How do I get from ‘blogger’ to ‘professional adult industry copywriter’?
After Part One of my new Professional Copywriting for the Adult Industry Course last week, you should be feeling ready to progress into the world of adult industry writing as a career. Each new project you approach gives you the opportunity to brush up on your negotiation skills with adult industry companies, as well as offering flexibility in where you will write – your site, their site, any site they wish and you agree to.
Of course this is when you actually get approached to write for companies. How will adult industry companies know that you’re ready and able to write for them? It’s important to find effective ways of marketing yourself as a professional copywriter in this field. Above all though,you need to set one unshakeable standard – that you do not write for free. At times your payment may be in terms of beneficial publicity, if you see that it has merit, but on the whole we all have bills that need paying. With cash.
Know your worth
For instance, imagine a cleaner came to your house and did an amazing job. Cleaned thoroughly, left your house spotless. They did this a few times, over a number of weeks. The cleaner never charged you for these services, nor did they even mention requiring remuneration. Then one day, they present you with a bill for one of the cleaning sessions. What would you think?
You’d think well if you’ve been doing it for nothing for so long, I’m not about to start paying you for it! Right?
It’s the same with any job – and remember, this IS a job. Writing is one of the most undervalued jobs out there and on top of that, it’s hard work. Yes, it is a vocation to some, but that doesn’t mean that it’s merely a hobby. We all have bills to pay so you need to set your prices and avoid letting yourself get bartered down to a disrespectful amount for your hard work, time, knowledge and experience. This is especially true in the adult industry where you build up a specialist knowledge of products, anatomy, personal and physical safety, sensuality, BDSM, industry contacts and much more. We’ll get on to prices in a future part of the course.
Social media & self promotion
The next step is to communicate, as loudly as possible to the world (while still remaining modest, approachable and professional) that you are a professional copywriter. You can use the web tools you have at your fingertips every time you log on to the internet. Write a blog post stating your new role as professional copywriter. Put up a page on your website detailing the services you offer, as well as links to any writing work which shows clearly what you’re capable of.
Use social media. For the purposes of self promotion they’re free, and easy to get the hang of. At times working on building up links and becoming known on social media can seem slow going and a lengthy process, but if you adopt at least the ‘little and often’ approach you will see results from your work and perseverance.
So which social media platform(s) should you use? I personally see Twitter as one of the best, most instantaneously reactive social media platforms which allows the most in terms of free speech, an area the adult industry can often have problems with out there in the ‘mainstream marketing’ world. For these reasons Facebook can often be pretty temporary due to their regulations and rules regarding censoring adult content and certain forms of marketing from adult industry companies and sex toy reviewers or sex bloggers.
Twitter is also word based for the most part, whereas Facebook notoriously ranks updates with images higher in feeds. Therefore for copywriters Twitter is a great way to showcase snippets of your talent by engaging with your audience and persuading readers and companies to come and read that post or page about your writing skills and work.
Other social media which can help to promote your copywriting work are Pinterest, Google Plus, Tumblr (although there are a few issues here with adult content too, thanks Yahoo) and of course – LinkedIn. If you have a smartphone or tablet, there are so many apps which can help you to manage and promote your work in fun ways – I like to use Buffer, Feedly, Vine and Flipboard. Discussing the best social media and how to use them is such a large area it could be a stand-alone course, which also delves further into the world of digital marketing than we are touching upon here.
Keep visible on the web and build your writing portfolio even if it’s not for any company at all. Write before you get work. Businesses will want to see examples of how and what you write before paying you for it, so having a section on your website or blog showcasing your articles is a great idea as you can link them directly to it.
It’s important to become known as the authority in your chosen field, as well as taking time out to research copywriting tips and advice from established professional copywriters and bloggers. Research, and engaging with the copywriting and blogging community needs to be included in your time management schedule.
