Do you remember the doubt on Luke Skywalker’s face when he first held the cool metal of an inert light saber? Looking up at Obi-Wan, he believed it when he said, “I can’t go with you to Alderaan.”
Last summer, we felt just like young Skywalker as we waded waist-deep into the bog of online writing. There was much to learn, forces at work looking to sway us to the dark side, and at times, it was hard to believe in ourselves or our path.
What a difference one year makes. Our business is taking off, we have great clients who appreciate our personal attention to their projects, and we’re actually living the dream of doing what we want to do for a living — writing.
But the path to online success wasn’t easy. We’ve run fast and fallen flat on our faces, then got right back up to battle again.
Would you like to unleash The Force in your content? Here are 10 ways you can become a direct response copywriting Jedi.
1. Be a deliberate Padawan learner
Jedi are recognized for their innate ability to harness the power of The Force.
Unearth the exceptional inside you and nurture it constantly. Find your Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, listen to the wisdom these established Jedi masters have to share. They were once where you are now, and understand the dangers and temptations lurking ahead. Be willing to listen, and they can help guide you toward the proper path.
2. Beware the dark side
Fear, anger, aggression, envy, pettiness, and insecurity — they are all natural feelings.
It’s easy to look at the empire building done by your competitors and wonder why you’re not having the same kind of success. Often, we are unable to see the work behind the successes, so it’s easy to believe that someone else got something undeservedly.
But you weren’t there on their journey. You don’t know the long hours, hard work, or embarrassing failures that have been poured into their current successes.
Nothing happens overnight. You will succeed in due time. Shortcuts might lead to a black helmet. Patience and dedication to learning are necessary elements in any good Jedi. You may be a phenomenal writer, or innately good at social media, but you must do your time like everyone else. Anakin fell to the dark side because he believed he was above his teaching.
3. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for
With a wave of his hand, Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to get a hover car full of fugitives past a trio of heavily armed storm troopers.
Writing persuasive copy can pull your reader into your point of view and create a mutually beneficial situation. It’s not enough to convince your prospect, you must also make sure they feel good about their decision if you want them to happily return for more.
4. Do or do not. There is no try
If you want to be an awesome writer, write awesome stuff.
Don’t try to be great. Be great.
That doesn’t mean fake it till you make it, but rather learn what you need to do and then do it to the best of your ability. Always seek to better yourself. Perfecting your craft will ensure that you are not simply trying to be a Jedi master, but are actually growing into one.
5. Use the force
Who needs a computer to hit the target? Trust your well-honed instincts.
As you progress on your path to Jedi master, your instincts will continually sharpen from the experiences and knowledge you accumulate. You’ll know the right things to do, the clients to avoid, and what to do when you make mistakes. A significant slice of success is due to how sharp you can keep the edge of your instinct. Make sure you know when to trust that inner voice.
6. Show empathy
Find out where your prospect is from, what he/she does, and what’s important to them. Just because you’re writing for an online audience doesn’t mean you can’t utilize the web equivalent of good eye contact.
This doesn’t mean being a phony; people can usually smell a Lando Calrissian a mile away. Find a way to relate to people that is genuine. Most well-rounded writers should have varied enough interests and experience to connect with others authentically.
7. I know there’s still good in you, I can sense it
Luke believed there was good in his father all the way until the end. Who knows if it would have been buried without the young Jedi’s belief.
Project the traits you desire for your prospects and watch how well they respond.
8. Don’t be a Sith
A Jedi is always looking out for others; the Sith only look out for themselves.
Develop content that puts others first and you will always come out a winner. We’ve all had experience with shady operators who use content scrapers, pass off others’ work as their own, and look to sell you on half-baked info products with no substance. Not only are these actions bad business, but word will get out about what kind of person you are. Whatever success you have will likely be short-lived.
9. Beware the clones
A Jedi can part a sea of storm troopers with a light saber in one hand and a wave of the other.
Do everything you can to stand apart and make your name synonymous with individual character and quality work. This means not only ensuring that your work sets the standard by which your competitors are compared, but also hiring only the most qualified freelancers when heading to battle.
Just because you can hire cheap labor doesn’t mean you should. Your good name is on the line, don’t exchange short-term benefits for long-term goals.
10. Be direct
A Jedi is never mealy mouthed. They say precisely what they mean and mean every word they say.
Be straight with your clients. Tell them what you can do for them and be honest when there’s something you can’t. Your clients deserve your honesty and will appreciate you more for looking past your immediate interests to help them.
If you want to be a direct response marketing Jedi and gather quality clients for the dollars you deserve, you need to train hard, constantly sharpen your skill set, and follow the rules just long enough to know when and where to break them.
Got a favorite tip for Jedi mastery as a freelancer? Let us know about it in the comments.
For much more advice about how to avoid the “Dark Side” of direct marketing, subscribe to the Copyblogger email newsletter, Internet Marketing for Smart People. It starts with a 20-lesson e-course on how to marketing online while staying on the light side of the force. Click here to get started.
About the Authors: David Wright has been told he looks like Chewbacca, while Sean Platt spent his formative years running around his back yard in a tattered Boba Fett Halloween costume. Together, they are independent publishers who also write direct response copy.