Copy writing is King in Business

It was only 7 years ago that I was in corporate America and my job as Director of Corporate Communications was going swimmingly well. Not only did I create the new department and run it, I was also in charge of all of our employee communications publications.  I never really thought of myself as a writer and certainly never had any dreams or aspirations to be an author or writer.  However I had been writing most of my life, albeit in a daily journey, it was still writing none-the-less.

It wasn’t until this position, where I was called upon to write on a daily basis that I truly “got” what it was like to be a writer.  The really funny irony in this story is I wrote my little heart out and I really thought my writing was pretty good. I always got great feedback from employees. But, it was my boss who always rode me very hard and actually didn’t like  my writing, so much so that she told me it had a lot to be desired.  That’s when I experienced this huge crushing sound in my head, you know the kind where you are like what, wait a minute, huh?? And her words stamped out my aspirations that I would ever be any good at writing.

Fast forward to today, when I thought about my boss eons ago and her words to me that I was not a good copy writer.  Because guess what?  I had the most awesome realization that I was doing a ton of writing in my marketing business.   And the really cool thing about it is my clients like my writing, and tell me so regularly, so gosh darn it I am a good copy writer.

So…. I realized in an interesting way that my boss was actually right. I wasn’t really all that good in my writing at that corporate job. You know why?  Because I was forced day in and day out to write “corporate speak.”  You know the words like, “On January 10, Mr. Smith attended the world day event where he spoke about how his department is successfully making widgets.”  Do you get it?  This is the kind of disconnected yucky copy I was forced to write almost each and every day!  It’s a good thing they laid me off.  I mean who knows, if I had stayed there any longer they might have squashed all of my creative ability and brain washed me of any connecting writing capability!

So the moral here is I finally recognized that I wasn’t good at corporate speak. That my forte and expertise in writing is more personal, first person and one on one writing, this is where I really excel. This is the writing I love to do, writing like I’m speaking to you over a cup of coffee.

No more beating myself up anymore… I’ve found my calling. I know I can write and I know who my audience is. So, now I can excel at one of the things I do best and discover more about this wonderful craft of communication called copy writing!

How can you excel in copy writing?  When you’re writing copy for your sales letters, web, ads, write in first person.  Write like you are talking directly to them over a cup of coffee.  Do what Dan Kennedy calls, “be a sales person in print.”  Forgo all the corporate speak.  People don’t want to relate to companies, they want to relate to PEOPLE. Hence, the more you can connect with your prospects and customers on a human interest level, the more successful you will be in your business.

P.S. If you want a shortcut to writing sales letter, you have to check out Yanik Silver’s Instant Sales Letters It’s an easy way to create a winning sales letter that will get you more clients!

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How to Fuel and Grow Your Business with Your Mistakes

Have you ever sent out an email to a bunch of folks and later found out that there was an egregious typo, or maybe youmistake got a fact wrong, or maybe you forgot a word, or had a wrong date and on an on?  The worst of it is that you didn’t find it, that one of your prospects, or maybe it was one of your clients took time out to tell you about your error.

Well I can tell you from going through this experience more than once, it’s no fun making mistakes, simple ones like typos in your advertising, or in your email, and even more complex ones like picking the wrong business partner or backing the wrong product and it goes bust on you.

The one thing I discovered and that’s what I wanted to share with you is the best way to look at your mistakes is ask yourself this question? What’s the worst thing that could happen from this mistake? secret code noah st john Now be forewarned your mind will go to some pretty interesting and maybe even some scary places. This is what my new colleague Noah St. John calls beware of your “head trash.” (He’s the author of the newly published book – The Secret Code of Success.) You’ve got a lot gunk up in them there hills of your mind that’s embedded many experiences good and bad from childhood.  The best way to use this exercise is to stop your mind and realistically look at the worst thing that could happen. So in Shannon McCaffery Noah St Johnmy case, because that’s really why I’m writing.  I made a pretty good mistake in my last newsletter. I went through the exercise and realized probably the worst thing that could happen is those who read it thought I was a little off my rocker, or couldn’t add, or worst yet, I was lost in time… So let me tell you what my mistake was in my newsletter. (The funny thing is so far only one person caught it and told me about it.) In my main article about my workshop with Jeff Walker, I said how I went to his training 2 years ago in 1997. I’m thinking I was channeling 1997, had some great memories, but the point is I should have said it was back in 2007. So… that was my big mistake. And yes, I do have an editor who looks over my newsletter, among many other things and we still didn’t catch it. Go figure!

