I thought I would share the writing assignment that helped my first "big" client, AWAI.
Yes, the same AWAI (American Writers and Artists, Inc.) that trains the most successful copywriters working today, present company included.
I've included the original application, in its entirety, for other copywriters to see and review. Yes, I broke a few copywriting rules, but the end result was a portfolio of 75 weekly articles, and an awesome testimonial from my editor.
This is one of my favorite pieces, since I left a fair amount of snarkiness in the final version.
Esteemed potential future coworkers,
As the search for a new Reality Blogger draws to close, there’s no doubt that the stress level throughout the AWAI offices continues to mount. With the talented Tammy Powell soon vacating Reality Blogger position, there will be gap in the informative content that countless B2B Writing Success subscribers rely on each month.
Each month, the B2B Writing Success members are afforded a small peek-behind-the-curtain of the Reality Blogger’s daily life. This is not a job for the faint-of-heart, the Reality Blogger must be able to battle tirelessly in the trenches, connecting with new clients, completing writing assignments, and running their own business. And, then he/she must also possess the time and skills to effectively share those successes, setbacks, and roadblocks for the benefit of others, still working towards their own individual success.
AWAI didn’t just post the position on their Direct Response Jobs board and begin shuffling through the stacks upon stacks, of close-but-no-cigar resumes of the masses. Instead AWAI has decided that we, the members who are interested in being the next Reality Blogger, submit a sales letter, explaining why we are the best candidate for the job. Normally, that would be a fairly easy writing assignment for almost any one of us Reality Blogger hopefuls. That is, until you see the actual job description that was posted:
Let me first explain what the Reality Blogger does.
They let us look over their shoulder every week as they go about their writing business for the year.
Our Blogger shares with us how they work with clients, prepare projects, come up with ideas, manage business activities, work toward their goals … essentially bringing all of us along as they grow their business over the course of the year.
Seriously, how do I respond to a job listing like this?
No required courses completion, no “send me your portfolio link” request, there is no mention of a “must have blank years of professional writing experience”, the only requirement is that you can/will share your real-life experiences with everyone who is a member of the B2B Writing Success newsletter, on a weekly basis. With this being the only caveat required to apply, I can foresee a lot of letters that sound like Arnold Horshak, squirming in his desk with his raised hand flailing to-and-fro, “Ooh, ooh, ooh, Mr. Kotter, Mr. Kotter, pick me!”.
Since I don’t want to be like Arnold, I will be using a different strategy for my sales letter, and I am very hopeful that you will select me as the next Reality Blogger, in spite of it. (or for another writing assignment, or two, or… for AWAI would be almost as great, just putting that out there.) Due to the somewhat vague job posting, I have been forced to retreive my gleaner’s cap from the closet and use it to gather every scrap of information and insight from the posting.
Wow, with only three sentences and sixty-something words for the post, the gleaning process really didn’t take that long at all. But I was able to successfully determine the criteria that I believe will be used to select the next Reality Blogger, and now I can demonstrate how well my skills and experience match up to those unwritten requirements.
Reality Blogger Requirement #1 – You Must Be Able to Write B2B
No, I didn’t need the gleaning cap to figure this one out! With a group name like B2B Writing Success, this is a pretty obvious requirement. You need to be a B2B copywriter, or the audience won’t be able to fully relate with you, or your writing. B2B readers are looking for factual, timely, and relevant information to help them make informed business decisions on a daily basis.
While there has been some B2C writing on my part, mainly when I work with non-profit groups, I consider myself a B2B copywriter, first and foremost. Over 80% of my clients have been B2B since I first started copywriting back in 2003. Currently, I am writing for my own websites, along with B2B articles and content for three different clients;
Thanks for following up! Sorry for the delay. I just finished going through it this morning. The
Jonny Finity from Levelset said, “Thanks for following up! Sorry for the delay. I just finished going through it this morning. The article was great! I like the casual voice, approachable style, and thoroughness. It only required minor formatting edits on our end. That’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
Bret Dianich from the Copywriting Job Hub recently stated in his FB group, “I just hired Curtis Dennis to help with some projects, and he’s slaying it!”
Reality Blogger Requirement #2 – You Must Be Able to Work With AWAI
Let’s face it, writing for AWAI can be more than just a bit intimidating, since they know copywriting like nobody else does. I had the pleasure of meeting several members of the AWAI company at Bootcamp last year. Everyone was so incredibly kind, helpful, and willing to share their expertise with the attendees, like myself.
