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Sunday, February 07th, 2016
By: Scott Cook

Just a quick update. For those of you who do any writing, it's a good idea to post any articles you've written for others on your own blog as well. At least - links to these articles.


I've completed a series of about 25 posts for a new personal finance website known as
AZSmarter. Who knows, you may find these interesting:


Enjoy!

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Do you really know your customers?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
By: Scott Cook

It’s pretty obvious to say that your customers are the most important thing to your business, right?


This goes without saying… so why did I say it?


Well, the real question is: do you really know your customers?   Know them intimately.  As in: what do they want out of life?  How do they live?  How do they feel?


A wise company is the one that really takes the time and effort to get inside the heads as well as the hearts of their customers.  When it comes to this, there are 2 main ways to create what’s called a customer persona:


Demographics


Most everybody knows about demographics.  This is data collected on the factual nature of a group of people.  Demographics include such items as:



  • Age

  • Gender

  • Income

  • Marital status

  • Housing

  • Employment

  • Location

  • Education


 


With this information, you can get a pretty good picture of what your average customer looks like.  You might know, for example, that your average customer is in the 25 to 54 year old male demographic.  They live within 15 miles of you and make between $40,000 and $85,000 per year.  They’re mostly married, have 2.2 children and have at least a 2 year college degree.


Great… but does this really help you to sell to them?


It’s a start.  But when you’re putting together direct response advertising, be it radio, TV, direct mail, pay per click ads or anything else, you need to go a little deeper.


Psychographics


This is the study of how people feel.  This is where the majority of the effectiveness of your sales pitches come from.  When you master this, you can really create a good customer profile with a high expectation of converting many sales.


We know about the facts of our target customer.  He’s 35, married, has 2 kids, lives in a house, makes about $55K, has 2 cars, a bachelor’s degree and works 50 hours per week.


So what do we know about his feelings?


Well, let’s think on it for a moment…



  • He works hard and values his time off.

  • He’s a family man, possibly a church goer.

  • He enjoys outdoor activities and both of his kids are in sports, so he feels very strongly about being in nature.

  • Both of his cars are newer models with great gas mileage, so we know he values quality in what he buys.

  • He makes a good living, but he’s not blessed with a great deal of excess money on his salary with a house, 2 cars and two kids to take care of – even if his wife works.

  • We know he’s careful about purchases – he’ll buy a good product, but he’d better be convinced it’s going to last.


 


This is just an example.  However, if you were selling kayaks, this guy would probably be a good customer.  You could offer him a deal on a quality kayak that’s solidly built and will last, even if it’s a little higher priced than a cheap kayak.


The point here is this: you must get into their heads and find out what motivates them.  People buy for emotional reasons, and when you find out what they are – you can sell them what they want… or decide to avoid trying to sell them something they don’t.


 


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The true power of a USP – Is yours as unique as it could be?

Sunday, May 03rd, 2015
By: Scott Cook

When you think about your USP, most commonly called a unique sales position, and sometimes unique selling proposition, do you really feel that it’s something special?  In other words, is your USP really different than other company’s in your industry?


The plain truth of the matter is that it should be.


Why is this?  Why is your USP so vital to your success?  Let’s explore it a little further and find out, shall we?


If you’ve read any of my other blogs, or the free eBook I’m offering, then you’ll probably have seen a common theme I tend to harp on a lot.  That theme is that if you want to sell something to someone, you have to give them a reason.  You also have to make it clear why you, and not your competitors, are the right choice for the customer.


In other words, what makes you unique?  What’s different about how you do business from everyone else… this is where a strong USP comes into play.


What not to do


 


In order to give you a little help in crafting a really strong and effective USP, let’s look first at three of the weakest positions you can take:



  • Product – Our product is the best product.

  • Price – We’re the low priced leader.

  • Customer service – We focus on strong customer service.


 


These are, to be brutally honest, just about the worst USP’s you could ever use – and what’s unfortunate is that so many businesses use them.


Now, let me make it clear that these are all good things – you should have a quality product or service, your price should reflect the value of what you offer and any company that desires to thrive should do all it can to serve its customers.  These are critical components that constitute a strong business, for sure!


Yet, as USP’s, they fall flat.  Why?


Because everybody uses them, for one.  There’s nothing “unique” about being low cost or priding yourself on customer service.  Secondly, these are hard to maintain and frankly, are often just untrue.


To take it one step further, your customers are just smarter than that.  They want a better reason than the same old line everybody uses.


How to create a really awesome USP


 


In an out of print book, “Reality in Advertising,” author Rosser Reeves says that there are 3 essentials to creating an effective USP:



  • The business must make a strong proposition to the customer – buy this product or service and you’ll get this benefit.

  • Your proposition must be one that your competitors do not or cannot offer.

  • The proposition must be so strong it pulls your prospect off of the shopping highway and makes them stop and buy.


 


Now I’m paraphrasing a bit here.  Also, Mr. Reeves’ was focusing on creating a USP for each advertisement.  While this is good advice, I want to try and keep our attention on your general USP that defines your company and what it offers as opposed to specific products.


When you’re creating your USP, try to find a feature that’s unique to your product or service, or to your company.  Then, propose to your audience that this feature is a benefit.  People buy benefits, not features.  For example:


A cooler with 20% thicker insulation – this is a feature.  Here is the benefit:


Your drinks and sandwiches are still fresh on good ice when everyone else at the beach is pouring out tepid water.


In other words, “show” why your cooler’s insulation is worth the extra price – why it keeps everything cold longer.  That’s a quick and dirty example of a strong USP.


There’s always a way to create a USP that sets you apart, even if there really isn’t much to actually set you apart.  You just have to get creative – find something obscure about your product or service, or the way that you operate, that even if your competitors also have, they don’t use.


It can be difficult, yet if you put your mind to it, and even brainstorm with your staff or a marketing consultant, you can create a USP that drives your revenue.  It’s worth the effort and in the long run, you’ll be able to step out ahead of the pack.


Good luck!


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7 Killer Bullets That Boost Conversions

Sunday, April 26th, 2015
By: Scott Cook

When you look at the bullet points of your direct response copy, how effective are they?  Do they focus on benefits or features?  Do they inspire or inform?


Bullet points in direct response copywriting are extremely effective at helping your customers make a buying decision.  This is true for several reasons.


First, when somebody is skimming your advertisement, sales letter or landing page, they’re looking for something that’s going to jump off the page and intrigue them.  Bullets do this very well, for obvious reasons.


Second, because bullets almost always get read, they are often the most persuasive element of your page – after the headline, of course.


But are they really?


Let me share a really cool bullet-making technique with you.  I’ve heard it called many things, including the 7 Deadly Bullets, Basic emotion points and more.


Essentially, what you do is this:  You take the 7 deadly sins: lust, greed, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy and pride and use them as a basis for your bullets.


So as an example, let’s say we’re selling a weight loss product.  We want 7 bullets that showcase benefit and touch on a person’s emotions.  Using the 7 deadly sins, we may come up with:



  • Wouldn’t it be great to be the girl that other girls want to be?

  • Sculpt your body and lose those extra pounds without sweating to the oldies

  • Show the world that you’re more than just a dress size – you’re a vibrant and desirable woman

  • You’ll be seen with new eyes – eyes only for you

  • Stop spending your hard earned money on expensive diet fads that don’t work

  • Lose weight and shape your body without starving yourself

  • You won’t just look better and feel better – you’ll tap into a source of personal power you may not even know you possess!


 


Can you detect what “sin” is the source for each of these bullets?  Do you think they might touch a woman’s desire to get trim and healthy again?  At the very least, even 1 or 2 of these may touch off an emotional trigger, and that’s what you want your bullets to do.


Happy writing!


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How hard should you try to sell?

Sunday, April 19th, 2015
By: Scott Cook

“Sales copy should always be as short as possible!...”


“No, it should be long!...”


What’s the right answer?  Well, I’ll tell you, but it’ll cost ya’!


Okay, I’ll tell you anyway.  Here it is – the final word on this debate…


The answer is… it depends.


Boy, I’ll bet that ticks you off, huh?  Well, believe it or not, this is actually the answer to whether or not direct response copy should be long or short.  So let me explain a little further.


It depends on the emotional level of the offer.


So, basically, it’s like this:  The more emotion that’s involved in the sale / buying decision, the longer your copy should be.  The less emotion, the shorter.


We can expand on that by saying that when you’re selling something that people really want, and you’re making them a great offer on it – you really don’t need an awesome 1,000 word sales pitch.


