Make A Million Write A “HoMake A Million Write A “How-To”w-To”

I do a lot of surfing the web looking for business ideas and opportunities.  Almost every day I run into websites selling real estate secrets.  There are a lot of them, and they almost all start the same way “I was once poor, but now I’m rich because of real estate.  Be like me and buy my secret formula.”

I answered a few and ended up getting the hard sell.  Since I don’t respond well to hard sales techniques, I declined and was told that, as a result, I was an idiot and lower than scum.  All because I wouldn’t max out my credit cards.

I really don’t have a clue how many of these so-called gurus actually invest in real estate.  The real money, as far as I can see, is in selling information.  Actual investing in real estate is expensive and carries considerable risk.  I know, I’ve researched it.

This is not a new concept.  Actors who make the most from their TV shows, for example, find ways to own a portion of it by getting directing, producing and writing credits.  Singers can sometimes get a little extra in the form of royalties by adding a line or two to a song lyric so they become a co-author entitled to a royalty.  (Its all legal, and a matter of understanding how the business actually works, especially for professionals with a proven track record that they can leverage).

There are even professional copywriters who have developed their own how-to products.  They make more selling the products than they do writing copy for clients.  There are at least two I know of who make six-figures a year and don’t have a single client.

Selling how-to information can also take the form of consulting fees.  When I worked in the hotel business, there were always consultants willing to evaluate our operation and make suggestions.  Most of them had track records, so listening to them was part of the process.  Considering their advice and applying it was a whole different situation, since running a hotel and consulting carry different risks and expectations.

Just to close out this column, I want to explain that I do make money with real estate.  I write sales copy for licensed real estate agents and brokers.  Less risk, more profitable and a lot more fun.

NEXT WEEK:  The Most Effective Copywriting Formula

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Writing Radio Commercials To Be Read ONCE!

I am the first to admit I don’t like rehearsals.  I get how important they are to the end result of a production.  I just never liked them very much and, whenever possible, would avoid them.  For one Tv production, in fact, I went so far as to get copies of the score and outline the shots I wanted ahead of time so I wouldn’t have to bother with the damned thing.  (The crew and I showed up to support the talent, we just didn’t rehearse anything).

What does that have to do with today’s headline?  I moved into radio where I could sight read the copy cold.  No rehearsal.  Perfect!

At one point or another in my copywriting career I had to write commercials for other people to read.  I would write the commercials, deliver them to the recording studio and marvel at how quickly some of the performers could read the copy and finish the production in one take.  I also noticed how they reacted when the copy they were reading wasn’t done well and required two, three and even ten takes to get right.

Those who could get it down in one take were sought after because, even at that level, studio time is expensive and, more often than not, the performers could crank out a half-dozen (or more) spots in an one-hour session.

Soon after my first experience in the studio, I started writing copy that flowed easily, conveyed the marketing idea effectively and could be read in-one shot.  The editing process was a challenge, often taking the better part of an hour (and the occasional debate with the client) to complete, but thee end result was a joy to watch.

To put it another way, there is writing to be read from a page or a book and a way of writing to be vocalized.  The two methods don’t always compliment each other especially for those, like me, who don’t like to rehearse.

Voicing commercials can be quite lucrative.  There was a disk jockey in Seattle, in fact, who discovered that he could make more money voicing commercials than doing a daily morning show.  There are even “million-dollar voices”, most of whom work out of Los Angeles.  Its an extremely competitive field.

NEXT WEEK:  Make A Million – Sell A “How-To”

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Corporate Vs Entrepreneurial Thinking

About a year ago, I was asked to develop a marketing plan for the hotel I was working.  I came up with a layered approach using social media, email marketing and local business connections.  In fact, with a few variations, I submitted it four times.  Each time it was rejected.

It wasn’t until a few weeks after I left the company that I realized the mistake I was making.  I was in conflict with corporate thinking.  I was coming at the challenge from a more entrepreneurial point of view.

My marketing plan was based on the basics – keep the product “first in mind” of the consumer.  In other words, when they need a hotel room, they think of yours first because of the value they perceive.  In fact, my focus was on guests who shop for value, rather than price.

The first thing I outlined was the use of Facebook as a marketing tool.  I suggested a daily 300-word entry that could talk about community events, the history of the community, personality pieces written by the hotel staff (one staff member keeps Alpacas and could make a very interesting human interest piece).  Over the course of time, the Facebook stories would develop a following, creating a positive relationship between potential guests and the hotel.

