Dates: February 26th to March 1st
Time: Real time
Topics: Website copy optimization, blogging, content marketing, ppc marketing, email marketing, sales funnels, and more!
Presenters: Nick Usborne, Pam Foster, Brian York, Brian Clark, Ryan Deiss, Jon Morrow, and Gary Hennerberg
The Web Copy Intensive is one of the most in-depth, career-transforming, web-writing events you can imagine. And only a few dozen writers get to attend each year, so there’s plenty of one-on-one interaction between the attendees and the experts.
But even if you can’t be there with us in person, you can still feel like you’re there and get more than a handful of valuable takeaways that can speed you on your way to web-writing success.
Here’s how it works. During the Web Intensive, I’ll be sitting in on each session, taking notes at a furious pace and then posting, in real time, the top takeaways and insights from each of the amazing speakers.
Each update will be time-stamped, so you’ll know what the speakers are saying when they say it.
I’ll also be talking to attendees in between sessions and sharing the most helpful insights that they’ve come away with.
Plus, you can join in the fun. All you have to do is comment. I’ll be responding to those in real-time, too, so you can make observations, ask questions, or poke fun at my typos (because those do happen when you’re working in real time!)
Plus at the end of the event, I will randomly select one lucky comment to receive a copy of the Home Study program for free.
Oh… one more thing. Make sure you’re logged in. Some of my updates are for Platinum Members only.
So let’s have some fun!
Sunday, February 26th, 2017
Things are about to get started and the room is abuzz!
We’re getting warmed up with the questions, What is your goal? and Why is that your goal? Join us in the comments. Tell us your goal and the why behind it.
During the next three days, Pam Foster is going to help us see how all the different kinds of writing we’re learning about can tie in together.
She started with a recommendation — to download the State of the Industry Report: AWAI’s 2017 Copywriting Pricing Guide. You can click that link and download your copy for free.
Nick Usborne has the floor. I’ve seen Nick do several keynote speeches over the years… and I always come aware inspired. So, hold on to your hats… this is going to be good.
His topic tonight is “adjacent possibilities.” I’ve definitely got my curiosity piqued.
He gives a Reese’s peanut butter cup as an example. An adjacent possibility is when you take two similar or related things and put them together to make a new thing. Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Bam. Something new and revolutionary.
This works for web writers, too. Think about the skills you have and how you can combine them to add compounded value to your work. For example, you might combine your content writing skills with your social media skills to position yourself as more valuable content marketer.
One of the quiet, exciting things about adjacent possibilities is that you don’t to be the best at any one thing. You just have to pretty good or two or three things that you can combine to create massive value. In other words, this is an easier way to increase your value and set yourself apart.
“The perception of value is dependent on context.” -Nick Usborne
This means you have to always put forward the best version of yourself to establish your value. This is something that a lot of writers are uncomfortable with… so start working on getting into the mindset where you are aware of and in control of the way people perceive you.
A lot of good stuff from Nick. More good stuff to come tomorrow. I’ll see you back here at 8:00 am, Central Time!
An Inside Look at the First Night
Monday, February 26th, 2017
We’re kicking off the day with Ryan Deiss. Ryan is so knowledgeable about online marketing, testing, targeting, audiences, messages… all of it.
Ryan is starting out by clarifying the difference between your message and the messaging. He says sooner or later you’ll have a client that says, “I have a great product, but my audience just isn’t getting it.”
That’s a signal that even if your message is good, the structure of your message — and how you’re delivering it — may not be working for what you’re doing.
No matter what you’re doing, what you are selling in your messaging is transformation. You are transported your customer from a less desirable state to a more desirable state. Think of benefits in terms of “What is the transformation this product will deliver?”
This transformative effect will inform everything you do in your copy.
The transformation your product makes is even more important that your product itself. Focus your messaging on the “after.” Don’t focus on the product. Focus on the product’s transformative effects. Otherwise you’ll lose sight of the key part of your message.
And don’t forget the power of imagery to convey the transformative power of your product. The images are part of your messaging.
Don’t underestimate the power of stories to convey the transformative effect of your product.
Ryan is talking about how to sell a lawn care service. He notes that most lawn care services sell a living green lawn. If he were doing it, he would sell Saturdays. The lawn care service will give you your Saturdays back. So much possibility in that messaging.
