Guest Post: Business Copywriting Makeover That Makes Honey Even Sweeter

(Note from Dan: This post and the previous one are “Guest Posts” By Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero: the Award-winning marketer, world-renowned copywriter and creator of “The She Factor” Her copywriting insights and courses are well worth your time an effort to read and learn from.)

Copy Makeover That Makes Honey Even Sweeter

By Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, Expert Copywriting Strategist

Lorrie_Morgan-FerreroContinuing on with the requested copy makeovers…

This particular one was submitted to my now defunct print newsletter from a few years back, but I think it’s an excellent demonstration of how little tweaks can go a long, long way towards capturing attention.

To be fair, I was only given a short blurb to work with. Still, I felt it would be easy enough to punch up the benefits with a little research. Honey is a sweet product revered by humans and animals alike. But that’s only part of the story.

You want to do your research on what appeals to your prospect and makes him or her salivate to spend money. When you get deep inside their head, your copy becomes much more personal. When there’s no connection, your prospect quickly moves on.

With that in mind, take a look at this copy makeover. The ho-hum before paragraph is somewhat educational, but it doesn’t have that oomph. The update opens with a hook and then goes on to reveal the benefits.

BEFORE: Stoney Mountain Honey is pure, natural and unfiltered. Honey is filled with many beneficial health benefits. You get great tasting honey, unpasteurized, unprocessed but filtered for purity. An ancient remedy that remains as powerful today when not heated and processed. Produced in limited supply each season.

AFTER: Did you know honey not only tastes delicious but can be used as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant agent? Hi, I’m Chris Dodge. My wife and I are beekeepers and our bees make the most delicious, unprocessed local honey on the planet. Only problem is there is a limited supply each season. We use a unique unpasteurized process that keeps our honey pure yet safe to consume in its most natural state. Get some today –while supplies last!

ACTION TIPS: When writing copy . . .

  • Research the benefits. You have billions of pages available at your fingertips so don’t be afraid to dig.
  • Even short stories catch people’s attention and imagination.
  • Be sure to have a call to action (in this case, scarcity).

Isn’t this fun? I’d love to hear your comments. Sound off below and let me know what kind of makeovers you’d like to see in the future!

Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero Signature

 

 

ABOUT LORRIE: Award-winning marketer, world-renowned copywriter and creator of “The She Factor”, Copywriting Strategist Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero of Red Hot Copy has a reputation as the top female copywriter in the info-marketing industry. Lorrie is dedicated to teaching the world it is possible to shift from the hype-filled sales to a more modern version… marketing written with authenticity, trust, and rapport. She publishes the award-winning Copywriting TNT weekly e-zine with 33,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your business, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at Redhotcopy.com.

DanSig-02


Guest Post: One – Two Punch to Great Business Copywriting

(Note from Dan: This post and the next are “Guest Posts” By Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero: the Award-winning marketer, world-renowned copywriter and creator of “The She Factor.” Her copywriting insights and courses are well worth your time an effort to read and learn from.)

One – Two Punch to Great Business Copywriting

By Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, Expert Copywriting Strategist

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lorrie_Morgan-FerreroYou can quickly clear up confusion in your market when you understand their pain. Then know how to tackle it by really connecting with your reader. It’s the old ‘one-two’ punch.

ONE: What is the “unique selling position” in your market? Luck won’t propel you to success. Understand the “cause” of your target’s problem by knowing her pain. Solving her problem is the “effect” she is looking for.

Big money corporations have entire departments dedicated to finding out who buys from them. Then they can hone in on that market segment. They do it by profiling not only who buys from them, but also by knowing who their competition is.

Successful marketing campaigns listen to their market. It’s about connecting a hidden desire (or even an expressed one) in your target market. Your job is to identify where those minds are, find them and then connect with them. You don’t have to have a big budget. With the Internet now it’s easy to see what everyone is up to.

