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Turn Your People On! Copywriting that Produces Action

Writing marketing and publicity copy that produces interest and action (sales)

Here’s my best advice for authors and publishers wanting publicity that helps sell books: Turn your people on.

The message has to make people pay attention and want more of what you have to offer. If you don’t succeed at this, even an article in USA Today won’t
help you sell books. Identify the hot buttons that get your audience jazzed.

Ask them, “why do you like this?”

Pay attention to what you said that produced howls of delight. Study your testimonials and reviewer comments, ask your mother or kids. Just figure
this out and focus on it. What you focus on tends to get bigger.

Identify what you do that turns people on, and then do more and more of it. Then prepare a variety of presentations that hit those hot buttons again and again in varying lengths from 30 seconds to ten minutes in length. Every word you say has to make people crave more.

If you bore them even momentarily, you will likely lose them.

This is the key to PR success and marketing success as well.

You can’t say “buy this amazing provocative book!” You must be amazing and provocative. You must do what you are best at in your own unique way. You
must entertain, educate and stimulate. You must give people chills and thrills. And you must practice this and perfect this messaging until you can
do it again and again with adequate action producing results (=sales).

Once you develop, refine, and prove YOUR MESSAGING, based on the actions people take in response to what you say and do (= proven sales), then the
rest is easy. Then can you use technology as a force multiplier to extend and share and repeat the message (using technologies and media of all types) and thus get the results you dream of achieving.

How do you get book reviewers to look at your book?

An analysis of the ways to get more book reviews

How do you get reviewers to look at your book?

Getting reviews is to me just one form of publicity, and it’s not even the best form of publicity for generating sales.

I’ll try to explain how I perceive the process and seek to explain what I believe we are up against.

Book reviewers are people who review books and like many people, many of them are trying to make a living writing and publishing their reviews.

They are media! They are best viewed as fellow publishers who are writing to sell. They make money writing and publishers and make decisions based on how their writing and publishing impacts the number of subscribers and the advertising revenue the number of subscribers allows them to receive as well.

They have limited amount of time in a day they are forced to make decisions as regards what to read and write about. They choose to focus on the areas that interest them the most because they will write best about subjects that they care about the most. They also choose to spend their time on books that they will enjoy reading and that will interest their audience.

Even bloggers ask “what’s in it for me?” because they want to publish articles that at the very least increase the number of eyeballs on their blog and hence drive whatever income they make off their blog.

What they seek then is good books. Books that command attention and allow them to drive traffic.

So when you pitch a book to a reviewer you have to make them see and understand how reviewing your book will impact their income. You have to understand who they are, who they are writing for, and what that audience wants and are willing to pay for.

The pitch you send it very important because that news release is the very proposal that influences what they then do. A news release is not an advertisement. It is not designed to sell a book. It is a proposal for media coverage, and it explains what you have and why it is important and to whom. It also give the media what they need to do their job, or at least contains an offer by you to help them do their job.

So this pitch is very important.

Media look at this pitch even before they look at the product – your book. They ask three key questions:

1. How many people in MY audience are going to be interested in this?

2. What’s in it for MY audience?

The answer to both these questions has to be A LOT!

You have to demonstrate and even prove to the reviewer that lots of people will be interested and the story and content of the article they get to write and publish, or the show they get to produce and air (whether it’s radio or TV of even blog radio or streaming TV), has lots of news, education or entertainment value.

Those are the first two crucial hurdles. If you make it over those hurdles, you reach then next big hurdle.

3. How much time, effort, and money or people will it take for me to do
my job?

The answer to this has to be “so little I can make a profit”.

In other words, you hand them a ready to go published article or even a review that can be modified easily.

And that’s just to get them to even be willing to look at your book.

Then you get to send it to them. The book and package you send is the next decision point. This is where the rubber meets the road. What happens next is dependent on what they experience and how they feel with the book and your pitch in their hands.

What they first and foremost are looking for is VALIDATION. They need quality content that offers relevant timely and value laden news, education or entertainment for their particular audience. If it helps them sell subscriptions, you can get in.

That’s what you’ve got to communicate to them. That’s what you’ve got to offer and that’s what you have to deliver.

If you do that, you will succeed in getting them interested no matter what type of publisher you are. The door will open and media will let you present more information and you might get media coverage for you or your author and the book. Getting reviews and getting feature story coverage for an author and a book is a process.

So very simply, when you deliver the book and your detailed media proposal for coverage, the content and the quality have to be sufficient to carry the day.

Whether it is self-published or not doesn’t matter that much. Even if you publish as an ebook, the product format is not that important.

