Tag Archive | "Worth"

Writers: It’s Time to Get Paid What You’re Worth

This week is for our professional writers — whether you’re a freelancer or you work for a bigger organization. We’re tired of you missing out on the great gigs and the plum jobs, while you watch people zoom past you who can hardly type The Cat on the Mat. Poverty is overrated. Let’s get you
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Penguin 4.0: Was It Worth the Wait?

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For almost two years (707 days, to be precise), one question has dominated the SEO conversation: “When will Google update Penguin?” Today, we finally have the answer. Google announced that a Penguin update is rolling out and that Penguin is now operating in real-time.

September has been a very volatile month for the SERPs (more on that later in the post), but here’s what we’re seeing in MozCast for the past two weeks, including last night:

In a normal month, a temperature of 82°F would be slightly interesting, but it’s hardly what many people were expecting, and September 2016 has been anything but a normal month. It takes time to refresh the entire index, though, so it’s likely Penguin volatility will continue for a few days. I’ll update this graph over the next few days if anything more interesting happens.

What happened in September?

September has been the most volatile month for SERPs since I started tracking temperatures in April of 2012 (just a couple of weeks before Penguin 1.0). To the best of my knowledge at this time, the volatility during the rest of September was not due to the Penguin 4.0 roll-out.

There are no official statements (currently) about other updates, but we’re aware of two things. First, many local SEOs saw major shifts around September 1st, when MozCast tracked a high of 108°F. This has been dubbed the Possum Update, and reports are that local pack URLs also moved substantially (MozCast does not track this data). We did see an overall drop in local pack presence in our data set on that day (about 7.3% day-over-day).

Second, between September 13th and 14th there was a massive drop in SERPs with image (vertical) results on page 1 in our data set. This caused substantial volatility, as image results occupy an organic position and so those SERPs got an extra organic result on page 1. The temperature that day was 111°F. Here’s the two-week graph of SERPs with image results on page 1:

SERPs with images in our data set dropped 49% overnight and have not recovered. I’ve hand-checked dozens of these results and have verified the drop. In some cases, images moved to deeper pages. It’s unclear if other vertical/universal results were affected.

Were you affected by Penguin 4.0?

I’ve often said that measuring algorithm flux is like tracking the unemployment rate. It’s interesting to the economy at large if the rate is 5% or 6%, but ultimately you either have a job or you don’t. If you were hit by an algorithm update, it’s little comfort that the MozCast temperature was low on that day.

Hopefully, if you were impacted by Penguin in the past and have made changes, those changes have been rewarded (or soon will be). The good news is that, now that Penguin is real-time, we shouldn’t have to wait another two years for a major refresh.

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Is Residential Solar Energy Worth It?




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The amount of solar energy varies greatly depending on what part of the world that you can live. Places to get much sun are most beneficial when it comes to installing residential solar power systems. Any person residing in an area like Florida or Phoenix would actually losing significant savings. You can save thousands of dollars a year with a residential solar system if you live in one of these areas. It is very obvious and if you thought you could not afford it, but have skills in hand-man of reach, think again!

Prices and quality vary to turn your home for residential solar energy. There are many factors that affect the productivity of the entire solar house. The largest is the place where you live, but another factor may be the type of system you want to install.

Some homeowners solar disconnection from the network altogether and use the backup battery. By including a battery backup system, the price of your solar energy system will increase. However, if you really want to be free from the power company, is your route. The energy is stored in batteries when used more electricity is produced. This energy is stored for times when the panels are not receiving sunlight, and night.

Most families choose to remain connected to the network instead of using a storage battery. Be connected to the network to be able to take the additional electricity (if necessary) from the electric company. It is also necessary for those who want to install a partial solar system, for those who can not afford a complete system to cover the entire home.

For those who remain connected to the network and produce more energy than they consume at some point, your meter box will be going back. When this happens, it means that you are feeding electricity to the grid and get credit for it on your bill! This is known as “net metering”.

There are some factors to consider when looking at the price of a residential solar installation. Many people may be surprised by the initial cost of a system. However, tax exemptions are available for families who run their homes on green energy. This can help offset costs dramatically and may be in the form of a credit, payment, or cuts in property taxes.

As more residential options available solar energy and solar gains occur, solar energy is becoming more convenient than ever. At the same time, the cost of all forms of energy are increasing. Did you think in the short term gain? Are you ready to get more for your money and go green?

In the era of today, we have more opportunities to reduce our footprint and save money than ever. The cost of installing a residential solar power system became affordable for the average family. Depending on the installation, converting your home to use solar energy can vary from a few hundred dollars to more than ten thousand dollars (professionally installed systems are very expensive).

If you have been concerned about the environment or looking to save money, we highly recommend that residential solar try I suggest. If you can afford a professional installation, go! However, if you want to go green and can not afford a system of this type, a project of solar energy to try. Projects DIY solar power seems complicated, but in reality are very simple and affordable. The level of quality depends on your care and craftsmanship, but DIY solar panels produce as much energy than other solar panels!

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The 7 Keys to List Posts that Are Worth Writing (and Reading)

canvas painting of scattered numbers

A lot of smart writers can’t stand list posts.