Before you ever write a single word of copy, Ryan recommends you interview at least 20 prospects. Ask them about what they want. And ask them about to tell you stories about how they feel, about their average day, and about how they believe others perceive them and how they want to be perceived.
“People don’t want to buy a product or service that is different. They want to buy a product or service that will transform them.”
He recommends you develop a Statement of Value (customer centric) over a Unique Selling Proposition (product centric).
Ryan describes eight stages of a value journey for your prospects.
- Awareness — They find you.
- Engagement — They read things you’ve published.
- Subscription — They give you a way to follow up.
- Conversion — They make a small purchase.
- Excitement — They are satisfied and want to buy more, read more, subscribe more.
- Ascension — They continue to be a customer, becoming a repeat buyer.
- Advocate — They start to tell you about how great their experience has been.
- Promotion — They start to tell others how great their experience has been.
In your marketing, always be thinking about the obvious next step. Plan your lead magnet to facilitate the obvious next step. If your lead magnet is “How to Close the Sale,” the obvious next step is “Do you want to talk about how to bring in more leads so you can put that info about closing that sale to more use.”
If you’re not getting the conversions you want, you are probably asking for too much too soon. Remember to break things down into obvious steps. Move your prospects through the process step-by-step, increasing their commitment each step of the way.
I hope you enjoyed the tips from Ryan. Our next session is with Brian York on pay-per-click marketing. We’ll get started at 10:15 am
We’re getting just a little bit of a late start, but Brian York has the floor. He’s going talk about what PPC is, the fundamentals of a paid search campaign, and the anatomy of a perfect ad.
Brian is the Managing Director of Agora Integrated Marketing, the internal marketing agency for Agora properties.
So first things first… PPC is simply a method of paying for ad space. It happens on search engines like Google. It happens on social networks like Facebook. And it happens through native advertising networks like Outbrain. During the session today, he’ll focus on Google AdWords.
Whether you do keyword research for your clients or your client gives you keywords to work with, if you’re writing pay-per-click ads, it’s critical you understand the role keywords play.
One the things that Google uses to determine how much you’ll pay per click is the click-through rate. You as the copywriter have an enormous impact on the click-through rate, which means by being a good writer, you can save your client money on their ad campaigns. Money that they can use to pay you to write more ads.
Imagery is becoming very important in PPC marketing. As a writer, you should send images or image ideas to support your ads.
Gmail sponsored promotions appear in the “Promotions” tab of your gmail inbox. This is an excellent place to study what is working in ppc ads.
One of the powerful things about gmail sponsored promotion is that it allows you to use domain targeting, meaning you can say “show these ads to people receive emails from [these domains].” Very effective and not yet a lot of competition.
It may seem like I’m asleep at the wheel. We’re actually doing a hands-on exercise, creating our own PPC text ads. So don’t worry… I’ll start posting again shortly 🙂
Brian noted that there have some big changes to Google PPC ads. You used to be limited to three lines with 25, 35, and 35 characters respectively. Now you have 30, 30, and 80 characters respectively. So more wiggle room!
So, I had a meeting, which lead me to not be here for Gary’s full presentation, but I want to share some great information about writing powerful emails.
Gary uses seven different methods to connect with your reader on an emotional level.
From his notes…
One is to tap into what Gary calls FUD. These are your reader’s fear, uncertainty, and doubt… the things that stop your reader from thinking about anything else but what you’re going to say.
Storytelling is another very, very effective way to grab your reader’s attention and involve them emotionally in the message.
A third way is to agitate your reader’s fears, but then to quickly offer reassurance that you can provide relief.
More on storytelling. Stories convert your short-term memory into a long-term memory. A powerful way to use stories is to provide your reader a pathway to see themselves as a participant in the story.
Gary does a lot of hands-on exercises in his sessions (something you can participate in if you purchase the Home Study Program), which is why I keep having long-ish breaks in my updates.
He just mentioned how you can increase your email open rates if you use deliberate ambiguity in your subject line. He used “Hot Loaded Italian” as an example. That’s a sandwich, but it gets people wondering, and so they’ll continue into your email message.