Think of it like this…


You’re selling iPhone 6’s for $99.  How hard are you really going to have to sell?  It’s a product people really want and you’re selling it at a substantial discount.  The truth is, you probably only have to say new iPhones for $99 and you’ll rake it in.


On the other hand, if you’re selling a home study course on underwater basket weaving… you’re gonna have to pitch the begeebers out of it!


That’s just how it is.  Your course pitch has to tell them all why it’s a great buy, how it’s gonna make them loads of money, how they’ll be happier and more attractive than ever.


I know, this is just a quick blog entry, but I hope it sheds some light on the situation.  Sides… you can’t expect me to reveal everything here, can you?


Good luck and happy selling!


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Give Them Proof and They'll Give you a Sale

Thursday, April 09th, 2015
By: Scott Cook

As a direct response copywriter charged with the task of convincing my clients’ customers that my clients are the right choice, I’m essentially a salesman.


I have to persuade them to act – to forget about the competition and choose my client’s business.  When I do this, I’m well rewarded for it.  After all, if you can make somebody money, they’ll gladly pay you to do so.


However, one of the critical elements, at least in the service arena, is to be able to prove that what you claim you can do… you can actually do.  I find this particularly challenging for startups because they may have little or no proof.


However, most service-based companies can point to a series of case studies and testimonials to back up their claims and justify their fees.  They really have to.


And it’s true for me too, for example:



  • I recently helped ShutterEaze raise around $45,000 in funds on their Kickstarter campaign which exceeded their goal.

  • With a series of real estate investment emails, I’ve already helped my client gather over $400,000 in seed capital in just a week or two.

  • One customer, a new swimming pool builder – Vulcan Pools – recently took my copy to a trade show and closed $75,000 in new work in just 2 days – and that was just at the show.


 


That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but it clearly demonstrates that my copywriting skills are worth something.  I have proof of concept, in other words.


So, the moral of this story is that when you’re trying to convince a prospect to hire you to perform a service, a big persuader is to show them examples of how it’s worked for others.  This isn’t the only component of a successful sales pitch – yet it’s a powerful one!

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Sell what they want, not what they need

Sunday, December 14th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Generally, the first step in creating a new product or service is the idea.  You sit down, put your chin in your hand and think and think until your thinker is sore.  Finally, like magic, you come up with the greatest idea in the history of everything.


Of course, there’s a catch – isn’t there always?


The best ideas – or perhaps it’s better to say – the most marketable ideas, are those that offer something people really want.  That may sound simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget that simple idea.


Often, we think and come up with a great idea for a product that people need.  We say, “Oh, man!  What an awesome idea – this will help so many people!”


If not handled correctly, though, most of these need-based products will flop.  I know – it’s happened to me more than once.


Why is this?


Because people just don’t like buying things they need.  If you’re offering an eCourse on personal finance, or how to be a better writer, or how to eat right, or whatever – most people feel like they’re entitled to this info for free.


So, if your brilliant new idea is to offer a membership that helps people overcome nose picking – you’d better add another element to make it work.  In other words…


Attach your need-based product to a deep-seated want


That’s right, dear reader.  Don’t just offer them a $25 per month membership to the no-nose picking system – sell them on the idea that by not digging for gold up their shnoz, they’ll be able to focus on making real gold instead.


Yup – stop picking and get rich, get a new mate and drive a Ferrari.


Remember, whatever you’re selling, it should be something people want – really want.  Keep Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in mind – what do people want most?


Esteem, friendship, love, security and physical needs.  Tune into what your audience wants most and offer them a quick, easy and affordable way to get there and the road to your success stretches before you.


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Is Your Copy “I” Focused, or “You” Focused?

Friday, September 12th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Have you ever heard of or read the great book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by author Dale Carnegie?  If not, I strongly suggest you do – especially if you’re a business person.


The reason I bring that up is that one of the most crucial points that Mr. Carnegie made in his book was this: The most interesting thing in the world to any person is the sound of their own name.  Well, that’s paraphrased a little, but you get the idea.


In other words, what do all of us find most interesting?  Ourselves.  This is always true, even for those of us who really enjoy learning about others.  At some level, we like to hear about us, we are naturally interested in our own success, etc.


“Ok, Scott,” You may be thinking, “what’s the point?”


Well, the point is this.  In your business, notably the written information that you’ve created about your business, what prevails?  Is it predominantly about your audience, or about you?


It’s natural for us to publish writing, audio and video about our businesses and talk about our business and what we sell.  However, did you know that your customers respond on average 2 to 4 times better when you talk about them?


After all, why are they checking you out?  To hear or read how awesome you are?  I’m sorry to say no.  That includes me too – so don’t be too mad at me.  People are interested in WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM.


So here’s a little exercise – a little un-solicited free advice you didn’t ask for – that can help improve your ability to earn.


Go through all of your copy, including your website, ads, brochures, white papers, social media, videos, etc., etc.  Make a little chart.  On one side, tick off each time you use “I.”  Not even literally, just whenever you reference yourself or your company.  Then on the other side of your chart, tick off every time you use “you” or directly reference your customer.


You may be surprised by the results.  If the “you’s” don’t have it, it may be time to revisit that copy.  Just by shifting the focus from you to them, you can double, triple or even quadruple your conversion and sales rates!


It’s true, ask any of the copywriting greats like Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert or Bob Bly – or me lol.


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What is Direct Response Copywriting and How Does it make you Money?

Sunday, August 17th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Do you find writing, especially writing related to your business a bit confusing?  After all, there are so many kinds of writing: content writing, eBook writing, copywriting, direct response copywriting, email writing, etc.


As most aggressive business people now know, content marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing available today.  This is due to several factors, including the readily available sources for publishing information, the low cost and the seemingly ravenous appetites that consumers have for useful custom-written content.


This is where the writing categories can be confusing.  For example, what’s the difference between content writing and copywriting?  And even more than that – what’s the difference between copywriting and direct response copywriting.  As a business owner interested in marketing yourself to your customers, you need to know the difference.


Exactly what is direct response copywriting?


Let’s start with copywriting and direct response copywriting.  IN the broadest sense, these two things are not different.  Copywriting, unlike content writing, is designed to directly engage the reader, listener or viewer and persuade them to do something.  A radio ad or a billboard or a postcard in the mail are forms of copywriting.  The words used in these ads are designed to sell a product or service, or at least get us to pick up the phone or visit a website.


So, direct response copywriting is just an extension of this idea.  All of the things I mentioned above are good forms of direct response copywriting.  In essence, DRC is writing that quickly engages the audience, hits them hard with powerful copy and then calls them to action.  DRC uses all the good elements of copywriting, such as benefits-driven information, powerful and magnetic headlines, it offers proof and is oriented toward the person reading, seeing or hearing the copy.


Direct response copywriting (DRC) is simply finely tuned and highly focused copywriting that is designed to get the person on the receiving end to do something.  It’s that simple.


You grab their attention with a strong headline, create interest by identifying with your prospect and their needs and wants, generate desire by offering them something that exactly fits what they really want and then call them to take action now!


This is widely used online when a business has a specific product or service to sell.  You might create a set of Google AdWords that drive traffic to what’s called a landing page.  This landing page is a piece of DRC that grabs the visitor and guides them toward a buy now button or a short form where they can enter their name and email and go to the next step.


In these cases, you not only send them to a sales page, which is sort of another DRC that closes the deal, you also get their name and email added to your list for future marketing.


Any business that really wants to thrive today, and really wants to take advantage of content marketing should be engaging in direct response copywriting.  Combined with content writing for your blog, publishing articles and newsletters, direct response copywriting has an amazing effect on your cash flow.


Yes, a good direct response copywriter will cost you (or should) maybe $100 an hour or more, the few short hours you pay for have tremendous and very long-term effects on your profits.


Imagine a $300 to $500 investment in a set of ads, a landing page and sales page combo that began working for your business for months or even years to come.  Great DRC could conceivably bring in hundreds of sales!  Not bad for a few hundred bucks, huh?0 Comments | Add Comment

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The power of the Landing Page – Increase Sales, Capture leads and Focus Your Marketing

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Have you ever heard about someone putting up a landing page for their company?  Have you ever seen a short, 1 page website that focused only on a single topic and then asked you to do something?


This is what landing pages do and they’re incredibly effective for growing your email list, capturing leads, selling products and returning real value on your investment.


Why are landing page so powerful?


One of the most important factors that makes a good landing page work is that it’s very tightly focused.  Unlike a website’s homepage, where you talk in general terms about your company, a landing page discusses only one topic and one set of benefits related to that topic.  In this way, you immediately grab the visitor’s attention, briefly showcase your offer and then call them to action.