But the publication quality has to be good enough so that the media has the confidence in the credibility of the author and isn’t turned off and scared off.

It’s the essential validation that helps persuade another publisher that it makes good economic and business sense to publish a story and not regret making that decision later.

So what do you need to do?

You need to create a quality product. The cover has to be quality, the layout needs to be professional and the writing and content has to be quality.

Then you need to create a develop, test and re-test and refine your communications so that you have a persuasive pitch.

Now to me this is the miracle of the microcosm because we have 330 million media trained and indoctrinated people in this country and they tend to respond the same way to media communications. We laugh at the same jokes, cry at the same sad stories and get turned on by the same scantily dresses celebrities. We see media messages everywhere that are designed to get us to buy things.

The miracle to is that you can do this anywhere as long as you pay attention to what you say and do and learn what it takes to turn YOUR people on. You get this feedback whenever you speak about your book to people. You figure out whenever you make a sale what you said that resulted in the interest and the sale. You capture that.

Then you use it in your Marcom. You find out what to say that gets people to want more of what you have to offer. You use it to sell product and you use it to get media coverage and reviews.

What’s the very best galvanizing media publicity you can get that will produce the maximum ROI? I don’t think it’s a book review. I think it’s a three to five minute piece that galvanizes people with you doing what you absolutely do the best.

So how do you develop this? Here’s what I recommend you do:

Imagine being in front of 20 to 30 of the very best people you think would be most interested you and what you do. Describe these people so that you have a picture of who they are and what they look like.

Now identify the absolute most interesting topic, challenge, or problem situation you can think of, that will interest the maximum number of people just like them.

NOW give me your eight to ten best tips, problem solving actions, ideas, jokes, or lessons learned for this audience. Can you give these people your ten commandments? Can you knock their socks off so that half of them come flying out of their chairs with their pocketbooks or wallets open? (BTW that’s a 50 percent response).

I want you to pretend you have three to five minutes to give a these people eight to maybe ten absolutely phenomenal show stoppers. That means for ten items, you have less than 20 seconds or less for each one, plus a one minute intro and a one minute ending.

This is what we put into your news release. This is what you pitch to media people for reviews and articles.

The goal is to create a vision for the media that clearly illustrates and allows them to see in their minds — How you can help or entertain or educate the people you can help the most. You have to focus less on passive ideas and more on actions that people can take to deliver immediate or tangible real time or near term benefits, impacts, or predictable
consequences. This forms the core content to the news release/show
proposal pitch.

That is what you need to do to get more reviews, and better still, get more lengthy and detailed and galvanizing feature stories, which in my experience sell lots more books.

In a POD publishing world, you get to optimize this process inexpensively since your printing costs are so reduced. You also get to maximize the profits if you sell direct.

What you need to remember is that every media publisher has a unique audience and unique set of needs. And you need to address their needs if you are going to gain their cooperation and get what you want.

Case in point: I’ll give you a real life example from today. This is one of the most memorable rejections I’ve received of late and it illustrates exactly how media evaluate a proposal.

I wrote and transmitted a news release for a self-published POD author Eileen Dey, who wrote a book about Reiki. The book teaches about the benefits of Reiki. Veterans day is approaching and we have two live wars in progress so the news release focused on how war veterans and other people affected by post traumatic stress were enlisting Reiki in helping achieve relief. The targeted media list included personal health media, military and veterans, mental health and of course I included the new age media and those interested in paranormal phenomenon.

Media responded with requests for review copies and in many cases their emails indicated how they viewed the subject and the proposal. The medical media with a narrow focus on the evidence based medicine and a pathological basis were close minded since Reiki is not exactly mainstream medicine. Others who are more open to the Eastern alternative health practices and mind, body, spirit were favorable and interested.

The most noteworthy of the media responses of the day was this one.

The email came back from the editor of Witches and Pagans magazine. The editor said and I quote:

“Unless your author is a self-avowed Witch, Pagan, or Heathen, we wouldn’t be interested.”

How Important is a News Release?

What a news release does and why they are so important

How Important is a News Release?

A news release is the key deliverable for those seeking publicity (much like a résumé is for job seekers, or a contract is for contract seekers).

If a news release works you can get an article in a newspaper, an interview on radio or TV and information about you will be placed in front of an audience of people who can take action based on what they learn about you.

With publicity comes increased interest, name recognition, calls from prospects, sales, and profits. Compared to advertising and direct marketing, publicity is very, very inexpensive to acquire.

The publicity you can generate with a news release can be phenomenally valuable. You can inform people and generate interest in your products and services, educate and entertain hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, drive traffic to a website or get people to attend an event and as a result acquire fame and recognition.

