The International Copywriters Association
ICA Getting Started Part 5
If you stumbled on this page by accident, start with part 1, and continue from there. Here's the link:
In part 3 we looked at FIRST PRINCIPLES and how they help us get the answer to any questions we have. When we're stuck, we can use first principles. When we've got a decision to make, it's first principles. And when we want to take a certain path, but are not 100% sure, it's first principles again.
Coaches, consultants, psychotherapists, lawyers, detectives, investors, and a bunch of other professions use them all the time (though many don't realise it).
Every time you hear the expression "tell me more" it's the first principle approach at work. HOW and WHY questions are obvious methods of digging deeper into something (which is how we discover first principles - see part 3), but the most commonly used approach by psychotherapists is to ask if there's "anything else?" and repeat it (in a kind way) until you uncover the truth (the real underlying reasons).
Focus On Being The Doctor
When done with a caring voice, people don't hear you repeating the same question. All they hear is an opportunity to help themselves get clearer on some problem they have (this only works if their focus is 100% on themselves).
And when they get clearer, so do we. That's why "becoming the doctor" is how to become a world class negotiator. You win trust immediately (see the PS below for more info on that).
In part 4, we took a look at POSITIONING - or "what side of the fence you are on". In part 2 we got a grip on CULTURE and AUDIENCES and why alignment (being on the same side of the fence) matters.
You Are No Different Than Your Client
What many fail to realise, is that positioning ourselves to our clients is the same as positioning our clients' products to their customers.
In other words, if our copywriting is good enough to get sales for our clients, it follows that we must also be good enough to get clients for ourselves.
This is another PREMISE you can plant firmly in your head:
- There is you
- What you sell
- And who you sell it to...
Just like there are:
- Your clients
- What they sell
- And who they sell it to
They represent different AUDIENCES of course - your prospects are your AUDIENCE - each of your prospects' clients are their AUDIENCES, but the principle is identical.
If You Can Sell Products, You Can Get Clients
Because the audiences are different, every audience needs approaching in a different way. As part 1 showed, when it comes to copywriting, we always start with the audience and every audience is unique.
But How Do You Start Getting A Client?
When we're thinking about writing copy, it's easy, we start with the audience, but when we're thinking about starting a business, we start with this question: "What industry, sector, or interest do we have personal experience of, or care about?".
Once we know that, we can start to look for our audience.
Where do they hang out? That's the next step. And that begins with one word: RESEARCH.
We cannot do any MARKETING until we discover where to find our audience.
One sector I write for is the medical industry (I started to care about the medical industry when my brother developed cancer).
Like most industries, it's global, so I know there's no shortage of potential clients: doctors, consultants, surgeons, healthcare specialists, manufacturers, pharmaceuticals, PPE suppliers, and on and on.
Those on all sides of this industry from private enterprise to public institutions need a whole series of communications written for them, from PR, white papers, and website content, to adverts, posters, and leaflets.
Even doctors, consultants, and surgeons in private practice need promoting at some point or another, so in just this one industry, I have a vast number of avenues to explore.
And where do I find them? Everywhere. There are numerous local, national, and global industry conferences and exhibitions, as well as numerous publications.
And then there is the internet. All this applies to every profession and industry that exists too,
What To Say To Your Audience
When you find a company, who are obviously in need of help, it makes for a very simple opening. Contact them and explain how you could help improve their bottom line. What you write and how you write that pitch will also demonstrate your copy to them. So make sure it aligns with their mission.
Once you're in with your first company, the whole industry will start to open up (not least because of your increased confidence).
Choosing The Right Audience For You
The best marketers choose their audiences carefully. The tighter the culture > the clearer the message > the easier the writing (see part 2 again about writing to a single person if you need a reminder).
That's where your copy skills come in. Pulling your audience in word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph.
You now have another piece of the puzzle, and once you have all of them in place, it's a matter of creating a SYSTEM you can follow until you've got as much work as you need or want.
Every successful business has a system in place, it's why they're successful. If there's no system in place the best they can hope for is to tread water (and we all know that's not sustainable, you cannot hold your head above water for very long unless you're moving forward).
How do you create that system? That starts with the final part of this mini-series where I'll be talking about how the ICA can help you not just become a professional copywriter, but create a sustainable business from it as well.
International Copywriters Association
PS. I know this was a long read, but what it contains is the fundamental blueprint for creating a sustainable, long term business, and that's what we want. I also mentioned 'being the doctor'. We trust doctors because we know they care about us. But what really matters is they ask questions. They use the first principle process I've described previously to get to the truth as fast as possible. And with every question, they begin to know us inside out. If you want to research your audience properly: Be The Doctor.