Because of this strong focus, it’s also much easier to market a landing page.  For example, suppose your company provides mobile application development services.  Well, that covers quite a bit of territory.  However, let’s also suppose that you are offering a special deal to develop a convenient, customized iOS and Android app for restaurant owners that they can give away to their customers.  The app offers discounts, push notifications, etc. etc.


So now, instead of trying to get search traffic for mobile app development, you can focus on a very specific niche.  You can research keywords and find a good specialized set of search criteria and then create ppc ads, back links, social media posts and so on that send targeted traffic to your landing page.


If the page is well-written and well-designed, you can expect a pretty high conversion rate.  And that’s what it’s all about – converting visitors into customers.


How to create a good landing page


The science behind effective landing pages is a bit complex and does take some time and skills to master.  As a direct response copywriter, I specialize in this type of sales-oriented copy.  When you combine compelling copy with a good visual presentation, the effects can be very profitable.


Without going into long detail, a high-converting landing page should have several key elements:



  • Tight and pleasing design

  • High-quality professional copy that’s created by someone who knows how to sell and connect with visitors

  • A single proposition

  • A strong focus on benefits over features

  • A call to action – this can be used to collect a name and email, either by itself or on the way to a sales page.


 


For an investment of a few hundred dollars to write the copy and design the page, a landing page can return financial rewards to you for a very long time, even years.  With a good design, great copy and a focused marketing push, you can create a number of landing pages to showcase any number of your products and services and take advantage of the huge digital marketplace.


So the next time you’re thinking of new ways to market your business, consider creating a high-converting landing page.


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How would you like to attract more Customers and Make More Sales?

Monday, June 02nd, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Did I get your interest with the headline for this post?  Why?  Are you in business and want more sales?  Would you like more conversions from your website traffic?


Of course you would, who wouldn’t?  If you’re in business, you want to sell something.  With the right application of professional copywriting and well-crafted headlines, you’d be amazed at what can happen.


Now, I’m not suggesting that a good headline is all that’s required to close the deal.  However, it’s the first stage.  A good headline is what grabs the attention and gets the person who’s reading, listening or watching to want to know more.  Advertising and marketing is really all about moving prospective customers from one stage to another.  Headlines are your front line soldiers, if you will.  They’re you’re way of saying, “hey, look over here!  Isn’t this cool?”


Let’s take a look at a brief example.  One of the most effective ad headlines ever written was for an advertising course in the 1950’s.  I’m going to write two headlines, and let’s see if you can pick the good one:


How to write ads that sell


#1 Ad copy writing course in the U.S.


Ok, this is pretty easy.  Here’s why the first one wins:  In 6 words, this headline does everything you could ever want.  It tells the reader what’s offered, what the result will be and implicitly implies success.  The second really only focuses on the ad writer.  Who cares if they’re the number one course in the country?  What’s that do for us?


The point is, your headlines are your first, and often only, chance to grab their attention.  So they must be well-written, or spoken.  Focus on the customer.  What do they want?  What do they need?  If they read, listen or watch on, does your headline promise that it’ll be worthwhile?


There’s definitely an art to this.  Don’t forget it, though, because powerful and effective headlines can make all the difference between getting a new customer or driving them off!


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Have you ever thought of writing an eBook to promote your business?

Sunday, May 11th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

One of the most effective ways to generate and sustain customer engagement is by providing a truly valuable piece of information.  There are so many ways in which this can be beneficial and in this post, I’m going to talk about how and why eBooks are a fantastic way to grow your business.


What are the benefits of writing an eBook?


There really are many answers to this question, but let’s take a look at the four best:



  1. Writing an eBook and giving it away for free is a great way to build an opt-in email list.  For current and future email marketing purposes, a large and growing list is essential and very powerful.  Providing a short and informative eBook on a subject or subjects that you know well can be highly effective toward this goal.

  2. It builds an expert reputation for you and your company.

  3. Even in a free giveaway eBook, you can actually include lead-generation tools that promote the reader to take further action. I.e. visit your blog, purchase a larger and more detailed version of the free book, join a membership, buy a product, etc. etc.

  4. Can be sold and used to create passive income.


 


What makes a good eBook?


When we’re talking about an eBook that is written to promote your business, or to be sold, it should be written in the same way that you’d write a book for print publication.  Make it interesting, informative and specific.


Don’t just write a 50 or 100 page regurgitation of what other people have said online.  Be very specific to your own experiences and techniques.  People want to know something special, or “the secret to,” or how to do something in the real world.


Never forget that even in non-fiction eBooks, which is probably what you’d write for business promotion for the most part, to tell a story.  Use real examples and wrap your information in an interesting and practical tale.


This is what I’ve done in my latest eBook, “How to Make Money as a Freelance Copywriter.”  I used my own experiences and laid out a practical step by step procedure for writers who are struggling to make money in the freelance world.  It’s very effective.


eBook Returns


One of the great things about creating an eBook to help promote your business is that it’s actually very inexpensive in relation to the return on the investment.  For example, let’s say you sit down and write a 100 page book and it takes you 50 hours of work.  What does that represent in money?  I don’t know, how much are you worth per hour?


Suppose that you make $50K per year.  Well, if you get 2 weeks’ vacation, you divide 50K by 50 weeks, then by 40 hours per week and you get $25 per hour.  This is a rough calculation, but it works well.  So your 50 hour investment in time at $25 per hour means you spent $1,250 writing your 100 page eBook.  But once it’s done, it’s good pretty much forever.


So now, the book can be sold, given away as a loss-leader, an email list builder, etc.  Suppose it gets you 50 customers over the next year (not including selling the book), what’s that worth to you?


Hopefully this little peek into the world of eBook info-products has given you some ideas and gotten you excited about creating your own.  If you would like to discuss it further, please feel free to contact me and I can help you plan and write your very own highly profitable eBook to promote your company.


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Have you Ever Wanted to make Money as a Freelance Copywriter?

Thursday, April 24th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Hi everyone!  Yes, it’s been quite a while since my last blog post.  Things have been really busy.  Aside from my professional copywriting work, I’ve been developing an eCourse for my fellow writers out there.


So often on forums, I read about writers who are struggling to find good clients and quality work.  Through my experience, I’ve developed a formula and a proven track record that has allowed me to master the intricacies of freelance websites like ODesk, Freelancer and eLance.  Additionally, I’ve also found many good strategies for finding clients directly.


I’ve compiled all of this knowledge and expertise into one 75 page eBook entitled “how to make Money as a Freelance Copywriter.”  The book is loaded with tips, strategies and step by step instructions that can take a copywriter, even someone who is just starting out, from $0 to $3,000 monthly income in 6 months or as little as 3!  The book is tried, tested and proven.


So, if you’re a writer who is struggling to find your way, visit www.learntowriteformoney.com and pick up your course today!  It will be the best investment you’ll ever make in your own personal financial situation.  What’s even better, if you follow the instructions in the course, you’ll make the course fee back within a week or two of finishing it!  How’s that for a return!


Why am I doing this?  Why would I train my competition?  Because there is work for everyone out there.  The need for quality professional copywriters is huge and there aren’t enough of us to do all the work.


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How Writing helps You Sell – 2 Examples of How Professional Copywriting Can Directly Effect your Revenue

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

If you’re a business person or a sales person, you know that the first impression you make on a customer can often be what finally gets them to buy from you.  Although there is a process in sales, this very first contact is often the lynch pin, even after an extended period of time.


As we know, writing is one of the first ways in which we connect with potential customers.  Not just text, of course, but our videos (scripts), or audio programs (scripts) or even info graphics.  Our words are what we use to convince people.  And a professional copywriter is someone who knows how to create effective and persuasive words.


As an example of what I mean, let’s examine two sides of the coin.  We’ll create a fictitious example of a company that sells website design services.  Each sample is a brief paragraph of sales copy meant to convince a potential customer to hire our company.  One will be an effective use of professional copywriting and the other will be a bad example.  See if you can tell the difference, and which one is good and which one will convert far fewer readers into customers:


Example 1:


WebProNetCom is an exceptionally qualified website design and promotion company with more than 4 years’ experience in the industry.  We produce top-quality websites for businesses like yours and can ensure that they perform well in search engine results.


We provide services in website design, SEO, social media marketing and graphics design.  We strive to be the best in our industry and would appreciate you taking a few minutes to talk with us about your next website project.


Example 2:


It’s a well-established fact that more than 97% of your customers are online searching for information about you.


