Hiding Prices #2 – What Makes Something Affordable To Us?

In this series we’re asking why some marketers hide their prices, and whether you should do the same. In Hiding Prices #1, I explained that most people skim a sales letter to find a price, because they want to know the answer to the question, “Can I afford this?”

However, affordability is a “fuzzy” issue. It depends partly on perception and desire.

From a simplistic point of view, affordability is about whether we have enough cash or credit to buy something. In this sense, for the average person in the USA, $7 is probably “affordable”. It’s the cost of a hamburger.

But for these same people, $7,000 is not an impulse buy. It’s serious money. Most people don’t have $7,000 tucked away in their bank. In real, cash terms, they “can’t afford” it.

However, this is where it gets “fuzzy”… if we really want something, we’ll often find ways of paying for it. After all, few of us can afford to buy a house. But when we want somewhere to live, we’ll go to the bank manager, who arranges for us to pay for the house in monthly chunks spread out over 25 or 30 years. We find a way to make it affordable.

If we really want that vacation, or that car, or the latest iPhone, not having the money doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t buy it. We might put it on our credit card, ask the bank manager for a loan, or ask friends and family to lend us the money.

Or we do it the traditional and perhaps more sensible way… we save up for it. Or maybe we put in more overtime at work, or aim for the bigger bonus, or more commission.

In other words, when we really want something, we’ll beg, steal, borrow (and even, radical idea… save up or earn more) to find the money. We find ways to make it affordable for ourselves.

So then, whether we feel we can “afford” something is closely related to our desire for it. But here’s the problem when a person skims the copy of our sales letter to find the price:

Unless they are ready to buy, strong desire hasn’t been built yet.

Every copywriter knows that part of the role of the sales copy is to build strong desire for the product. But when the potential customer knows the price before they have strong desire, they can easily rationalize that they can’t afford it, or they don’t need it.

Read that last sentence again. It’s very important. Without a desire for something, we can easily rationalize we can’t afford it, or don’t need it.

In other words, knowing the price too early can create a BARRIER for building strong desire.

For example, let’s say you sell a seminar for $1,000. If that’s all they know, most people naturally focus on the $1,000 part, and whether they happen to have that amount in their bank account (and most people don’t), or whether they feel they can add another digit to their credit card debt.

Sure, you can still build the desire even if they know the price in advance, but knowing the price will often cloud their judgment as to the value of the seminar. It doesn’t matter if you tell them the seminar is worth $10,000 to them. The value of it has already been set in their mind… at $1,000.

This brings me to another important reason some copywriters and marketers “hide” the price: “price value” versus what I call “personal value”, something that is often easily confused. Make sure you read Part #3 of this series tomorrow.

(By the way, my aim with this series is not to convince you to hide your prices. In fact, there are times when it works to your advantage to reveal the price early on, which I’ll explain later in this series. My goal is to help you fully understand why it’s done, so you can make a better decision as to whether to do it or not.)

Hiding Prices #1 – Should You Hide The Price Of Your Product?

Hiding prices

Hiding prices

When selling products online, a growing trend I see in some niches is to hide the price of the product. In other words, the visitor has to click the order button to find the price. In some cases, there is no price at all, and you have to contact someone to find out the cost.

On marketing forums I see many strong opinions on this issue, such as these real comments:

“I hate it when the price is hidden or I have to ‘hunt’ for it buried somewhere on the sales page…”

“Most of the time if I can’t find the price I assume that it must cost too much and I’m out of there!”

“I don’t like it when the price is hidden… that feels like a manipulation…”

Most people (including many marketers) don’t seem to fully understand why it’s done, so this week I’m going to explore WHY prices are often “hidden”.

This is important to know regardless of how you feel about the issue. You need to understand the thinking behind it, before you decide to do it, or not do it.

Today I want to answer the question, “Why?” Why hide the price from a potential customer? If they’re looking for a price, isn’t that a good indication they’re interested in buying?

Not necessarily. The fact is, most visitors to a site, especially when they are already aware something is being sold, are first of all skimmers.

Let’s say Sally comes to your website. She is there for a REASON. Maybe she’s just clicked a banner ad that promotes your product. Or maybe someone’s recommended your product to her.

