How to Write About a Problem If You Haven’t Experienced It

A good copywriter can write effective copy for any type of product or service, without ever having needed it for themselves. Even if they haven’t experienced a problem personally, they can study it enough to develop an understanding of it, to show empathy for the situation so that they relate to the copy on the page.

Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel

Copywriting has been around for ages. People who have products to sell have long been trying to figure out how to get more people to make the decision to buy their products. The tricks of the trade have never stopped working, whether it is a sales page on the internet or a brochure at your dentist’s office.

Get to Know the Audience

One way to develop empathy for your audience is to get to know who they are. What audience are you trying to sell the product to? Why? What problems does it solve for them? What benefits does it have for them? What keeps them up at night? How much money do they earn and how much of that is extra money? Can your product be afforded via extra money, or is it a needed item that can fit into the household budget? All this information is imperative.

Use Reviews or Interview Users of the Product

One way to help write effective copy is to talk to the people who have found success using the product. Even talking to people who haven’t been happy with the product can help tremendously to ensure that you’re targeting the right audience – plus that information can be used to improve the product as well as the copy.

Stick to a Formula

You may not be aware, but there are various copywriting formulas that you can use to help you work through a proper sales page. You can combine them and use them individually. Buffer has a list of 27 copywriting formulas that you can use to make your sales pages and copy even better, and write about problems you’ve never had.

Link – https://blog.bufferapp.com/copywriting-formulas

Show Empathy

To show empathy, use words that denote empathy. For example, saying, “I understand” is a way to show empathy even if you don’t understand. You can also give examples in your words such as this one: “If I had that problem I would be very worried, but I would look to this amazing product to help me because it solves all these problems.”

Choose the Right Words

When writing a sales page, you want to choose the words that your audience uses. A great way to discover their way of talking is to frequent online groups with that audience in it. Observe their discussions, copy down the questions they ask, and write down the way they use the words. Then try to emulate them in your copy so that they feel understood.

Less Is More

Long-form sales pages are great, but you want to avoid filler words. A good way to get rid of filler words is to write whatever comes to mind, then go back and delete unneeded words that don’t help you get the point across.

Use the Right Tools

There are many tools today that will help you write amazing copy, create fabulous-looking sales pages, and even allow for A/B testing at a touch of a button. Software like Converzly.com, Leadpages.net, and others can help you make amazing sales pages that really speak to your audience and help you write about problems you haven’t had.

Writing effective copy about a problem you’ve never experienced may seem challenging, but it’s not impossible. Copywriters the world over have been doing it for many years – long before the internet was invented. Just get to know the audience along with the problems they experience, then let yourself feel their feelings so that your empathy for them shines through in your copy.

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How to Get Clicks without Using Click-baiting Phrases

You’ve seen click-bait used on many sites including on major news websites. Hyperbolic headlines and titles seem to have become the norm. But, most people express displeasure about it. Due to the high usage of these types of headlines, people are starting to become blind to them. Thankfully, you can get clicks without using click-baiting phrases. In fact, you’ll even build up more of that know, like, trust factor you need.

Tell Them What It’s About – The fact is, your readers want to know what’s inside the article. If you can tell them in the headline, then you’re going to get more reliable clicks than if you use hyperbolic headlines. Think about what you want them to do after they click through. You want them to read the content and answer your call to action. Will they do that if they click through to read and what you said was inside isn’t?

Tell Them At Least One Benefit – Your audience wants to know why they should read the article. Try to tell them why within the headline, so that they know if they click through they’ll learn something. “How to Write Click-bait Free Headlines Every Time” is a headline that gives the benefit of click-bait free headlines in combination of what exactly the article is about.

Test Your Headlines – Most auto-responders allow for testing of different titles, which can help you create better headlines. Split up your list and use one headline for one side of your list, and the other for the other side, but send them out at the same time. Send the most opened headline to those who did not open from either list.

