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32 minutes | 2 days ago
Apple’s War Against Facebook, with Meron Bareket
We’re back with the Sherlock Holmes of marketing, Meron Bareket. He’s put the recent and planned future actions of Apple through a “Marketing MRI” and all I can say at this point is, fasten your seat belts. Big curves in the road ahead! I’ve known Meron for a few years, since he became my mentoring client. His powers of observation and analysis have always impressed me, and there have been times where I’ve had to really concentrate and think deeply just to keep up with what he’s saying… as I have told him myself. He’s a delightful and very perceptive person — and quite an effective copywriter and marketer. As our returning champion, Meron revealed: - Just exactly what Apple is doing that’s having such a big effect on Facebook ads - The difference between what you can do now and what you won’t be able to do in the future, on Facebook - What Google’s doing that will reduce advertising options even further - What mistakes you should avoid at all costs (as a result of the changes) - What you CAN do to remain productive as an advertiser Meron’s web page: SaveYourStats.com Download.
27 minutes | 9 days ago
Testing Secrets That Make Millions - Old Master Series
Today’s show is a new chapter in our Old Masters Series, with wisdom from someone who people I know knew and knew about. Brian Kurtz wrote an intro to this Old Master’s book, and Denny Hatch raved about the book in his newsletter, which was called “Who’s Mailing What.” Now one of the great things about the kind of copywriting we cover on this podcast is that, unlike with a lot of other forms of advertising, with direct response copywriting you can measure sales results. You can’t do that accurately with a billboard or a Superbowl ad. As direct marketers, we determine our results through testing. And the dean of testing is not as well known as famous copywriters of his era, like Gene Schwartz and David Ogilvy – but he was just as important. His name was Dick Benson, and we’re going to cover some of his best testing secrets. He wrote an excellent book, Secrets of Successful Direct Mail. But lucky for you, I also had access to something I call The Private Direct Marketing Archive adjacent to Lincoln Center in New York City, also known as the PDFMAALC/NYC. Others like myself who have had the privilege to visit this valuable resource in person also know it as Don Hauptman’s extensive, custom-built filing system in the West 60s. Nice! Don raided the archive for me in a systematic, organized way and Fedexed about 10 articles and photocopy sets, ranging from the 1996 obituary for Benson in the New York Times to a three-page spread in the broadsheet trade newspaper Direct. Special to Copywriters Podcast. Lots of information you won’t find in the book, or nearly anywhere else, but, of course, you’ll get the best of it here on the show. From all of this research — one book, and 10 supplementary pieces — I pulled out seven tips and rules on testing, each of which can make you extra money. Benson worked with many large publishers and even founded the first direct-marketing ad agency, in 1961. He was widely regarded as the authority on testing for decades. Now, at this point, you could easily say, “I don’t do direct mail. Postage stamps, commercial printers and mail carriers have nothing to do with my marketing.” or, you could say, “There’s a tremendous amount of high-value, battle-tested science accumulated from direct mail testing. I wonder what I could learn from it in 2021 that would supercharge my own online marketing.” Yes, you could say that. And it is from that point of view that we looked at the seven brilliant discoveries of Dick Benson. Dick Benson’s book, Secrets of Successful Direct Mail https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Successful-Direct-Richard-Benson/dp/0844231789 Download.
34 minutes | 16 days ago
The Secret to Closing More Copywriting Clients, with Troy Steine
Our guest today is Troy Steine, and what he has to say will be of interest to every copywriter! He’s going to tell us how to close more copywriting deals. Now Troy is a soft-spoken guy, but make no mistake — he is a sales powerhouse. He has sold and helped others to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of offers and products. Today, Troy specializes in working consultants, coaches, copywriters and online entrepreneurs. He’s the head sales advisor at PeacefulProfits.com and works with people who are looking to launch, grow and scale their businesses. Full disclosure: Troy is a former mentoring client of mine, and that’s one reason he understands the business of copywriting so well. On our show today, Troy covered: • What he has discovered speaking to dozens of copywriters and business owners over the last 12 months • How his experience in many types of sales has led him to what he’s doing today • This one’s especially important! The big reason people who have a conversation with prospects never end up getting that person as a client • A framework for successfully getting sales • How you can best position yourself to get the most business Troy is willing to take follow-up questions from Copywriters Podcast listeners. His email is: email@example.comDownload.
