Public Writing (2) Fall 2020
This week in class, and for the next two weeks, it’s time to get down to business writing some copy. As far as this class goes, my goal has been to share with you some possibilities.
These possibilities are real, and a lot of people have built major incomes on their own or with just an assistant or two to help with website design or other technical details. If you are interested in doing something with these possibilities, in English or in your native language, it’s very possible.
If not, it’s been a good opportunity to work on your English writing skills in another format than the typical academic English approach. This kind of writing style is also useful.
It’s another register, that’s true, but I know it helps people improve their written communication to spend some time writing in a way that’s more natural and comfortable without getting stressed about all the grammar rules.
If you want to learn more, it’s right here. What’s available for free, along with perhaps a few important books, is really all you need to get started writing copy.
For some of you, that might be hard in English without getting some editorial help. But in your own language, the principles still apply.
And the marketing, communication,and persuasion principles we’ve talked about in this class are the best of the best in the world as far as marketing.
There are legends in the past, like Caples, Ogilvy, and Halbert.
And there are legends who are getting really old, like Dan Kennedy and Joe Sugarman.
And there are still others who have worked directly with legends or learned from them personally or by reading their stuff – Clayton Makepeace, Matt Furey, John Carlton, Jay Smith, Ben Settle, Michael Masterson, Brian Clark, Joe Polish, and many others.
I’ve met several of those people personally, and invested in training with a couple more of them.
This is a real business opportunity, but it takes work. If you’re interested, building an income and an independent marketing career on your own is extremely do-able.
But it’s rarely done.
It takes consistency and it takes time. Most people want a steady but small paycheck right now, either by the hour or by the week, and don’t have the ability to wait and keep working. I’m not a success story yet either, at least not the way that I will be in the next few years.
But I’m working on some things. And I’ve worked with a few others who are doing the same, as my classmates and as my students. If you think this way of serving others and making a living might be interesting to you, I’d love to talk more about it.
Apart from that, I’ll be glad to talk to you about your writing and look forward to reading some great portfolios online in the next few weeks.
Final Deadline & What's Due:
Friday, Dec. 11th, 5 p.m.
1. (1a, 1b, & 1c) Three final projects – assignment details 11-20 class
2. Matt Furey “Talk-Write/Write-Talk” details 11-6 class
3. First Ad – assignment details 10-30 class
4. Spec Ad – assignment details 9-25 class
Please submit your best revised version of these six writing projects as a single file to the Final Assignment folder in Canvas. Each assignment should start on a new page of the combined document and be clearly labeled with the numbers above and a subject heading/headline/title, so it is clear which assignment is which. Get help and feedback from each other or from me before you turn in your final versions.
1. Cialdini Principles ads show and tell.
2. Today, I’d like to share something I found that gives a more thorough overview than I think we have before, offers some solid tips on principles and techniques, and puts you ahead of 99 percent of the people who know nothing about how we are being persuaded every day.
Please read and review:
The Science of Email Copy
These two resources, plus what we’ve already learned from the Neville Medhora’s text we started the class with, give you a great start at writing email or other types of direct response ad copy.
3. Also, take a look at what a guy named Nate Schmidt is doing in his online business, which he got started by writing copy for others first. I’ve been following his progress for a couple years now.
For this week Nate shares with you a quick way to make at least $3,000 a month on your own. I came across Nate’s 18-minute YouTube video just after he made it early in October 2018. If you’re interested, take a look. It may help you with your assignments for this semester. He gives you eight steps on email copywriting.
It’s a good lesson, it’s free, and it works. If you’re interested, the opportunity is right here. This guy is talking about something that works for people who seriously go for it. I have watched him and several others do it over the last few years. Most people don’t want it bad enough and move on to other things because it does take a lot of consistent work to get things started. But I’ve seen people do just that by writing copy online. I've seen them do it it -- fast -- and I am working on some similar things myself.
