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    How To Land (And Rock) Your Next Conference Speaking Gig

    How to apply

    1. Read through the job description below carefully and ask yourself:
      1. Do you have relevant experience?
      2. Can you meet the deadline or feel confident negotiating it?
      3. Can you meet the budget or feel confident negotiating it?
        If the answers are all ‘YES’ move to step 2.
    2. Send your best possible pitch to the email address included in the job description below. Introduce yourself, sell yourself!
    3. There’s no need to cc us, but of course we’d love to know if you win the job, please tell us in the TCCS Facebook group

    Job application rules and guidelines

    1. Jobs will be posted on this page as they come in.
    2. The TCCS rules still apply:
      1. Please only apply for jobs you’ve had experience in.
      2. Do not apply for every single job – you will ruin the quality of the replies for the job poster and as a consequence, we’re likely to get few jobs posted.
      3. We will be monitoring responses by following up with job posters to assess quality.  If we find that members have been applying for jobs for which they’re not a good fit, their access to the job board will be limited. 

         

    3. Jobs will be open for a maximum of 48 hours, fewer if the enquirer has advised they’ve received enough responses.

      Suggested format for emails:

      Hi Bob.
      I saw your job post on The Clever Copywriting School Job board.

      Reason for applying:
      Name:
      TCCS Directory link: (Annual members only)
      Website:
      Email:

      Phone:

      Thanks
      Your name

       

    Happy pitching and as always, if you have any questions or technical difficulty, please email admin@clevercopywritingschool.com

    JOB DETAILS

    Job status: Open

    Job posted: 27/10/20

    Industry:

    Type:

    Deadline:

    Budget:

    Location:

    Brief:

     

    This post was written by TCCS member, Clare Hastings


     

    Dry mouth. Wobbly knees. A thousand frogs doing a mad breakdancing routine in my stomach.

    Speaking in front of people is literally the stuff of my nightmares.

    I’ve worked with a conference company for many years, and I’ve seen hundreds of people rock the stage with some kind of magical confidence to share their stories of innovation and ingenuity.

    But would I ever brave it? Hell no!

    Like many copywriters, my crippling imposter syndrome (coupled with a fear of seizing up on stage and my general laziness) means I’d never even considered speaking in front of people.

    But for those who can overcome these barriers, speaking at events and conferences has clear benefits. It can win you respect, recognition, and sometimes even revenue.

     

    Now is a great time to be speaking at conferences and events

    While COVID-19 put a big fat full stop to big face-to-face conferences, it also opened up alternative platforms such as virtual conferences and webinars. And with restrictions easing in some states, many conferences are starting to call for speakers. Such as CopyCon, the world’s greatest conference for copywriters.

    But where to start?

    I spoke to people in the know to get the lowdown on how to get found, how to overcome imposter syndrome, and where to find your next conference speaking gig.

     

    Squash the imposter

    Imposter syndrome is one of the biggest factors holding people back from speaking at conferences.

    For some of us, a client call is terrifying enough. But standing on stage in front of hundreds of people, just waiting for that curly question to shine a light on how much of an imposter you really are? It’s enough to send even the most confident people running for the hills.

    TCCS member Angela Denly spoke at CopyCon 2018. And she admits she was terrified of standing on stage and being judged.

    “I thought no-one would be interested in what I had to say. But honestly, it was such a positive experience” she says.

    Angela said speaking at CopyCon increased her visibility among other copywriters, which led to more referrals and more engagement on social media.

    Here are her top conference speaking tips:

    • Think about what unique insights you can give and share your personal experience. People want to hear it.
    • Spend some time practising and refining your message.
    • Just try to relax and enjoy it. Your time on stage passes really fast, especially once you get through those first couple of sentences.

    “If you’re given the opportunity to speak at a conference, just put your fears to the side and go for it Angela says.

     

    Get on LinkedIn and get found

    Kyle Tate, Conference Producer at The Eventful Group says LinkedIn is where he goes to source speakers. So establishing yourself as a subject matter expert with a strong personal brand is key to being found.

    Finding speakers is a two-fold project for Kyle:

    • The first, and most important, is finding the right story that fits the narrative and shows innovation in the area.
    • The second is finding the right person to tell the story.

    “We look for confident speakers who can articulate their successes through great storytelling,” Kyle says. “Being able to tell a great story is the hardest quality to find, but can make the biggest difference to a presentation.

    Ultimately, people attend conferences to hear how others have overcome a challenge they might be facing. So highlighting how you’ve approached things in an innovative way is another key aspect of a good speaker.

    Sharing an alternative approach to doing things empowers people to return to their organisations to achieve the same,” he says. “Without the story being innovative it’s just repetition of the norms that already exist.”

