You finished your training and you’re ready for copywriting clients. But you’re not sure where to find them and you wonder why anyone would hire you — a newbie — anyway.
How do you get them to give you a shot?
And I’ve used many of those methods to get clients.
But there’s one tactic that works over and over so consistently, it’s almost foolproof.
And I believe it can be leveraged as the single biggest advantage you have to build your B2B copywriting business.
Of course, there are other advantages you can leverage to pull in those clients even as a brand-new copywriter, so let’s start there…
The Price and Availability Newcomer Advantage
When you start out, you’re probably not charging the same rates as an “A-list” copywriter. Moreover, you probably don’t yet have a calendar requiring clients to book out a year in advance, like Carline Anglade-Cole does.
You’ve got the training and the know-how to do a good job for that prospective client without some of the hurdles they’d face trying to hire a more experienced writer.
Now, don’t take that to mean I’m advising you to tell a prospect they would be your first-ever client, or that you should charge $5 for a 1,000-word blog post.
You’re still a professional, charging professional rates. They might just be on the low end of the “normal” range instead of the high end until you get more experience.
And your prospect is a potential business partner, not someone in need of your entire resume. If they straight out ask you if they’re your first client, you should tell the truth. But other than that, there’s no reason to share that information. It’s irrelevant to how you’ll do on their project. You’ve acquired the skills. You’ve paid your dues… you’ll do your best for them, even if they are your first-ever paid client.
The Industry Business Advantage
If you’re choosing to write for B2B, chances are, it’s because you have some background in your chosen niche.
Maybe you spent your early career working in Human Resources (HR) for a corporation. Or you were an IT systems administrator at a nursing home. Or you were the plant floor supervisor on the manufacturing line.
For new writers, everything is new. The writing. The freelancing. The industry or niche if you’re choosing to write in a niche in which you have no practical or work experience.
The learning curve when everything is new is steep.
But take one of those new things and make it old… make it familiar… and voilà, you’ve shortened your learning curve considerably.
Your work experience is a strategic advantage.
You know the language, you understand how the business works, probably what customers’ needs and wants are.
But what if you could compound that advantage? What if you could make that “familiar” thing do double duty?
The Single BIGGEST Business Advantage Most B2B Writers Have
Likely, when you were working in that old job, you met some people. You may have even worked side-by-side with some people.
Heck, you may have purchased some products or services from companies who sell to the type of company you used to work for. And met some of their people too.
For instance, maybe you worked at a company where you were responsible for IT purchases and you purchased accounting software or tracking software.
Now you’re a B2B copywriter serving companies in the SaaS (Software as a Service) space. You know the sales teams at those companies who were trying to get you to purchase their software.
Or you worked as a programmer at one of those SaaS companies. You know many people, co-workers, at your company. Probably attended conferences and met lots of people at those conferences. You were part of a professional programmers’ group where you got to know people from lots of other software companies.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”
A new B2B copywriter who has a professional network already in place has an advantage in that they don’t have to start completely from scratch.
They already know a lot about the industry.
And they already know a lot of the people in the industry. They have a network of contacts.
That means it’s a much easier lift for you, a new writer, to convince someone to give you a chance. Because the person you’re convincing may either be someone you know or be referred by someone you know.
What if you don’t have a network of people within your niche or industry? You worked in the industry, but in a capacity that didn’t permit you to get to know people at other companies within the industry.
You still know the jargon. You still know the industry playing field. And you still know other people. And you still could leverage that network to introduce you to prospects.
Several years ago, I was looking at doing work for some local agencies because I had some gaps in my schedule and thought agency work would be a good way to fill those gaps.
I was doing research in LinkedIn on local agencies when I saw a very good friend of mine was a first-level connection with the owner of a local agency.
I texted her and asked her how well she knew him and could she give me an introduction? Turns out, he’s her next-door neighbor.
She happily gave me an introduction and he and I had a great conversation.
And he offered to introduce me to others locally who might use freelancers.
It would never have occurred to me to ask my friend if she could help me find clients for my copywriting business. That would have been awkward and put a burden on her she didn’t need to bear. But by my providing her with a very specific request, she was thrilled to help, and it wasn’t any trouble for her to comply with my request.
That’s why, frankly, LinkedIn is my favorite marketing tool.
Because it facilitates what I believe is the single biggest business advantage for copywriters or any freelancer… their network. Or maybe their network’s network.
Just like you’d be much more comfortable hiring a contractor to put new hardwood floors in your house if they were referred from a friend, your prospects will be much more comfortable hiring you to do work for them when someone they know vouches for you.
They may not know if you’re a good writer, since this is a new skill you’ve acquired. But they probably know you’re easy to work with… reliable… or professional… or detail-oriented. There are things your network knows about you that reduce the risk for a prospect in hiring someone they don’t know.
And when you’re new to writing, you may not have testimonials or samples yet to help reduce that risk without a referral.
With a few exceptions, almost all the copywriting work I’ve done over the years has come from somewhere in my network, giving me a distinct business advantage.
And it hasn’t always been from knowing a marketing director or copy chief. Often, it’s been something as simple as knowing someone’s next-door neighbor!