Include Stats in Your Headlines – People love facts and the more facts you can include in a headline, the more likely you are to get clicks. Stats aren’t manipulative either; they’re based on fact and mean something. “29% of Marketers Love This Software” is a great headline if you want marketers to click. They key is to truly give them the rest of the information within the article too.

Optimize for Keywords – Anytime you can use keywords in the first three words of your title, do so. There isn’t anything manipulative about that because you have to have a way for your audience to find your content so that you can help them.

Don’t Leave Out the Dek – This is the area below the title that shows up often in search engines and on social shares. Make sure this part of your share is showing up and further explaining what the article is going to be about. It can explain the title further for the reader.

Avoid Tricks and Manipulation – It’s been said elsewhere in this article but it can’t be repeated enough. Tricks and manipulation might get clicks, but they won’t get results. If you’re after results, buys, conversions and sales, don’t trick your audience. Respect them enough to be honest.

Take a Stand – Even though this might seem like clickbait, if you really do take a stand as the headline states, it’s not. For example, you can write a title such as “End Clickbait Forever” and mean it. Sure, forever is a long time, but you’re taking a stand and you’ll explain in the article.

Speak Directly to the Reader – When you write a headline or any content for your audience, try to write to an audience of one. Use personal pronouns like “you” in your titles and in your content, and you’ll connect better with them without even trying.

Avoid Superlatives – This is when you add words like “ever”, “best”, “perfect”, “smartest”, etc.… as an explanation to your title. Adding in too many extraneous words clutters up the title and takes away from the meaning. It also does little to let the customer know what’s inside.

Headlines are central to getting more eyes on your content, but you don’t want to be manipulative to the point that you’re misleading them. Just think of how you feel when it happens to you, and think about how your audience will feel if you do it to them.

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How Becoming an Author Can Increase Your Expert Status

A great way to become an expert in your niche is to become an author. Writing a book requires that you know something about your topic, and are able to communicate it in a cohesive way that makes sense to your audience. It’s one of the most tried and true ways of building up expertise status. It was an effective way to do it even before the internet, and the ease of publishing eBooks on Kindle and your website.

You Can Prove What You Know

Writing a book is a great little selling tool that consist of an easy to give away (or sell) package of information that you know. It’s just all there; you put your knowledge in the book, and then you can prove that you have that knowledge because you were able to put that together for your audience.

You Have Something to Show for Your Efforts

Nothing is more satisfying than having that book with the cover showing your name bold on the front. It’s one reason people who are involved a great deal in education are encouraged and in some cases required to become published to prove what they know. Nothing works better than the process of writing a book to clarify what you know and believe.

Builds Your Credibility

You can shout from the rooftops that you’re an expert, and you may very well be. But, the book is proof that you have that knowledge. People respect it, and when they see that you’re published they will believe that you have credibility, even if you self-publish. This is because you are willing to put that book out there, and take the criticism that goes with putting your ideas out into the public for comment.

You Can’t Hide behind a Curtain as an Author

So many people want to hide behind their computers when working online or owning a digital business. But, as an author you need to come out of the closet and show who you really are. That’s the real key to becoming an expert: being who you are, owning what you know, and showing the world.

A Book Will Increase Your Value

If you provide services, want to speak in public, or have great products, a book will increase your value exponentially. When people see you as an expert – and a book will help you accomplish that – they are willing to pay more money for your products, services and information. As your value increases you’ll work less, and have more time to study more, write more and boost your expertise even more.

You’ll Learn More Than You Know Now

As you write a book, you will collect a lot of information from other experts and from your own studies, and that will help you learn even more. You might even change your mind about something as you write your book. That’s okay because that’s what experts do. As they learn more, you know more, and you increase your expertise even more.

A Book Teaches You Communication

When you write a book, you have to put your audience first in your mind as you disseminate the information to them. This will give you a lot of practice thinking in terms of how your audience perceives what you write. You always have to write with your audience in mind so that they get what you’re saying. It’s always about them and how they communicate best.