My moral of the story is we’re only human. I make mistakes just like the next person. I would hope you’d walk away with some great lessons-

1-     Don’t let making a mistake stop or paralyze you from taking a chance or doing something you want to do.

2-     When you make mistake, always ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen

3-     At all costs, fix the mistake, or mend the bridge, or figure out a way to deal with and handle the worst thing that can happen.

4-     Irony would have it, when making mistakes, lots of times you’re better off having made them simply because of the wonderful learning experience you can turn it into.

Lastly, I decided to give away a free gift for all those who caught my mistake, as a mea culpa and I’ll work on doing better next time.  I just recorded a call with Valerie Young,  I did this special bonus call for her students who are training to be Outside the Job Box Experts. They work with you to help you discover your passion and find the best career for you.  It was The 7 Easy Ways to Economically Get New Clients, and to Easily Boost Your New Business In A Down Economy. To access this mp3 recording, just click here.mistakes_0

I always try to look at mistakes now as learning opportunities, hence I wrote about it here. I’d love to hear your storiesand how you’ve made lemonade out of some lemons. Here’s to turning our mistakes into awesome learning and discovery tools….

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Life is Simply Made up of Many Transitions…

Yours truly and Melanie my godchild

I will never forget that particular day in February,  many years ago, when I received the call that my sister was on her way to the hospital because she was going to have her first baby.  This was big news in our family, mainly because she was the first sibling to have a baby. It was doubly exciting for me because I was going to be an aunt and she had asked me to be the baby’s godparent. I was awed and taken aback, sounded like a big responsibility, yet I was thrilled and jumped in with both feet as I always do.

My mom, sister, me and Melanie at her christening

The christening was about 6 weeks later, so I booked my plane ticket and flew down to meet my little godchild. She was beautiful, always smiling, happy and had taken to me as I held her and rocked her to sleep. She loved to fall asleep on my shoulder.  It was an amazing experience, holding that little tiny baby as she was baptized and everyone looking on in the church.  The only sad thing for me was my sister lived over 1000 miles away, so I would try to make a trip once a year for a week to visit and hang out with my godchild. I remember one trip in particular we had had so much fun, that when it was time for me to go she ran onto the bed and flopped across my suitcase and declared “I’m going, pack me in your bag!”

Melanie trying to fit into my suitcase so I can take her home with me. (She was 3 yrs old)

Fast forward 16 years later, my little godchild is not so little anymore (She’s taller than me now!).  In fact, I just got back from spending a week with her, my sister and her family.  As it turned out, my wonderful godchild was graduating from high school.  It was so wonderful to be there for her. She’s so grown up! When did that happen?  It was another amazing experience and a huge transition. In fact, my sister and I, since her first child was born, have both gone through many transitions. She moved several times and had 2 more kids, both girls.  My transitions were many, surviving 4 layoffs in 9 years, a divorce, and the poor passing of my 2 beloved Golden Retrievers.

Melanie and I at her graduation this month. (She's 18 now!)

So, as I was sitting there in that amphitheater with my mom, watching Melanie (my godchild) walk across that stage and accept her diploma, I was awash with tears of joy and sadness.  How did this time pass so quickly?  And when did I become the “cool” aunt that all my nieces wanted to hang out with?  How bizarre to be sitting here watching a graduation of over 600 students in Houston, Texas and be struck with all the transitions we go through in life.  So, this prompted me to write because as I saw the amazing transformation of my godchild, I also know she has wonderful parents (and aunts, uncles and grand parents) who have instilled in her many survival tips and tactics of sorts on how to make it through each and every life transition in one piece.

