So, you want to get started as a copywriter for the health and supplements industry?
The “How do I get started as a copywriter?” question is by far the most common question I get from readers.
And at the risk of just providing the same answer over and over again, I am answering it again today.
But today, I can provide a more specific and detailed answer to this version of the question. Because the question itself is more specific and detailed! And asks about an industry I have been on the edges of for years.
Remember today is Mailbox Monday. Which is the day where I answer your questions. To have your question answered in an upcoming Mailbox Monday issue, click here.
Here’s today’s question…
How can I get started as a health supplement copywriter?
I would like to focus on emails at first but would like to ease my way into writing sales letters. Who the hires email copywriters for health supplements?
My background is health and fitness. I have sold supplements in person before.
Thank you, Roy!
This question has a lot going for it…
First and most importantly, it’s realistic.
If you have an unrealistic view of the industry, you will find yourself smashing your head into a brick wall over and over again. Because success is not coming as easily as your delusional view of reality tells you it should.
This question asks how to get started as a sales letter copywriter by first writing other, shorter copy. That alone shows it has at least a somewhat accurate view of what it takes to get started.
If you think you’re going to go from a nobody with no experience to the most important copy projects, you’re going to have a real tough time of it.
Not saying it can’t be done. Just, it’s really, really difficult.
Today, nearly every project I do has a long-form direct response sales letter or script as the centerpiece. But it wasn’t always that way.
Even though pretty much all of my direct response projects have included sales letters, I wrote a lot of copy outside of the traditional direct response niches. Copy that was not like the sales letters I am known for today.
That is where I got my start as a copywriter and marketer.
That is where I developed my chops.
Even my very first financial direct response project was not a sales letter. It was a series of emails for a piece of software aimed at investors. Written to drive traffic to a sales letter written by another, more experienced copywriter.
(That company is now owned by Stansberry Research, and the sales letter was originally written by one of their writers.)
So I can tell you firsthand that doing projects as a short-form copywriter can be helpful in just getting good copywriting experience. And eventually launching your career writing longer-form direct response.
If you embrace this path, it may even be easier and more rewarding than you might assume at first.
I have even more good news…
The process for success here is proven. And it works across industry after industry. In terms of companies that hire long-form direct response copywriters.
In fact, my friend Jake Hoffberg teaches newer writers how to get started as a copywriter with one of Agora’s financial publishers. He turned this into his default process, for copywriters launching a career writing for financial publishers.
(It’s also the process he used to rocket into a successful financial copywriting career.)
And while Jake goes much deeper than I can in this article, I will give you a basic breakdown of what you need to do to get started. And the best way to go about it.
To give credit where it is due, much of what you’re about to read is a simplified version of a more nuanced approach you would learn by going deep with Jake’s process.
But it also has layers of my own experience mixed in. Plus observations from being in the industry for over a decade.
First, let’s talk about who to approach…
If you want to know who to approach, just look at the companies who are doing the marketing like you want to create.
For this, I actually DO NOT recommend looking for a separate group of email direct marketers. Instead, look for the companies who are using the type of long-form copy you would like to write.
There is no hurt in developing your reputation with them. Even if it’s not as a long-form copywriter… YET.
You could easily end up in a situation where the short copy is a stepping stone to much bigger opportunities.
Make a list of all of these companies you can find. Put it in a spreadsheet or other document you can refer to often.
If needed, get on a bunch of email lists. Even buy products from the companies in the industry, to get on the “buyers” list. So that you start to get more marketing from the companies in the space.
Pay extra attention to the messages you get. Because some of them promote 3rd-party products, using your style of marketing. In which case, getting on one email list can give you 2, 3, 5 or even 10 different potential client companies worth contacting.
Build this list of companies you want to approach, based on seeing marketing they do that’s like you’d like to write for clients.
This is your list of who to approach. (You can look for marketing executives using LinkedIn, for the best people in the company.)
Next, you have to know what to say to them…
Really, this is pretty simple.
You know they use long-form direct response copy. That’s why you picked these companies.
What you need to know about long-form direct response copy is that every successful sales letter or video gets traffic from somewhere.
And usually that traffic involves many separate pieces of shorter copy. Such as emails, advertorial landing pages, ads, and whatever other variations of short copy the marketer uses to drive traffic.
That is your opportunity.
Your magic question is, “Do you have any short copy overflow work?”
Explain to them you’re getting started and serious about building a career in the industry. Tell them you know you’re not ready to write the long-form copy yet, but you know many companies that use longer form copy have a big need for short copy ads, emails, and other copy to test. Tell them you’re willing to do that work.
Offer that to even five marketers and you’ll probably have two projects, as long as you come across as half-competent.
These are small jobs. Usually in the $100-$500 per piece of copy range. But let’s say they have something working — a VSL. They are testing traffic drivers all the time. If you write four at $250 each, they could easily find one that sends more clicks to the effective VSL. And it could very quickly be worth much more than $1,000 to them.
You get to test lots of messages. And hopefully get good feedback and test results. They get copy done they’re not getting done.
And the winning VSL gets more traffic.
One more thing…
Emphasize your sales experience. Especially in-industry. That’s a huge advantage. Even a basic understanding of sales — tested in the trenches — gives you a huge advantage as a copywriter.
The fact that it’s for similar products has extra advantages I don’t have time to cover, but they’ll love it.
Now — go for it!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,