Whether it’s a PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone, today’s customer is using the internet to locate, research and share information about their buying habits, preferences and choices.  If they’re out there, doesn’t it make sense that they find you?


WebProNetCom specializes in creating dynamic websites for business just like yours.  We quickly and affordably construct an internet and mobile business presence for you that allows you to connect with your customers online, through social media and directly to their mobile devices.


Our goal is to make you number one.  We’ll use our years of experience in social media promotion, search engine optimization, visually appealing graphics design, professional copywriting and personalized support to ensure that your business gets all the traffic and attention it deserves and then some!


Tap into the digital market today and let us assist you in growing your company’s reputation and revenue.   Your success is our priority and we go that extra mile to make sure they know your name!


Now, after reading these two bits of copy, which one do you think will get more customers?  Is it #1 or #2?  To some degree, this might seem like a matter of opinion.  But it’s #2.  Want to know why?  Get in touch with me and I can illustrate how this kind of writing can help you.


The short answer, however, is that #2 speaks to the needs of the customer and shows them why WebProNetCom is their best choice.  This copy is about the customer’s needs and wants, not about the web designer’s.


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The Key to all Sales – Connect with Their WHY

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
By: Scott Cook


If you’re in sales or run your own business, you want every potential customer you approach to be a sale.  We all know that this will never happen, but there are ways to improve the chances.


For a more detailed plan of action on sales success, see my previous post.  But for this short article, let’s talk about one key to sales that will help you improve your closing rate.


Connect with the prospect’s needs and wants


As usual, I’m going to put a professional copywriting slant on this.  Surprised?  Well, I’m a professional copywriter, so sue me.  In addition, though, I’m also an entrepreneur.


I don’t just write, I have to sell myself to potential clients.  Then when I land a deal with them, I have to turn around and use my professional copywriting skills to help them sell their products, services or ideas.  So no matter which way you turn it, I’m in sales above everything else.


If you read the right books, and you look back at your own positive sales experience, you’ll see that the best sales people are the best listeners.  The star sales person or most successful entrepreneur are not the ones that badger you to death.  They listen to what a customer has to say, reads between the lines and figures out what they feel and then presents a solution that meets the person or company’s needs and wants.


Remember, people buy benefits, not features.  Every product I write about, service I comment on or business plan I help to create has features.  But more importantly, they’re trying to convince the reader, listener or watcher that what the company is offering is the solution that’s best.


So the best sales people, sales copy, marketing material and whatever else will be based on connecting with an emotional need.  Big companies sign deals with smaller companies because the small guy can make the big guy more money, not because the small guy has a nice list of bullet points.  Individuals buy things because it makes them happy, makes their life easier or maybe shuts somebody up lol.


The point is, whether your hiring a professional copywriter, speaking with a client or both, ask leading questions, listen carefully and address the prospect’s real WHY.  If you do this, you’ll see remarkable results.


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Increase Your Profitability - Lern how to Double your Sales

Friday, March 14th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Do you run your own business?  Are you a sales person or sales manager?  Then you will definitely want to check this out.


We just completed an email-based sales course for a company called Pipedrive.  The course, which is totally free, is delivered every other day and consists of 11 emails with 11 powerful and effective tips on how to vastly improve, even double, your sales numbers.


We worked closely with this client to create an educational program that was both informative and interesting to read.  It was a pleasure to work on and I truly believe that it’s worth looking at.  Using my professional copywriting skills to create gripping educational material is something I really enjoy, and I would highly recommend this one.


To learn more about the Pipedrive Sales pipeline Academy, click this link below.  It’s a free email course and if you follow the tips within, you are sure to see remarkable results:


 Sign up for the free Sales pipeline Academy today!

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Professional copywriting vs. Bargain Basement key Pounders

Saturday, March 08th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Wouldn’t it be great if every time somebody went to your website, or read a press release or took a look at your company brochure or watched one of your YouTube videos they were really impressed and wanted to learn more? Of course it would. That’s the whole point of copywriting, to grab their attention and give them a reason to move forward and hopefully buy from you instead of the other guy.

Well, if any of this sounds attractive to you, stay away from cheap writers. A guy who charges you $5 to write your website’s homepage is not a deal. Not only will his brand of hatchet-job writing not do you any good, it may actually hinder your ability to sell your products or services.

Why cheap copywriters aren’t’ worth the prices they charge

Look at it this way. If you are meeting a quality client to try and close a major deal, do you meet them at a burger joint or a nice restaurant? Do you go in a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops or dress up for the occasion? Professional copywriting is just like this. Often, the words that are created for your text, audio and video materials are the first impressions that you give potential customers, so why not invest in the best quality impressions you can?

Here are several reasons why the bargain basement hacks aren’t’ even worth the $5 they charge you:

1. In order to make a living, this $5 guy has to crank out work as fast as he can. Nobody can live on $5 an hour, so maybe he does 3 or 4 pieces of writing for $5 in one hour. This means he’s pounding away at his keyboard as fast as he can, not really worried about quality so much as quantity.
2. Does this cheap guy even speak your language? Selling, which is the purpose of all writing, is a delicate art. It requires mastery of the language and the use of subtle influences to make connections with the customer. A person who writes for next to nothing and who does not speak your language well will not turn out good copy.
3. Poorly written copy can turn off a prospect. They say any publicity is good, but not in the case of creating copy.

What a quality and professional copywriter can do for you

Think of paying for professional copywriting as an investment. Just as buying advertising is an investment. So, let’s say that a good set of materials, including an advertisement, a couple of press releases, a brochure and your website constitute your primary marketing efforts.

You hope that over the course of the next year, these materials will make you $50,000 in sales. So, if a professional copywriter charges you $2,500 to produce all of this, does that really seem like a lot? It’s only 5% of the total expected revenue. Not bad, when you think about it. And the odds that this $2,500 investment will actually turn into $50,000 is far better than if you paid a guy $250 to produce the same materials.

The impact of professional copywriting on the overall and long-term success of your business is astounding. In many cases, once your writer has created the materials, they will work for you for years. Take the example above, it could be multiplied by several years. On the other hand, so could the $250 cheap guy’s work. It might never bring you any results. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend a thousand dollars to make ten-thousand than spend a hundred bucks and make nothing. Just some food for thought.

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Update from Scott

Tuesday, March 04th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Hi everyone,


Yes, I know it’s been over a week since my last article post.  Sorry about that, but things have been really busy in the professional copywriting biz lately.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?  We strive to get more work and come up with innovative ways to advertise, market and farm clients, and then get so busy we don’t have much time for that.


However, I think that this blog serves a valuable purpose, to those of you who find the articles informative, and not to those of you who keep posting casino website links lol.  So, I’d like to ask those of you who read this if you have any suggestions as to interesting articles you’d like to see.


They don’t just have to be about professional copywriting.  If you check out my samples page, you’ll find articles on sales, marketing, success, website design and yes, professional copywriting.  So drop me a note or comment on this post and I’ll see what I can do.


Take care and thanks for reading!

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3 Essentials to Creating a Successful Crowd Funding Campaign

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
By: Scott Cook

For the past few years now, Crowd Funding has been rapidly growing in popularity.  It’s a fantastic way for new entrepreneurs to raise vital seed money and for the average working person to be able to invest in a private business.  It’s nice to see that our government has actually done something positive to stimulate the growth of small business by creating the SEC Regulation CF rules.


Like any business initiative, however, Crowd Funding does come with a set of rules to make it work properly.  While you can only raise $1 million in any given 12 month period, this is still a substantial amount of money, even to the person who only put in $250.  A Crowd Funding campaign should be treated as seriously as any large-scale business capitalization.


The purpose of this short article is to give you a broad perspective on 3 key essentials that will go a long way in ensuring that your Crowd Funding efforts are successful and profitable for everyone involved.


Essential #1 – Dot the I’s


This one is easy.  Any CF portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Startup Valley will provide you with details on all the legal, financial and planning documents that you need to prepare for your particular campaign.  I say easy because while the work to create the documents and fill out the forms may be time-consuming, it’s explained well for you.   The point is, make sure that this part of your next campaign is done correctly.  This includes a strong business plan of some kind.


Essential #2 – Be a go-getter


Once you’ve started your campaign, you have to be aggressive about attracting and enticing your investors.  Don’t just set up the Kickstarter page and wait.  You have to do your own promotion.


At the core of your promotion, you must employ professional copywriting techniques to make everything you produce really effective.  I know, big surprise that I’d mention that.  But it’s true.  Whatever you create, write it well.  Write it from their perspective and give a really strong and irresistible reason for someone to give you their money.  Always remember that people will only do something for you when they have a good reason.


