Living the Writer's Life: Lynn Swayze
How to “Nerd Out” in the World of B2B Tech Copywriting
Lynn Swayze always knew she wanted to be a writer. So when she hit the Print button on her computer and printed out all 800 pages of her first AWAI course, she was ready to learn everything she could to be successful. Today, she gets to “nerd out” in the world of B2B, writing for the tech industry. Her calendar is regularly filled with very large projects that require only a few hours of work per day. It’s the perfect lifestyle for this busy mom of four.
How did you come into copywriting, and what niche do you work in now?
It was 2015-ish, and I was working in tech as a business analyst and a little bit of a tech writer. I was one of those people who was like, “I’m going to grow up to be a writer.” From there I found AWAI. So I really started with the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, all 800 pages.
My bread and butter is B2B, and specifically tech. My specialty is applying direct response to tech B2B. Which is really fun, because it’s easy. I love it.
It’s very easy for newcomers to think B2B is boring. But would you disagree?
One, there’s a lot of money in B2B. Two, there’s tons of need. Three, there is room to add some pizzazz.
Yes, it’s not going to be super hyped. I have to keep it kind of toned down. But there’s still room to add personality. It’s steady work. You can actually move the needle, and these are big projects.
I’m curious: In the last year with the pandemic, have you seen much change in the B2B world?
Everybody has ramped up their marketing, and is still ramping up their marketing. Last year I had more work than I could do. I don’t imagine it’s going to slow down anytime soon.
How did you go about getting your first client?
I saw this little chart and it was about how, if you invest just a couple percentage points more of your paycheck, you can end up with millions more. So I ended up writing a simple one-pager, almost like a landing page. I made it lead to a lead magnet in my draft copy. And I used that, and I pitched a job in a membership forum that was available and I got it.
I’d never written financial copy, never really written copy before. I just applied what I learned in AWAI. That exercise showed them, “She’s teachable.”
Can you tell me a little bit about your day — balancing life with kids and how much time you’re actually in your office working?
I’m usually waking up, I don’t know, 6 or 7. I’ll check my emails, make coffee, start getting the kids ready and out the door. I’m usually sitting down somewhere between 9 and 11, depending on the client work.
From there I work a couple of hours throughout the day — pretty relaxed, actually, all things considered. It really varies from day to day.
How about in terms of managing your own time and being your own boss — how do you stay productive?
I’m pretty structured. I have a rule that I only assign myself three things a day. I try to keep it pretty specific and small. And that way I just get it focused and done.
And the fact is that most of the time, once you know your stuff, getting it 70% to 80% is good enough, is as good as it’s going to get. Spending more time doesn’t make it better.
That makes me think of what multimillion-dollar copywriter Dan Kennedy once said about the “G.E. spot,” the good enough spot. All copy can always be improved, but it doesn’t always need to be. At some point you have to just stop and say, “You know what? This is enough. It’s going to get the job done.”
What tips would you give new writers who are ready to leave their day jobs?
I would suggest that anybody, especially when you’re starting out, pick a niche, because you’re not really going to get hired any other way, except for luck. Try to find that expert positioning and get really, really good at one thing. You don’t have to stay there forever, but getting in the door, you will find it 10 times easier if you specialize.
Lynn's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
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Thanks for sharing your insights, Lynn! Very helpful! I especially appreciated your suggestion that a new writer select a niche. Your comment provided me just the guidance that I needed to move forward with my writing life! Consequently I'm deciding, today, to specialize as a case study writer for nonprofit causes. Again, thank you!
Bob Peiffer –