Tori Reid

 

Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick Her Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Tori Reid, for our next ‘Pick His/Her Brain’ session and I want to thank her for the participation.

When you have a copywriter lauded by Jessica Foster, you can be assured that it speaks volumes.

Tori is an expert copywriter and owner at Shift Copy Co.

She has over 8 years of experience spinning words into gold.

This gold doesn’t just engage, but converts.

She’s contributed to HuffPost, Lifehacker, Startup Nation, Influensive, and many more major blogs you’ve probably read.

Please feel free to pick her brain on writing and conversion.

You can check out her latest article on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/…/how-get-your-audience-tell…/

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until she asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the Facebook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s success and strategies.

3) Please do not PM her and bother her. If you have a private question, ask for her permission on this thread when appropriate.

#PickHisBrain

#PickHerBrain

Table of Contents

How many books have you read?

Probably lost count after about 100, which was in high school hahaha

1. What’s your favorite article that you have written? 2. How do you workaround creating content for highly technical clients? (For example I had a client that worked on xray machines, very niche and very sciencey) 3. What’s your top tip for getting your articles on high volume sites?

1. A post that I’m still attached to is an older HuffPost piece on the objective benefits of honesty: http://bit.ly/2fiQHHz

2. My big thing with ALL content is to simplify it as much as possible.

And if something isn’t inherently relatable to the average person it serves, that’s when metaphors and analogies become really magical in a piece.

3. Build relationships with the editors. Back doors are always the best doors.

What makes a good copywriter? i.e. what are some of the habits should I emulate? Secondly, do you write around a specific niche or are the all-rounded type?

Well, first to make sure we’re on the same page let’s say a good copywriter is able to convert.

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If we’re rolling with that definition, here are 3 common characteristics I’ve noticed across the board that will help you out if you’re just getting started:

1. Good copywriters have an extremely high EQ.

EQ is way more important than IQ in this game (though they’re both handy, obv) Conversely I’ve seen a lot of high IQ low EQ aspiring copywriters crash and burn pretty quickly.

Because they know a lot about a lot but aren’t able to get their audience to relate to them.

2. Good copywriters write. But “Great Artists Steal” in this game.

We don’t plagiarize, but we’re always modeling what works, using frameworks.

Creating templates from stuff that hits to test again with future campaigns.

Taking stuff our audience says in the market research or feedback and plugging it verbatim in subject lines.

This is not a craft of from-scratch invention. That’s how you fail to convert.

3. We obsess over human behavior. We notice patterns everywhere and use it to our advantage.

Some of the best stuff I apply in writing now has nothing to do with old English classes and everything to do with Behavioral Psychology I studied in college.

If you start here, you’ll get far!

Secondly, I have a couple of niches I play in but definitely not an “all-around” type.

Generally speaking if you can’t relate to the audience/put yourself in their shoes you shouldn’t write to them.

Someone else will do the project more justice.

What’s your best tip for an introduction when it comes to “product buying guides”?

Like a blog post comparing different products?

Hook them in with a story that seems completely unrelated (but too entertaining/curious to stop reading).

Then bring it back around to the big lesson of “this is why you need to read this guide”

Completely unrelated to the product? What about telling a story about the bad things encountered on others products?

If you make something that SEEMS unrelated into a valid analogy then it’ll be way more engaging than a basic “this is what happens when you do x”.

But you have to write in an entertaining way to pull this off.

Yes, you can do it your way too, the way I proposed when done well is the stuff of love though.

Not basic “I’ll read this to find my answer” engagement.

Pick your poison.

For content writing, do you have a questionnaire you send to the client before putting pen to paper?

100%. A few actually because it depends on the kind of content we’re doing.

If it’s blog posts at this point I literally just want to know the topic, the word count, the audience and what CTA is involved, if any.

But for something like copy for email I have a list of “tell me about a time when” questions to get stories from the client.

In what ways do you think digital marketing agencies underestimate the value of great copywriting?

Noob agencies focus solely on traffic then act confused when the client boots them because the traffic isn’t converting.

Experienced agencies put things in place like hiring conversion writers and whitelisting our services to protect client retention.