     

    Don’t ask, don’t get

    TCCS member Leanne Shelton has led workshops for City of Parramatta Council and Macquarie Community College. She’s also spoken at networking events and even runs her own.

    Her advice for landing a speaking gig is simple: Just ask.

    “When it comes to speaking at networking events or running workshops, I simply asked the organiser. I either approach them in person or send them an email saying I’d be interested in speaking on x topic at an upcoming event. Seems simple, but it works.”

    She says it helps if they know you. So make sure you’re attending the events you want to speak at.

    Once you’ve presented, her top tips are:

    • Collect email addresses and phone numbers from attendees and send them your slides. It’s a great way to generate warm leads and start building connections.
    • Do a follow up call about two weeks later. Ask them if they have any follow-up questions or want to book a free discovery call. People often say they appreciate the call as it’s personal and not part of a bulk email.

     

    How to find conferences and events to speak at

    If you’ve successfully smooshed down your imposter syndrome and want to start speaking at events and conferences, here are some ideas to get you started.

    Note: This list was compiled in the “before times”, when we were allowed to gather en masse and shaking hands wasn’t a deviant act. Many larger conferences have “pivoted” to a virtual format, with some planning to run in 2021 and beyond (fingers crossed).

    Copywriting and marketing events are a good place to start because it’s in our zone of genius: Think of events such as Copycon, Mumbrella, and B2B Marketing Forum.

    Industry events: If you niche by industry, speaking at industry events means getting in front of potential clients. Have a poke around your industry bodies, associations, and local industry groups to see if they run events. Think about how you can help your audience do business better. For example, if you’re speaking to accountants tell them how to make accounting sexy on social media. Or for a real estate audience, how to write punchy listings.

    Business events:

    • General Assembly runs free and paid seminars on a range of topics including digital marketing, social media, and copywriting.
    • Co-working spaces such as We Work often run free lunch-and-learn sessions, which is a good way to connect to local business owners.
    • Bio events hold monthly member events specially curated to make sure people get maximum value from attending. They run mixers, industry meetups, and panel discussions.

    Women’s events: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there are a lot of them around. And more are springing up by the day. If you have the necessary bits and a great story to tell, this could be for you.

    Wellness events: Wellness in the workplace is a hot topic for many businesses. And freelancers face their own challenges when it comes to wellness. Do you have an interesting way to balance your work and life? Are you passionate about mental health? Are you a carbon-neutral workplace? Are you powering your laptop with a bicycle?

    Organise it yourself: Platforms such as Meetup have made it easier than ever to host your own event. It can be a lot of work finding a space, setting up tickets, and marketing the event, but running your own meeting means you can fill it with ideal clients.

    Start local
    If big conferences are just too terrifying, look into smaller local events or speaking opportunities:

    • Speak at local networking events. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start.
    • Run a workshop. Local councils are often looking for expert speakers on small business marketing, etc.
    • Speak at regional events. In my area, there’s a Wollongong digital marketing conference.

     

    Over to you

    If you have a story to tell, whether it’s business-related or otherwise, get out there and find somewhere to tell it. You’ll reap the rewards in the long run, even if it’s just proving to yourself that you can do it.

     

    About Clare

     

    Clare Hastings is a content writer for B2B brands who have insights to share. A journalist-slash-marketer, she liberates your leaders’ expertise and writes articles, eBooks, whitepapers, and case studies to position your brand as a trusted authority.

    You can find her at Write My Content (or guzzling endless cups of coffee at the local café to keep up with her two little kids).

     

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    An Interview with Copywriter Donna Webeck

    How to apply

    1. Read through the job description below carefully and ask yourself:
      1. Do you have relevant experience?
      2. Can you meet the deadline or feel confident negotiating it?
      3. Can you meet the budget or feel confident negotiating it?
        If the answers are all ‘YES’ move to step 2.
    2. Send your best possible pitch to the email address included in the job description below. Introduce yourself, sell yourself!
    3. There’s no need to cc us, but of course we’d love to know if you win the job, please tell us in the TCCS Facebook group

    Job application rules and guidelines

    1. Jobs will be posted on this page as they come in.
    2. The TCCS rules still apply:
      1. Please only apply for jobs you’ve had experience in.
      2. Do not apply for every single job – you will ruin the quality of the replies for the job poster and as a consequence, we’re likely to get few jobs posted.
      3. We will be monitoring responses by following up with job posters to assess quality.  If we find that members have been applying for jobs for which they’re not a good fit, their access to the job board will be limited. 

         

    3. Jobs will be open for a maximum of 48 hours, fewer if the enquirer has advised they’ve received enough responses.

      Suggested format for emails:

      Hi Bob.
      I saw your job post on The Clever Copywriting School Job board.

