Often I get emails from people asking for help with their Internet marketing. Or they’re starting a home based business and they want me to write and/or design their business card, brochure and Web site.
But today I got an email from Jim, a West Point grad, former airborne infantryman, with a Bronze Star from Desert Storm. Jim’s spent a total of 25 years serving his country, both on active duty and as a civilian employee of the Army.
He wants to become a copywriter.
Where has this site been all my life?
I see that you’re a professional copywriter…Help me make it happen for me! I’ve been toying with the idea of getting out of the rut I’ve been in since 1980 and making the break as a writer that helps break the communication gaps where engineers, techies, and business “suits” can’t seem to get their points across.
Here’s my reply:
Nice to meet you, and good luck on becoming a copywriter. Just what I need — more competition! ;^)
No, seriously, come on in, Jim, The (business) world desperately needs more people who can communicate. And from your email it’s clear you’ve got the right stuff. You write well and even let the “person” show through. That’s pretty rare in Corporate America.
Let me start by offering you two invaluable resources right off the bat, that really helped me get my business going.
First is Peter Bowerman’s book, The Well Fed Writer. It not only helped me find the courage to make the leap (heh heh, a little airborne humor) and start my business, but it offered lots of valuable practical (i.e. business-related) guidance along the way.
Get it and read it ASAP. It’s about BUSINESS writing, i.e., writing the kind of material that businesses need (which also pays pretty well, by the way.) It’s NOT about writing and selling magazine articles, short stories, screenplays or poetry.
Peter even tells you exactly how to go about getting your first clients…
The other is Bob Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook, which focuses more on how to do the actual writing. It explains what each type of “collateral” is for (brochures, ads, etc.) and how to write them. Actually, anything by Bly is pretty helpful.
As soon as you get those two under your belt, you’ll be on your way, Jim. Keep in touch and let me know how it’s going, too. If I can, I’ll be glad to help.
Want to improve your writing? Check out those two excellent books.