AWAI Bootcamp 2014 – Live Blog!

Five business people sitting in a row, smiling and clapping on business training. Selective focus placed on businesswoman in middle.

Clapping business peopleDates: October 15th through 18th

Time: In real time!

Topics: All things copywriting

Presenters: Industry experts including Clayton Makepeace and Richard Armstrong

It’s that time of year again. AWAI’s Copywriting Bootcamp kicks off on October 15th. And if you can’t be there in Delray Beach with us, I’m bring you the next best thing … Bootcamp Live Blog! During this Live Blog event, I’ll be adding real time updates as the AWAI Bootcamp progress.

You’ll feel like your here with us as I bring you top insights and expert tips from copywriting legends like John Carlton and Bob Bly. I’ll share quotes, session highlights, top takeaways from fellow writers just like you, photographs, video clips, and more. So join in the fun.

If you have questions you’d like to ask any of our expert presenters, post them in the comments and I’ll do my level best to bring you answers.

And remember, if you’re a Platinum member, make sure you’re logged in. I’ll be sharing extra goodies, exclusive for you.

The AWAI Bootcamp Live Blog kicks off at 5:30pm Eastern Time on October 15th. Join the fun!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

6:42 pm

It took some doing, but I’m here at Bootcamp listening to Richard Armstrong speak. Richard is an amazing and inspiring speaker.

My favorite point so far is that when you right to your audience, you aren’t just tapping into how they want other people to perceive them. You need to tap into how they perceive themselves.

6:53 pm

Richard shares a key secret to writing amazing copy. Listen to your customers. When you write, write to their existing desires … to their existing beliefs … to their existing way of expressing themselves. You don’t need to create these things. You just need to recognize them.

6:59 pm

The opening ceremonies … the keynote speech. Bootcamp 2014 is off to a great start. Tomorrow is going to be amazing, so stay tuned. Tomorrow we’ll here from John Carlton, Bob Bly, Brian Kurtz, and many other great copywriters. And I’ll be sharing great tips from each and every one.

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

8:13 am

Joshua Boswell has taken the stage to introduce the day. At the moment he is talking about how important it is that you surround yourself with good, supportive, challenging people.

“Social proof is one of the prime drivers of behavior.” -Joshua Boswell

8:22 am

Guillermo Rubio, a successful and established copywriter, is sharing his story. He points out that fear can lead you to your success. Often the thing you fear doing is the thing that will move you forward.

8:27 am

Guillermo just made a point that I really love. It helps to overcome your fears by making a game of what you are doing. Turn your work – especially the things you fear – into play.

8:31 am

John Carlton is taking the stage. I cannot wait to hear what he has to say. Just a quick reminder … if you’re a Wealthy Web Writer Platinum member, make sure you are logged in. Some of the things I share will be visible only if you’re logged in.

8:44 am

John Carlton talks about one of the best ways to learn about writing and freelancing. He recommends making a lot of mistakes, licking your wounds, analyzing what you did wrong, adjusting your approach, and trying again.

9:00 am

If you are going to change your life, it is up to you and you alone.

9:23 am

Here’s a goal-setting exercise that you may not have tried.

Make three columns. In the left column make a list of all the things you want to do. In the right column make a list of all the things you don’t want to do. Now spend your time doing the things you want to do and not doing the things you don’t want to do.

But here’s the thing … in that middle column, you have to put the things that you don’t want to do, but that you have to do in order to get to the point that you don’t have to do the any more.

9:44 am

John Carlton was inspiring, funny, and well worth listening to. Hear his entire presentation when you order Bootcamap-on-Demand.

10:06 am

Next up we’ll hear from Carline Anglade-Cole. Carline is a top-tier direct-response copywriter who mentored with Clayton Makepeace and then took the copywriting world by storm. I’m excited to hear what she has to say. And of course, I’ll be sharing my favorite moments with you!

10:14 am

Carline increased her success by writing faster. Not only did she complete more work, but her work performed better, too. More project fees and more royalties.

10:33 am

Working with clients on an ongoing basis helps you write faster because you’re not constantly relearning expectations and the research you do on the project will carry over to others.

10:49 am

When writer’s block strikes, go do something else. Goof off. But tell yourself to work on what you need in the background.

Morning highlights from the Twitter-sphere

11:18 am

Next up is Herschell Gordon Lewis. He’s a legend. This will be good!

11:26 am

Herschell is brilliant at sharing tips and tricks for weeding weakness out of your copy. Right now, he’s emphasizing the value in losing semi-motivators, like “you’ll be among the first …” Write to a single person. Not a group.

