THE SECRET METHOD FOR GETTING GOOD AT ANYTHING

What’s the secret to getting good at something?

And I’m not just talking about being “good.”

I’m talking about achieving God like mastery.

Well, believe it or not, the real secret is simple repetition.

You want to take something simple and practice it over and over and over again.

This means honing and practicing the basics until they become profound.

It also means daily repetition…

…sometimes for months or even years.

These posts are a good example. At this point I’ve written hundreds of them. Simply by doing this I’ve greatly increased the ability to formulate my thoughts, write them down, and come up with a halfway decent blog post. Even more importantly, my writing speed has greatly increased. What used to take hours, now takes minutes.

The problem with most people is that they don’t want to hear this.

People want overnight results with very little effort.

What they don’t understand is that this method often works a lot better.

You see, time is always passing…

…and eventually it all adds up.

So all you really have to do is devote a few minutes per day to practice.

Over time that combined effort will accumulate…

…and you to will achieve God like mastery of your chosen craft.

Whether that’s writing, speaking, marketing or something else…

…the fruits will be yours to enjoy.

More tomorrow:

Alastair Walton

WHY BE A BEGGAR WHEN YOU CAN BE A KING?

So many marketers settle for being beggars.

But why do this when you can be a KING?

You see, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is this:

Find ONE market and dominate it.

People don’t want to hear this.

They think I’m saying you need to focus on one tiny niche forever.

They don’t want to do this because they think…erroneously…that there’s less money to be made.

They want to sell to everyone all at once.

And this is why they end up becoming beggars…

…competing against dozens of other people and getting nowhere.

This is also why it’s so important that you focus on one niche at a time.

For example, say you’re an agency that offers digital advertising services. First of all, why not focus on one platform, for example, Facebook? Then, instead of offering your services to anyone and everyone, you could concentrate only on, say, people who own restaurants. You could get even more specific and focus on pizzeria advertising.

What you’d do in this case is start looking at what’s happening in that market right now.

Where do these people congregate online…what are they buying…and so on.  

You want to figure out how you’re going to dominate this market.

How do you become the go-to guy in your area for pizza parlor owners who want to advertise online? To start with, you’ll learn how to craft marketing that attracts these people. You’ll also want to start building a list…and make them get to know you…like you…and trust you. Most importantly, you’ll want to figure out what the competition is doing, but better.

To do this you need to dig deep and go beneath the surface.

Most people don’t want to do this because it’s “hard work.”

These people are more than happy to settle for being beggars.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to make a little more effort…well…

…that’s when you become a KING in that market.

It’s also how you end up dominating the market…

…and how you know when you’re ready to move onto the next one.

Alastair Walton

DO YOU NEED TESTED RESULTS TO GET STARTED AS A COPYWRITER?

Getting started as a freelance copywriter is TOUGH

(No doubt about it.)

One of the biggest obstacles is having a proven track record of results.

It’s sort of a catch-22 situation.

You can’t get work if you don’t have results…

…and you don’t have results because you can’t get work.

So what’s the solution?

The solution is to quit worrying about this.

It isn’t nearly as important as you think, and you shouldn’t let this hold you back.

In fact, you don’t actually need results.

You see, copywriting clients generally fall into 3 categories:

1. Discerning Clients

About a third of potential clients are extremely picky. They vet copywriters rigorously, and if you lack experience, you’re highly unlikely to be hired. These people ask a million questions, conduct multiple interviews, and need a great deal of assurance. Unless you have a reputation (meaning the client is presold), you’re unlikely to get the job.

2. Easy Clients

Another third of clients are easy. These people want copy written and really don’t care who writes it. They’re looking for something quick and nasty, and preferably cheap. These are the people who you want to initially target. As long as your rates are low enough, you’re likely to get a shot with them.

3. A mixture of Both

The final third of clients are a mixture of both. These people aren’t going to make you jump through a million hoops. At the same time they’re a bit more discerning than the abovementioned clients. They’re not looking for some high powered copywriter, but they don’t want a complete amateur either. These are essentially your middle of the road clients who will consider working with you, even if you’re a total beginner.

That being said, getting hired by these people isn’t easy.

You still have to sell yourself and do a good job of it.

This means giving off the impression that you know what you’re doing…

…it also means having projects, samples, and testimonials available. 

Alastair Walton

P.S. The real lesson here is that you should always be working on your chops. Improving your skills should be priority #1. As long as you can write half way decent copy…and present yourself correctly…there’s a good chance you’ll actually get work.