But if the news release fails to capture the attention of an editor or producer, your business, event, or idea may wind up in the trash along with it.

When I published the original Trash Proof News Releases in 2001, the primary ways you could send a news release were:

1. street mail
2. fax
3. e-mail
4. in person
5. telephone

Internet based media platforms and personal communication devices have evolved considerably in the past seven years. In addition to those outlets listed above, we now have:

1. web pages
2. regular search engines
3. news search engines
4. specialized search engines
5. online libraries, directories, databases
6. newsletters and ezines
7. discussion groups and mailing lists
8. forums
9. audio and podcasts
10. video (You Tube)
11. chat rooms
12. blogs
13. social media (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc)
14. cell phones and PDA’s

The technology continues to evolve, get smaller, and faster. The way we receive news continues to change.

But the message you create when you send a news release to persuade media to give you exposure is the crucial starting point. What you write, say, or look like influences their decision and if they decide in your favor people get to read, watch or listen to some version of your message. Your news release to the media is the key – the crucial proposal that determines what media do.

What you place into a news release determines whether you get media coverage. If the message is deemed newsworthy, you can fly across the media and soar to majestic heights like an eagle in the wind.

If the message fails to incite media interest, then it sinks like a rock in a pond, never to see the light of day again.

The successful news release provides a story arc, anticipates questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how?), triggers an emotional connection, and leads the media who reads it to a decision to share you and your message with an audience of people.

In the face of the hundreds and even thousands of other people competing for media attention, this is no easy task.

Oftentimes, you’re trying to capture all the most meaningful aspects of your life’s efforts in one single phrase. You must outshine all the other twinkling stars in the night.

The success of a news release resides primarily in the quality of the copywriting. It must address the needs of the media outlet, its sponsors, and its audience. Those audience members can tell the difference between content and advertisement pretty easily, so your news release must be pitched perfectly if it’s going to accomplish both your aims and the media’s. It must be concise, easy to understand, interesting, believable, value-laden, and actionable.

That’s what you need to do when you create a news release.

Book marketing – face to face up close and personal

Book marketing case study of book marketing success by a self published author

NYT Randy Kearse story
I love this. Here’s a story that illustrates one of my primary rules for getting publicity.

Take a look at The NY Times July 9, 2010 feature story about self published author Randy Kearse selling over 14,000 books by himself on the subways of New York City

This story illustrates The DPAA+H Rule. The story captures the five essential elements of a great human interest feature story:

It’s DRAMATIC and PERSONAL

It tells a story about a real person who seeks ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

Finally it adds in an element of HUMOR.

It’s all here and this story shows how it can be done.

This story illustrates another of my key concepts – The Miracle of the Microcosm.

Randy has developed an experience based communication script that captures his magic words that turn people on and get sufficient numbers of people to take action. They buy his books.

He has a specific goal and knows that he must present to enough people to hit his goal each day.

He has developed and documented a systematic repeatable process for achieving a known level of financial success each day.

The article talks about Randy in ways that make him very likeable and very approachable. Several of his books are also mentioned along the way and he is positioned as being a very helpful dedicated and innovative individual who seeks to achieve financial success while he does his best helping others.

This is a beautiful example of the best publicity one can get.

Congratulations to Randy Kearse.

Erykah Badu walking naked in the streets of Dallas video – publicity stunt, art, or just sad, shocking music video promo

Erykah Badu walking naked in the streets of Dallas video - publicity stunt, art, or just sad, shocking music video promo

Singer Erykah Badu has released an uncut video of her walking through the Dallas square where President John F. Kennedy shot disrobing one piece of clothing at a time right down to her bare naked skin all while she croons her latest song. The uncut video was shot in plain view and parents with children were visibly shocked and surprised while it happened. It was up on You Tube freely visible for the world to see for a while but now has been taken down do to apparent copyright violation issues.

Is this art? Is this permissible expression protected by the First Amendment?

Is it just a publicity stunt?

While it may be all the above, one really has to simply wonder if this is the image she really wants people to have of her.

Will she promote her image as a celebrity?

Will it sell more of her music and get her name out all across the country so she makes oodles of money?

Or is it simply rude, crude, tasteless and demeaning? Does her statement have absolutely no redeeming social, artistic or cultural value at all?

Here’s my spin on this:

Was this really done with real forethought and planning of the real consequences? Is it really a positive statement and does it really show confidence, freedom, and identify and spirit and all these positive traits?

She walks through a controversial location, sings and strips, and pretends she gets shot.