0 minutes | 23 days ago
Outrageous Copywriting, with Josh Rosenberg
I met Josh Rosenberg in Las Vegas a few years ago at Mark Ling’s mastermind. We had a very animated conversation at dinner, and then all of us headed over to one of the wildest and most memorable parties of my life. It’s a fitting memory, because Josh takes a bold approach to copywriting and marketing, and he’s going to share some highlights today. Josh got into copywriting in 2008. He had a corporate job he hated. He learned copywriting and web marketing from the ground up, and as his career took off like a rocket, he became a much happier camper. But he’s about as unconventional as you get. For example, when he’s working on a piece of copy and he asks his friends to review it, if they tell him it’s “good,” he’ll tear it up and rewrite from scratch. He won’t actually start to use the copy until his friends stop complimenting him and start demanding to buy the product. Josh’s work has generated over $100 million for businesses in almost 60 industries. And he prides himself on getting paid far more than most other copywriters do. Here’s what I asked him: 1. Where do you find clients who can pay you top dollar for your work? 2. Okay, so now that you know where high paying clients what do you actually say and do in order to get their attention so they’ll agree to get on the phone with you? 3. With so much competition out there in industries like info products and eCommerce, how do you stand out from other copywriters? I’ve heard you comparing how clients pick which copywriter to hire very similarly to ordering a bottle of wine at a restaurant. Can you tell us what that means? 4. So you’ve set yourself apart from everyone else, got a potential client on the phone, what do you say when they ask about your rates? 5. I know you’re very proud of the fact you’ve figured out how to get paid upwards of $25,000 before you even get hired or are asked to do any work. I’m dying to know, how does this work? Josh’s Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/copywritersclubhouse Download.
25 minutes | a month ago
The Copywriting Brick Wall - How to Find the Door
We recorded today’s show a few days after the Superbowl, and I’d like to talk about the most admired and most hated athlete in America, Tom Brady. People seem to run very hot or very cold on him. Personally, I like him. He lived in my part of the country earlier in his life; he graduated from the same college I did; and he used to come back here summers to work with Tom Martinez as a personal quarterback coach. Martinez was also the football coach at the College of San Mateo, where legendary coach Bill Walsh once played. Football royalty. So, you have every right to ask, what in the WORLD does this have to do with copywriting? Well, I know about Tom Brady’s secret frustration. And what I know is not from any inside information, but just from a fact of life which also affects copywriters. Tom Brady’s work ethic is not the only reason for his incredible success. It’s also his patience, when he worked and worked and worked and worked and worked without seeing any progress. And then one day - shazaam - a breakthrough. There’s a brick wall he kept running into. A brick wall we ALL run into, if we really want to get really good at something. Then one day, the door seems to magically open, and you break on through to the next level. We talked about the brick wall today and I laid out the formula for getting through it. What you need to know to get to the next level of copywriting. The brick wall I was referring to before has a technical name, among those of us who study it and those of us who coach people for performance improvement. It’s called the plateau. When you’re climbing a mountain, there are stretches of the path where you are moving upward. And there are stretches of land on your path that are flat. You have to move across these flat areas to get to the next part where the path continues upward. In geography, the flat area is known as a plateau, and that’s where the term comes from. We talked about George Leonard’s book Mastery a few shows ago. He has a chapter in the book titled “Loving the Plateau.” In that chapter, he writes “The achievement of goals is important… We are taught in countless ways to value the product, the prize, the climactic moment. “But even after we’ve just caught the winning pass in the Superbowl, there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. If our life is a good one, a life of mastery, most of it will be spent on the plateau. If not, a large part of it may well be spent in restless, distracted, ultimately self-destructive attempts to escape the plateau. “The question remains: Where in our upbringing, our schooling, our career are we explicitly taught to value, to enjoy, even to love the plateau, the long stretch of diligent effort with no seeming progress?” It’s a good question, the one that George Leonard asks. I’ll hazard a guess. Most people aren’t taught to value or even love the plateau. And when it comes to copywriting, that may be the number one reason people give up on trying to get really good about it. Yet you’ve got to. Put in the darkest terms, I’ll quote Winston Churchill: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.” It’s amusing, and it’s easy to focus on the word “hell.” But I’m here to tell you today to focus on four other words instead: “going through” and “keep going.” Now, to get a little clearer on the concept: A plateau is not writer’s block or burning out. No, a plateau is where you keep working on what you’re doing, and it seems like you’re making no progress. We talked about what that looks like… what you need to know about plateaus that will help you keep going and realize all is not lost but, to coin a phrase -- and that’s really what we copywriters do, you know, coin a phrase -- the best is yet to come. Books referred to in this show: Mastery, by George Leonard https://www.amazon.com/Mastery-Keys-Success-Long-Term-Fulfillment-ebook/dp/B01ND0X91Y Peak, by K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool https://www.amazon.com/Peak-Secrets-New-Science-Expertise-ebook/dp/B011H56MKS Atomic Habits, by James Clear https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-Proven-Build-Break-ebook/dp/B07D23CFGR Download.