What’s a list post? It’s also known as a numbered list post, or a (shudder) listicle, and it’s a post whose headline features a numbered collection of things. This post, for example, is a list post.

There are an awful lot of crummy ones out there. The celebrity sites make frequent use of them (These 17 Celebrities Used to Be Hot, etc.). In fact, all of the CRaP blogs use them liberally.

So it’s natural that a quality-focused content writer (like you) might try to avoid them. But that would be silly. And here’s why:

Smart marketers have always focused on underlying human psychological drivers. And those drivers change very little, if at all.

One of them, for whatever reason, is that we get a tiny bit mesmerized by numbers. When we see a number in a headline, part of our brains gets activated (what persuasion scholar Robert Cialdini calls a Click, Whirr response), and we’re that much more likely to take an action — like, say, clicking on that headline to check out the whole piece.

Take a look at the Popular Posts section to the right of this article. You’ll see lots of numbers.

Now did those posts become popular because they had a number in the headline? No. A number is a nice booster, but it’s not a substitute for strong writing, solid content strategy, or effective promotion.

And that’s the problem with how most people look at list posts. They start with the number in the headline — but that’s not the right place to start. Which leads to my first tip:

# 1. Don’t start with a numbered list

You may have received an assignment from an editor, supervisor, or client to “Write a Listicle on 10 Ways to Do Our Thing.”

Your very first order of business is to go to your favorite writing forum and bemoan the fact that the word listicle is now part of your life. I’m sorry. If we can figure out a way to burn this out of the English language, we will.

But let’s move forward.

Even if this is technically your assignment, the worst way to create a list post is to open your writing tool of choice and put the numbers one through 10 in there, then look for ways to fill them in.

It’s probably the fastest way. But it is not the right way.

You must begin with the itch that needs scratching. There needs to be a seed of a problem, an unanswered question, a fascination to know more.

Those seeds can only come from your audience. The seed of a killer list post for electrical engineers won’t work at all on an audience of Hello Kitty cosplay enthusiasts. (Although there may well be some overlap.)

Pro tip: Some of your best-performing list posts can come from strong, interesting, problem-solving content that you realize, after it’s mostly written, can be lightly re-organized into a numbered list.

#2. Understand what problem you’re solving

All good content starts with the same impulse: to solve a reader problem. (Even if the reader’s problem is boredom, which is the case for pure entertainment sites.)

As the content creator, it’s your job to understand those “itches” of your audience. You have to know what’s worrying them. You have to know what excites them. You have to understand what they’re afraid of, and what they cherish, and what they are unwilling to lose.

Human existence is full of problems to solve. Some of them are simple and some are so complex that they take a lifetime to untangle. Every collection of humans (in other words, every audience) has its own set of problems.

If you want a list of what kind of content to create, build a list of your audience’s problems. Answer those problems in your content, using numbered lists (and any other persuasion technique you learn) when they make sense.

Keep listening for problems, and keep researching more effective ways to resolve those problems. That, more than anything else, is what creates your authority in a topic.

#3. What makes it fascinating?

The cornerstone of good content is usefulness. But usefulness without interest is Wikipedia, and that’s already covered.

Boring content — even if it’s useful, and even if it’s “optimized” by whatever measure you choose — doesn’t succeed. It doesn’t get shared and it doesn’t get read. (Or listened to, or viewed.)

If you consistently put fantastic headlines on mediocre or boring content, all you do is train people that much more quickly to avoid your site.

Luckily for us, relevant problems are inherently interesting. If your target audience is people with celiac disease and you put a recipe for really good gluten-free baguettes in front of them, they’ll find you.

But a good content creator doesn’t stop there. We look for angles. Fascination elements. (You can learn more about fascination in Brian’s podcast interview with Sally Hogshead, published earlier today.)

A strong writing voice will elevate content from “moderately useful” to “must-read.” So will a compelling metaphor that makes the content easier to understand. And storytelling is the big gun — the one that makes your content unforgettable.

This is where the art comes in — and why writers who have the combination of killer and poet are the ones who enjoy the most success. The killer knows what kinds of content to create to move toward certain outcomes. But it’s the poet who creates something worth the audience’s time and attention.

Pro tip: Make time to write purely for pleasure. Screenplays, poetry, fiction — whatever way you like to play with words. Writers who know how to play with language also know how to fascinate.

#4. What’s the strategic goal?

Creating content just to get traffic and make advertisers happy is the hardest way to make a living on the web — and one you should get away from as quickly as you can.

Content marketing is a different game. It doesn’t just attract eyeballs; it exists to support a business — to attract new prospects, and educate and nurture them until they’re ready to buy.

Different types of content serve different purposes. Some content exists to find people who don’t know you yet. Others, to strengthen your relationship with your audience. And some content addresses objections and educates prospects on why you’re the best choice to solve their problem.

Even good writers can have a tendency to throw a bunch of content against the wall and see what sticks. That’s not a smart use of your time. Understand content strategy and why you’re creating every piece of content you write or record.

Pro tip: Take advantage of the excellent free resources that are available on content strategy. We happen to be pretty proud of ours — why not swing by and scoop up our free marketing course and library. Two books by Brian Clark — A Content Marketing Strategy that Works and How to Create Content that Converts — will be especially helpful to you as you work through your content strategy.