The video quality is OK, but is it art?

Or is it just an easy thing to do to do on a sunny day with a video cam and the Internet is so readily available as a vehicle for dissemination of information.

And it’s pretty clear that videos of pretty naked women undressing will go viral.

But did they really plan this out? They apparently didn’t notify anyone at the City of Dallas or get a permit for the filming. So it’s questionable this was done with much real planning and professional video or film making.

She may think she’s sharing her art, but she’s not making a very good impression on the neighbors. The impression she makes produces a negative visceral reaction that won’t promote her personal or professional brand. She didn’t go for a positive impression. She seems to be simply offending most people everywhere instead.

She’s not being polite or even mildly sensitive or sensible about her decision to do her thing at this location, or what sort of consequences she may have tomorrow and the next day. Does she really think this 15 seconds of transient national attention like this will propel her to fame and fortune? It’s sad. She’s demeaned and insulted so many people.

She doesn’t elevate herself and others as a person to look up to emulate. The impression given instead is that she has resigned herself and lowered herself in everyone’s eyes to a position of personal disgrace and uncaring insensitivity.

To me as a publicist, it’s simply bad publicity decision-making, bad promotion without thinking about the future. Artistically she shot herself, her image, and her profits in the foot. She’s made lots of people angry all over the world.

It is sad that this is what some otherwise talented and creative people resort to when trying to make a name for themselves and get our attention.

Getting Books Reviewed (Favorably) and Getting Media Coverage That Sells Books

Book Publicity Strategies for Getting More Media Coverage That Sells Books

I’ll talk the point of view from someone who gets books reviewed day in day out as a book publicist. I do this for a living, so I’ll share with you how I do it and what it takes to do it well.

I’m not a fan of book reviews, I believe that they have their place and a certain amount of limited utility. But to date, my experience and that of my clients continues to show that feature stories sell more books. They have a broader deeper reach, have greater shelf life, and are people focused, rather than product focused. They brand the author and with the trust and interested they generate, they result in people being far more likely to buy everything the author may have available for sale.

For that reason, I’ll hope you can bear with me and I’ll work you through this process of selecting what to say to media if you are an author trying to maximize your return on investment and the time you put into being a person who hopes to profit from creative writing and publishing. I’ll cover both book reviews and feature stories. I will do my best to encourage you to only use book announcements and try to get only to get started, and to switch to pitching feature stories if you really want to maximize your sales. The reason is simple. People respond to media best when it affects them emotionally. People can be persuaded to buy things using media yes. But to do so means that you have to turn them on and get them emotionally engaged. If you want to use media to reach people, that’s what you have to do.

Think about it. When was the last time you read a book review in a newspaper and then grabbed your credit card? Now when was the last time you read a recommendation in a trade publication, a blog post or a technical forum discussion (like this one), and then bought something or hired someone? What sort of writing got YOU to take the action.

Basically an author/publisher really wants publicity that gets people to buy books, so when you contact a media person, the goal is to get coverage that makes a galvanizing impression on the reader of the publication, or the person who’s listening to the radio, or watching TV, or reading a blog, or a mailing list or discussion post.

So the message you want the person to receive has to be so good that it provokes them to ACTION. So not only do you first need to WRITE A GOOD BOOK, but then you need to know what to say about it that really turns people on.

That’s the content you need to place in front of your reviewer, whether you want to just get a book review or a galvanizing feature story.

To be maximally effective with media, you have to understand what makes them tick. You need to realize that media are publishers (or producers of shows) they make their living, they survive and thrive from two primary sources of income: subscriptions and advertising. Yes, they are publishers who sell their writing just like you are trying to do.

That’s what you offer media. You package it in something that they are accustomed to using as a decision document. It’s called a news release.

My definition of a news release is a little different than that used by many. I define a news release like this:

– A written proposal
– containing a request for media coverage
– and/or an offer to provide media the content needed to achieve that end.

You sent a news release directly to the right media decision makers or you place it where they can find it and use it. I’ll spend more time on this later at the end of this post.

The goal of a news release is to get media action that results in media coverage. There really are only two possible favorable things that happen when you send a news release.

1. They write about you or interview you.
2. They request more information (like a copy of your book and a media kit)

If you don’t succeed at this step, you simply fail. So it’s crucial that you get the door open and either get them to say yes to something once they read your news release.

Being successful at this is like going through a gauntlet. Media will not give you free advertising. They only publish news, education, or entertainment that their audience will pay for and that their advertisers won’t object to.