How much does it typically cost to work with a good copywriter?

Less than how much you’ll make from working with a good copywriter.

How do you train your brain to think like a copywriter?

1. Good copywriters have an extremely high EQ.

EQ is way more important than IQ in this game (though they’re both handy, obv) Conversely I’ve seen a lot of high IQ low EQ aspiring copywriters crash and burn pretty quickly.

Because they know a lot about a lot but aren’t able to get their audience to relate to them.

2. Good copywriters write. But “Great Artists Steal” in this game.

We don’t plagiarize, but we’re always modeling what works, using frameworks.

Creating templates from stuff that hits to test again with future campaigns.

Taking stuff our audience says in the market research or feedback and plugging it verbatim in subject lines.

This is not a craft of from-scratch invention. That’s how you fail to convert.

3. We obsess over human behavior. We notice patterns everywhere and use it to our advantage.

Some of the best stuff I apply in writing now has nothing to do with old English classes and everything to do with Behavioral Psychology I studied in college.

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What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

Oh man hard to choose honestly. Back in the day I ghostwrote a series of eBooks about dog breeds (how to take care of your specific type of dog).

I still have fond memories of that and they popped up, so we’ll roll with it.

Which blogs have influence on your work/inspire you?

None, now. I follow A-List copywriters (who tend to email more than blog).

Ian Stanley is a big name on my list of inspirations because he’s more current and relatable than, say, Gary Halpert.

So it’s easier for me to consume his stuff. Colin Theriot (from Cult of Copy) is another good one.

Really interesting dude. I also find them both to be hilarious which probably has a lot to do with it lol

What’s the hardest part of being a copywriter from a business perspective?

Learning to manage the things you have little to no control over.

Copy is only one part of the puzzle.
If the client pulls bum traffic from a bad source or the offer turns out to just be a dead offer it doesn’t matter how good the copy is – we’re screwed.

Stuff like that. I’m still getting pickier everyday on how I vet clients.

Requiring proof of concept helps a lot with almost everything.

Which emotion is your favorite weapon?

Most copywriters would probably say fear, which is really powerful when it comes to short game purchasing.

And i use it too. But i REALLY love using copy to make people laugh.

Because it makes them fall in love with the brand for the long term. Builds trust too.

What a perfect article draft for a copywriter should include?

The baseline framework is pain, agitate, solution.

But you can expand out from there to add things like emotional triggers/rollercoasters, epiphanies, credibility, authority, social proof, etc.

It’s like cooking a dish.

There are a million ingredients to choose from you just have to find the best ones that work for a specific offer.

Who inspired you when you were starting out?

As a writer (before I was a pro) J.K. Rowling. Lol.

Just starting out in work, though, I really spent a lot of time reading Daniel DiPiazza’s stuff.

He’s probably one of the first people I started modeling in terms of copy/content marketing.

SEO and / vs Copywriting, How do you handle the purpose of the content when a client wants to have some certain words in the content?

We mainly work with email so that’s not a thing. But if it was a thing it’d look like this.

1. write the copy to convert.

2. Hire Jessica Foster to optimize it for SEO.

3. Yell at her for “ruining it” even though she didn’t. I’m just sensitive.

4. Just beg her to let me change one of the sub heads as a hail marry.

5. Give deliverables to happy client.

Rinse, repeat.

What is 1 really common mistake you see with email copywriting?

1. Not segmenting.

2. Those who do segment often don’t split test.

3. Those who do split test, test for opens instead of clicks.

These are all bad habits.

What do you mean by segmenting?

Sorting your list into interest-based buckets so you can send people emails that are most relevant to them.

There’s another article on my LinkedIn profile that covers this a little more in depth.

Look for “zombies”. Haha

What steps do you take to learn a new industry before writing in it? So you don’t sound like a total noob.

1. Choose a client who’s speaking to a beginner level audience.

2. Cleverly ask client to hop on a role playing call where I am the audience trying to learn about the thing.

3. Proceed to unashamedly ask every question i can think of no matter how stupid

Which FB groups or sites do you have bookmarked as “go to” places for your ongoing learning?

