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Friday, June 09, 2006

You never know where you might find something interesting...At the intersection of copywriting and water quality...

I was working on a project this morning that involved a discussion of water quality. While doing some research, I came across the online version of Water Technology, an industry magazine.

One can certainly understand how a water tech trade magazine could be interesting in terms of researching a water quality topic. I stumbled upon something interesting about copywriting, too.

From a 2004 article by Dale Filhaber, who appears to work in the direct mail and telemarketing industry, titled "Effective Direct Mail for Water Treatment Dealers." An excerpt:

"Copy tips

The latest trends for copywriting are:

  • Increased informality;
  • Highly emphatic persuasion;
  • Inclusion of validation; and
  • Promise of fast action."
Filhaber's tips, although brief, are nice. The actual content of the article isn't what interested me, though.

I spend a great deal of my time doing freelance copywriting work, and was sort of surprised to find it was a topic of great interest to water treatment dealers. That's because I wouldn't think most water treatment dealers would be handling their own direct mail copy.

One would think that the manufacturers were providing copy to their dealers. Maybe they aren't. Or maybe they don't do it effectively. Do water treatment dealers need copywriters? Are water treatment dealers preparing their direct mail ad copy in-house?

I don't know the answers to those questions. Maybe I should. Perhaps I could carve out a lucrative career as the Water Treatment Copywriter!

Yeah, that's unlikely. However, I do think the fact that one can come across copywriting hints lists in water technology trade publications does evidence a valuable point. There are people in all types of industries most of us don't think about who might be able to use a freelance copywriter.

Freelance copywriters who wait for opportunities to come to them most certainly lose business to those who find these underserved markets and inject themselves into the those areas.

Would you be surprised if the author of that article--a direct mail pro, not a water tech pro--managed to land a few deals from that story? I wouldn't be.

Dale Filhaber is teaching copywriters a lesson here. Find a potential client pool. Offer something to the client pool to get you and your talents in front of them. Reap the rewards. Even if Filhaber was off the mark in his assessment of the water industry as a potential client source, he managed to get the publication credit, and some possible attention from others (like this blog post). On top of that, he may have been paid for the article in the first place.

This is not a revelation, of course, but it is a very good illustration of some great marketing practices for freelancers and service providers of all types. Not the kind of thing you'd expect to be thinking about while you research water quality, huh?