Why would anyone pay me to write?

This is top of our frequently asked questions. In fairness, not many people ask us this up front. But as they progress through the course, it’s a doubt that many students confess to. They also say they don’t want to sound daft, so that’s why they don’t ask the question.

When you’re thinking about a new career or preparing to launch your services, it’s only natural to doubt your abilities. It’s easy to be in awe of people you perceive to be at the top of the tree, at a time when you’re wondering if you can even reach the bottom branch.

In our experience, it goes something like this …

You know people pay for copywriting services, but those are real copywriters. Copywriters who work in posh agencies and work for all those big blue chip companies. They probably wear designer clothes and have ritzy expense account lunches with high-powered clients. They’re different. How can you, sitting at your kitchen table in jeans and slippers with a slice of toast and Marmite, compete with them?

You’re probably thinking nearly everyone can write. It’s one of the first things we’re taught at school. So why don’t people just do their own writing? Why would they pay me to do it for them? It’s only writing. It’s just words. There’s nothing difficult about that, is there? Of course you fully understand that they would pay that mythical real copywriter: the one who has his or her name up in lights. But you?

And so that doubt niggles away eroding your confidence. You can understand why someone pays an electrician, or even a hairdresser. You probably can’t rewire your house or cut your own hair. But writing … come on?

First of all, you might be relieved to hear you’re not alone. What you’re experiencing is a very common reaction. Do you really think that super-star copywriter was sublimely confident from day one? I bet they were in your shoes once. But they got over it and so will you.

So let’s try the voice of reason. Why exactly will clients pay you to write for them?

The most obvious answer is not everyone enjoys writing. That’s the same reason why people take their cars to be valeted and use ironing services, etc. If you don’t like doing it, find someone else who does.

Time is another top reason. Your client could spend days trying to write something you could write in a couple of hours. That’s not good use of anyone’s time. And that time translates into money. It doesn’t make financial sense for your prospective client to spends hours battling with their copy when they should be doing their own job.

What to write about? Perhaps that’s one reason you haven’t thought of. The average person doesn’t know what to write about or how to go about it. That’s more time and money down the drain. Copywriting Apprentice students are trained so they know exactly what to write about!

Let me tell you a true story…

A company which built large exhibition display stands wanted to send a sales letter. They were aware their biggest, most prestigious exhibition of the year was coming up at Earls Court and they had no commissions. The company had four people in the office and more in their workshop.

The MD started writing the letter. After days of effort and getting nowhere, he gave up. He passed it to his assistant. He gave up too. It was then passed to their secretary. She didn’t know what to write either. So she passed it to the admin assistant, who sent it straight back to the MD. They played ‘pass the parcel’ with the letter for weeks and weeks. The letter didn’t get written. They still had no commissions and the exhibition was looming.

At the 11th hour, about a month before the exhibition, they called in a copywriter. There was barely enough time to get their sales letter written and posted, let alone actually build any stands if they got a response. The copywriter pulled out all the stops and the sales letter went out. Fortunately there were two companies on the mailing list who were equally disorganised and that sales letter brought in two good commissions.

A good result, you might think and yes, it was. But what was the cost of all that procrastination?

Well, there was all the time wasted with the MD and his staff tossing the letter about like a hot potato. That was days and days, if not weeks, of their valuable time wasted while their work piled up. Last minute commissions put pressure on their workshop. Their staff had to work almost round the clock to build the stands in time. They were stressed, tired and the overtime bill went through the roof.

So that, my doubting friends, is exactly why someone will pay you to write for them. It makes sound business and economic sense. So the next time that gremlin on your shoulder starts to erode your confidence, give it a hefty swipe and knock it off!

And needless to say, having saved their bacon, the copywriter went on to develop a long-term working relationship with that client. They saw the light! We hope you have too.

 

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