A Book Gives You a Platform for All Your Other Offers

If you want a great platform in which to offer your services, expertise and ideas to others, then a book is the best way to do it. The book gives you an actual thing – whether it’s digital or physical – to point your audience to when questions arise that are answered in the book.

Writing a book takes a lot of thought and planning. And if you put your best foot forward with writing it, direct it to your audience, and write what they need to know, you will advance yourself to expert status with every word.

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Is Your Writing Ready for Submission?

Writing for yourself or a client doesn’t really change much about the process of getting your writing ready to be submitted. It doesn’t matter if it’s for yourself or clients, it’s imperative that you ensure it’s ready for submission. This advice can work for any type of writing you’re doing.

Find Some Beta Readers – One way to help with your writing, especially if you’re writing books is to find beta readers. These are people who love reading work in your genre who have agreed that in exchange for getting free books to read they’ll give you honest and quick feedback about what they read. Once you get the feedback, you can use that to perfect your work before it goes to the publisher.

Ensure You Have A Beginning, a Middle & an End – If you’re writing a story, there must be a whole story. Even if you’re writing articles like this one, they must have an introduction, body text, and a conclusion. If you leave these things out, it feels weird to the reader. Don’t leave your writing unfinished.

Don’t Fall in Love with Your Own Excellence – It can be easy to believe after all your hard work, the research you’ve done, and the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve shed to get your writing finished is just perfection. It’s important that you don’t let yourself believe this because if you want your work also to be sellable that you take the advice of your publisher, your editor, or your client too. It’s not personal.

Always Edit for Everything – Even if you know an editor is going to look at the work once you’re finished with the first part of writing everything you should still either edit yourself or have someone else edit it before submitting. You want to turn in your best work. It will make the entire editing and perfecting process much shorter if you do this.

During Editing Focus on Removing Words Over Adding Words – Once you’re in the editing process focus on taking words away rather than adding more if possible. Take words from your manuscript that is extra that you don’t need. If it doesn’t advance your meaning, you don’t need it. This will make your writing more concise. For example, do you really need the word “really” here?

If You’re Publishing a Story, the Story Is First – When you tell a story, the flow of the story is more important than being witty or clever in your phrasing. If someone doesn’t understand what you mean to say no amount of cleverness will help.

If You’re Writing Web Content, Ensure Formatting is Right – When you write content that will be read on the web or in an email, it’s imperative that you realize that when you are writing it. The formatting is different because reading walls of text online is very difficult. You want plenty of bullets, headings, subheadings and chunky content that’s easy to read.

Check the Guidelines – Depending on who you’re writing for there should be guidelines to check. Remember when you were in school, and your teacher gave you a rubric to follow to ensure everything you turned in had the components needed to be complete? It’s the same thing here. Even if you’re writing for yourself create a rubric for your writing to check off what is done.

Get Your Marketing Collateral Created – This really does depend on your situation, but if you’re expected or need to create all of that yourself then you’ll want to do it now. That way you can get feedback on that too. You may need graphics, book covers, copy and more to market your finished product.

Depending on your situation, if you’re writing a book and submitting to a publisher, you’re probably going to have to make even more edits and changes. However, having done the work to make it as perfect as you can before submitting it will reduce the amount of work and ensure your professionalism remains intact. If you’re writing for other purposes, your attention to the details will pay off in that clients will appreciate the extra effort.

How Your Writing Skills Help Others

If you’re a writer, you have a skill that many people only dream of having. You can use that skill to affect change in so many ways from writing letters to the editor, to writing grants, to simply making your client’s lives easier writing is a wonderful career full of opportunities to help or change others.

Save Your Clients Time

While your writing gives your clients a lot more than just time, the time is what they’re going to notice the most at first. Most people who hire writers aren’t writers themselves, so it takes them a lot longer to get the work done. As a writer, you’ll save them time so that they can come up with other ideas and focus on the parts of their business that they do well.

