Catch the wave here: http://yellowballoonpublications.com/
Well, THIS amazing message from Thumbtack came right out of the blue!
Although I don’t live in New York, I write for New Yorkers and for other clients around the world.
Now I wonder where I rank here in my home state of Washington? Guess I’ll inquire at Thumbtack! (I sure hope the inquiry doesn’t get me kicked off the list for New York!)
This is quite the accolade…as I’m sure there are scores, if not hundreds, of capable freelance copywriters in New York. To be singled out without even entering a contest just makes this that much more gratifying…
Thank you, Thumbtack, for the award!
If you’re a copywriter that uses any of the myriad online freelance websites to find clients (Upwork/Elance/oDesk, Guru, fiverr, Thumbtack, Freelancer.com, etc.), it’s important to be sure the people you serve leave feedback for you after you’ve thrilled them to their toes.
Because I’ve left the freelance sites (for the most part) for the past year or so to concentrate on getting prospective clients to me direct so I don’t have to pay the exorbitant /members’/finders’/percentage fees that so many online freelance sites require, I just noticed tonight that my ranking and ratings are dropping at the site I used most for the past eight years, not because the few clients I’ve served this year from that site are unhappy or dissatisfied–they all have thanked me profusely–but because they failed to leave feedback for me on the sites.
I simply wasn’t paying attention as to whether they were leaving feedback when prompted by the site’s automatic system, so I was pretty astounded to see that my ratings fell from 99% and 98% “would recommend” to about 77%. ACK!!!
When I inquired at the site, they told me that the dearth of client feedback is what led to the lowering of my ranking. So even if a client is deliriously happy with what you do for him or her, be sure you get feedback on the site–not just in a private message to you! Otherwise some sites will downgrade you to far less than you deserve.
I’m pretty disgusted by this sad, unfair state of affairs, but it is what it is. So be aware and be sure you always get official feedback from your clients–feedback that gets posted in your Job History at the sites you use.
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Copywriters, here’s the difference between the two above terms.
A person relaying misinformation usually innocently believes that the information he is giving is correct information.
A person relaying disinformation knows that the information he is giving is deceptive in one or more ways.
Examples of each:
Misinformation: “Seattle is only about twenty miles north of here” the Texan (mistakenly) told his driver as they reached the outskirts of Olympia, Washington.
Disinformation: “Now that marriage equality has been made the law of the land by the Supreme Court of the United States, the next thing we can expect is that pedophiles will be granted the right to marry children” (conflating consensual same-sex adult marital commitment with illegal practices that subjugate children).
As a copywriter, you need to make sure that what you write is neither misinformation or disinformation. Whatever you are asked by a client to claim about their product, service or cause needs to be measurable and document-able; the Federal Trade Commission casts a critical eye on misleading, unsubstantiated claims (as should political and religious talking heads, but they aren’t regulated in the same way as copywriters and business owners who market their products and services) and they have the legal authority to back it up with heavy fines and jail sentences.
Make sure that what your clients are asking you to claim can be backed up before you agree to write it. Your reputation can be destroyed by unscrupulous charlatans. Don’t repeat or tell/sell falsehoods, no matter how much someone is willing to pay you to do it. You need to be able to sleep at night.
.You know the claims I mean:
“This is the greatest invention since…”
“The best in the business…”
“Nobody does it better…”
“Sleep better all night long from now on.”
“World-class…” (There are actual standards that a product or service must meet or exceed to be deemed truly world-class; this is not just a generic catch phrase. Example: Lance Armstrong was considered world-class until he admitted having cheated his way to the biking championships he was awarded.)
That said, if a client of your client makes a remarkable claim about a product or service in a testimonial–for example, “[In my opinion] she’s the best insurance/real estate agent in Tacoma”–it’s okay to use it as one client’s subjective opinion in a testimonial, because it’s recognized by readers as an opinion, not as a documented fact.
Testimonials are usually more convincing when combined with measured, positive, accurate copy writing. Good copy writing is compelling and engaging, but it must never willfully mislead and it should under-promise (at least a little) to make sure that the client you’re writing about can over-deliver (exceed expectations), thereby creating happy clients and ‘viral sneezers‘ (devoted, loyal fans) who will write them fabulous testimonials…
As a copywriter, your job is to get people in the door. It’s your clients’ jobs to greet them and hang onto them. They do that by delivering more than what you promised they would in a way that creates fond bonds and loyalty. “Know, Like, Trust” has to happen at every step, or the magic will never happen.
