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Live From the 2013 AWAI Copywriting Bootcamp!

Live From the 2013 AWAI Copywriting Bootcamp!

October 26, 2013 | By Charlotte S Hicks | No Comments

3D blogDate: October 23rd – 26th
All day
 AWAI Bootcamp Live Blog
Over 20 top copywriting experts

Whether you weren’t able to make bootcamp or want to enhance your experience while you’re there, this live blog will provide B2B-focused insights from the 2013 AWAI Copywriting Bootcamp.

Each year, the AWAI Fast Track to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair brings together some of the top copywriting and marketing experts in the world.  This year is no exception! 

In this live blog, you’ll have a window into the world of Bootcamp — in real time.  You’ll get tips and strategies by famous and successful copywriters such as Bill Bonner, Bob Bly, Drayton Bird, Mark Ford, Clayton Makepeace, Steve Slaunwhite, and many more! 

Here’s just some of what the experts will reveal:

  • How to overcome copywriting’s biggest challenge
  • The key to writing engaging email copy
  • The secret rhythm that makes copy more persuasive
  • A little-known strategy to get hired by your dream client
  • The key skill you must have as a copywriter for unlimited success
  • A HUGE mistake nearly every copywriter makes
  • How to triple your success rate
  • And much, much more!

The live blog kicks off Wednesday, October 23rd with the evening session featuring Bill Bonner, Founder and President of Agora Publishing. 

Don’t miss this unique and career-changing event!

Wednesday, 4:00 pm

We’re live at Bootcamp and I have to say everyone I’ve seen so far is very excited about what is to come. The weather here may be warm but it’s nothing compared to the hottest experts in marketing and copywriting that are here to make this the best Bootcamp yet!

Katie kicks it off at 5:30 today followed by Bill Bonner and the Wall of Fame Networking dinner. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 5:30 pm

It’s time!  Joshua Boswell kicks off the 2013 Bootcamp with his usual infectious enthusiasm.  Here we go!

Katie: AWAI is one of the most successful companies on earth because of the people whose lives have been changed for the better. If you want to learn this business AWAI will help you.

This year’s Bootcamp Theme:  Your Life is NOW

 Bill Bonner:  The story is the essence of all great copywriting.  How the story is communicated can vary.

There are two approaches to writing. One is prescriptive writing where you follow specific rules.  The other is descriptive writing where you write as people talk. He argues that to be successful we need to be descriptive copywriters that meet people where they are, not where we think they ought to be.

Key copywriting tip:  Everyone wants to be the hero of their own story. They don’t care what the product or service does – they care if it makes them the hero.

Many of the very best big direct mail packages don’t focus on money. Instead, they are indirect and focused on making the prospect the hero that in the right emotional context, can be very successful. Agora has had two of these that made over $10 million

As copywriters, we need to identify the emotional context of our prospect. The antagonist must present a real problem or challenge that the hero can overcome.

 Bill Bonner has given us some great tips to help us be better copywriters. 

Next up is the Wall of Fame Networking dinner.  Check back in tomorrow morning for insights from Bob Bly, Donna Baier Stein and more.

Here are a few B2B insights for our Platinum Members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

 Thursday, 8:10 am

Joshua Boswell kicks off the session with a checklist of the 7 elements of a good information packet that will help you get hired.

1. Introduction letter
2. Testimonials
3. List of clients and experience
4. How and why you write
5. Your bio which shows your suitability for their market
6. Price list
7. Samples

Your information packet should help your prospect feel comfortable hiring you and that the risk of hiring you is low.

 8:30 am

 Bob Bly starts by reminding us of the importance of always, always having a BIG IDEA when we write copy.  You must identify the one message you are communicating to your reader.

One highly effective way to discover the big idea you need is to read.  There are two types of information you need to read:

1. General information which may give you the next big idea for your copy.
2. Specific information which gives you insight into a particular audience.

Next, Bob gives us 7 easy steps to delighting the client with your copy.  The first step is to listen and capture comments.  The client may give you your big idea without realizing it.