Either way, she has an EXPECTATION in mind. That expectation has been formed by whatever preceded the click.

If her friend recommended your product, it’s the expectation that your product is relevant for her. If your banner ad made a promise, her expectation is to find out more about this promise.

Once she’s satisfied herself about her expectation, i.e. that the product is relevant, and/or it is going to deliver on the promise, the next thing that runs through her mind is,

“Can I afford this?”

And this is where she starts skimming to find the price.

This is also where the problem begins…

… because “affordability” is not simply a question of how much you have in your wallet or purse right now.

Tomorrow, in Part #2 of this series we’ll look at how people determine whether something is “affordable” to them or not, and the importance of “desire” to this process. You won’t want to miss this vital discussion, so please subscribe to this blog and not miss out.

How To Tell The Perfect Story

I think I’ve found the perfect story.

I’d like to share it with you… and maybe you’ll get the same nuggets of copywriting and writing wisdom from it as I did.

It’s a true story, just 500 words in length, called What Makes Me Feel Beautiful, by Anne Roiphe. I urge you to read it, and then come back here, so you can read the 4 elements I feel contributed to making it the perfect story:

(1) The perfect story leaves questions unanswered until the end.

For instance, her opening paragraph is one of the most compelling openings I’ve ever read:

“It was mid-December of 2005. I don’t know why he said it… I don’t know if it was just coincidence or intuition that prompted him… but about a week before my seemingly healthy 82-year-old husband suddenly died…”

This arouses our curiosity. Who said it? What did he say? What was coincience or intuition? What happened? Why did he suddenly die?

Notice she doesn’t ask those questions herself, but she gives us enough information that we naturally ask them in our minds. She doesn’t reveal WHY her husband suddenly died until the end of the story, compelling the curious reader to read until the end.

(2) The perfect story arouses the reader’s emotions.

As a guy, it’s not easy to admit I had a tear in my eye by the time I finished reading that story – but I did.

Of course, emotion doesn’t have to equate to sadness. It could be a sense of excitement, anger, passion, or nostalgia. In fact, I think it was the sense of nostalgia she evoked that, for me at least, gave the ending its emotional punch.

Another way in which she aroused the reader’s emotions – which is also very important for copywriters – is to write in a way that relates to the reader.

After all, not everyone is a supermodel – but most people can relate to the concept of inner beauty, and the feeling of beauty.  When we can relate to what is being said, we are much more likely to care about the story, and find it interesting.

(3) The perfect story is entertaining.

It’s difficult to say precisely what makes an entertaining story, but if I had to sum it up, I’d say that a story is entertaining if it doesn’t bore us, and if we care about the outcome.

In the case of Anne’s story, she doesn’t bore the reader with unneccesary details, but gives us just enough information to form a picture in our minds.

(4) The perfect story teaches without preaching.

Even though her husband’s death played an important part in the story, it wasn’t primarily about that. It was about beauty, and what made Anne feel beautiful.

The take home lesson of the story was that beauty isn’t simply about outer appearance, but also about inner qualities.

Now, she could quite easily have written her article as, “3 Ways To Feel Beautiful Inside” – but how compelling would that have been? And would we have paid as much attention to the take home lesson?

Copywriters (and good storytellers) use stories as a way of conveying important truths and lessons, in a manner that doesn’t come across as preaching.

So while I admit, I don’t really know if there is such a thing as “the perfect story”, I think this one comes pretty close to it.

What do you think?

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Why Writing Headlines For Search Engines Like Google Will Get You More Readers

googleI’ll admit, for quite a long time I neglected a HUGE source of traffic to many of my sites – namely, search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing. And yet Google want to send you and I visitors to our sites and blogs – that’s their business!

So if you have a blog, Google would love to send you traffic… IF they can detect that your post is relevant to its users.

Headlines play an important role in Google deciding whether a page is relevant or not. And when it comes to writing headlines, many bloggers (and copywriters in particular) are great at coming up with witty, attention-grabbing ones that HUMANS  think are clever… but are lousy at attracting search engine traffic.