      Reason for applying:
      Name:
      TCCS Directory link: (Annual members only)
      Website:
      Email:

      Phone:

      Thanks
      Your name

       

    Happy pitching and as always, if you have any questions or technical difficulty, please email admin@clevercopywritingschool.com

    JOB DETAILS

    Job status: Open

    Job posted: 19/10/20

    Industry:

    Type:

    Deadline:

    Budget:

    Location:

    Brief:

    Donna Webeck from Prestige Property Copy


     

    Who are you Donna Webeck?

    I am a specialist real estate writer, I launched Prestige Property Copy in 2015. Based in Australia but with clients worldwide, I craft compelling copy, designed to emotionally connect and convert into sales.

    Best of all, I love having a legitimate excuse to spend my days looking at humble abodes and ultra-luxury homes – all in the name of work!

     

    What did you do before you became a copywriter?

    I dabbled in freelance feature-writing for a few years before switching to copywriting. Prior to that, I was a PA at Channel Nine and PBL.

     

    How long have you been copywriting?

    Writing professionally since 2011, copywriting since 2015.

     

    What has been your biggest copywriting career win?

    Last financial year I cracked the magical six-figures with my billing. That was HUGE because I have always been someone who undercharges and over-delivers.

    It was also an incredible validation for all my hard work, that I had created a thriving business doing something I loved.

     

    What was your worst copywriting career fail?

    Something I regretted for a long time was taking a shortcut to get a cheap (and therefore VERY clunky) website built when I first started taking my niche seriously.

    Yes, it gave me a presence online, but it also ended up costing me so much more to get fixed over time.

     

    What are your number one fave copywriting tools?

    I’m so old-school (hello, pen and paper, my dear friends!) that I don’t have one, in particular, to swear by. But I am quite partial to WordHippo as I have a heavy amount of descriptive writing to do in a day. This site ensures each piece sounds fresh and unique.

     

    How do you deal with self-doubt?

    It’s still ever-present, no matter the fact I’ve been in my real estate niche for 5 years! I try to listen to podcasts to get advice on how to manage this – one little nugget of gold I heard this week was “emotions are choices and choices can be changed”.

    Self-doubt is an emotion, so recognise it when it rears its ugly head and make the conscious decision to change how you’re feeling. (Failing that, read through the testimonials on your site – that works just as well 😆)

     

    What work/life balance or mental health tips do you have?

    For far too long I was super guilty of living to work, instead of working to live. All it takes it a harsh reality to wake you up to the fact that you have your priorities completely the wrong way around.

    Losing a dear friend a few months ago made me realise what I was sacrificing for my business – my health (physical, mental and emotional) was really suffering, my family and friends weren’t getting the best of me, and I was so damn tired all the time.

    Truly, you cannot operate that way without it harming you – stress kills. Balance is now far more present – no more 10-12 hour workdays, scheduling in time to relax and do things which bring joy and remembering what is most important – family.

     

    What tip would you pass onto any newbie copywriters?

    Understand you are in business – you’re not just writing and getting paid. I made so many mistakes because I failed to realise I was actually running a business.

    Treat it with the respect it deserves, nurture it, invest in it and it will grow.

     

     

    What’s next for you?

    I’m excited to be working on a real estate copywriting course, which is due to launch later this year.

     

    Why do you love TCCS?

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – this Toonism sums it up perfectly, “Your community will save you on your darkest days”.

    TCCS is a soft place to fall and sounding board of brilliant minds. I would not be where I am today without it.

     

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    An interview with Copywriter Phyllis Stylianou

    How to apply

    1. Read through the job description below carefully and ask yourself:
      1. Do you have relevant experience?
      2. Can you meet the deadline or feel confident negotiating it?
      3. Can you meet the budget or feel confident negotiating it?
        If the answers are all ‘YES’ move to step 2.
    2. Send your best possible pitch to the email address included in the job description below. Introduce yourself, sell yourself!
    3. There’s no need to cc us, but of course we’d love to know if you win the job, please tell us in the TCCS Facebook group

    Job application rules and guidelines

    1. Jobs will be posted on this page as they come in.
    2. The TCCS rules still apply:
      1. Please only apply for jobs you’ve had experience in.
      2. Do not apply for every single job – you will ruin the quality of the replies for the job poster and as a consequence, we’re likely to get few jobs posted.
      3. We will be monitoring responses by following up with job posters to assess quality.  If we find that members have been applying for jobs for which they’re not a good fit, their access to the job board will be limited. 

         

    3. Jobs will be open for a maximum of 48 hours, fewer if the enquirer has advised they’ve received enough responses.

      Suggested format for emails:

      Hi Bob.
      I saw your job post on The Clever Copywriting School Job board.

