Five “True Life” Tips for Breaking Into the Lucrative World of Financial Copywriting
There’s no doubt that some of the biggest writing incomes have come from one niche in particular — financial newsletter publishing.
Today, many of the industry’s most successful and well-known publishers fall under the Agora umbrella — Stansberry Research, Money Map Press, Banyan Hill Publishing, Agora Financial, The Oxford Club, and Dent Research, to name a few …
In my experience, writing for this niche is the fastest path to becoming a six-figure copywriter. And if you’re really good, or let’s say really great, seven-figures a year is entirely possible.
I started writing financial copy in early 2015 and just three years later, I’ve already passed the half-million-dollar mark.
And as my track record of success grows, so will my income. Much of that will be due to royalties.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a royalty is the same as a sales commission. The average across the financial niche right now is about 3%. That means if you write a promotion that brings in $1 million in net sales, you’ll rake in an extra $30,000 in royalties.
Write a blockbuster $10-million-dollar promotion and you’re looking at a check for $300,000.
If you’re interested in breaking into this niche, here are my five biggest tips:
Tip #1: Subscribe to financial newsletters
One of the best ways to learn what’s working in the industry is to get on mailing lists. Most publishers have a free, daily e-letter you can subscribe to that will get you on the mailing list. (If you’re not familiar, this is called “seeding” yourself on a list.)
Once you’re on the list, you’ll start seeing both ads and emails designed to drive traffic to the promotions.
I highly recommend you create a separate email account for this. Once you get seeded on the lists, you’ll get a ton of email.
I also recommend you go one step further …
If you’ve never subscribed to a financial newsletter before, pick one of the low-cost, monthly newsletters and subscribe.
As you become a “paid” subscriber instead of just a free member, you’ll start seeing other promotions selling higher priced trading services, also called back-end products.
Tip #2: Start building a Swipe File
Once you’ve seeded your name on the email lists, be sure to click on the links in the messages that take you to online sales promotions.
Pay attention to the promotions you see again and again, especially for more than a week or two. The promotions that have staying power in your inbox are the ones bringing in tons of new subscribers and orders.
But don’t just collect them …
Read at least one promotion a day. Study it closely. Print it and mark it up — making note of what the copywriter did and why.
Make note of the emotions the writer is trying to target, the word choice, and the overall flow of the message.
And then, try to make connections between what you see in the copy and what you see going on in the news.
Tip #3: Start tracking the news to take the pulse of your prospects and to find “Big Ideas”
One of the most impactful — and free — steps I’ve taken was to download an app called Feedly.
Feedly is a newsreader app that lets you subscribe to news feeds from around the internet.
Install it, sign up, and then subscribe to the feeds from major news sites, financial publications like The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, science and technology sites … you should be following anything with interesting stories.
Then, once a day, review the headlines. Look for the topics that come up over and over again. Use this research to identify what people are talking about.
But also, look for stories that grab your attention and pique your curiosity. These are potential Big Ideas to use as marketing hooks.
Being an idea generator is one of the keys to getting on the fast track in this niche.
Now that you’ve got some ideas …
Tip #4: Start small
One of the hardest things to do in financial copy is to sit down and write a long-form sales letter for the first time.
That’s even more true when it’s the first piece of copy you’ve ever written.
So, start small.
Instead of trying to write a long-form letter, take one from your Swipe File and start with the short-form collateral copy.
Write a cart page. Write email lifts and space ads to drive prospects to the promotion. Write an advertorial.
Look at how each piece ties into the main promotion — establishing congruency between the various pieces is critical to success.
Once you’ve proven yourself with collateral copy, it’s much easier to make the leap to writing full promotions and Video Sales Letters.
More importantly, it builds the confidence you’ll need to …
Tip #5: Throw yourself out there
The financial niche is ultra-competitive … not just competing for customers, but also competing for talent.
Publishers are constantly on the lookout for the next blockbuster Big Idea and good copywriters will find a lot of opportunity in this niche.
And, unless you already have a track record of success, none of the publishers expect you to come in and write a blockbuster on day one. Many will work with you, helping further develop the idea as well as refine your writing.
It’s a great experience, one that could put you on the path to earning six- or seven-figures annually.
And if you get stuck, reach out the wonderful team here at AWAI and they can help point you in the right direction. They’ve helped me many times.
Do you have any questions about how to become a financial copywriter? Share with us in the comments below. This is a monster market with a ton of opportunity and we want to help you get started.
Editorial Note: Jon’s success is so exciting …
And you could do it too! Learn to write for the industry that has created more copywriting millionaires than any other.
Demand for skilled writers is high, but supply is low, creating the perfect opportunity for your success.
Learn more about how you can get started.
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These are great tips, Jon! I've just ventured into writing for the financial market after writing alternative health copy for over 10 years! It's a totally different world, but my copy chief is giving me all the help I need to make the transition. He tells me that writing for financial is hard, and at times it is. But, I'm so glad I've taken the leap. If you're willing to work at it, the reward can be phenomenal.
Hello Jon, Awesome content!At least I've gained enough courage to forge ahead and face the financial niche that I've been thinking of investing in as a freelance writer for over two months now. I'm awed by your experience and I hope that I will grasp the finer details that will skyrocket my experience to make me one of the gurus in this niche. Currently I am Blockchain writer though I feel like finance is one of my calling since I'm currently studying Economics. I've resorted to take giant steps towards it. Thanks for the amazing piece once again.
Guest (Irene Chanzu) –
Thanks for this awesome article. I have a question about who the clients in the financial niche are. There are, of course, the publishers whose emails you're getting in your swipe file. Who else?
Guest (Vanshika) –
I'd divide the financial niche into three different categories.
1. Financial service providers like banks, credit unions, credit cards, insurance companies. I've never written in this area, though some copywriters have done quite well in it.
2. Regulated financial like financial advisors and insurance agents. Much trickier to deal with because of the rules involved.
3. Financial newsletters are what we typically talk about in AWAI. This includes all the Agora divisions as well as companies like Wyatt Research, Investing Daily, Shaeffer's Research, Eagle Financial, Mauldin, Motley Fool, Profits Run, and I'm sure I'm missing more.
Jon Stoltzfus –