Reality Blog: Herding Elk and Hunting Clients

Girl in bookstore, framed by books

Do you think it’s possible to herd wild elk? Not the semi-tame ones you’d find on an elk ranch or game preserve, but truly wild elk?

Before I give you my take on that question, let me pose a similar question that seems equally difficult…

Do you think it’s possible to actually attract clients without constantly hunting them down?

Elusive Clients Who Need Copywriting

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me there’s a pretty constant drumbeat about how much opportunity there is for copywriters to find clients and make money. And my own research proves that it’s true — especially for web writers once the lockdown made online marketing front and center for just about every business.

Yet oddly enough, it’s often difficult to actually get a contract! What gives?

Too often I encounter prospects who have a problem, and there I am with the perfect solution, and all they do is graze around the edges, making wise humming sounds of agreement and approval, but refusing to commit.

I’ve stressed about this recurring experience, and I finally remembered a piece of my family’s folklore, an old principle that I probably should have thought of earlier.

Elk on the Mogollon Rim

If you’ve ever been to my home state, Arizona, you’ve probably heard of the Mogollon Rim (pronounced Mug-ee-yon).

The Mogollon is a beautiful stretch of rugged mountain country that separates the sun-broiled Phoenix basin from the rest of Arizona. A local paper once described the Mogollon Rim as “a piece of Alpine heaven in the middle of a hot and dusty state.” It’s extremely popular with recreational enthusiasts of all types, from college kids to serious hunters.

And it’s also where my dad spent the bulk of his days as a working cowboy.

For 10 years he was responsible for running a small high-pasture summer ranch known as an allotment. If you’ve ever seen a Western, picture the cow-work on the sides of steep canyons without all the gunfights.

One of the many things that living and working every day in this tough environment gave my dad was an up-close-and-personal acquaintance with the wild elk that teem all over the Mogollon.

What Clients and Elk Have in Common

At first glance it doesn’t seem like wild elk have much in common with the clients we’d all like to land. But on a second look, there are some striking similarities. Especially when you consider that, although the Mogollon is teeming with elk, thousands of tourists, photographers, and hunters all come hoping to catch just a glimpse. And yet many visitors to the Mogollon never even see an antler.

My dad complains that he couldn’t go a mile without tripping over them.

Stop Hunting – Learn to Attract Clients Instead

It’s my belief that my dad encountered more elk than he knew what to do with because he wasn’t pursuing them. He didn’t hunt them, didn’t want to take pictures of them, and generally would’ve been happy if they’d disappeared off the face of the earth. He was interested in cows — end of story.

The elk somehow seemed to sense this nonchalance, and like a cat gravitating to the one cat-hater in the room, the elk were happy to show up for him.

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Suzanna Fitzgerald

Suzanna Fitzgerald

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