TINDER FOR COPYWRITERS?

Ever been on a date with someone from Tinder?

Funnily enough, most Tinder users have yet to achieve this lofty goal.

But what happens if you do beat the odds and actually meet someone on this God forsaken app?

There’s a good chance the date will suck.

It’s going to be weird…

Uncomfortable..

…and probably won’t go ANYWHERE.

You’ll more than likely end up being ghosted or worse…

Let alone “close” the deal.

Now compare this with meeting someone through friends.

What about those dates?

Well, those dates usually go a lot, lot better.

But why is this?

A big reason is because the person is presold.

Friends have vouched for you and this (hopefully) means you’re a decent person.

Those dates ALWAYS turn out better.

Now, there’s a lot of parallels between dating apps and online job sites.

You see, in a way these sites are almost like Tinder for copywriters.

First of all, you’re usually fighting hundreds of other people for a small handful of clients.

This immediately puts you at a major disadvantage.

What it also means is that “consummating” the deal is very, very difficult.

Yes it can be done and I’ve done it before, but it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

Bottom line:

Tinder for copywriters i.e. job sites are best avoided.

It’s a lot better to “meet through friends.”

How do you do this?

Well, seeking referrals from satisfied clients is the first step.

Better yet, start your own website and build a list.

This way people get to know, like and trust you.

More importantly, you’ll close more and higher quality clients…

…and do it with a lot less hassle.

Something to think about.

Alastair Walton

THE LITTLE KNOWN SALES PAGE TRICK THAT SAVES YOU TIME AND MONEY

Being weird (and a little different) is extremely important when it comes to marketing.

Why?

The simple reason is that it helps you stand out from the crowd.

Something which is highly important in today’s ultra-competitive business environment.

So without any more delay, here’s a simple trick for building sales letters that get attention.

How does it work?

It’s quite simple:

Basically, instead of building a fancy sales page, you use a Google Doc.

All you do is take your sales letter text, dump it into a Doc, add a link to your shopping cart, and send the document off. Now, this might seem a bit pointless, but this method has a number of benefits.

1. There’s no coding required.

The biggest advantage is that you don’t need to hire a designer or funnel builder. Most people can’t code – myself included – but with this method that issue is no longer a problem. Not only that, you can do in minutes what would normally take hours.

2. Let’s you test quickly

Instead of spending days or weeks building your sales page, you can quickly throw up some copy and see if it works. This allows you to quickly test sales letter angles.

3. Slips in under the radar

People don’t expect to be sold to in a Google Doc. I mean, Google Docs is for documents and stuff like that, right? This means your audience’s guard is down. It also means you have a far greater chance of people actually opening, reading, and buying from your Doc.

4. You can add in media

Another big advantage is that you can add in gifs, memes, videos, and other media which increases sales.

5. Promote affiliate offers

With this technique you can also promote certain affiliate offers by email. I’m talking about things that would usually get flagged as spam.

6. Create your own sales pages

You can also create your own sales pages for affiliate offers which have bad copy.

7. Social proof

Google Docs tells you how many people have looked at the document. This provides you with excellent social proof.

8. “Double” sized emails

Emails with a Google Doc attached are double the size of regular emails (if you’ve ever received an email with a Google Doc, you’ll know what I’m talking about.) Using this method is like getting double the amount of advertising space for the same amount of money.

There’s also another amazing advantage.

This alone makes the method worth trying.

You see, this trick can massively increase deliverability. This is simply because Google owns both Gmail and Google Docs. Therefore it makes logical sense that they would send an email with a Google Doc to the primary tab. After all, Google wants people to use their products. And with email deliverability rates at an all-time low, this alone makes the method worth trying. Attaching a Google Doc also makes it seem as if your message is ultra-important. Therefore it has a greater chance of ending up in the primary tab.

The bottom line is that this method works amazingly well.

If you haven’t tried it yet, then maybe you should.

Alastair Walton

WHY RAISING YOUR FEES ISN’T ALWAYS THE ANSWER

If you’ve ever worked with a copywriting coach…

…you’ll know the first thing they tell you is…

Raise your fees!

In fact, it’s often their primary piece of advice.

Raise your fees raise your fees raise your fees.

Get as much money as possible for every job you do.

Take the client for everything they have.

All you have to do is charge more and your problems are solved.