30 minutes | a month ago
Making a Fortune in a Recession - Old Masters Series
Today we’re back at it in the Old Masters Series. We’re going to talk about how to make a fortune during a recession. Now a lot of people think now is the worst time to make a lot of money, but it all depends on your perspective. People who are good at spotting opportunities learn how to adjust the way they look at things depending upon the environment. When the storm clouds of recession and depression show up, they use it to their advantage. Not to take advantage of helpless people, but to recognize the opportunities in the changed circumstances. Bill Benton was such a man. He was 30 years old when the Great Depression hit in 1929, but he didn’t let that get in his way of becoming a millionaire by age 35. He saved companies with his unique ad strategies. And he even bought one for peanuts that later was earning him $2 million a year. Now let’s talk about you. Times are tough and you have to make a choice — do you want to go along with the doom and gloom thinking of the naysayers, or see this as a legitimate opportunity? Now, to be sure, things aren’t easy and right now a lot of people are in such bad shape that they can’t take advantage of opportunities, or create new ones. If that’s you, I understand. But if you even see a glimmer of possibility for building business during hard times, today we’re going to look at someone who did it and see what lessons we can draw from his amazing story — and use today. That person is Bill Benton. He founded his own ad agency just before the great crash of 1929, and emerged very wealthy and powerful, right in the middle of the Great Depression. In an interview Studs Terkel’s great book “Hard Times,” Benton refers to what his friend the economist Beardley Ruml said: “In all catastrophes, there is the potential of benefit.” We’ll look at how you can do that in today’s show. I’ve boiled down what I’ve learned to five principles of how Bill Benton did so well during the Great Depression, and we take a deep dip into each one: They are: 1) Ignore the doom and gloom 2) Feet on the ground, eyes on the future 3) Use the power of great content to multiply the results from advertising 4) Make direct response advertising your foundation, not your skyscape 5) Imagination really is more powerful than knowledge — but first you gotta have the knowledge. Books referenced in the show: The Lives of William Benton, by Sidney Hyman https://www.amazon.com/Lives-William-Benton-Sidney-1970-04-20/dp/B01FELATKU Hard Times, by Studs Terkel https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Times-History-Great-Depression/dp/1565846567Download.
35 minutes | a month ago
The New World of Personal Branding, with Rocky Buckley
Rocky is an entrepreneur, coach, consultant, and the creator of a program called Platinum Path, where he helps people reinvent their expertise and shift into a high-priced, lifestyle-friendly business model. Over the last 20 years Rocky has helped his clients bring over 100 million dollars in training and info products to the market. He's consulted on over 3000 projects for clients ranging from billion-dollar brands like Pearson, Wiley, and Macmillan, to experts, authors, and entrepreneurs in 7 countries and over a hundred different markets. But he’s accessible. You can hang out with him every day in his free Facebook group, called The Power Persona Project. Rocky talked about how and when personal branding is a plus for a copywriter, and some inside secrets you can use for yourself or your clients. Effective branding requires inner and outer work, Rocky says. He gave some great tips and benchmarks to give you a fuller working understanding about personal branding. Rocky’s Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/powerpersona Download.
