Live Blog – Real Time Reporting from Web Intensive

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Date: February 9th – 12th
Topic: All Things Web Writing
Presenters: Nick Usborne, Jay White, Brian Clark, Joshua Boswell, and many more.

The fastest way to master your Web copywriting skills is at AWAI’s Web Copywriting Intensive.

Starting February 9th, top Web copywriting experts are gathering in Austin, Texas to share their cutting edge insights and hard-earned expertise with Web Intensive attendees.

The goal?

For every attendee new to web writing to leave feeling ready to write Web copy professionally and for every veteran web writer in attendance to leave with a breakthrough idea that will help them take their business to a new level.

Web Copywriting Intensive is an opportunity to connect one-on-one with industry experts. You can treat them to lunch or catch them over breakfast. And don’t underestimate the value of connecting with your fellow web writers. Every year, groups of writers set up accountability teams that last long after the event is over, sometimes for years.

If you can’t join us live in Austin, you can still get a career boost from Web Intensive. Just join us here every day for the Web Intensive Live Blog. You’ll get up-to-the minute highlights, insights from your favorite experts … you can even post your most pressing freelance web-writing questions and get answers during the event.

Don’t miss a minute! The Live Blog begins on February 9th.

Live blog includes free updates and updates that are just for Wealthy Web Writer Platinum members. If you’re a Platinum member, make sure you’re logged in. If not, consider joining us here.

February 9th, 2014

6:08 pm

Greetings from Austin! Web Intensive is officially getting kicked off. I’m Heather Robson, and Jim wright and I are here, on the ground in Austin to bring you real-time updates from everything happening here at the Web Copywriting Intensive. If you have questions during the event, please post them in the comments. We’d love to pass them along and bring you answers straight from the experts.

And now, Nick Usborne is taking the floor …

6:20 pm

Nick is talking about motivation and what motivates us. Outside sources of motivation like checks, promotions, and praise are short-lived. To find lasting motivation, it needs to come from inside of you… from doing something that you’re good at and that you love.

6:47 pm

“I do my best work and I am most successful financially when I’m doing the work I love to do and that has meaning…”
-Nick Usborne

7:01 pm

Nick makes the point that success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

He cites a study of recent lottery winners and recent survivors of traumatic injuries who had lost the use of their legs. At the start of the study the lottery winners were off-the-charts happy. Those who’d become recently paralyzed rated very low, no surprise.

But a year later, the survivors were happier than the lottery winners. The point is that outside input does not motivate us long-term or make us happy long-term. Creativity, doing something we love, and finding meaning in what we do… that’s what leads to happiness.

7:14 pm

Nick has wrapped up the opening ceremonies. Tomorrow he’ll be talking about writing for the web, Brian Clark will cover how to go further with content marketing, Jay White will discuss strategies you can use to double your income, and Pam Foster joins us to give you her insights into how to work effectively with web clients. It’s going to be quite a day… I’ll see you back here first thing in the morning.

February 10th, 2014

8:24 am

From Joshua Boswell’s Jumpstart

Joshua Boswell is getting us warmed up before Brian Clark’s advanced session on content marketing. He’s helping us to get focused on taking an organized and consistent approach to building our business.

You need three things:

  1. A niche
  2. Something to offer
  3. A commitment to letting the right people know what you offer

-Heather Robson

8:59 am

From Brian Clark’s “Go Further with Content Marketing”

In content marketing you don’t buy an audience, you build one. You do that by giving them information they need and want, not by giving them pitches.

-Heather Robson

9:22 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0”

Sharing. The underlying foundation of the web is sharing; it’s simply the technology that has changed.

Jim Wright

9:39 am

From Brian Clark’s “Go Further with Content Marketing”

“The most successful people I’ve ever met are always trying to do the best they can for the other person while also trying to achieve their own goals… you serve your own interests by serving others.” -Brian Clark

-Heather Robson

10:24 am

From Brian Clark’s “Go Further with Content Marketing”

Content marketing is a sales letter over time, only the readers never realize it’s a sales letter. It provides a different frame for your sales materials and it appeals to prospects with a different mindset.

-Heather Robson

10:48 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0”

When asking for information on an online page, only ask for the information that’s absolutely necessary. People know that you don’t need their age to send them a newsletter, rightfully get suspicious, and click away.

The less you ask for, the more response you’ll get.

Jim Wright

10:49 am

From Brian Clark’s “Go Further with Content Marketing”

The best kind of content marketing demonstrates your authority. You’re not claiming to be an authority, you’re showing that you are.

And you’re not pushing the demonstration in front of people. You’re making it available and presenting it in a way that your audience wants to consume.