Writing Time with the Copy Chiefs
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
Good morning! Brian Clark is speaking about doing good content marketing. One of his first points is that having a love for fiction can make you a better content writer.
Content marketing is an act of patience. You build a relationship with your market over time, so that buying becomes an easy decision. It becomes their idea, rather than you pushing the idea at them.
One of the most important things to understand as a content marketer is that you are not the hero. Your client is. And if you are writing for a client, they are not the hero. Their customer is.
Brian notes that you can effectively market — using any strategy — if you are trying to reach everyone. Not only do you need to choose who you will target. You need to choose who you will exclude.
The easiest way to determine who you want to reach is to start by defining your own core values and then reach out to an audience that reflects those core values. And then don’t worry about the people you alienate. They aren’t your audience.
Brian has a process he uses to get to really know your target audience: an empathy map. It’s pretty in depth, so I’m going to give you some in-depth reading to learn more about it. Empathy Maps on Copyblogger.
Content marketing gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your authority, rather than just claiming it. And that is very persuasive.
Your goal in content marketing is to make sales. That doesn’t mean that you sell in every piece of content you publish. But you should have a call to action in your content, even if the action is to comment or to share the post… or just a soft suggestion to call you if they are ready to talk about their needs.
Brain shares four things to keep in mind when creating your content marketing story. Be unpredictable. Be simple. Be real. And be credible.
And for every one of these, he ties in relevance. So be relevant.
Notes from Attendees
Nick Usborne is talking social media… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have the best return on investment when it comes to social media advertising.
Nick is talking about influencers in social media and the monetary pay off to becoming an influencer. On Instagram, an industry influencer with a million followers can charge $50,000 for posting a sponsored image. That’s pretty wild.
Some social media experts specialize in cultivating relationships with influencers.
Eight types of wildly shared content:
- Lists and numbers
- What’s new
- How to…
- Myth busting
- Photo essays
- Scary stuff
- Surveys and Quizzes
80% of social media time is spent on a Smartphone. There’s a huge opportunity here for social media writers who understand how this changes how users engage.
Jon Morrow is here to talk about blogging and how to make it so that people pay attention and want to share your work. His blog earns about $1 million a year through his blog.
When you write useful content, you help people. One of things Jon mentions is how great it feels to receive emails from readers who you’ve helped.
Jon shares three things you need to do if you want to create something that goes viral. You need really good content. You need influential connections. You need to turn visitors into converts.
So, I haven’t been hiding. I’ve actually been doing an interview with Brian Clark just for our Platinum members. It will be available in a couple weeks, and I’m really excited to share it with you!
But now I’m back. And just in time to hear Jon Morrow making an interesting point about your audience. He says, “Your target audience is not your target audience.” If you want a post to go viral, you have to write in a way that reaches outside your target audience. But in doing so, it may bring you new people who are your target audience.
Jon has some very good questions you can ask yourself to help you come up with great content for your broader audience. One is “What conventional wisdom in your niche is actually wrong?”
Right now, people are answer that question aloud, and it is amazing to hear Jon come up with headlines. He’s a genius. To see what I mean, you’ll need the Home Study Program.
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Pam Foster has taken the floor. She’s talking about things you can do to make yourself a hero to your clients.
She’s started out with common mistakes that she sees web owners making and what you can do to fix them… and when you fix them, your clients will LOVE you!
The first thing to look for is if it’s clear what they do. If a client calls you, go to the home page first thing, and make sure you can tell from the get-go what they do. You’d be surprised at how many sites don’t provide immediate clarity about what they do.
Sometimes it’s clear what the site is about, but there’s no big promise. That’s another easy thing, for you as the writer, to fix.
When reviewing a site for a client, be on the look out for weak a call to action or no call to action. Remember, you have to lead your prospect down the path you want them to follow. If you want them to sign up, say so and tell them how. If you want them to call, ask them to. If you want them to order, give them clear steps.
If you’re working with a local business that serves local clients, make sure their Name, Address, and Phone number is prominent on every page of the website.
Pam has a ten-point checklist you can use to strengthen any website, but you’ll need to grab a copy of the Home Study Program to get it in detail. Order before the end of the day on March 2nd and you’ll save $1000.