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There's one activity you must do if you want to be a successful freelance writer and copywriter.
One activity you cannot replace with any other activity. One activity that, if you do it daily, you'll become a better freelance writer and copywriter … and even rise to greatness. One activity, if you don't do, you'll never rise above mediocre.
The one activity you must do if you want to be a successful freelance writer and copywriter is …
WRITE DAILY AND PITCH LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW
A Hidden Source of Freelance Writing and Copywriting Activity…
Okay...it's not really so hidden...but you would be surprised how many newbies just don't get it.
There's writing you probably do every day, even when you're traveling. If you're like most people, this writing is a quick job without much thought. You'd hardly think of it as freelance writing and copywriting activity. You just write … then click the send button.
Of course, I'm talking about email.
You see, copywriting is a special form of writing that compels the reader to take action. And, as a copywriter, you should view all your writing (except shopping lists and the like) as efforts of persuasive writing.
To be blunt, the number one thing that any freelance writer or copywriter should be doing every day is writing emails and pitching article ideas like there is no tomorrow.
So, make your daily emails reflect everything you've learned and are learning about effective copywriting and freelance writing.
Here are 5 strategies for doing that …
1. Write a Headline That Sticks in the Mind of Your Reader
Your email subject line is really a headline. If your email reader/editor is typical, he/she may have as many as 100+ emails every day to read. Or more. Your subject line should convince him/her to read your email first.
You don't have to base your subject line on all the secrets you're learning from this blog. But, it should be direct, purposeful, specific, informative, and concise.
You have about 40 characters to get this concise summary across. Consider a subject line like: "Writer's Digest article 1st draft from William Ballard." Thirty-nine characters with the most important information at the beginning.
2. Get Off on the Right Foot With Your Reader
I'll reveal a secret. This is the stimulus for today's article. I get lots of emails from blog members and subscribers and about a third of the time, the email starts out like:
I noticed in your last article/blog you talked about …
No "Hello Will." No "Hi Will." No "Dear Will." No intro greeting at all.
I'm always just a tiny bit irritated when I get emails like this. If you saw a friend on the street, would you launch into a conversation without saying, "Hello"? Of course not. That would sound unfriendly.
Your intro greeting is your opportunity to begin your email--your activity freelance writing and copywriting exercise—on the right foot. It also sets the personal, conversational tone for what you'll be writing.
What intro greeting you use depends on your relationship with the recipient. When I write Jane Doe, I say, "Hi Jane." If I'm writing John Doe, I might say, "Hello John." If I were to write Bob Proctor, whom I don't know personally, I would use, "Hello Mr. Proctor" or, "Dear Mr. Proctor."
But I always use a intro greeting for my first email of the day to that person. You should, too.
3. Make Your Emails Something Editors Want to Read
As a professional copywriter and freelance writer, you strive to make your words readable. This should be just as true with your email writing and article pitching.
Your email recipients--especially your clients—live busy lives. You don't want them to dread seeing your email in their inbox because they're long winded, and hard to read.
Keep your messages short and to the point. If you're writing for businesses (B2B), avoid unnecessary conversation … remembering at the same time to be courteous and professional.
Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Don't run email paragraphs together. Separate them with a blank space. Hit "Enter" or "Return" twice to accomplish this.
This is important, even if you write short paragraphs. If they're jammed together, your email will look crowded, unfriendly, and hard to read.
Email gives you the opportunity to express your personality by using a wide range of fonts and backgrounds. Don't … especially if you're writing to clients/editors. They don't care about your "personality." They only care about your freelance writing and copywriting skills.
Follow this same strategy for all your emails, even those to friends and family. Make your words be the thing that expresses your personality.
4. No One Likes a Pain in the Butt (Be Professional)
Even if you're incredibly upset with the recipient, keep your cool. It's easy to get angry, write, send … and then regret.
Emails reflect your professionalism.
Here is food for thought: The moment you yell you have lost control.
Here's another reason to keep your cool. Email travels. You may have a legitimate gripe with a client. You send a angry, nonsense email, and without your knowing it, 25 of his/her industry associates have read what a jerk you are.
The same with personal emails. It's better to get across your message with professional words without resorting to unprofessional behavior.
Last word about courtesy: Never use ALL CAPS. This isn't only hard to read; it's considered to be yelling. Don't ever do it!
5. Wash Your Emails of Dirty Misspellings and Filthy Typos, No One Likes to Receive a Mess
Does your quick note to Aunt Jane need to be free of typos and misspellings? Always! Get in the habit of proofing every email you write. I have an email program that checks spelling and won't let me send until I change or approve every flagged word.
Of course, typos will sneak through sometimes. But never write and send without re-reading your email to eliminate as many of these sneaky errors as possible.
Follow these five strategies every time you write an email article pitch … and you'll add many minutes of freelance writing and copywriting activity you didn't realize you had.
Remember, the secret to becoming a successful writer of any kind is to write.
So, until we meet again, keep writing!
Yours for a successful freelance writing and copywriting career,
P.S. What can you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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About William Ballard
Freelance Writer, Copywriter, Blogger, Inbound Marketing Specialist, and Author, William Ballard, helps small businesses and entrepreneurs, like you, broadcast their message across the Internet (and offline) and be seen as experts in their field. He has recently been dubbed the Expert Marketer of Writing.
William, a writer and content creator since 2007, enjoys sharing with others his experience on how to become a successful writer, blogger, and author. View more about William Ballard →