30 minutes | 2 months ago
The Secret That Makes Copy Soar
We are back with another show in the Old Masters series. Today it’s How I Learned The Secrets of Success in Advertising, by G. Lynn Sumner. Guy Sumner originally published the book in 1952, and it was recently reissued. You can get it on Amazon now. We’ll put a link in the show notes. I only heard about this book from friend of the podcast Don Hauptman. The author Sumner was really an Old Master -- here’s an article about him from the New York Times of May 15, 1940, announcing he was re-elected as president of the Advertising Club of New York. That was 81 years ago! There’s one secret that’s particularly important, as important today as it was when the book was written. It has to do with the one thing that separates ordinary copy from blockbuster copy, and that’s imagination. Sumner has some great ideas about how to develop it, and that’s what we’ll talk about today. A lot of people believe that imagination in advertising is just coming up with some wild and crazy idea… throwing it up against the wall… and then hoping and praying it will stick. The problem is, sometimes it does, but almost all the time, it doesn’t. Let’s talk about how to vastly increase your odds by using your imagination to increase sales. We’ll start with an important question: What is creative thinking? Some creative people truly believe creative thinking is a magic thing you can’t describe, learn or teach. And for them, that may be true. A lot of people who haven’t learned how to think creatively yet think the same thing. So what follows from this is the idea: “Creativity — either you get it, or you don’t.” Guy Sumner doesn’t see it that way, and neither do I. Sumner says, “It is taking known facts, known elements, known functions and arranging them in new patterns.” He admits this is not easy, because it requires focused thinking to do this rearrangement. Now, what about creativity and copy? That’s where Sumner talks about another important quality, imagination. If creativity is the lab where new stuff gets designed, imagination is the art department where it gets put together in the most appealing way. Stated another way, imagination is what you use to make your creativity add value to your copy. Sumner talks about watching his mother make a cake. The flour, sugar and eggs would just sit there in the pan. The flour, sugar and eggs were the creativity. Then, his mom would in that magic ingredient, baking powder. Then, when you put it in the oven, the ingredients would rise and form a delicious cake! Sumner goes on to say that imagination is the “baking powder” of copy. We go on to detail the four steps of feeding the imagination that leads to blockbuster copy ideas. I know from personal experience, and the experiences of my clients, that these are as good today as they were in the 1940s and 1950s, when Sumner was writing about them. Here’s the link to Sumner’s book: How I Learned The Secrets of Success In Advertising: https://www.amazon.com/How-Learned-Secrets-Success-Advertising/dp/0981643213 Download.
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Copywriting and the Law
We all need a lawyer sometimes. But haven’t you ever thought: “Wouldn’t it be great if there were a lawyer devoted to copywriters and other creative professionals -- not only that, but she put together customizable contracts especially for people like us?” Well I’ve got two pieces of good news for you: There is such a person. Her name is Amy Nesheim. Secondly, she is our special guest today and she will give us some important information about Copywriting and the Law. Amy explains some things you might never find out about otherwise, unless it’s too late: The kind of mistakes copywriters make all the time that puts them at legal risk (so you’ll know not to make them) Do copywriters need to worry about whether their copy is legally compliant? Or is that all on the client’s shoulders? What kind of claims should copywriters worry about in their copy? Do you see anything frequently on sales pages that you think could be problematic? What can a copywriter do to protect themselves from potential liability? What Artful Contracts is, and how copywriters can take advantage of this website. https://artfulcontracts.com/ Download.
29 minutes | 2 months ago
Growth and Copywriting, with Dickie Bush
Our guest today has a curious connection to copywriting. Though he is not a copywriter or even a traditional entrepreneur by trade, he is one hell of a copywriter anyway. His name is Dickie Bush and he describes himself as a macro investor. I’m not sure what that means but I think it has to do with hedge funds and numbers with lots of commas in them. Dickie caught my eye on Twitter because of an online writing program he has called “Ship30for30,” which gets people from all walks of life to write something every day, for 30 days. It’s a paid program he had to learn how to write copy to sell it. He did, and he told me yesterday he’s getting 10% conversion on his sales page. That’s a skilled copywriter, no matter how you look at it. Dickie is a keen student of, and I would say expert in, growth of all kinds. How people grow, how systems grow, how businesses grow. This of course is very closely related to what we do as copywriters, since a good copywriter will help a business grow tremendously. There’s more, and covered a lot in our freewheeling conversation. Dickie’s online program: https://ship30for30.com Download.