  1. Put the phrase or keywords your target market puts into a search engine like Google and see what shows up on the first page.
  2. Visit www.amazon.com and do a search for your industry. Study what comes up.
  3. Check out www.alexa.com for stats on website traffic. It’s your job to do your own research and it’s available to you through your competition.

TWO: Singularly look at writing to one person rather than a group. When you get this one concept down, your copy will stick like glue to the reader because it’s just the two of you in the room. It’s a real easy thing to say “everybody is my target market” but that’s simply not true. Your target market consists only of those potential customers who are suitable for your products or services. You really have to know exactly who you’re talking to so you can offer the solution to their problem.

(By the way, I go into much more detail about those roadblocks for you in my DIY She Factor Copywriting Bootcamp home study system. Let me tell you, you are going to LOVE it. Watch for its wide release soon.) Copywriting is interactive between the reader and the writer. You want him or her to keep reading so you have to engage the reader. When you get in touch with your TARGET, that’s where you really make the sale. You need to know everything about who you’re writing for. In other words, start with the catch in the mind instead of the pitch.

ABOUT LORRIE: Award-winning marketer, world-renowned copywriter and creator of “The She Factor”, Copywriting Strategist Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero of Red Hot Copy has a reputation as the top female copywriter in the info-marketing industry. Lorrie is dedicated to teaching the world it is possible to shift from the hype-filled sales to a more modern version… marketing written with authenticity, trust, and rapport. She publishes the award-winning Copywriting TNT weekly ezine with 33,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your business, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at Redhotcopy.com.


Brochure Creation: Top 10 Creative Tips

Create_BrochureJust read a very interesting post on creativebloq.com: Brochure Design: Top 10 Creative Tips.

Very good article, but I would reorder the tips considerably. Where they put several valuable design concepts first, I would move them down the list, subordinate to COPY.

First, as with every communications project, WHY are you doing this? Everything you do should point directly back to answering that question. This keys to, “What do you want the reader to actually DO after they have read the brochure?

  • Buy Something?
  • Sign up for something?
  • Join a club?
  • Join your Mailing List?
  • Etc…..

Just make sure that everything in the brochure leads the reader to your desired conclusion. This point is, correctly, their Point #1. (Also see my article: Think First! The Right Steps to Effective Communications.)

Then… COPY (their point #4). Their copy related points are right on: Put Readers First (Point #5), then, stylistically, Think of Simple Statements (Point #6).

I know designers always believe that the design trumps all, but, as critical as good design is – good design often actually gets readers to really read the copy instead of dismissing it out of hand… but the message cannot be subservient to the design.

As an aside, when we hired designers for our product and sales meeting presentations, I always had to; “rein in” the designers’ tendency to de-emphasize the end result photos that we included in the shows. For us, as a camera company (Minolta), the photos were of primary importance as they directly illustrated, in a snap (sorry, had to do that), the points being made in the presentation (a photo was definitely worth 1000 words). So we always had to make sure the end result photo image area to be a larger percentage of the overall screen design, to the designers’ chagrin. By all means, keep design excellent, but not the main reason for the brochure.

Once you have properly developed your copy, and then let your designers do their job – which may sometimes include copy adjustment suggestions. Their experience often will add greatly to the impact and effectiveness of your project – at least that’s been my experience. This is where my adage, “Hire the best people and encourage them to do their best” comes into play.

From that point on, their Creative Bloq’s points are very well taken, and, when followed, will help you get the best and most productive results from the brochures you produce.

Enjoy…

DanSig-02

The Classic of Time Management Tools – The To-Do List

To-Do-ListMany people have very little experience with good time management skills or time management tools. So they start with the classic time management tool – the To-Do List. In many cases, for convenience, effectiveness, or success with your goals, To-Do Lists are really hard to beat. A great memory is great, but I’ve always found that the act of actually writing something down on a To-Do List “sets it in my mind” and makes it easier to remember the, To-Do… and it feels so good to cross a completed task off the list!

