Drilling into the topic
In the first post of this series, I went over copywriting in general, a broad topic. Next, we drilled down into what copywriting is. For today’s post, we’ll discuss different venues you can pitch to companies for which we hope they’ll hire you, the expert, to write.
Categories of Copywriting
Usually, people who aren’t familiar with the topic have one or two types that come to mind when they think of “copywriting.” There are a lot of places you’ll see copywriting examples, many of which you may not even have been considered copywriting. The more types you can think of, the more types you can sell to clients.
Copywriting projects usually fall into one of two broad categories: short form and long form.
- Product catalog entries – the descriptions in the junk mail booklets from department stores or electronics stores, or in the weekly grocery store sales booklets. These are usually just a paragraph or two describing the product and its features. The key is to make its best features stand out while still providing enough general information on the product overall.
- Magazine Ad Copy – Companies advertise in magazines, newspapers, and trade journals all the time. You might think of the multi-million dollar ads for a famous perfume line in Cosmopolitan, but did you know that almost every county has its own paper? Everything from accounting to zoology has trade journals. Most regions have a local magazine, as well! If you research your local advertising venues, you can pitch relevant local businesses on posting an advertisement, for which you will write the ad copy. They’re not professional copywriters, and the small investment in your service can pay for itself many times over with an effective ad.
- Banner and Box Ads Online – Most of these are specific to one of a few services that process banner and box ads online, but many of the bigger websites take sales directly. If you research which websites or companies offer the best terms, you can pitch companies directly to write their ad copy. You’ll want to read a book to refamiliarize yourself with the terminology, such as PPC (pay-per-click), so that you can tell which opportunities are truly the best. Getting a client to pay $10 for 1,000 impressions is nearly a waste of their money, but getting them to pay $10 for 1,000 clicks or signups is a much better deal, for example.
- Company fliers – For small local businesses, this is a superb value, but they may not have ever thought of it. You write the content, taking up most of a page but leaving room for graphics, headlines, logos, and company information. This could be technical, it could promote a sale, or it could be something wildly creative that seems unrelated to the client until you connect the dots at the end. Then you hire someone at Fiverr to lay it out into a visually-appealing one-page flier and the client will then have it printed and distributed to people’s doors, businesses, or windshields.
- Sales Brochures – You’ll basically use the company’s website for content (which you’ll rewrite) to fill a small brochure. Typically, these are included in packages when the business ships a purchase to their customers. The content covers the business, the market, and a wide range of their products.
- Product Descriptions – Many small companies do a lot of their sales online through the Amazon marketplace. Someone has to write the content for these advertisement pages, and it might as well be you! Being online, they end with a call to action, but the sales copy has to lead the reader inevitably toward the decision to click the “add to cart” button. There are a lot of really bad Amazon sales pages out there. It’s usually simple to contact them via email and just ask how well their page converts (how many people buy after seeing the page), and suggest that you can rewrite their copy to increase sales conversions.
- Product Web Pages – You’ve clicked the link in an exciting email offer before, I’m sure. These often take people to a long web page that includes an argument about how terrible some problem is, details the features of the ideal solution, describes their product as solving these problems with the best possible features, continues into a segment with customer testimonials, and then finishes with the offer itself (usually at a huge discount) and then has a P.S. section that talks about what great freebies customers get if they order in the next ten hours. Right? Those are long-form sales pages, and if you can write those in such a way that customers make money, you can sell that talent all day long.
- Email Sales (SPAM) – Remember in the last segment when you clicked the email link that took you to the long-form sales page? That email is written by a copywriter. If you save the ones you found compelling, you can analyze what features those emails share. A tone? A design? Short or long paragraphs? Every detail matters, but if you familiarize yourself with what works, you can then sell your services to write email content for your customer’s sales funnels.
There are certainly other types of copywriting. The more creative you get, the better! The best way of getting familiar with these types of copywriting is to read books specific to that channel. Books on email sales letters. Books on Amazon product sales. And so on. The next best is to examine whatever it was that has motivated you to make purchases before. Did you buy something from an Amazon sales page? At what point did you decide to buy, and why? Then copy (and eventually improve on) whatever formula got you to buy.
In the next segment, we’ll evaluate the common features of copywriting content–the tools of the trade that get people to buy. Because if you can write in a way that makes money for your client, they’ll keep giving you money to do it.