31 minutes | 2 months ago
The #1 Most Underrated Copywriting Skill, with Roy Furr
Our guest today is Roy Furr, a top copywriter and one of the best thinkers about copywriting I know. Roy’s been at the top of the game for over a decade. Perhaps he’s best known for writing the sales letter for Brian Kurtz’s legendary Titans of Direct Response event. He’s done many seven-figure promotions for clients and coached, trained, and mentored other copywriters. Glad to have a great copywriting coach on the show! Roy has also published his daily Breakthrough Marketing Secrets newsletter since 2014. Today he’s going to tell us about “The #1 Most Underrated Copywriting Skill.” I agreed with Roy about this skill and I couldn’t wait to hear what he has to say about it. His point was important: You can have … the best headline … the best hook … the best stories … the best bullets … the best offer … and the best all-the-rest, but if you don’t have a solid, sense-making, easy-to-follow structure to put it all in, then, it’s all for nothing. He’s right, of course. What’s great about what Roy says is he gives you lots of ways to make sure your structure is good, and also gives you access to free and purchasable resources to help you more. Here’s the link to follow if, after you listen to the show, you’d like to go further with this very important topic (and many of Roy’s other great tips, courses, and services): https://www.BreakthroughMarketingSecrets.com/garfDownload.
29 minutes | 3 months ago
I don’t know how controversial what we say on Copywriters Podcast is, because I don’t have much data or gut feel on the subject, one way or the other. But I think I can say with great certainty something that nearly everyone would agree on. And that is this: The single hardest part of writing copy is getting started. The terror of the blank page. Where do you start, anyway? I mean, after you’ve done all your customer research, your product research… after you’ve written all your bullets… after you’ve brainstormed and schemed and planned… you’ve got to finally grab the beast by its lapels and get started. And you know what’s really hard about getting started? Finding your hook. Now, I can’t do that for you here today. But what I can do is offer some guidance and a few trampolines to get you going. I’ll give you three specific ways to create a hook… and tell you about the one way too many people default to, way too often, that really doesn’t work. So here’s the deal. Whatever you say in the beginning of your copy has a hugely disproportionate impact. It’s not just copy, really. It’s any communication. What you say or write at the start sets the tone, frames the conversation, prepares your reader or your listener for what’s next. People have these unspoken, often even unheard, questions in their mind. Not only “What’s this about?” but “Does this have anything to do with me?” and “Can I trust the person who’s saying this to me?” Whatever answers to those questions pop up will determine the frame of mind in which your prospect will hear or read what comes next. Again, this usually happens below the threshold of conscious thought. And ultimately, we’re talking about the level and quality of their engagement. Is it open, curious, receptive? Or is it skeptical, cautious, even bordering on hostile? Your hook -- your headline and the words that come right after your headline -- will determine that. Because your hook is what starts everything off. When you start right, you’ve got a shot. Start wrong, and you’ve pretty much blown it. We’ll start with the one thing a lot of people do that they shouldn’t, because it kills their chances. And then we’ll go onto three other things that give you a much better shot. Download.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
Dream Bigger in 2021
So, I’ll start with this question: If you had the most powerful persuasion method ever developed at your fingertips and you didn’t use it to persuade yourself to live the life you really want -- what’s up with that? I saw a quote on Twitter that said: The problem with the rat race is if you win, you’re still a rat. It’s a real problem for a lot of us. Not the rat race so much as trying to fit in and do what we perceive everyone else thinks of as “normal” -- as opposed to going for what you really want. Now, to be sure, you’ve still got to make a living and if you’re the breadwinner in a household, provide for others. But I think it’s tragic if you believe you have to torture yourself to do it. One way to stack the odds a little more in your favor is to take the tools of copywriting and turn them on yourself. Use copy skills to “sell” yourself on getting what you want. That’s what today’s show is about. Now, a quick note: This is not a sermon about the Law of Attraction. Too many people put way too much focus on the first part -- “Attract” -- and don’t pay enough respect to the second part of the word, which is, after all, “action.” You have to do more than just think about something to make it so. But… you can use copywriting combined with taking action to make things so you might not have thought possible before. The premise - figure out what you want - maybe you’ve been afraid to dream this big - maybe you were willing to do this before, but you didn’t know how - The two biggest problems with most goals getting achieved are - lack of motivation on your part to take the action you need to take to achieve the goal - lack of belief that it’s possible, that it makes sense, that it’s the right thing to do - What we’re going to talk about today takes aim at solving both of these problems -- getting these obstacles out of the way - we’ll use the copywriting techniques of creating compelling benefits to help you with your motivation - we’ll use the copywriting technique of reason-why to help get those doubts and lack of belief out of the way - So the idea is very simple, and it’s familiar to everyone who writes copy. Take what you’re going for and turn it into benefits, like - bullet points - stories - slice of life scenarios (“imagine what it’s like when you have a personal tattoo artist who will show up at your house with the press of a button,” for example) - Then, come up with one or more reasons-why - why what you want is important and necessary - why there’s every reason you can have what you want - why now is the right time for you to get/learn/develop these new things - Now, in what you’ve created, you have the two missing elements that most goal programs are lacking. - Next step is to write yourself a VISION SALES LETTER - For four reasons - to really sell yourself on getting what you want - to get motivated to get started on it - to actually get started - to keep going To recap, two reasons this could work better than anything you’ve tried before 1. It harnesses your imagination in a very powerful and unique way, with all the benefit statement -- unique because the benefits are vivid and specific 2. It convinces you to “buy” (meaning: “buy in”) to your goals and vision with a level of confidence that’s rare or nonexistent among other forms of goal-setting. So we look at three ways of using this Dream Bigger technique today: 1) in copywriting 2) in your business as a whole 3) in all of your lifeDownload.