And since I’ve been through many of my own life transitions, some of them all at once (my divorce, laid off from my job, losing my house, my best WomenOnFire1_4friend) I wrote a chapter about it for this awesome book by Debbie Phillips (Founder of Women On Fire) Women on Fire, 20 Inspiring Women  Share their Life Secrets (and Save you Years of Struggle!). I have the honor of being one of the 20 Inspiring Women who share their life secrets in Debbie Phillips new book, Women On Fire. This book is a heart-stirring and heartwarming anthology of stories written by 20 courageous and powerful women who faced real-life challenges and successfully moved through them to become authentic women on fire. Each woman shares the details of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle and describes how she summoned the strength to overcome it and emerge stronger, healthier, happier, and more deeply fulfilled. The most important part of their message is that you can do the same! If you want to discover more about my 7 Secrets to Life’s Transitions, click here!

I’m thrilled to be a part of this book, this Women On Fire movement and to have so many wonderful Women on Fire in my life – my sister, my mom, my beautiful godchild, and my nieces!

Click here to order your personal signed copy of Women On Fire by yours truly!!

DPSMInspire me crp
Debbie Phillips, Founder of Women on Fire and me with the new "Inspire Me" DVD

If you want to be inspired even more, check out the newly printed – WOMEN ON FIRE DVD: Inspire ME – it’s s a delightful video tour into the world of Women on Fire.

Discover ways to move forward in your life when you meet real-life women who are “on fire” about their lives. Click here for more information about the DVD and how to order.

You will experience the magic of Women On Fire Tea Parties (read more about how the Women On Fire Tea Parties saved my life) and be invited into an exclusive live Women on Fire workshop.

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Conferences – Love Them or Loathe them

Shannon & Rory Fatt at the Info Summit
Shannon & Rory Fatt at the Info Summit

I have had the pleasure of attending various conferences a year for the past several years. I know what you are thinking – conferences yes they are fun, great place to network and even learn some new tools to help your business. BUT, they take up so much time and all the hassles of traveling… Yes, they do have good points and as I like to think, challenging points. However, I want you to think of conferences from another point of view: How I can maximize my investment? How can I take conferences one step further and enhance my business?

I have put together 12 secrets to achieving much more out of the conferences you attend. Here are the top 5: (if you want the whole 12 secrets leave me a comment or send me an email – and I’ll send them to you.)

1. Have a specific focus on why you’re there. What do you want to accomplish at this conference? Write down some specific goals and outcomes from your conference.

2. Socialize – Don’t eat alone in your room. You’ve come a long way and need to maximize the most out of meeting new people and networking or JVing with other businesses. There will be plenty of time to sleep when you get home!

3. Bring a big note book, highlighter and even post-it flags. Take notes and highlight those things that you will take action upon right away or when you get home. Put together your action plan BEFORE you leave your conference.

4. Don’t forget to pack your digital camera or digital video recorder. Take note of specific rules of filming and photos at conferences. Take advantage of getting photos of people you want to

Shannon & Michael Cage at the Info Summit
Shannon & Michael Cage at the Info Summit

be identified with when promoting your business. Have your camera with you at all times and don’t be shy about asking someone for a photo opportunity. Take these photos and use them on your web site and in your newsletters. Get as much out of attaching yourself to a celebrity as you can. This will pay off huge in the long run!

5. Make sure you pack enough business cards and that it has the right information for people to contact you. There are a few schools of thought on business cards, some don’t have them because they don’t want to be on everyone’s list or radar. Others have plenty and pass out like candy. My preference is to be in the middle of the road. Be calculated on who you give your card to and take notes on them so you can remember who they were when you get home. Also ensure your correct information is on your card.

Since I started my business 3 years ago, I’ve used conferences to help enhance my business more than 100%. When you really take them seriously, and write out your goals for what you want to achieve, conferences can really help your bottom line.In fact, I’m heading out the end of the month to the Glazer-Kennedy Marketing Superconference.

This will be the 4th time I’ve attended this conference. And every time I go, my business grows because of it. Pick a few conferences in your niche and go to them once a year. I wouldn’t recommend more than 3 or 4 conferences a year because at some point it becomes overkill and there’s only so much you can implement and discover. So go to come conferences, get some great photos and above all, meet some great people and form some wonderful lasting working relationships and friendships!

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