11:48 am

Ditch the stuffy, formal, dull, pretentious corporate speak. Insist on it with your clients. An example, “A message from our chairman …” Don’t allow writing like that.

12:02 pm

On a case-by-case basis, test things that are direct mail assumptions. For example, you might find that “You’ll pay less” doesn’t work as well as “Others will pay more.” Even though the assumption is “you” is always the best choice … it may not be.

12:33 pm

We’re breaking for lunch. But I’ll be back this afternoon with more good stuff!

2:07 pm

And we’re back. Bob Bly is going to share 10 steps to having a great copywriting career for life … I’ll be sharing my favorites, so check back regularly.

2:13 pm

Bob’s first tip is related to the 1,000 hour rule–the rule that you have to work at something for 1,000 hours before you get good at it. He recommends–and you’ve heard it before–that you write every day. He points out that the opportunity to get good writing experience is bigger than ever.

  • If you work for a company, ask to write articles for the company newsletter.
  • Start a blog and publish to it three times a week
  • Look for local, small newspapers and offer to writer for them

Whatever you do, find a way to write with purpose.

2:38 pm

Get testimonials from clients. Get samples for your portfolio. Do this early in your career so that you can demonstrate your work to new clients. Bob says to post as many testimonials and samples on your site as you have available.

A Few Photos From Bootcamp





4:03 pm

Donna Baier Stein is discussing how you can write and publish a book in the next year. One of the best ways to improve your writing is to find a book of writing prompts or a website that gives a daily prompt and to, each day, write for ten minutes on the day’s prompt without stopping and without censoring yourself.

4:34 pm

The process of writing should be playful and free. For that to happen, you must find a way to silence your inner critic. Donna reminds you that you can always invite your critic back later when it is more welcome.

4:47 pm

Brian Kurtz of Boardroom fame is with us now to talk about what it takes to make it big as a direct response copywriter.

4:58 pm

One of the first points that Brian makes is that to succeed big is to outwork everyone else. Don’t just settle for beating someone else’s control. Look for ways to beat your own control. In other words, always be working to do better, to be better, and to deliver more.

5:29 pm

The more you understand about direct response marketing principles, the better you’ll be at the work of direct response copywriting. You need to understand lists and funnels and the data that gets collected and how to interpret it. If you don’t know about these things, start reading up.

5:33 pm

Brian is sharing power tip after power tip. His session alone is loaded with ideas about how you can rise into the top ranks of copywriters. You can listen to the whole thing when you order your copy of Bootcamp-on-Demand. The special price ends Friday night, so don’t wait too long!

That’s a wrap for today. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing tips from Will Newman and Dan Kennedy, John Forde and Jen Stevens. It’s going to be another great day!

Friday, October 17th, 2014

8:50 am

Good morning, Wealthy Web Writers! Another day of Bootcamp is underway. This morning Will Newman is answering the single most important question about writing successful headlines.

8:53 am

Your prospect is a real person with hopes, dreams, fears, worries, desires, needs, and wants. You can’t create those things. They already exist within the person you are writing to. Your first job as a copywriter is to figure out what those things are.

9:07 am

When you get to know your audience, you want to understand their likes and dislikes, the kinds of things they purchase, the books they read, and the beliefs they hold. A few ways to find this information:

  • Talk to the marketing team
  • Use social media, forums, and product reviews to see what your audience is saying
  • Interview someone who is part of your audience … take them to lunch and just listen

9:16 am

Develop a three dimensional image of an individual you are writing to. Use your imagination. Think about what this person looks like. Where they live. What’s important to them. What their hopes are. What makes them angry. What they lose sleep over. Even give this person a name.

This will help you talk to your audience in a one-to-one way. If your copy sounds like you’re writing to a group, you’ll lose the connection. You have to write to an individual.

9:45 am

Our next session is with Jen Stevens and John Forde — what worked and what didn’t.

9:54 am

In copywriting stories work, but they have to be the right stories. You have to tell a story that your audience wants to see themselves in. If you’re not tell a story that your audience wants to be the hero of, you’ll lose them.

10:57 am

Dan Kennedy is speaking now. He makes a point that too many copywriters approach potential clients saying, “I’m a copywriter, please hire me.” You have to differentiate yourself by taking a different approach.

Your prospect isn’t thinking about your needs. He is thinking about his. You have to learn about his pain points and his goals and approach him about his own needs.

11:23 am

Instead of trying to get clients, work on getting leads. Nurture those leads and eventually many will become clients.