29 minutes | 3 months ago
What keeps copywriters from getting good, and what to do about it
As we’re recording this in December, one of my heroes died just a few days ago. The great test pilot Chuck Yeager. The whole idea, and the book and movie, called “The Right Stuff” was pretty much inspired by him… his courage… his innovations… his incredible skill. Here’s something from an obituary of sorts in the New York Times. “In his memoir, General Yeager said he was annoyed when people asked him if he had the right stuff, since he felt it implied a talent he was born with. “ ‘ All I know is I worked my tail off learning how to fly, and worked hard at it all the way,’ he wrote [in his memoir]. ‘The secret to my success was that somehow I managed to live to fly another day.’ ” It sounds folksy and simple-minded, doesn’t it? Don’t let it fool you. What he said there was profound. The Chuck Yeager story brought to mind a book called “Mastery” by George Leonard. One of my all-time favorites. It’s not about copywriting, but Leonard was a very good and successful magazine writer and author, among many other things, and he knew a lot about mastery. Today I want to take a few tidbits from his book, which are gold nuggets in their own right, and talk about how to use them to get really good, and stay really good, at writing copy. So one thing to understand about Mastery, as George Leonard saw it and as I see it, too, is that it’s not a destination. It’s not like you’re a not-master and then one day you’ve achieved mastery, and you can go about your business drinking scotch or going fishing or climbing at the climbing gym. Mastery is a way of doing things and is more of a path than a destination. Once you get on the path of mastery, you should never be done. It’s an evolving thing. It’s true that there are people who are masters in life, but it doesn’t mean they’re done practicing or done learning. Or done growing or improving. It’s just an ongoing thing, and to a lot of people, that’s a surprise. But it’s true. George Leonard was on this path. He taught aikido at his own dojo in Mill Valley California -- he died about 10 years ago after a long life. But 20 years ago, when I recorded my first copywriting product, one of my students had been an aikido student of George’s. In the book, he had a chapter called “Pitfalls Along the Path.” He listed 13. I’ve combined a few of them and left a few of them out, as I’ve reshaped them for copywriting. So this is only a few ideas from one chapter of his book, combined with a lot of stuff about getting good at copywriting. I’d urge you to get this book and read it more than once: Mastery, by George Leonard. It has made a huge difference for me in my life. But on today’s show, we talk about six roadblocks that could keep you from getting where you want to go. A book well worth getting and reading -- more than once: Mastery, by George Leonard https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ND0X91YDownload.
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Copywriting Secrets of The National Enquirer
I saw this article on the Slate.com website: “Whatever Happened to the National Enquirer?” For years, the Enquirer was a go-to resource for many copywriters, including me. Quoting from the article: “For decades, the Enquirers’s circulation was in the millions.” But in recent times, the article says, quoting journalist Lloyd Grove, “its circulation consistently plunged, year after year.” Grove blames the Internet for the Enquirer’s death spiral. It couldn’t speed up to adjust to the rhythm of the Internet, among other things. There’s a lot of political intrigue behind what happened, too. What’s most interesting to me, though, is the Enquirer before its fall. What I learned from it back in the day… and how those lessons apply so powerfully to copywriting, even today. One reason I liked the Enquirer so much was because they published a story about me. The headline for that story was particularly interesting. They quoted me saying something I never actually said: “I owe my success to the Enquirer… says leading ad exec!” Personally, I didn’t get all that upset that they twisted the story that way. But my mother did. “You don’t owe your success to them -- you owe it me!” she bellowed. Thankfully, Mom got over it. Besides the fact that they gave me nice press coverage, the main reason I liked the Enquirer so much was because of their approach to writing, and we’ll get into that in a minute. But I want to say something else first. One really great thing about the Enquirer, back in the day, was that reading it let you take the temperature, so to speak, of the popular culture. I stopped reading it a few years ago because the content changed. First, it became too political, in a really nasty way. Second, they stopped doing what was known in-house as “aspirational stories” -- anything positive or inspiring. They used to do that a lot, but they hardly do that at all anymore. It stopped being fun to read. So today’s show is about the National Enquirer of days gone by -- lessons that are still valid and valuable for copywriters today. I organized this show into three parts: 1. National Enquirer Headlines - a unique approach, that made stories all but irresistible to read 2. How National Enquirer stories were put together - using a time-tested method that I’ve never heard any other experienced copywriter talk about 3. Four National Enquirer writing secrets at the most basic level - these are easy to do, and very powerful, but most people don’t use them most of the time. Download.