Here are a few suggestions as to how you promote your campaign:



  • Create a Facebook page that talks about it and where you can post project updates and communicate with potential investors

  • Write and film a short video for YouTube and Vimeo.  This should talk about your project and introduce investors to yourself and the rest of your team.

  • Use internet marketing – Article writing, blog posting and discussion forum threads are all great ways to get the word out.

  • Create a website.  If you are launching a product or service, set up a small website to describe things in detail.  This can be tied in with other things you’re doing as well.

  • Tweet about it whenever you post an article, write a blog, update your Facebook, etc.

  • Word of mouth.  Talk to people in the real world whenever you get the chance.  Social networking isn’t just for the digital universe.

  • Press releases are very effective.  This is where there is certainly no question about the use of professional copywriting.  A good PR can really draw a lot of quality attention.


Essential #3 – Details, details


We won’t harp on this too much, but it’s very crucial.  Obviously, when it comes to your business plan, and forms, the details are non-negotiable.  However, what this section really refers to is how you market your campaign and what you’re giving back.  As mentioned, when you’re asking for money from people, you have to make it enticing.  Give them a good return.  Provide them with an emotional reason to invest as well.


Also, when determining the amount you require, think outside the box.  For example, if you are launching a new game and decide that you need $50,000 to make it happen, ask yourself if you’ve thought of everything.  Sure, the 50 grand will include programming and marketing, but does it also include the Crowd Funding portal fees?  Does it include paying your initial costs of the campaign prep, getting you any personal funds back, reserves, what ifs, etc.?  Does it include hiring extra help if you need it?


If you are weak in any of the necessary areas of creating a successful CF campaign, hire some help.  If you need a professional copywriter, hire one.  If you need an accountant to help you with the financials, get one.  Don’t be afraid to spend a little money.  After all, if it takes $5K to create the campaign that will raise $50K, it’s certainly worth it, right?  Of course, this means you really need $55K.


A Crowd Funding campaign can be daunting and scary, but it can also be exactly what you need to turn your vision into reality.  Go about it the right way and you’ll be amazed at the results.


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The Benefits of Email Marketing and How to use it to Generate Leads, Traffic and Profits

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

If you have ever done, or wanted to do, any internet marketing, you’ve probably considered email marketing.  You may wonder exactly what the benefits of email marketing are and how it is done.


This article will explore email marketing and give you some important information that will guide you in your next campaign or help you start one.  Email marketing really does work, but like everything in marketing, there are pitfalls to avoid and rules to follow.


We’ll begin by reviewing the benefits of email marketing and why it’s worth the effort:



  • Email is a great way to connect directly to current and past customers alike.  By providing useful info you can get them to visit you.

  • HTML emails are webpages.  They can contain images, videos, buttons and links.  Additionally, each email can be dynamically customized to the recipient.

  • As mentioned above, an email can be a small webpage.  It can contain social media buttons and links. A good email with useful and helpful information may get passed on to the recipient’s friends and associates.

  • A good email marketing campaign will make use of auto-responders and time-based releases, thus vastly increasing their effectiveness and reducing the time required to send multiple emails to multiple users.


 


These 4 items only touch on the surface of the benefits of email marketing.  Often, the industry in which you work may determine the methods of your email marketing and also what you send out.  However, you may be asking how you go about the email marketing process and where you get the email addresses.  Again, there are many options here, so here are a few to get you started:



  • Email addresses can be purchased from email list companies that compile opt-in addresses.

  • Use free offers, discounts, newsletters and other opt-in techniques on your own website to continually build your own email database.

  • Send some useful information to your existing customers.  Something not necessarily related to you directly, and ask them to share it or like it on Facebook, or connect with you on LinkedIn, etc. New lists can be created from existing lists.

  •  Create a free mobile app that requires an email registration.  This is a great way to both provide useful service and accrue a large number of addresses.


 


By now, the benefits of email marketing should be clear.  With more and more mobile users, your emails can reach more people faster and more effectively.


It must be noted that when dealing with people in their own digital space, as you are with email, you should observe a few key tips:



  • When you buy an email list, be sure it’s an opt-in list

  • Make sure that when somebody opts into your list that you inform them they may receive future messages

  • Do not share or sell your email addresses.  Consider them as private and privileged.

  • Observe the anti-spam laws – read over the spam laws and make sure you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the anti-spam laws in place now, and always observe them.

  • Use the 80/20 rule.  This means that you send direct ads and offers 20% of the time and truly independent and useful information the other 80%


 


When you follow these few simple guidelines, your email campaign will be highly successful.  The benefits of email marketing are often immediate, and they also have the added bonus of generating long-term results as well.  Additionally, the most effective email marketing campaigns will follow the rules of professional copywriting.  Compelling, interesting and beneficial to the reader.


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5 keys to Writing Effective Sales, Marketing and Advertising Copy

Thursday, February 13th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on buying advertising, creating marketing materials and sales information, then that copy should be the best that you can possibly create, right?


After all, you only get one first impression.  Your advertising and marketing information is often the primary means at your disposal to get in touch with a prospective buyer.  So it’s important that that brochure, YouTube video, radio spot, postcard, sales letter or even an online ad contains all the elements that make up great copywriting.


This article will focus on 5 simple aspects of what makes a compelling and effective ad or marketing piece.  If you or your copywriter follow this basic but powerful formula, you will see definite results.


Key 1 – Get their attention


People are on the go, they’ve got a lot on their minds and they don’t have time to carefully examine everything that’s put in their path.  We’re all like that.  There just isn’t enough time in the day, so we have to learn to skim over what we see and hear and only really pay close attention if something jumps out at us.


This is the first part of effective copywriting.  Use a tagline or headline that grabs the person’s attention.  Something that makes them want to read further, watch more or hear more.


Key 2 – Introduce the Benefits


Once you’ve grabbed their attention, it’s time to explain what you’re offering.  Describe your product or service and focus on the benefits that will be gained when they use it.  It’s not just about features, it’s about what they get.


Key 3 – Prove your Benefits


Once you’ve introduced the prospective customer to what you do, give them some proof of what you say you do.  Use statistics, references and past performance to illustrate to them that using your product or service has benefitted others as well.


Key 4 – Get them to embrace what you’re offering


It’s at this stage that the selling really begins.  Now that you’ve grabbed their attention and illustrated what you do and how it’s worked for others, you’ve got to get them ready to act.  This can be done in a variety of ways, and is often dependent on what you are offering.


Some good techniques are to create a sense of scarcity, hint at exclusivity and of course to indicate a time limit.  There are others, of course, but this should give you an idea.


Key 5 – Call to action


At the end of your ad, you want to induce the prospect to do what you want.  They need to take an active step now.  This can be subscribing to a newsletter, visiting your website, calling or coming into a location.  Give them a good reason to take immediate action.  Make an offer they can’t refuse, in other words.  Give something away, offer a bargain, etc.


This article has breezed through these points, but they are vital to successful ad copywriting.  A good piece of advertising or marketing is really about selling the results your customer will get, and if you use all of these keys, your copy will be far more effective in whatever form it takes.  There’s a lot of competition out there, so you must do all you can to produce the best and most professional copywriting you can.


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Turn any Technical Writing into a Dynamic Sales Generator

Saturday, February 08th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

If you’re sending a prospective client a nice technical white paper, the idea is for them to be impressed and hire you, right?  At least, that’s what should happen.  Often, however, technical writing of this type can get filed away with all the others and fail to achieve the goal.


This brief article will discuss a simple but highly-effective method for turning every white paper that you send to a potential customer into a more dynamic and persuasive document.  It may seem a bit heretical to think of a nice technical white paper as a piece of sales copy.  However, the method described below can do this while maintaining the integrity of the information and of your company.


The Support Sandwich


While it’s true that technical writing comes with a built-in expectation of formality, it can also be persuasive and reach the reader on a more emotional level.  Your white paper’s technical information will certainly answer the WHAT by addressing facts and figures, statistics and outlines of plans and strategies.  However, it can also connect with the real WHY, the real reason people will buy your products and services.  If handled correctly, you can have a much greater close rate by making use of this simple plan.



  1. The introduction – Introduce yourself, why you’re sending the information and how you can serve this new client.  Give them a compelling reason to choose you, one that does more than just explain the details, a reason that has a personal component.

  2. The tech – This is the main content of a white paper.  The technical writing that will impress the reader and showcase your skills.

  3. The tie-in – here you tie it all together.  Demonstrate how your technical support, services and products will meet their real need.  This is where you really touch on their WHY.


