In the past I’ve had freelancers and copywriters tell me how much they want to fill their essential web pages with informative, persuasive and compelling reasons to hire them.
The problem is that despite studying books, courses and classes, they don’t have previous client experience or testimonials to write about.
So how can they use copywriting to get past this?
Photo by: Michael Jastremski
What copywriting skills will get round this?
Well, you could talk about your customer’s problem and pain so that they’re under no illusion that they need to fix it. Or you could emphasise the benefits and the value of what you offer, and encourage your customer to visualise what it will be like to finally solve their problem.
However, no matter how well you know your ideal customer and what problem they want to solve, copywriting is only going to get you so far if you don’t already have some remarkable experience to talk about.
Perhaps you think it’s not “that” big of a deal because people enquiring about your services aren’t mentioning it, but that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about it.
If you want to have integrity in your business, experience is important. But don’t get disheartened… Do this instead:
Find something remarkable to write about
If you know you have a great product or service getting experience is easy. Simply offer what you have for free (or at cost if you have to spend money on parts) in exchange for using the story as a case study or a testimonial.
If you are passionate about sharing what you do with the worlds, then this probably excites you. There will be someone out there who would love to have what you have, whether it’s web design, copywriting, or a new course or software.
Don’t want to offer it completely free? Then search for skill-swap opportunities where you can offer your services to be redeemed against the same value of someone else’s service. When I was starting out I was able to get expert design work and photography this way. And I didn’t just benefit from the services I received, I made some great relationships along the way.
This gives your content much more value because you can use actual incidents, people,and companies to prove your value. When you can be this specific, it shows you can apply theory to real-life; an attribute that separates the real experts from fake ones.
Doesn’t this devalue your product?
Getting into a pattern of giving away your service for free may feel like you’re devaluing your product, or that you’re attracting the wrong people to your business.
Remember, you’re not giving away your services for nothing.
You are strategically placing yourself where you can build valuable case studies and relationships. You may even find yourself with a chance to work on something completely new to you that will improve your skill set and increase your value.
Here’s a quick tip – if people are used to getting yourselves for free, they may not like it when you try to charge. Don’t get angry with them, they’ve simply been trained to expect your services for free. Some people will understand that you are doing this to gain experience and will be happy to pay for your services as you grow. But if they’re not, don’t worry about it, just move to new areas and circles of potential customers.
How long do you have to do this?
You can pick up this experience as you develop your other content-marketing strategies, such as writing your business blog, writing guest posts, or creating free resources for your industry.
Although experience is important, you don’t have to wait to put yourself forward for opportunities. If you think you’re qualified for a project, go for it.
Dream big, be industrious when it comes to building your experience and don’t let it hold you and your business back.
What do you think? Have you put off approaching a client because of a lack of experience? Are there people you can offer your services to in return for a testimonial? Do you object to the idea of working for free? Let me know in the comments
Andrew Kelly says
Great tips for starting out in copywriting. You are right. A new copywriter obviously does not have experience and employers don’t want to hire people without experience. The only way. Your skill swap technique is great. Is there any website on the Interent that provides skill swap opportunities?
Hey Andrew – thanks for your comment!
I’m not aware of any site, though I’m sure they are out there. The best skill swaps I’ve done is where there is already a level of familiarity, either from netowrking or a previous connection. The important thing is to be clear on both sides what each party will deliver so that you don’t have an uneven offering.
A tip that might help is to exchange an amount of services, e.g. £1,000 each and explain what a customer would receive for that amount. Makes it much easier to track. 🙂