-Heather Robson

11:03 am

From Brian Clark’s “Go Further with Content Marketing”

The role that social media plays in content marketing is distribution and publicity.

You build an audience, but more important you want to build an audience of audiences. When someone influential recommends your content, it’s more powerful than when you recommend your own content.

-Heather Robson

11:26 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0”

As online copywriters, we have two main jobs to do:

1. Figure out what to say
2. Figure out how to say it

Too many copywriters jump straight to step 2. If you miss step 1, you’ll never get step 2 right.

Jim Wright

Janice, Joan, Charlotte, and Michele at lunch on Day 1
Angela and Pam at lunch
Nick Usborne joins attendees for lunch

1:15 pm

From Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0”

Brochures work like this: sell, sell, sell, sell. The best websites work like this: help, help, help, sell.

Jim Wright

1:44 pm

From Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0”

Do not expect your readers to do your work for you. When it comes to the Home Page, use familiar terms and navigation so that people will know how to “use” it.

Jim Wright

2:20 pm

From Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0”

Website optimization tip: Make your first-time visitors feel comfortable and confident. How? Use third-party seals (Hacker safe, BBB), let them know “we’re here” (Live Chat, Toll-free number), and use third-party endorsements and testimonials.

Jim Wright

2:48 pm

From Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0”

How to increase the performance of your emails and e-newsletters: write a short subject line.

Stick to 55 characters or less if you don’t want the last few words cut off, and stick to 49 characters or less of you want high open and click-through rates

Jim Wright

4:00 pm

And that’s a wrap on Nick Usborne’s “Copywriting 2.0” … wonderful insight on writing for the web! Up next, looking forward to Pam Foster’s presentation on “Working Effectively with Web Clients – Part 1.”

Jim Wright

4:26 pm

From Pam Foster’s “Working Effectively With Clients”

Pam Foster is taking the stage to share the process she uses to make sure that every project with every client goes as smoothly as possible.

-Heather Robson

4:33 pm

From Pam Foster’s “Working Effectively With Clients”

Your clients have three things they need from you when they work with you. The first is results. They need more traffic to come to their website and they need more of their visitors to become paying customers.

-Heather Robson

4:53 pm

From Pam Foster’s “Working “Effectively With Clients

Starting any project involves asked the client a lot of questions.

Some things to find out:

  • Their main goal
  • Why they think their website isn’t working
  • Who their audience is

-Heather Robson

5:03 pm

From Pam Foster’s “Working “Effectively With Clients

Make sure everything that is expected of you is clear. Confirm that you understand the project outline and approach, that you understand the audience and their needs. If anything is unclear, find a way to clarify it. Maybe talk with a sales person or a customer service representative. Clarifying up front will save time in rewrites later.

-Heather Robson

5:14 pm

That’s a wrap for today. Every presentation has been great and packed with information. If you want to sit in on every session — not just the highlights 🙂 — and catch every minute, you can. And you can do it at a fraction of the price of attending. The details are right here.

-Heather Robson

Twitter Highlights From the Day

February 11th, 2014

8:30 am

Welcome to day 3! Brian Clark is taking the podium to talk content marketing.

Jim Wright

8:53 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Advanced Instruction on Writing for the Social Web”

Nick Usborne is talking to the advanced track today about social media and web marketing in general.

His first point: People read the top left of a webpage far more than anything that appears on the right or more than a few paragraphs down. Keep this in mind when positioning your most important information.

-Heather Robson

9:15 am

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

The email inbox is still the single highest conversion channel.

Jim Wright

9:33 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Advanced Instruction on Writing for the Social Web”

Testing, testing, testing … testing is everything. If you want to improve performance, retention, conversion, you have to test. The only reason not to test is laziness or because you’re afraid your copy isn’t as good as you think.

Testing online is so easy. Do it even if you’re afraid. It will improve you as a writer and help your client make more money.

-Heather Robson

9:46 am

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

Social is an amazing distribution channel for content; you’re not just getting an audience, you’re getting an audience of audiences.

Jim Wright

From the hallways

In between sessions and during breaks, the speakers take time to visit with the attendees, to answer questions, and to share specific advice.

I talked to Pam Foster this morning and asked her questions I’d received from the Online Copywriters Group.

Here’s the exchange:

Heather: Can you tell me about your business model?

Pam: I have a day job in my niche. Lots of writers are turning to that because if you find a steady job that fits and it’s with people that you enjoy working with and a company you love and believe in, why not? This is a deliberate model because of the steady connections and because it means I have benefits.

I also do some freelance work for clients that I’ve always had.

And I’m keeping my niche website, so I still get inquiries and I refer those to writers I trust, and I get a commission.

I’m also partnered with a more technical person and we cowrote a book series about how businesses in my niche can market themselves better (anyone can do this!). We use this as a platform for speaking and teaching.

