Overwhelmed with a copywriting project?
Try this 4 step method to get through it.
So you’re sending out loads of cold pitches, networking your butt off, and trying a handful of content marketing strategies… but are you prepared for the moment that it works?
Really think about it.
What happens when a client says, “Sounds great! Let’s hop on that call!”
Obviously, you’re going to emphatically agree, set up the call, and…
You panic, don’t you?
Despite all your nerves, and choking over the sales pitches you’ve been poorly practicing in your OBS studio, you go right ahead and land that client.
Congratulations, you’re a real freelance copywriter now.
The proverbial gods have rained their glorious blessings down on you. Finally, you’ve got yourself a flesh and bone client.
Even better if they’re a paying client.
Now you actually have to deliver, and you’re suddenly not sure if you’ve ever written a piece of copy in your entire life.
What’s a call to action again?
The reason I’m writing this is because I have landed in precisely this position.
For those of you following my 30-day pitching challenge, the job I’m talking about is totally unrelated volunteer work, but it makes my soul happy.
Back to the panic of tackling overwhelming jobs.
Whether it’s your first client or just the first time you’ve done a particular type of work.
You get all these little insecurities rising from your gut.
You need to address your fears and concerns head-on.
Time to get your journal out and write all the things that are going on inside your battleground of a brain.
Scribble out your fears, insecurities, doubts, and logistical concerns. Whatever comes up, jot it down.
These feelings can give you valuable information. And I’m not so much saying that they are rational, but that they might lead to a kernel of truth.
What do I mean by that?
Take my situation, for instance. I’ve agreed to create a website for a nonprofit organization that I volunteer with.
I’ve customized many, many WordPress websites using the very theme that I am going to use for them.
Although my trade is copywriting, I have a secret love of WordPress theme customization (and I will add it to the scope of a project if it’s called for).
So why the panic?
- It will be the largest site I’ve ever built from the ground up.
- A lot is riding on this website being of high quality.
- I’m also writing a lot of the copy, and that’s a big deal for my portfolio.
I bet you’re catching on to a particular theme, here.
My skills are adequate to complete the tasks at hand, but I’m extending myself outside of my comfort zone.
And as soon as you wander outside of your comfort zone, your mind has a biological drive to pull you back to safety.
So how do we get past it long enough to deliver the goods?
Create a counterpoint to everything you wrote.
This part is relatively straightforward and quick.
You just need to plant the seed that you’re going to be fine. Honestly, my examples are so simple.
Don’t get wrapped up in having the right answers — I see you perfectionists sweating out there — just tell it like it is.
Next to every single line in your journal, you’re going to write a line stating why you’re going to be able to handle it.
To continue with my own examples,
- It will be the largest site I’ve built — but I’m going to build it with exactly the same process.
- A lot is riding on this website being high quality — and that’s why I’m going to edit and double-check everything. And someone will review it before it goes live.
- It could be an enormous piece for my portfolio — and it’s something I’m passionate about so I know that I’ll do my best work.
Do I believe all of that right now? Nope.
Which is why I’m going to reread this a few times before I move on to the step that makes the biggest difference.
Break it down and make a plan.
Are you someone who gets your index cards out anytime you need to plot out a new article or automation sequence?
Maybe you’re the whiteboard type who needs to go through a few brainstorms…
… Or maybe you’re old-fashioned, and you stick with a pad of paper and a pen.
Whatever your method. Now is the time.
If you’ve never read “bird by bird” by Anne Lamott, she has an entire chapter focused short assignments where she says…
It reminds me that all I have to do is to write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame. This is all I have to bite off for the time being.
And we’re going to use that method for ourselves.
What is the first one-inch picture frame you need to focus on? The quintessential step one.
In my particular circumstance, it’ll look something like this. If you haven’t built a website, the bullets below might like gibberish.
- Migrate the DNS to a new host
- Install WordPress from the control panel and get admin access to manage the site.
- Delete standard plugins and install the theme and preferred plugin list.
- So on and so forth.
These are the first little baby steps that I have taken so many times before. And they’re exactly the same today.
If I was approaching a piece of copy, the first thing I would do is to research the client, the competition, the market, and the product.
I don’t need to bullet out the steps for you with copywriting. Do you know why? Because you know the steps, my friend.
You’ve taken courses, read books, watched every relevant YouTube video under the sun, and you have practiced as if your life depended on it.
You have done all that… right?
Okay, good. Because otherwise, your next step would be to run yourself through a crash course on the fundamentals.
But, since you’ve got it down, we’ll move on to the last step. And this is more of a tip.
Give it your best shot and remember your resources.
That’s right. Your next step is to execute.
Sink your teeth into the project like you’re not scared at all. Keep all your study materials close at hand, and reach out to your community if you need support.
There is no shame in reaching out to a fellow, probably a more experienced writer, and asking for advice.
Maybe you have a Facebook group where you’ve gotten feedback on previous work that can review your current project.
Don’t forget to focus on your one-inch picture frame when overwhelm sneaks back up on you.
And most of all, don’t forget to edit.
And then take a break, and edit again. I know it’s annoying… but it must be done.
Honestly, if you’re some magical creature who is good enough to never need editing, and you just poof out hall of fame-worthy content regularly…
Honey, why are you here? You should be writing epic landing pages with your toes in the sand.
As for the rest of us.
- Put in the research
- Put in the work
- And edit like you mean it.
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Copy on, my friends