With content marketing exploding and companies tripping over one another trying to get published, the time has never been better to embark on a writing career. Though to make any money as a writer, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd. Mediocre writers are a dime a dozen, and don’t get paid much more than that. If you’re interested in writing lead generation content, I can recommend two things that will help you become a really good one.
1. Get Sales Experience
Lead generation content must always be focused on the customer and prospect. Not only that, the writer must be able to speak to various types of customers and prospects, for instance —
- Highly satisfied customers
- Marginally satisfied customers
- Dissatisfied customers
- Hot prospects
- Early buying cycle prospects (“tire kickers”)
- Cold prospects
The best way to learn how to write for these groups is hands-on experience as a sales person, if possible in the industry you intend to specialize in as a writer.
Sales experience forces you to listen to customer/prospect problems, issues and desires. It forces you to understand your products and services, and how to effectively communicate the benefits. Sales experience makes your writing output authentic and properly focused. In other words, it makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about, and enables you to hit the key, persuasive points that generate sales leads.
The mass of business writers has little or no sales experience, and even the relative few who have were probably not thinking of their sales work in the context of copywriter education. Having experience, and a bit of success, in the sales arena may give you a big edge in getting hired, as well as improving your overall writing quality.
2. Read the Right Resources
There are lots of great resources to make good copywriters great, and great copywriters greater. Here are a few books and websites that have helped me:
- “Confessions of an Advertising Man,” by David Ogilvy. In this book, the master discusses his sales experience, which will convince you how important my first suggestion is.
- “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited,” by Steven Krug. This is a Straight North favorite, and conveys a simple message: keep it simple! Lots of indispensible advice for copywriters focused on any type of online content.
- “Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain,” by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin. This book puts a scientific spin on persuasive marketing, and has truly astounding case studies and examples.
- “Ogilvy on Advertising,” by David Ogilvy. David Ogilvy may have been the greatest copywriter of all time. This book is a copywriter’s bible. Read my Amazon review.
- “Tested Sentences That Sell,” by Elmer Wheeler. Good news! I thought this book was out of print. Wheeler’s book, first published in 1937, is chock-full of tips every lead generation copywriter should know.
- “The Associated Press Stylebook 2015.” Great copywriters are masters of detail, and the AP Stylebook provides all of the technical standards for most business writing. You can save money and stay current by subscribing to the online edition, but we always have one or two hard copies floating around the office.
- The Daily Egg. There are a lot of great blogs covering conversion rate optimization (CRO), but The Daily Egg is my favorite. It gets into the details of creating persuasive Web content, and at the same time putting tactical techniques in the proper strategic context. Copywriting blogs I find helpful are Good Copy, Bad Copy and Copyblogger.
- “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” by David Meerman Scott. Scott gives copywriters the proper business environment for writing effectively. His explanations of how today’s customers think and react are spot-on.
Over to You
- For experienced lead generation copywriters, what tips do you have for new writers?
- For new writers, what problems and challenges are you struggling with now? Maybe we can help!