Q:  How can you tell how much copywriting a specific company uses?

A:  (Katie Yeakle) The best thing to do is to “seed yourself” — which is an industry phrase for getting your name and address on a company’s mailing list so you receive their communications.

Before the internet, it was common for copywriters to purchase something from a company so they could be put on a “buyer’s list” and then receive every mailing related to purchases in that company.

Thanks to the internet, you can now go online and seed yourself through the company’s online email newsletter, assuming they have one. And that will be your first clue as to what types of copywriting they use.

You should also browse through their website to see whether they offer catalog descriptions, sales letters, white papers, case studies, a social media presence, a blog, or any of the many types of writing projects directed toward consumers.

Once you start receiving company emails, pay attention to what they send. Do they link to videos? Do they promote services or products from other, related companies? Do they write to you every day, every week, or just once a month?

You can also purchase something from a company online to get your email address seeded on their buyer’s list, because chances are, they send different mailings to buyers than they do to prospects. If you really want to do your research well, use two different email addresses: One that gets put on the buyer list (after you make a purchase) and one that you use for showing beginner-level interest in the company by only opting in to their emails.

Spend four to six weeks reading and looking at all of the messaging that goes out from the company. Not only is this the perfect way to see what types of copywriting they value, it’s also a great way to come up with observations for new things they can do, which you can then present to them once you’re familiar with their approach.