This letter is courtesy of fellow copywriter Rick Duris who is also a fellow Warrior and posted it originally on the Warrior Forum. I think he has some great points in this letter than a lot of marketers need to hear, and he gave me permission to share it. Warning: Somewhat long, but a great read regardless. Thoughts and comments are welcome!
Dear Fellow Marketer,
Like you, I am a marketer.
But at my core, in my heart, I am a copywriter. I get paid thousands per sales letter and email. Frankly, even more than the late, revered Gary Halbert, the Prince of Print.
Many online marketers frequent this forum to find that one, special, gifted copywriter who has what it takes to write copy for them.
It’s to *YOU*, this post is directed.
Recently, I was personally challenged (i.e. insulted) on this forum and the experience gave me cause to reflect whether or not I should even bother trying to help marketers here.
I was going to quit this forum today because some marketer folks just don’t get it.
Fortunately, several of the successful marketers and copywriters I respect, (no, I won’t name names,) “talked me off the ledge.”
(You know who you are. And I thank you. )
I realize, at times, my personal delivery can be curt, terse, abrupt, blunt and direct. While I always have the time to be concise, I sometimes may not have the time to sugarcoat or wrap my words in flowery language, making the bitter pill of reality easier to swallow.
In fact, my business card says exactly that. It says “Rick Duris is blunt, straightforward and may not tell you what you want to hear.”
I WILL call someone’s baby ugly, if it deserves it. I do not discriminate. Please, never, ever take it personally.
That being stated, I love you, as a marketer.
If you ask for a critique and I respond, it may sting, it may make you wince, it may indeed hurt, it may cause you to say “D*** it, I just paid a guy X dollars and all I got was this c***** website.”
But if you follow my advice, you WILL profit.
But this post is not about me. That’s not why I am writing this.
It’s about EVERY OTHER eager, hard working, ambitious copywriter that frequents this forum and contributes their time to help marketers like you as well as other copywriters.
In order to get the results you are looking for here, no matter what they are, you must understand four SIMPLE things about us copywriters. Most people do not understand these things and you knowing them WILL make you a better marketer.
They WILL give you a competitive advantage. So please, please listen.
I am going to go through them in detail. Again, please indulge me for a moment. It’s only to your benefit.
First, you need to know, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to a copywriter is their mindset. Period.
We protect our mindset at all costs. We stand an ever vigilant guard at the door of our minds.
Stated differently, a copywriter needs to be constantly INSPIRED BY YOU and your product in order to contribute to you. If we lose our inspiration, even for a moment, it’s over and neither of us will get the result you want for your webpage or your business.
You want us to crow about you and your product and company. You want us to BELIEVE. You want us singing your praises to the high heavens.
Help us do that.
For instance, most copywriters I know, they will work their hearts out, they will slit their wrist, open a vein and bleed all over the floor, just to know they have contributed to you here on this forum.
I have seen it on this forum enough times to know and I am constantly amazed and inspired.
You doing even a rather small thing like hitting the “Thanks!” button for example on our posts, has a HUGE impact on our day, lifts our spirits to the stratosphere, makes us jubilant and makes us want to contribute even more to you.
Some of the marketers come here looking like a newborn cuddly, cute little adorable puppy… some come here looking like a ragged mutt which hasn’t seen a meal in days and has the mange… Some are kennel club, best of breed show dogs… some come here looking like a battle-scarred, battle-fatigued, ultra-cautious guard dog longingly looking for someone they can trust and believe in.
No matter. It makes no difference.
Because any copywriter who spends any time at all here ULTIMATELY wants to contribute to *YOU*–freely, willingly, and yes, admittedly maybe in hopes of landing you as a Client.
But based upon my experience in the last few months, we always want to serve you, contribute to you and help you succeed. We rejoice in seeing YOU do well.
But to the point: Please inspire us, never insult us.
Insulting, even remotely, is extremely counter productive. If you do, like a tiger or a lion, our claws will come out, our fangs will be barred and the conversation go downhill immediately.