You can get the complete marketing library here.

#5. Make it scannable

Once you have something worth reading — that solves a worthwhile problem, is expressed in an interesting way, and has the spark of poetry to make it memorable — you’ll want to wrap it up in a way that’s pleasurable to consume.

Long walls of gray, tiny type are not pleasurable to consume. Neither are videos or audio with awful sound quality.

Sleek presentation and formatting won’t save mediocre content — nothing can do that. (Not even a terrific headline.) But they’ll make good content much more enjoyable for the audience.

Pro tip: Pamela Wilson wrote up an excellent, succinct guide to presenting text content in a way that’s more appealing to your audience — without dumbing it down in any way.

#6. Promotion still matters

Once you have something worth your audience’s time, it’s time to think about promoting it. Content promotion is a big topic — I wrote a whole ebook on it.

In the brief space we have here, I’ll just encourage you to take content promotion seriously. Develop a network of publishers in your topic, cultivate a reputation as someone who creates epic material, and remember that nothing sells itself. Even great content benefits from a bit of a push.

Pro tip: You actually should read my ebook on this; it will help you. It’s called Effective Content Promotion, and it’s also in that free members-only marketing library.

7. What’s the next step for the reader?

The tough part about content is, you’re only as good as your last great post.

So if you do the first six steps perfectly, and end up with a nice audience of fascinated readers who want to know more, you need to have thought through precisely what you want them to do next.

Usually, the right answer is to send them to even more smart, worthwhile content in the form of an email autoresponder.

But your call to action might be different. Your desired action might be to subscribe to a page, to register to vote, to get out and take a walk, to give our kids a hug, or just to click through to some more great content.

The important thing is to decide, before you publish and promote, what that next step for the audience is.

Pro tip: Clear, straightforward calls to action are a hallmark of the professional copywriter. Get very good at them.

What to do next

If there’s any doubt in your mind about what you should do next, let me take care of that for you. Go snag all of our free marketing education. You’ve got a comprehensive library of ebooks, so you can instantly delve into solutions to your most pressing marketing problems. That’s paired with a marketing course, delivered by email, that will keep you sharpening your skills.

Go grab all of the good stuff here.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Heather aka Molly.

About the author

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

The post The 7 Keys to List Posts that Are Worth Writing (and Reading) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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5 Content Marketing Links Worth Clicking

The Lede | copyblogger.com

This week on The Lede

  • 7 Lessons Apple Can Teach Us About Persuasive Content
  • You Need to Master the Rules Before You Can Reinvent (or Break) Them
  • Entreproducer Q&A No. 1: Your Content Marketing Questions Answered
  • 10 Lessons Journalists Can Teach Content Marketers
  • A Massive List of Common Misconceptions

Want to grab even more useful links (beyond those that make The Lede)? Follow @copyblogger on Twitter.

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7 Lessons Apple Can Teach Us About Writing Persuasive Content

Ms. Duistermaat has distilled (what I consider to be) the occasional genius of Apple Inc.’s copywriting into a handful of useable tips. You may not have the cash reserves of the little company from Cupertino, but you can learn to write the kind of copy that converts, persuades, and helps to build a business.

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You Need to Master the Rules Before You Can Reinvent (or Break) Them

“When you’re 16, you think you can take on the world. And sometimes you’re right.” Bono (as The Fly) uttered that statement almost 20 years ago. It’s true, but there’s a downside. Youth — whether in the sense of age or experience — often calls to cast off “the rules.” Sometimes, this sheer bravado can work in our favor, but more often, it’s a perfect recipe for failure. If you know nothing of the game you’re playing, how can you know anything of how to innovate within it?

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Entreproducer Q&A No. 1: Your Content Marketing Questions Answered

Brian Clark and I asked the Entreproducer audience to give us their best questions, and they delivered. Check out our answers in this first of several Q&A epsiodes (and sign up for the email list to get the coming episodes).

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10 Lessons Journalists Can Teach Content Marketers

For all the hits that “old school” journalism takes from bleeding-edge digital media types, I say it’s time to shut up, sit down, and learn a thing or two from our predecessors. Digital content is maturing quickly, but the basic journalistic practices of building credibility through fact-checking, research, follow up, and good writing should be returned to again and again. Whether you’re an individual blogger, or running a growing digital media empire, temper your pride from time to time and turn back to the basics of your craft.

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A Massive List of Common Misconceptions

Think of this Wikipedia article as a glass of cold water for those staring into the desert of the blank screen. Get out of your own head for a moment, click that link, and see where it takes you … and your content.

Miss anything on Copyblogger this week?

About the Author: Robert Bruce is VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media, as well as its Resident Recluse. Get more from him via Twitter or Google+.

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For What It’s Worth, The House Thinks The Government Shouldn’t Control The Internet

Does the government want to regulate the Internet? It really depends on who you ask. Internet freedom fighters say legislation like SOPA and CISPA are thinly veiled attempts to regulate the Internet. The government, however, claims that it’s strictly taking a hands-off approach.

The House reaffirmed its hands-off approach in legislation it passed yesterday evening. The bill, H.R. 1580, is titled “To affirm the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance.” If you couldn’t tell from the title, it’s simply a resolution saying that the United States will continue supporting the multi-stakeholder approach in regards to Internet development.