My Bootcamp magic started as I pitched a couple of ideas for the Writer’s Life at the job fair. All I reasonably expected to hear was something like we will think about it and let you know. Instead, I was asked if I could have both ideas, written and submitted before July 1. (They were submitted before the deadline and published in the Writer’s Life newsletter in December 2019) I also did submit one spec assignment for Bootcamp, and I then about fell outta my chair when I saw my name on the screen as one of the winners. I believe the “4 Website Hacks That Google Wants You to Use” was published in August 2019.
I know I can work with AWAI, to provide informative articles for the B2B Writing Success group.
Reality Blogger Requirement #3 – You Have to Have Your Own Copywriting Business
Knock it off, Arnold!
If you are going to be writing about your copywriting business successes and mistakes, well, you need to be a “real” business. I know that there a lot of people working with just an LI profile or maybe a FB group, and they are doing just fine. But I kept coming back to the phrase “writing business” in the original post. I take this mean someone who is actually “in business”, by having completed (or about to complete) the necessary steps to go into business.
True, the website isn’t a legal requirement to go into business, but the other items are. I am very happy to report that my business, founded in 2003, meets all the criteria for a real “copywriting business”.
Reality Blogger Requirement #4 – Actively Working to Grow Your Business
While I do have several of the necessary business components in place already, I definitely have some growth goals to achieve for my business this year. I don’t use Linked In very efficiently right now, and that needs to change. I learned a lot from Ilise’s LI training, but I haven’t had the chance to implement many of her suggestions yet. With my niche being the construction industry, my ideal clients are definitely on, and using, Linked In to find solutions for their copywriting and content creation needs.
I have already tackled one of my growth goals, which was to finally land my “first real client”. (Someone other than myself or AWAI.) For me, that first client wasn’t just a paid writing gig for some no-name blog. No, my first client looked a little different to me. I wanted a client with the potential for recurring work, hopefully on a month-after-month basis, for at least the next 6 months. With a little search effort, I found not one, but two companies who were looking for a freelance B2B copywriter. I made contact, submitted some examples of my work, and literally started writing for them on the spot!
Reality Blogger Requirement #5 – You Really Have to Want This!
This is an ongoing, paid position to write, for a well-respected client, who also happens to be the go-to source for training copywriters. AWAI won’t be happy with B-level content, that’s been stretched out like room-temperature taffy to meet some pre-determined word count. The B2B Writing Success members need to know what strategies and processes are working for the Reality Blogger, and why, as well as what’s not working.
Writing about your recent success is usually pretty easy. Writing about your setbacks, and even your failures, is much more difficult. The next Reality Blogger must be willing to share it all with the members of the B2B Writing Success group, the good, the not-so-good, the awesome, and even the why-in-the-world-did-I-do-that situations. Sharing the embarrassing moments of your journey with a large group of strangers can be intimidating, but it’s a very important part of paying it forward. And that is what the Reality Blogger does, he/she is paying it forward, so other copywriters can benefit from their experiences, too.
Yes, the next Reality Blogger must have a serious case of the “I want this!”, in order to be truly successful. It’s one thing to just run your copywriting business, but quite another to take on a year-long writing project for a powerhouse client like AWAI. You will have to be a great writer, organized, efficient, and be able to hit those deadlines, without even the slightest of issues.
But finding an individual that can meet all these requirements, will be a very tall order, indeed. Where can AWAI possibly find someone who checks all of these boxes?
“Ooh, ooh, I know the answer to this one!”
Thanks for stealing my thunder, Arnold. Aren’t you supposed to be in a class, somewhere?
Of all of the submitted sales letters that I have seen (which would be a total of 1), no one else meets these requirements quite like this guy does;
And, I think my sales letter is just about written now. Just need a strong CTA to wrap it all up.
My apologies for Arnold’s interruptions, but there was a “Welcome Back, Kotter” marathon on the TV today, and that ridiculous laugh of his kinda got stuck in my head.
But in all seriousness, I would be thrilled to be the next Reality Blogger. The exposure and credibility are absolutely priceless for an up-and-coming copywriter. So glad I found out this was a paying position as well!
One last thing to share with you before I go…
You should hire Curtis Dennis to be the next Reality Blogger. He will do a great job!