Ian Stanley’s “The Unit” (paid, $197/m) comes with two group calls private FB group + monthly print newsletter

Where’s a good place to find great copywriters for work?

Cult of Copy Job Board (Facebook Group) wait you said “great”. Cult of Copy has a range of copywriters with varying skill levels.

Great? Ian Stanley, Colin Theroit, Me, Ben Settle if that’s more your vibe, Travis Sago, Mitch Miller if you’re into genius assholes.

You’ve emphasized right message over a platform. I couldn’t agree with you more. In your opinion, what percentage of the people you’ve come across really GETS it?

Depends what level of experience.

The higher the level the more people get it.

Beginners are learning & being pulled from shiny object to shiny object because they don’t understand the principles behind what makes marketing “work” yet.

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Would you prefer working on a website copy before it’s designed / UX’d? Or does it really not matter as much.

I don’t sweat it. If the offer has proof of concept/I’m confident it’ll kill then.

I’m flexible on pretty much everything else unless it directly conflicts with that.

How do you handle writers block? Any strategies for forging through it?

The systems I use keep writers block away naturally about 89% of the time.

Because there are prompts within the system I write by.

I.e. let the market give me the topic, then if I’m leading in with an analogy storyline I have a direction to think in.

The less creative or inventive your process is the less you naturally deal with writers block.

Because then you’re sourcing, not creating from scratch if that makes sense.

For the other 11% of the time, though, I do have a few rules to live by.

1. I don’t write unless I genuinely have something to say.

If I don’t have something to say I get tf up and leave because when does forcing it work out well? Never.

So I’ve learned to stop wasting time trying. It’s quicker to do steps 2 & 3 here anyway.

2. Have an experience. Big or small doesn’t matter. Just change the atmosphere and pace.

Go each lunch somewhere. Call your mom. Exit the “blocked” frame of mind.

Preferably exit the frustration too by doing something refreshing.

3. Take a shower or a walk or a drive or something else that gives you that “shower thoughts” bit.

Boredom lends room for ideas.

4. If that fails, sleep. Great artist source from their dreams. Think Salvador Dali.

Lesson: creative sparks can’t be forced. They’re gifts. You open yourself to receive them, that’s all.

How would you approach re-writing a landing page/home page that already ranks but lacks conversions?

I, personally, would tell the client to stop trying to have both in one.

But if this is a specific instance where it’s too late for that here’s what I’d do:

1. Use the exact system linked in the article up the original post to do market research.

(Every time, without fail, do this for each client).

2. From there you’ll be able to spot where the landing page isn’t hitting the reader’s psyche.

Their pain points or desires. Right now that page is written for Google, not readers (hence my original response).

It’s your job to change it to serving the people, not the tech.

Try to do both. But if that proves to lower the traffic but converts, ask the client what they hired you for: more attention or more money.

Is the best time to pounce when someone signs up to the list?

Yep! And if you don’t get enough responses the first time tweak the subject line & preview then send it again to anyone.

Who didn’t open the first one the next day or so to cap it off.

How do you deal with competition? ex. In an ideal condition where the 10 best applies for the same gig.

I don’t apply for gigs and I don’t compete.

Build up your authority – preferably using the research system in the article in the OP.

When you have authority people just come to you.

Can you recommend books for someone who’s starting copywriting or some which can make someone fall for copywriting as a career.

Join Ian Stanley’s email list. It’s really good and he helps people who want to become copywriters.

He also does a lot of work with building wealth habits & mindset. The two go hand in hand.

His book is coming out soon.

Any copy writing tricks for fast copy in a crunch?

The best way I know to be fast at Copy is to be fluent in copy + the audience you’re writing for.

I know a lot of people who were like “omg it takes FOREVER to write an email”.

It takes me about 15 minutes to write to my own list or a long-term clients’ just because it’s second nature by now.

Otherwise have a swipe file of successful examples to model from.

Would love to see a copy writing course?!? Any chance?

Sometime 2k19 but for now I’m just coaching my done-for-you clients.

So they don’t go in and “edit” (coughmessupcough) my stuff haha.

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