To my mind, that’s a big mistake. After all, search engines like Google can generate you a ton of traffic – and you don’t have to pay for it.

One of the keys to attracting this traffic is to optimize your headlines and posts for a particular keyphrase or set of keywords. (A keyphrase is just something that people would type into a search engine, such as “how to train your dog”.)

How important are keyphrase optimized headlines to Google? You can find out by running a couple of searches yourself, but let’s have a look at the Top 20 results for the phrase how to train your dog, in Google:

1. How To Train A Dog, dog training tips and techniques for home …
2. How To Train A Puppy | Puppy Training | Potty & House Training …
3. How to Train Your Dog Yourself | eHow.com
4. How to Train Your Dog | eHow.com
5. (Video results for how to train your dog)
6. Puppy and Dog Obedience Training
7. Training Your Dog
8. (News results for how to train your dog)
9. (Book results for how to train your dog)
10. Karen Pryor Clickertraining| dog training and cat training info …
11. How To Train Your Dog To Heel Off The Leash – Dog & Puppy Advice …
12. Teach Your Dog to Sit: Basic Dog Obedience Commands | Suite101.com
13. Amazon.com: Train Your Dog – The Positive Gentle Method: Nicole …
14. [PDF] Crate Training Your Dog
15. HowStuffWorks “How to Train a Dog: Tips and Guidelines”
16. Secrets to Dog Training | Dog Obedience Training to Solve Dog
17. Easy Dog Training, Dog & Puppy Obedience Training, Dog Grooming
18. Dog Training and Obedience Lessons
19. THERAPY DOGS – TRAINING YOUR DOG TO REACH OTHERS – Welcome to …
20. How to Train Your Dog & Puppy Obedience Training by the Experts

You’ll notice that none of the results in the Top 20 could be said to be particularly clever headlines, but ALL OF THEM contain some or all of the keywords in the phrase “how to train your dog”, or related words such as “training”, “teach” and “puppy”.

(Incidentally, in your searches you might find a clever and witty headline in the Top 10, but I’m willing to bet it’s on an already popular blog that is already well ranked on Google, OR the keyphrase is not very popular.)

In other words, the headline of your blog post is important to Google, because it determines how relevant the post might be to Google searchers. (It’s certainly not the only factor, but it IS a factor).

So here’s two steps you can take to increase your chances of generating Google traffic to your next blog post:

(1) If people wanted to find the information you wrote about in your post, ask yourself what keywords they might use in Google.

For example, this article is about writing headlines to generate more search engine traffic, so I think the main keywords would be: writing headlines search engines Google.

Don’t pick too many, otherwise you’ll find step 2 very difficult, which is…

(2) Create a good headline based around those keywords.

Remember, Google and humans have different ideas about what makes a “good” headline. For Google, it’s about RELEVANCE. If someone types in “how to write headlines for Google”, I would love for this post to show up… and it’s more likely to do that IF my headline reflects these keywords somehow.

So how do I get from “writing headlines search engines Google” to something that seems like a pretty decent headline for both humans and Google? For this post, I wrote down a brief statement of what the article is about, using those keywords:

Writing headlines that pull search engine traffic from Google, that humans also enjoy.

Then I thought about incorporating the benefits of doing this, which is “you get more traffic… and hopefuly blog readers”. So let’s see if I can convert that into a headline:

Why Writing Headlines For Search Engines Like Google Will Get You More Readers

Now, I’ll be the first to admit it’s not the cleverest headline in the world… BUT it’s nicely optimized to pick up traffic from Google for anyone searching for the subject of writing headlines for search engines. (Oh, and if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the CONTENT of this post is doing that as well.)

Headlines are by no means the only thing Google uses, but it’s a factor, because a headline that closely matches the keyword search is likely to be relevant. So before you use that clever and witty headline, ask yourself:

If people are searching for that topic on Google, will my headline help them to find it?

By the way, I’m not telling you to stop using clever and witty headlines. I’m simply saying that, Google is a robot, a machine that attempts to deduce value and relevance automatically. So if you want Google traffic, clever and witty is not machine readable… but keyword optimized headlines are.