      Reason for applying:
      Name:
      TCCS Directory link: (Annual members only)
      Website:
      Email:

      Phone:

      Thanks
      Your name

       

    Happy pitching and as always, if you have any questions or technical difficulty, please email admin@clevercopywritingschool.com

    JOB DETAILS

    Job status: Open

    Job posted: 15/09/20

    Industry:

    Type:

    Deadline:

    Budget:

    Location:

    Brief:

    Phyllis Stylianou from Write Stuff Media


     

    Who are you Phyllis Stylianou?

    I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, mum of three teenagers and two cats, Harry Potter aficionado and I’ve recently discovered The Hunger Games. I’ll write anything for anyone, but have found myself specialising in engineering and construction copywriting. I’ve written two books, carried the Olympic torch in 2000 and wish I had some sort of talent, but unfortunately I don’t.

     

    What did you do before you became a copywriter?

    I’ve been a journalist unofficially since I was 15 and officially since I was 18. I used to go to the local newspaper every afternoon after school to work. (They invited me back after I did work experience.)

    I worked at Cumberland Newspapers (the Murdoch local papers in Sydney), then went to Readers Digest where I was a sub-editor of Handyman magazine, then returned to local papers (Fairfax). I love local media. It’s a shame they’re dying out. I always had Write Stuff Media as a bit of a side hustle but didn’t get serious about it until I was made redundant five years ago.

     

    How long have you been copywriting?

    Five years full time.

     

    What has been your copywriting career win?

    Securing a fairly regular client that is a large engineering company – Calibre.

     

    What was your worst copywriting fail?

    Getting conned into writing 30 x 1000-word webpages and not getting paid.

     

    What are your number one fave copywriting tools?

    Kate’s email templates, Grammarly, Tiny URL, Voice Recorder, and Rev transcription service.

     

    How do you deal with self-doubt?

    Curl up in a ball and fall apart. Tell my husband I’m hopeless. My eldest daughter slaps me around (figuratively), I have a cry, think of a plan and write it down, dust myself off and keep going. Cuddle my kids.

     

    What work/life balance or mental health tips do you have?

    Set regular business hours and stick to them, go for a walk, and remember how bad things seem, good things can be just around the corner and nothing ever stays the same forever.

    Try to keep regular business hours so you don’t spent the evening or weekend thinking about the jobs that need to be done. Try to eat well and exercise. Above all, talk to other people if you feel unsure, upset or worried.

    Talk to people in the TCCS FB group, talk to family or friends. You can even chat with your doctor. I’ve found that people in the TCCS FB group are always there to give you a boost, and will even offer advice or to lend a hand. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

     

    What tip would you pass onto any newbie copywriters?

    Join this group, do some courses (they’re great), get Kate to do a Member Makeover or, if she still does them, a one-on-one consultation (best money I’ve ever spent). Get Tony Cosentino to build your website or, if you can’t afford it, get him to give your website a health check (another great investment).

    Get some part-time work if you can to keep you going financially and build your confidence. Don’t overprice yourself – start small (not too cheap though) and gradually increase prices. Learn about SEO through Kate’s course so people will find your website.

     

     

    What’s next for you?

    I’ve been getting some contract work as a comms officer which is building my skills and experience. I hope to keep doing that but really need to get back into making a big effort with my business. I’d love for my business to take off enough that I never have to worry about money again.

     

    Why do you love TCCS?

    I love Kate and she is the heart of the group. It’s a great place to come for reassurance when feeling down, for information and advice, and for company – because working at home can be a bit lonely sometimes. I love that Kate doesn’t allow any nastiness, and anyone who makes cutting remarks soon leaves. (Happened to me a couple of times so I stopped posting.) It’s a place of friendship.

     

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    How to get more clients on LinkedIn

    How to apply

    1. Read through the job description below carefully and ask yourself:
      1. Do you have relevant experience?
      2. Can you meet the deadline or feel confident negotiating it?
      3. Can you meet the budget or feel confident negotiating it?
        If the answers are all ‘YES’ move to step 2.
    2. Send your best possible pitch to the email address included in the job description below. Introduce yourself, sell yourself!
    3. There’s no need to cc us, but of course we’d love to know if you win the job, please tell us in the TCCS Facebook group

    Job application rules and guidelines

    1. Jobs will be posted on this page as they come in.
    2. The TCCS rules still apply:
      1. Please only apply for jobs you’ve had experience in.
      2. Do not apply for every single job – you will ruin the quality of the replies for the job poster and as a consequence, we’re likely to get few jobs posted.
      3. We will be monitoring responses by following up with job posters to assess quality.  If we find that members have been applying for jobs for which they’re not a good fit, their access to the job board will be limited. 