Unless we have the self-awareness to “bite our tongue.” Which it’s true, we as copywriters, don’t always have that self-discipline or self-awareness at times and we sometimes lash out.
You see, when you insult, you inspire us in a DIFFERENT way. A negative way. A way that causes harm with our words. We may not realize it in the moment but it’s harmful nonetheless.
It’s been said “The pen is mightier than the sword.” It’s true.
If we are a competent copywriter, we will decimate. I’m talking “scorched earth.” Word by word, paragraph by paragraph. It will not be pretty. It will be ugly, and NO ONE will win and no one, I assure you, wants that.
I say this because I have seen it on this forum enough times to know. It can, it will, get ugly, it can get vicious and it just doesn’t have to happen.
So help us, help you. Please, only inspire us. This is your first and foremost directive.
Second, challenge us.
This is harder in light of what I just said, but like a sports coach, you want to get the very best out of your copywriter and the folks critiquing your website.
It’s perfectly ok to challenge, but not in a negative way, lest we get self-defensive and lash back.
You want to constantly encourage… but couch your words… ask “why?”… and demand why we are advocating a certain strategy or piece of copy. In other words, you want us to work hard to earn your business and prove we have the copywriting chops.
It’s ok to look at a piece of copy we wrote and say “Not good enough. I think *WE* can do better. I think you can do better. I see it in you.”
In a copywriter’s brain, we are ALWAYS trying to get better at our craft, at our profession, and improve, and sometimes, like building muscle, there needs to be a bit of resistance, so the muscle fibers are torn a bit and then rebuilt.
But never, ever doubt your copywriter, the folks on this forum, have your best and highest interests at heart. Many here will spend hours analyzing your website and give you a critique worth THOUSANDS of dollars, if you had to pay on the open market.
But at the same time, give us that bit of resistance. Go ahead, you have our permission to challenge us and make us work even more for you.
ALL will benefit from the learning.
Us copywriters will adore you for it, because it will make us even better in the process.
Just don’t go down insult road.
Third, unequivocally, stick to your agreements.
When you ultimately hire your copywriter, pay them per the agreed upon terms. To the letter.
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, takes the wind out of a copywriter’s inspirational sails faster than not being paid as agreed.
Now I realize there occasionally may be upsets and disagreements. That’s business. But by and large, pay us as originally specified.
Again–when we go to bed each night, you want us dreaming about you and your business.
In the morning, you want us lifting you up again and singing your praises to the high, high heavens. We will do it gladly, with a song in our hearts.
Paying us gives us the freedom, flexibility and permission to do just that.
Fourth, back up the dump truck and unload EVERYTHING you have.
What do I mean by that?
Well, a copywriter FEEDS on research. For a copywriter, information is the breakfast of champions. We are information piranhas. We NEED research about you, your products, your competition, your company, your customers, your prospects, your reputation. I could go on.
Good or bad, whatever it is, shower us, better yet flood us, with information.
Hold nothing back. Even the occasional bad stuff. One little (maybe inconsequential to you) thing could SO make the difference and as a result, transform YOUR financial destiny.
If you’re asking for a copy critique on this forum, give us as much information as you possibly can.
For instance, you should NOT worry about inconsequential things like “I do not want to them to access my info product, they might rip it off.” Trust me on this, WE DON’T CARE. But something you may have said or done in your info product may totally inspire us and GIVE YOU the headline or hook or strategy you’ve been yearning for.
You want that, yes?
Go ahead, do it via PM. That works. This isn’t about anything except you getting the results you are looking for as quickly as possibly.
So that’s it in a nutshell.
Inspire us, challenge us, pay us like clockwork and give us the information we need to do our best work for you.
We will work our hearts out for you on your behalf.
Think of it this way. A few years ago, there was a TV show called “Star Trek: the Next Generation.”
The show (and movie) regularly focused on a large group of half human, half android beings called “The Borg.”
They were of a collective mind. One goal. Total domination.
Consider us, YOUR copywriting “Borg.” We have only one goal: Your success. “Resistance is futile.”
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