It’s Monday, which means it’s time to answer YOUR questions!
You know the drill. Every Monday I open up my inbox and answer one of YOUR questions.
I’m looking for a great question to answer next week. Make it about business, marketing, selling, copywriting, STORY SELLING, life, or whatever. Send it to [email protected]
If your question is the first one in, I’ll answer it next week. If not next week, you’ll be in the queue for an upcoming issue.
One more thing before today’s question…
Regarding story selling, I have a HUGE giveaway coming up tomorrow morning.
With the launch of the Story Selling Master Class coming up in just over a week, I’m going to give very limited-time access to some training that’s not publicly available yet.
It’s called 5 Proven Story Selling Templates, and includes both the templates themselves and a video breakdown of each.
Eventually, this will be an introductory offer, but starting tomorrow morning, it’ll be yours, free.
But you MUST be on the wait list for the Story Selling Master Class to get this training free.
(And, if you’re on the wait list already, just watch your inbox!)
On to today’s question, from a newer copywriter: should you go to AWAI’s Bootcamp if you want to boost your copywriting skills?
I’m thinking of going to the AWAI Bootcamp in Florida this year… How beneficial do you think it is for a new copywriter to attend?
I like the idea of the Bootcamp, but I’m not totally sold on it. It feels like more of a networking opportunity, which I like… However if I’m going to drop $2000 on a seminar in the next couple of months, my priority would be to spend money on something that’ll upgrade my copy chops.
I’ve been freelancing for a couple of months, I’m doing pretty alright (I’ve got a couple of clients that keep giving me more work)… but I’m no where near the level that I’d like to be at.
What do you think? Should I wait until next year, when I’ll have over a year of professional copywriting experience? Or should I get my butt down there this October?
Let’s hit the ground running…
First and foremost, I believe Bootcamp is a great learning opportunity for copywriters at all levels…
I’ve only missed a couple AWAI Bootcamps since my first one in 2009.
(And let me say here, I’m not paid at all to tell you this. I get no compensation for sharing an opinion one way or another on AWAI and Bootcamp. Though I should…)
There’s a good reason for this. And it goes beyond any kind of relationships I develop as a result of being there.
It’s where the best copywriters congregate and share their secrets.
A really interesting atmosphere has developed around AWAI — and I think it gets better just about every year. What started out primarily as a group of insiders teaching a few copywriters the craft has become the industry convention of choice for the copywriting industry.
AWAI has since attracted top-notch copywriters who are NOT on staff, NOT affiliated with AWAI directly, and NOT even affiliated with Agora (the company from whence AWAI was created).
It truly has become a gathering of the best in the industry, where each speaker or presenter brings their best ideas to the table.
While a few do pitch (some may think that clouds their ability to deliver an effective presentation), the vast majority pile on the value, pitch or no at the end.
Every year that I’ve gone and sat through each presentation with a notebook in hand, looking for ideas, I’ve gotten them in abundance.
And this applied as much when I was still pretty dang green (in 2009 I’d been in marketing for 4 years but was not a full-time freelancer yet) as it did last year, when I attended my last Bootcamp.
In fact, there are a TON of sessions dedicated especially to the beginner. Fundamentals of writing great copy. How to develop your copywriting business. How to pick a niche. How to get clients. And so on.
While the ratio has shifted quite a bit over the years, still somewhere around half of all attendees are pretty new to copywriting (many haven’t even gotten their first client), and the content is as helpful to them as anyone else.
You ask about honing your copywriting chops, and Bootcamp can do that!
In 2009, I had very little freelance experience. I hadn’t really been that successful in writing long-form direct response sales letters. And yet, I had decided that this is what I was going to do, and I knew AWAI’s Bootcamp would be where I needed to be to make it happen. (True or not, this attitude pays off.)
3 BIG things stick with me from that first Bootcamp.
— First, Dan Kennedy broke down a 6-figure copywriting project. (Forget 6-figure annual income, this was ONE PROJECT!) This taught me a lot about the value of what we do, how clients perceive value, and how to manage relationships for maximum success and profits. Included were specific templates Dan uses in copy projects that completely changed the way I think about the “creative” side of copywriting.
— Second, Clayton Makepeace’s wife handed me a piece of paper that would change my life. On it was Clayton’s “Pretty Darned Good Outline.” It was the outline for a successful sales letter, sales presentation, or any big piece of copy. That became my template for my first couple years as a copywriter, and resulted in multiple million-dollar-plus promos. Here’s more on that, including a link to the outline itself.
— Third, Mark Ford (then Michael Masterson) did a presentation on his concept of The Power of One. I had spent most of my copywriting career up until that point focusing on ALL the things I wanted to share in my copy. It changed my mindset completely, and got me focused on finding the BEST thing to focus on to generate maximum response. Again, this was instrumental in all my success going forward. (Here’s more on that, too.)
Every single Bootcamp I’ve attended has handed me more insights like these.
Every single Bootcamp has led to a big jump in my copywriting chops.
And this includes when I could hardly write a sales letter to save my life, when I was gaining steam, and even recently.
And yet, there are even more benefits!
The networking could (and should) pay off, too…
From the beginning, I always made it a goal to make a positive ROI on attending things like Bootcamp.
I went when I could barely afford it.
But because I went, I got way more projects than I would have otherwise. I don’t remember exactly, but my calculated ROI on my first Bootcamp was somewhere above 10X before I stopped counting.
Even though you’re pretty new, there’s a ton of opportunity there, including for newer copywriters.
If you can match your skills and talent and voice to a client, and hit it off, it could lead to a project or ongoing work. It could lead to a ton of royalties.
And, the connections you get from going to Bootcamp aren’t something you can develop staying at home.
Being face-to-face, having a meal with, connecting with clients in person is far more valuable than an email, a LinkedIn connection, or even a phone call.
There’s a ridiculous amount of business that gets transacted there, and the only way to be a part of it is by showing up (it could even fund your next event!).
There’s an even bigger, often unmentioned factor for newer copywriters…
You didn’t ask about this or even mention it, but it was big for me and I know it’s huge for many copywriters who attend AWAI.
By the time you walk out on Saturday afternoon, you’ll have enough motivation to carry you forward for months.
You will have met all kinds of copywriters who are doing it, and succeeding. You will see success.
You will be fired up about the skills of copywriting. You’ll be fired up about the opportunity.
If you didn’t believe that this was a very real business opportunity before, you will know, now.
You may find people in a similar position as you, who you can stay connected with and form a mastermind or alliance that helps everybody move forward faster.
There’s so much motivation coming out of Bootcamp, it’s silly.
I don’t have a better way to describe it. But it’s a powerful force you can only experience by being in the room for it.
That said, it’s one of many smart investments!
I don’t believe there’s only one way to be successful.
I actually believe there are a TON of ways to be successful as a copywriter, one of which is AWAI.
This belief has actually been very important to my success. I get the best I can, from as many sources as possible. In the end, I have a well-rounded perspective and deep knowledge base to draw from.
AWAI has been critically important to me, no doubt. But there are far, far more resources available to you that are also great investments!
Just because I wholeheartedly endorse AWAI to anyone who is seriously considering it doesn’t mean I believe it’s the best investment for you — merely that it’s a very smart investment for those who consider it to be relevant.
If you make the investment in AWAI, demanding of it and yourself that it pay off, you will find it paying dividends for years (as it always has for me, since 2009).
No matter what, I believe you should make SOME investment in yourself. I know AWAI will be a good one. But others will be, too. If time and schedule permit, maybe you could even do multiple! Since nearly every live event can lead to enough business to get a positive ROI, you should really make the investment as often as possible.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,