         

    3. Jobs will be open for a maximum of 48 hours, fewer if the enquirer has advised they’ve received enough responses.

      Suggested format for emails:

      Hi Bob.
      I saw your job post on The Clever Copywriting School Job board.

      Reason for applying:
      Name:
      TCCS Directory link: (Annual members only)
      Website:
      Email:

      Phone:

      Thanks
      Your name

       

    Happy pitching and as always, if you have any questions or technical difficulty, please email admin@clevercopywritingschool.com

    JOB DETAILS

    Job status: Open

    Job posted: 08/09/20

    Industry:

    Type:

    Deadline:

    Budget:

    Location:

    Brief:

    A guide for freelance copywriters

     

    This post was written by TCCS member, Beck Cofrancesco


     

    Everyone’s talking about LinkedIn right now. And for good reason.

    It’s a golden window of opportunity.

    Of the near 700 million people on LinkedIn, only 1% post weekly content.

    Which means it’s less crowded than other social channels, and your content is more likely to be seen.

    And best of all it’s what’s known as long-tail content. It will keep performing for weeks.

    Wouldn’t it feel great to be an in-demand copywriter with clients chasing you to work with them?

    It’s time to up your LinkedIn game and get visible.

    LinkedIn is a client goldmine waiting to be tapped, especially if you work in the B2B space.

    I’m sharing what’s worked for me, and why I love it so much. (Yep, I’m a total LinkedIn geek.)

    “People on LinkedIn have money.
    A budget ready to spend.
    If that’s not a qualified lead, I don’t know what is.”

     

    First, work out your goals for LinkedIn

    To get more clients on LinkedIn you need to be clear on three things:

    1. What you want to be known for
    2. Who you want to connect with
    3. The results you want

     

    Second, nail the LinkedIn profile

    Think of your LinkedIn profile as a sales page for your business.

    Include everything you need to dazzle potential customers, including a great banner with your unique selling proposition.

    You want as many people to check out your profile as possible. So, you need to set it up so they can find it. Keywords help you do that.

    Tip: Write a list of keywords people would search for to find you and include them in your headline and profile description.

     

    Build a search-friendly LinkedIn header

    When you’re active on the LinkedIn feed, the words under your name may be the only thing people see. Use keywords to call out the value you bring.

    There are two trains of thoughts on best practice:

    1. Lead with a statement on how you can help (e.g. “I help financial services businesses communicate”)
    2. Signal what you do (e.g. “Freelance Financial Services Marketer I Sydney”)

    I’ve tried both and didn’t see a difference in visibility. So, it comes down to preference and the keywords you use.

     

    Refresh your summary description

    LinkedIn doesn’t have to be a snooze fest. You can let your personality shine.
    Make it all about your potential customer, how you’re the answer to what they need, and why they should choose you.

    Tip: Remember to turn off notifications while you’re fiddling about. Turn it back on when you’ve made your final change and your network will be notified.

    Note: Kate has a great LinkedIn course inside the membership and profile template. If you’re serious about growing your copywriting business on LinkedIn you should definitely get it.

     

    Third, jump in and get social

    To be good at social, you need to be social. So never lead with the sell. Always lead with value.

    A great way to get your feel for LinkedIn is to join conversations on your feed.

    Pick posts that align with your area of expertise and what you want to be known for. It’s a simple way to build your confidence, and you’ll also start showing up on your connection’s newsfeeds.

     

    Start conversations (outreach program)

    If you really want to build traction and get those leads happening, you need to be intentional about it.

    The real gold in LinkedIn isn’t the newsfeed. It’s in the conversations you have in private (or ‘in-mail’ to be technically correct).

    Make yourself a target list of:

    • People you admire
    • Companies who have values similar to yours
    • People you’ve worked with in the past (and want to work with again)
    • Decision-makers (i.e. people with the authority to hire you for freelance work)

    Then systematically start conversations with those people. And when the time is right, you can introduce the idea of working together.

    Tip: NEVER lead with a sales request. It’s annoying. And spammy.
    Lead with connection, show value, and then let the conversation happen naturally.

     

    Post your own content

    Even though we’re copywriters, we’re not immune to getting stuck with what to write about.

    But what better way to get more clients on LinkedIn than to showcase what you’re good at – writing.

    It’s a good idea to create content themes (known as pillars) and stick to them.

    The themes should support what you want to be known for.

    Tip: Always include an engaging call to action. The LinkedIn algorithm is just like other platforms, where engagement on your post triggers it to show it to more people.

     

     

    Conclusion

    If your ideal clients hang out on LinkedIn it’s time you did too. It’s not the snoozefest you think it is. And there is a real opportunity right now.