So you have to be very selective on what you present. You have to present copy that is strategically designed to:

– Interest and even expand the media outlet’s target audience.
– Provide news, educational or entertainment value.
– Be easy to verify, trust, and work with.

So what information do you give to media? You give media information that increases the number of people who will buy what they publish. You do this by studying what they publish. Day in day out, what you need to produce to be successful is right before your eyes every day. You simply need to mimic what you see and use what is being published as a guide to deciding what you need to create and offer. You can use my 3 I technique any time you want. It works very well. You can decide you want to use a magazine, or USA Today, or the NY Times Book Review Section. It doesn’t matter, you just pick a target that looks just like what you want, and create something that looks like it belongs there.

That’s why when 3 I technique news releases are submitted, so much of the content is readily used. It’s not that you get lazy journalists, it’s that you’ve done your homework so good that the editor sees that it looks like it belongs there and decides to use your copy with little or no extra expenditure of corporate resources. I can show you a news release for client Susan Casey for a book titled Women Invents, which was published in 1997. A year ago, we wrote a news release all about women inventors. The news release was turned into an article for the March 31 2009 issue of Fast Company Magazine with Susan Casey getting the byline for the article. Cut and paste verbatim for a book that was published over ten years ago.

The lesson learned is that the book doesn’t really matter to media. What you offer to their public matters to media.

Media basically look at everything that comes to them and ask three questions:

1. How many people in my audience will be interested in this?
2. What’s in it for my audience?

These are pass fail questions. The answers have to be 1. Lots of people will be interested and 2. There’s great news, education or entertainment value.

If and only if you get a pass on these two questions, then you get to the next question.

3. How much time, effort, and money will this project require?

The answer has to be VERY LITTLE. In other words, the editor has to spend little money, time, resources, people, etc. to do their job.

Content is the ultimate determining factor to getting media attention. And to get media attention and interest you use a special communication called a news release.

Six essential parts of a Trash Proof News Release

1. The Call to Action
2. A Real Story That Relates to Real People
3. A presentation of The Value to the Audience
4. The Crucial Information
5. The Highlights of Qualifications
6. Access to Key People

You may think that you need to do more and when you send a book to the media you can add other information, but really and truly, all I recommend people send to media at the very least is a copy of the news release and a copy of the book. The book data, (cost, publisher, isbn, length, size, etc) is given in the Crucial Information. We tend to be pretty successful when we do this. You do not need to throw the kitchen sink at media when you send a media kit. You do have to be selective and send them what they need to do the job you want done.

Once you write a 3 I technique news release, then you target your media. I use Cision for my client projects, it’s perhaps the largest online real time reasonably maintained media database, and it now include newspapers, magazine, radio, tv and all sorts of online media and even associations. When I target, I focus on the message and ask who are the right media to receive this message? I also ask:

1. Who are your customers?
2. What do they read, watch or listen to?
>> Particularly when they are receptive to learning and are open to taking action.

This last little tweak to this question is crucial. There’s a big financial ROI difference one gets by getting a review or an article in a newspaper of general circulation compared to getting the exact same article in front of a topical newsletter with far fewer readers, but they are dedicated professionals with money and a desire to improve their lives and livelihood. The latter tends to outsell the former.

You have to communicate meaningfully with media decision makers. These days I use email to custom targeted media lists. You can also use fax, phone calls, street mail and in-person communication to present a pitch and a proposal. These are what I call direct contact methods.

There are lots of other less effective methods and places you can place your messages. Some are more direct than others. I mean there are web sites, blogs, media sites, libraries, wiki’s forums, ezines, discussion groups, and audio, video, podcasts, and now there’s social media and specialized search engines for all the above. To meaningfully communicate means you news release becomes a landing page and you use email, headlines, snippets, slices, blinks and tweets to get people to go to that landing page. Being persuasive now is a complicated process. The technology requires you to format the message to match the medium. If you don’t meet the media’s needs, then you won’t get coverage.

The online news release posting services (free and fee) are not as direct as email and other direct contact methods. They often times are just web based storage, with searchable links, based not on content but on headlines. Real decision making journalists will not receive these communications unless they find them first. I’m not impressed with the media coverage that my clients and I have experienced using the more passive methods.

The lesson learned here is that the more attenuated the technology, the greater the number of steps, the less likely it is that the right media person will receive a meaningful communication, and you are thus less likely to succeed.

You can read my book Trash Proof News Releases if you want to learn more about this style of doing news releases. It’s a free download at Smashwords. Book page to download Trash Proof News Releases Smashwords edition:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5921

Article comment – Social media marketing sucks… if you do it wrong

Why social media marketing sucks and what to do about it

Why does social media marketing suck and what can you do about it?