How To Eliminate Objections Using Headlines…

I recently stumbled across a headline… by sheer accident, honest!… of the squeeze page for David DeAngelo’s main dating product for men, the ebook Double Your Dating. (A “squeeze page” is basically a web page designed to collect the visitor’s email address before allowing them to go any further.)

A while back I spent some time reverse engineering his entire sales process and analyzing his sales letters to show you precisely what clever and sneaky copywriting devices he was using to compel people to buy.

Well, it seems like he’s changed his squeeze page. It’s now a video, along with a clever headline which I wanted to talk about. The new headline is…

dyd-headlineThis headline does something quite clever, because when the average guy thinks about “learning how to meet and attract beautiful women”, one of the thoughts that might pop into his head might be, “I need to be tall, rich or handsome to do that!”

So the headline immediately tackles that objection head on: “… even if you aren’t tall, rich or handsome”.

This is a great technique to use whenever you’re making a bold or remarkable claim, especially in a headline. First, think about the claim you’re making… then think of the objections people might raise to that claim… and then, reverse those objections immediately.

Let’s come up with another example. You have an information product that teaches people to speak fluent French. A major objection to this might be that a potential customer doesn’t have the time to learn. So you could tackle this objection immediately in the headline by saying something like,

“Learn How To Speak French Fluently… In Just 5 Minutes A Day”

Of course, you’ll want to make sure the product or service you’re offering can do what is promised. Just remember, your potential customers will always be raising objections to what you say, so the quicker you can address them, the greater your chances they will read on.

So can you address at least one major objection in the headline? You don’t have to be tall, rich or handsome to use this technique!

How To Instantly Transform Poor Copy Into Great Copy

One of the world’s greatest marketing experts, Jay Abraham, is about to reveal to you a superbly simple technique for transforming poor or average copy into spectacular copy just about instantly, and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.

If you haven’t got time to watch the following 10 minute video, then I’ve provided a summary of his key points below, but you really MUST watch it… several times:

What’s amazing to me is Jay’s admisson that it took him years to figure this out, and yet here he is handing this technique out to us on a plate, in this video. So thank you, Jay Abraham.

The technique itself is deceptively simple. It involves using Amazon.com not only to do your market research, but also to get laser focused phrases you can use in your copy, that will touch your target audience and create empathy with them. Here is a summary of the suggestions, but please watch the video if you can – it will be 10 minutes well spent:

(1) Go to Amazon.com, and type in the keywords related to your niche. Look at the titles and subtitles of the products for “the big payoff”, i.e. the key benefits being offered. You can use these for your own headlines and subheadlines. (Each subheadline in your copy, every 4-6 paragraphs, should summarize the “big payoff” for the content below it.)

(2) Go to the reviews of each product. The editorial reviews usually contain good, professional copy that sells the book for Amazon.

(3) However, the customer reviews contain the polarization, where people either love it or hate it. These are (usually) real people writing their honest, heartfelt thoughts and feelings about the product. Pay attention to what people loved about it, and especially the phrases they use. Adapt these phrases for YOUR copy. Also pay attention to what people hated about it, so you can move your readers away from these things in your copy.

According to Jay Abraham, this is one way to make poor performing copy great instantly. Of course, you should watch the video because there’s even more valuable information in there than I could cover in this post. So what do you think of Jay Abraham’s “School Of Amazon” technique?

A Secret To Commanding Higher Rates For Your Freelance Writing Service

Before I show you the secret to commanding higher rates for your freelance writing, understand the following about your potential clients: They don’t care about YOUR TIME. To a certain extent, they don’t even care about YOU. What they really care about is the VALUE you bring to something.

Regardless of what you charge (whether it’s $5 or $50 an article), they want value for their money. They want to know precisely what your services are going to do for them in terms of adding value. With that in mind, here’s the big secret I promised you:

The secret to commanding higher rates for your freelance writing is simply to sell the value of your writing.

Let me explain.

The most valuable skill you can have as a freelance writer (after being able to write, of course) is that of selling.

If you can’t sell yourself and your writing, you’ll struggle getting clients, or you’ll always be competing on price.

Despite what some people think, selling isn’t a dirty word. Think of it like this: selling is really about conveying the value of what you offer to your potential clients.