“The chief reason it’s hard for you to get clients is because you are trying so hard to get clients.” Dan Kennedy

Morning highlights from the Twitter-sphere

11:45 am

The fastest first step you can take toward creating a media platform is to work with people who already have a media platform that caters to your target audience. They need content. You need traffic. It’s a good trade.

12:03 pm

Part of being a consultant+copywriter is asking your client a lot of questions to uncover the problems (read that as “opportunities”) that are right in front of you that your client doesn’t know how to recognize.

12:19 pm

When developing your marketing strategy, begin with the goal of having your clients predetermine that they want to work with you. Then build your system from that perspective … what do you need to do to bring your clients to the decision to seek you out.

Do that and you will never have to go find clients again. They will come to you.

Listening to Dan’s full session will help you figure out the system you need to put in place to build a “come-to-me” client base. You have access through Bootcamp-on-Demand. Secure your order today. After that, the price will go up!

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

8:35 am

Last day of Bootcamp. We’re getting started with Joshua Boswell.

8:52 am

Joshua has a question for you. It’s the question you need to ask that will put you on the path to freelance writing success. “What do you want to do with your freedom?”

Take out a piece of paper and a pen or open a document on your computer and write two minutes, from the heart, and without stopping exactly what you want to do with your freedom.

9:14 am

Joshua is making a great analogy about feeding ducks and finding clients. He and his family were out feeding ducks. Another family can running up. The children were noisy and instead of tossing bread to the ducks they were pelting them with it. The ducks scattered.

That’s what your prospects do sometimes. They want what you offer and you want to give it to them, but if your presentation is desperate or overbearing, they’ll scatter just like the ducks.

9:33 am

Establish yourself as a professional. Your prospects need to know a little about you. An introduction letter will give them that. Your prospects also want to know that you can write. So you need samples to show your ability. Your prospects want to trust you. So you need a system that you can share to show them that you have an established way of doing things.

10:15 am

Clayton Makepeace has taken the stage!

10:21 am

Clayton is talking now about the importance of your failures. “What most people don’t realize is that I’m here because of my failures.” Clayton says it’s fun to talk about the winning sales packages, but the losers are part of it, too. Even the great writers have losers. To succeed as a copywriter, you need to know going into it that everything you write won’t always work.

10:36 am

When you’re writing a marketing package, whether it’s an online package or for direct mail, you need to ask your client if their goal is to gain as many new customers as possible or to make as much money as possible.

Some clients are willing to make their first sale at a loss because the lifetime value of the customer is worth it. You have to understand what you’re doing before you start writing.

10:58 am

When you’re coming up with your big idea for a marketing campaign or sales package, consider what companies are doing in other industries. Sometimes you’ll find something that can port over to what you are doing and that will seem completely new in your industry.

11:09 am

“Your most powerful advantage as a copywriter comes with learning to use dominant emotions.” Clayton Makepeace

11:22 am

A final bit of advice from Clayton Makepeace:

Describing the practical benefits of a product is fine. But by the time you get to your final draft, you want your reader to feel her way through the package. People buy for emotional reasons, not practical ones.

People don’t buy an investment newsletter because of the number of winners it picks. They buy the investment newsletter because they want to be able to afford a new car, a house at the beach, a new wardrobe … the investment newsletter purchase is about having a new life.

11:27 am

I can’t believe this Bootcamp has come to an end. It’s been an amazing four days and I was glad to share part of it with you. Thank you so much for joining me for 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.


  • Good information. I’ll look forward to your reports.
    Sorry, I can’t help but point out that your note isn’t proofed. I find three errors in the first two paragraphs with my first read through.

  • have there been any bootcamp updates yet? kinda excited to follow along as much as possible
    thank you,

  • Thanks so much for the blogs. It’s nice to get a feel for the excitement even if I can’t be there. Really looking forward to getting my hands on “Bootcamp on Demand” so I can see what you’re seeing.
    See you tomorrow.

  • just finished reading through the updates….. great info…. can’t wait to experience bootcamp firsthand next year..

  • Hi Heather,
    Thanks so much for sharing; reading your notes is providing me great refreshers of some of the best moments and talks from the weekend; I can’t wait to revisit them with the audio recordings. But I’ve got a question for you… with such a jam packed agenda, when did you have time to visit the beach and get in that picture?? 🙂

    • The picture was actually from my balcony 🙂

      But I did manage to slip in one walk on the beach. I was in business attire, shoes in one hand, water up to my calves and getting quite a few strange looks from those more appropriately dressed for the surf. I’m glad you enjoyed the Live Blog. Thank you!

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