It’s encouraging then that the bill was passed unanimously. Of course, no congressman would be caught dead voting against the bill as it would suggest that they were in favor of some rather unpopular suggestions made during a U.N. meeting on Internet governance late last year.

The bill’s sponsor, Greg Walden, praised the multi-stakeholder approach to the Internet on the House floor last night, and confirmed that the bill is meant to send a message to other governments:

“Government’s hands-off approach has enabled the Internet’s rapid growth and made it a powerful engine of social and economic freedom. This bipartisan bill is designed to combat recent efforts by some in the international community to regulate the Internet, which can jeopardize not only its vibrancy, but also the benefits that it brings to the entire world.”

Now, this is a good thing. It’s nice to see that at least the House is all for an Internet free from government control, but it’s unfortunate that the House sees a difference between control and intervention. SOPA, PIPA and CISPA wouldn’t hand over control of the Internet to the government, but it would give the government untold powers to intervene.

It’s much the same argument that countries like Saudi Arabia and China made during the ITU conference last year. They weren’t arguing that the Internet be placed entirely under their control. Instead, they argued that they should be given power over their corner of the Internet to intervene when things got out of control. Granted, CISPA and SOPA were never advocating something like the Great Firewall of China, but they could spiral into something similar if allowed to take effect.

In short, the Internet is a precious resource that has flourished thanks to the current multi-stakeholder model. It’s encouraging to see the U.S. government continue to recognize this, but it’s high time the U.S. government also recognize that its attempts to regulate the Internet would violate the very resolution the House passed last night.

[h/t: The Hill]


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5 Content Marketing Links Worth Reading

The Lede | copyblogger.com

This week on The Lede

  • The One Tool that Will Make You Better at Everything
  • Is Audio The Next Big Thing In Digital Marketing?
  • 4 Reasons Content is the Startup of the Future
  • A “Revolutionary” Marketing Strategy
  • Thomas Edison, Power-Napper

Want to grab even more useful links (beyond those that make The Lede)? Follow @copyblogger on Twitter.

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The One Tool that Will Make You Better at Everything

At a glance, this looked to me like a headline veering into hyperbole, but I was wrong. It’s great advice, and the kissing cousin of the all-powerful tool of any great human being — the ability to listen. Want to find out what it is?

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Is Audio The Next Big Thing In Digital Marketing?

Brian Clark and I have this audio vs. video conversation every few months. As far as marketing is concerned, you can do great work with either, of course. But, I’m one who’s all in on audio, I like to take these little podcasts with me (in my pocket), without being asked to watch a screen for 10, 20, or 120 minutes. Soon as one of these brilliant developers figures out a way to make audio subscriptions brain-dead easy, I think it’s game over …

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4 Reasons Content is the Startup of the Future

I am (obviously) not a VC. But it’s always been a bit confusing to me why those folks have tended to shy away from content companies. Even if you haven’t built a home run like Mr. Goldberg has, he makes a few strong arguments for why content makes for a stable, and potentially very profitable investment. Copyblogger (a multi-million dollar software and education company) was, after all, founded on an initial schedule of just two blog posts a week.

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A “Revolutionary” Marketing Strategy

Without diving too deeply, Mr. Sheridan lays out a wonderful and — particularly for experts in almost any field — supremely workable content marketing strategy in this short article. If you really know your sh*t, there’s a great chance that your prospects and customers want to know it too. Take a few days to plan the scope of your attack, then stick to it. Then prosper.

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Thomas Edison, Power-Napper

I can’t be held responsible for the fallout of you getting caught napping on the job. I can, however, offer you a great excuse for that moment when you find yourself staring up at your boss in a partial dream-state haze, “You know Thomas Edison napped regularly, right?” Don’t have a boss? Sleep tight.

Miss anything on Copyblogger this week?

About the Author: Robert Bruce is VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media, as well as its Resident Recluse. Get more from him via Twitter or Google+.

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How to Calculate Whether That Trade Show Was Worth the Investment

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We’ve always been pretty hesitant to jump in head first with event sponsorship and attendance. Sure, there are some industry events we think rock: Dreamforce, SMX, Dublin Web Summit, LeWeb, and of course Inbound. But what usually happens with events? They end up over-hyped and under-delivering, chalk full of poor networking opportunities, generic content, and few opportunities to make meaningful connections with new leads and customers. That means a whole lot of time and money gets wasted. What a bummer.

Wouldn’t it be nice, then, to be able to determine whether an event yields enough new business to justify the cost to participate in it? Absolutely. That’s why we wanted to outline exactly how to track event ROI accurately so you can determine whether you should keep sending in that sponsorship and/or attendance check year after year. Let’s get started.

How to Calculate the ROI of an Event or Trade Show

If you’re going to sponsor an event, the two core components your boss will ask about will be (or at least should be) ROI and tracking. Of course there are additional benefits of events such as thought leadership, networking, learning, branding … but when there’s a hefty sponsorship check involved, there needs to be a measurable, positive ROI that can be tracked.