Persuade them to Be Better

When you are good at persuasive writing, which most online writing is, you’ll be able to persuade people to do all sorts of things from buying that new dress, to getting on a healthy diet, to joining that non-profit fundraiser. It’s an awesome skill to have.

Help a Non-Profit Succeed

Volunteering can be hectic for people who have full-time jobs. As a freelance writer, while you do have to write a few hours a day, you don’t write 8 hours a day or 10 hours a day like you would have to in a job. That means you have time to devote to causes you care about. By volunteering your writing skills to create newspapers, fundraising info and so forth, you will not only give them something invaluable you may also make more connections with people who will pay you for your writing skills.

Help Them Choose Something

Sometimes writing is simple and designed to help them choose between a couple things. For example, if you’re choosing between two books about the same topic what makes you decide? Knowing that will help you get better at that type of writing but helping someone make a choice is a gift.

Special Memories for Your Family & Friends

You can also use your writing skills, assuming you are skilled creativity, to make special memories for your family. If you’re a songwriter, write them a song. You can also just write a beautiful letter as a gift. You may also volunteer your writing for any deaths in the family.

Teach Your Kids to Write Better

Since you can write, you’ll be able to teach your kids to write better. This is going to be a big advantage to them when it comes to the writing they do in school. You can even volunteer at your local library helping other children write too.

Increase Your Client’s Income

If you write a profitable sales page the amount your clients can earn depending on their product is unlimited. If the product is half as good as they say it is, and you can write sales pages that convert your page might make your client 200K in 48 hours after launch. Won’t that feel great?

Promote a Cause You Care About

If you care about an issue, you can write about it. Post on medium.com, or your local newspaper in letters to the editor, or you can even write about those things and post them on other sites, blogs, and so forth.

Using your writing skills to help your clients, your family, friends and you are all reasons to become a freelance writer if you have the skills. Writing is about so much more than just the product. It’s about the results the product produces for the user. When you realize that you realize the possibilities of contributing to society using your writing skills are endless.

 

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Locating & Landing Advanced Writing Projects – Tips for Freelancers

One way to make more money is to work on intermediate and advanced writing projects. These types of projects often earn more money due to specialization and knowledge. You can find intermediate and advanced work online and offline. But if you want to land these projects, you need to be prepared.

Create a Portfolio – To get advanced jobs you’re going to need some examples of your work that carries your byline. If you’re a ghostwriter, this can be tricky. You’re not going to get clients to agree to let you use what you wrote. Therefore, you need to create content for your portfolio to show the examples. You can do this by publishing on Medium.com, guest posting, and publishing your own work.

Improve Your Online Presence – Your website and your social platforms liked LinkedIn need to be improved and updated. Higher-end clients will check your site out and your process. They want to feel like they are working with an expert. If your website is not professional, and your online presence is sparse or poorly branded, and your onboarding process is lacking you won’t get the higher paying projects.

Be Confident in Your Skills – Confidence is something that comes with experience. When you have the experience of doing good work that gets recognition and praises your confidence will build. Until then you may need to think positively as you practice your craft and act as if you do have the confidence already by using the language of confidence. “I will” instead of, “I think.”

Join Writer Organizations – When you join an organization for writers, especially if you find one that is within your niche, you will see calls for proposals usually in the back of the magazine. Additionally, some publications accept unsolicited work and the writer organization can help you find them.

Pitch Every Day – When you find opportunities don’t put off pitching. You need to pitch ideas at least once a day to get hired for enough work to ensure your income. You’re going to get more noes than yeses.

Be Patient – You will get more noes than yeses. Because of this, it’s imperative that you stay patient and don’t let it bother you. If you’re working on perfecting your portfolio and your pitches, you will land an intermediate or advanced writing project eventually.

Find the Right Clients – If you want to work on intermediate to advanced writing projects more, you may need to change your ideal client. Your ideal client may be a multiple six-figure personality or coach instead of a mommy blogger who has a smaller budget.

