AWAI Bootcamp: Live Blog


Your Source for On-the-Ground Insights from AWAI’s Live Bootcamp Event

Get the Inside Scoop on some of the most powerful writing tips coming straight some of the most renowned experts in the industry.

This week is AWAI’s annual Bootcamp event… a gathering of some of the most influential, knowledgeable, experienced, A-list copywriters in the industry.

During Bootcamp, these A-listers spend three full days sharing their success secrets—from writing techniques to motivational strategies to marketing tips to business insights—with up-and-coming and established copywriters from all over the world.

For many copywriters, this is the one event each year that carries their career to a new level.

Feel Like You’re There…

The AWAI Bootcamp Live Blog, brought to you by Wealthy Web Writer, will put you in the room with your fellow copywriters.

Regular, time-stamped updates let you experience first-hand…

  • Some of the most powerful writing secrets shared by presenters.
  • Epiphany moments that can change the way you work.
  • Big ideas that everyone is talking about.
  • Laugh-out-loud moments that are bound to happen when you get a group of independent-minded freelancers together.
  • Video clips of takeaway points from attendees.
  • And much more.

Put yourself in the room at the year’s AWAI Bootcamp. Visit this page often for real-time updates from the event.

The Live Blog starts now!

Wednesday, October 26th

6:09 pm

Katie Yeakle just finished her inspiring welcoming speech. Wow, I’m in for a treat over the next few days! I expect to learn so much, and I’m looking forward to sharing my favorite takeaways with you.

First up, Katie underscores the importance of being present when you’re in a learning situation or a working situation or a marketing situation. “Be here now!” She had us all write that down as a reminder to focus on what’s happening around us. That’s the only way we see the doors of opportunity opening up in front of us. So, I plan to Be Here Now! And, I hope to draw you into the fun.

Next up is copywriting-great, Joe Sugarman. Stay tuned!

6:27 pm

If you have the ability to write and create copy, you have the ability to move mountains. -Joe Sugarman

Inspiring words.

6:49 pm

Joe Sugarman just finished a story about a quarter of a million batman credit cards. The story – it’s a true story – has lot of twists and turns, but the big takeaway for me is the amount of stick-to-it-ive-ness he has. He had a venture that fell through because of an administrative disagreement. He followed up on the venture regularly for 12 years before he saw forward movement on the project. I’m impressed. It’s a rare person who is capable of that kind of follow up.

Plus, he’s a very funny speaker. Lots of laughs along the way. You can hear the full count of the batman credit card story if you purchase the AWAI’s FastTrack to Success Home Study program. Order before midnight this Friday, October 28th and save 50%.

7:12 pm

Just a quick reminder… if you’re a Wealthy Web Writer Platinum member, make sure you’re logged in. There are entries in the live blog just for you and you’ll only be able to read them if you’re logged in.

Joe tells us that the first thing a copywriter needs is general knowledge. Seek out new experiences. Learn new things. Read lots of books.

Michael Masterson and John Forde at their book signing

10:15 pm

The first day is all wrapped up. At dinner, there was even live entertainment with a comedian. At one point, the comedian requested audience participation and asked Pam Foster to name the first four legged animal that came to mind. Without missing a best, she answered “donkey.” Only, she used a shorter word that meant the same thing. I think she got a bigger laugh than anything the comedian got all evening. It’s funny moments like that combined with profound moments like Joe Sugarman sharing what it’s like to fail and get back up again that make Bootcamp such a unique and memorable experience.

More to come tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Thursday, October 27th

8:07 am

Joshua Boswell is kicking things off as the official emcee. His challenge to you is to identify and write down the next step you need to take to improve your copywriting skills, the next step you need to take to land more clients, and the next step you need to take to increase your belief that you can do this.

Remember, if you’re a Platinum member, make sure you’re logged in, so you can see all the updates.

8:32 am

Bob Bly is speaking now. He’s covering 11 changes in the copywriting industry and how they affect you. Then he’s going to share ten strategies you can use to increase your success in a changing landscape. It’s sure to be a presentation packed with good information, so stay tuned!

8:53 am

Bob specifically notes that the type of writing assignments have shifted dramatically to online marketing channels. About two thirds of the assignments he takes on are for the Web. Surveying the room, most working copywriters report the same thing.