Interesting Article at the Kansas City Examiner titled Social Media Marketing Sucks… If You Do It Wrong by Dustin Riedisel

My comments:

Social media are a special type of communication technology and they too, like all other communication technologies (email fax, street mail and even Tweets), have special requirements.

The goal is to have a meaningful communication with a real person on the receiving end. The message is what matters. The real value to the recipient is what matters. You can’t use any communication technology to trigger or motivate action without figuring out the magic words first.

This in fact, is what I call, the miracle of the microcosm, since in this nation of 300 million technology and media indoctrinated people, you can learn what it takes to turn people on anywhere. This is what expert PR and marketing copywriters are really for.

And once you do figure out what you can say that turns people on (no matter where you are) then and only then can you use technology as a force multiplier, to generate the actions you want people to take, wherever they are.

Read more on social media marketing ROI here http://blog.directcontactpr.com/public/category/social-marketing/

Ten Essential Facts Needed in Your News Release to Get Publicity for a Book Award

Ten Essential Facts Needed in Your News Release to Get Publicity for a Book Award

Congratulations – You’ve Won a Book Award.

If you are going to create a news release and seek publicity for your award, then here my suggestions on the essential facts you need to include in your copy:

1. headline – Author wins prize/award

2. one sentence killer – knock their socks off description of what the book is about

3. unusual or interesting facts about the situation/the book/the author/the topic/the issues

4. the specifics of the award – what, where when, or how much and why is this award so important and prestigious

5. three to four paragraphs about the book, who it features, what’s amazing about it, why people will like it

6. basic book facts and marketing information so people can find it and buy it

7. author bio and information

8. book cover photo and author photo

9. contact information

10. offer for review copy and interviews if you want to offer these items.

Finally, once you have the news release written, it needs to be distributed to the right media.

Proper targeting will maximize your chances of getting the right type of coverage in front of the people you can interest and help the most. So a childrens book needs to go to childrens media and editors, and a travel book needs to go to travel book media and editors and so forth.

You’ve worked hard to get this award. I hope this helps you take a few more steps in a positive direction so you can make the most of it.

Romance author documents the income she actually received from a NY Times best seller

Romance author documents the income she actually received from a NY Times best seller

Here’s an excellent report from author Lynn Viehl’s experience and income with a mass market publisher for the book Twilight Fall which broke through to the NY Times best seller list. She calls herself in the “Top 20”.

It was originally posted April 17 at the Genreality blog which receives contributions from a number of active Romance writers.

The Reality of a Times Bestseller.
http://www.genreality.net/the-reality-of-a-times-bestseller

Lynn provides some valuable insights and hard data on the income she derived.

Her experience provides ample evidence why self publishing might actually be a better choice for people who do write quality books and generate a following of avid loyal readers.

A self publisher who makes $5 on a book and who sells 10,000 books (200 books in each of 50 states) will receive just about as much as she did, on market sales of 100,000 copies.

Smart, Intelligent, and Broke… and What to do about it

Tactics for creating a writing or services business that makes money and helps the people you can help the most

I’m a copywriter and a publicist and an author so I guess I do make a living writing. I’m happy to share with you what I’ve done and what I’ve learned.

I wrote my first news release in 1977. I went online with my first website in 1993. I’ve built up my copy writing and publicity services company at home and online over the past 15 years.

You can read the story about how I created my business in the book “Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul” published by Health Communications in November 2006. It’s titled `Ripples’. Fun story.
If you want to see it click here Ripples

The marketing I do is pretty nominal but it is consistent, and I take baby steps to keep it going nearly every day.

I’m of the belief that if people and companies have employees doing work that you can do and have more work that you can do than they have employees available to do that work, then getting paid is easy.

Can you do it?

Yes you can!

You just need to present them with a very desirable alternative turnkey to hiring you as an employee. Make it attractive and make it easy and it’s a done deal.

I’ve found that if they have employees doing something, then outsourcing to you is often a very attractive option. You can normally charge four to six times the hourly rate of pay that they pay full time employees to do exactly the same work, but without them having to carry the overhead that they have to carry for an employee. So if top technical or professional employees are making $50 an hour, then you can charge $200 an hour. Most companies will not bat an eye at these rates these days. You can run the numbers and see, at these rates, it’s not hard to bill over $100,000 a year and do it part-time from home. The Internet and email can be a wonderful place.

So no matter what the employees or you do, you can create a short menu of options and fees that break both the services you will provides (just like an employee performs, or the deliverables they create), and format this into a short list of the fee based time or product deliverables that you can perform or deliver on demand or by schedule.

