So you wanna be a speechwriter?

A veteran scribe advises: Start local and stay close to your interests and values.

A few weeks ago we heard from Howard Morgan, who wants to break into speechwriting after a career in PR and journalism. How should he go about doing it, he asked.

A number of speechwriters weighed in, none more helpfully than Greg Bell, senior speechwriter at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"Unless you're well-connected," Bell advised, "I respectfully suggest that your warmest market is local: municipal, county and state."

He's talking local businesses, nonprofits, schools, politicians and aspiring politicians.

Your warmest market offers you an opportunity first to market yourself (let your prospects know you’re open for business), establish your connections, gain intelligence about your market and your niche (should you decide to cultivate one), build your portfolio of clients and writing credits; learn the art, craft and science of speechwriting by developing your custom production system, gain experience in the practical aspects of your writing business, especially working with clients; determine whether you prefer to be a staff member of a freelancer and build your list of prospects as well as your sources for referrals.

In your warmest market you’re likely to identify your comparative and competitive advantages more quickly and establish your Unique Value Proposition upon a more solid foundation than you would by subjecting yourself to the most rigorous competition extant in larger national and international markets.

Business-wise, I suggest you identify those companies offering products with which you could or do have and affinity. As well you should feel comfortable with their visions, missions, goals, philosophies.

Government-wise, I suggest you feel yourself comfortable with the political philosophies and practices of the branches of government in general and the individuals in those branches who are your prospects, in particular.

In my business line item, please note that connecting with business organizations, such as the Chamber Of Commerce, is also an essential ingredient in my "recipe."

As well, formally associating with like-minded professionals is critically important.

VSOTD is a sterling example of such association and so is the Professional Speechwriters Association. Ditto for the National Speakers Association.

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