Nick Usborne's How to Write Your Own Money-Making Websites program.
The most reliable and certain way to make money online is to write an information-rich website on a topic that already interests you.
Nick Usborne's Million Dollar Secrets to Online Copywriting
An in-depth course to give you the knowledge and expertise you need to make money as an online copywriter.
- Private coaching service
- Get writing assignments
- Become an Instant Guru
- Double your Profits
- Write and grow rich
- Marketing your freelance business
- Selling yourself as a copywriter
- Freelance writing success course
- Web publicity
- Set your Fees
Articles on Freelance Writing Success
- Bob Bly
- Peter Bowerman
- Nick Usborne
- Ed Gandia
- Pete Savage
- John Riddle
- Kendy Sproul
- Clayton Makepeace
- Steve Slaunwhite
- Michael Masterson
- Chris Marlow
- Roger C. Parker
- Marcia Yudkin
- Michael Stelzner
- Brian Tracy
by Heather Robson
If you work as a copywriter or web writer for clients who are marketing online, you may have noticed something unfortunate happening to your timelines. In all likelihood, they’re shrinking.
It used to be that if you wanted a book, you had to drive to the bookstore or library to purchase it—a wait time of a few hours—or mail order it—a wait time of two to six weeks. Now you can download an electronic version to your handheld reader and have your book open and be into the first chapter in a matter of minutes if not seconds.
If you wanted professional advice, you had to make an appointment and wait.
Now you can get it almost instantly through online services.
If you couldn’t remember the name of the actor in the movie you watched the night before, you had to go find the movie in a book of movies (if you were lucky enough to have one on hand) or wait until you remembered on your own. Now you can just IMDB it.
You get the gist… there’s a lot you can access instantly that you couldn’t before.
And, even though that does not apply to everything, you’ll encounter project managers who are trying to keep pace with an Internet-driven timeline and who want you to turn around high-quality writing that delivers results, sometimes in a matter of hours.
So what do you do if you’re committed to writing well, but there just doesn’t seem to be time?
A System for Writing Well That Works When You Need to Work Fast
By having a writing system in place, you can write faster without losing anything in terms of originality, creativity or quality.
When you use the same approach over and over again—as long as it’s an approach that works for you—then your writing will become second nature and that means good writing done in less time.
Following are the steps I recommend and that work for me, but you should tinker with them a bit until you find what works best for you.
Using this writing system, I’m able to get articles done in a matter of one or two hours… not fluff pieces, but well-researched, tightly-written articles that get me good feedback from the clients paying for them.
Let’s dig in…
Step One – Ask Lots of Questions
Whenever you get a new assignment from a client—especially one that’s got a tight deadline—it’s really important that you get all the information you can from the client right up front. You need to know what the goal of the project is… who the target audience is… what the main benefit is in the client’s mind… if they’ve taken similar approaches and what worked and what didn’t… and what action they want the reader to take.
If you don’t understand where your client is coming from on these things, it won’t matter if you have a softball deadline… you’ll still miss the mark with the project.
But when you do understand these things, your brain will immediately start working on headlines, organization, metaphors, analogies and research questions you can use to complete the project.
Best of all, you can accomplish this step in five to 20 minutes… five if you send your questions by email and 20 if you decide to do it over the phone.
Step Two – Do Lots of Research
Don’t underestimate the research phase of any writing project you undertake.
Research is what makes it possible to get organized, to get started, to write effortlessly, and to turn in killer copy. I don’t care if you’re writing editorial, collateral, or sales pieces, research will help you write better and faster.
Here are my rules for research:
1. Find at least three credible sources related to the topic you’re writing.
2. Skim them.
3. Note what questions you have based on what you’ve learned so far.
4. Do more research based on those questions.
5. Keep track of your sources.
Honestly, it’s not unreasonable to devote half of your project time to research.
Step Three – Organize First, and Then Write
Before you start writing, organize your ideas. You should have lots of them at this point in your project… ideas from your conversation with your client, from your research, from your own experience and knowledge.
Now’s the time to decide what you’ll lead with, what you’ll use to support the big idea you put forward in your lead, and how you’ll close.
Consider a couple of different approaches, choose the strongest and then start writing. I’ve been doing this for years and by this point the words almost always come easy. If you’re just getting started with a writing system, you might be a little slower, but don’t worry… before you know you’ll be pouring out copy like water from an open spigot.
If you do get stuck or slow down, open up one of your research sources and read through it. Often this is enough to get the words flowing again.
Step Four – Fill in the Blanks
Once you’ve written your copy, read through it. This is a quick read. You can fix any mistakes you catch, but that’s not your focus. Your focus is unanswered questions or gaping holes in your copy. Look for things that will leave your reader scratching her head and then fill in what’s missing.
Step Five – Eliminate Speed Bumps
Two things that can destroy quality copy are ill-used cliché’s and wording that makes the reader slow down. These things are copy speed bumps. Give your writing another read-through to find clichés and places where the copy just doesn’t flow.
Replace each cliché with a fresh, new metaphor or with something that really captures the client’s voice. Rework poor word choices or sentence structure until things read smoothly. (Hint: Usually this means breaking a long sentence up into two shorter sentences or eliminating repetition.)
Step Six – Give Your Copy a Close Proof
Finally, once your copy reads like the tightly-written, fresh, original piece of mastery that is should, proofread it. Find typos, unintentional grammatical errors, and poor punctuation and fix it.
Once you do that you’re set.
Using these steps, I’m usually able to write a 1200-word article in under two hours, and my clients keep coming back for more. It isn’t magic, or even some special talent… it’s really just getting into a frame of mind that lets me work quickly without reducing quality. And, it’s something that you can put to use to improve you own writing especially if you regularly face tight deadlines.
Copywriting Cheats for the Internet Age
If you want to make your writing even faster and even better, there a couple of ways you can cheat.
Okay, it’s not really cheating. It’s actually just smart business—you should be doing these things anyway, but it can make your job so easy, it feels like cheating.
First, focus on a single niche. If you take on projects from a single niche, eventually you know that niche backward, forward, and upside down. When that happens, your research and writing get to be a real breeze.
Second, catalog and tag your research. When you work in a single niche, what happens is that every bit of research you do can potentially apply to other projects. So develop a system for cataloging and tagging your research. (MS Notes is one program to consider.) Then, when it comes time to write a new project, the bulk of your research may already be on hand.
Third, read everything you can in your industry. If you’re always reading about what’s happening in your niche, you’ll be naturally attuned to your audience and never short for ideas.
Writing in the Internet age can sometimes seem impossible—everybody wants more and they want it right now. But, if you use these tips, I guarantee you’ll find yourself writing better copy in less time and with less stress.
Heather Robson is a freelance copywriter and the Managing Editor of Wealthy Web Writer, a resource site for professional web writers.
Get your copy of Writing For the Web #1 - 7 Challenges every Writer and Copywriter faces when writing for the Web.
PLEASE NOTE: This is my new newsletter, for my site at nickusborne.com, and replaces the old Freelance Writing Success Newsletter. However, the focus is still on writing for the web and freelancing. So don’t be confused when you find links to my nickusborne.com site in each issue! : )
Sign up NOW and I'll send you the link where you can download this 35-page guide...
(Your email address will be used only for the purpose of sending you this newsletter, and you'll be free to unsubscribe at any time.)
Copyright FreelanceWritingSuccess.com. All Rights Reserved.