Know where to look for clients and projects that are more advanced. That may be through publications, or it might be by changing your ideal client profile to match better the type of writing you want o do. As you build your network and get known more online and offline and you continue pitching and marketing every day, you will succeed.

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Cutting Ties with Soul Sucking Clients

As a business owner, or a freelancer, one thing can send you looking online for jobs fast is a soul-sucking client. A soul-sucking client may come in many varieties from time suckers to overly critical to just outright nasty. Some people think if they are paying you, they can do whatever they want to you. This is sad but guess what, you can prevent it, and you can do something about it right away when you notice it. Let’s look more into how you can cut ties with soul-sucking clients without selling yours.

Prevention is Key

The very first thing you can do regarding soul-sucking clients is not to work with them in the first place. One way to avoid that is to screen your clients carefully. Set up interviewing and on-boarding systems that ensure a smooth transition for you and them. For example, set up an interview process to weed through clients. Set up policies and procedures in a manual, and make sure it’s all available to your clients for reference.

If All Else Fails

No on-boarding system is perfect. You will need to improve it as you go. If you find yourself working with someone you view as soul-sucking and a serious problem to your work and happiness, you’ll have to deal with it head-on. How you deal with it will depend on the client, but most of the time the best thing to do is look to your contract and then send a notice that you’re ending the contract per the agreement. Telling the soul-sucking client why will probably not help much. The more professional thing to do is just let them know when you’re ending the contract by notice so that they can find someone else.

You Are a Professional

One thing to remember is that you are a professional. If you want people to view you as a professional, you must behave as a professional. Set up an on-boarding system, provide “how to work with me” information in your welcome kit, and develop a contract that all parties sign. This alone will prevent you from even attracting a problem client. But when it does happen, understand that you have a right to deal with it professionally and end the situation.

When you first set up an on-boarding system chances are it won’t work perfectly right off the bat. Just like your contract. You will need to tweak it and adjust it as you experience working with different types of people. If something does go wrong, the sooner you address it with the client, the better. If you cannot fix it, do not hesitate to give notice as soon as you can per your contract and agreement.

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How To Jump-Start Your Writing Career

The first step to starting a writing career is to get started. Don’t just talk about it and think about it. Do it. 

Most people claim they want to be writers. They dream about writing a book and perhaps turning it into a screenplay. They dream of helping million-dollar companies create their sales pages and other content.  They dream of providing content to their audience and/or clients. No matter the writing dream it’s possible, if you just get started.

Let’s talk about a few ways to kick off this dream of yours.

  • Start Now – Do not wait. Start on something today that matters. If it helps put into a calendar everything that you need to do to launch your writing career and work on those things every day so that there is an ending and a launch date. You don’t want to leave this open-ended because if you do, you won’t launch.
  • Write Every Day – As you are working on building the business, you also want to take the time to write daily. Write blog posts, write guest blog posts, write social media updates, write a Kindle book, write an eBook, write a sample white paper, whatever you want to write for your clients write for yourself and your business to promote it.
  • Self-Publish – You’ll want to publish in your own name to get freelance writing jobs that don’t carry a byline or that do carry a byline. Showing work that you’ve published under your own name is going to help you get hired by other people. Publish to Kindle, to your blog, to other people’s blogs, to industry magazines and more.
  • Set Up Your Systems & Processes – While you’re getting started, you’ll want to work on setting up all your processes and systems and documenting all the above. When you get your first client, you want to send them a contract and lead them through the onboarding process seamlessly.
  • Publish a Professional Website – You need a website despite what anyone else says that you need. Thankfully, building a website is very inexpensive. Use self-hosted WordPress and a free theme to get started. Include an area with links to your work, and uploaded samples, include an email list with an offer of a freebie of some kind and a landing page for each type of writing with an example.
  • Perfect Your LinkedIn.com Profile – LinkedIn.com is a great place to get links back to your website so fully fill out that profile including samples, links to your work, and more. Join groups that include people you’d like to work with.
  • Set Up Social Media for Your Business – While most people want to keep their business and personal social media private or separate sometimes it’s not easy to do. That is especially true with Facebook. Whatever you decide all profiles should mention that you’re a freelance writer for hire so that people who check you out can get ahold of you.
  • Read All Requests for Proposals – Find places that offer proposals for freelance writing work. Today, you can find those on any job board including Monster.com. Plus, of course, you can list via Fiverr.com, Upwork.com, and others. Also, join groups that feature writers if they have a job board. One good one to look at is WriterHelpWanted.com.
  • Always Be Marketing – Even as you’re working on getting your freelance writing career off the ground, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t skimp on marketing. The moment you finish your website and have a few samples you should start marketing your services to those who need them.

