Most copywriters would not want to meet me at a party.
Here are just a few of the questions I’d hit you with:
What medium do you specialize in? Direct mail, brochures, websites, infomercials? Which fields? Do you bill hourly, by the job, or a percentage of direct response sales? Do you license your copy or sell it as work-for-hire? Do you seek out clients or do they come to you? Do you want to make a living from copywriting or just supplement your income? How much do you want to earn? By when? Are you making progress? How do you know? Is what you want to accomplish even possible?
Why am I grilling you with all these questions? Let me explain with an example.
Let’s say your goal is to get a new client. Okay, then walk into any restaurant and offer to rewrite all of their advertising copy for $1. On a bad day you might have to try half a dozen restaurants before someone says yes.
Goal achieved, right? Technically, yes. But that’s not really what you meant by getting a new client, is it?
Before you can ever hope to accomplish your copywriting goals, you must know in detail what those goals are in the first place.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Copywriters
The S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting technique is popular because of its simplicity and power. Clarify your goals according to the following criteria:
Let’s give it a try with the goal of “getting a new client.”
Specific: What kind of client? What type of business? What size business–corporation or Mom-and-Pop? What kind of work? How much work? At what rate?
Measurable: How will you track your progress? Number of leads you call? Number of proposals you submit?
Achievable: How big is this challenge for you? Have you ever done anything like it before? Has anyone else? Yes, there’s always someone who’s first, and you may be that person, but make sure you know that’s the kind of goal you’re setting before you get started.
Results-oriented: What results do you want? A one-time job or an ongoing relationship? Do you want a glowing testimonial from this new client? Referrals?
Time-bound: By what date do you want to sign the contract? By what date do you want to finish the job? By what date do you want to be paid?
Vague goal: Get a new client.
SMART Goal: Call at least 10 dentists every morning to schedule free consultations to review their advertising copy. Submit at least 5 proposals each week. Sign a contract with at least 1 new client and receive 50% of my estimate as a downpayment by 1 month from today.
It’s important to note that with any goal, the details will change as you progress. Goal setting is not about stubbornness. It’s about clarity. The more clarity you have from the very start, the more you can invite new opportunities into the process. Those opportunities can be measured against the original plan and explored (or not) as a conscious choice. And greater choice leads to a feeling of empowerment.
Copywriters who learn to use the SMART goal-setting strategy will get more clients and write better quality copy faster than their competition.
Copyright 2006 Curtis G. Schmitt