That means that it’s more important than ever to learn to write for the Web. If you’re not yet a Wealthy Web Writer Platinum member, this is a great reminder why it’s important to join. Learn more now.

9:05 am

Bob just shared six questions to ask yourself when choosing a niche:

  • What do I like?
  • What interests me?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What have I done?
  • What do I have an aptitude for?
  • What am I really good at?

9:31 am

Bob is wrapping up his presentation. As one of his ten strategies to help you succeed, he recommends offering a bait piece in exchange for contact information (eletter sign ups) or as part of the information package you send out to prospects. The bait piece boosts your credibility and can help you get more leads and more interest in your services. If you want to hear all ten strategies, remember you can order AWAI’s FastTrack to Success Home Study program for 50% if you place your order before midnight on Friday, October 28th.

Next up is Nick Usborne. More updates to come!

10:16 am

I’m back and Nick Usborne is speaking. He’s talking about how important it is to really love what you to. Web writing or copywriting or whatever variation you do should bring you immense joy. But, that doesn’t mean you’ll be without fear. The trick is recognizing that what you’re doing might be out of your comfort zone, but that you love it anyway… especially when everything goes right.

10:52 am

Nick is talking about push marketing. Push marketing is when you go out and seek work. Think email, cold calls, direct mail, and networking.

HIs top tips for push marketing:

  1. Think big. Go after companies that will stretch you and make you grow as a writer.
  2. Be generous. Share your knowledge through reports or white papers or articles.
  3. Follow up thoroughly, exhaustively, and relentlessly. “Only stop when they’ve issued a restraining order,” Nick jokes.

11:41 am

We had a little break, and now Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero is speaking. She specializes in copywriting that appeals to women. Did you know that women make 85% of the buying decisions? And, when it comes to online buyers women far outweigh men?

So, learning to write copy that appeals to women is a valuable skill for any web writer. I’ll be sharing her top tips during the next hour.

11:58 am

Men and women respond differently to copy. The secret is that copy that appeals to women is also successful with men, but copy that is written to appeal to men often falls flat with women. Learning to depolarize your copy gives you a broader buying audience, which is a good thing.

Here are three tips you can use to make your copy more appealing to women:

  1. Make sure your copy is conversational and look for a way to bond with your reader on an emotional level.
  2. Visual design is more important to women than men, so ask for more input into design decisions.
  3. Women consider a company’s values when making buying decisions, so highlight positive things your client does for its communities and for causes.

12:10 pm

Lorrie’s discussing the value of creating a TARKET. This is essentially a fictional persona from your target market. Create a backstory for the character using psychographics and demographics. Go into as much detail as you can. Get to know the character and then when you write your copy, write directly to the character you’ve created. Your copy will be more personable and much stronger when you do.

Takeaway points from attendees, Jerry Bures and Kellie Craft

2:04 pm

Joshua Boswell is introducing Pam Foster, who’s presenting on how to attract great clients using a niche approach. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say… and of course, I’ll be sharing my favorite takeaway points with you.

2:14 pm

One of the biggest problems when you don’t have a niche is that it is difficult for people to find you and learn more about what you do. You can build a business this way and be successful, but it’s the slow way to do it.

When you choose a niche and a specialty, you immediately set yourself apart and make it much easier for clients who are interested in your specific services to find you and find you quickly. And, the client will be predisposed to work with you because you already know his field.

2:55 pm

Pam underscores that as you launch yourself into a new niche, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to marketing yourself. Use methods you know how to do and that are proven to work. Here are three methods Pam has used to launch her Pet Copywriting business:

  1. Have a website. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need to be optimized.
  2. Ask for referrals.
  3. Maintain a blog that provides useful information to your target industry.

3:29 pm

Joshua Boswell is introducing Mike Palmer. Mike is the writer behind Stansberry and Associates. During the next two hours, he’s going to share his fool-proof technique for writing breakthrough promotions. I’d say I”m excited to hear what he has to say, but I don’t think ‘excited’ is a big enough word.

3:43 pm

When you land a new copywriting project, the approach most writers take is to start looking for benefits and what makes a product or service special. Mike says that’s the wrong approach. The first thing to do is to come up with a list of ideas of what’s hot right now and what topics are on the mind of your likely readers.

