10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part Eight

Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Cause-Related Marketing, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Fundraising, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media
8. Be a team player. Most copywriters are accustomed to working alone, sequestered away from the rest of the team, doors closed, blinds drawn, working feverishly against time. It's what we do out of necessity, when there's no room for distractions and we just need to put our heads down to get the job done as soon as possible. Yet while it's certainly not unusual for a copywriter to do his or her thing in isolation, battling loneliness as well as the clock, it really shouldn't be the norm. Sure, to succeed as a copywriter, you need to be a self-starter, capable of working independently for long stretches of time. But you also need to be a team player, someone who works well with others – especially designers, creative directors and…
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10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part Seven

Advertising, Branding, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media
7. Meet your deadlines. If you’ve been around the block once or twice as a copywriter, you know better than to think anyone's going to just give you enough time to do your very best work. You have to make the time. Yup. Over the course of my career, I’ve rarely seen a schedule that permits a copywriter the luxury of putting in the time he or she would really like to dedicate to a project. Every assignment is a rush. Everything is due yesterday. That's the nature of advertising and marketing, the bane of a copywriter’s existence. That’s the one thing you have to understand if you want to succeed in this business. Incredibly tight deadlines come with the territory. And those deadlines had better be met. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for an extension if you don’t have enough…
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10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part Six

Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Fundraising, Marketing, Social Media
6. Exercise good judgment. A copywriter has meetings to attend and research to conduct, but the majority of his or her work hours are spent, well, writing copy – and often under the pressure of exceedingly high expectations and incredibly tight deadlines. Talent is important. But so is good judgment. Whatever you’re writing, you have to have both the experience and intuition to choose just the right words for the assignment time after time. You also have to decide for yourself when to let go of your work and share it with your colleagues and clients. As Roger von Oech writes on page 110 of his book, “A Kick In The Seat Of The Pants”… “The judge performs the evaluation function of the creative process. When you adopt this role, you…
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10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part Five

Advertising, Branding, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Marketing, Social Media
5. Keep your head out of the sand. It’s no coincidence that some of the best copywriters in the business have eclectic tastes and varied interests. When they’re not hunkered down on the job, sequestered under tight deadline pressure, they’re taking in all that life has to offer as both spectators and participants. They’re bookworms, moviegoers, sightseers and pop culture junkies, people with insatiable appetites for news and information. They’re social butterflies, night owls and day-trippers, free-spirited individuals who are curious by nature. They read everything from best-selling business books to celebrity gossip blogs. They watch everything from game shows to talk shows, Mad Men to Desperate Housewives, sitcoms to soap operas, reality TV to Glee. They do everything from hiking and biking to attending concerts, fundraisers, sporting events, museums and the…
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10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part Four

Advertising, Branding, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Marketing, Social Media
4. Develop strong presentation skills. It’s one thing to be able to write well. It’s quite another to be able to present your work with the utmost confidence and conviction. But some of the most successful copywriters I've met over the years have had as much command of the spoken as the written word. Those with strong presentation skills are more effective in selling their work to both their colleagues and clients. They’re also given more opportunities to attend important meetings, speak at conferences and assume positions of leadership. If you’re uncomfortable speaking in front of an audience, consider  joining Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organization that helps people improve their public speaking, communication and leadership skills.  As I wrote here on this blog more than six years ago (May…
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10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part Three

Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Marketing, Social Media
3. Walk in your readers’ shoes. In Stephen R. Covey’s best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit #5 is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Well, that’s also one of the habits of highly effective copywriters. They seek first to understand everything they possibly can about their audience before they even begin to attempt to be understood themselves. Yes, the more you know about your customers and constituents, the easier it is to make a potentially valuable connection with them. Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done. Tight schedules and small budgets often supersede any opportunity to look closely at the demographics – and psychographics – of those whose attention you covet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find out what makes them tick. What…
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10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part Two

Advertising, Branding, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Fundraising, Marketing
2. Care deeply about results. While being able to exhibit a high degree of creativity may be important to the success of a copywriter, achieving the highest possible ROI is usually imperative, certainly in direct marketing, the industry in which I earn my livelihood. My brethren and I work with the understanding that the purpose of most campaigns is to promote sales of a product or service, not the copywriter’s ability to turn a clever phrase. It’s nice to win awards. But what really counts is winning over your audience, those who are hopefully hanging on your every single word. Yes, what the most successful copywriters really care about is convincing those on the receiving end of their communications to take action in some way, shape or form such as picking up the phone, filling out a form, clicking on…
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10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Part One

Advertising, Branding, Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Fundraising, Marketing
My first job out of graduate school many years ago was as a copywriter for RCA Direct Marketing in New York City. And the rest, as they say, has been history. Since that first exciting stint writing about the most popular records (yes, vinyl) and tapes (yes, cassettes and eight-tracks) of the day, I’ve written about an incalculable number of different products and services. As I wrote in the preceding post here on A New Marketing Commentator… I’ve written copy to help promote everything from business cards to books, healthcare to software, insurance coverage to investment advice, magazines to music, travel to tuxedos and much, much more. I’ve also written direct response fundraising copy for dozens of charitable organizations (which, by the way, has been some of the most satisfying work…
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Three Reasons Why I Like Writing for Nonprofits

Copywriting, Direct Marketing, Fundraising, Marketing, Social Media
As much as I've been using social media for business lately, copywriting -- writing, period -- has always been my stock in trade. Over the course of my career so far, I’ve written a countless number of direct mail packages, ads, brochures, inserts, flyers, web pages, emails and tweets for a multitude of both B2B and B2C clients. I’ve written copy to help promote everything from business cards to books, healthcare to software, insurance coverage to investment advice, magazines to music, travel to tuxedos and much, much more. I’ve also written copy to help dozens of charitable organizations raise funds. And honestly, as much as I enjoy writing about almost any product or service, some of the most satisfying writing I’ve done is included in my portfolio of nonprofit fundraising work. Yes, there are many reasons…
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