Transform Your Old Job Into Copywriting Riches
“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian Philosopher
In This Issue:
- Guest Essay: Transform Your Old Job Into Copywriting Riches by Marcella Allison
- Resource Referral: Turning Those Passions Into Profit
- Quick Copy Tip: Come Back Down To Earth
Editor’s Note: In last week’s Resource Referral, I suggested that you consider ways to turn your current career into a copywriting opportunity. I’m so hot on this idea lately, that I asked my friend and colleague Marcella Allison to share her story with you in today’s issue. She happens to be one of the hottest and in-demand up-and-coming copywriters around today. Besides…she’s staying here with me for a couple of days – so I knew she couldn’t refuse my request once I got her here under my roof. Let my guilt trip work in your favor – and enjoy!
Transform Your Old Job Into Copywriting Riches
by Marcella Allison
I have a resume that would make most potential employers cringe. Usually, they look at it and then try to find something neutral to say, like…
“My, you’ve had a lot of different careers, haven’t you?”
I’m not the kind of person who could work for Proctor and Gamble for 30 years and retire with a gold watch. I get bored easily. So about every 2 to 5 years I up and try something new. While this is usually frowned upon by potential employers, it turns out my eclectic experience is the perfect background for copywriting!
For example, in my 20-some-year-career I’ve been:
- the business director of a contemporary art gallery
- owned my own organic gardening store
- worked as a financial analyst for a venture capital firm
- raised money for a nonprofit children’s home, and
- recruited new students for my son’s Montessori school…
Today each of these job experiences helps me in my current work as a copywriter. The venture capital firm I worked for specialized in early stage medical startups. So, I know a little bit about a lot of conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes that helps me with my health copywriting.
My experience as a financial analyst comes in handy when working on promotions for financial newsletter publishers. Working with a nonprofit helped me understand how nonprofit fundraising works. My organic gardening background is coming in handy right now as I work on a project involving environmental toxins.
If you look at your own resume, I’m sure you’ll discover the same thing I have. You can turn just about every work experience you’ve ever had into “grist for the copywriting mill.”
But it’s not only your past jobs that can help you find your market niche. All your life experience prepared you for this moment as a copywriter. For example, I’ve suffered from a rather rare and debilitating condition called interstitial cystitis for over 20 years. There’s no cure, you just manage the condition.
One of my first freelance copywriting jobs was assisting another more experienced copywriter with a promotion for an alternative health newsletter. While I was doing the research I discovered that this particular health guru offered an alternative cure for my condition. I brought this to the attention of the copywriter I was working for and suggested this might make a good premium.
After I demonstrated that there are a significant number of women who suffer from this disease, he agreed to create a new report to offer with the promotion. I was able to use my experience to help write this section of the promotion and to help edit the report. Not to mention the fact that this alternative approach has now dramatically improved my quality of life!
So here’s a little exercise that could help you figure out how your jobs, hobbies, and life experiences could be a potential gold mine for new clients or new copywriting niches.
- Do you have more shoes than Imelda Marcos? I recently saw an ad in the Golden Thread for an online shoe catalog that needs your help…
- Do you love your dog? Do you buy him treats and beds and rhinestone collars? I saw another ad for a specialty pet catalog. Sounds right up your alley…
- Are you fascinated by world politics and read the newspaper every day? You might be surprised to learn that could qualify you to write about currency trading…
- Have you spent years working in a technical field? Don’t ditch it…find out what people are buying and selling in your field and position yourself as a copywriter who comes with specialized knowledge who’s ready to hit the ground running…
- Are you diabetic? Hypoglycemic? Heavy into fitness training? Tried every diet known to mankind? Any one of these could lead to copywriting projects in the alternative health market…
Your list could go on and on. Simply tally your interests, conditions, experiences and passions. Then, start searching through the listings on Direct Response Jobs or the Golden Thread and keep your eyes peeled for a “match” to your own list. Or maybe set up lunch with a colleague in the marketing department of your current job and pick their brain a little bit.
New copywriters often make the mistake of trying to learn an entirely new field. I’m not saying that isn’t a good idea – many have done it and succeeded. But you might be missing out on some easy work. It’s going to be challenging enough to learn how to write good copy, why not start with a subject matter you already know well? You’ll find it’s much easier to write with passion about something you know.
Speaking of which…anyone need a promotion for a cosmopolitan? Monica and I will fight for that one…
Marcella Allison is a freelance copywriter currently specializing in the health and finance markets. She works for some of the top clients in the industry including Agora Publishing, Early To Rise and AWAI. This week she is doing a stint as America’s House Guest – and doing any number of favors to earn her keep, from laundry to writing guest essays – up and down the East Coast.
Resource Referral: Turning Those Passions Into Profit
Once you walk yourself through Marcella’s little exercise above, I suggest you look into the corresponding product below. They will help you translate those passions and experience into assignments…or maybe even your own information products business!
The Internet Marketing Retirement Plan – If you’re interested in using information products to generate a passive income, but don’t want to spend months getting started, I recommend you listen to this teleconference. It’s the simplest way we know of to generate a 5 or 6-figure passive income online…
Secrets of Writing for the Health Market – The demand for this specialty continues to skyrocket. And this course has just been revised and expanded and is better than ever – and it was pretty good before…
Secrets of Writing for the Financial Market – This is another area that never seems to have enough writers…and you could probably pick this up more easily than you might imagine…
Secrets of Writing for the Fundraising Market – This specialty is more lucrative than you might think for its copywriters…plus it has the added bonus of helping others…
Secrets of Writing for the Business-to-Business Market – This is a very savvy choice. You’d be shocked at how large and underserved this market is – and how many skills you probably already have to write for it based on your past job and life experience…
Secrets of Writing for the Catalog Market – Frankly, this is the one I’m working on adding to my list right now. In fact, I want to start a catalog that would raise money for my favorite nonprofit – how’s that for combining a bunch of passion into one endeavor…
Secrets of Writing for the Self-Help Market – Another favorite of mine – and of course, Krista’s bread and butter. It’s a huge industry with a voracious appetite for copywriters. But it has an added allure. When you’re writing about how other people can improve their lives, guess what? Yours gets a little better, too.
Secrets of Writing for the Internet – And finally, the no-brainer. No matter what’s on your list, you can write about it for the internet. So what are you waiting for?
Quick Copy Tip: Come Back Down To Earth
I’ve worked with my fair share of prima dona copywriters. Interestingly enough, it is usually beginners who have the biggest egos. They complain when their work is critiqued by “people who don’t understand copywriting” and spend more time defending their writing than improving it.
Here’s the funny thing. Your target prospect…you know, the one who’s going to buy your product and make you a fortune in royalties…doesn’t know a damn thing about good copywriting, and doesn’t care. And yet, he or she is the final arbiter of whether your promotion is worth the cost of the paper it’s printed on.
More established copywriters understand that humility is the name of the game. If your writing doesn’t strike a chord in the person it’s intended to motivate…then it sucks. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if I like it, or Michael Masterson raves about it, or Paul Hollingshead thinks it’s the most brilliant headline he’s ever read. If it doesn’t sell, it doesn’t work.
And if you must turn your nose up at writing that appeals to the masses, try the literary arts instead. Writers ensconced in academic ivory towers have the luxury to decide that anyone who doesn’t like what they’ve written is beneath them. Copywriters don’t.