Jump start your writing career right now by working on something mentioned in this list. The key thing to remember about being a writer is that writer’s write. That’s your most important job. Keep learning about writing in the genre you want to write and implement everything you learn as fast as possible.

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Got Your First Freelance Writing Gig? Now what?

Transitioning from wanting to be a writer to getting your first writing assignment is an exciting time. Now that you’re going to get paid for your first assignment, you’re a bonafide professional writer. Of course, you must get this first assignment right. Let’s look at the process you should follow to ensure it goes without a hitch.

Get All the Details

Don’t start working on anything until you get all the details. You need to know what the deliverables are supposed to look like. What is the client expecting it to look like? Ask all the questions once you see the assignment that you have. Go through it, write down anything you’re not sure about and ask them right away within the day of receiving the assignment.

Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s

Don’t start work without a contract for long term projects and a deposit or payment in full. If you have a long-term regular client, you can probably send invoices instead but if it’s someone new get paid up front or at least half before you start. A contract doesn’t have to be crazy; it can simply be a document that states the responsibilities of each party, the payment, and how to submit the assignment and payment.

Get It Scheduled

Once you know what the deliverables will look like, and you understand what you need to do, and know your deadline you’ll want to get this scheduled. Start from the due date and work your way backward in your calendar giving you enough time to do all parts of your writing process from outlining through editing, completion and invoicing, if needed.

Keep Your Client Updated

For long term projects, it’s a good idea to keep your client up to date as you move through the process. Some clients like more hands-on approach and may want to see your outline, some of your research, or other things as you work, but most of the time you’re going to be totally on your own. Sending a quick email now and then letting them know you’re still working on time will be appreciated.

Get It Done on Time

While no one is going to ever be perfect in terms of deadlines, it’s imperative that you’re not late on the first assignment unless something really bad happens. Once you’ve worked with someone for a long time, you can probably get more flexible deadlines, but in the writing world, deadlines are super important, so ensure you really do set up your calendar realistically. Never miss a deadline without informing them as soon as you know it will or might happen.

Rewrite as Needed (with a caveat)

After you submit the finished work expect the client to want some editing and rewriting. Of course, this does depend on your contract. Some freelance writers do “draft” writing in that they know an editor is going to edit it for them, so they just write and don’t have to worry about editing. The client won’t be offended by that if they have stated that they have an editor. However, try to submit what you think is perfect work.

Don’t worry, it will never be perfect no matter what. The warning: Some clients will start asking for edits that are outside of the scope of the work. For example, if your client asked you to write a list article then changes their mind and wants another type of article that’s not included in the editing process as that is changing the scope of the work.

Send a Survey

After the work is done, and the invoice has been paid, be sure to follow up with the client so that you can find out how they like your work. Put this in your autoresponder so that you don’t ever forget about 20 to 30 days after the due date of the project. You can simply ask the question: “How can I improve the work that I do for you?” Let them answer it their own way.

Finally, it’s imperative that even when you have an assignment and clients (even if you don’t need clients right now) to continue to market your services so that you can have clients in the hopper waiting on you to open a space.

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