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5 of the Best Ways to Get Started as a Direct-Response Writer

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When a writer — or aspiring writer — asks me about the single hottest opportunity for writers, my answer never changes…  

No matter the season, the year, economy, or the individual’s background, passion, interests, degree — or lack of — the answer is always direct-response copywriting.  

It’s mainly because of all the benefits, which I’ll cover in a moment. But the biggest thing that makes direct-response copywriting so hot is that it will always be in demand.  

You see, the fundamentals of direct-response copywriting — or “persuasive writing” — are always going to apply… in any market or medium.  

It doesn’t matter if you decide to take your writing career to the web or the print industry, direct-response copy skills are needed across the board.  

And, that demand is exactly why direct-response copywriting is the most valuable writing opportunity you can pursue.

I’m going to delve into five of the best ways to get started as a direct-response writer, but first…

What is Direct-Response Copywriting?  

Simply put, direct-response copy is a group of words written to persuade a person (the reader) to take a specific action. Direct-response copywriting is the act of writing the specific copy.  

Direct-response copy differs from traditional advertising because traditional ads are typically designed to create awareness for a product or service.  

In contrast, direct-response copy is specifically written to get an immediate action. 

You see this form of copy all the time, you just might not be aware of it… here are a few examples:  

  • Any “Junk Mail” you receive. This includes everything from credit card offers to magazine subscription letters and even donation requests. Catalog copy is also an example of direct-response copy.  
  • The words on any website you visit. Websites need a lot of copy to convince readers to buy. Just think of all the words on a typical website: home page copy, headlines, sidebars, “About” pages, blog posts, social media content, and more.  
  • Your email content. Chances are — if you’re receiving an email from a company — it includes direct-response copy. Any time you’re asked to “visit their website,” “Like them on Facebook,” or “follow them on Twitter,” you’re seeing an example of direct-response copy. 

As you can see, it’s everywhere. 

In fact, it’s part of a huge, $2.3 trillion (and growing) industry.  

That’s why — when it comes to the hottest opportunities for writers — it’s right up there at the top!  

And the industry is still growing. (I’ll go over five opportunities for newcomers in just a moment.)  

But here’s something you should know: As more and more companies come online and need copy to compete with other companies, the demand for writers is only going to increase.  

Yet, already companies are having trouble finding enough writers for all the content and copy they need to produce! 

There’s also the topic of compensation… which is also one of the biggest benefits of direct-response copywriting. It can be quite lucrative, depending on how much you work and the types of projects you land. A six-figure income is definitely attainable.  

In fact, many Barefoot Writers are able to bring in a full-time income working part-time hours. Some make well over six-figures working full-time.  

But, I want to make one thing clear:  

The words “direct-response copy” barely scratch the surface of opportunities for writers…  

Direct-response copy may be where it all starts… but from there it just goes on… and on!  

There are literally hundreds — if not thousands — of ways to live the Barefoot Writer life using direct-response copy as your foundation. 

Even better, you can choose the type of writing that fits your style and goals…  

Short copy… social media updates… product descriptions… long copy… entire websites… it’s completely up to you.  

Of course, so many options can be a little overwhelming. So, if I had to choose the best ways to get started as a direct-response writer, here are the five I’d pick:  

1. Write Website Copy

This is first on my list because this segment of direct-response copy is huge (and constantly increasing)… 

Consider this: According to a recent report by eMarketer, the total U.S. e-commerce sales in 2018 will reach $526 BILLION.  

Needless to say, writers have never been in more demand… 

On top of that, this demand is stable, reliable, and not going anywhere. If anything, it continues to surge year after year because the internet is continuously growing.  

As more and more companies come online, a direct-response copywriter can expect an unending list of potential web-writing projects to choose from.  

Plus, because the internet is always evolving, just one client can mean an ongoing number of projects. After all, websites continually need to be updated, added to, changed, and improved.  

So, what’s different about writing website copy?  

When you write direct-response copy for the web, you’ll help businesses sell their products or services via the internet.  

The goal — just like I mentioned earlier — is to get the reader to take an action… this time online. Online actions might be clicking a link, filling out a form, downloading a report, or visiting a website. 

Get started today by clicking around the websites of some of your favorite companies. Compare the types of web pages they include within their site and study the message each page contains. Then, put together your own professional writing website. You can use it to practice your web writing, and once it’s live, it becomes a sample where you can direct potential clients.  

2. Manage and Write Social Media Campaigns

This opportunity as a direct-response copywriter is exploding! In just a few years, it’s grown from being referred to as “social media” to now often being called “the social web.”  

It’s integrated into everything we do online.  

Because of that, companies need more social web content than ever… to the tune of social media ad spending reaching $49 billion in 2017. That’s up from $34 billion in 2016.  

And for 2018, social media ad revenue is forecast at $51.3 billion! (Statista) 

Huge growth!   

Plus, check this out: According to an article from social media copywriter, Nick Usborne, “88% of companies know they’re not doing well on social media.”  

Additionally, “Fewer than 15% of companies have dedicated social media experts on staff.”  

Social media might as well be an opportunity on a silver platter!  

The demand is sky high, yet this is another area of direct-response copy where just a few clients can keep you completely booked.  

What does a social media writer do, exactly?  

As a social media writer, you would work with companies to manage their social media campaigns. Of course, you could choose which services you offer, which might be anything from creating initial social pages to the day-to-day management and updating of the accounts.  

There are also posts and updates that need to be written and scheduled, shareable content that needs to be found and re-shared, and fans and followers who need to be engaged with.  

With the right retainer agreement, you could have a full-time project — and full-time pay — managing a company’s social media strategy.  

Get started today by setting up or optimizing your own social media channel. In other words, prove that you understand social media.  

