Monthly Archives: May 2013

How it Feels to Find Your Niche

What a rush to finally know who I want to write for, and what I want to write! It’s a relief as well.

I’ve written for years. Mostly for myself, to relieve grief or relive joy, or just to understand whats going on. Once in awhile, Id write copy for a friend. Somewhere along the way, I realized that copywriting isn’t the lowly, uncreative beast I thought it was. It was interesting, helping others get their businesses going. I decided that I’d give it a go as a new career for me.

But…?

  • What do I want to write?
  • Who to write for?
  • Would I be a better writer as a generalist or as a specialist?
  • What do I know enough about so that I know who to approach?
  • What do I want to learn while writing?
  • How do I go about marketing when I don’t know where I want to go?

After deciding to write, all these questions came up.

My answer?

I created a business card with the answers on it.

I answered those questions when I created my business card. In place of my address, I listed my niche market. I listed two of my niche products, the pair I most wanted to write. I had far less than 140 characters. I had to be succinct.

My niches are:

  • Social Organizations
  • Grant Writing Proposals
  • Business Feasibility Planner

It worked. They fit in the spaces marked Address 1, 2 and 3. They tell clients, old and new, what I do. They dont belabor the point. In seven words, I lay out what I can do.

Will I Turn Down Other Projects?

Of course not! I’ll do other projects (brochures, newsletters, etc.) as they come available. I’ll do them because theyre as interesting – and take less time – than the weightier projects. After consulting with clients, Ill know which other products they need that I can do.

However, that said, I’ll concentrate on my niches more than other things.

I know who to and when to and how to market, now.

That’s a good way to wake up in the morning.

KENDRA FRANCESCO

Writing Through a Brick Wall

The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
Randy Pausch

If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that the above quote is true in every part of my life. It’s especially true in my desire to write and research for a living. Hitting those walls full-tilt, or going over, around or under, tests my determination.

Of course, I’ve gone through all the normal and not-so-normal parts of living. Growing up through the 1960s (the “last innocent decade”) and graduating in the 1970s. Getting married (and divorced); parenthood and widowhood and empty-nester; a bipolar disorder diagnosis and subsequent counseling; taking political and religious stands; and the deaths of my own parents. From a full-time retail job to freelancing, and so much more in-between.

Through it all, the one thing that underlines all those stage and on through tomorrow, is the fact – the bald and unvarnished fact – that I wrote. I wrote then and I write now. I’ll write tomorrow and the day after that. Many times it was (and still is) to understand what happened and how to “get through it.” But through all this, I felt determined, nay compelled to write about it all.

Now, while I still don’t know even half of everything out there (science, technology, mechanics and computers in particular), I can research and write about half of everything else. Writing copy for clients so that they can reach their customers is another form of writing. I research new subjects and old businesses; fact-finding and sharing what I find through good writing makes my clients’ jobs easier.

Yes, I’ve hit brick walls throughout my life. I still do. I’ll probably do so as long as I have a working brain and a decent computer. Writing over, around, under and through the remaining brick walls enhances my determination to succeed – and, in the end, help my clients succeed.

What brick walls have you run into and toppled? Where were you in your life when you did it? What did you learn from it that you’re proud to pass on?

Writing with emotion

What you know is valuable, my counselor said. Its universal enough to appeal to a wide range of people and still be personal for you.

Copywriting, whether in a blog or for a client, needs to be just that: both universal in appeal and personal in scope. Just like the customers my client wants to reach, the client herself listens to Station WII-FM (Whats in it for me?). She want to know that the brochure I design for her, or the blog posts I write for her, or the research I do for her touches her before it goes out to her clients.

And whatever I write needs to be written as if for only one customer. In Ayn Rands The Fountainhead, one of the characters (Gail Wynand) brings in a non-descript man from the street. He says to his newspaper employees, This is who you want to write for. His employees dont remember the face of the man after said man leaves the room. That was Wynands purpose: write for the masses who have no name or face. I strive to remember that mans name and face.

Copywriting is like that. I must remember that there is a face and name and a life behind the words Im using. I want to persuade my clients customer, yes, but I must first persuade the client. She has a face, has a name, and has an entire lifetime of experiences in losses and loves, shame and gratitude.

Just as I do.

Just as you do.

Just as anyone you ever meet on this earth, or are in contact with through a blog, an email or over the phone.

Good copywriting engages the client, not just the customers she wants to talk to. Engage the client and Ill engage her customers. What better way to use the concept of universal values and yet embody the personal values?

How did your client react when you sent her the draft, the revisions or the final piece? What was your best piece that touched so many lives?