Haris Halkic: Hi Grant, thanks a lot for agreeing to share your best tips on copywriting and your background. Let’s start with how you got started in copywriting. Please, tell us more about your story.
Grant Lannin: Thanks for having me, Haris 🙂
My copywriting journey began my senior year of college. I was majoring in business administration and was in the process of applying for a bunch of different corporate jobs. At the time, copywriting wasn’t even on my radar. I worked at a grocery store and all I cared about was dollar beers and writing songs. Two things I still love very much.
I also played a lot of pick-up basketball. I don’t know what it was about our college gym, but someone would suffer some weirdly serious injury almost every day. Sliced eyes, broken ankles, smashed noses, you name it. I thought I was going to be one of the lucky few who squeezed by without having their name on the ‘injured at the gym’ list, but unfortunately, I wasn’t. When my time came, I landed awkwardly and ended up tearing my PCL like a dry rubber band. It was one of those ‘yep, something’s definitely wrong’ moments.
The usual 15-minute walk home took me about an hour and half limping at snail speed. And when I finally got to my house, I was starving. I’m talkin’ need food now or I’m gonna hangry-rage on grandma in a Facebook comment starving. But I mean, that’s what she gets for posting her absurd political views publicly…
Anyway, I poked my head in the fridge and saw that I had – literally – nothing inside of it except ketchup and some pasta sauce. So, naturally, I did what any college student does when there’s nothing in the fridge. I checked the pantry. And in the pantry I found some god-knows-how-old kidney beans in a can.
I was freakin pumped, Haris.
Until I realized I didn’t have a can opener.
Then I was super not pumped.
It’s funny because in retrospect, I could have just used a knife to open the can. Duh! But honestly, that didn’t even cross my mind in the heat of the moment. I’d call it a regret, but my impulsive decision of not using a knife and leaving the house angrily lead me to copywriting.
So, I limped down to the nearest convenience store, grabbed a can opener, and put it on the counter for the dude to ring up.
For 99 cents?
At that moment, I think I let out a little “heh” type chortle. Whatever sound I made was my natural reaction to the instant death of my soul. I mean, really? I was too crippled to walk to the grocery store and too poor to afford a damn can opener. Long story short, I experienced a slew of emotions that I immediately repressed and then thought about how vulnerable my income would be if I was location dependent.
Because I was out of work for a week.
So I jumped on the interwebs, did some googles, and came across Neville Medhora at kopywritingcourse.com. He introduced me to copywriting and told me that all the good copywriters printed out and read The Boron Letters by some dead guy named Gary Halbert.
So I did that.
And here I am.
Decided not to do the corporate thing and just write in my room instead.
… Sorry, that was so long-winded, I get excited about telling stories.
Haris Halkic: How did you transition to freelance copywriting from your previous job? What’s your best piece of advice for someone who is employed and wants to become a freelance copywriter?
Grant Lannin: I was lucky in the sense that I didn’t have a previous job. But I was enrolled in college full-time. When I discovered copywriting I had about six months of school left, so I spent those last few months studying copy and reading copy blogs religiously. I’d go to my classes, work at the grocery store, and then rush home to do some weird copy-nerd activity. I wanted to make sure I could deliver the goods to the clients I pitched, allowing me to snag a couple referrals down the road.
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. What ways do you use to get clients?
The first thing I did was use Upwork. I didn’t have any samples, so I’d scroll through the job offerings until I saw something that seemed cool. Once I found something I liked, I’d write an article (on the spot) similar to the one they were asking for.
Then I’d pitch them saying something like “Hey I have experience writing about XYZ, let me know if you like what you see”.
And that landed me my first couple of clients. Which I made sure to overdeliver on.
I told the first guy that hired me I could have his project done by Friday when I knew I could finish it by Wednesday. I gave him an extra 600 words two days early and he’s been a repeat client for me ever since. That’s when I learned it’s beneficial to play with someone’s perspective if you don’t screw yourself over while doing it.
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Grant Lannin: Yes, there’s a few. As far as teachers go, my first one was Neville Medhora. He has an insane amount of value on his blog kopywritingcourse.com and I devoured that thing in like 2 days. Notes and all. I’ve also learned a ton from reading Bob Bly and Dan Kennedy’s blogs.
As far as courses go, I was able to get my hands on AWAI’s 6-figure accelerated copywriting course, which laid down a great foundation for me. It really boosted my confidence.
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
Grant Lannin: I grab a small yellow bowl and place 3 raisins inside of it. Then I put the bowl in the microwave for 39 seconds, just long enough to make the raisins malleable. I then grind the raisins into a paste, and carefully spread the raisin-paste under my eyes like a linebacker. Then I just start writing.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
Grant Lannin: My favorite copywriter would have to be Neville Medhora. He introduced me to the craft and showed me that I had a chance of becoming successful without sacrificing my deranged sense of humor.
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
For me, the biggest advantage is the freedom to travel and set my own schedule. If there’s a cool event taking place, I can take a break from writing and attend it.
I can also control the workload and make the work fit my life, instead of the other way around.
Haris Halkic: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?
Grant Lannin: Definitely meditation. Before I started meditating I was always in my head. Now, as cliché as it sounds, I’m much more in my body and in tune with my emotions. Meditation has helped my copy IMMENSELY because it allowed me to read successful sales letters and really articulate which emotions triggered which groups of people to buy. If you can articulate what you’re feeling, then it’s much easier to know if what you’re writing is good or bad.
Haris Halkic: Are there areas you specialize on as a copywriter and if someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Grant Lannin: I specialize in Email Marketing and Copywriting for service businesses. But I’ve been writing a lot of articles lately.
Thanks so much for the opportunity, Haris.