Use that list to generate ideas for your approach for the project. The next step is to take one of those hot ideas and approach in a way that’s new. When you do that you end up with a fresh approach to something that is already on your audience’s mind… you’re guaranteed to get their attention.

4:38 pm

When you write copy, it’s more powerful if you let the story unfold and build. Don’t rush to the reveal. Entice your readers further into your copy by writing to their sense of curiosity.

10:47 pm

The day wrapped up with a special session by Joshua Boswell on Getting Clients. Joshua is always engaging, always motivating, and is full of ideas on how to get clients… ideas that he’s ready to share with you. But, you’ll have to order the AWAI’s FastTrack to Success Home Study program to get all of Joshua’s tips. You’ll also get access to Mark Everett Johnson’s presentation earlier today, which happened at the same time as Pam Foster’s. With the home study program, you won’t miss a minute. Tomorrow is the last day to get 50% off, so don’t wait!

Gloria Rand shares her favorite Bootcamp insight

Friday, October 28th

8:16 am

Brian Clark, of Copyblogger fame, is here this morning to talk about Content Marketing. His first question, “How many of you are awake?” Fortunately, most the room raised their hands despite lots of people being up late watching the World Series.

8:22 am

Brian’s talking about all the different components that go into successful Content Marketing.

First and foremost, you have to provide good, useful content. Over and over again. When you do that, you earn people’s email addresses and you develop social connections and you gain referrals. Over time that turns into an audience and a portion of that audience will decide to buy what you’re selling.

If you feel like you’re giving too much away, you’re probably on the right track. -Brian Clark

9:01 am

Brian is doing a Q&A session. Nick Usborne asked what steps a person can take to gain traction and traffic for a blog. It all comes down to building connections. Let me people know what you’re doing. Participate in the community. And, be active in social media. Over time, you’ll build a name for your blog.

9:37 am

Steve Slaunwhite is here to tell us about writing case studies and white papers. Stay tuned for his top tips.

9:41 am

Steve is starting with typical pricing ranges for case studies and white papers. For a two page case study, you can earn between $900 to $2000. For a white paper in the 8-page range, you can expect to earn around $5000. Not too bad.

10:08 am

A case study has six parts.

  1. The headline: keep it newsy and benefit-oriented
  2. Introduce the customer
  3. Describe the problem or goal faced by the customer
  4. Share the solution offered by your client
  5. Give real world details to add depth and credibility to story you’re relating.
  6. Relay the results that the customer experienced.

10:25 am

One time, Bob Bly called Steve to ask how much he charges for a case study. Steve answered, “$1500.” Bob answered, “Great, I’ll charge $2000.”

10:58 am

Steve’s event was excellent… very motivating and very informative. I encourage you to order you copy of AWAI’s FastTrack to Success Home Study program so you can see the whole presentation (along with all the other presentations). Buy today and get 50% off. That offer ends tonight at midnight. Don’t miss out.

Listen to Julia Borgini’s A-Ha Moment

11:07 am

Dan Kennedy just took the stage.

11:20 am

Dan knows plenty of very good copywriters who aren’t very successful because they aren’t very good businesspeople. He challenges you to put more time and investment into learning how to be better at business than you do into improving your writing. He’s not saying you shouldn’t work to improve your writing, but that if you ignore the business end of things, you’re getting less than half the picture… and way less than half the money you could be earning.

Saturday, October 29

8:08 am

Good morning, and welcome to the final day of bootcamp. Right now, Katie Yeakle is introducing Michael Masteron. This is going to be his last speech at an AWAI event, so it’s a little bittersweet this morning.

8:24 am

Every day that you’re alive, there are hundreds opportunities presented to you. -Michael Masterson

8:28 am

Michael’s focus is of the power of ideas to fuel big changes. Just a single, powerful idea can transform your life if you’re open to the opportunity it presents.

8:34 am

Michael is constantly analyzing writing approaches… what works, what doesn’t work. He compared essays that contained many ideas with essays that just contained a single, strong idea. Those with a single idea were always stronger in terms of reader response.

8:54 am

Use this to make your writing stronger: After you finish writing your first draft, review it for the single, strong idea you are trying to convey. Then make sure you say what that idea is in the first two or three paragraphs. When you do that, your reader knows why they are reading and what value they’ll gain if they continue reading.

