Writing has taken a backseat lately. Studying for an upcoming major exam have taken a priority. However, I just can’t resist drowning in my thoughts, itching to write.
And so, I have done something I should have already made a habit of doing. Writing down my agenda in my calendar. Now, it’s posted up with my everyday goal of studying til my CPhT certification exam arrives. Alright, I’m not that bad with organizing my time. I have my schedule on hand but the traditional actually-writing-it-down-in-a-calendar-with-a-pen works much better than when I type it in the calendar in my phone or Outlook.
Oddly enough, my brain started to focus – laser focused. It wants to accomplish my to-do list for the day. Guess this is going to be the best way to manipulate myself to do what I need to do. Especially since I’ve always been a go-getter. Hmmm…
As Les Brown have said, “You must remain focused on your journey to greatness.” That’s exactly Well, I want to be great. But I have to start with one foot in front of the other at a time. I should keep this in mind when I get cracking again with copywriting.
Ali Hale serves as an inspiration for today. She’s the guest writer for Men with Pens under the post, How to Improve Your Writing. Ali suggested that the best way to improve as a writer is to keep writing. As any writer, I’m going through a dry spell. Musing over the keyboard, wondering what witty post I have for the day, fumbling over ideas, start pushing buttons on the keyboard, then resign in disbelief that nothing — no inspiration for the day.
Writing everyday, consistently, and inspired is such a huge challenge. Especially when you often suppress your inner voice because “I think this is what my readers want to read but am I writing it well enough to keep them reading?.” I have to try an advice from Chris Mower. He said,
” Years ago when I first started writing, I had a hard time knowing what to write or even how to portray that writing on paper with my voice. I was afraid of what other people would think (even in my personal, triple-password protected journal I was destructively careful).
I finally broke that chain when I forced myself to write down my thoughts: the good, the bad, the ugly, the sinful, the religious, and the downright embarrassing. I realized in that moment that I had a voice aching to break out.”
Ali also mentioned that a great writer must be a great reader. Find stories or copies that inspires me as a reader would then have me wondering why I’m so captivated by the writer’s work. In turn, I can find great tips and advice to help me get better.
Just Keep Going… what a great food-for-though for a Friday.
What makes a great copy? In a quest to find out what copywriting is all about, I came across a book called Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugarman. New York Times called Joe Sugarman the “Mail Maverick”. He is Chairman of JS&A Group, Inc., BluBlocker Corporation, DelStar Publishing and President of a bio-tech company, Stem Cell Products, LLC. He once has been named as the “Direct Marketer of The Year” . With his credentials, I’m sure he knows quite a bit when it comes to making great copies and ads.
Joe made an interesting point in his Axiom 2, “All the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to read the first sentence of the copy.” The headline, the logo, subtitles, pictures, captions, etc exist just for the sole purpose of leading a reader to read the first sentence of a copy.
What’s even more intriguing was the fact that he mentions that the purpose of the first sentence was to have the reader read the second sentence. The second sentence is used to lead the reader to the third sentence. The third sentence is to lead the reader to the fourth sentence. And so on and so forth. You get the picture.
Another idea is to “Get the reader to say yes and harmonize with your accurate and truthful statements while reading the copy.” This concept has been used even in face-to-face sales whereas if you get the customer to keep nodding his head in agreement to what you’ve been saying, closing the sale would be a breeze because he would be nodding at buying your service/product too. Who would have thought that it applies in making copies too? Having the reader nod her head while reading the copy would have her take action and purchase the service/product.
Advertising Secrets of the Written Word is jammed-packed with useful advice that has been derived from Joe’s experience. As the Babe Ruth of the copy world, this is a great read and a short-cut to a successful copy.
It’s frustrating. As a freelance copywriter, it is very easy to get caught up in having a messy schedule with hardly any productivity. It is even more infuriating when you assess what you have done for the day and find out that you did not really accomplish anything. So what was really the matter?
In the book, The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle, Pete Savage spoke about focus in Secret 8: Bring Focus to Your Freelance Business. Part of the chapter encompasses focusing on prospects and clients that you specified. For example, if your target market are businesses in real estate, you only take projects from those clients in real estate. Yes, indeed it is tempting to reach out to prospects outside of your target market. However, does it really help you when you have to go back to step 1 again since you have learn about how customers in that market react to advertising? How are you supposed to climb up the mountain when you keep digging at the bottom of your specialty? Seems pointless right?
Another book, The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Certainty, by Jack Canfield speaks about prioritizing. It is too easy to get caught up in counter productive plans like watching YouTube instead of writing up the sales letter. Use the tools that will help you stay on track whether it’s a corkboard with all of your to-do lists, a calendar, outlook, or even a personal assistant. You will be relieved to find by doing that, you make room for what really matters – spending time with family, enjoying your hobby, traveling, whatever else that you need to do.
Think about it. As a freelance copywriter, we have chose this profession because of freedom and to get to do what we want to do. But how can you enjoy the fruits of your labor if all you do is working all of the time to meet deadlines for clients or to get prospects flowing in the door. Or else, there’s no roof over your head or food on the table? If focusing and prioritizing are keys to being able to be successful and enjoying it, I would change, would you?
Ever looked at a bottle of water and feel yourself chuckling? That’s exactly what happens when you read the labels on a Vitamin Water. The different array of colors and flavors do more than just attract a curious onlooker. Each bottle groups have their own set of funny anecdotes.
Even if there are numerous criticisms about the merits of how Vitamin Water truly helps a person, the copies in the labels keep customers coming back for more and trying different flavors. Who wouldn’t want to smile once in while after reading the witty prints while enjoying a refreshing beverage? As they say, laughter is an anecdote to a healthy lifestyle.