Talking of time management, I don’t view writing as a 9-5 job. Sure, you can sit in an office employed as a writer and work the Monday to Friday week doing the best you can with the time you have. I have done this myself. These days and admittedly with the luxury of working from home, I find that I have to write when I feel the creative flow, while keeping to any deadlines of course. Sometimes this does need to be ‘kickstarted’ by finding a quiet spot, having a stern word with yourself (and the blank document in front of you). Unfortunately on some mornings, afternoons or even rarely through whole days I have the dreaded writer’s block. Don’t panic when this happens – the words will come back. This is usually a sign that I’ve been overdoing the writing. Trying to force fantastic copywriting at this stage just results in my writing feeling forced, stilted and without that natural, persuasive flow.
Have you discovered any writer’s quirks yet? We all have them. (I have this as an official statement from my doctor, in case anyone’s wondering.) For instance, I have a somewhat famous addiction to coffee. I also love the creative flow that comes from the now old fashioned pen and paper. I can’t write with music on, I prefer silence. You’ll have your own methods and writing setups that work best for you, so try various things and you’ll establish what makes you feel comfortable. Feeling comfortable is the best way to fluidly transfer that amazing article or writing project from mind to page.
Sometimes you just need to run at the blank page with your fingers out, your eyes closed and your mind open. Then edit, edit, edit.
Integrity and authenticity
What really makes your copywriting ‘pop’, to naughtily use a buzzword, is sincerity. Make your writing believable by backing it with genuine passion and knowledge and this can’t help but be conveyed to the reader.
There’s nothing worse than trying to write sincerely and enthusiastically about something you don’t have a clue on, or really dislike.
Come off as fake, insincere or not having a clue and you will distance the reader immediately and not win over your audience. A company will then be put off from hiring your copywriting services.
If a company asks you to write something that you don’t like, don’t know about or don’t feel comfortable with, then you have an important decision to make. I couldn’t possibly definitively say you shouldn’t write for them under that circumstance, but I personally would at least try to negotiate towards a subject I know about, like and am comfortable with. If nothing else, I’d explain to the company my feelings; that a positive attitude towards the subject matter will lead to a much more persuasive and effective piece of writing on their behalf. If they’ve already paid but then changed their requests to something that doesn’t sit well with you, it might even be that you choose to refund the payment and not carry out the work.
If I was still feeling pressured towards writing I wasn’t happy with, I would personally be put off writing for the company involved – but like I say, the choice is yours. You need to find out where your priorities lie and discover your own integrity and standards.
Remember that any article written on your site should be placed as a permanent post. The company is paying for an article to reside on your blog or site for the life of your site, so don’t feel that you can just be paid for writing work then delete the content whenever you wish. It’s in your interests to save any copywriting you do, either by backing up your own site regularly or storing writing for others’ sites in a folder. This means that if any site happens to ‘go down’ – whether your site temporarily or a company goes out of business or closes – your work isn’t lost forever. There’s nothing worse to a writer than that sinking feeling of heartfelt words disappearing into the ether, never to be properly rediscovered. I have shed tears over this in the past, and know many other writers who have, too. Please, please – save your work properly.
Respect your clients
Another tip to remember is that a company who pays you to write on their behalf will expect you to show them the respect of not sending your traffic for that article to other companies websites. Therefore I write commissioned articles without affiliate links to other companies. This just feels like the respectful thing to do and is seen as accepted etiquette. Straight links should also be used to the company who is paying you for the content on your site. You’re already being paid for your words – using affiliate links to link to them in a paid for post is not only seen as greedy, but can also affect how those links are indexed on the search engines if the company uses an affiliate management scheme to track links, for instance.
You would be lending ‘Google juice’ authority to say, Paid on Results or Affiliate Window by using their URLs instead of the company’s straight links – as well as giving a clear indication to the company that you’re only after whatever extra pennies you can grab instead of being paid, as a professional, for good quality copywriting.
Next week we will take a closer look at some of the most frequently asked questions I get about copywriting for the adult industry as a career choice, as well as examining many technical aspects such as invoicing companies, payment, ways to link and dealing with problems that may arise.
As always if you have any questions you’d like answered, feel free to comment below or send me an email.
– Cara Sutra