Take a look at the following two examples, and tell me which one you think conveys value:

Example 1:

I have 23 years writing experience, I went to the Yale Academy of Awesome Writing, and I will write you a well written, high quality blog article of 500 words for $10.

Example 2:

Your blog needs writing that captures the immediate attention of your readers, and holds on to that attention right through to the end. It leaves them with the feeling of “Wow, I want more from this writer!” It leaves them wanting to subscribe, and come back for more… giving you the chance to sell to them over and over again.

This kind of writing builds YOU as the authority, and each one of these articles on your blog creates an opportunity to make a sale, either immediately or over time. I will write one of these blog posts for you, of about 500 words, for $10.

Can you see the difference? The first example tells me the writer’s credentials, and it promises “well written”, “high quality” writing – but doesn’t every freelance writer do this?

The second example shows the VALUE the potential client will get. This is selling.

This is why it helps to be a copywriter. Copywriters know how to sell the benefits of a product, and they appreciate the need to do exactly the same thing with their own writing service.

Assuming both writers were equally good at writing, I’d pick #2 simply because that writer is focused on the RESULTS for their client.

And ultimately, clients only care about results. Value for money, and results.

So as a freelance writer, stop focusing on YOU. Focus on THEM. Show and demonstrate the VALUE you can bring to their business, and the RESULTS they could get from your services.

Look at Examples #1 and #2 again and notice how the first example focuses on me, me, me… which clients don’t really care about. The second focuses on them and what they will get out of the writing.

Show them VALUE. Show them RESULTS. That is the secret to commanding higher rates.

How To Earn $0.10 A Word For Your Freelance Writing

Last post we talked about why you should value your content and I showed how an article on a decent blog could easily be worth $100 or more. However, I know that many freelance writers struggle to command rates anywhere near that.

So today I want to give you an example of a writer and copywriter who has no problem charging $50 for a 500 word article (that’s $0.10 a word), and I’ll give you three key reasons why she’s able to do that (and you can do, as well). By the end of this article you’ll have some fresh ideas for your own writing service, and by the end of the series of articles (all this week) your mind will be bursting with new and fresh ideas for your writing service!

Lisa Giannetti is currently ranked #2 out of about 270,000 service providers at RentACoder.com, a place where service providers bid for jobs. (And since the top company does programming only, she’s really the #1 rated writer and copywriter there.)

Here’s an excerpt from the bidding page where she won the bid to write an article for an internet marketer (and pay careful attention to ALL the bid prices):

Article in **** niche

I need a high quality, original content article written that is optimized for the keyword phrase “****”.

View All Bid Responses

8/13/2009 9:45:50 AM *** 10 (Excellent) out of 24 ratings. $20.00
8/13/2009 12:03:56 PM *** 8.83 (Superb) out of 6 ratings. $10.00
8/13/2009 2:26:42 PM *** 10 (Excellent) out of 4 ratings. $15.00
8/13/2009 4:04:22 PM *** 9.98 (Excellent) out of 56 ratings. $15.00
8/14/2009 2:21:23 PM *** 8.33 (Very Good) out of 3 ratings. $10.00
8/15/2009 6:13:38 PM *** 9.85 (Excellent) out of 381 ratings. $15.00
8/16/2009 1:56:20 PM *** 9 (Superb) out of 1 ratings. $25.00
8/17/2009 11:48:11PM Lisa_G 9.89 (Excellent) out of 1525 ratings. $50 (was accepted)

Notice the range of prices offered before Lisa’s bid – from $10 to $25. At $50, her bid was twice the second highest bid… and yet it won!

Here’s what the client said when he accepted Lisa’s bid:

“Hi Lisa, I am very excited about this article. I have never paid more than $10 for an article before and I think the quality or lack of showed.”

You should read this comment two or three times, and really let it sink in. This guy was genuinely excited about paying more than he was used to – that is, paying no more than $10 an article and seeing a “lack of” the kind of quality he wanted. So he was ready and eager to pay more, for the virtual certainty of getting what he really wanted.

