Few people view writing as a competitive activity. However, if you embark on a freelance career and choose to handle direct response projects, such as direct mail, you will eventually face a competitive challenge.
It will probably go something like this:
Client: “Do you handle direct mail?”
You: “Yes I do.”
Client: “Good. We have a direct mail package that has been working for a few years, but it’s starting to get a little tired. So we want to test something new.”
You: “Okay, what did you have in mind?”
Client: “Well, we want you to write something that gets better response. We’ll test your package against our control and see which is the winner. Are you up for it?”
If you’ve never faced this situation, you may break out in a cold sweat. After all, this isn’t just a writing project. You won’t be judged by your style or command of grammar. Your skills will be tested and measured with a calculator. You will win or you will lose.
So what do you do?
The higher business people rise in the business world, the more likely they are to get invitations to speak.
However, they are also more likely to have no time to craft a speech, which is where good copywriters come in.
Arvid Westfelt shares his expertise on taking a highly consultative approach to writing a speech by following 3 simple steps.
Have you picked up Dean’s free report yet? Then you know that the 10th astonishingly simple way to dazzle your clients and double your income is to be a trusted consultant.
What it means is you’re not just a pair of hands typing copy. You are selling expertise in the broader sense of helping your client succeed.
If you get to that much-envied position, chances are your client will ask you to help her with things that are outside your specialty.
It could be radio ads, investor relations — or writing a speech!
Email is fast, cheap, and if done correctly, incredibly effective. That’s why so many businesses, online and offline, want to use email as part of their marketing.
The downside is that unlike many other media, the technology for email marketing hasn’t progressed much over the last few years. In many ways, it’s gone backwards.
You never know what platform people will be using to access their email. You don’t know the size of their screen. You don’t know if they’ve turned off images or have a strict spam filter set up or if the email will even be delivered.
Compared to other types of marketing, email marketing can be pretty primitive. You can’t take anything for granted. And it’s wise to keep things simple.
So when you need to write email marketing messages, and you want people to click on a link (which is almost always the goal), you want to keep a few basic ideas in mind.
Some time ago, I taught a copywriting class at The Ohio State University.
It was the first time I had ever tried to teach anyone how to write copy and found it was extraordinarily difficult. That’s because many of the things I did naturally from experience or instinct were a complete mystery to my students.
So I devised a simple method for writing ad copy for novice writers. I called it POWER Copywriting, an acronym for the five steps in the copywriting process: Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, and Review.
This represents years of copywriting experience boiled down to the basics. I won’t promise that this will help you create a masterpiece of copywriting brilliance. But it can help guide you toward better and more effective sales writing.
Since most of the people in my class wanted to write “ads” for their business, the method is built around the idea of writing simple print ads. However, since all forms of advertising use the same basic elements, it works for any kind of copywriting.
Every copywriter should know how to write a direct mail package.
It’s true that you see fewer of these today because of growing online marketing and the down economy. However, the direct mail package remains the granddaddy of direct marketing.
The knowledge and skill required for the package can translate into every other medium.
So let’s go through what I call the standard or “classic” direct mail envelope package piece-by-piece.
The sample shown is a direct mail package I wrote many years ago for a piece of training software. It includes a 6″ x 9″ outer envelope, 4-page letter, brochure (actually a “broadside”), lift note, and reply or order form.
You can see the complete direct mail sample here.
Every copywriter should know how to write a guarantee. It’s a powerful marketing tool.
A solid guarantee provides tangible proof that a business is reputable and helps lower the perceived risk prospects feel when considering the offer. It boosts response to nearly any sales message.
You can even use a guarantee in fundraising to assure that funds are used as promised. Don’t be afraid of a guarantee — ever. It will almost certainly create more profit than will be lost through the few people who take advantage of it.
Here are the basics of writing a guarantee
If there’s anything like a guarantee template, it’s this:
We provide the finest widgets in the world. If you are not fully satisfied, for any reason, just return your widget within 60 days for a full refund of your purchase price.
You can be more personal. Or stronger. Just keep it short and sweet and readable at a glance.
When I recently asked for guest post submissions, I had no idea what I’d get. Well, what I got was nothing short of amazing.
It appears that I have some incredibly smart readers with plenty of know-how to share.
So I’m delighted to introduce my very first guest blog post, written by Sally Bagshaw, a writer and editor extraordinaire from the land down under (Brisbane, Australia).
Corporate newsletters are an important tool to communicate with employees, clients, prospects, or suppliers. But like blogging, newsletters can become a victim of not enough time, not enough material to work from, or not enough inspiration.
What starts out as a regular, engaging and proactive tool slowly degrades into a half-baked email sent out once every blue moon. Subscribers slip away, employees disengage, and an important communication opportunity vanishes.
So what do you do? How do you come up with and write newsletter articles that are interesting?
Every copywriter longs for the opportunity to write a TV commercial. But the type of commercial you’ll end up writing isn’t what you think it will be.
Unless you work at an ad agency or video production house, you’re not going to come anywhere close to writing a script for the next NIKE commercial.
You might get the opportunity to write a direct response or DRTV commercial. But you’re more likely to write spots for shoe stores, neighborhood banks, used car dealers, furniture outlets, fruit markets, and other local businesses.
Not too impressive, I know, but there’s a ton of small businesses who need these kind of TV spots. And someone has to write the scripts. Right?
If there’s any copywriting project that creates confusion for many of today’s new copywriters, it’s writing an advertorial.
Unlike most advertisements, the advertorial demands a different tone and a certain restraint in how copy is written. It must be less promotional and more “newsy.”
But let’s start at the beginning. What is an advertorial?
An advertorial is an advertisement written in the form of an objective article, and presented in a printed publication—usually designed to look like a legitimate and independent news story. The term “advertorial” is a portmanteau of “advertisement” and “editorial.” Merriam-Webster dates the origin of the word to 1946.
In other words, an advertorial is an ad written to look and sound like editorial matter. With the typical advertisement, you want the ad to jump off the page. But with an advertorial, you want the ad to blend in, as if it’s just another article in the publication.
Imagine a local school asks you to write a fundraising letter to raise money for a new library.
You sit down at your computer and start typing.
They laughed when I suggested a new library, but when the kids started to read …
It hit me like a bolt of lightning!
The kids at St. Mary’s Middle School don’t read. For years, no one could figure out why. But now, a new breakthrough scientific study has revealed the shocking answer. NO LIBRARY!
That’s right. How can kids read if they have no books?
I ran into the same situation at my former school and after years of hand-wringing, trying every reading program under the sun, we experimented with a simple, book-lined library. And it worked!
Instantly, kids started to check out books and read them. The results were astonishing. And now you can get the same breathtaking results at St. Mary’s. With no risk or obligation.