How to Track Event ROI

The best way to track ROI is using this formula:

(Gross Profit – Marketing Expenses) / Marketing Expenses

For instance, let’s say we went to an event and our expenses were as follows:

roi of events resized 600

So, did we have a positive ROI? At the moment, we wouldn’t know, because our sales cycle isn’t instantaneous — it’s a few weeks long. As such, it would take a few weeks before we could look back to determine whether the investment was worth it. But when that time comes, this is how we’ll calculate it:

ROI = (Gross Profit – $ 100,000) / $ 100,000

Note that the gross profit number would consist only of deals that happened due to our attendance at the event, so they would not have happened if HubSpot had chosen not to show up. As long as your gross profit — which for HubSpot specifically will be measured based on our LTV:CAC performance model — is higher than your total investment, then you’ll post a positive ROI. It will then be up to you to determine if the ROI is enough to justify continued involvement in the future.

How to Track Trade Show Lead Generation and Sales

Now that we know how much we spent on the event, we then need to determine what leads and sales were generated as a result of our participation. The best way for us to track this is to set up a naming convention for all leads generated due to that event. Using a CRM — we use Salesforce because it integrates with HubSpot for a nice, closed-loop view of our sales and marketing activities — we would enter every single lead generated at the event (via badge scanning, business cards, or email addresses collected) with an event tag. Because we’ve tagged them properly — the tag can just be the name of the event you attended — we can then set up weekly reports to monitor performance. As the leads begin to turn into new HubSpot customers, we’ll then be able to perform our ROI calculations.

Now, if the event just ended but you have a long sales cycle, it would take a little bit of time to calculate the exact ROI. But you could still run some predictive ROI calculations each month, and wait to perform the final analysis a few months down the road. After that, though, the team that attended the event should meet, review the numbers, and ultimately make a call on whether or not the participation was worth it based on the ROI calculations. Having this post-attendance meeting is essential for your company — just be sure that the meeting happens after all leads and sales can be accounted for, and have adequately matured.

How do you determine whether your presence at a trade show or event was worth the cost?

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Get Paid What You’re Worth: 37 Negotiation Tactics for Every Freelance Writer

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Do you freak out when you hear the word negotiation?

Does your gut turn, palms sweat, and heart pound when it comes down to talking price? Do you self-medicate with Tums and a tumbler of Wild Turkey?

Trust me. I understand. I’m not a natural born negotiator. I hate conflict. I hate rejection. But if writing is your business I’ve learned this: you have to know how to negotiate.

Making a living depends on it. But it doesn’t have to be hard.

As a web writer and direct-response copywriter I’ve studied negotiation. I’ve studied persuasion. I’ve read the best books on influence and listened to the best podcasts.

In my twelve years as a writer I’ve also participated in hundreds of negotiations — small and large. I’ve used them successfully, and I’ve used them poorly. So I’m not an armchair business philosopher here just spouting advice.

I’m a solider who’s seen combat. And lived to tell about it.

What you’re about to read are thirty-seven negotiation moves that can help you make more money. These are negotiation moves that I’ve used in my career as a freelance writer.

They are easy to understand. The hard part is having the guts to use them (see negotiation move no. 36).

And get this: you don’t have to be a writer to use these tactics. Everyone — no matter their station in life, career or desires — has to negotiate. And it’s a lot more fun (and profitable) when you know how to do it.

So, let’s get started.

1. Think win-win

Negotiation is not a zero-sum game. It’s not a way to manipulate and fleece people. And it’s definitely not a way to make you filthy rich at the expense of other people.

If that is how you view negotiation, then you will not last long.

Negotiations are about building a relationship, so if either side is not happy at the end, then it wasn’t a negotiation. Negotiate until both sides are happy (see no. 30 for an alternative move).

2. Determine what you want to make

Never enter a negotiation without first establishing a position you will be satisfied with.

However, this should NOT be an absolute number. Instead, it should be a range — $ 2,400 to $ 2,800 — with an itemized list of essential (read: non-negotiable) and non-essential (I’ll tell you why that is important in a minute) requirements.

Write these down if it helps you to remember.

3. Build value first

Your first task as a negotiator is to show people what you can do. They need to see the value.

For example, say a potential client asks for the cost to write a 1,000 word sales letter for a landing page. Instead of whipping out the cost, explain to her everything you will do: research, dig through analytics, gather testimonials for proof, write a rough draft, present for evaluation, revise and so on.

Make the image in her head of what you do grow, because there is a really good chance it is tiny.

4. Avoid saying price first

After you’ve built the value, next you’ll want to ask: “How much is that worth to you?” If she tells you … good. You know where she stands. You can work with that.

More than likely, though, she’ll tell you she doesn’t know. Either she won’t honestly know because she didn’t do her homework, or she does know but doesn’t want to name her price first.

She wants to see where you stand. So she’ll tell you to go first. If that happens, use the next negotiation move.

5. Always go high

When you are facing a negotiator who refuses to name a price, shrug, and simply go high.

Really high.

And then wait for her response.

6. Suck in your teeth

Sometime a negotiator will be the first to name a price. And if she is a good negotiator she’ll low ball you.

She wants to draw you out. See your financial position. Don’t give in. Instead, flinch.

“Flinch” is the classical term used. I wrote “Suck in Your Teeth” because most of my negotiations happen over the phone or email where people can’t see you. So they need to hear your shock.