    It would be a shame to waste it, no?

    Feel free to hang out on LinkedIn with me.

     

    Over to you

    If you liked this article please share it.

     

    About Beck

     

    Rebecca Cofrancesco is the founder of Marketing Goodness.

    Beck is a copywriter and marketing strategist who loves working with service-based businesses.

    Helping them get found, create great content, start conversations, and make more sales.

     

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    Anti-Boring Guide: How To Make Your Writing More Interesting

    How to apply

    1. Read through the job description below carefully and ask yourself:
      1. Do you have relevant experience?
      2. Can you meet the deadline or feel confident negotiating it?
      3. Can you meet the budget or feel confident negotiating it?
        If the answers are all ‘YES’ move to step 2.
    2. Send your best possible pitch to the email address included in the job description below. Introduce yourself, sell yourself!
    3. There’s no need to cc us, but of course we’d love to know if you win the job, please tell us in the TCCS Facebook group

    Job application rules and guidelines

    1. Jobs will be posted on this page as they come in.
    2. The TCCS rules still apply:
      1. Please only apply for jobs you’ve had experience in.
      2. Do not apply for every single job – you will ruin the quality of the replies for the job poster and as a consequence, we’re likely to get few jobs posted.
      3. We will be monitoring responses by following up with job posters to assess quality.  If we find that members have been applying for jobs for which they’re not a good fit, their access to the job board will be limited. 

         

    3. Jobs will be open for a maximum of 48 hours, fewer if the enquirer has advised they’ve received enough responses.

      Suggested format for emails:

      Hi Bob.
      I saw your job post on The Clever Copywriting School Job board.

      Reason for applying:
      Name:
      TCCS Directory link: (Annual members only)
      Website:
      Email:

      Phone:

      Thanks
      Your name

       

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    Your writing can be interesting, even when the subject matter isn’t

     

    This post was written by TCCS member, George Norris


     

    A weathered billboard displays the message “Really Good Jerky, 75 Miles”

    Hey there, copywriter. Whatcha writing about?

    Australia’s most innovative verandah installers?
    Suppliers of authentic cardboard boxes?
    Perhaps a unique accountancy firm?

    They all sound a bit silly, don’t they?

    As copywriters, we often have to take pretty mundane stuff and make it sound exciting.

    It’s what we do.

    And sometimes there’s a tendency to go overboard with adjectives if the subject matter isn’t dripping with natural inspiration.

    And that’s how we end up with misaligned descriptions like these.

    But did you know you can make your writing interesting, even when the topic isn’t?

    Put the thesaurus down, and try a few of these tips and techniques.

     

    Bait your hook

    Start strong. In the digital era, your prospects’ attention span is measured in milliseconds. So you have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and slow their scroll, lest they scroll on by or hit the “archive” button on their emails.

    You have to bait them into stopping.

    Classic copywriting formulas like AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), or PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solve), dictate that you should include a trigger early on in your message. These writing formulas may be decades old, but the logic behind them is sounder than ever.

    Bait your hook with a juicy attention-grabber, and cast it into the headline, subject line or first paragraph of your copy. A fisherman doesn’t wait until the end of the day to put his hook in front of his prospects, and neither should you.

     

    Get a strong brief and refer to it often

    Get a good brief, he says…but, isn’t that Copywriting 101? Well, it is. (Or at least it should be.)

    But even so, every copywriter’s been there; fudging their way through a project where the client didn’t provide a strong brief, or they didn’t push hard enough to get one.

    And we’ve all felt the pain a poor brief can cause down the track.

    A half-cooked brief can send any copywriting project into a tailspin, most likely ending with a burnt-out copywriter and a frustrated client.

    A woman bites down on a pencil in frustration as she looks at a laptop screen.

    A good brief isn’t just the bedrock of a copywriting project. It’s also an essential reference to help you every step of the way.

    Your brief should be your guide when you get stuck with how to phrase something, or find yourself pondering what it is your audience desires.

    Emails with the client can often yield gold when revisited, too—though no promises there. A sentence you may have glossed over initially could hold the missing piece of information you need to break through when you’re in a rut.

     

    Don’t build walls (of text)

    This guy likes building walls. Don’t be like this guy.

    An animated gif shows a caricature of Donald Trump laying bricks on a wall

    Nobody reads walls of text. Why would they? There’s a whole world of well-crafted, punchy, and bite-size content out there to tuck into these days. So, don’t build text walls.

    Break your writing up into easily digestible chunks by incorporating images and subheadings. Write short paragraphs that make a point, substantiate it, and introduce the next one.

