Makers Gonna Make

Affsum Session: Copywriting Clinic

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 in Conferences & Networking | 2 comments

Yes, that’s right.  It’s been MONTHS since Affiliate Summit East 2008, and we’re less than a month away from Affiliate Summit West 2009.  And I’m just now getting around to giving you the skinny and my notes on this incredibly helpful session.  Why now?  Now there’s video:

The panel consisted of:

  • Lisa Riolo, Founder, Hammock Ventures (Moderator)
  • Adam Gilad, CEO, Gilad Creative Media, Inc.
  • Scott Polk, CEO, Purplestream Marketing
  • Anik Singal, CEO, Affiliate Classroom Inc.

As I mentioned, this was a fantastic panel.  In fact, I might consider this hands down the best panel I’ve attended at any trade show.  It was FULL of useful information.  Watch the video for yourself (ignore my head in the front row :D) or check out my notes!

Bullet Point Review!

  • Copy writing is salesmanship in writing (Anik).
  • Headlines are huige – your copy can suck if your headline kicks butt, but the other way around doesn’t work (Anik).
  • Simple video dresses up your content (Anik).
  • Making an ugly order button actually helps because it stands out – believe it or not, conversions go through the roof (Anik).
  • Think of headlines as plot points (Adam).
  • Act I is the Familiar World.  Turn pain into calling.  If you can articulate their pain better than they can – it will bring trust & bring them to the calling (Adam).
  • Act 2 is the Road of Trials.  Meet new allies and villains – in copy writing allies can be testimonials, villains are negative – brings you to the death of the protagonist (Adam).
  • Act 3 is the Resolution.  Give them to sword to slay the dragon – the order information and a promise of how great it will be when they get there (Adam).
  • Write for your reader (Scott).
  • Optimize against the competition (Scott).
  • 350-450 words is a good start (Scott).
  • Use main keywords you’re optimizing for in the 1st sentence, twice in the first 200 words (Scott).
  • Editorial content is what powers the web (Scott).
  • People have difficulty getting started, but the key is tight copy.
  • Use of active verbs – creates motion & engages users.
  • Try to evoke senses when selling -> smell/scent works well.  They’re related to positive emotions.
  • Listen & read things around you – it will inspire you to get started.
  • Process of writing and process of editing are two very different processes.
  • Take 12 hours in between the creative of writing and the technical of editing as a buffer period.
  • Build momentum – make them want to turn the page (Adam).
  • Take note of evocative words.
  • There are good books that are just lists of words.

Points brought up during the Q&A

  • Adjectives are your enemy.
  • Reading out loud helps develop the rhythm of language.
  • How does attention span factor in?
    • -> The story should be compelling enough and people are drawn in.
    • -> The sub-headlines should tell the story.
  • Never assume people have read the page before or after on a website – have good site navigation too.
  • Tone – more professional robot or real person writing?
    • -> That personal aspect is what draws people in.
    • -> Talk to them in your voice.
    • -> Consistency of voice is important.
  • Humorous content is vital.
  • What can brands with stuffier businesses do to liven up without adding personality?
    • -> If you can’t do it within the funnel, ask affiliates to try stuff or do stuff elsewhere on the site.
  • Any tools to check what you’ve written to improve it’s SEO?
    • -> SEO Toolkit – keyword density analyzer
    • -> Make title tag for search engines
  • Have depth – don’t be too dumbed down.
  • Supporting information is good, but don’t clutter the conversion funnel.
  • It’s difficult to speak in absolutes and don’t disrupt the process.
  • Multi-variant testing with copy gives you a realistic picture of what’s going on.
  • Pop your sentences into Google to see how many others use those same phrases.
  • Copyscape can analyze your content to see how unique it is.

I easily took the most notes of the conference at this session.  Great tips all around, and I espeically loved hearing Adam relate copy writing to screen writing – my major in college was Theatre Arts, emphasizing on dramatic writing, so that was a nice way to bring together my visions of what I was going to do for a career and the reality of what I am doing for a career.  Very awesome and I hope to see similar clinics like this offered at future shows!


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Julie

    I wanted to touch on something that Scott said: “Use main keywords you’re optimizing for in the 1st sentence, twice in the first 200 words”

    Another small trick I just discovered the other day is using an image in the first position of your blog post, and utilizing the alt tag in said image.

    For example on some of my blog post I will “floatleft” an image that goes with my post, and I will use my main KW in the alt tag.

    I'm sure this isn't revolutionary, but I was excited when I found myself in the #5 position on Google (organic) with 35K+ search results for the KW I used in my alt tag in 26 minutes after I published.

  2. TrishaLyn

    That is a cool tip – I didn't know that either. Thanks for passing that along 😀