These so called experts usually have a number of reasons to justify this.

They tell you things like:

“Increasing your fees increases your perceived value…”

“Increasing your perceived value increases demand…”

“You get what you pay for…”

“Know your worth…”

But is this actually good advice?

The answer is yes and no.

What most people don’t understand is that there’s a catch to this.

First of all, charging more doesn’t automatically make your more attractive to clients.

What’s more, it can actually have the opposite effect.

You may actually chase away good clients who would hire you.

You see, not everyone is prepared to pay whatever fee or price you quote.

This is especially true if you don’t provide good reasons to justify those fees.

These reasons should include:

  • You’re the best at what you do
  • You’re better than other people providing the same service
  • You deliver faster than others providing the same service
  • You’re easier to deal with than other people
  • Your service is desperately needed
  • You’re recognized as a top expert in your field
  • You’re seen as trustworthy
  • You have a unique advantage over the competition

On the other hand, if there’s no clear difference between you and other copywriters…

…and no perceived advantage to hiring you vs. the other guy…

…then you’re not going to get anywhere by simply raising your fees.

Now this isn’t always the case.

You could argue that a higher price triggers the perception that your service is superior

And in many cases this is actually true.

The problem is that in overcrowded market places it becomes less and less true.

Clients, rather than blindly assuming that more expensive means better, now want you to prove your superiority.

And the more proof you have the more deals you’ll close.

Bottom line:

Raising your prices isn’t always the key to success.

It doesn’t always help you gain a competitive advantage…

…and may actually work against you.

Here’s a better strategy:

Actually increase the quality and value of your services.

Doing this will trigger increased demand and build your reputation as a go-to provider.

Only at that point should you consider raising your fees.

Got it?

Alastair Walton

THE SALT AND PEPPER TECHNIQUE FOR WRITING HEADLINES

How do you write the perfect headline?

Every copywriting guru has a different take on this.

And seriously, there are a million and one ways to approach this topic.

Personally, I like to think of it as adding salt and pepper to your food.

Here’s what I mean:

You want to start with a base benefit, topic, or something that grabs your readers attention.

Some examples of this might include…

“Lose weight”

“Save money”

“Look younger”

Or even something like…

“Donald Trump”

Or…

“Climate change”

(Just note that these are BAD examples. They’re too simple. When doing this you want to be as ultra-specific as possible and zero in on something that the reader is extremely interested in.)

This topic or benefit forms the base of your headline.

I call this the “salt” and it’s the thing that grabs or hooks your readers attention.

In this post our salt is the phrase “writing headlines.”

If you’re still reading this, it’s because you want to learn how to do that.

Now, everything else which surrounds the salt is what I call the “pepper.”

These are basically words which add to the flavor of your headline.

A lot of the time this pepper includes your standard headline formats.

I’m talking about things like…

“Why…”

“What…”

“How to…”

“10 ways to…”

The pepper can also include other words which enhance the flavor.

Things like:

“Weird”

“Strange”

“Unusual”

“Groundbreaking”

You’ll also want to add in curiosity generating phrases like:

“What you don’t know about xyz could kill you.”

“Why most people never discover the truth about xyz before it’s too late.”

“10 reasons why your xyz isn’t working.”

And so on and so on.

(In this post our pepper is “The salt and pepper technique…”)

When we mix it all up we get:

“The salt and pepper technique for writing headlines”

Believe it or not it’s really that simple.

Start with your salt.

Find a benefit or topic that excites your audience and grabs their attention.

Next, add in your pepper.

Use weird, colorful, or strange words and surround them with curiosity generating phrases.

With this simple technique you can write headlines quickly.

Not only that, you can use it to write email subject lines, sales letter headlines, article titles, YouTube titles…

…or anything really.

Until we meet again,

Alastair Walton

GET CLIENTS QUICKLY WITH THIS UNUSUAL METHOD

Many years ago I was trying to break into the world of freelance copywriting.

At that point I was really struggling.

No matter what I did, no one would hire me.

But then I heard about an interesting way to find work.

With this technique you can quickly get as many clients as you need.

Not only that, it provides copywriters with a few additional benefits as you’ll see below.

What is this technique?

Well, what you basically want to do is find people with existing sales pages (one way to do this is by visiting Clickbank and getting in touch with product owners.) Send these people a message and tell them about yourself and that you’re a copywriter. Then tell them that you want to rewrite their sales letter…for free…and that they only need to pay if you write something that converts higher than what they’ve got at the moment.