Heather: Can you tell the moment when your business turned the corner?

Pam: That’s easy. When I chose a niche. It totally changed everything.

10:27 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Advanced Instruction on Writing for the Social Web”

Being social beings “at home” …

Your website should be designed, organized, and maintained to make it social. Allow comments and use interactive elements. Nick finds that the pages on his site that are social are the ones that are shared through social media channels more often.

-Heather Robson

10:38 am

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

Content is doing sales work for you in a very large degree–it begins the sales experience without anyone feeling “sold.”

Jim Wright

10:43 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Advanced Instruction on Writing for the Social Web”

Nick is putting us to work during the second half of his session. He’s having us develop and brainstorm a marketing plan for a small coffee company. Fun stuff.

-Heather Robson

11:05 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Advanced Instruction on Writing for the Social Web”

On the Web you don’t own your brand. Your customer’s do. You have to let go.

-Heather Robson

11:20 am

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

Brian is discussing the concept of the Likeable Expert. Don’t say “I’m the expert.” Instead, demonstrate that you’re the expert and let other people say it–much more believable.

Jim Wright

10:30 am

From Nick Usborne’s “Advanced Instruction on Writing for the Social Web”

We’re breaking for lunch. The day is off to a great start so far.

We’re recording every session, so that you have the chance to sit in. The Web Intensive Home Study program gives you access to the entire event at a tiny fraction of the price. Reserve your copy today and get a special, early-bird discount.

-Heather Robson

Fun Outside the Sessions

Charlotte Hicks, Michele Peterson, Heather Robson, and Katie Yeakle
Lauren G. and Rebecca Matter
Brandy B. and Rebecca Matter
Heather Robson and Ronda White
Katie Yeakle, Brian Clark, and Rebecca Matter

1:03 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

We’re back from the break and Ryan Deiss is speaking to the advanced track. I heard Ryan speak at Bootcamp. He was great, and I’m excited to listen to him today.

-Heather Robson

1:22 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

Just some background: Ryan’s company has invested $15 million in marketing tests. His company doesn’t just talk about digital marketing. They do it.

-Heather Robson

1:25 pm

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

We pick up from lunch with Brian discussing “Context” one of the 5 Cs of content creation.

What’s the journey? Your readers are real people–find out their problems and desires, make them the hero, and help them on their journey.

Jim Wright

1:47 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

Website traffic isn’t a trick. One way or another you buy it. Whether that’s through buying ad space, paying for content development, or hiring an SEO expert.

-Heather Robson

2:11 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

“We’re modern-day alchemists. What we do is amazing.” Ryan Deiss on copywriting.

-Heather Robson

2:34 pm

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

Linkedin is embracing content marketing; they’re now a major contender and may be the best place to be for your business building efforts.

Jim Wright

From the hallways —

Heather here. I was able to sit down with Joshua Boswell today and ask him “How did you know that copywriting was the career for you?”

Here’s his answer:

Joshua: There are things that God intends for each of us to do. I was not designed to be an engineer. But I am designed to communicate effectively to help people change their lives.

When I saw copywriting, I knew it was a way to use my God-given gifts to help people.

I’m also a believer in destiny. There are things we should be doing. Not that we can be doing, but that we should be doing.

I had a clear, peaceful assurance that copywriting is what I should be doing.

The blessings have been crazy.

2:54 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

“Whatever you’re doing, advocate for a particular market.” -Ryan Deiss

-Heather Robson

3:12 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

Step 2 of Ryan’s sales funnel is a tripwire — a low-barrier way to convert customer’s into buyers.

-Heather Robson

3:34 pm

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

The autoresponder is the simplest form of marketing automation.

Jim Wright

3:45 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

“If you aren’t broadcasting your email list at least once a week, you obviously hate money.” -Ryan Deiss

-Heather Robson

3:48 pm

From Brian Clark’s “Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Approach for Web Writers”

All marketing is about perception; higher perceived value = higher actual value

-Jim Wright

3:58 pm

From Ryan Deiss’s “Advanced Conversion Funnel Optimization”

Ryan is wrapping up. There are 5 steps in Ryan’s sales funnel. To learn more about the two I’ve shared here and to find out the other three, buy the Home Study Program.

-Heather Robson

3:59 pm

Just wrapped up a great session by Brian Clark–amazing insight and information on content marketing.

Jim Wright

4:17 pm

We’re underway with Pam Foster; after a quick stretch and dance break, we’re back at it!

Jim Wright

4:39 pm

From Pam Foster’s “Working Effectively with Web Clients”

Things to never do with a client:

Never focus on how great you are; it’s not about you … it’s about the client.

