How To Choose A Topic For Your Bait Piece

As a web writer who spends a lot of time online, I’m sure you have seen an offer for something free … a free newsletter, free report, or free podcast … But, to get the free item (also known as a bait piece), you have to fill in the form with your contact information.

AWAI has an offer like this at, here’s what it looks like:

This is known as lead generation and the concept is very simple: You offer something of value (a bait piece), and when someone takes you up on your offer, an exchange is made. They give you their contact information; you give them the bait piece.

As a web writer, it’s in your best interest to offer a bait piece because your visitors may not be ready to hire you when they first come to your website. They might, however, have a project for you later on. When you get their contact information, you’ll be able to follow up with them and increase the chances of them eventually hiring you.

So, what kind of bait piece can you offer that is both irresistible to your website visitors and builds your credibility once they receive it?

Well, there are many different ways you can format your bait piece, but the real value lies in your topic. Your topic must:

  1. Be valuable in the eyes of your ideal clients, and
  2. It must solve a specific need for your ideal clients.

You may be thinking, “What do you mean, ‘It must be valuable?’ I’m giving it away for free?!”

Frankly, free bait pieces must be valuable because your ideal clients don’t want to invest their time or energy in something they’re not going to get value from. Their time is valuable. And, if you’re asking for their contact info, they are even more concerned about the value of your bait piece. Make sure your bait piece is valuable — and be sure to convey that value in your sign-up form copy.

Also, your bait piece must solve a specific need for your ideal clients. Notice I said, “Your Ideal Clients.” You don’t want people to accept your offer just for the sake of growing your list. Instead, your goal should be to build a list of potential clients who are serious about hiring you at some point.

When determining the topic for your bait piece, keep in mind who you want to attract. Just like when you write copy for clients, you’ll want to spend some time researching your target market and their pain points. Everyone in the world cannot be your client. So, think about what your ideal client looks like. They are likely a business owner, a marketing director, a hiring manager, or someone else who is interested in increasing their business.

What problem do they need a solution for? Find out what keeps them up at night. Then, create a bait piece that solves their biggest problem … But, a word of warning here, do not teach them how to write copy.

I repeat, “Do not teach them how to write copy!”

Your ideal client is not another copywriter. I can’t tell you how many times I see copywriters get this wrong and build a list of copywriters instead of clients. (There are a few exceptions: 1. You want to work only for other copywriters, handling their overflow work, or 2. You sell a product or service for copywriters.)

Otherwise, writing the copy is your job. You are a web writer with a niche (fundraising, health, self-help, B2B, pet, etc.) and you need to offer something your ideal client will desperately want. Your offer must be so irresistible they can’t help but give their contact information — just so they can learn the solution to their problem.

Then, once they read or listen to your bait piece, they will be dying to contact you to get the help they need — because, after all, you’re the one that showed them the solution, so you’re the best one to implement it for them.

To get your brainstorming mind working, let’s look at some examples.

Let’s pretend your ideal client is someone who sells a product in the pet industry. Your bait piece might be a free report called, “3 Simple Steps To Reach 1,000s Of Pet Owners Today.”

The 3 steps could be:

  1. Create an irresistible free report pet owners can’t help but share.
  2. Ask for their name and email address in exchange for the free report.
  3. Send them a series of follow-up emails (autoresponders) about your product or service.

As a web writer, I’m sure you can easily write 3-5 pages covering the 3 steps above. Then, pack those pages full of statistics about other companies who have done this and their results. (Bonus points if the statistics are from your own clients and case studies).

By doing this, you’ll create a potential client who knows several things:

  • They know others are doing this successfully (possibly even competitors you helped directly).
  • They know they need to do this, if they want to reach more people and make more money.
  • They know the return on their investment will be high.
  • And, they know they need a free report, a form with convincing copy, and a series of emails about their product or service …

Of course, you’re the copywriter who gave them this genius plan, you’re the expert, AND it just so happens that you offer services to help them accomplish all 3 steps … (Maybe even in a convenient package?). Everyone wants to work with the expert. Who do you think they’re going to call?

Here’s another example: Let’s say you’re a generalist (not recommended) and you want to market to business owners who have heard they need to test their website to make more sales … But, they have no idea how to set up their site for testing …

Your bait piece might be a video series called, “3 Simple Steps To Increasing Website Sales With Testing.”

The 3 steps (each in a different 5-10 minute video) could be:

  1. How to set up Google Website Optimizer.
  2. Why you need to write a variety of headlines, leads, and calls-to-action to test.
  3. How to analyze the results and choose a winner.

In this scenario, the business owner will want to hire you, the expert, to write the variety of headlines, leads, and calls-to-action. Why?

Because in the video series, you’ll tell them they need these things. You’ll talk about how their headline must capture attention and appeal to their target market and how their call-to-action must be irresistible.

But, you won’t say how to do those things. And, you’ll also give them statistics to prove you’re right. (Remember, bonus points if your statistics are from your own results and case studies.)

They’ll want to hire you because you clearly know what you’re talking about. Plus, they’re not sure how to write an attention-grabbing headline and they don’t know what types of offers are irresistible. Or, maybe they just don’t have time to deal with all this, but they do want more money.

Congratulations, you’re the web writer for the job!

One last thing: Don’t just assume because your ideal clients are business owners, they know it all. I’m constantly surprised when I casually mention a marketing tip to a business owner and they are excited and want to hear more. Because you’re a member of Wealthy Web Writer, I can guarantee you know more than you think you do.

When you choose your bait piece topic, we’d love to hear what it is. Please leave us a comment below.

Also, if you’re working on your lead-generation offer, don’t forget to opt in to this month’s Wealthy Web Writer Challenge: Create a Lead-Generation Plan. And, watch next week for more information on the best types of bait pieces to create for your web-writing business.

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Christina Gillick


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