Hello and welcome to another Mailbox Monday!
For those of you who are new, every Monday I answer YOUR questions. All you gotta do is send ‘em in to [email protected], and I’ll throw ‘em into the queue. Right now I have a couple months’ worth of questions, so don’t expect your answer to show up here immediately — but it doesn’t hurt to get in line now. Especially since unlike most lines, you don’t actually have to stand in the line yourself to get service.
Before I get into today’s issue, I have an important question for you…
Are you following my advice, or just reading it?
I was talking to one of my coaching clients this morning. He was the one who asked last week about how to get copywriting gigs by pitching your big idea. I wrote an entire outline of the specific process I recommended, and published it to Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.
He followed my advice to the letter.
It worked. (Surprised?) It got him in with the client, and they liked his ideas. All three he submitted. With one winner. And it looks like he’s got the project, too.
He actually asked me today why I give this stuff away for free. He points out that others charge hundreds of dollars for advice that doesn’t work as well. He told me I should take that down, and sell it to you instead.
Well, I haven’t decided to do that yet. So go ahead and read it again, and apply it.
And for those of you who still want to become a copywriter… What are you waiting for? Just follow the recommendations in that lesson, and get a gig. Then you won’t want to become a copywriter, you will be one.
Alright, that said, let’s move on to today’s question…
It seems that almost all my questions are from copywriters-to-be, wanting to break in. Please, pay attention to my previous recommendation. Just do it!
Alright, let’s dig in…
I have been in avionics and aviation for more than 23 years. I have been both a technical instructor and technical writer during that time.
I want to break away from the technical writing and get into copywriting. I have selected the aviation industry for my niche. I also understand that I may need to narrow the niche to just avionics or some other selector, like retrofitting.
What I need is suggestions how to get started marketing to this niche. Any ideas?
The truth about getting started as a copywriter in the aviation niche is pretty darn simple.
Getting started in this niche is very much the same as getting started in just about any other niche out there.
You have to decide you’re going to sell copywriting services. You have to find out who is ready, willing, and able to buy copywriting services from someone like you. And you need to make the transaction happen.
You may think I’m oversimplifying, but really, I’m not.
That’s how you get started.
At first blush, I actually think aviation is a narrow enough niche for a freelance copywriter.
Now, I may be wrong. It may be helpful if you specialize in avionics, or retrofitting, as you mentioned. It may be helpful to specialize in private aviation, versus commercial aviation. Or the other way around. Or perhaps jets. I’m not sure, entirely.
I know there are a few copywriters working in this niche already. But I also know it’s a huge industry with a TON of money involved, and I’m certain the number of copywriters specialized in aviation is nowhere near enough to meet demand.
It’s an industry where the demand for good copy far outstrips the supply of copywriters to create that copy.
Your only challenge is in educating prospects regarding the value of good copy, or positioning yourself in such a way that you’re fulfilling on a need that they’ve already assigned value to. That is, outside of direct response or ad agencies, few companies really think they need “copy” from a “copywriter.” But they do know they need marketing and sales communications materials that help further the purchasing process.
So then, you need to find out who makes that purchasing decision, and get in contact with them.
Research is your friend, here.
LinkedIn is a good resource. So is the company’s website — particularly the company news items, as they often include a marketing or media contact.
Find out who the marketing manager or director is for a company. Reach out to them, preferably by phone.
First, confirm that they’re the one in charge of putting out their marketing and communications materials.
Then ask, “Do you hire freelance copywriters from time to time to help you with your marketing copy and communications materials?”
And if they say yes, ask, “What would it take for you to consider me next time you’re in need of outside help?”
If they say, “A what?” You say, “I help write marketing materials and sales collateral that helps your sales team close more deals. Do you ever have any of that work you’d like to get off your plate and have done right the first time?”
At this point, you’ve either disqualified them as a potential client, or you have them interested…
Now, I got a lot of this process from Bob Bly, I’ll admit. He’s a pro at B2B copywriting services sales. It’s been his main niche for as long as I’ve been alive. (Really.)
He covers this process in his book Secrets of a Freelance Writer: How to Make $100,000 a Year or More. It’s probably worth having, particularly if you’re going to go after clients in various B2B niches, including aviation.
What you’ll also want to have at the ready, and Bob also teaches this, is a bit of a process for closing the deal and bringing new clients on board.
You should have a reasonable understanding of the marketing process. And be able to ask probing questions to identify where they might need help.
– Are they using email to nurture leads that come in through their website? What does the email sequence they send out look like?
– What is the sales team taking to trade shows to hand out to prospective customers, and get the highest-interest prospects to raise their hand and express interest?
– Are they regularly communicating with their past customers to stimulate further business?
Your list should be much longer than this — for those of you who are subscribers, the Total Business Breakthrough Marketing Audit you got when you subscribed has a wealth of questions you can pull from. (Non subscribers can register to get this free.)
In addition to a list of questions, you need anything you can put together to be seen as more credible to this audience.
Testimonials on your writing from others in the industry. A list of aviation-related businesses you’ve worked with (even not for copy). A list of experience in the industry. Copy samples, when you get them.
The idea is that you want to give your buyer (your potential client) enough information that they can feel very comfortable bringing you in. When it’s an industry that you have a lot of non-copy experience in, take advantage of that experience.
Be ready to send this information (by email or postal mail) when the client asks for more info. You may never need it, but if you do, it will be quite beneficial to have it at the ready.
Early on, you just want to try to get as much experience under your belt as possible. Reach out to marketing managers, get connections, and try to get projects here and there.
For your very first projects, it’s worthwhile to leverage your preexisting connections. If you have folks in the industry who already know, like, and trust you, use that to your advantage. Offer to help them with copy projects. Or ask them to connect you with their marketing managers, or whoever you’d work with at their company.
The idea up front is just to get as much work as early as possible.
Then once you do have some real experience, you will want to try to become even more connected, and become a thought-leader in aviation marketing — usually you do that through publishing.
The risk you have here is that there are already some fairly good copywriters working in this space (maybe that’s why you wanted to specialize?).
But you could certainly reach out to them and also offer to be of service on any project they have where they may need an extra writer to best serve their clients. I’m almost certain there’s at least one good aviation copywriter out there who would love to have someone on call to help them when their plate gets full.
There are a lot of ways to get started. They all involve taking action. Each of the recommendations above is a good start.
But ultimately you’ll find it’s really a matter of action being far more fruitful than inaction. That’s the real breakthrough!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets