Copywriters love to buy information products from their peers. But there are some hidden dangers. Here are three things you should know about buying info-products from copywriters who are selling their knowledge:
1. The information is rarely — if ever — complete.
New copywriters often take the information at face value and are too inexperienced to see the big picture. This can lead to tragic mistakes. As a copywriter’s coach since 2003, I’ve heard some really sad stories along these lines, which is why I’m bringing this topic to light.
The most recent complaint I heard was from a Canadian copywriter who spent big bucks on a course written by another Canadian copywriter. The course teaches copywriters how to write a Case Study. The buyer (we’ll call her Jackie), consumed the content. Then, to her delight, found herself with an opportunity to write a Case Study for a client.
“I was so embarrassed,” she told me, “when I insisted to the client that all Case Studies ‘must’ include an interview.” It wasn’t until later that Jackie realized her mistake — that Case Studies do not always have an interview. Somewhat piqued, she confronted the copywriter who sold her the course.
When she told him that his course had led her to believe that all Case Studies include the element of an interview, and that the incomplete information had jeopardized her chances to win a new client, he acknowledged the omission without apology.
The truth is, most info-product authors never set out to tell the whole story in the first place. Many copywriting and marketing topics are so deep it would be impossible to do so anyway.
So simply know that you’re getting piece of the puzzle, not the whole jigsaw.
2. The information implies that there’s only one way to do things (or at least this is how the reader interprets the information).
Many copywriters who sell info-products to other copywriters and marketers do so to position themselves as experts. Yes, money is a motivator but smart marketers have a bigger plan.
But all too often copywriters (especially newbies), take the information too literally. Many copywriters will remember when Michael Stelzner came out with his ebook on how to write White Papers. It taught a very formal style of writing and layout.
For years I encountered resistance when I taught copywriters how to write White Papers that appealed to marketers. The style I taught was way more sexy than Mike’s. I had to repeatedly explain that Mike’s paper represented how you might write a White Paper for a technology company targeting CEOs, while my style was more appropriate for influencing marketers.
Then one day Mike moved on to found Social Media Examiner and Gordon Graham became the next White Paper guru, promoting his vision of White Paper writing that was quite different than Mike’s. Finally I could point to the difference between the two to convince my copywriters that there is indeed more than one way to write a project.
The takeaway here is that info-products offer guidance and maybe on your very first White Paper/Case Study/etc. you want to follow a formula slavishly. But after that, you should apply your own creativity and find a way to “do it better” or “make it your own.”
There is a saying in marketing that if you give 10 copywriters the same job, you’ll get 10 vastly different assignments back. This is as it should be!
3. The information contains bad advice.
Yes, this is frightening. But newbies have been teaching newbies on the Internet for quite a while now. I don’t see a lot of bad advice on copywriting since copywriting is a formula and even newbies know where to find the good information to pass along.
But where bad advice is dangerous is in the spaces of marketing and business-building. For instance, a very green-behind-the-ears young fellow sold an ebook recommending copywriters to charge $35 per hour. He said he did a survey although there was no evidence of that. But he did have a lot of comments on his blog from newly misled copywriters.
This kind of business information can ruin a budding copywriting career because new copywriters start at $75 to $100 per hour. Even 30 years ago we were charging a minimum of $50 per hour.
Likewise, bad marketing advice can be devastating. Picking a wrong niche or conducting a doomed campaign can ruin a new copywriter’s chance to make it as a freelance copywriter. Giving bad marketing advice to a client who doesn’t know marketing can take a business down.
So the advice here is to vet before you buy. Move away from the emotion of buying toward the logic of buying. Check out the profile of the author. Are they really an expert? Do they have credentials that support their positioning? What do other people know? I’ve found copywriters talking about me and my products in the Warrior Forum.
Being aware of these three warnings for purchasing info-products from copywriters and marketers will help you avoid mistakes, expand your horizons, and protect you from bad advice.
Copyright 2016 Chris Marlow, All Rights Reserved
What do you think? Do you have an opinion on buying info-products for copywriters? Please share in the comments below.