In an email, you can simply tell them their offer sounds pretty low. Or tell them they’ll have to do better than that. Then wait.

7. Keep your mouth shut

Silence will eat most people alive.

The silence makes them uncomfortable so they keep talking. And when people are talking they are bound to say something you can use — like their price range.

8. Ask for a budget

Another way to flush out someone’s financial position is to simply ask them if they have a budget.

Yeah. We have a budget.

Okay. What is it?

We have $ 1,250 set aside for copywriting.

Your job is to decide what work — if any — you will do for that amount.

9. Price each item

Legend has it that a shady Brooklyn optician would sell eye glasses piece by piece. He’d get the buyer to agree on the frames and the price, and then go to ring up the order. The buyer would then ask about the glass and nose piece.

“Oh,” the optician would say, “those cost extra.”

The trick is to get a client to agree on all items before you disclose the final price. Once they are committed it’s hard to say no (see move no. 33).

I don’t like this gambit. I don’t like it used on me and I don’t like to use it. However, I’ve found this move to be effective when a client starts to nibble — you know, “Hey, do you mind adding X while you’re at it?”

Your response: “Sure, I can do it for Y. Are you okay with that?”

10. Recruit a champion

If you can get someone on your side from the other party during a negotiation, then you’ll have a little leverage, if not a lot.

To be honest, almost all of my work has come from knowing someone on the inside. But how exactly do you go about recruiting that champion? It’s a long-term strategy where you use a combination of tools like blogs, Twitter, conferences, and the phone.

And patience.

You might get a regular follower on your blog. You trade emails, tweets, meet him at a conference. He introduces you to someone else. You do a little work for him. And then he introduces you to someone else.

Bingo: work out the wazoo.

11. Float a trial balloon

You’ve seen this tactic in action …

News about a particular political action is “leaked.” The goal is to get the public’s reaction to the idea. NY Governor Cuomo did this recently with gas drilling.

Some speculate that Google’s Glass Project, which amounted to a video concept, was a trial balloon. They’re basically looking to see if there is mass appeal.

Have an idea you’re not sure how a potential client will react? Float a trial balloon. Just say, “Hey, what do you think about X?” Then wait for their reaction.

12. Slice it up

Early in my career I used to approach companies and offer to re-write their web content. Not many people bit, but when they did, they always asked about price. Happy to have someone interested, I’d build value and then drop the bomb on them.

Most of the time they flinched … and never called or emailed back.

I learned instead to slice the project down into easy-to-swallow chunks. This enticed them to hire me. As I delivered on my smaller promises and built trust, I simply asked for more.

And it came.

13. Go half way

Remember when I said from the start that a successful negotiation was a win-win situation? Well, this is a strategy that can help you overcome that relationship-spoiling gridlock.

The idea is to demonstrate that you’re willing to concede the balance of a difference.

For example, if your gig requires travel, offer to split the difference of those expenses, keeping the deal alive.

If it is worth it, go half way.

14. Pad the deal

The more working parts to a negotiation means the more options you have when it comes to conceding.

Bulk up on conditions. However, the trick is knowing what’s essential and what’s not.

For example, “I can’t do this job without direct access to your data. Oh, you don’t allow that? Well, while it’s not my normal policy, I guess I can be hand fed that info.”

Keep this in mind: you are only conceding on non-essentials. Don’t budge on the essentials (see move no. 2).

15. Resist short time frames

Imagine you get a mover and shaker on the phone. She wants to talk to you about a writing project. You are stoked! You say hi, she says hi, and then jumps right into the negotiation.

You can tell this will be a short phone call. A very short one.

Never negotiate under that kind of pressure. False deadlines will trip you up. Instead, politely interrupt, point out that you can tell she’s busy and ask if there is a better time to talk when she has more time. Or just ask for more time.

16. Find space to think

Say she says, “No, there isn’t a better time.” She’s polite, but firm. She’s a great negotiator.

You shrug, go on with the call. You make an offer, she counters immediately and you are not sure what you should do next. Is that a good offer? Are you missing something?

Probably.

All you need is more time to think. Tell her you need to use the bathroom. Your dog is on fire. Or pretend like the call is breaking up.

Whatever you do, get space to think before you agree to anything.

17. Change the negotiator

Another way to deal with a difficult negotiator (which can also mean superior negotiator) is to reset the rules by speaking to someone else.

This works great if you are dealing with a start up or small company where there are two founders. If one is proving impossible, ask to speak to the other.

18. Shift their benchmarks

Ever had a potential client trot out their perfect solution — and it wasn’t you? In fact, it’s your competitor.

But who or what they trot out doesn’t matter. You’ve been given valuable information. They’ve just shown you their standard to which they judge all others.

Your job is to change that standard. “You know that guy knows nothing about online marketing, don’t you? Zero experience. I’ve got twelve.”

19. Check the facts

This tactic works lock-step with the one above (no. 18). If you can trot out a fact or evidence that questions their claims or backs up yours, then you are on your way to turning the tables in your favor.

Listen: I’m not suggesting you approach this like a jerk. Don’t laugh or taunt. You’ll shut them down. How you trot out these specific facts is just as important as what you trot out.

Oh, I can totally understand why you would believe that. But did you know that if you look into their data, X doesn’t actually do what they say? There was a huge scandal in TechCrunch …

Objective facts will change the game in your favor. Do your homework.

