Freelance copywriting is more than creating marketing and advertising copy. It also involves developing branding, for small companies and individuals.
Today, many marketplaces are global. You need to know how to help your clients to stand out. And of course, you need to stand out from the crowd yourself.
“Brand you”: as true as it ever has been
Way back in 1997, Tom Peters wrote THE BRAND CALLED YOU, and said:
“You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.”
Read Peters’ article. Then read it again. Write a short brand statement for YOU.
You’re a brand, and as a freelance copywriter, you’ll find yourself helping others to brand themselves.
Why brand yourself, and your clients?
To stand out from the crowd, basically. You’re a freelance copywriter. Thousands of copywriters do what you do. What do you offer, that makes you stand out?
Your brand isn’t your platform…
A brand, or a platform?
Your platform as a writer is your readership. Your brand is your image. You can, and must, craft your image. Branding isn’t just for brands. As Peters points out — today, branding is for everyone.
Your clients won’t care about branding, but you do
Few of your small business clients who come to you for copywriting help know or care what “branding” involves. They’re not inclined to pay for it either. Whether these small business owners are coaches, speakers, trainers, or Kindle authors, they just want to sell more of their stuff.
Their challenge? Their competition. Branding can help your clients to stand out from their competition, and they all want that.
Start by working out what makes your client stand out from the 5,000 other businesses which offer exactly what he offers.
Then you can craft marketing materials which sell. I charge handsomely for bios and brand statements, and you can, too.
What makes your client DIFFERENT?
With most of your clients, at first glance, nothing at all.
To get a grip on branding, create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your client if he doesn’t have one already.
Let’s say that your client owns four gyms in a three-city area. Go visit a couple of the gyms. Chat with some of the clients — ask them why they chose the gym. They might say:
- It’s closest to my house
- It stays open until midnight, then opens at 4 AM
- I love my yoga teacher — she makes us sweat.
Nosing around gives you a feel for your client’s business. You’ll be able to craft a USP very quickly, once you’ve visited a couple of his competitors.
Next, create a tagline. A tagline is basically just a slogan. You’ll get inspiration for the tagline from your client’s customers.
Tip: don’t sweat (pun intended) USPs and taglines. It doesn’t matter what you create — you can change them at any time — it just matters that you have them, because it makes writing powerful copy easier.
Branding is all about emotion — what’s the feeling?
To small businesses, branding usually means their logo, and their website or brochures and Point of Sale (POS) materials. They’re right, it does mean those things. Designers leave it at that. Which means that most companies’ branding materials are homogeneous.
This is where you, the copywriter, come in. You know the company’s USP. You’ve created a tagline. You know what emotion you want to convey. Make sure that your client’s branding materials convey that emotion.
Get your client to run a competition, or conduct a survey, even if it’s on social media. Your client needs to know what his customers think of his materials, and so do you.
If it turns out that your client’s customers are responding to the materials as you expected, all is well. You can get to work building your client’s branding.
Branding is never done. It’s always in flux.
Never damage your brand
Everyone has a brand. Writers do too. Whether you know it or not, everything you do is building your brand, or harming it. It can take years to build a great brand, and just a careless word or three to damage it.
What’s your brand? Think about it, and create your own USP. It’s a fascinating process. Few writers bother. Whether you’re a freelance copywriter or any other kind of writer, you have a brand. Build it, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Copywriting Mastery 2016: Build a Six-figure Copywriting Business
Copywriting is highly lucrative. Word for word, you’ll make more money as a copywriter than you will with other kinds of writing.
Could YOU become a copywriter? I’ve often said that if you can write an email message which gets a response, you can write copy. Yes, YOU.
We’ve updated Copywriting Mastery for 2016. It remains the most powerfully effective, and easiest, copywriting course ever.
Of course, you receive personal guidance from me. Join us. 🙂
How to profit from your writing: online store.
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