An extra tip for our Platinum Members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

9:14 am

Some of the ways to get your prospect’s attention include making a contrarian statement or give a fascinating fact.  An example of a fascinating fact was David Ogilvy’s classic copy, “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

Bob gave us 9 ways to know your product inside and out.  They include connecting with a subject matter expert, studying past promos and reading testimonials.

 9:28 am

Wondering when to use long copy and when to use shorter copy?  According to Bob Bly, you should use long copy when both the prospect’s involvement and emotion are high.

He also encouraged us to use graphs when they can communicate the message clearly.

A final thought:  You need both emotion and logic in your copy.  Lead with emotion and back it up with logic.

 9:50 am

Donna Baier Stein takes the state to teach us about how to step into the flow and write successful copy that’s easy to read and easy to write.

If you put stop signs in your copy you may lose the chance to make the sale.  You must have flow!

Mihaly Csikszentmihaly wrote the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience that explains what flow is and how to achieve it. Donna is going through his 10 ways to achieve a state of flow. 

#1 is to have clear goals that, while challenging, are still attainable.
#2 is to concentrate and focus your attention.  Good news!  It’s OK to be demanding about the best writing environment for you.
#5 Feel so focused on the present that you lost track of time passing
#7 Know that the task is doable, that you have the skill to meet the challenge

As a writer you must put yourself in the flow to do your best work.  What she is describing reminds me of what some of us call “being in the zone”.

10:17 am

Donna recommends that when writing your first draft you just write … don’t allow your editor brain to restrict what you write.  This will help you write in the flow.

When you are relaxed you can be more creative.  You must allow yourself to have times when you can be mentally relaxed.

We’re doing a freewriting exercise.  When freewriting, you write without restriction.  Don’t worry about grammer, sentence structure, spelling or anything else that would slow you down.  Just write!  This is a way to help you get in the habit of writing in the flow. 

B2B writers may remember this as part of Ed Gandia’s morning ritual.  You can write on any topic.  Just write freely!

An extra tip for our Platinum Members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

Another fantastic presentation!  Back with Mike Palmer after a short break.

11:22 am

Mike Palmer promises to give us a strategy that could result in income of $1 million.  I’m interested!

Claude Hopkins came up with his big idea for Pepsodent by reading dental journals.  Again – reading!!  I’m starting to see a theme here.

Mike said that all the great ideas are out there in plain sight, you just have to know how to spot them. Creativity is looking and borrowing.  You must learn how to focus your search or you’ll never be successful.

An example of spotting an idea was Turbo Tax.  The copywriter noticed AOL sent disks in the mail to get new sign ups.  Turbo Tax copied this and were able to gain a flood of new customers.

Special marketing tip for Platinum members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

One strategy to get ideas is to study offers.  If you see it repeatedly, it probably works.

A technique to try:  Read two hours a day and write down 10 ideas a day.  Agora is using this model to generate ideas.

Oh – the easiest way to earn $1 million as a copywriter?  Go to work for them in Baltimore.  They need copywriters!

There is way more great information than I could possibly put in this blog!  With Bootcamp on Demand, you’ll have lifetime access to every great strategy from all of the presentations.  Find out more here.

2:11 pm

Drayton Bird is on stage sharing his wisdom with the group.

His advice:  Aim for the top.  Don’t sell yourself short.

Drayton passed on a quote from Charlie Munger “In my whole life I’ve never met a wise man … who was not a reader.”  Hmm … third expert who recommends reading extensively. Sounds like good advice!

One book he considers a must read is Claude Hopkins’ book Scientific Advertising.  He encouraged us to read it several times.  I think I’ll dust my copy off when I get home and commit to another reading!

A couple of nuggets from Drayton:

You must learn to sell what you write about.  The copy must be compelling.

Never forget that everyone in the world thinks they are an advertising expert!

Another book Drayton recommends is Eugene Schwartz “Breakthrough Advertising”.  

Observation for Premium members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

A few more words of wisdom from Drayton Bird:

  • Knowledge is your best insurance policy
  • Always try new things
  • Travel and broaden your mind
  • Make friends – and keep them
  • Hope for the best, but plan for the worst
  • Practice your craft every day

And a final word of advice: Be yourself – otherwise you might as well never have lived

3:38 pm

Ilise Benun has just taken the stage to talk about 5 marketing tools that will help you get hired.