20. Control the agenda

There is more than one way to skin a cat. And there is more than one way to spoil a good negotiation.

Anarchy is one of them.

Anarchy is what you get when nobody is in control of the meeting. Recently I was involved on a project with a team of really smart people. Unfortunately, we accomplished little because there was no agenda.

The next time we met, however, I volunteered to take the meeting notes. And demanded we determine what we wanted to accomplish in the next ninety minutes. Once that was determined, I held them to those goals.

It was an efficient and effective meeting because I established rules that we were all expected to follow.

21. Trot out credentials

Hands down, if you have two candidates with equal experience, skills and education, but one has a degree from Harvard and the other one from a small college in Montana, the person from Harvard is going to get the job.

This may not seem fair, but it’s life.

Live with it, and get those endorsements.

22. Push them against deadlines

Deadlines are great tools for getting people off of their duffs. It works in copywriting, and it also works in selling yourself in a negotiation.

Pretend you just finished a project and you’ve got about three weeks before you start your next one. Email some past clients and say, “Hey Name, now might be a good time to write that sales page we talked about. I’m free for the next three weeks. After that I won’t be able to get to it for four months.”

You’re bound to get a bite or two.

23. Build tension with delays

This is just a variation of “Ask for Time.” Most people in negotiations want out of the situation as soon as possible. They’re busy or hate the conflict.

Whatever the reason, use that momentum.

There is an exquisite example of the effective use of delays in the book You Can Negotiate Anything. The author, Herb Cohen, is working against a presumed deadline—his flight leaves at noon on Monday. The other party knew this and delayed until the eleventh hour. Cohen is exasperated at this point and basically gives away the farm.

The lesson: get a new flight home.

24. Present a bleak picture

This is a variation of the Pain-Agitate-Solve formula. Identify with their pain point, and then tell them how awful it’s going to be if they don’t do anything about it.

You know, I can totally understand your desire to preserve your cash in this economy. But freezing your marketing budget will only dry up your pipeline, and that’s not what you want to do when your current customers start bailing because they can’t afford your service.

At that point connect the dots for him: you are the solution to his problems.

25. Pull out your empty pockets

Your favorite uncle hears you’re a copywriter. He’s got a business. He recycles road kill fur into fun little hats for children. He doesn’t understand why, but he’s not making any money. He hears you are a copywriter and offers to hire you.

What do you do?

You refuse him. But you do it politely. “Uh, yeah, you know I just can’t help you. That’s out of my field. I don’t have the knowledge.”

See, it’s not about desire. It’s about ability. You just don’t have it.

26. Use “we” and never “I”

This is technical and minor, but it works.

When discussing projects with clients I always use the word “we” and not “I.” My goal is to demonstrate to them that I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not a hired gun. I’m a partner.

This changes the scene from a win-lose to a win-win. My buy-in proves that my success equals their success, which communicates that I’m going to work hard for them.

27. Appeal to fame or greed

If you open the right hand drawer of my desk one of the first things you’ll see is a box of old business cards.

Open the box, pull out a card and you’ll see on the front the standard fare: name, address and so on. Flip the card over and you’ll see this tag line: “I can make you rich, powerful or famous.” I then list ways in which I can do that.

My wife hates that business card. Thinks it’s tacky. But it works. Look at Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich. He’s built an empire in teaching people how to solve their financial problems. And so can you.

28. Flatter the other party

Okay. This is a cheap trick. But it works. And to be honest, people know it works — and they don’t care. They like their egos stroked.

Point out how beautiful the website is.

Compliment her on her name or her nose (okay, maybe not her nose).

Just say something nice. It will go a long way.

29. Say “I’m not happy”

This is a basic building block to negotiations. You should say this throughout the process until you reach a point you can accept, and both sides are happy.

But you can also use this after the negotiations are over and you’re plowing through the work.

You know, this is taking me a lot longer to do because of X, Y and Z, which were added later. I’m not making any money now. We need to revisit our terms.

Notice I didn’t actually come right out and say “I’m not happy.” I just stated the facts. Not a single whiff of emotion.

30. Don’t commit to promises of paradise

Sneaky people like to trade on promises of paradise.

You know, we can’t pay you now. But if this works out, we’ll have a whole lot more work for you. Like a lifetime’s worth. And plenty of champagne and lobster for an army.

Run away. Run far, far away (see move no. 37).

31. Pit mom against dad

Parents will recognize this ploy instantly. Child complains that dad is being mean. Mom tells dad to stop being mean (this can go either way — mom being mean and so on).

Any power the parents had together is effectively diminished. This works in the business world, too.

If you are dealing with two or more people on the side of negotiation, introduce information that might get them quibbling with each other. Could be statistics or a study that demonstrates one of them is wrong. You gain position when the other side is divided.

32. Talk to decision makers

Before you begin negotiating ask, “Will you be the person making the decision on this?”

If they say no, then ask who will be making the decision. Then ask if you can talk to that person.

If that’s not possible, then you may just have to deal with it. But that’s okay. You’ve got 36 other moves you can use.

33. Get the other side to commit

Commitment is a strong negotiation tactic. It’s one of the six principles of influence Cialdini taught us in his book.

