#300: What Copywriters Must Do to Thrive in the Next Few Years, with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh

More and more writers and copywriters are entering the market.

Pair this with the current economic uncertainty, and many writers I’ve spoken with are feeling nervous.

In particular, they want to know:

  • How they can communicate their value effectively in a noisy market?
  • How they can differentiate themselves in a copycat economy where every copywriter seems to make the same claims about their skills?
  • Should they shift their business model? Change how they position their services? Frame their services differently?

These are precisely the kinds of questions I posed to my guests in today’s episode. Kira Hug and Rob Marsh are very experienced, successful copywriters and founders of The Copywriter Club.

Rob and Kira recently had me on their podcast to talk about leading discovery calls and improving your sales skills.

Now, in this podcast episode, I’ve invited them to get into the topic of how copywriters can grow and thrive in this competitive and uncertain market.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Tell us about yourself and The Copywriter Club

Kira met Rob in a mastermind group for copywriters and became friends. Rob wanted to start a podcast. He and Kira started talking and eventually created The Copywriter Club.

They launched The Copywriter Club podcast in January 2017 and opened a Facebook group. The group grew quickly: within six months they had about 2,000 members.

What is The Copywriter Club all about today?

The Copywriter Club podcast is still going strong: it has 300 episodes and over one million downloads.

The community has evolved into a membership that helps writers build their businesses through training programs, such as a Think Tank program that helps writers scale their businesses and create new revenue streams.

They’ve also hosted an event for members, The Copywriter Club in Real Life (TCCRL), five times.

Are content writing and copywriting the same thing?

Rob has an agency background. At his agency, the copywriters wrote everything, from brochures to packaging to menus to websites. There was no distinction between content writing and copywriting.

Some people define copywriting as closer to selling than content marketing.  But by Rob’s definition, they’re the same thing: they both use words to create a relationship with customers in order to get them to act.

How do you define conversion copywriting?

Conversion copywriting is just a new name for direct response copywriting. It applies direct response principles (i.e. tracking behavior and changing your marketing based on that behavior) to the online world.

Many writers are broadening their focus from writing to talking about the problems they solve. But if they go too broad, their value proposition becomes vague. Where’s the sweet spot?

You need to know the language your clients use to find people like you. Do they talk about the need for a copywriter? Do they talk about the need to find and keep clients? Something else?

To find that sweet spot, you need to ask deeper questions, starting with the prospecting call. The prospect may say they need help with a case study or website. But you need to ask questions to figure out what problem they’re trying to fix with those marketing assets.

Copywriters start to transition from order taker to valued consultant when they ask deeper questions about their customers’ business problems.

What if you don’t have the experience or expertise needed to step into that valued consultant role?

If you’re a good writer and have experience working with clients, you’re probably already skilled at solving their problems. You just have to change how you talk about the value you provide and reframe what you bring to the table.

If you don’t have that experience yet, you can jumpstart the process with some good marketing books, such as Perry Marshall’s 80/20 Sales and Marketing, Being Direct by Lester Wunderman, and Overdeliver by Brian Kurtz.

What business models are copywriters using these days?

Some writers are experimenting with intensive VIP workshops for clients. They’ll dedicate a day or several days to one client to work on one specific problem.

Other copywriters are hiring VAs or scaling into agencies. Others are tired of working with clients and are focusing on selling information products.

Other copywriters are combining these approaches and adjusting the mix over time as their preferences and needs change.

Another trend is to look at your internal processes and see if there’s anything you can splinter off and offer as a separate service. For example, if you brainstorm ideas for clients as part of your problem solving, you might be able to sell this service to clients separately.

How could we frame something, such as a brainstorming session, in a way that makes it attractive to clients?

You need to be clear on the deliverable. If the purpose of the brainstorming session is to come up with names for a new product, for example, the deliverable would be a list of those names.

Niching down is also important. A general brainstorming session may not have much appeal. But a brainstorming session to develop a product suite for financial advisors, for example, might interest clients in that space.

How should writers invest in themselves?  

Figure out what you need the most right now. For a lot of writers, it’s confidence. So think about what would build your confidence. If it’s feedback from colleagues, for example, you might join a mastermind group of other copywriters.

It’s also important to learn things outside of the writing space. New areas of expertise will make you more unique and help you solve other types of problems for clients.

When we invest in ourselves, we often invest in the same type of training over and over again (usually copywriting). Think about what’s missing. Maybe you need business skills. Maybe you need to improve your habits. It takes self-awareness to find those gaps—something a coach can help you with.

Ask friends and colleagues who work for good companies how much those companies are investing in their continuing education. It’s probably a lot!

Where can listeners learn more about you and your work?

The Copywriter Club

The Copywriter Club Podcast

The Copywriter Club’s next Copywriter Accelerator program starts this fall.



By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my book.

It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here

2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]

3. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.