 


As an example, suppose you’re offering IT support services.  Don’t just rely on your features.  Everyone has features.  What you want to do with the Support Sandwich is show how, by using you, the company saves money, grows in influence and increases their reputation.  These are the reasons why they will consider hiring you.  What are you giving them that is unique?  How will you help them achieve their long-term and overriding goals?  Use your technical writing to appeal to their desires.


It may sound odd, trying to sell through a bit of technical writing.  However, if you follow the simple plan of the Support Sandwich, you will find that you not only are capable of signing up new clients, but that you can fulfill their needs in better and more effective ways than you thought possible.


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6 Powerful Keys to Creating Highly-effective Website Content That Drives Traffic and Increases Income

Tuesday, February 04th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

When it comes to internet marketing, promoting yourself in The Cloud and generally being available to your customers in the digital world, website content is the end all, be all.  Website content takes the form of everything that is published on the web from your business website to your blog, from your articles to your links, from your press releases to the titles and descriptions of videos and much more.


This short article is going to lay down 6 basic but important keys that, if followed, will ensure powerful, dynamic and engaging website content for any business or individual.


Key #1 – Originality can’t be beat


When it comes to website content, never copy others’ work or spin other content.  Aside from often being illegible, you don’t really know how good the original work was.  The truth is that when you take the time to write or have written original content about your business, it will plainly stand out.  You’ll find this to be true not just for the readers of text, listeners of audio or watchers of video, but for the search engines too.


Key #2 – Don’t lead with specifics


What is meant by this is that statistics and a list of features are never a good introduction to you and what you do.  We all have features, every business does.  Features are important, but selling begins with a connection to the visitor, not just a list of things.  Set yourself apart.


Key #3 – Identify with your audience


The last key leads into this one nicely.  Start by writing your website content the way your customer wants to read it.  What are their needs or wants?  How can you solve them?  What makes you different and why should they choose you?


Once you establish your uniqueness and ability to be their best solution, then it’s time to list features.  Present yourself as a friend and partner.


Key #4 – Don’t forget SEO


While it’s true that website content is king, SEO must then be the queen.  Since text is what search engines look for, including YouTube, it’s important to optimize everything that goes online.  This includes your website’s content, your articles, blogs, discussion forum posts, social media posts and the titles, descriptions and keywords used to identify everything.  Original content that is optimized will perform very well, and because it’s long-lived, only get better over time.


Key #5 – Lay down the framework


Before you write any website content, organize it.  When you know what to write or is to be written ahead of time and how it will be presented, it’s much easier to fill in the details.  Create a framework of organization onto which you lay a cover of compelling, optimized and reader-friendly website content.


Key #6 – use the content pyramid


97% of customers, employees, partners and investors are online via computers, tablets and phones.  This is where they research and make buying decisions.  However, rarely are these decisions made on the initial contact.


Consider a person reading an article you published.  They click a link and go to your Facebook page.  There they see an update and follow it back to your blog.  From your blog, they visit the rest of your website and then decide to take action.  This visitor followed a website content pyramid.  This is how you funnel traffic and create revenue online.


If these six simple but effective tips are followed, your internet marketing and website content creation efforts will be well rewarded.  Quality and persistence gets noticed.  The website content you write can have a powerful impact on your success, so take the time to ensure that it is written properly.


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4 Cornerstones of an Effective Business Article

Saturday, February 01st, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Did you know that writing and publishing business articles was one of the most effective ways to promote a business?  Whether in print or in the myriad of electronic formats, a high-quality and professional business article can have a surprising impact on your company’s influence and profit margins.


Of course, there are a few guidelines to follow, especially with business articles.  Unlike a blog entry like this, or an article published on an article website, the business article, like a press release, is a more serious and focused presentation.  Because of this, business articles are more closely scrutinized by the reader.


In order to help you create business articles of the highest quality, we’ve put together these four cornerstones of what makes an effective and well-received piece of copy.


Cornerstone #1 – Technical correctness


This one is short but sweet.  Although it probably seems obvious, taking extra care to see that your business article is written with perfect spelling and grammar is a must.  Remember, these types of articles are often news items, press releases, reports, trade publications and so on.  Technical perfection is expected.


Cornerstone #2 – Balance the Scales


One of the keys to an effective business article is to balance the scales of interesting reading with SEO (search engine optimization.)  Even if you are writing or having written a business article that is meant for print, it’s a good idea to optimize it for the search engines.


Why?  Because nowadays, printed material is often picked up by internet or Cloud-based users.  Additionally, with the availability of such mediums, it’s a good idea to also publish a printed article online.  The internet provides a fantastically easy means for syndication.  Syndication means more readers and more traffic.  Never forget, however, that your human reader comes first.


Cornerstone #3 – Back Up your claims


As stated, your business articles will be closely examined by the readers.  They want accuracy in the claims being made.  So whenever possible, back up your facts with statistics and information that you can cite in the copy.  If you publish erroneous information, it could have a very negative effect, both on the readers of the current article and any future articles you write.


Cornerstone #4 – Think Like a Reader


The most compelling writing is that which is designed to speak directly to your reader’s needs, wants and problems.  If they feel that the business article they’re reading is meant to be a solution, or takes their side, they’ll be far more likely to take action.  Put yourself in their shoes.


Also, remember that business articles are serious and informative.  Don’t just write a 2 page advertisement.  Present accurate and useful content and let the reader make up their own minds.  If they feel you are knowledgeable and identify with them, you’ll be surprised at the results.


Well-written business articles can be a huge boom to your promotional efforts.  They both drive traffic to your business, both online and off, and increase your company’s influence and reputation.  Take the time and care to write or have written high-quality business articles and you will see a positive and often astonishing return on your investment.


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3 Things to Consider When Choosing to Hire a Staff Writer or Freelance Writer or Firm

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

As your business grows, the need for professional copywriting services will grow as well.  In almost everything we do to promote and expand our businesses, we use written content.  Great copywriting sits at the core of all sales and marketing, internet marketing, presentations, technical writing and even scripts for audio and video applications.


The words you use when describing yourself, your business and what you offer have a huge impact on whether or not people will buy from you, work for you or even partner with you.  It’s clear to any aggressive and growing organization that effective and affordable copywriting is key.


The trick is knowing when to hire a full or even part-time staff writer or when to go with a freelance copywriter or copywriting firm.  There are many factors that go into this decision, and we’ll discuss the 3 core essentials that need to be considered.


Essential #1 – The Cost


When you are trying to balance the need against the cost, and the ROI, you should consider a couple of factors.  While a freelance copywriter will probably cost more per hour than a staff copywriter, you will only pay for the time it takes to complete your required projects.  Or you may pay a set fee for the completed project.  This can be a very efficient arrangement up to a point.


Consider, on the other hand, hiring a decent staff copywriter at $20 per hour.  For a 40 hour work week, this is about $40,000 per year, figuring on a 2,000 hour per year schedule.  There are other factors too, such as taxes, withholdings, insurance and so forth.  You get access to this individual virtually anytime you want.


Essential #2 – Availability


As mentioned, when you hire a freelance copywriter or firm, you will get their time only in the set amounts that have been agreed upon.  This is fine provided your needs do not exceed 1,000 hours per year, which would be the breaking point for a $20 per hour part-time staff copywriter.  Although you may pay $25 to $50 per hour for a good independent writer, it is possible to negotiate a lesser rate for bulk work.


When you have an employee, either part or full-time, it’s clear that your access to their skills is much greater.  The person is physically at your location, or at least easy to reach whenever you want.  This certainly has its advantages for short notice projects and copywriting projects that need rapid changes.


Essential #3 – The Effectiveness of the Writer


This is a tough call.  Theoretically, both a staff copywriter and a freelance copywriter or professional copywriting firm will provide an equivalent set of skills and experience.  It could be argued, however, that the independent person or firm may be able to bring a broader range of expertise to the table.  These are independent contractors and businesses and aside from having the necessary copywriting experience, they also have knowledge of business development, marketing and other vital tools.


The biggest factor is really how much professional copywriting you require.  If you have the occasional need for press releases, articles, blogs, website content, technical whitepapers, sales presentations, business plans and other needs, then go with a freelance copywriter.  If your writing requirements grow to the point where you need 20 hours of work each week or more, then it may be time to consider hiring a staff copywriter on a part-time basis.


Even at this point, however, you may still wish to use the freelancer because with so much work, he or she or the company will probably be willing to negotiate a lower rate.  Also, you may be able to move the independent contractor to an employee position.  It’s when you need someone full-time that it’s a good idea to definitely hire a staff copywriter.  Having that full-time professional there when you need them is a critical necessity.