The whole point or marketing is to weed out the prospects who aren’t a fit for you. 

Her 5 ways to position your services:

1. Vertical (industry sector)
2. Horizontal (such as white papers)
3. Umbrella idea/common denominator
4. Specialist in a particular technology
5. The way you work (emphasis on service responsiveness, reliability)

The advantage of method #1 is that it helps you narrow your marketing, making it easier to find good clients.

The paradox of self promotion is that it’s not about you! It’s about what your clients need to hear.

A few positioning tools:

  • Positioning statement
  • Your name
  • Your tagline
  • Your Twitter handle
  • The name of anything you publish

Ed Gandia is a good example of a well-positioned copywriter. See his website at

Special strategy for Platinum members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

4:18 pm

You should set aside one day a week (or at least a half day) to marketing your business. Another option is to set aside one hour every day.

The first step is research.  You can search for prospects, blogs, and networking events.

If you know of an association but don’t want to pay to join, try finding the group on LinkedIn.  Most will allow you to join for free.

Ilise provided a 7 step easy to implement prospecting process.  You can get the entire process in Bootcamp on Demand.  Order right now for only $249!  Getting just one client will more than cover your investment.  This special discount is only good until Friday, October 25th at midnight so act now for full access to all the Bootcamp recordings here.

5:02 pm

Steve Slaunwhite is our next speaker.  He’ll give us some insight into the opportunities in B2B copywriting.

Steve let the group know that a B2B copywriter can consistently make $100,000 a year (or more). By the show of hands it looks like there are lots of copywriters who are interested in B2B copywriting.

Did you know that more B2B companies use social media marketing and email marketing than B2C companies?

B2B companies are very loyal to their copywriters.  Once they find someone they can work with well, they want to have a long term working relationship.

B2B companies are predisposed to paying professional rates for copywriters meaning it’s reasonable to expect to make six figures writing for the B2B market.

Three things you need to know to succeed as a B2B copywriter:

1. Know the projects and how to write them
2. Know how to write to engage and persuade a business buyer
3. Know how to market yourself effectively

B2B buyers have both business and personal needs to meet. Personal needs include job security, career advancement, and risk avoidance.  Business needs include reducing costs, improving profits, and increasing productivity.

Extra tip for Premium Members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

Well, there’s no question that the B2B copywriting niche is one with lots of opportunity!  But we knew that didn’t we?

7:36 pm

Time for Pam Foster and Choosing Your Ideal Niche:  How to focus on clients that are perfect and profitable for you.  This is always a hot topic on our forum and I’m sure Pam will give us some helpful tips on selecting your niche.

A niche is a specific field or market. The best ones are growing and have a strong demand for copywriters.

According to Pam, there has never been a higher demand for content writers. 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing.

Pam’s niche is pet copywriting.  She loves the people she writes for and wants to help them succeed.  That’s the sign you’re in a niche that suits you.

62% of companies outsource their content marketing!

5 Advantages of owning a niche:

1. Stand apart with value
2. Align with clients as a true partner/colleague
3. Get found more often
4. Get more work
5. Charge higher fees

According to Brian Clark, Google is refining search.  If you haven’t established yourself in a niche it will be much more difficult to get found.

You should find the niche and work situation that suits you best.  It’s OK if you prefer to work with a team.  Or work from home. Or travel. Or not.  Don’t worry about external expectations of what a copywriter’s life looks like.  Make your writer’s life perfect for you!

Time for an exercise in finding your niche.  Platinum members here’s what we did:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

8:33 pm

Pam’s tip: Look for a trade association.  If there is an active trade association, it could be a good niche.

A final strategy:  Get involved in LinkedIn groups in a niche you are interested in.

Thanks to Pam for walking us through the process of determining the best niche for us.

That’s it for tonight.  Tune in tomorrow for more live updates from the AWAI bootcamp. 