Also, as a stress reliever, a To-Do list is great because, all of a sudden, you’re much less worried about a task being forgotten or “falling through the cracks” and not getting done.

When you write tasks down on paper, or in an application on your smart phone or computer, it saves energy since you are no longer trying to recall many pieces of information and facts that need to be dealt with. Instead, your prioritized list keeps you on track to accomplish your daily goals with the least effort… save your energy for the big projects, the ones that matter most and generate the most income.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably notice an increase in productivity as your confidence is raised. Over time, as you use To-Do lists for daily accomplishments, it makes sense that if you achieve more in a day, you’ll feel better about yourself.

Here’s a Simple To-Do List System:

  1. Get a spiral notebook. Write “To-Do List” on the front (along with your name and contact info – in case it gets lost) in big letters. Use this notebook ONLY as your To-Do List.
  • Get the size of notebook that is convenient for you and the way you work. If you like a full size 8 ½ x 11 inch notebook, that’s what you want! If you prefer one that fits in a pocket or purse, that’s good, too. (A friend of mine uses a classic “Stenographer’s Notebook” as he likes the size and the top binding instead of the side binding.)
  1. Commit to yourself to USE the system. Always use your notebook as your To-Do list. Don’t use scraps of paper that get lost everywhere – along with the information and tasks they represent.
  • Your planner or your To-Do lists are critical to finding more success in all you do. Knowing that you will get everything done is a great confidence booster. Just write down your tasks and goals. Then do them and then mark them off when they are complete!
  1. Start your To-Do List today. Go ahead… open the notebook and start listing all the tasks you need to complete. Don’t worry about big projects versus small tasks. Take all the space you need. Remember also to prioritize your tasks for greatest productivity.
  2. Celebrate your completed tasks. When you finish a task, cross it off the list (or mark the completion date and time).
  • As you use your To-Do list more and more, you’ll find a lot less concern about whether you’ve completed tasks. With your growing confidence, you know that if you put it on the list you will do it! And the reward of marking a task as complete can’t be beat.
  1. Rip out old pages. Eventually, you’ll start to have pages where every task has been completed and crossed out. Tearing these out is quite satisfying… however, you may want to consider entering the date and time when a task is completed so you actually have a completion time for later reference if needed.
  • You’ll be amazed at how good it feels when you realize you’re getting everything done every single day. Like the rest of us, some days you’ll get more done than other days, but your list of completed tasks will give you much satisfaction.

You see how a simple daily To-Do List raises your confidence in so many different ways. Finishing each job and getting rid of a whole page of completed tasks can give you a tremendous confidence boost.

The act of planning and writing down what you want to accomplish in a day is an integral part of your organized, effective, and self-assured life.

Remember also, the To-Do Lists on your smartphone or in computer programs like Outlook will also help you stay on track. Since I work at my desk most of the day, I use Microsoft Outlook – I like it because it is both an email client and has full calendar/task list functionality – with alarms. And planning systems like the Franklin Planner will keep you on track as your business grows.

DanSig-02

Time Management Skills to Get Your Day under Control

Time_ManagementAs we’ve said before when talking about the importance of time management, either at home or on the job, when you don’t manage your time well, you’ll have a pretty tough time getting done what you need to get done. Time management skills aren’t really difficult – you just need to… DO IT!

Here are a few time management tips and time management tools to use in your daily routine to help you keep time from managing you.

The Basics of Time Management

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a time management scheduling book or calendar. Since I work at my desk most of the day, Microsoft Outlook keeps me on track with reminders that I have scheduled in (for instance, as I write this, I know I have a meeting at church this evening because the reminders keep popping up so I WON’T forget)… but, a hard copy calendar book, or a calendar app on your smart phone can keep you on track just as well. One of the things that I found out a long time ago is that writing things down helps me remember them. Because it sets things into your mind, the discipline of just entering something in the calendar becomes the first step to making it easier to stay on track.