Here’s what he said after she delivered the article:

“Hi Lisa, The article is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you very much”

Now, before you jump to conclusions and double your prices right away, you need to understand the three main reasons I think Lisa is able to consistently charge more for her writing:

(1) She delivers quality.

As I talk about in my report Write To More Money, everyone says they offer “high quality” writing. But many writers (especially the very cheap ones) don’t deliver it. Instead, the client gets boring, spun and barely researched articles. (Some clients are after that, it’s true… but many want real quality, not just a rehash of someone else’s content.)

The difference between them and Lisa is that, based on her experience, she knew exactly what the client really wanted from his article, and delivered it.

(2) She has built a solid reputation.

I’d say the rating and reviews you get on sites like Elance or RentACoder are far more important than testimonials on your own site, because the rating systems on those sites are considered by clients as independent of you. After all, you can easily edit, pick and choose the testimonials you use on your site, but you can’t do that with the reviews your clients will leave you on outsourcing sites.

And let’s face it, in Lisa’s case, scoring 9.89 out of 10 over 1,500 jobs gives you a strong, credible reputation that can be trusted.

For example, here’s just one of the many reviews left for Lisa which also gives additional insights into why they picked her:

Let’s see… She is the #2 coder on RAC and has phenomenal feedback and an amazing portfolio. I lost any bargaining power when I basically bowed down and gushed over her skills before she bid. Despite that, when she did bid, it was still less than I would have expected for someone of her caliber.

Then she started on my project sooner than she estimated and also finished it sooner than she estimated. She was a pleasure to work with, easy and quick to communicate with, and even improved our layout a bit, which wasn’t part of my bid… just something that a true professional like Lisa does simply because it *should* be done.

Not sure how I can give her better feedback, but if there was a rating of 11, she would deserve it. Pretty rare in this world to find such a great partner. I guess now I know why she is rated so highly over an incredible 1,600+ jobs as I write this.

Thanks Lisa, truly excellent work – will definitely hire you again, and soon!

Scott Harvey

For that reason alone it’s worth building up a profile on at least one major outsourcing site, such as Elance or RentACoder, to enhance your credibility – and then let potential clients read your profile.

Bonus Tip: Study profiles like Lisa’s, to see exactly WHY she is so highly rated. These clients of hers are telling you, in their own words, why they were willing to pay more.

(3) She asks for more!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t ask, you won’t get. Lisa wouldn’t have earned $50 for that article, had she not asked for it. Lisa herself freely admits she doesn’t win all the bids:

“I win 30% of my bids. That means my competitors win 70% all combined. But here’s the key: I work 30% as hard as they do and I make more money doing it.

If person “A” bids $10 for a 500 word article and I bid $50, and assuming it takes us each 1 hour to write it. I made $50 per hour and they made $10.

They have to do 5 times the work I do to earn the same amount. I can lose 4 bids to them and still end up with the same amount of money in my pocket.”

I appreciate it’s not easy for many writers to even consider raising their prices, which is why I wrote an entire 90+ page report on the subject of asking for, and getting more money for your writing.

Tomorrow I want to reveal to you another secret to commanding higher rates, used by the top writers, that even newcomers can use right away. So you’ll want to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss this valuable advice – which could make all the difference to you.

Do You Value Your Content? Here’s Why You Should…

How much money is good content worth to you?

Take a popular blog like Copyblogger. According to Google, the domain has been around since February 2006. That’s just three and a half years – which makes it a baby, in the Internet world.

And yet it currently has over 70,000 RSS and email subscribers. If the founder Brian Clark were to sell up today, what do you think a blog with 70,000 subscribers would be worth?

Personally, I’d hate to hazard a guess, but I imagine $100,000 would be an insult. (I’m pretty sure someone would be willing to pay a LOT more for it.)

So what made it what it is today? First and foremost, it was, and is, the CONTENT. Without content, it wouldn’t be much of anything. Obviously it is also content that at least 70,000 people want to read on a regular basis.

Now, I don’t know exactly how many articles are on Copyblogger, but let’s say for the sake of argument that he’s posted every weekday for the past three and a half years. 5 articles a week, for 52 weeks a year over three and a half years works out at 910 articles in total.