As stated, the level and frequency of your company’s copywriting efforts will make a large impact on your success.  So when considering hiring a staff copywriter or freelance copywriter, consider all the factors and how much these professionals will give you a good return on your investment.

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The press Release – A Highly-Effective Form of Professional Copywriting

Saturday, January 25th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

When it comes to advertising and marketing your business, the opportunities open to you today are virtually limitless.  Thanks to the internet, there are a myriad of free marketing and paid advertising options open.  It’s often hard to know what to choose when, in fact.


Have you ever considered writing or having written a press release, or even a series of press releases?  Of all the paid internet-based advertising and marketing techniques, press releases offer a unique opportunity and a strong return on investment.


What are press releases and why are they a good way to promote a business?


Think of a press release as a news article that is submitted and distributed to dozens or perhaps even hundreds of news websites simultaneously.  Unlike publishing an article on the various article directories, press release services charge a fee to submit to them.  Like everything in life, you get what you pay for.  In the free article directories, you may build a readership and you may get syndicated and you’ll get a few back links to your website.  With press releases, you will get a very large number of back links because your article is syndicated to a large number of well-performing websites.


In addition, the people who will see your press release are those who are interested in the category you’re writing about.  Remember, unlike a blog which can be very informal, or an article which can be semi-informal, a press release is a serious piece of journalism.  It’s taken seriously by the readers.  In fact, good PR’s are often picked up by trade publications and magazines and published in print.  In this way the press release is a very powerful traffic builder and a boost to your website’s link profile.


How is a press release created to be effective?


As stated, a good press release is a serious news article.  It should focus on one specific topic and be concise and to the point.  An average PR is between 250 and 600 words at most, although there is no hard and fast rule about this.  However, a solid and focused press release can generally be confined to those parameters.  There are three core features of a good PR:



  • The content: The expectation of the readers of press release articles are quite high.  The quality of the copywriting that goes into your press release should be exceptional.  Solid ideas expressed in a compelling and also search engine friendly manner are vital to the success of every PR.

  • The credibility: Whenever possible, include facts and figures to back up your news item.  Remember to be accurate.  If you publish false information, it may permanently hurt your reputation and the chances that any future press releases are taken seriously.  Each PR should be able to rely on the one before it.

  • The accuracy: Although a simple rule, it’s critical.  Make doubly sure there are no spelling and grammar errors in your PR.  It’s not a bad idea to have someone else check it over once written and edited.  Once your press release goes live, you can’t get it back.


 


If done properly, a press release can be a remarkably powerful promotional tool for your company.  It’s a piece of professional copywriting that informs a targeted audience who you are and what you offer.  A single PR distribution can run anywhere from $80 to over $300 depending on the plan you choose.  With press release services like PR Web and PR Leap, you have many options and the ability to track your PR with built-in analytics.  When you produce one that is well-written, the ROI to your profitability and influence will be very positive.


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How Can a Business Make Money Online? – Apply Professional Copywriting to All your Content

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
By: Scott Cook

It doesn’t matter if you have just started a brand new business or own a huge corporation, or if you’re an online store or a brick and mortar company.  Every business can make money online.


While it’s true that you may not be selling something through your website, and therefore the internet doesn’t represent a point of sale, your online activities can still generate revenue.  Why is this?  Because the internet is where people are focused now.  With broad band and wireless internet, coupled with mobile computing, customers, employees, partners and investors are looking on the internet for new products and services and for information.


So this is where we come to the subject of this article.  If you want your business to make money online, the most important thing you can do is to make absolutely sure that your content is of the highest possible quality.  In short, always treat every blog entry, article, press release, seo promotion, link, website content, newsletter, forum post or anything else you create as a professional copywriting project.


While it’s true that content on the web consists of audio, video and graphics as well as text, written text is still by far the most important and most prolific.  For one thing, search engines can only index text.  This is why even on your graphics you need an alt attribute, you need SEO titles, description and keywords on YouTube video and so forth.  Text is how you get traffic, and traffic is the source of all internet money.  Whether you sell them something or convince them to come into your store.


Great copywriting services, either performed by you or by a writer you hire, will make the difference between success and failure online.  Your potential visitors are online to find content, be it informative or entertaining.  And there is a lot of competition.  There’s no way around the fact that even on the internet, quality rises to the top.  People pay for quality plain and simple.


So why does a business make money online?  Because it pays the price, either in time to write great content or in the fees paid to a professional copywriting service provider.  Think of your content as an investment in your business.  Once it goes online, it will, in essence, work for you forever.  So if you have to pay a few hundred dollars for great website text, or $50 for a compelling press release, or a continuous seo copywriting program, consider how far-reaching this content goes and how much money it will make you in the long-term.  Great copywriting for the internet has one of the highest ROI’s you can get.

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Key to an Effective internet Marketing Strategy Part 1 – The Quality of your Content is Directly Proportional to the quality of Your Results

Sunday, January 19th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

It’s fairly obvious to anyone who owns or operates a business today just how important the internet really is.  In this consumer-driven market, where our customers are constantly online via their computers, laptops, phones and tablets, the ability to market to them directly is vital to the success of any sized company.


This is why planning and executing a strong and effective internet marketing strategy is so critical.  97% or more of our customers are searching for us online and researching us once they find us there.  Like the old saying goes, “Go where the eyeballs are focused.”


So, exactly how do you implement a good internet marketing strategy?  Well, that’s really a topic for another post, or in reality, a book.  However, what I want to touch on here is the core foundation of every internet marketing strategy: your content.


Content, including text, pictures, audio and video constitutes the entirety of any internet marketing strategy you can dream of.  Content is King, as they say, and the internet is the Kingdom.  At the core of this, of course, is quality writing.  Even if you’re posting a video on YouTube or uploading an mp3 podcast or publishing an info graphic, someone has to write the text or scripts behind them.  And of course, the majority of internet content is writing.  So the lesson is: write very high quality content or hire a very high-quality writer.


The reasons that high-quality content are so important to your internet marketing strategy are many, but let’s briefly look at the top three:



  1. What you publish online will essentially be there forever.  Often, this is true even beyond your ability to remove it later thanks to the ease of copying and syndication.  In any case, we all know that textual content is often the first and best impression we can give a potential customer, and since it may live on for eternity, let’s make sure we give the best impression we can, right?

  2. SEO (search engine optimization) is a vital component to all internet-based text.  This is true for your website content, blogs, articles, Facebook posts, press releases and more.  Always optimize every bit of text with specific keywords or key phrases.  Optimized content is well worth the investment of time and money and the returns are long-reaching.

  3. Despite what is written above, never forget your human reader.  While you want to optimize your text, keep in mind that the best optimization is done without compromising the integrity and the message of what is being written.  An effective internet marketing strategy will always place the human visitor at the top of the priority list.


 


Taking the time to write well, or hiring a good writer is an investment in your business’ success.  The return on investment from an internet marketing strategy that contains top-notch content will be far and away worth whatever pennies and few hours of time you invested.  It takes a bit of hard work, but as we know, everything worthwhile in life does, doesn’t it?


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Tip to Make Money Blogging #1 – An Interesting Blog is a Well-read Blog

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Have you ever wanted to make money blogging?  Have you ever wondered how so many people make money online?  This article will open up the topic of how to make money blogging by giving you the basis for a strong foundation of success.


The internet is ripe with opportunity.  In fact, there has never been a better time because of all the ways that people can access the web.  Thanks to computers, laptops, wireless technology, mobile computing and even The Cloud, the door is wide open for you to make money blogging.


Of course, it’s not as simple as just putting up a WordPress blog site and then throwing content up there.  There’s a bit more to it than that.  In order to make money blogging, you have to put in some real work.  It has to be that way or everyone would be rich blogging, right?


So what exactly is involved for you to make money blogging?  There are many important components, but this article will focus on the first and arguably most important one: to make what you write interesting.  In order to do this correctly, let’s explore three tips for ensuring your blog is as interesting as possible.


Foundational Tip 1 – make your blog interesting to YOU


One of the critical aspects to making a blog interesting, or any writing for that matter, is that the subject matter is of interest to the writer.  When you are highly interested in the topic on which you’re writing, even better if it’s something about which you’re passionate, it will show right through to your reader.


In order to make money blogging, you must have an audience.  You capture and keep an audience by providing them with interesting and compelling content.  Your passion will show in your writing and it will incite genuine interest, and if you’re lucky, passion in your readers too.


