You’re a new copywriter, or want to develop a copywriting career. Here’s how to double and triple your income: offer ghostwriting services.
You clients need much more than just marketing and advertising material. They need: articles, books, speeches, presentations, and video scripts. Think of yourself as a “writer”, rather than as simply a copywriter.
I’ve always offered both copywriting and ghostwriting services to my clients. When I started out, over 30 years ago, my first few clients knew that not only did I write all the advertising and marketing materials for the business I was running, but I also wrote articles for trade journals. So, they asked me to write articles and books under their names: “ghostwriting” means that the content appears under the name of the person for whom you’re writing. You give up all rights in the work.
I soon realized that I could increase my income substantially by promoting my ghostwriting services in conjunction with my copywriting services.
Get your clients on retainer
Here’s a big secret to making money as a copywriter and ghostwriter: retainer fees. A “retainer” is a fee paid in advance for your services.
Your retainer clients pay you a fee each month so that they get first claim on your services. You may provide a specific service for the retainer, or the retainer may be open-ended – that is, the client lays claim to a certain number of hours from you each month, whether he uses those hours or not.
Let’s look at two examples.
Client A wants you to update his website each month with fresh marketing content. You agree to write two webpages each month. A retainer of $1,150 is paid to you on the first of the month. It’s up to you when you deliver the content.
Client B pays you $600 on the first of each month to reserve two hours of your writing time during that month. You may do more work for the client in that month, and those extra hours are chargeable, but two hours are paid for in advance. Client B briefs you when he needs you. If he doesn’t need your services during the month, the hours don’t roll over into the next month. He uses the hours, or loses them.
Retainer fees benefit clients because you’re acting as a quasi member of their staff. You know their business. They can brief you on a new project just by picking up the phone, or sending you an email message. You save them time and money. They don’t need to go through the drama of hiring a copywriter or a ghostwriter for a new project. You’re also a known quantity: they know that they’re working with a competent writer, rather than hiring a pig-in-a-poke writer.
The more clients you can get on retainer the better. Retainer clients mean that you can count on income each month.
Hint: OFFER retainer services to your clients. It always shocks me when I ask a fellow copywriter how many retainer clients he has, and the answer is “none.” You get retainer clients by offering retainer services. Your clients have no idea it’s even possible to reserve your services unless you tell them, so don’t keep it a secret.
Ghostwriting: can you write without a byline?
Copywriting is a form of ghostwriting. The marketing materials and advertising campaigns you create don’t have your name on them. When they write editorial material however – articles and books – many writers resent giving up their byline. (“Byline” means having your name attached.)
I understand that, but the money tends to make up for it. Consider that it’s unlikely that you’d want to get known for the articles and speeches you ghostwrite. They’re just writing commissions which pay well. Indeed, an article you ghostwrite for a client for a business or trade publication will pay better than if you wrote the article and it was published under your name.
Consider adding ghostwriting to the services you offer as a copywriter. You’ll increase your income substantially, especially if you get clients on retainer.
This week’s offering: the Copywriting Masterclass
“Copywriting Master Class – Ten Weeks to Copywriting Genius” – takes you from beginner to copywriting pro in a complete copywriting class.
If you’ve ever wanted to how to develop your own copywriting business, this week’s offering is for you. It’s an online writing class, and you write at your own pace, with expert guidance every step of the way.
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