36 minutes | 4 months ago
Counterintuitive Copywriting with Donnie Bryant
Our guest today is Donnie Bryant, a direct response copywriter and marketing consultant. Since 2007, he's written sales copy in more than a dozen niches. Agora Financial, Dan Kennedy's GKIC, and Early to Rise have all been clients. He's also shared the stage with legends such as Lamar Tyler, David Deutsch and the late Clayton Makepeace. I heard Donnie speak on an invitation-only copywriting webinar hosted by Agora Financial a couple years ago. He said some things about curiosity and neuroscience, as they related to copy, that caught my interest so much I knew I wanted to have him on this podcast some day. That day is today, and we’re lucky to have him. Here’s what I asked him: So we can both admit neither of us remember exactly what you talked about on that Agora call, but I believe you are a big fan and ongoing student of neuroscience, as it applies to copywriting. Could we start with this question: 1. What's the most surprising thing you've discovered about how neuroscience affects how copywriting works? 2. You have said that “salesmanship in print” is an outdated term. Especially considering that you live in the great city of Chicago, where the phrase was coined, that’s a little surprising. Why do you say it’s outdated? 3. At one time in your life you used to sell jewelry face-to-face. I believe you learned a tactic then that makes it painful not to buy! Could you tell that story? 4. I hope you’ll forgive me for bringing up Chicago again, but it is the home to some of our greatest comedians, Donnie. You have a technique copywriters can use to engage readers’ minds more deeply… and you say this can be done by swiping a technique mastered by top comedians. Tell us about that. 5. OK, let’s get into neuroscience again for a second. What is the REAL neurological reason it is critical to nail your headline and lead on every piece of copy? 6. You have said that AIDA should really be CDA. What do you mean by that?Download.
26 minutes | 4 months ago
The Greatest Things About Being A Copywriter
Since we’re getting near the end of the year from HELL, I wanted to have a feel-good show to cheer everyone up. It’s a long answer to the question: What are the greatest things about being a copywriter? I think sometimes we get so caught up in the what’s and the how’s and the why’s of copywriting that we don’t take enough time to appreciate all the unique aspects of being a copywriter that can make it so much fun… and so rewarding. Listen, I’m not going to skip over the money part. That’s important. But there’s so much more than that. So what I’d like to do today is talk about the things you can appreciate if they’re already true for you… and things you can look forward to if you haven’t enjoyed them yet. I put this podcast together this a little while before Thanksgiving, so I was in a grateful frame of mind. I realized a lot of us in this line of work get used to it after a while, and start to take some of the unique aspects of copywriting for granted. I thought, why not celebrate the good stuff. If nothing else, reflecting on those things will help you through tedious and difficult times. Plus, if you’re just starting, I do want to assure you, there’s light at the end of the tunnel… and most of the time, it’s not the headlight from a train coming right at you! So, what we’re going to talk about breaks down into 3 categories: The Work, The Perks, and The Jerks. Seven things in all… enjoy!Download.
