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7 Steps to Savvy Copywriting
by Jennifer Brown Banks
Contrary to popular opinion, you can teach an old dog new
tricks. I discovered this morsel of wisdom recently when
I navigated new waters as a copywriter.
Truth be told, I knew as much about copywriting as I do Bar Mitzvahs.
It just wasnt a part of my creative repertoire. So when I
came across an ad posted on craigslist.org, my initial reaction
was to bypass it for the cardinal rule of writing, write
what you know.
But, as a strategic writer, and true businesswoman, Im always
looking for ways to expand my portfolio, my client base, and my
bottom line. (And you should too).
Days after seeing the ad, I shot a quick Email to express interest
in taking on the project, as well as online samples of various works.
After all, it seemed interesting and easy enough
Here was my mission. A new clothing designer from India was seeking
someone to create web content for a site she was launching, along
with some product descriptions. Rather than concentrate on my lack
of experience, I decided to draw from my relevant exposure as a
person who loves fashion; as someone who, in my former life, worked
for a P.R. firm and as someone who has had success writing greeting
The end result? With a little ingenuity and some creativity, I
produced some great concepts that won me a new fan and a new client.
Here are seven savvy principles I learned along the way.
- Speak the language. Regardless of your knowledge
base, project an expert image by using acronyms,
lingo, and key concepts that are unique to the industry of which
you are writing. For example, substitute words like separates
and coordinates for pants and blouses.
- Test the waters. If possible, use the product
or service you are endorsing. Youll come across as much
more convincing and credible if you speak from experience. Itll
also be much easier to convey a sense of passion.
- Do your homework. A simple Google search will
give you background information and success stories of your client
from which to develop the big picture.
- Get details in writing. This prevents miscommunication
and wasted efforts. It also serves as a protective measure to
ensure getting paid.
- Have at least one conversation on the phone or in person.
Ah, the Internet! It has revolutionized the way we interact and
increased our efficiency immeasurably. However, many people still
like that personal touch. Speaking on the phone, or in person,
also allows you to assess your clients personality, which
can go along way towards future relations.
- Give them more than they expect. Ideally provide
multiple samples from which they can choose. Also, show some initiative
by devising other ways that you can assist them in marketing their
business even before they ask.
- Remember the importance of packaging. Make
sure that the finished product always reflects positively on your
client and your business.
As the expression goes, You never get a second chance to
make a first impression.
© Copyright 2008, Jennifer Brown Banks
Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com
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