Promotional basics for your copywriting business

Here are seven tips to help get your copywriting business off the ground.

1. Put together a portfolio. Most people won't hire you without seeing samples of your work. That said, I've found the longer I've been in business the less people look at my samples.

When I first started and had hardly any samples, well then, of course everyone wanted to see them. So my portfolio consisted of every little thing I had ever done. Now that I have more samples than I can keep track of, I only bring a handful.

As for why potential clients aren't asking to see my samples anymore, my guess is what's probably happened is I've changed. My confidence has gone up and clients probably sense that in me, thus they're also confident I can do the job.

However, I do still have to show my samples from time to time, so I still think you should have a portfolio. If you don't have any samples, try doing a couple of jobs for a vastly reduced rate or for free (but don't do this for too long). Nonprofits are always looking for ways to keep their costs down. Offer to write a brochure or put together a Web site with the understanding you can use the finished project in your portfolio.

2. Get testimonials. This is easier than you think. Most people are happy to give you a testimonial (just as long as you did a good job for them). Even if you don't use the testimonials right away, get them anyway. You'll be amazed at how often they'll come in handy.

No one has given you a paying job yet? Not to worry. Remember those nonprofits? After you finish those projects for your portfolio, ask your contact for a testimonial. Better yet, ask for a referral. Nonprofit staff members or volunteers usually know lots of business people and they'll probably be so thrilled you worked for cheap or free that they'll be happy to help you however they can.

And don't forget to get permission to use your contact's name in the testimonial.

3. Practice your "30-second commercial." This is what you tell people when they ask what you do. Make it short -- around 30 seconds -- but keep it interesting and memorable. I'd suggest writing something out, then practicing it on a few people to see what they have to say.

4. Start talking. Tell everyone you know your 30-second commercial. I know — this is nothing you haven't heard before. But it works. Especially when you're first starting out. You need to get the word out there and the easiest way to do that is through people you already have a relationship with.

5. Get into the community. Join professional associations (like PRSA and IABC) and business organizations (like Chambers of Commerce, Women in Networking, National Association of Female Executives). Attend meetings and mixers as much as possible. Don't forget to network while you're there. Make a point of meeting as many people as possible, and then send a note or an e-mail as a follow-up to everyone you met.

6. Start volunteering. Go one better than simply attending meetings and mixers and get involved. Join the board, volunteer on a committee, donate time, whatever you need to do but just start making an impression. Professional associations and business organizations are where many of your potential clients (at least locally) are, and those potential clients are much more likely to hire you once they get to know you.

If you volunteer for a project or a committee, potential clients also get a taste of how you work. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing. If you don't take your volunteer work seriously, if you miss deadlines and don't follow through, you may ruin your reputation and end up losing potential work. However, if you treat it like a paying job, it could be your ticket to tons of paying work (I know many, many copywriters and consultants, including myself, that this has worked for.)

7. Get into the media. Do what you can to get the word out about your new business. Send a press release out to all your media contacts, including any radio or television programs. Even if you only get a small mention in your paper, it's something (and it helps you start to establish yourself as a media expert).

Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a copywriting and marketing agency. She helps entrepreneurs become more successful at attracting more clients, selling more products and services and boosting their business. To find out how she can help you take your business to the next level, visit her site at Copyright © 2017 MichelePW all rights reserved.

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About Michele

Michele PW

Considered one of the hottest direct response copywriters and marketing consultants in the industry today, Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) has a reputation for crafting copy and creating online and offline marketing campaigns that get results.

Michele started writing professionally in 1992, working at agencies and on staff as a marketing/communication/writing specialist. In 1998, she started her business as a freelance copywriter.

But she quickly realized her vision was bigger than serving her clients as a one-woman-shop. In 2004, she began the transformation to building a copywriting and marketing company.

Two years later, her vision has turned into reality. Michele PW/Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC is the premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company today, catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners internationally, including the “Who’s Who” of Internet Marketing. Some of their clients include:

Ali Brown
Lisa Sasevich
Brian Tracy
John Assaraf
Bernadette Doyle
Alex Mandossian
Kendall SummerHawk
Alexis Martin Neely

In addition, Michele is also a national speaker and the bestselling author of the “Love-Based Copywriting" books that teach people how to write copy that attracts, inspires and invites. She has also completed two novels.

She holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and her southern squirrel hunter Cassie.