29 minutes | 4 months ago
Avoiding The Copywriting Compliance Trap Door
There’s one word keeps popping up this year when I’m talking to copywriters, and that word is “compliance.” If you don’t get the gist of what this means and what to do about it, you can get your ads shut down in a heartbeat. In fact, your whole ad account. This happens more often than you think. But if you navigate the compliance maze successfully, you have a real advantage. In some cases, you will be able to sell where you competitors can’t. And of course there’s a lot of money to be made when you do paid advertising right. I wanted to take one show to talk about this. I’m not the world’s expert on compliance myself but I’ve helped others make their copy compliant nonetheless. We talk about that and how you can take steps to avoid problems in this area. What I am and what I am not, as far as copy compliance goes: First, I’m not a walking encyclopedia on copy compliance rules and regulations. That might be one reason I suggest everyone with a big promotion get a legal review before they launch. I have a working knowledge of compliance, but things change all the time. What I am is: pretty good, when I’m presented with some copy and a clear reading of the rules, as my client understands them, at two things: - Reworking copy to give it the maximum shot at success within those rules, or - Finding a workaround that works and will keep them out of trouble. Now, let’s talk about compliance and reasons for it. Then I’ll give you some things you can do to keep from really stepping in it. Your reason is probably to stay out of Facebook jail or an official government jail. Believe me, there are all kinds of charges that can be made against someone for false advertising if a prosecutor wants to make them. From the point of view of the people seeking your compliance: It used to be the only compliance you had to worry about was with the Feds and the states, and this usually had to do with scamming people. These days, it’s more complicated: Google, like a newspaper publisher of old, makes money primarily by selling ads within an environment of factual credibility. Whether you agree that’s the case or not, that’s usually how they see it. So… any ads that go against their notion of factual credibility -- like saying you have the fastest weight-loss system in both the known and unknown universes -- would be out of compliance. For, among other things, using a superlative -- “fastest.” Facebook is like a TV network, where they are letting you advertise so long as you can keep the entertainment ton consistent with the environment they believe they are creating and maintaining. So a lot of things direct-marketing advertisers normally do, “don’t fit” in the Facebook environment. That’s how I see it, in terms of themes and intentions. Now, the difference between a good hook and a really bad hook? A good hook intrigues the prospect without giving away the whole story so your prospect has to read more to find out. A really bad hook outright deceives the prospect and this opens you up to a world of hurt, sooner or later. You can almost always find a way to make a good hook compliant. A bad hook will rarely be compliant and even if you get away with it, you’ll still end up with a lot of unhappy customers, who feel ripped off. And they may come after you. OK, that’s the background. In the show I detail five steps I use with clients to help them stay in compliance.Download.
28 minutes | 4 months ago
5 Copy Don'ts
Today we are back in the Old Masters series, with some helpful hints from a little-known but highly successful copywriter from the early 20th Century. He’s simply known by three initials: J.K.F. This was a guy who literally started out writing copy for food. He was quoted as saying, “No one wanted an advertising man like me. Had to eat so made a deal with the mate and cook of a ship who had opened up a restaurant on 23rd Street. Every week I put a poster in the window inviting people to come in and eat. In payment, whenever I felt hungry I went in and ate on the house.” He started out like that, but he ended up as a rich and successful CEO of New York ad agency. J.K.F. wrote a chapter in the book “Masters of Advertising Copy” called “Copy Don’ts.” We’re going to talk about some of them today. It turns out there were 38 “don’ts” in his chapter, and we wouldn’t possibly have time to cover them all adequately in a 30-minute podcast. So we selected eight of the best and fit them into five categories: 1. Facts and research 2. The state of mind of your prospects as they read your copy 3. The importance of being proactive about persuasion 4. The danger of distrust, and how to avoid it 5. Generating ideas that sellDownload.
28 minutes | 5 months ago
Junior Copywriter Opportunities with Kira Hug
Our guest today is Kira Hug. You may know of her from The Copywriter Club or The Copywriter Underground, where she is Co-Founder. She also heads a micro-agency, as she calls it, where she leads a team of copywriters on projects for course, membership and product launches. In fact, her specialty is personality-driven launch copy and brand strategy. I’ve known Kira a while, and was really intrigued when I learned she knows a lot about working with junior copywriters. It’s a topic both beginners and veteran copywriters can benefit by learning more about it, and that’s what she’s going to talk about today. Here are the questions we covered on today’s show: What is a junior copywriter, and what has been your experience either working as one or working with them? What are the different ways you can work with junior copywriters on a project? What can a junior copywriter do to land a copy gig with a pro copywriter? What are the pros and cons of adding a junior copywriter to your team? How do you decide to pay a junior copywriter? How can you avoid disasters when you work with a junior copywriter? What can a junior copywriter do to nail a subcontracting gig with a pro copywriter? When is the right time to hire a junior copywriter? What are the tasks I could expect a junior copywriter to do/learn realistically? What’s the next step to becoming, or finding, a junior copywriter?Download.
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