4. Next Assignment: Three ads totaling at least 2,000 words (including explanation if ads by themselves are short). One due each week in Canvas -- headlines and ledes peer reviewed and critiques completed in Canvas comments-- by Week 15 of the semester. Please post at least one first draft each week and organize classmates to help with peer review critiques on your own.
Possible Topic Choices:
a. Apology Ad (see Swiped.co for examples)
b. Political/NGOAd – in English – Can be for Korean cause/ candidate/ group, but include enough background information for reasonably well-informed people to follow without already knowing everything about Korea.
c. Dentist or other professional email series (e.g. 5 to 10 emails to remind people/ invite people to come in and get their teeth checked or cleaned (scaling)).
d. Your own e-commerce Gmarket/ AliExpress/ Shopify/ Amazon/ Affiliate marketing/ other kind of advertising for people to buy products or services from you.
e. Other ideas?
5. A note about plagiarism. Plagiarism is a gray area, especially in the kind of writing we are doing here. I have no problem with borrowing ideas from others, but I do have a major problem with simply copying the words someone else has written and expecting credit for it in a writing class. As . I will be running all copy through Turnitin plagiarism checking software. While we do call the text of advertisements copy, that does not mean it’s acceptable to copy from others. Every semester I have to fail students for copy and pasting their writing assignments. Please don’t make me do that to you this semester.
Thanks, and see you next week!
Class today started off with looking over some writing from last week's "Talk-Write/Write-Talk" session, and we all noticed improvement in the copy people were coming up with.
After that, we moved on to look at Robert Cialdini's principles of persuasion in a short video. That video and transcript are linked here.
For next week, in your groups from earlier in the semester, please bring back at least two examples of each of these principles at work in our daily lives. Every group should be able to tell us about at least two examples of each of the principles being used. The examples could be advertising or any other kind of public communication. You will present your example to the class and explain how they fit the principle.
After that, we will decide together on our projects for the rest of the semester. I've got a few ideas, but I want yours, too. We will be doing at least two more major projects for quality points scores before the end of the semester. Bring in some ideas about what you would like to work on related to copywriting and we will create the assignments together next week.
See you then!
We took an email dictated by the zen master of the Internet in class. Then we started writing our own email based on what we heard by telling a story about that lesson or another lesson we have learned that persuades readers to buy a product or service take some action because we convinced them to do so.
If you like, go ahead and follow Matthew Furey’s suggestion and write an email for a seminar, a class, or a lecture on writing emails for big money. You can do any product or service you like. Use a story or example from some of the things we’ve already talked about in class (Neville Medhora, copywriting niches, copywriting masters, copywriting techniques, etc.) Try not to teach, but get your readers curious with a story about the idea of buying your valuable product, service, or idea with email marketing.
Your sales email should have an attention-getting subject heading, a story that grabs the interest of your reader(s), and make them interested in what you are offering or suggesting, and ends with a call to action that directs your reader(s) to buy or do something. There is no length requirement, but it's hard to say anything in 100-200 words. The ideal is probably 600-800 words. Over 1,200 words is probably too long.
Post your email copy to the Canvas discussion area before 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night (11-10). Use the heading "Your Name/Talk-Write" this time. Please comment with helpful feedback to a classmate before we meet next Friday (11-13). You do not need to give feedback in groups, but one-on-one in Canvas, please provide suggestions on your classmate's headline and lead, as well as any feedback.
We will be working on this "Talk-Write" email copy before we go back to the proposal we put in Canvas last week. Save that proposal for later. We'll talk more about these emails, your proposals, and future projects next week.
See you then!
What we have already talked about in the text:
#Emotional content (The envelope exercise)
#No one cares about you (aimed at the reader, not yourself)
#Write Fun (maybe wacky) but not boring
#New, Novel, helpful
#AIDA ~ Arianna Grande 7 Rings: “I see it-I like it-I want it-I got it”
Break into small groups to lead brief sessions about the rest of This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better.
B. Subject Lines
C. Short or Long?
D. Caveman Voice
E. Pre-writing Checklist
We also talked about fonts -- serif vs. sans serif,
and reminded students to write like they talk.