Friday 8:16 am

Good morning from Bootcamp!  Today is a big day with job fair this afternoon.  But first we’ll hear from Will Newman, Mark Ford, Ryan Deiss, Darcy Juarez, and Clayton Makepeace.

It’s already been an exciting morning with Pam Foster and Joshua Boswell giving away free consulting sessions to a few very lucky attendees.

8:26 am

Mark Ford is explaining why persuasion is a key to good copywriting.  Copy without persuasion is like a car without an engine.  It may look good but it won’t do what it is intended to do.

His 3-part formula for effective persuasion:

  1. Emotionally compelling idea
  2. Clarity
  3. Specificity

How we act, what we do, and what we buy happens at two levels: the emotional brain and the cognitive brain.

Mark Ford said the only way you can come up with compelling ideas is to READ, STUDY and THINK.  Then you discuss and write.

Mark’s 3 Mortal sins of a creative mind:

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Laziness
  • Arrogance

11:27 am

Copywriting legend Clayton Makepeace is on the stage to tell us how we can make millions writing sales copy.  He is definitely one who knows!

Clayton let everyone know there’s no limit to how much money you can make.  You are only limited by how hard you are willing to work and how you structure your compensation.

He’s giving the group 17 ways to get to $1 million.  The first step is to get the millionaire mindset including rejecting others’ limitations.

Here are a few more tips for our Platinum members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

Tip #9 is to make good deals.  Clayton recommends:

  • 20% fee, 80% royalties
  • Cancellation clause
  • Ownership
  • Payment schedule
  • Substantiation
  • Compliance – the client is responsible
  • Hold harmless
  • Indemnification – if some one sues the copywriter, the company pays

You have many choices on compensation including retainer, flat fee, royalty, retainer plus and more.

Clayton pays $12,500 fee plus 10% of 30-day net revenues.  Insist to see the financial results of the campaign. 

When do you raise your rates?  When you’re busy!

Clayton is offering an opportunity to attend a special event with him: Building a Successful Copywriting Business April 11-13, 2014. Call member services at 1-866-879-2924 to sign up. Limited to 100 copywriters.

Now it’s time for job fair! It’s exciting to know that there are copywriters here that will leave with clients. I’ll be visiting with the B2B companies and letting them know about this website and the copywriters here that are trained and ready to work. 

Tomorrow we’ll hear more from Joshua Boswell, Clayton Makepeace and Nick Usborne. 

Bootcamp may continue tomorrow but the opportunity to get Bootcamp on Demand at the crazy low price of only $249 goes away tonight at midnight. You’ll get lifetime access to all of the presentations from Bootcamp plus a special bonus – but only until midnight tonight. Don’t miss this one time only opportunity.  Claim your lifetime access to Bootcamp on Demand here.

Saturday 7:06 am

My life is NOW, My life is NOW, My life is NOW!!!  Roy Furr has us chanting the theme to this year’s bootcamp as he introduces Steve Slaunwhite and Lane Sennett to talk about the advantages of working in the B2B market.

Question:  Who hires B2B copywriters?

Steve:  There are basically 3 types of clients.

1. The marketing manager
2. The business owner of smaller firms
3. Marketing companies and ad agencies

Lane Sennett is a retired Navy officer with experience in the IT field. Diana Huff recommended she write for the technology area of B2B. She chose Microsoft partners and works with the CEO’s of these small firms. One CEO she contacted and asked if she could write 12 case studies.  (She said yes!)

Question:  What is the difference between B2B and B2C copy?

Steve:  You have to master the business conversation style. The style is very conversational and candid. Not stiff and formal. That’s the way you need to write.

Lane: For me, the reader of my copy is often a CFO. The copy needs to be written with them in mind.

Question:  If you’re not strong in technology can you still be successful in the B2B area?

Steve:  Absolutely, I write mostly for service businesses, so I don’t need extensive technology knowledge.

Lane: I agree! One of the first companies I worked for had nothing to do with high-tech. 

Question: How important is it to niche within the B2B market?

Steve:  It’s a huge advantage when marketing yourself. It will help you be successful faster and make marketing your services much easier.

Lane: Use your contacts! She used Ed Gandia’s email marketing system for marketing her writing services.