Foundational Tip #2 – Humans Are your Audience, Not Google


This heading might seem a bit contradictory, perhaps even blasphemous.  It’s still true, though.  Your primary focus, and your primary concern, should always be for the people reading your blog and commenting on it.


If you want to make money blogging, never forget that your audience makes it happen for you.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t optimize your blogging site and entries for search traffic.  Of course you should.  But the best optimization is and will always be a blend of keywords, good title and interesting content.


Foundational Tip #3 – Originality is Vital


This is a critical and quite obvious key for you to make money blogging.  The truth is that copying someone else’s work, or spinning articles or hiring a non-native speaker to write them for pennies will never get you much success.


Take the time to really work at crafting interesting articles and blog entries.  Original work shows plainly to the reader, and yes, to the search engines.  Especially the search engines.  This is what was meant by putting in real work.  If you want to make money blogging, then you have to work hard.  Nothing is too easy in this universe.  Quite frankly, it shouldn’t be.  Why should anyone profit by doing shoddy work, right?


It’s okay to hire a writer to help you, but take care to hire someone with true skill and who displays a strong interest in what your blog is all about.  And even if you’re hiring some help, write your own entries in addition to those you pay for.  Don’t worry about whether or not you’re a great writer.  If you write about what you’re interested in, you’ll get better and you’ll connect with your audience.  Interesting writing is the key to make money blogging, so always take extra special care to see that everything you publish is of the best quality you can produce.


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SEO Back Links – how to Write Them for Maximum Benefit

Thursday, January 09th, 2014
By: Scott Cook


As anyone who has ever tried or hired someone to do SEO (search engine optimization) knows, creating quality back links to your website is a powerful method for driving traffic and improving your search rankings.  But how do you do it right?  Will any old links work?


The truth is, a lot has changed in the last few years in regards to linking.  Gone are the days of just grabbing thousands of links from anywhere all at once.  There is a right way and a wrong way to build quality back links.  However, this article is not a tutorial on off-site SEO or back link building.


This is more of a seo copywriting instruction.  We will explain how to write the link for maximum effect.  In that regard, there are two main parts of your link.  The surrounding text and the anchor text, or the link text.


Google, yahoo and Bing like it when you surround your links with related text.  It’s more natural and conveys more information to the reader.  The anchor text of your link should be related to the text also.  In this way, the link, perhaps in a 100 to 200 word bit of text, will convey meaning to the viewer and therefore be given more weight by the search engine.


Here is an example of a poor back link:

http://www.advantageadvertisingandmarketing.com – nothing wrong with this plain URL link, but nothing great either.


Or another example:

Click here for great copywriting services – A bit better, but very bland, and the link “click here” contains no keyword phrase anchor text.


Now, for a good example of a quality back link:


“The words you use to convey ideas about your business, products or services can make all the difference between copy that sells and copy that says nothing.  Great copyrighting services provided by a professional can turn ordinary website content, articles, blog entries, business plans, technical whitepapers, advertising copy or anything else that needs word-smithing into outstanding material that increases your influence and grows your profits.”


This link resides in a paragraph that describes the service offered and even explains the value.  This is the kind of back link that will get positive attention from both visitors and the search engines alike.  Just another reminder of exactly how important professional writing really is.

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Are Business Plans Really That Important When Creating a New Business?

Wednesday, January 01st, 2014
By: Scott Cook

Although much has changed over the past decade or so, there are some basic truths that never seem to fail.  In fact, this may be said to be true because of these changes, rather than in spite of them.


There are more and more small businesses being created now.  Many of these are forming in the virtual landscape of the internet.  Because of this, there seems to be a prevailing notion that writing a business plan is no longer worthwhile.  This short article is here to hopefully hold up the notion that this is not so.


Creating a plan is still vitally important in anything we do.  Whether this is building a deck, creating quality content for a website or starting a new business.  While it’s true that writing a full formal business plan may not always be necessary, writing effective business plans of some type is certainly necessary.


If you don’t have a goal, how can you reach it?  If you don’t have a map, how can you take the journey?  A well-written business plan can do that for you.  It spells out the goals of your company, a plan of action of how to reach them and can even act as an operational guide as you go.  Furthermore, a business plan can be used as a presentation to investors.  In fact, if you plan to raise money at all, you’ll definitely need a high-quality business plan written.


While you may not be an expert in creating the perfect business plan, at least write an outline.  Mark down a few key points and then hire someone to write your business plan for you.  Or collaborate once you have your key points.


By way of summing up, here is a very brief list of the things you’ll need to include in any good business plan:



  • Statement of goals

  • Plan of forming, funding and operation of the company

  • Sales and marketing strategies once the business is running

  • Biographies or resumes of your team

  • Fairly accurate prediction of financial results based on real research

  • Timeline of all events

  • If being funded, list how this will happen, how the funds will be used and the timeline for payback and other offering details

  • Exit strategy


 


Of course, there is a lot more, but this should give a good place to start.  Just some food for thought.


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How a SEO Blog Will Generate Desired Traffic

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
By: Scott Cook

Anyone who is doing business today, and especially if they have a website operating will be, or should be, concerned about getting traffic to that website.  There are many ways to do this, but what you’ve no doubt heard the most about is SEO promotion, or Search Engine Optimization.


SEO promotion takes two major forms: what is known as on-site SEO and off-site SEO.  Off-site SEO promotion is generally done by building quality back links to your sites, writing and publishing online content such as articles, press releases and so on, posting on social media and advertising, just to touch on a few items.  The other form of SEO is of course, on-site.


On-site SEO is the process of tweaking your website’s content, Meta tags, title tags and internal links to attract the attention of search engines when people type in certain keywords or key phrases.  For example, if you own an Oracle IT consulting firm, you may optimize your website for a keyword like, “quality Oracle Hyperion consulting services.”  In this way, hopefully, over time, you will show up higher and higher in the organic search results.


One very powerful way to attract positive search engine attention is by creating a SEO Blog, like this one.  The use of a SEO blog for SEO promotion is a great way to attract quality web searchers for several reasons.


First, a SEO blog posts frequent content to your website.  This content, optimized for your keywords, will add more and more unique and useful information to your site and therefore give it more authority for the searches.  Search engines like Google, yahoo and Bing love to find blogs because blogs, if written well, provide useful information that the engines feel will answer their users’ queries.


Second, blogs can also attract repeat visitors.  If you create a commenting feature, other people can add their own information to your website as well as links to theirs.  A fair trade, when you think of it.


Third, if your SEO blog is written as great copywriting, or written professionally by a copy writer, it will be both interesting to the reader as well as useful for SEO promotion.  Well-written blogs can not only attract attention but can be syndicated by others.  This spreads your message around and provides you with quality back links.


Remember, that a good SEO blog is not just for the sole purpose of getting search engine traffic.  It should be a piece of professional copywriting.  It should truly inform and educate people for it to be of the greatest effect.  If you have something really valuable to share, others will want to share and participate as well.  Your SEO blog is only as effective as the number of people reading it.  So make sure to write well or avail yourself of some great copywriting services.  The best SEO promotion comes from the best writing, so share your knowledge and experience with your readers in a fresh and interesting way and you’ll see great results.

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Internet Content Creation May be the Most Important Copy Writing of All

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
By: Scott Cook

There are more ways than ever for a person, a company or an organization to create content, publish information and present quality copy writing to others.  In the last twenty years, an explosion in technology has given birth to an enormous host of opportunities to publish information.

Mostly this is due to the development of the internet, and the World Wide Web in particular.  Of course, we cannot exclude the new “mobile” world as well.  The power of smart phones and tablets broadens the potential of the internet even further by giving people direct connection to virtually unlimited information from anywhere they want.


But of all the kinds of copy writing and the places where it can be put into use, the internet is arguably the most important.  This is not to say that traditional advertising and marketing writing, creating copy for video scripts, copy writing for printed material, writing business plans and technical writing among others is no longer important.  Far from it.  However, the internet is so important because of several factors:



  1. For the most part, publishing content online is free

  2. There is a permanency to the internet

  3. Internet-based content is easily syndicated

  4. It’s very easy to change and adapt and write online copy for an almost unlimited number of topics

  5. It’s the most easily accessible form of copy writing available


 


By no means are these the only reasons, but you can easily see that just based on these five simple points, the internet is certainly a place where anyone should focus their professional copy writing efforts.  Just think of how many times you search for information from your computer, or browse new products and services from your smart phone or send, receive and even create documents from your tablet.


When it comes to professional copy writing for business, great copy writing for education or any other form of content creation, the web is ripe with opportunity.

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