Next I suggested a weekly newsletter that would be distributed by email.  It would include a calendar of events and links to local businesses.  This would require connecting with the Chamber of Commerce, the local business association and any local civic groups.  If a local business wanted to include a special discount, that could be included and even the possibility of a spotlight column for the business.

Third, I suggested a combination tri-fold mailer and email promotional piece that would be sent to event planners and sponsors of major, annual events, offering special rates for their vendors. 

The goal was to present the image of total involvement with the community, its events and experiences.  The plan also focused on the fact that they were not well connected within the community, at least not where it counted.

I can’t say for sure, but I think they missed an opportunity because the hotel down the street hired the former general manager and her former assistant to manage the property.  They grew up on the island and were extremely well connected where it counted.  They also had over fifteen years of experience building relationships with former guests (who, once they knew where these people were changed their reservations).

I don’t know if my plan would have made a difference.  I have the plan as part of my portfolio if anyone is interested.

I have no idea how the property will do in the long-run.  I will be watching it from time to time.  I left the property, for the record, because of exhaustion.  I had an 80-mile-daily-round trip five days a week that was not sustainable.

NEXT WEEK:  Writing radio commercials to be read – once!

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

New Direction

Things have changed with this blog.  I will be writing these columns every Thursday and presenting them as a kind of personal letter.  Why?  Because I want a more honest and direct interaction with my readers.  I will be writing about  my adventures, good, bad and otherwise as a way of sharing the learning experience.

One of the first things I learned in my journey through life is everyone has a method.  We all cope (and manage our lives) according to our personal point of view.  The methods I use to manage my business may not fit the personality or goals of someone else.  Through these weekely columns, however, I intend to share some of the “Evergreen” techniques that are common to every type of business on the planet.

In fact, in the thousands of years businesses have been in existence, the only thing that has really changed is technology.  The basics of marketing, selling value to a customer, and developing long-term business relationships are essentially the same.  No deep, dark mysteries available to a chosen few.

Customers need to (1) know you, (2) like you and (3) trust you.  When all three of those elements come together, a business relationship can develop that can, often, last a lifetime.

How does a business grow and develop?  It starts with what you know about the value of your product to the marketplace.  The deeper and more focused that knowledge, the greater the potential of the business to grow and flourish.

Next, who do you know who will agree with you and support your efforts, either through providing loans, marketing support or contacts?  Even in today’s world where a lot of business is done on the Internet, personal relationships still count.

Finally, who knows you by reputation?  Do you say what you’ll do and do what you say?  Is the value you bring to the table consistent, measurable and trustworthy?  This concept still holds true even in todays Internet business models.

What is the keystone?  What brings it all together?  Need.  What does the market need?  How can that need be fulfilled?

As human beings one of the most essential needs is the ability to communicate, whether that happens in a group setting, through email or cell phone.  Up to about 1993, when the first “Smart Phone” was introduced, not much happened.  Once people became aware of the value of the technology, however, demand skyrocketed.  Now nearly everyone (there are some exceptions) has a cell phone with Internet capacity and tons of apps for nearly any need.  (NOTE:  The concept of a cell phone actually goes back to World War 1, so the technology isn’t really all that new). 

Social demands and expectations change our perceptions of what we need to be part of the social group.  Everything evolves, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.  Most of the time demand, need and expectations balance out somehow.

NEXT WEEK:  Corporate vs Entrepreneurial Thinking

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Why I Don’t Use Twitter

When I came back from Vietnam the conflict was unpopular.  Emotions were high and veterans of the conflict were easy targets for that anger.  It was especially hurtful because the reasons we were there were not entirely clear.  Were we fighting communism?  Were there other reasons we didn’t know about?  Why were we there?

That stress, for me, was made even more dramatic when I started looking for a job.  At one point I was sitting across from a pastor who told me, to my face, that we were all baby killers.  He and every member of his congregation knew, without question, everyone of us who served in Vietnam were baby killers.

At the time, I was in shock.  Over time, I came to understand, but not accept he point of view.  It still hurts, even to this day, but I understand where he was coming from.

What does this have to do with Twitter?  The pastor told me what he believed to my face.  He didn’t hide behind a Twitter or Facebook account.  As valuable as Twitter accounts can be for self-expression and sharing, they are also used by Trolls (bullies) who attack because of the anonymity these accounts allow.

I respect the pastor and his point of view.  I don’t respect those who use a Twitter account as a bully pulpit, regardless of who they are, their rank or status.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC