AWAI Member Ron Murphy’s Secrets for His Rapid Success

Ron Murphy started the AWAI Accelerated Program in July of this year and finished in September. Right after submitting his supplement assignment, he sought work in his chosen specialty of writing for the Internet.

In Ron’s words: "Things took off so fast, I’ve barely had a day off since." The Golden Thread interviewed Ron in his home office in the small town of Mount Dora, Florida to get the full story.

TGT: What did you do before you started on your copywriting career?

RM: I was in corporate IT (Information Technology) for 25 years. During that time, I moved through virtually every aspect of IT in the finance, insurance, and real estate industries. I ended up as Chief Information Officer for a large investment company.

Then the recession hit – and in 2001, I got "downsized" out of my job. Since 1996, I had been tinkering in Web design on the side – so I tried my hand at that independently. It wasn’t bad, but I must have chased every opportunity in Internet marketing over the next few years. To be honest, most didn’t work out. They either weren’t interesting or profitable.

TGT: So, what brought you to copywriting?

RM: I went to a Carl Galletti seminar on Internet marketing and copywriting in late spring of 2005. Until that time, I’d never thought of copywriting as a career. Galletti’s seminar was the first time I looked at copywriting as a distinct career opportunity. And I started doing research about copywriting.

I discovered recommendations for AWAI on the Internet from people who had taken their programs. I looked up the AWAI site and read every page. I was floored that I could make such good money doing this stuff.

I tried a number of other copywriting programs before settling with AWAI. None of them jelled for me. But AWAI’s did. It laid out exactly what I needed to know to do the writing.

TGT: Your career took off rapidly. What happened?

RM: I’d been in corporate life long enough to know that I had to reach out to get jobs. Since I’d been doing Web design for years, I went in that direction for self-promotion.

I studied existing successful copywriter’s sites. All of those sites had samples. In the beginning, the supplement assignment was my only writing sample. So I posted that.

But I knew I needed more, so I wrote my own samples. I added things that I assumed the folks I was looking for would want. I made sure readers knew these were samples … but I said that these samples reflected what I could do.

Because of my success, I’m now replacing them with real work that I’ve done.

TGT: How do you attract people to your site?

RM: I use what is known as "search marketing" and "article marketing." DM News published an article on the effectiveness of search marketing vs. email marketing. It said that search marketing is superior for getting new business.

Performance-based search marketing works by paying search engines to list an ad for your site alongside natural search results. You’ve seen these paid ads down the righthand side of the page.

You pick particular words that you want to be listed by, and pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Costs run between 5¢ and a $1/click – sometimes more. The more you pay, the better your placement. I budget $150 maximum per month. And it’s money well spent.

Google’s program is called AdWords [Ed. Note: Go to www.google.com/ads for specifics.]

Article marketing is another good way to get your name out. You start by writing an article on some subject that potential clients would be interested in. Then you give it to an online syndicator who posts it on his site. Of course, the article should include a reference back to your site. [Ed. Note: Do a search on "article syndication" to find these sites.]

TGT: To what do you attribute your rapid success?

RM: Three things …

  1. The knowledge and confidence I gained from the AWAI program. (I don’t give out praise freely. If I say it, I mean it.)
  2. I’m willing to hustle. I don’t wait for people to come to me. I do campaigns and joint ventures with others. I’m selling what I’m doing all the time. I was told by a client that I’m the only copywriter who actually asked for the order when I responded to a request for a quote. That’s amazing, because everyone should do that.
  3. Specializing in something I already knew about. If I hadn’t had a specialty already, I’d spend every available moment acquiring knowledge in an area that interested me.

TGT: Any additional words of advice?

RM: There’s a controversy on the AWAI Writer’s Forum about spec work. Let me tell you how I feel about that. I just got a 14-month contract based on spec work. Do what it takes to get your first jobs. Later, you can pick and choose.

[Ed. Note: You can see how Ron promotes himself with his website by going to http://RAMurphy.com.]

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Published: December 5, 2005

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