  • At the start of each day, whether you use FranklinCovey or some other planning system, look over your day’s schedule.  At this point, you can map out your day in your head, or, if necessary, make adjustments.  Giving yourself some flexibility as you plan your day will allow more easily for unforeseen difficulties.
  • One really useful habit is confirming appointments or meetings. It lets you make sure nothing has changed, and makes sure you both go into the meeting with the same expectations. If you need to adjust the meeting time, don’t hesitate – both you and those with whom you meet may have a more productive meeting at the new time. Of course, try to keep your meetings within your “productive time zone” but make sure the person you’re meeting will also be similarly productive. Remember, meetings in the middle of the day take longer for you to regain your momentum after the meeting.

Don’t Over Commit Yourself

One of the worst time management problems is to, “over-plan” or try to do too much in one day. Remember the old adage, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Only plan what you can legitimately accomplish in each day. Planning may help you get more done each day, but it won’t give you more than 24 hours each day. Use your time wisely and don’t burn yourself out.

Your physical and mental health are important too.  Good time management skills include time to step back and reflect to gain perspective on what’s going on, what’s important, and where you need to focus your efforts most.

  • If you have children, the best time management is to allot time to the youngster’s activities before the school year starts and stick as closely to that plan as you can.
  • As you work, think about what committees or groups you to which you can add value without over-extending yourself. (I know I could do more at church, but I really don’t have time for it – so I don’t.) Spreading yourself too thin means everything gets short changed.

Today, the alarms in cell phones and smart phones are part of our time management system. Also, watches with alarms and timers are part of good time management. Just getting to an appointment on time will make a big difference in how productive you can be – and it shows the person with whom you meet respect that earns you more business.  So use timers and alarms to keep you on track and help you win more business.

Structure Your Day

Work to a specific schedule for the routine tasks in you day… email, answer phone calls, etc. This helps ensure you have the opportunities you need to get everything done. Good habits like this create a more efficient working environment that helps you get more done.

  • For instance, each morning, clean and straighten up the kitchen before heading off to work – outside the home or in a home office. First with the kitchen straightened up, we home office people won’t be tempted to break our concentration to do it during the day. And, when you get home, from inside or outside the house, you’ll be able to take a few minutes of, “decompress time” with your spouse or significant other before getting on with meal prep, getting the kids into homework mode, etc.
  • Then, in the evening, again, straighten up for the next day… which may include looking over your next day’s schedule to make sure you are mentally prepared for what you will face the next day… there’s nothing better than waking up in the morning and facing… a clean house! This kind of structure in your day will keep your mind clearer and you’ll feel more organized.

Good time management skills are important in your life, both business and personal. Always be a time management strategist to see how you can make your time more productive and get more time for your work, and more time for your family.

DanSig-02

Guest Post – Lorrie Morgan Ferrero… Copywriter (and Creative Consultant) Survival Guide

Lorrie_Morgan-FerreroDo you know Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero? If not, you should. I’ve been following Lorrie for, probably, ten years, and she consistently has shown that she has the knowledge and experience to lead people through a maze of words and turn them into exciting, practical, productive copy. You should get to know her and learn from her. By all means explore her web site, Red Hot Copy.

In the meantime, here is an article that appeared in her regular newsletter:

Copywriter (and Creative Consultant) Survival Guide

By Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, Expert Copywriting Strategist

Dear Fellow Creative,

You are not like regular people. I’m being frank with you right out of the gate because sometimes, like me, you probably think that you are. You’re not. Embrace that concept now and you’ll be happier for the rest of your life.

However, instead of assuming we have the exact same understanding, I’ll just share mine with you, then you see if you relate or not, k? If you’re like me:

You don’t fit neatly into a personality schema (cuz you’re awesome)

You have difficulty setting boundaries with others (especially clients)

Your creative juices are tied to your emotions (you sensitive artist, you)

Any of those qualities resonate with you? If so, keep reading. You’re going to love these tips I’ve learned at Hard Knocks University!

