When it comes to business, Kristen Kalp doesn't clown around.
She is the author behind the outrageously astute BrandCamp Blog and also a photographer based in Philadelphia.
Circus Circus, her new offering in the form of a PDF, tackles the sometimes difficult task of communicating with one's potential business clients. It's more a workshop than an e-book, so come prepared to roll up your sleeves and get some elbow grease.
Circus Circus isn't just a bunch of copy that I've written so you can paste it into your website and hope for the best. That's like buying brownies from the bakery and eating 'em right up – eating brownies doesn't get you any closer to creating brownies.
In the 52-page book, Kalp, takes several irreverent swipes at conventional business writing books by presenting her material in both a concise and witty manner. She is comfortable engaging her audience from the get go. Just take a look at the table of contents:
Now, I don't know of anyone looking at that table of contents who will not want to read right through in one sitting. I did that, knowing full well that there might be parts where I would be asked to stop, write things down and then reflect.
The first challenging part of the book was coming up with a manifesto. To be honest, I am still not done with mine. Kalp says she took nearly five hours to complete her manifesto. What's so important about a manifesto? Well, it “establishes the sound of YOUR voice on your website or in your brochures.” That, in my opinion, is reason enough to keep chipping at it. I promise to share my manifesto when I feel it is ready for public consumption. What helps is Kalp's five-step process to craft that manifesto, each with vivid examples and a worksheet to practice on your own.
The part of Kalp's e-book that I found most fascinating was the “Fire-Breathing Show,” where words are used to convey features and benefits to clients. I know I struggle with this in my own copy, but this guide book shows you how to arrive at these personal and business characteristics, to help sell YOU to your clients.
Kalp also talks about offering your clients incentives (she calls them cotton-candy to stick to the circus metaphor), creating a one-line bio, how to respond to e-mails, crafting an elegant e-mail signature, writing a FAQ email, negotiating price objections and expressing yourself in blog posts.
And you can see that Kalp practices what she preaches. Take a look at her own photography website – Essential Imagery. Just about every part of it is eager to connect with the visitor. “Let's Have An Adventure! What kind?,” is an invitation to join her in something mysterious, yet cool. Her website exudes her down-to-earth, yet fun personality.
If you are a photographer, you can no longer just post great images on your site and expect your potential clients to be able to connect with you. You do have to write and express yourself. If you struggle with the written word, Kristen Kalp's Circus Circus is must-buy. She'll take you step by step (and it isn't in the least bit easy mind you) through the various parts of your site where you may want to tighten up your writing and engage your reader.
It's priced at $149 (and I bought my copy, by the way) so it isn't inexpensive. If you are looking to persuade your clients that you are worth what you charge for your services, then the value this e-book/guidebook/workbook is truly immense. Full disclosure, I get no financial commission for suggesting this book to you. If Kristen reads this review and feels like sharing a special promo code with us, I'll update this post so you can order the book within a specific time frame. Does that sound good to you?
Sound off below if you have already bought Circus Circus. What did you think of it? How far along are you on your manifesto? What portions of it have you already put into play for your business? Start the dialogue here. Let's talk!
Well, Kristen did respond to my request for a special promotional code to be used towards Circus Circus. At check out use “SESHU” and get $50 off. This is good only through April 5, 2011, so bust a move. Your final price will be $99. Nice!