Copywriting Tips

corporate blind spots

Copywriting’s Huge Opportunity is Corporate Blind Spots

My employer at that time wrote roughly 6-8 substantial proposals each year to federal and state agencies. These were highly technical healthcare delivery documents by nature, but the government bureaucrats who would ultimately select the winning proposal were often not as technically experienced at healthcare delivery as our doctors, nurses and researchers.

Our proposal team struggled mightily to put our workplan into language that proposal evaluators could fully grasp. I moved into the role of translating these complex workplans into terms that others could visualize.

Copywriting is all about understanding your prospect. Knowing that all the technical proposals being sent to these bureaucrats were nearly impossible to understand, I spent my time interviewing our internal professionals.

My goal was simply to understand their deeply technical processes so thoroughly that I could write them without complex jargon. It made our plans crystal clear to those who made decisions about which proposals would win.

I also began reading direct response books at that time (early to mid 90s) and became very good at including practical explanations of the benefits gained by hiring our company. You'd be shocked how many multi-million dollar firms present features only and don't help the prospect ‘feel' how life will improve if they choose your product/service.

To sum it up, we moved from just over $1.5M in sales when I started to just over $10m as I was hired away for a bigger opportunity. There is magic in connecting your prospect's problem(s) to your solution. But it can't be wooden or obtuse. It must trigger emotion and convince the reader that this opportunity is too promising to pass up.

And finally, you ask for the business. You do that while the excitement is at its peak.

That Blank Page

I have a true love-hate relationship with the blank page.

At least two dozen spiral notebooks and legal pads sit unused beside my desk to testify about the hate part.

My eyes pass over them at least once a day. I’m reminded that the blank page is the bad half of an unhealthy relationship; so I look away.

Over decades, I’ve made peace with the fact that blank pages are never the start of a revenue-generating project. I can’t write a beautiful sales letter from the blank page. It’s too overwhelming, honestly.

Doodle

Here’s how to make money from the blank page, though. Rise EARLY. Get alone. Brew your best coffee (bulletproof for me, thank you). Put on talk radio or television and pop open a fresh Evernote.

Put your radar up as you start sipping coffee. Listen for radio or TV ads and begin dissecting them.

What was the opening (hook)? Can you write down 10 better ones.

Can you tell who they’re targeting? Are you able to tell from their product or service ONLY, or is there a real effort in their language to zero in on the prospect? Can you craft the language that makes it a 1-on-1 conversation with empathy and real connection.

Are they agitating the problem AND pitching the solution, or just one of those two? Can you use both PLUS build the bridge for them to use?

Are they stuck at features or do they handle benefits? Surface benefit or deep benefits? Can you get it into the words they are almost too protective of to share. The pain of lost dates to the young adult woman who can’t grow out of her acne. The 32 year old man who looks healthy but has been disappointing his recent partners with unexplained ED.

Look, this is unpaid doodling. I get it.

But it’s also a near endless flow of products and services that will challenge your range. It’s a workout routine for your muscles of influence.

If you did this every morning for one month you’ll leapfrog 80% of the so-called copywriters online. If you do it every morning for six months, you’ll be accepting checks of $20,000+ to write for clients.

Speaking of that type of writing – the paid kind. That is not blank page work. I’ll write about those methods next week.

Learn Copywriting By Writing Copy No One Else Sees

I want to share something that I do a few times a week that takes very little time and keeps my copywriting laser-sharp.

I love to read in the morning while I drink coffee. One of the things that's ALWAYS on the reading list is a mind-expanding book (right now it's Play Bigger by several co-authors).

Authors of these kinds of books are constantly introducing new ideas / new concepts and when I read one that feels impressive, I stop and write enough copy to “sell” the concept to someone. No one else reads it, mind you, but it is an exercise in quickly thinking out who could be changed by this knowledge and how I would convince them to invest their time/money into learning it.

Here's an example from this morning. The authors are talking about the way category innovation and leadership develop. It's too complex to detail here but they basically lay out a data-driven argument to being first or (at worst) second in a newly-carved category.

So, I'm already thinking how I'd do an ad or craft a lander that would make them invest in that knowledge. My headline/hook might be:

Learn the One Secret that Will Help You Sidestep Bankruptcy When “the Big Fad” Flames Out

Your SaaS May Be On the Chopping Block | 3 Ways to Avoid the Blade

Learn How to Lock in 80% of a Niche's Net Profit and Leave Competitors Fighting Over the Scraps

Those are just quick examples of my practice. I like to do bullets some days, guarantees, offer stacks etc. The bottom line is you take a legitimately brilliant idea from a book and spend 10 or 15 minutes massaging the words that would make it irresistible to others.

Some days won't be inspiring, but every day that you do it you'll be closer to confidence and independence with writing your own copy – and you'll experience some amazing books along the ride.

Followup thoughts

Look, we all doubt our talent. And, at least until your copywriting actually sells something, your confidence will likely be low. That's why this method works so well. NO ONE sees your practice copy. You can use proven sweipe formats or color outside the lines with NOTHING at risk.  But you're still practicing the important components – target customer analysis, how to hook someone right away, how to write bullet points so juicy that the customer feels that life can't measure up unless they have this knowledge bomb you are dangling.

Practice building offers and estimate ‘the value' of each piece. If you gave away the front-end, what would you ask for after the email address? Quick upsell? Just an autoresponder series? How can you maximize the lifetime value of those who see your offer?

Reverse engineer any funnel you can find. Be relentless with words – very few others are and it will give you the most unfair advantage imaginable.

Sorry this is so long but I promise it's life-changing.