Contradictory advice that stops copywriting clients finding you

Copywriter under a large hat. Conflicting advice blog post image.


I love it when people find my copywriting blog.

I always ask new subscribers if they have any copywriting frustrations or questions I can help with, and I love the questions I get. I recently received a question about contradictory advice when it comes to finding copywriting clients, and I thought the whole exchange was so useful that I would share it with you!

“Just found your blog, and I think it’s greatfunny, to the point and incredibly helpful for a copywriting newbie like me.

My first question’s a variation on the perennial, ‘how do I find paying clients?’ theme. Apart from fear, the thing that’s stopping me are conflicting views online about what’s most effective.

The ones that come up most often are:

  • You must have a blog to show off your writing skills and gain clients’ trust./Blogs are a useless time hoover.
  • Direct mail and e-mail marketing are brilliant ways to get new clients./Direct mail and e-mail marketing are outdated and ineffective.
  • Twitter’s useful when it comes to finding work./Twitter’s just a load of mindless chit chat.
  • A well-designed website’s a must and will mean clients can find you./Yes you need a website, but building relationships and networks are more important.

Conundrums, aren’t they?

Without experience, it’s hard to know which is the right answer, or if there even is a right answer.

Here are my thoughts based on my experience as an in-demand copywriter.

Conflict #1: ‘Blogs are essential’ versus ‘Blogs are useless time hoover’

I think that the only copywriters who can afford not to have a blog are copywriters with continuously full sales pipelines, and by that I mean, plenty of copywriting work coming in month after month. Even then, your copywriting pipeline only stays full with constant marketing, and a regular blog is the foundation stone of online marketing.

On your blog you get to show off your copywriting skills as well as your copywriting knowledge and experience, which helps to build trust with potential customers. You also get a lot of content to fuel your other online marketing, such as your social media marketing.

So, useless time hoover? Definitely not—unless you’re doing it wrong. The key to successful blogging is choosing topics your audience is interested in reading, and writing in a way that keeps them reading!

(Okay, there’s a little more to it than that, but hopefully you get my point.)

Conflict #2: ‘Direct mail and e-mail marketing are awesome’ versus ‘They’re outdated and ineffective’

Argh. Who keeps saying that e-mail marketing is dead? It’s not.

Direct mail is unsolicited advertising sent to prospective customers through the mail. It could be a sales letter from a company you know about or a promo for the new pizza joint around the corner.

Direct mail is expensive, and it’s hard to track (unless you use things such as offer codes to track the resulting sales). E-mail marketing is cheaper and also easier to track and test (it allows you to experiment a little).

The saying that ‘your list is everything’ is still correct, because when people sign up to your e-mail list, they give you permission to talk to them about your stuff. Linking back to the conflicting advice about blogging, a blog helps you build a list of people who are interested in what you have to say.

Conflict #3: ‘Twitter’s useful for finding work’ versus ‘Twitter’s just mindless chit chat’

I feel as though Twitter is getting a bad rap in this one as I think this could apply to all social media channels.

My thoughts are that all online and offline networking is useful when it comes to finding work. The trick to making social media networking profitable is filtering out the mindless chit chat (as there is plenty of that) so that you aren’t spending more time on social media than the value you get in return.

Be there, but be strong! Building relationships is a long game, but the results are worth it.

What results? When you have a trusted relationship with someone, you generally turn to them first when you have a need they can meet. It’s how marketing influence works. When you’ve built up relationship via networking, you can become the go-to copywriter for those people.

Wondering how to have the best of social media without the time vacuum? Here is a post on how to nail your social media in just five minutes a day.

And remember, you are in charge of who is in your social media feed. If someone is all about mindless chit chat, stop following them!

Conflict #4: ‘A well-designed website helps is a must and will mean clients can find you’ versus ‘Yes, you need a website, but building relationships and networks are more important’

Yes to both! It’s essential to have a home base to direct your marketing efforts to. That’s your website.

You post updates on social media—to link back to your website.

You hand out brochures—so that people can find out more on your website.

You meet people at an event and give them your card—so that they go to your website.

See what I mean?

Networking and relationships are critical, but people will want to do their own research in their own time. You need a home base that they can always check out and a person they can check in with, a home base that spells out who you are, what you do and why it’s unique.

Conflicts resolved. Or are they?

What do you think? Are you resting easy now?

Let me know your take on these business marketing conflicts.

The Copy Detective

13 Responses

  1. Great tips Belinda. It certainly can be confusing for newbies these days – back in the distant past when I started my biz an ad in Yellow Pages was all you needed!

    I do disagree slightly with one point you made:

    “And remember, you are in charge of who is in your social media feed. If someone is all about mindless chit chat, stop following them”

    I guess it depends on your definition of “mindless”, but I’ve gained some of my best clients through non-business chats – one was even a comment I made replying to someone’s tweet about Channel 9 starting a programme later than scheduled.

    It all links back to your point about building relationships I guess.

    1. You are so right Bridie! I think what I meant is that if you don’t like what someone is posting, stop following them.

      I agree that non-business related chat can help build relationships that help you business. An excellent point – thank you!

  2. Great article.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you explained that networking often sends people to your website to check you out further.

    Personally I hate live networking events as the last time I went to a one I was given a tag that said ‘New Attendee’. It might as well have said ‘Fresh Meat’ because the vultures hit me in droves.

    I do all my networking via social media and my blog and it’s right for me.

    Thanks again.


    1. Thanks Pam!

      That networking experience sounds horrible! Searching for the right events is definitely half the battle of face to face networking but I think, when you find your group, the rewards are there. I personally find smaller groups much more pleasant. People tend to be a bit more relaxed as there aren’t as many people to ‘work’. And when everyone acts like human beings rather than ‘networking business people’ it’s all a bit more pleasant!

      The key is to do what works for you – as you are!

      Thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts.

    1. I guess we’re all just sharing opinion based on our experience. I can’t say that I’m right but it’s certainly right for me (and a lot of other business people I know ;).

      But thanks for the vote of confidence Denise – I appreciate it!

  3. With you all the way on these Belinda!

    Like Bridie, I started freelancing back in the pre-internet era, so have had to adapt to – and adopt – new marketing platforms along the way. I clearly remember when it became a case of *needing* a website rather than it being a nice-to-have, i.e. prospects not asking if I had one, but what the URL was. It’s now my main source of enquiries/work, other than word of mouth and repeat business.

    The same applied to social media – first a Facebook page then Twitter – and more recently my blog. Yet to try email marketing though…

    1. It’s funny how we talk about relationship marketing now as if it’s a new thing. But in ‘the olden days’ that was it!

      My marketing developed in the similar way – step by step. I began networking with just a website, then I had a Facebook page, then Twitter, then a blog. With so many marketing channels available, it’s easy to think you have to be everywhere… leaving little time for actual work!

      But once you have your homebase set up, the rest can follow at your own pace. Better to be awesome in fewer places, than rubbish everywhere.

      Hmm.. that’s a t-shirt quote right there!

  4. I still like direct mail for two reasons…

    1. It’s a chance for you to be alone with your prospects, away from the clamor of competition (because you can be sure your competitors aren’t sending direct mail).

    2. Since everyone else has gone digital, getting a real letter in the mail is so unusual, you can count on a nearly 100% open rate.

    But yes, it is stinkin’ expensive. 🙂

    1. You’re right Ross. Holding something physical – a brochure or a letter – just commands more of your attention. That said, I throw SO much direct mail out without even opening it.

      To make the spends worth it just requires more investment in the research, to make sure your paper is so well targeted you get a big return!

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts.

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