Why Bad Writers Succeed, And What You Can Do About It
We all know that feeling, losing a coveted job to a writer that you know doesn't have the writing talent and the reliability that you do, one who will take a writing assignment and leave the client hanging or submit inferior text.
Why did they get the gig and you didn't? What can you learn from "bad" writers that will help you develop your freelance writing business and land you the high-paying assignments that you want? Consider the following:
1. Do you have a website for your copywriting business? If you're like most writers, you've built a basic website for your freelance copywriting business to act as an online portfolio. But, when was the last time you checked those links to make sure they still lead to your online work? How up-to-date are your biographical information and business reference sections? Remember: your website is a great place to direct new and prospective clients. Don't let that "bad" writer's site outshine yours.
2. Is marketing a regular part of your daily routine? As anyone who has been freelance writing for any period of time knows, no writing gig is totally secure. Companies close; corporations decide to take their writing business in house; and individual clients run into financial difficulties. A smart writer diversifies, never depending too heavily on any one income source. To do this, you need to spend a little time each day (or each week) marketing your copywriting services to new clients.
3. Have you embraced social marketing? If you don't have a presence on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, you're missing an easy--and free--way to communicate with millions of potential clients. A marketing campaign that used to take days and dollars to execute can now be done for free in a matter of minutes...and reach an audience that was unimaginable just a few years ago. Your competition, even that "bad" writer, already knows this.
3. How much do you know about SEO? Learn more. The Internet age has changed the shape of copywriting. Offering dynamic, interesting text is no longer good enough. Good Web writing needs to be written so that it will be found by prospective clients and buyers. Ideally, writing will be both readable and search-engine-friendly. Could that "bad" writer's prose be generating results for her clients that your writing fails to deliver?
4. Do you listen? Some skills never go out of style. Listening to a client's needs is one of the most essential--and most difficult--things any salesperson (and that's one of a good copywriter's primary job descriptions) can learn. Even the most eloquent prose is useless if it doesn't meet the client's needs.
5. Do you have a niche? Even the best writer can't be knowledgeable in all areas. Could it be that your "bad" writer competitors have found a specialty and are marketing their expertise in a particular field to companies that sell related products?
According to Darren Rowse at Copyblogger.com, good writing isn't enough--and never was. Having good writing skills is certainly a good place for a copywriter to start, but without good marketing skills to accompany your writing, no one will ever read your words.