Question for Lane:  Did you have any problems getting hired by a company different than the type of company you had worked for already?

Lane:  Not at all! They saw that I understood how a case study should be structured and were comfortable that I could do a good job for them.

Steve: In B2B, companies hire you because they connect with you.  Many companies that have hired me have never asked for samples.

We had a very informative discussion that once again highlighted the wide variety of writing projects and clients in B2B.  We are definitely in the right place!

9:46 am

Nick Usborne is on stage presenting Love Your Message – How to succeed with a website that looks good and communicates a powerful message.

Nick says that making your website attractive is the same as dressing up for an important job interview. You must make a good impression. As a society, we are over reliant on surface impression.

One example of a professional looking website is Steve Slaunwhite’s site (

The second point is that you must be totally enthusiastic about what you say … Love Your Message!  Find a message you can share with your audience. It needs to be aligned with your skill set and aligned with your clients’ needs.  It must have spark and create excitement.

Your message incorporates your “why”.  For example, “it drives me crazy that companies don’t make any effort to engage with their customers” may be the why for a social media web writer. Then make your message interesting.

A good tag line message can also be the title of your ebook and used on your business card. Integrate that message into your blogs and other marketing.

Key point: To succeed you need to project the best possible version of yourself. It can make a vast difference to your success.

More for Platinum members:

This article is reserved content for B2B Writing Success premium members. To continue reading this article please log in or become a member today.

Nick: It’s not about the money you spend, the key is to find a message you love and present it professionally.

Wise advice from Nick!!

11:00 am

Clayton Makepeace is about to announce the winners of his spec challenge.  Brian Oschner is one winner.  Christina Allsop is the second winner.  Both got hired and will be getting contracts in the mail.   Woot woot!!!

Now on to the anatomy of a lead and 40 ideas for great headlines.

First you need the credibility element. Next is the headline. The job of your headline is to stop your prospect and make him want to read on.  This is followed by “oh yeah?” copy and then the readership bribe and reinforcing open.

Clayton provided a 15-point Headline checklist to help you make sure your headline is as strong as possible.

One way to get good ideas for headlines is to watch for breaking news stories that can be used.  Make sure they aren’t too short-term like the government shut-down.  A longer term news item like Obamacare is better.

Another technique is to propose a proposition.  An example: “For every illness three is a country where it simply doesn’t exist.”

Use an intriguing word or phrase in your headline.

Clayton tries to avoid questions in headlines as much as possible. We’re all about leadership so we should be emphatic. He sees many new copywriters using questions in their headlines.

You can put a headline into your reader or customer’s voice.  “Thanks for nothing Wall Street! I’d rather do it myself!”

Try creating or solving a mystery. “7 Deadly Secrets Your Broker Doesn’t Want You to Know.”

Clayton said at the beginning of his presentation that we could relax and that it wouldn’t take much thought.  Then he proceeded to give us key headline strategy after key headline strategy.  His presentation is packed with information.  Not much thought?  I disagree!

I’ll have one final wrap up from Bootcamp after lunch.  Thanks for joining me the last few days.  It’s been an inspiring and challenging bootcamp!

1:39 pm

Time for the awards!!

Mindy McHorse of the Barefoot Writer had two winners of the Glicken award.  Look for their articles in future issues of the Barefoot Writer.

Joshua had 148 submissions during Bootcamp of copywriter action plans.  Congrats Mitch, Karen, Jason, and Kelly!

The winner of this year’s $10K challenge is Christina Gillick!!!  Congratulations!!

Steve Slaunwhite takes the stage to announce the AWAI Copywriter of the Year … Donna Baier Stein!!! 

And finally for the last awards for the spec challenges.

First, the PWA winner … Penni Smith

For Money Making Websites … Owen Pigott

For the Accelerated Program Companion Series … Jimmy Sansi

The Barefoot Writer winner … Rae Robinson

And finally … another promo for PWA … Robin Spillias

Congratulations to all the winners!!

It’s a wrap! Thanks to all the hard work by the AWAI staff for putting on a great Bootcamp!


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Charlotte S Hicks

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