Why Choosing to Write Collateral Material Is One of the Fastest Ways to Become a Sought-After Copywriter

4 minute read

Long-form sales letters are the pinnacle of digital direct-response marketing.

Clients love them, because they can easily bring in new customers and generate more sales.

But, writing one takes time… sometimes as much as six to eight weeks.

That entire time isn’t spent solely on writing; it’s also used for research… to develop the Big Idea, and to find proof to support your claims.

And, if you’re just starting your freelance-writing career, writing a long-form sales letter can feel a bit overwhelming.

But, there’s a super simple way to build your confidence, gain experience, and still be involved in the long-form sales letter process without writing one from scratch.

I’m talking about writing the much-needed collateral materials that go hand-in-hand with sales letters.

If you’re not familiar with the term, collateral materials are email lift notes, website banner ads, social media posts, landing pages, online order forms, and even content pieces that get readers excited about the product or service being sold.

Clients know collateral pieces are essential to the support and overall success of their marketing campaigns.

How Do Collateral Materials Work?

black question mark on white card sitting on a wood tableLet’s say a client has a list of loyal readers. And, throughout the week, they send information-based emails to those readers. Those emails could be news-related or more in-depth articles on a particular subject.

But, the client also sends out email-marketing messages to those readers. And, those marketing emails invite the reader to click on a link. That link takes them to a digital long-form sales letter.

Now imagine that out of every 100 people who visit that sales letter, two of them decide to buy what’s on offer.

Someone had to write that email. And, in many cases, it’s not the copywriter who wrote the sales letter. It’s a writer who specializes in writing supporting collateral materials.

If you write an email that gets twice as many people to click through to read that letter, then you’ll be the writer who helped your client double their response rate. That kind of success means two things for you. Your client is more likely to trust you with a full, long-form sales letter project. And, the copywriter you worked with is more likely to ask their other clients to bring you in to work on the emails, because your work can increase the copywriter’s royalties. 

Even landing pages, banner ads, social media posts and order forms are often written by writers who take on collateral material projects. And, each of these can have an impact on your client’s bottom line… and quickly build your reputation as a writer who understands direct-response marketing.

Why do this at all?

Well, it goes back to what I mentioned earlier… writing a long-form sales letter takes a lot of time. The writer working on that piece would like to concentrate as much of their time on it as possible. If they have to also write the collateral material, that means they can’t focus exclusively on the sales letter.

So, clients often turn to other writers to complete the supporting material.

That spells big opportunity for writers like you!

Hand covering the the IM in impossible
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya

For you, as the writer handling the collateral material, it’s a fast-track way to break into copywriting and increase your understanding of how direct-response marketing works. That’s because you get to sit in on brainstorming meetings, become an integral part of the marketing team, and work alongside an experienced direct-response copywriter.

And, doing this kind of collateral work can pay very well, too.

Whether you’re writing email lift notes or supporting content pieces, the advantages are the same.

In fact, A-list financial copywriter Mike Palmer got his start writing content first. This gave him the chance to work with top copywriters. Then he gradually gained enough experience to write long-form sales letters.

Now he’s considered one of the best financial copywriters in the industry, writing long-form sales letters that bring in thousands of new customers and millions of dollars in sales.

So, how do you break in and get started? Here are three easy steps…

Step 1:  Start signing up for email lists in whatever market you would like to write in. Financial? Sign up for free financial newsletters. Alternative health? There are plenty of lists to sign up for. Also join a few Facebook groups that cater to your topic of choice. You’ll start seeing more ads for those products and services.

Step 2:  Pay attention to the email messages and ads you’re seeing. Click on the links. Study what the companies are doing. Come up with some ideas for improvements — focus on the ads, the landing pages, and the emails.

Step 3:  Start pitching your ideas. Will you land every pitch you send? Of course not. But, when you bring something useful to the table that shows you’ve done your research, you will get the attention of the marketer. Do that enough times, and more than a few of those marketers will decide to send a project your way. From there, if you do good work, the sky’s the limit.

If your goal is to write long-form sales letters, then consider starting out by focusing in on writing collateral supporting materials. Clients need these pieces completed just as much as they need long-form sales letters written.

For you, it could be the easiest and fastest way to become a sought-after digital copywriter.