Then, share (or re-share) valuable content, tell people about your services, and use social media to attract new clients.  

3. Get Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is an opportunity within direct-response writing that sadly has not received the attention it deserves.  

But, as I’ve said before, if there is one area of web writing that every writer should learn, it’s SEO copywriting.  

I say that for a few reasons:  

  • Even if you’re a brand-new writer, you can jump in right away and start making solid money from day one. It’s likely the easiest and fastest way for a web writer to start working with paying clients.
  • SEO skills will make your services more valuable — meaning higher rates and better pay. So — if you are doing any writing for the web at all — don’t miss out on the added value of SEO. 

Truly, SEO is not something that should be overlooked.  

But, let’s back up a little to make sure we’re on the same page… 

In order to sell anything online, a website needs to attract people (commonly called “visitors”). The number of visitors a website receives per month is called its “traffic.”  

As a business gets more traffic (or people visiting their website), they increase their selling opportunities.  

And, it just so happens that SEO is a great way — if not the best way — to get more traffic…  

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? 

A search engine is a tool that helps a person find what they’re looking for online. You’ve certainly heard of Google, Yahoo!, or Bing…  

You type something into one of those search engines and they return a list of recommended sites. These are known as “search engine results.” 

SEO is the process of tweaking a website so it appears higher in those results… increasing the website’s exposure to more potential customers.  

That’s where you, as the SEO copywriter, come in… 

What does a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) writer do?  

The way a search engine ranks all of the websites on the internet can be a bit complicated… and, it changes from time to time…  

As an SEO writer, you would follow these changes and ensure your client’s website copy is written (and revised) in a way that allows the search engine to find and rank it high in the results.  

Depending on your preference, your service might include writing all the copy and content for a website, or simply tweaking existing copy to optimize it. 

For your clients, more Search Engine Optimization equals more traffic. More traffic means more profits. That’s why just a few clients can keep you busy writing (or enhancing) content that will improve their SEO rank!  

Get started today by exploring SEO. Try going to your favorite search engine and searching for something you’d like to buy. Then, review the results to see how the websites use the words (called “keywords” in the SEO world) that you searched for on their website.  

You’ll find that the most optimized sites (those that are most relevant to what you searched for) appear first…  

What about those other sites? The ones who aren’t ranking well are all potential clients just waiting for you to help them.  

4. Write Content

This opportunity ties most of what we already talked about together… and it’s one of the easiest ways to get started as a direct-response writer… 

You see, most companies are desperate for content — like articles, blog posts, case studies, free reports, reviews, and more — because this content attracts new prospects, helps them make purchase decisions, builds rapport, increases credibility, and more.  

Content — or “content marketing” — is now a major part of the sales process. In fact, I discovered that 9 out of 10 companies in North America are using content marketing to boost their sales. 

And, get this… 60% of them plan on increasing how much they’ll spend on content! 

Writing content is one of the easiest, fastest-growing opportunities there is…   

And, for the most part, you’ll be writing short pieces of copy that are informative, engaging, and entertaining. No need to “hard sell” or be hype-y. 

Get started today by writing an article about a topic you are passionate about. It doesn’t have to be long — aim for 500-800 words. The point of this exercise is for you to see just how easy content writing can be. 

As an example, let’s say you enjoy yoga. You could write something like, “4 Ways Yoga Changed My Life.” That’s exactly the kind of content a yoga studio, yoga supply website, or yoga instructor would need to market their business.  

5. Write Emails

Last, but certainly not least, on my list of direct-response copywriting opportunities, is email writing.  

This opportunity is so huge because email is one of the main ways that smart companies stay in contact with their potential prospects as well as past customers.  

You may have seen opt-in forms around the internet… companies asking for your email address in exchange for a free report, discount, insider information, or access to their newsletter. In the world of email, that’s called “building a list” of prospects.  

Once a company builds this list, they want to follow up with it often — sometimes even daily — to prompt a “direct response.”  

That response could be to bring the visitor back to the website, request more information, or purchase something.  

But, here’s the thing that makes this a huge opportunity…  

Companies don’t want to mail the same email twice! 

They need someone to write a unique email — or even a whole series — for every product they launch, every new email list they create, and every new affiliate offer they want to promote.  

They also need emails for upsells, discounts, holiday promotions, and more.  

Every time they reach out to their list, they need a new email.  

If they like what they see from you, they’ll keep coming back. That’s why you can live the Barefoot Writer life just by writing email copy and nothing else.  

Get started now by signing up for an offer on a website you like. Then, follow their emails to see their process. If you think you can write a better email, why not reach out to the company and propose it?  

The Future is Bright for Writers! 

There you have it… direct-response copywriting is the single hottest opportunity for writers… 

And that includes five wide-open, enjoyable, potentially profitable writing specialties: web writing, social media campaigns, Search Engine Optimization, content writing, and email.  

Whether you’re writing a home page, drafting an article, helping a company with their SEO or social media strategy… or even convincing a reader to support a cause, download a special report, buy a product, or request more information…  

You’ll always be in demand!  

It doesn’t matter what your background is, what your passions are, or even if you have experience.  

All that matters is that you’re willing to take the first step…  

Choose one of these five ways to get started as a direct-response writer and do the “get started now” step as soon as possible.  

Just don’t spend too much time deliberating. After all, any of these five opportunities can be your ticket to the ultimate Barefoot Writer’s life!  

 

Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for the fastest way to get up and running with direct-response copy, check out AWAI’s The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. You’ll get everything you need to start writing for this $2.3 trillion industry, including practice exercises, 25 places to get paying projects right away, and even access to AWAI’s exclusive job board where many writers connect with their first client. 

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