Homework for next session:
1. If it’s not already done, finish off your first ad (for now) and set it aside (save it somewhere). It’ll get scored later, and you still might want to improve it with things we learn in future classes.
2. AND Please pre-read and be ready to talk about Four Tips for Writing Better Copy. They are very useful and we’ll be going over them soon. https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/persuasive-sales-copywriting-techniques/
3. Then, come up with another idea and write a proposal for your ad for our next class session. Stay in the same general niche for this one if possible. Post your proposal in a couple paragraphs to the class Canvas discussion area with the subject heading “Your Name-Spec 2 Proposal.”
See you in class!
In class this week we got back in gear after two holidays in a row. We started by refreshing our memories on class presentations about Direct Response Masters and niches. See the class Canvas discussion area for details. We also shared a few great ads we'd found to hand copy.
Then we went over the Copy Logic copywriting peer review process that will help us all create amazing written ads for this class, and into the future. A basic overview of that peer review process that we used in class is linked here.
For next week, get together with your group online or in person and go through the peer review process thoroughly on everyone's headlines, leads, and the rest of your specs. After getting feedback, please submit a revised version as the last comment under your first post before we meet again Week 9 (Oct. 30).
Week 9, we will continue with Neville Medhora’s book, work on an activity to help us learn to write like we talk, and keep improving our copywriting skills.
See you in class!
We heard from small groups this session about Direct Response niches and marketing masters of the written word. It was good background information for everyone who didn't know much about niche marketing and names of some of the best in the business.
Next week, sadly, we won't meet as a class. However, we still have writing to do as usual. Each group should post the group's presentation scripts or documents, as well as upload any visuals in a pdf or whatever format works. That will help your classmates remember your presentation details. The subject should be "Group Name/Presentation." Please try to submit all the group work in one Canvas post; not a separate post for each person.
After that, please choose a niche to work in for your first major project. We will be starting on it soon, but first, before next Friday (Oct. 2nd), Please hand copy (write by hand) at least 500 words of a great ad or ads in your niche with pen, pencil or stylus (not a keyboard). Post a copy or photo of your hand-written words to the Canvas discussion area along with the word count. For this posting, use the subject heading “Your Name/Swipe File.”
You can find great ads to learn from, borrow ideas, or hand copy at https://swiped.co/, https://swipefile.com/ and many other places online.
NOTE: copying ads for learning purposes is okay. But copying ads to submit as your work is not okay. It’s an easy way to fail a class, get sued for copyright infringement, and be blacklisted from copywriting circles worldwide for life.
For the following week, which is again a holiday (Hangeul Day Oct. 9th), please write the first draft of a spec assignment in your preferred niche. A spec is a sample ad written to show prospective clients what you can do. Please write a total of 400 to 800 words. That doesn't mean your ad needs to be that long; some ads should be shorter. But if your ad is short, fill out the word count by explaining to the reader what your ad is trying to do. Post your spec ad to the class Canvas discussion area under the subject heading "Your Name/Spec Ad."
Refresh your memory with the AIDA chapter in the text as well as your sample ads for local products and services. You may also find this page from the author of our text useful as you think about what to write https://copywritingcourse.com/copywriting-exercises/
See you in class Oct. 16th. We will finish off and review our Niche and Masters presentations, look over our hand copying and share some swipe files, and talk about our specs.
Enjoy your break but keep writing!
Our class this week spent some time going over group proposals for our presentations on Direct Response masters and niches for next week. Please be ready to share with the class what you have learned about your selected master copywriter/marketer and niches when you come to class next week.
Then, together we went through the textbook from chapters 2-5, talking about strategies and techniques including the all-important A.I.D.A. formula for writing direct response ad copy.
We will continue to talk about copywriting next week and though we have two weeks off our live classes, I'll be sure to give you something interesting to do while we are not meeting as a class.
See you next week!
