Haris Halkic: Hi Rob, 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.
Rob Hooks: Hi Haris, it’s a pleasure and an honor, thanks for having me! My background is in filmmaking. I grew up in a film industry family in Hollywood, and I’ve been writing/directing since high school. After completing the Cinema and TV Arts film school at California State University Northridge, I became a production assistant in commercials and music videos. Simultaneously, I was writing movie scripts and building a director’s demo reel.
Being a one-man film production company is hard on the wallet, and I built up quite a bit of credit card debt. I never lost hope, but it felt like I was spinning my wheels. Then something amazing happened…My German fiancée got pregnant.
I decided to move to Germany and start our new family in Berlin.
Copywriting was my solution to finding a job I could do from anywhere. I studied the craft and became an AWAI certified copywriter.
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?
I started studying copywriting while I still had work in Hollywood, so I was able to pay my bills. During my off-time, I was at the local coffee shop studying.
My advice would be to keep your current job and study in your free time. Once you learn the craft, establish your freelance business and start getting potential clients lined up before quitting your current job. It can take longer than you may think to build your reputation and career in freelancing.
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. What ways do you use to get clients?
Rob Hooks: Pounding the pavement. I built a website, MindTechMarketing.com and I tell everyone I am a copywriter because you never know who needs copy or knows someone who does. My niche is personal development. So I type in “buy personal development products” on the Google search, then contact the companies that look like they know the value of having great copy. I contact the marketing department and ask if they hire outside writers for any of their marketing services.
But honestly, I’ve gotten most of my gigs from word of mouth.
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Rob Hooks: I went through the AWAI copywriting program. They’re not paying me to say this, but I highly recommend them. They teach you copywriting psychology, and they teach you the classics. If you want to create high-quality copy that converts on a regular basis, it helps to know your history.
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
Rob Hooks: Research. Knowing the product inside and out, and knowing the prospect. Once I’ve done my due diligence, I meditate on everything and let things mentally gel.
Then I visualize the prospect and imagine I’m at the bar talking to her like she’s my buddy. No B.S. No fancy language. Just real person to person talk.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
Rob Hooks: I love the classic U.S. School of Music ad by copywriting legend, John Caples. He paints such an emotional and romantic picture in an efficient way! That’s key… entering the prospect’s emotional mind before the rational mind.
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
Rob Hooks: You can work from home, or anywhere! You set your own schedule, and there’s no nasty boss giving you the business. You just have to have the discipline to be your own boss. Above all, being able to spend quality time with my family is invaluable.
Haris Halkic: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?
Practice. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Whether I’m physically writing, reading the classics, or doing mental work, I’m always staying sharp. Having a practice is essential, not just in copywriting, but in any area of life.
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?
Rob Hooks: I craft personal development copy with a higher SQ. Whether it’s direct response or writing for the web, I can help. Visit my website, MindTechMarketing.com, and check out my short intro video. If you have questions, visit the FAQ page. Contact me on my website, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help your business grow!