Now, before you turn your nose up at this idea, there’s a good reason why you should try it.

First of all, this is a no-brainer offer because there’s zero risk to the client – which means you’ll actually GET clients. What’s more, offer this service to enough people and you’ll eventually strike gold i.e. you’ll actually write a letter that converts and get paid for your efforts. In fact, this may even turn into ongoing work if you’re lucky.

There’s also another benefit which most people don’t think about.

You see, when starting out as a copywriter there’s one thing you need more than anything else.

What is this?

EXPERIENCE.

You need to get to the point where you’ve worked with a handful of clients…

…and written at least 2-5 sales letters or other pieces of copy.

More importantly…

You need to have written copy that actually converts.

Only by doing this will you gain the experience needed to move onto more serious projects.

Bottom line:

If you want to break into freelance copywriting then consider offering a free sales letter rewrite.

Doing this is a great way to gain experience and confidence.

Plus it helps you build up a portfolio…

…plus you might actually earn some money.

Alastair Walton

P.S. One more thing before I go: If you’re going to do this make sure you have another source of income i.e. don’t quit your day job to become a copywriter and then work for free. The reason why is because you’re probably not going to make a lot of money (or even get paid.) In my experience most people don’t run your copy and will ignore you after it’s delivered. If they do use the copy and it makes money…well…there’s no guarantee they’ll honor the agreement. Remember, you’re doing this purely for experience and not money, so don’t concentrate on that until later…

IS IT WORTH PUBLISHING YOUR OWN CONTENT?

Should copywriters publish their own content?

For example, should put time into writing a newsletter or blog. More specifically, is this worth doing if you’re busy with client work…what’s more, with the thousands of other blogs and newsletters out there, is this really something that you need to spend time on?

The answer to these questions is YES.

It’s more than worth it…

…just not for the reasons that most people think.

You see, there are three good reasons why you should publish your own content.

1. Creates visibility in your target market

Creating and publishing content gives you visibility in your target market. This is assuming that you consistently publish and promote it. This also assumes that your content is interesting. Now, this doesn’t mean it has to be mind-blowing. Just as long as you provide readers with value you’ll be ok. Also note that it doesn’t have to be long, 200-500 words is fine.

2.Gives clients a chance to get to know you

Publishing your own content allows prospective clients to connect with you. It helps you build a connection with them and they also get to know, like, and trust you. Not only that, if you write something that resonates with them, it greatly increases the chances of them hiring you.

3. Gets your ideas out on paper

Most people have dozens of great ideas bouncing around their heads. Unfortunately, these ideas are mostly useless until you explore them in a deeper way. One of the best ways to do this is by getting them down on paper.

Bottom line:

There are many good reasons why you need to create your own content.

These reasons are valid no matter how many blogs or newsletter you’re competing against.

Alastair Walton

THIS GUY WROTE FOR 17 YEARS (BEFORE EARNING A PENNY) HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM HIM)

Steven Pressfield is an American author of historical fiction.

Like most writers, success did not come easy. In fact, it was 17 years before he earned a penny from writing and another 27 before his first novel got published (The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was later turned into a movie starring Will Smith and Matt Damon.)

But his real break-through came when he wrote a book called “The War of Art.”

Maybe you’ve heard of it?

To give you a brief summary, this book is basically a guide to pressing through the barriers which hold you back from doing creative work. It’s sold well over a million copies and even after all these years, is still incredibly popular.

But there’s a good reason for this.

First of all, the title – which is basically a play on the “Art of War” – is brilliant.

Second, this book is primarily aimed at people in the creative field – writers, artists etc.

(More specifically, it’s aimed at people who want to write or make art.)

And this is really why the book is so popular.

You see, these kinds of products are a dime a dozen. There are literally hundreds on goal setting, motivation, success, and spirituality. Unfortunately, 99% of these books sink without a trace. But the reason why the War of Art succeeds – and continues to succeed – is because if differentiates itself.

Instead of being aimed at the general public, this book targets people in the creative field.

And this is why it continues to sell…year after year after year.

Moral of the story?

Whether you’re writing a book, creating a course, or designing a new product, it’s critical that you do something different. Whether it’s targeting a subset of the market (like The War of Art does) your packaging, or what the product does, you have to find a way to make yourself different and stand out.

Do this and you’ll drastically increase your chances of success.

Alastair Walton