In class this week, we got together in small groups to talk about our work on the Envelope Exercise from Chapter 1 of Neville Medhora's book, our own starter ads we had written, and some interesting ad copy we'd found in our own daily lives. Then we shared our thoughts with the class and got moving toward next week.
You have two things to prepare for next week's class: First, read and be ready to discuss chapters 3-6, which ends with the all-important AIDA formula. We will likely talk about all of Neville Medhora’s book up to Chapter 6, so please be prepared to contribute to the conversation by reading and taking notes on everything we have read so far.
Also, in your groups, be prepared next week (9-18) to talk briefly about your proposal for a presentation Week 4 (9-25) in class. Week 4, you will be sharing group presentations with the class about Direct Response experts and niches. The links in the preceding sentence are a start, but do some Googling on your own to explore, too.
You do not need to have the whole Week 4 presentation finished next week, but you should be ready to share which Direct Response Masters you’ll be talking about, and which DR niches you are preparing to share with us (Each group member should research one DR expert and one DR niche). This Week 3 “preview” will help us make sure that not everyone covers the same material. If you have questions, email me.
Have fun exploring!
In our first session of the fall semester, we started off with the question "What is public writing?"
A number of different responses came out, including blogs and journalism, editorials, public service announcements, social networking messages, and advertising. But while we focused on editorials and opinions last semester in Public Writing 1, and our own blog pages, this semester will move toward more commercial writing, or at least "selling" our ideas to others by learning from and improving on what advertising copywriters do and what they say they do.
We began by learning a little about the man who's been called "The Father of Advertising," David Ogilvy. Although he is well-known for his agency's general or "branding" ads, his first love was direct response advertising, as he explained in a video.
But whether you are interested in advertising is not the point; using the techniques of clearly communicating a message to sell an idea, as Ogilvy and others pioneered, is definitely worth learning.
We took a look at Ogilvy's rules for writing. We are going to be learning about his rules from others, starting now.
The first part of doing that is going over a book that promises to teach us how to write better. That book may seem a bit informal, even silly at times, and the author sometimes uses salty language. But Neville Medhora has used writing effectively and it's the most simple and quick way to get the principles of what we want to learn quickly. It's definitely worth a couple bucks. The links on my page are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy through them. But feel free to get it elsewhere if you like. Get a Kindle copy or a hard (paper) copy. But however you do it, please get the book and start reading it ASAP. The chapters are very short. Read chapters 1 and 2 and then do some writing.
First, please write two letters like the ones in Chapter 1, but not to your mom. Write to a teacher, an old boyfriend/girlfriend, a politician or someone else from two different perspectives. Make it a real, specific person. Don't just write to anyone in general. We will talk about them and do more writing next week in class.
Then, after reading Chapter 2, please write two short samples (75 to 300 words each) of copy focusing on the benefit to the reader of whatever product or idea you want them to buy/agree with. You should understand this after you read Chapter 2.
Third, we are going to get look at written copy (words in print) in advertising. Let's start off with things you can find locally. Please bring in three photos or samples of advertising or labels for products you could buy here that use English (or Konglish) in interesting ways. Think about what makes them interesting and be ready to share your thoughts with the class next week.
Post your writing to the class Canvas discussion area under these subject headings:
1. "Your Name/Love-Hate Letter"
2. "Your Name/Chapter 2 Ads"
3. "Your Name/Local Ads"
We will leave it there for now. Don't forget to upload your letters, both positive and negative, the ad samples you wrote after reading Chapter 2, and three samples of professional writing that advertises interestingly. Be ready to tell us what you found unique about these ads.
See you next week!
This book will teach you how to write better: Learn how to get what you want, increase your conversion rates, and make it easier to write anything (using formulas and mind-hacks)
We will meet at our regular class time each week in this Zoom room online:
(3-4 class Meeting ID: 818 5350 4292).
(5-6 class Meeting ID: 869 7523 1648).
You will receive an email from me with the classroom password. Please do not share it with anyone outside our class.
You can access Zoom discussions with your computer, tablet, or phone, but something with a big screen and a webcam will work much better.
See you in class!