Here’s how it works: start with a small commitment. Just make it a simple yes or no.

“Do you want this by Friday?”

“Do you want me to write a companion Facebook post?”

“Do you want this in Word?”

All of these smaller commitments will lead to an easier larger commitment when it comes to closing the deal.

Why does this work? People who start something do not like to appear inconsistent. They want to finish what they started.

It takes effort and humility to break off a commitment. What will the other side think of you? The trick is to not care (see the second-to-last tactic).

34. Work it like a call girl

Not really.

The point is to avoid getting stiffed on the back end by asking for payment up front. Just make it part of your non-negotiables (see no. 2)

If asking for all of the moula up front is too strong, request half.

35. Be confident

One of the best ways to lose a negotiation is to be insecure. You’ll either get taken advantage of or you’ll agree to terms you don’t like because you are too scared to state your terms.

Plus, your objections or statements may not instill confidence if the other party senses you are insecure. They’ll wonder if you can even pull off the job.

Raise your chin and your voice. Look people in the eye. State clearly and concisely want you want. And don’t flinch (unless it’s appropriate).

36. Stop caring about the outcome

Remember the last time you were a nervous wreck? Maybe it was before a first date or first interview. More than likely you really wanted this date or interview to work out.

You really cared about it.

Now think about the last time you sauntered into an interview, ate all the peanuts from a jar on the table and stared at the ceiling. The outcome didn’t matter to you. So you were relaxed and confident.

That sort of indifference will not only help you to think clearly, but it will also allow you to pull off one of the best negotiation moves ever.

See the last move …

37. Walk away

In the end, after all options have been exhausted and you’re still not happy, exit the negotiation.

Get up, and walk away.

Of course, this means you have to have options. If you’re desperate, then walking away will not help. If you’re emotionally tied to the outcome, then the other party has a hook in your nose. You can’t walk away.

I cannot tell you how powerful it is to be able to shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, I guess this isn’t going to work out. Talk to you later.” It’s a good place to be in.

In conclusion …

Let me make a suggestion to you: print this out. I know it’s long, and will eat a lot of paper, but it will pay you back anytime you find yourself on the other end of a negotiation.

And trust me. That can happen at just about any time.

You could find yourself working through a blog post, look down and see a client’s name show up on the screen. You pick up and start talking. And you realize he’s just made you some kind of offer. That’s happened to me more times than I can count.

And let me repeat: while this advice is directed towards writers, anyone can benefit. Entrepreneurs. Accountants. Mothers. School principals. You name it, we all have to negotiate.

Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite negotiating move in the comments …

About the Author: Demian Farnworth is a freelance writer who hustles the finer points of web copy at the blog The CopyBot. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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7 Writing & Productivity Articles Worth Reading

The Lede | copyblogger.com

This week on The Lede

  • The King of Persuasive Fonts
  • Struggling to Create Great Content? Here’s Why …
  • 10 Reasons Why Your Content Doesn’t Attract Links
  • 7 Reasons Why Content Marketing Needs Storytelling
  • How to Generate Good Ideas
  • A Quick Look at the Last 10 Years of the Internet
  • The Ultimate Productivity Tool

If you want to grab even more useful links (beyond those that make The Lede), follow @copyblogger on Twitter.

//

The King of Persuasive Fonts

Can a typeface do your selling for you? If only. The hard work of attracting an audience and giving them what they want — in return for a living — remains. However, we know the importance of good design (of which typography is a part), and it seems that there are a few fonts that can set the emotional tone of your platform. And there’s one, in particular, that rules them all.

//

Struggling to Create Great Content? Here’s Why …

If you’re grinding it out, you’re doing it wrong. Yeah, we’ve all got deadlines, and massive lists of things that need written and edited, but that’s not what Mr. Barr is addressing. The idea. Where to get it, and what to do with it. Well, I’ll let him explain …

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10 Reasons Why Your Content Doesn’t Attract Links

Mr. Hall provides a pithy summary of why you aren’t getting any. Links, that is. This isn’t neurosurgery, but in the context of building an audience for your business online, it’s life or death. Go get some.

//

7 Reasons Why Content Marketing Needs Storytelling

We’ve gotten a lot of powerful new toys to play with over the last ten years. But the most powerful use of them still lies in an ancient form that has moved and persuaded humans from the beginning of time. Mr. Thomas shows us why.

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How to Generate Good Ideas

A theory of how the human brain generates ideas, and five ways to make that happen more often. Just about everything any content producer could want …

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A Quick Look at the Last 10 Years of the Internet

I don’t expect anyone reading this to have them, but if you’ve got any lingering doubts as to where the distribution of ideas and commerce are headed, you only need to look a few years into the past. If you’re already profitably working online, the stunning statistics in this infographic should only solidify your decision to do so, as well as your continued daily actions.

//

The Ultimate Productivity Tool

A great question, logically expanded into a great meter of what’s important to you, and those you’re responsible for. You may accuse Mr. Dao of narcissism, or naiveté, or the like, but I believe this simple productivity tool to be ultimately sound. Excuse me, as I leave you now in order to put it to the test …

Miss anything on Copyblogger this week?

About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter and Resident Recluse. Get more from Robert on Twitter and Google+.

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