So instead of a resume, create a one page brochure that says “menu of options”. Then itemize options so people can hire you in bite size chunks of payable time or for products or services by known typical units of performance (by the hour, by the day, by the week, by the page, by the document, or whatever).

This menu allows you and the client to select what you do and price it in advance, and build this into a one page contract or an email or even a phone call.

I’ve found that the best marketing tactics that work in this business are ones that allow you to leverage professional branding with your target audience. You should not waste time, effort and money unless it brings a professional branding message in front of someone who will potentially be amenable to doing business with you.

So I recommend you experiment, test and most importantly and track and analyze what you do, to identify how you are getting clients and where the biggest income streams come from. Then apply the basic rules of systematic continuous improvement to what you are doing. Simply put, if it works, do more of it, and if it doesn’t stop and do something else.

You can use my business as an example. To this day, I get most of my new business by:

* meeting people at conferences at which I exhibit, and giving short but personal consults on the fly, and once I hear what they are all about giving them recommendations that help them a little and indicate what they can get by involving me more.

* writing and publishing articles (problem solving tips articles) in magazines, to demonstrate skills, expertise, ability, knowledge and wisdom, and create desire once they realize they want more of what I can offer.

* posting articles and responding to posted questions in newsgroups and on discussion lists, to do the same.

* adding more free articles and free downloads to an extensive highly educational and focused website, to educate and motivate people to do more themselves, or hire me if they can’t do it themselves.

* adding more success stories and testimonials to my portfolio, to again demonstrate and affirm.

* sending really value added email introductions to prospects, to supply them with a plan of action that leads them to hire me.

* doing 30 minute consultations by phone, learning what clients need and delivering strategic advice and one page action plan proposals by email.

* answering prospect questions as though I was already working for them.

* carefully cultivating word of mouth off prior exceptional performance.

* speaking engagements, giving workshops and training sessions for free and for fee, but only to the right targeted company or audience.

* meeting people for lunch and listening to their project needs or dreams.

* sending them one page email proposals.

* building off referrals, and speaking engagements, and seeking to leverage host beneficiary relationships.

This last one is perhaps the most crucial. As you satisfy clients, of course, you can get repeat business. If you do work for a headquarters or a home office of a company with lots of offices all over the country, your host contact can lead you directly to many other prospects. You then get to pitch them all or better still, the headquarters contact shares you and everyone in that business network then contacts you. This situation can be phenomenally beneficial. Lucrative in fact. Same thing can happen with speaking engagements at associations. The local speech or workshop travels up to the headquarters.

Once every few years I create an innovative post card and do a mailing. My most recent mailer was a one pager back-to-back. If you want to see my most recent one, send me an email message request and I’ll send you the pdf file. I was using US Mail for mailings until two years ago. Now we participate in coop mailings and use email.

Nowadays I also use a show off business card. It has a picture of me fishing. It’s a memorable experience to look at and to hold. It brands me as a distinctive writer.

I use email, short letters and one page business proposals extensively to close deals by email and phone. In fact, I have a rule which basically says that you never have a conversation with a prospect without making a customized personal proposal. It works very well.

I actually don’t need or use formal contracts at all. I just take credit cards and bill them at the time of performance. I take very few checks and only in advance if the client insists upon paying that way. Client satisfaction with this arrangement is nearly 100 percent for many years now.

I spend NO money on advertising at all and do not care about search engine placement or ad words. Clients who call me have either heard about me or find me online through research or referral. They basically have decided to hire me before they call me so I actually do very little selling.

I’ve actually found that in my business, the people who search using search engines aren’t the clients I seek to work with. Most of them don’t have the products or businesses that I enjoy and can be successful with. The people who find my site online rarely are quality clients. So search engine ranking and placement mean very little to me. I can be found very quickly if people search for me nonetheless. In fact, search on my name and you’ll see thousands of links going back 15 years.

I’ve also found that the decision to hire is based on people having convinced themselves that you offer needed value that can be acquired no where else at the costs that you present. What you need to do is just learn how to make the product or service you give remarkable and personal, unique, and phenomenally effective. You also need to learn how to communicate this to them quickly.

Do that and your business will grow consistently with everything you do. The key to enjoying yourself along the way is to simply focus on helping the people you can help the most. You also need to know when to say no to a project that is problematic and where you know won’t be able to satisfy yourself or the client. The rule should be `no unhappy clients’.

