It’s certainly an attractive idea. You write a killer sales letter for one company and your mind starts to go to dark places. You start to tell yourself, “Why do I need to write a different sales letter for the next company? This one is great as it is. All I need to do is change the name of the company and some other minor details and I can sell it to anyone.”
You’d drastically reduce the amount of time you need to work on your next sales letter and you know you’ll be selling a great piece of work…so why does it feel so wrong? Well, that’s because it is wrong. It’s also terrible business practice and here’s why:
Companies are paying you a very good fee for your time and your talents (or at least they should be – check out my article on what copywriters charge if you feel you should be earning more). They expect to get high-quality, 100% unique work that has been written with a focus on their company. If they were to find out that the sales letter or website copy you wrote for them is exactly the same as a whole bunch of other company’s sales letters and websites then you’ll soon find yourself in the dog house with a lot of businesses and that will do nothing to help your credibility.
Word of mouth and recommendations you receive from your clients are so important to a freelance copywriter that you can’t risk earning a bad reputation just because you want to save yourself a lot of time and try to “cheat” the system.
If you were still wanting to go down the route of selling templated copy then what you must do is inform your customers exactly what it is they are buying. You could create a couple of templates and sell them cheaply to companies who just want to get their websites up and running or those companies who are on a restricted budget. At least this way you wouldn’t be conning your clients.
You’d be doing yourself and your business a much better service by writing unique content every time you have a project. Invest your time and energy into making each project better than the last and not only will you earn a great reputation, but you’ll become a better copywriter too. You need to be your own copywriter, not somebody elses.
Now I should make some distinction here between using copywriting templates in your work and studying copywriting templates. Studying templates, to see what makes them successful, is certainly something you should do, but stop short at actually using the template. There are some great blog posts (particularly concerning how to write a great headline) and some great templates out there that you can look at so make sure you do.
What do you think? Do you use copywriting templates? Do you think that I’m talking rubbish? Let’s hear your comments!