Case Study:
Pam Foster

Bootcamp was major. Suddenly I was in a room with 300 people who were all learning, and some had achieved wonderful careers. Meeting people and hearing them on stage really brought the training to life. I was honestly skeptical but I dove in and everything I was learning was so incredible. Light bulbs were going on.”

Member:
Pam Foster
Location:
Jacksonville, Florida
Former Career:
Broadcasting, marketing communications, advertising
How She Got Her First Client:
The ad agency that laid her off hired her back as a freelancer. Plus, her own accountant asked her to write a quarterly newsletter.

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Florida Copywriter Unleashes Income with Pet-Industry Niche

In 2010, Pam Foster was riding the ups and downs of income from her freelance copywriting business. She wrote for a few loyal clients, but the consistency of projects was so unreliable she almost considered going back to her former corporate life.

“I was on a roller coaster of sporadic work. It was driving me crazy,” she said.  

But one change completely turned Pam’s business around. In just seven weeks, she added $47,000 in projects. Her tactic: Focusing on the $60 billion pet and veterinary industry.

“When I re-launched myself as a niche-industry focused copywriter, it took off very quickly and I've never looked back. Best thing I ever did!” she said.

A “No-Brainer” Niche

Pam learned a powerful business principle; trying to be everything to everyone is often not as effective as doing one thing exceptionally.

“Clients appreciate my knowledge of their businesses,” she said. “There are so many booming niche markets now, desperately looking for skilled writers. If you find a niche you understand you’re going to do a lot better than just saying, ‘I write web copy.’”

Pam brought years of industry experience to her niche. Before becoming a freelancer her most recent job was as a creative leader for a large manufacturer of veterinary technology products and services. While she enjoyed the field, she was looking for a pathway out of the cubicle maze.

When Pam received a flyer in the mail from American Writers & Artists (AWAI), she glimpsed an opening. She had written throughout her career. Why not go on her own as a writer? She quickly signed up for AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair, held annually in Delray Beach, Florida.

“Bootcamp was major,” she said. “Suddenly I was in a room with 300 people who were all learning, and some had achieved wonderful careers. Meeting people and hearing them on stage really brought the training to life. I was honestly skeptical but I dove in and everything I was learning was so incredible. Light bulbs were going on.”

A Recognized Authority

Pam returned home from Bootcamp and put the principles to practice. A former employer signed on as her first freelance client. AWAI courses on web copywriting and search engine optimization (SEO) rounded out her two decades of marketing experience, and bumped up her value for clients.

Pam again took a chance and proposed a new "working with web clients" program for AWAI, which was accepted. Several months later she was shocked to learn that the proposal won her AWAI’s 2009 $10K Challenge. Every year, the organization selects one person to receive additional contracted assignments from AWAI valued at $10,000.

But true success came after Pam’s decisive dive into the pet industry. “For me, the pet industry was a no-brainer,” she said. “I love the industry, I know the market and I have a ton of connections.”

She mapped out a plan and created a focused web site. She reached out to all her industry contacts, joined trade organizations and volunteered to write for their publications.

Putting her content marketing skills to good use, Pam co-authored a series of go-to guides for the industry, including "Wildly Profitable Marketing for the Pet Industry" and "Wildly Profitable Marketing for Zoos, Aquariums and other Animal Organizations."

“I really immersed myself in my industry,” Pam said. “I started getting inquiries out of the blue and gaining momentum. It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill, getting nicer and fatter. With a niche focus, I saw a nice, steady increase in my copywriting income.”

Early on, Pam sought out clients. Now, they seek her. She writes for veterinary equipment companies, pet products, pet training services, veterinary practice management software and more.

By grabbing her niche, Pam has become a recognized authority on marketing in the industry as well as in content marketing in general. She frequently speaks at industry events. At the latest AWAI Bootcamp, she shared the stage with Bob Bly, the man many consider the father of modern copywriting.

Pam’s niche is not only rewarding; it’s fun. She recalls her first visit to a pet industry blogging conference.

“There was a woman there who dressed her hairless cats in Victorian costumes and wheeled them around in a baby carriage!” she said. "You never know what you'll come across in this industry!"

Redefining the Writer’s Life

Since becoming a freelance copywriter, Pam has built her career and life flexibly on her own terms. When a client asked her to join them full time, she saw a chance to merge the team culture of a full-time job with the enjoyable work of copywriting.

Now Pam works as Managing Editor, Community Content & Media, for a veterinary association. With freelance writing projects on the side, she boosts her income by an impressive 50 percent. She’s also become a pet copywriting matchmaker of sorts by connecting writers and organizations at www.petcopywriter.com.

In this approach, Pam finds a lucrative career and the lifestyle she wants. She continues to work from home in a historic neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, with her dog, Louie, at her side.

“I have a hybrid version of the writer's life, working full time for a company, from home,” she said. “I’m there for my company but am in a quiet setting so I get a lot done. I can walk my dog. And I work with my freelance clients on evenings and weekends. The writer’s life can take on all kinds of different characteristics and you get to choose what that means to you.”

Pam’s Tips For Copywriters

  • Focus – Choose a niche and go after it with abandon. Pam wrote contributed articles, blogged and created high-value content to become the go-to writer and authoritative content marketer in the pet industry.
  • Do your homework – Beyond attending AWAI’s Bootcamp, Pam worked through many spec assignments to truly learn the concepts. “Nowhere else do you have tools like this at your fingertips and people who encourage you and guide you,” she said.
  • Network Tap into and grow your network! Pam reached out to all her contacts, especially those in the pet industry, and attended events to meet new ones.

Ready to pursue the writer’s life?

Learn more about the program that launched Pam’s career, The FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp & Job Fair.

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