I learned this business model by studying a variety of other consultants and copywriters. This model is actually very easy to operate and fairly low cost. I incorporated a few years ago as a full C Corp to take advantage of the tax structure since the business bills over six figures a year. I pay myself a salary. I also just use QuickBooks Pro to do the day to day bookkeeping myself but do hire a professional accountant to do the taxes each year. I use the merchant credit card services offered with Quicken and it does the bookkeeping entries as it processes the credit card authorizations.

The skills I acquired to conduct my business the way I do is mostly out of books. I am a voracious reader. This is in addition to reading or skimming all the client books that come to me (Fed Ex and UPS stop here nearly every day Monday through Friday). I read at the health club, I read during the day and at night, and in front of the TV. I basically am reading (or searching and surfing the Internet) if I am not writing or on the phone.

My house is totally wireless and there are two computers on plus two laptops available for use by me and the rest of the family at all times.

I can even take my cell phone and my wireless laptop in my boat and take client calls and work while fishing along the Columbia River because of the many hot spots and homes with unsecured wireless routers along the river. It’s amazing! The technology really is wonderful these days. That makes for some very pleasant days working (yes really working) while catching salmon, steelhead and walleye! If you’ve ever called me during the day you may hear me tell you that if I get a fish on I’ll have to get off really quick, but I’ll call you back! OK, enough bragging.

I just looked over my library and I highly recommend you basically commit to reading most every business, sales and marketing book published and get whatever you can out of each and every one of them. I still probably spend $100 to $200 a month on books in this area and have for years. My wife says it takes more to keep me well read than it does to keep me well fed. I have a 25 year collection and I still refer back to them constantly.

My favorite book authors and the books I can point you to for the best answers to this question the most are:

* Harry Beckwith (everything he writes is golden including: Selling the Invisible, What Clients Love, The Invisible Touch, and his new one, You, Inc.)

* Bob Bly (again, anything he writes is worth owning. The Copywriter’s Handbook, Secrets of a Freelance Writer, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Write More, Sell More, which is still one of the best books ever written on running a writing business).

* Ralph G. Riley (The One Page Business Proposal is perhaps one of the most important books you’ll ever find. It has made me tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars).

* Dan Kennedy (The Ultimate and No B.S. series)

* Seth Godin (Purple Cow, Free Prize Inside, and Unleashing the Idea Virus)

* Mark Stephens (Your Marketing Sucks)

* Jay Abraham (Getting Everything You Can Out of All You Got)

* Dr. Jeffrey Lant (this dates me! No More Cold Calls, Cash Copy, The Unabashed Self-Promoter’s Guide, and Money Making Marketing. Good luck finding these but if you do, consider yourself lucky)

* Jeffrey Fox (How to Become a Rainmaker and How to Become a Marketing Superstar).

If you need attitude adjustment to get into the right frame of mind for running a business, then I highly recommend:

* Jack Canfield (The Success Principles)

* Napoleon Hill (Law of Success)

* Steven Scott (Mentored by a Millionaire)

* Brian Tracy (Maximum Achievement and many others)

* Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul (Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Bud Gardner)

The real trick to reading is that you have to create a written plan with the ideas that come to you.

Reading and not writing simply isn’t productive. Writing a plan of action turns the idea into something tangible. You must add in the tasks and place dates and performance measures so that you know that you have completed the task.

Knowledge is valuable but to turn a fantasy into reality you must take action and try, try, try till you actually succeed.

You need to create two independent processes:

The first is the process for creating quality work (writing) that you can get paid for.

The second is the sales process that you use to get customers and get money.

Once you create these success processes for yourself then you apply technology to get more of each done in less time, with less effort and expense.

In fact, if you do both of these enough, it all becomes second nature, much like riding a bicycle or a car.

At some point, it can even get boring. To avoid losing faith and being unhappy, you have to find your happiness in delivering whatever happiness and help you can to others.

And that is my belief in what life is all about. .It’s my definition of success:

You achieve happiness and success when you help the people you can help the most and get rich at the same time.

The bottom line is that I believe that the opportunities to be a well paid writer right now are simply phenomenal. You can specialize and focus on any one or more of hundreds of markets. The country is huge. There are 300 million people in the US. There are 30,000 towns. There are simply millions of companies all of whom can be helped again and again.

Don’t be shy. This isn’t that hard to do and you’ve got the skills. Focus and go for it.

BTW, here’s the link for the pdf file containing the story `Ripples’ from Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul, or if you want the latest flyer I used in my mailings, just send me an email request. I’ll send you the pdf files.

Hope this helps. Questions welcome!

Paul J. Krupin – Direct Contact PR
Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
800-457-8746 509-545-2707
Paul@DirectContactPR.com