Dan Kennedy on Writing for the Web vs. Print

Dan Kennedy asked me to share this exchange with you …

Dan writes:

I’ve received a few questions recently from AWAI Members that seemed likely to be of broad interest and in minds of many. One, from Sam Walters, had to do with differences for the freelancer focusing on writing for online media and clients using online media versus those of us living in the land of dinosaurs, working with print media and snail mail. After I got my grey beard out of the typewriter roller, my answer, abbreviated:

First, most important from the standpoint of my on-going conversation with writers about ‘the business of’ – the principles, strategies and methods for high income, success and security as a copywriter do not vary, whether writing for online, offline or broadcast media. And, broadly speaking, the copywriter who focuses on only one type of media does disservice to client and self.

The canyon between online and offline ought not exist. There is a conceit to online that’s not justified by analysis of which marketing companies are most successful and profitable, and how. The best clients are or can be prodded into being users of multiple media, including online and offline and specifically including direct-mail, and the copywriter able to do well financially is adept at attracting and assisting such highest value clients. If either the client or the writer is restricted to a single media for any reason; ignorance, bias, ego, sloth; the value of the client and earning opportunity of the writer suffers, and the value of the writer to the client is also minimized.

As an aside, it might interest you to know that I refuse to even connect to the internet personally, but do write a lot of copy for complex, sophisticated web sites – actually online marketing systems fed by and feeding offline media. The two clients I work with a lot who generate the most money for themselves online, measured in millions of dollars per month, also do the most direct-mail.

The publishing business to which I’m attached, with my five newsletters (Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle) is also heavily reliant on online marketing, thus web copy. Off and on, some of the savviest internet marketing practitioners and “gurus” have been my students, coaching members or private clients – including a pioneer, Ken McCarthy; Yanik Silver; Matt Furey; Ali Brown (E-Zine Queen); and the late Corey Rudl, founder of the Internet Marketing Center. If I come across as weighted to print or direct-mail, it’s not actually the case. However, the most valuable, stable clients do use print and direct-mail, and I do avoid or fix clients overly dependent on the web.

Sam also asked about compensation, indicating he’d not seen project fees and royalties occurring as a norm with ‘web copywriters’ dealing with online media.

My first response about pricing is: the last thing you want to be ruled by is whatever ‘norm’ you see or believe exists. That’s a fence held together by your acknowledgement and acceptance.

Beyond that, there are dozens of pricing perambulations, and there’s no reason for them to differ significantly by media copy’s being written for.

The best way for it not to matter is to be committing the client to multi-media, multi-component projects, but it’s not the only way. As crass commercial plug, writers getting well-paid and formulas for compensation, a significant part of my upcoming Business Of Copywriting Academy.

Click here for all the details about Dan’s Academy.

As of this posting, there are only 10 spots still open. And every last available discount ends absolutely and forever on Monday, April 12.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: April 1, 2010

1 Response to “Dan Kennedy on Writing for the Web vs. Print”

  1. There are two things I like about Dan Kennedy's writing (not that I'm an expert).

    1. The way he focuses on the message and not writing style. Claude Hopkins stated that "...fine writing is a distinct disadvantage. It takes the attention away from the subject."

    2. The ideas he presents are ALWAYS insightful, fresh, unique and immediately practical.


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