Jim Wright

4:53 pm

From Pam Foster’s “Working Effectively with Web Clients”

“Never let ’em see you sweat.” Thankfully, is much easier to do when you’re working from home!

Jim Wright

5:11 pm

From Pam Foster’s “Working Effectively with Web Clients”

Just finishing up with Pam Foster’s session! In our last few minutes together, we’re getting a great opportunity to practice what we’ve learned with some client/copywriter role play with Pam as the client.

Jim Wright

5:20 pm

Up next: it’s the Hot Seat Q&A with Nick Usborne, Ryan Deiss, and Brian Clark

Jim Wright

5:59 pm

What a great and lively discussion panel … we’re finding out why they call it a HOT seat!

Jim Wright

6:01 pm

Great copywriting is more than just great writing … it’s also knowing the product and knowing the market. Nick just told us he recently spent three weeks working on a project, and did five weeks of research before he wrote even a word.

Jim Wright

6:26 pm

Quick tips from our panelists on what they would do if they were starting out today from scratch:

Brian: Market yourself as a solution, not a writer

Nick: Scare yourself and reach up for better clients.

Ryan: Stop trying to good at everything–if you want to launch a business, you’re going to need other people.

Jim Wright

6:30 pm

And that’s a wrap on an amazing Day 3 at the Web Intensive … we’ll be back first thing tomorrow morning. Now it’s time to party!

Jim Wright

Twitter Highlights From the Day

February 12th, 2014

8:00 am

Good morning! Excited for Day 4 to start … Pam Foster starts us off, and then it’s Jay White!

Jim Wright

8:38 am

From Jay White’s “Email Copy Made Easy”

Think email is dead? 838 BILLION marketing messages were sent by email in 2013 (Forrester).

Jim Wright

9:30 am

From Jay White’s “Email Copy Made Easy”

Jay White says: “An email is not a sales letter. An email is not a sales letter. An email is not a sales letter. An email is a conduit to a sales letter.”

Jim Wright

9:35 am

From Jay White’s “Email Copy Made Easy”

Writing emails … rule number one: DO NOT write your subject line first!

Jim Wright

9:57 am

From Jay White’s “Email Copy Made Easy”

In writing B2B, it’s still one person talking to one person … it’s not two buildings talking to each other! Talk to people like they’re people.

Jim Wright

10:19 am

From Jay White’s “Email Copy Made Easy”

The art of storytelling: think water cooler talk. It’s casual, relaxed, but detailed and uses colorful words and phrases to “paint the picture.” Put people right in the middle of what’s happening.

Jim Wright

10:49 am

From Jay White’s “Email Copy Made Easy”

It’s storytime! We want casual conversation: sentence fragments, phrases, slang … whatever makes it effortless to read. Wanna start a sentence with “And” or “But”? That’s okay. One thing though … NO selling!

Jim Wright

11:04 am

From Jay White’s “Email Copy Made Easy”

Want to try something that works in your story? Use all five senses.

Jim Wright

From the Hallways

Heather Robson here. I had a free moment and Jay White agreed to share his answer to a question that I received from one of our Online Copywriter members. The question was “How do you develop a deep connection with your readers and your clients?”

Jay: When I was growing up we had a family doctor who delivered all my siblings and me. He was a dear family friend. We saw him for everything. We’d go in and we always knew he was going to be late.

And here’s why. He’d hug my mom, ask about our lives, and tell us about his. He’d take 20 minutes before we got to the appointment.

It was never about business. It was always about relationships. He was very good at being a doctor, but his concern for us as people was what kept us coming back.

That’s what I strive to do with my clients and my prospects. I make a friend. I approach them from a personal level and things grow from there.

1:49 pm

Joshua Boswell is discussing his business model. One of the reasons that he has commanded such high fees is that he sets up client relationships in a way that he earns a share of the improved sales after his consulting and copywriting work bears fruit.

-Heather Robson

2:11 pm

Joshua shares three steps to closing a sale: understand the client’s pain point, articulate a solution, and assume the responsibility for moving things forward.

-Heather Robson

2:45 pm

Web Intensive is winding down. It’s been another great year, and I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. Being here, listening to the speakers, has been an amazing experience, and I’ve learned so much. We couldn’t cover everything in the Live Blog, so do grab your copy of the Home Study program. The price jumps from $495 to $1295 if you order after the 19th, so don’t wait.

On that note I’ll leave you with a few thoughts from our attendees. Enjoy! And thank you for joining Jim and me for the Live Blog.

Wealthy Web Writer

Wealthy Web Writer

Whether you’re looking to learn new skills, improve the ones you have, stay on top of industry changes, find clients who value those skills and are willing to pay top dollar, or take your web-writing business to the next level, Wealthy Web Writer is a one-stop shop.

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