9:17 am

Michael has shared some powerful advice on better writing, better business, better relationships and better all around success. Hear all his tips when you order your copy of AWAI’s FastTrack to Success Home Study program.

9:30 am

When you identify jargon and cliches in your writing, you haven’t identified ideas that need to be eliminated, but ideas that need to be illuminated. -Michael Masterson

9:55 am

In about 5 minutes, Joshua Boswell is going to begin revealing secrets to the writer’s life. Every time I’ve heard Joshua speak, he’s been entertaining and inspiring, so I’m looking forward to this session.

10:05 am

What a successful freelance copywriting business affords you is time and money. What you do with those two things is up to you. You get to choose what’s important, and with time and money, you’re free to pursue those things.

10:11 am

Joshua’s first challenge to you is to describe your ideal day, what about that day is important to you, and what amount of money you would need to have that kind of ideal day as a matter of course. So go do that now. Write it down. Then, come back here for more updates.

10:25 am

Your best “a-ha” moments will have a profound effect only if you have a system in place for them act on. A great marketing idea doesn’t work unless you have a product or service and a system for fulfilling it. So, work on your infrastructure, create your systems, set up procedures. Then when an “a-ha” moment strikes you, you’ll be ready to get the most explosive effect from it possible. Without the system and infrastructure, your “a-ha” moments will always be a little disappointing when you implement them. That’s a powerful insight from Joshua Boswell. If you follow it, it will change your level of success, and that could change your life.

Nancy Lamb shares insights from Bootcamp

10:39 am

One of the most dangerous things to your copywriting career is unrealistic expectations. When you set unrealistic expectations, you run the risk of letting disappointment derail you. Set up a system for continually honing your skills and for attracting clients, and follow the system on a steady basis. Don’t expect overnight results… just keep at it and the results will come.

Parting Thoughts

It’s been three days since I arrived home from Bootcamp and I’m still organizing my thoughts, and sifting through everything I learned, which was a lot.

I came away with my motivation stoked, with a better idea of how I want to set my priorities and follow through on them, and with a number of new writing methods I can use to make my writing stronger, better, and more successful.

Plus, and this is a big plus, I got to meet face-to-face with people that I work with and talk to on a regular basis. Both people from AWAI and from the Wealthy Web Writer site. What a pleasure! I got to shake hands and share a smile with people that have cheered for me and supported me and with people that I have cheered for and supported. I got to hear what people are up to first hand – such a fantastic mix of talent and ideas and passions.

Being in a room with so many like-minded people is… well, there’s nothing like, and I’m so glad I was privileged to have this experience. Thank you everyone, from presenters to attendees to organizers to those of you who were following the blog and Facebook and Twitter at home. You made what I knew would be a great experience into something unbelievable and I hope that I was able to deliver some of that feeling to you through the updates to this live blog.

Heather Robson

Heather Robson

Managing editor of Wealthy Web Writer, Heather has over ten years of content marketing and development experience.


  • Thanks, Heather. You’re doing a great job reporting and also including relevant points. As someone who wasn’t able to attend Bootcamp due to financial limitations, I really appreciate the blog!

  • Hi Heather — I have to say it somewhere so this is where you’ll “get” what I’m about to share.
    But first — it was a delight to meet you all at Bootcamp. I’m so excited I’m still bouncing off the walls.

    The golden nuggets for me:
    *When I recognized that specific ‘mental trash’ was holding me back, it became clear what the necessary inner work involved.
    *Creating a clear picture of my ideal day is not about tasks — it’s about living the life I want to live. It has nothing to do with HOW — and everything to do with what.

    *Sorry to see Michael Masterson retire, and am delighted that I was able to glean from his farewell speech so many wonderful tidbits. Meeting him in person, shaking his hand, and thanking him for all he’s done was such a gift for me. It felt wonderful to approach some of the masters and THANK THEM for their help instead of asking them for help. 🙂

    *Perhaps most important to me is stepping into the world of successful marketers and feeling that I was home from a long journey. See, I’ve been out of that realm of marketing for far too long, live amongst a land of technical wizards, and have been feeling totally out of place.

    Also, I loved Joshua’s advice to do one thing every day that moves you towards reaching your goals.

    Thanks, Nancy Lamb

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