In other words, it took 910 articles to build Copyblogger into what it is today. And if it sold for a mere $100,000, that would equate to $109 an article. (If it fetched a million or more, that’s over a thousand dollars an article!)

So each article on that blog is worth a minimum of $109. And that doesn’t include all the revenue the blog has earned him over the past 3 1/2 years.

Now, I appreciate that other factors make it valuable, such as backlinks. (Yahoo! says he has over half a million other pages linking to the blog!) And for that reason, it becomes even more valuable to a potential buyer.

But one of the main reasons people link to it in the first place is because of the content. Without the good content, it’s hard to get backlinks anywhere near that volume.

So how much do YOU value content? How much do you think an article is worth to you? I ask this question because some people think that $x or $y is too high a price to pay for an article.

For example, some people won’t pay more than $10 an article because there are… ahem… “article writers” out there who will write articles for a few dollars a pop. But do you think you’ll ever see those articles on a site like Copyblogger?

Yet if Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, sold up today, he’d probably get – at an absolute minimum – the equivalent of about $109 an article. Of course, you can only get that kind of return with high quality articles. I doubt very much it would be worth much at all if he’d used regurgitated, spun out, badly written articles.

The take home lesson I’d like you to get from this post is this:

Content buyers – pay your content providers a good amount per article, because CONTENT is what creates true VALUE. It’s CONTENT that will create the next generation of Problogger or Shoemoney or Copyblogger. If you skimp on what you pay them, don’t be surprised if what you get back seems pretty skimpy.

Content writers – this post is an example of how you must demonstrate value to your clients, so they understand the real value of the content they get from you. Writers are undervalued, and content is undervalued. I’m determined to change that. Let’s all change that. (You really should read Write To More Money, it will help you a great deal in this regard.)

Paying $10 or $15 an article is not expensive, when viewed in the light of the returns you can generate from a high quality blog – not to mention the income that, for example, Copyblogger is generating each month he runs his blog.

In tomorrow’s post I’m going to show you precisely how one writer is easily earning $0.10 per word (about $50 for 500 words). I’ll reveal the techniques she’s using – so if you write for anybody else (or are thinking of doing so), you’ll want to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss that article.

Blog Inspiration Dried Up? How To Get An Instant Fix For Your Blog Inspiration

Inspiration… as bloggers and writers, we need lots of it! But when the well of inspiration runs dry, it helps to have a tap that you can turn to supply you with endless, fresh ideas. Here’s three of my top sources of inspiration…

(1) Online forums.

There are literally millions of forums on the Internet, so it would be virtually impossible to participate meaningfully on them all. Personally, I recommend picking a couple that are closely related to what your blog is about, and make them your virtual home.

For instance, one of my all-time favourite marketing and business forums is the Warrior Forum. I’ve been a member since the late 90’s (although it’s changed shape a few times, so my profile says July 2003). There’s a section devoted to copywriting, and just by hanging around in there, I can get ideas and inspiration for blog posts.

Sometimes a controversial discussion kicks off, and that’s where the truly great ideas and opinions get thrown around. When this happens, take notes, and put on your writing hat!

(2) Reading books.

Seriously, you can get great ideas for blog posts just by reading books. After all, the more you know about a subject, the easier it becomes to write about it.

One thing I’d recommend is not just read the books that everyone else in your industry recommends, but also read the ones fewer people know about. I’m always amazed at some of the mind-blowing ideas and inspiration I get from books that I know many of my fellow marketers and copywriters haven’t read!

By the way, this doesn’t even have to cost you any money if you have a decent library local to where you live!

(3) Reading other blogs.

I make it a daily habit of reading posts related to copywriting both on newer blogs, and on the “big name” blogs.

While it’s great and informative to read the “big name” blogs, quite often I find the less well-known or newer blogs to be better sources of inspiration. That’s because they offer fresh perspectives on familiar subjects, and tend to be less afraid to express more “radical” opinions, because their blogs aren’t yet in the spotlight.

You can find fresh blog posts by using Google Blog Search, or IceRocket – and using the keyword you’re interested in, ie. “copywriting”.

These are three of my top sources of blog inspiration… what are yours? I’d love to know, and so would everyone else, so please share in the comments section below.