     

    Short sentences keep the tempo upbeat

    Sentences. Keep them short. Mostly. Sometimes you need a long sentence to make your point, and that’s fine.

    But why use 11 words when you could say the same thing with five?

    Your readers aren’t looking for Shakespeare when they’re reading your blog post.

    Short sentences are easy on the brain.

    A long sentence that drifts on and on, meandering in no particular direction with repeated words and redundant points that are superfluous because you already made them earlier, with circular logic that goes round and round and round and runs into itself and ends up as an endless string of letters and repeated words, and punctuations with passive voice that means it was taking ages for the point to be made, and eventually the point is lost in the avalanche of words, and maybe some corporate buzzwords have crept in like a pivoting deep dive, and you wonder what the point even was other than to make you annoyed and want to slap the screen you’re looking at and oh my god what is he talking about and please make it stop!

    Sorry. Got a bit carried away there. But I hope that mess illustrated my point.

    Keep it simple, and keep it short.

     

    Remember the 7 Ps

    A metal ornament in the shape of the letter P

    The 7 Ps is an old military adage that goes; Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

    Like a marching band, it’s got a rhythm to it. But what does it mean for us writers?

    Front-load your workload. Fill your brain up with as much information as you can at the start of the project.

    That way, when it’s the eve of your deadline and you’re shaking your head at how the day got away on you, a much-needed nugget of inspiration might just come rattling out from the depths of your noggin.

    You probably didn’t know there’s also a 7 Ps for copywriting. Here it is:

    People Prefer Personality to Piffle, Platitudes, and Posturing Personas.

    Okay, I just made that up. And maybe it’s a bit crap compared to the original. But feel free to try it out the next time a client wants you to talk about the revolutionary qualities of a box of staples.

    Most people react positively to writing they can relate to rather than corporate-speak and buzzwords. It’s why copywriters exist. So don’t be afraid to inject a little personality into your writing.

    Compare these two sentences:

    “Our bakery sells traditional pies, sandwiches, and coffee that your family will love.”
    vs.
    “We don’t just make the best sandwiches and pies in town. We also have reasonably good coffee.”

    The first sentence is cliched and forgettable.

    The second makes the same point but is conversational with a touch of dry humour. More memorable.

     

    Keep it active

    The reader is bored by the sentence with a passive voice. Because the pace of the passive voice is dawdling and clumsy.

    Most readers prefer the active voice. The active voice is crisp.

    See what I did there?

    • Active voice: The subject does the verb to the object. e.g. The copywriter nailed the brief.
    • Passive voice: The verb happens to the subject. e.g. The nailing of the brief was done by the copywriter.

    We see that the active voice gets your point across more efficiently and directly, even in a short example.

    Hemingway is a great tool for spotting instances of passive voice.

    Keep it active.

     

    Chop chop

    When you’re editing your own work, try to shift your mindset. Think like a third party, preferably a ruthless editor, alone in a half-lit room, surrounded by stacks of papers four feet high, dreaming up new ways to chop sentences down to size and make words disappear from the page.

    You have to drop your emotional attachment to your handiwork and focus on keeping the audience front and centre.

    A cartoon gif showing a character smoking a cigar while editing documents

    Just as a butcher breaks down a carcass and sells only the good stuff to their customers, an editor breaks down a document.

    Every paragraph, every sentence, and every word goes on the chopping block.

    Only those that add substance or intrigue should be spared from tasting the cold steel of the cleaver.

    If a sentence isn’t adding anything, or encouraging the reader to read the next one, give it the chop.

     

    Be interested

    Make it your business to be interested in what you’re writing about even when it’s not that interesting.

    The person reading your copy about diesel engines might find them totally fascinating, even if you find them as interesting as day-old dishwater.

    If you skimp on doing your homework because you’re not that interested, your writing is likely to reflect that.

    It’ll be, as Bilbo Baggins says, “like butter scraped over too much bread”. It’s difficult to write in an interesting way when you’re unfamiliar with the topic.

    Deep knowledge of your subject allows for confident and compelling writing that’s interesting to read, regardless of the subject.

     

    Still stuck?

    Take a break.

    An animated gif shows a writer typing at a writer between sunrise and sunset

    Sometimes it feels like no matter what techniques you try, writing’s just hard.

    Try looking elsewhere for inspiration at times like this.

    Loads of great writers post tips on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Follow some, and see if you can’t find some spark.

    You’ll find plenty of them are members of this here copywriting school.

    If that’s not working, try taking a step back from the screen.

    Go for a walk, read a book, or listen to some music.

    Often, the best thing you can do is take a break from the page and come back with fresh eyes.

    It doesn’t need to be a long time, but doing something else will nearly always reset your mind and let you put a new twist on your writing.

