The webinar was free, but I’m going to save you 1 1/2 hours of listening time by giving you his tips. I’m nice that way.
Also, I kind of figured there’d be a sales pitch at some point, and he didn’t disappoint. So I’m saving you from that as well.
The webinar was by Jeff Goins. If you’ve ever googled for information on being a professional writer or blogger, you probably came across him.
If you forgive his popup (I did, because of his freebie), you’ll find a ton of helpful articles. The webinar repeats most of it, but it was condensed into four steps. If you do these steps, he claims, you’re on your way to becoming a professional writer.
Step #1: Clarify Your Message
Most of us worry whether our writing is good enough, but Goins says there’s no such thing as good writing. It’s too subjective.
Consider how Dan Brown is a bestseller. (What the hell?)
Instead, you should focus on whether your writing is effective. Are you communicating your message clearly?
To do that, first figure out your Worldview.
Don’t know what yours is? Think about what angers or frustrates you. Try completing this statement: Every ________ can/should __________.
After giving it some thought, I decided my Worldview is:
Every person should stop taking themselves so damn seriously, just relax and find the humor in this strange world of ours, and while they’re at it, why not bake a batch of cookies and enjoy life for a change? Sheesh!
I’m still refining it. It’s a work in progress.
Step #2: Develop Your Platform Personality
If you’re a writer, Goins says you need a blog or website – that’s your platform. But you also need a personality. He states there are five distinct personalities for writers (there may be others, but these are the five he sees):
The Journalist – motivated by curiosity, asks questions, researches topics and shares the results
The Prophet – tells it like it is, exposes the ugly truth, isn’t afraid to start an argument
The Artist – creates Art (duh), has an eye for beauty, shares their talent
The Professor – obsessed with data, insatiable thirst for knowledge, makes difficult topics easy to understand
The Star – charismatic, likable personality, enjoys people and engaging in conversation
Goins believes you must select one, as you can’t be all things to all people. This is a mistake amateur writers often make. If you have your doubts as to which one you are, just choose one and work with it for a month. If it works, great, but if not, try another.
This one was tricky for me. Where does a humor blogger fit? Or food blogger?
I found it easier to determine which ones I wasn’t — definitely not a Star, and in no way am I a Prophet or Artist. That left Professor or Journalist. While I admit having a soft spot for Professors, I can’t say for sure I am one. So maybe I’m a Journalist? (I’m sure my Reporter Self approves.)
Step #3: Find Your Tribe
In other words, your audience. The amateur waits for the audience to find him, the professional tracks them down. This is a significant part of Goins’ message.
He believes the best way to develop your tribe is still through email. Facebook and Twitter might bring you some views, but it’s the email subscribers you want. They constitute your committed “Tribe.”
The key to doing that is through an email marketing service – he recommended ConvertKit. I’ve also heard of MailChimp and GetResponse (warning, GetResponse has a popup). MailChimp is free for your first 2,000 subscribers, past that you’re looking at a monthly payment of $30 and up, depending on your size and extra features.
Once you purchase the email service, you offer a freebie to encourage people to subscribe, such as a short ebook or tutorial, whatever compliments your website.
After researching various professional bloggers, I can say nearly all of them do this. It appears to work too, even for me. I mean, why else would I overlook a popup for a free ebook? (Of course, it was all for the sake of research.)
Also, once a week you send your subscribers something interesting, such a blog post, newsletter, another freebie, etc. According to Goins, the amateur writes for herself, the professional serves her tribe.
Finally, you need to encourage them to share. Make it easy for them, even spell it out — “If you liked this, click to tweet” – something like that. Make it really, really, clear. Begging is permitted.
Step #4: Create a Diverse Income Stream
Now we get to the heart of the matter. Somehow you have to cover the cost of your website and email subscription service. Plus, the whole point of the 1.5 hour webinar was to make a living from your writing.
At no point does he claim this is easy. Despite his bringing it down to four steps, he’s clear that this involves hard work. But as one of his success stories, Sandy Kreps, states, it’s good work.
He also doesn’t promise immediate or impressive wealth, but he does claim you can make a living. (Vague, methinks?)
The key is to create multiple sources for your income. If you’re a photographer, you’ll have links to your photographs, writers will have links to their books, etc. If your subscriber list is high enough, you might include ads (go easy on this one). You could also offer professional services or online classes, depending on your expertise.
Here’s where his sales pitch began.
What he’s selling is his TribeWriter’s course: an online writing course of 30 video lessons over eight weeks, to help you fine tune, publish, and market your writing. All for $684.
Or, if you want the premium package, it’s nearly $1,200.
Here’s the thing: I’m willing to bet none of the people watching this Webinar were independently wealthy. If they were, why were they watching a 1.5 hour Webinar on how to make money from their writing?
Yet as I watched the chat line on the right side of the screen, several people were typing “Just signed up!” and “Can’t wait to get started!” and “I’m so excited! I’m finally investing in myself!”
So I’m not sure what to make of this. I’ve no doubt what the guy offers is good advice, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Several in the chat line had taken the course before (once you buy in, you have lifetime access) and they only had positive things to say about it.
But gosh. Nearly seven hundred bucks worth? Couldn’t I just read his blog for free?
Well, yes. As a matter of fact, you can get all the information for free. He appears to be a pretty stand up kind of guy when it comes to that, despite his diabolic use of popups.
The real point of the course, as I understand it, is that you have a guide who will walk you through the entire process, step by step. As well as a community of both wannabe and professional writers who will offer feedback, advice, encouragement, and a kick in the pants when needed.
Also, it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked. In fact, he even says you’ll have enough time to read all the material, steal the content, and get a full refund. (Gotta admire a guy with that kind of bold assuredness.)
Even so… I remain a skeptic. I suppose if someone gave me $684, I might consider taking the course just so I could research it, ask questions and report my findings (as befits my journalist personality). But lacking such a gift, I’m sticking with the freebies.
Normally I don’t end my posts with a list of questions, but this time I’m genuinely curious (again, it’s my inner journalist):
- Have you ever taken an online writing class?
- Is $684 reasonable, or am I hopelessly cheap?
- If you’re a writer, which of his 5 personality types fit you?
- Do you think his four steps would work, or are they a bunch of hooey?
- Isn’t hooey a great word?