people trickling on to it today!) and a few paying resume gigs and inquiries. You’ve had a wonderful impact on my copywriting business!