Learn Your Craft

There IS a formula to writing copy, but writing copy is similar to driving. First you experience cars as a passenger, but don’t drive them. When it comes to copy, often your first experience is as a consumer who reads copy to make a buying decision. When you’re ready to actually drive a car or write copy, you need some training to understand the concepts. It’s pretty doubtful you’ll be ready for NASCAR right out of the gate, just like it’s rare that your copy will be Hall of Fame level without practice. Naturally the more you practice anything, including copy, the better your marketing (and sales) will be.

Rest Test

Give yourself 24 hours minimum (preferably more) between writing and editing. Emergency cases still require at least an hour in between writing and delivery. Pushing it beyond that greatly increases the chances of error. Creating copy uses different parts of the brain than editing. When you are in a creative space, stay there. When you are in an editing space, stay there. Do not mix the two activities, or you’ll end up with disjointed copy while smothering your personal creative juices.

Keep Regular Hours

When you’re in the groove and the words are flowing, it’s tough to make yourself stop writing. But what happens when you keep regular hours is you train your brain to live in an “all or nothing” space. If there is space between writing and rejuvenation you’re much more likely to allow brilliance in your work. Also some of your best ideas come rushing in when you get away from your work.

No Copy By Committee

When you are hired as a professional copywriter, you have a very specific job to do. If you’ve done your training, practiced, and are solid in your skill set, any client you agree to work with should respect what you bring to the table. Here’s how it works. In the beginning, you, as the copywriter, do deep target market research. There is collaboration. You take your knowledge and skill then go create magic. When you turn in your masterpiece to the client, there will undoubtedly be notes and editing. No problem. However you should make it clear there is a single point person who you will share creative input with. Otherwise you get a roomful of voices with different opinions. You won’t please any of them, and you’ll be a hot mess.

Balance It, BABY

You are no good to anyone if you don’t take care of your physical and emotional needs. Just because you’re on a deadline is no excuse for you to neglect your most important tool – YOU! I ended up hospitalized a few years ago for trying to please a client. I worked 16+ hour days with no days off. I didn’t exercise or eat right. My anxiety levels for personally wanting to do a great job were off the charts. And how did he thank me…by firing me while I was still in the hospital. (By the way, that was my first and only firing.) Huge wake up call to take care of yourself first or nothing else can happen.

Trust me, after 13 years in this industry what I’m telling you can make or break your sanity (and your bank account). I recommend that you print this article out as a reminder to protect your craft and confidence when you work with clients…or even if you’re your own client. Add your own tips. I’d love for you to share them in the comment section below!

Lo-sm-signature

 

ABOUT LORRIE: Award-winning marketer, world-renowned copywriter and creator of “The She Factor”, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero of Red Hot Copy has a reputation as the top female copywriter in the info-marketing industry. Lorrie is dedicated to teaching the world it is possible to shift from the hype-filled sales to a more modern version …marketing written with authenticity, trust, and rapport.

Copywriting Strategist Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero publishes the award-winning Copywriting TNT weekly ezine with 33,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your business, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at http://tinyurl.com/copywriting-TNT

Successful Business Writing: Five Critical Ingredients

BrochureI’ve said for years that, in successful business writing, content is the “king.” But every business information king must have a queen, and for business writing, both online and off, the “queen” is QUALITY. Never has it been more critical to take the time to create the high quality information that your visitors and potential customers are looking for. There are no shortcuts: quality content is the crucial ingredient for all effective business writing. To get the quality content that really moves your readers to the “call to action” you need them to take, keep these five key ingredients in mind:

It Must Be Easy To Read and Quick to Absorb
Remember that today, most people skim-read: print or online, people are looking for information fast. Business information readers usually subscribe to dozens of news websites and blogs and have LOTS to read… this makes it easy for them to quickly get bored and move onto the next article on their list – quality copy will keep them reading your material.