Here’s additional helpful information about the use of endorsements/testimonials straight from the horse’s mouth (the Federal Trade Commission):
If you want to hire me (as opposed to learning about how to write copy), you’ll want to visit the new site at hireme.wordwhisperer.net.
The Face2Face groups that I belong to are just getting better and better. The attendees are all in for the right reasons. We’re getting to know each other and establish fond bonds.
Today at the Spanaway meeting I received an unexpected–and enormously pleasant–critique of my writing skills and the way I present myself. From two people, not just one. (I think maybe it was “Acknowledge Kris Day” because I was the only woman in attendance.)
Dennis Willis, the leader of this particular F2F group, told those in attendance about the first time he met me and what he thought immediately after sitting down for a brief one-to-one with me.
Paraphrasing: “I was so impressed by the way you presented yourself, by your confidence and your enthusiasm for what you do, and by the enormous value of the information and insights you shared in such a short time. I had no real idea what a copywriter does or about the many different ways you can help business owners.”
Then he said that when Bill Lee gave him a copy of my book (Settle for Best) to welcome him to the Face2Face team, he was expecting to read something that would be more or less academic but that he was delighted to discover how much fun and easy to read it was. “It was just like sitting across the table with you for a one-to-one!”
(Music to my ears! That’s exactly what I’m aiming for when I put fingers to keyboard–establishing a relationship, a fond bond!)
Next Bill Lee chimed in to say that he first ran across me in an online video several weeks before we met. Then, when he attended Face2Face, he mentioned to the person sitting next to him that he was looking for a good copywriter. The person he asked motioned in my direction and said, “That’s Kris. She’s a copywriter!” As soon as he looked in my direction again, he recognized me as the person he’d seen in the video.
He told us (paraphrasing again), “I just didn’t connect the dots because in person you seem just like a regular person! On that video, you came across like a [Madison Avenue] professional!”
I laughed, and then worried a little, so he clarified (paraphrasing), “I mean, you come across as professional in person, too, but you also come across like a down-to-earth, friendly person!”
Now I’m wondering if I come across in a video like anything less than a down-to-earth, friendly person….
Gotta work on that some more, if I don’t!
Self-improvement never ends, does it? But I’m okay with that. I want to improve right up until shortly before they start shoveling dirt on me!
Lisa Twining Taylor (DancingGoatWebDesign.com) and I are in the final stages of getting my sub domain ready to roll out so that people who are looking for a reputable copywriter can go straight to it instead of coming here. The new site will document my services, writing chops, and client testimonials . It’ll have a portfolio page so people can visit sites I’ve written the copy for, read press releases I’ve written, watch videos I’ve written the scripts for, etc. So I’m excited!
We’ve chosen the theme and the home page background photo. I’ve written all of the copy for each page. I think I’ll be able to announce its URL and launch it this week…
The sub domain will have a blog on it, too, explaining (among other things) how to identify a great copywriter, why great content/copy (including spelling, grammar and punctuation) matters, and other informational topics that help business owners and entrepreneurs make great hiring decisions.
This means, of course, that I’ll be dividing my rare, spare time between the blogs that each site requires.
I think that, instead of posting much more here, I’ll compile the info and offer my insights via affordable white papers, e-books and other venues so newbie copywriters can get a running head start and won’t be shooting yourselves and your clients in the foot while you’re climbing the learning curve and becoming more competent.
Small business is the backbone of our country and our economy. This is why I’m on a crusade to help business owners and newbie copywriters like you survive and thrive. But it won’t happen unless both parties understand what’s expected of them and actually deliver what they promise (or better):
“Under-promise and over-deliver” is what you should be shooting for!
You don’t create raving fans and loyalists by failing to measure up–or even by measuring up. You’re in competition, so aim to thrill your clients/customers (and potential clients/customers) or you’ll always be end up standing outside the winner’s circle.
I hate to see small businesses failing left and right.But when I look at their marketing outreach, I can easily understand why they’re failing.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
The bottom line for copywriters: If you aren’t making your customers a helluva lot more money than you’re charging them (via ROI), please stop calling yourself a professional copywriter and admit what you really are: a newbie or a wannabe who must commit (or re-commit), with all deliberate speed, to getting measurably/decidedly better than you are right now
Are you IN… or out? Let me hear from you as soon as you read this if you’re IN. If I don’t hear from you, please cancel your subscription so I can tell who’s with me for the long haul and whether I should continue this copy writing-as-a-career blog.
Also let me know what you’d like to learn that I haven’t already covered here. Those of you who are just arriving, start from blog #1 and read backward for the fastest way to get up-to-speed.