     

    Over to you

    If you liked this article, please share it.

     

     

    About George

     

    George Norris is the chief word merchant at George Norris Copywriter.

    He writes marketing content and brand copy for businesses who want to tell a better story.

     

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    An interview with Copywriter Claudia Bouma

    How to apply

    1. Read through the job description below carefully and ask yourself:
      1. Do you have relevant experience?
      2. Can you meet the deadline or feel confident negotiating it?
      3. Can you meet the budget or feel confident negotiating it?
        If the answers are all ‘YES’ move to step 2.
    2. Send your best possible pitch to the email address included in the job description below. Introduce yourself, sell yourself!
    3. There’s no need to cc us, but of course we’d love to know if you win the job, please tell us in the TCCS Facebook group

    Job application rules and guidelines

    1. Jobs will be posted on this page as they come in.
    2. The TCCS rules still apply:
      1. Please only apply for jobs you’ve had experience in.
      2. Do not apply for every single job – you will ruin the quality of the replies for the job poster and as a consequence, we’re likely to get few jobs posted.
      3. We will be monitoring responses by following up with job posters to assess quality.  If we find that members have been applying for jobs for which they’re not a good fit, their access to the job board will be limited. 

         

    3. Jobs will be open for a maximum of 48 hours, fewer if the enquirer has advised they’ve received enough responses.

      Suggested format for emails:

      Hi Bob.
      I saw your job post on The Clever Copywriting School Job board.

      Reason for applying:
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    Happy pitching and as always, if you have any questions or technical difficulty, please email admin@clevercopywritingschool.com

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    Job posted: 28/07/20

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    Claudia Bouma from Claudia Bouma Copywriter


     

    Who are you Claudia Bouma?

    I’m an Aussie SEO copywriter who loves working with small business owners eager to change people’s lives. An idealist at heart, I believe words can change the world.

     

    What did you do before you became a copywriter?

    During a two-year family camping trip around Oz with three preschoolers, I submitted a travel article to the 4×4 Australia magazine editor, which was published.
    Other travel mags contacted me and I found myself living the dream as a travel writer and my husband as the travel photographer.

     

    How long have you been copywriting?

    I’ve always been fascinated with words. In high school I took English, French and German followed by Spanish and Russian in Business School because I love and breathe language.

    My travel writing career kicked off in 2009 then I branched out into SEO-friendly website copy in 2017 after doing Kate’s Recipe for SEO Success Course.

    I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

     

    What has been your biggest copywriting career win?

    Copy editing for the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service (RFDS) in Victoria. As a kid, I watched The Flying Doctors on TV and was smitten with Tom Callaghan.

    When another copywriter referred this job to me, I was beside myself. The RFDS is an Australian icon and I feel proud to have contributed in a small way to this life-changing health service.

     

    What was your worst copywriting career fail?

    Writing web copy for an online maths program provider after successfully working with the owner to develop the tone of voice. I slaved over the content and he HATED it.

    My confidence took a hit but it was the incredible copywriting community that helped me see it wasn’t all my fault. I learned many valuable lessons throughout this horrible experience, and I’ve become a better copywriter as a result.

     

    What is your number one fave copywriting tool?

    The online thesaurus is my go-to tool for all my copywriting.

     

    How do you deal with self-doubt?

    Having a copy buddy has helped me get through times of doubt. A regular catch-up with someone who understands your world and can bring perspective is SOOOO helpful.

    Most of the battle is in the mind so it’s important to get your thoughts out in the real world, only to discover that things aren’t as bad as they seem. A sounding board is crucial for my mental health.

    And my amazing husband is my biggest fan who buys me chocolate when I’m miserable.

     

    What work/life balance or mental health tips do you have?

    Copywriting is what you do, it’s not who you are. Enjoy what you do and make sure you remember why you’ve chosen this roller coaster lifestyle to make sure you get through the hard times.

    Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. You’re not a superhero.

    Don’t promise the world and put yourself under pressure. Deadlines are flexible, believe it or not.

     

    What tip would you pass onto any newbie copywriters?

    Enjoy the ride! It’s a bumpy ride with exhilarating highs and stressful lows, but it’s so worth it. The freedom to carve out your own life, develop your skills, meet like-minded copywriters – the list goes on and on.

    Don’t be scared to ask for help or advice. We can be our own worst enemy by thinking we’re the only ones struggling with a particular issue.

     

     

    What’s next for you?

    Breaking into UX writing as this nicely blends SEO and my analytical approach to copywriting.

     

    Why do you love TCCS?

    TCCS transformed my copywriting career. I finally believe I’m a professional and have less times feeling like a fraud. When I do, I jump onto the Facebook group and I soon realise my true value as a copywriter.

     

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