So what’s easiest to read? Short paragraphs, subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists. These simple steps make your information easier to read and understand, and it offers structure to help both you and your reader to follow the message right to the call to action.

It Must Be Informative
Just because certain “business writing gurus” claim success by putting out tons of poorly written materials, don’t lose sight of quality writing for your company – either writing you do, or writing you hire out. Readers and search engines are looking past keyword stuffing and spun content. What business readers, and today – search engines, really want is information that answers their questions clearly, informatively, and in an entertaining way.

It Must Be the Right Length
This is a never ending debate: short copy or long copy. The truth is that every article, web page, blog post, or presentation is different. Walk in the shoes of the person looking for the information YOU have: can you give them what they need in just one hundred words? If you can, then that is long enough! Usually you’ll find, however, you’ll need more than that. As long as you keep your article, brochure, web page, blog post, or presentation focused on one single topic without wandering off into different ideas, you will most likely keep your reader’s attention all the way to the end and following your, “call to action.”

It Must Be Natural
Writing that reads naturally while still incorporating a variety of keywords can be a real challenge – but it must be met! The easiest and best solution… don’t worry about it! When you answer questions that your keyword research has found people are actually asking, those keywords will flow naturally in your quality content. You may intentionally add a few extra keywords to catch to attract extra interest, but if your focus is to provide a quality answer to keyword searches with quality content, you will succeed in holding your readers’ – and the search engines – attention all the way through.

It Must Be Current
Much of your content might be considered “evergreen” in that it will still be relevant years from now, so will rarely need updating once it is created and posted or printed. But business readers today, and search engines, are looking for fresh perspective. Take advantage of this fact by keeping up to date on what your readers want to know. You never know when the fresh insight YOU provide will be just what your prospective customer is looking for.

As I said up front: there are no shortcuts! High quality content is what your readers are looking for. So you won’t go wrong to, “take all the time it takes,” to write content that your reader will happily follow to your, “Call to Action.”

DanSig-02

Today is World Photography Day

Suculent-Flower-WebJust a quick note.

Today is World Photography Day! In all my years in the photo business, I had not heard of this. So I joined immediately.

Because I “grew up” in the photographic division of Minolta, as I expanded my duties to include all of marketing communications, I always tried to use photos to illustrate points that were being made in print or in live presentations (the bulk of where I was involved). From this background, you can also see that I usually try to include appropriate photos in almost everything I post… I like pictures!

Because photographic images are such an important part of communications for the small office and small business, we should all support this effort, so head over the World Photography Day web site and join up.

DanSig-02

 

 

 

 

(The photo is a scan of a slide I took MANY years ago of a small, about 2″ across, plant in a friend’s rock garden. Sorry, I don’t know what kind of plant it is.)

Living Landscapes – Review of Todd Sisson’s Excellent Book

Living Landscapes by Todd and Sarah SissonWe photographers are always looking for great books to help us improve techniques we use to make great photos. Todd and Sarah Sisson’s book, “Living Landscapes” is an excellent addition to any photographer’s library! I bought the book, and like it very much. I‘ve reviewed it at: http://www.greatphototools.com/blog/review-living-landscapes-by-todd-and-sarah-sisson/.

You’ll find in my review that I highly recommend it. (Of course, this is an affiliate link, meaning, if you purchase Living Landscapes with this link, I will get a commission, though it costs you the same either way. But as you would also expect, I only recommend this book because I purchased it myself, like it and learned from it, and really trust and respect the sellers and their content – my review says it all.)

Enjoy the book…

DanSig-02

Restockit Back to School Supplies Sales

It’s that time of year again… the young ‘uns are headed back to school, and as every year, for our children from kindergarten through high school and college, we parents are looking for back to school supplies sales. As you go through your back to school supplies checklist, keep your office supply dealer, Restockit, at top of mind… because they are offering, for the month of August ONLY, 5% off on BOTH School and Office Supplies.

Use Code: BACKTOSCHOOL

Back To School Savings!


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