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the client from hell

Have you ever had a freelance gig go straight into the toilet? Happens to all of us eventually. In comedy, we call them “Hell Gigs” And they’re kinda funny. Eventually. I mean, it’s painful, believe me, to stand before a roomful of strangers, your voice amplified twelve times the natural volume, saying things everyone knows …

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LIVE in London! 60-minute sales letter workshop – It’s happening April 10th

  I’m headed to London for the first time next month, and I’m so damn excited that I decided to create a one-day-only COPY CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION WORKSHOP where I will work closely with a select group of marketers and teach them my method for… Pumping out a proven to convert sales letter in 60 minutes …

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Revenge of the introvert (intimate chat with John Carlton)

People are finally beginning to understand introverted behavior. Forever it was an “either/or” thing. But, “the great resignation” and the ability for some workers to discover how they operate best — usually AWAY from other people — even has the “big corporate work machine” mentality shifting a bit.   They’re discovering what creatives have known all …

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“How’s that a**hat landing all these great gigs!?”

“How’s that asshat landing all these great gigs!?” Maybe it’s okay to feel jealous.  I mean… Yes, of course, social media is a human highlight reel with (very) questionable accuracy. Yes, it’s a waste of energy to “count other people’s money”. And yes, your time is better spent doing your thing instead of wishing you …

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Easy leads

If you’re a copywriter, there are two types of leads you can get all day long with very little effort… The “lowest bidder” leads on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork where you’re forced to do a high volume of low dollar gigs.  (The only way to “win” this game is by living in the …

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Three superstar guests joining me… (guess who)

  I was recently on a Facebook live with special guests… master copywriter David Deutsch, uber-successful entrepreneur, Ryan Lee, and celebrity productivity expert, Adrienne Dorison…           Watch the replay to get an actionable preview of the kind of tactics we’ll be sharing at the upcoming Freelancing Transformation Bootcamp in November.  Over …

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Here’s what I’d teach my own kids about freelancing (3 things in 3 minutes)…

I’ve got two teenagers (15 and 17) who are preparing to take on the world, so I think a lot about what I can give them to make the journey ahead a little less treacherous.  Sure, I welcome all the ass-kickings they surely will endure – and survive – because wisdom from experience is the …

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How to solve ANY freelancing problem in 10 mins or less

We’ve just opened up a very few spots in my Freelancer’s Journey Accelerator coaching program.  Accelerator is my mid-level coaching program where twice a month I host a call and give you 1-1 advice and action plans for… Resolving tricky client issues Raising your fees Specializing your services Connecting with copy-centric companies looking to hire …

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The latest (and most ironic) trend in freelancing…

I just finished a call with one of the most in-demand freelancer’s I coach… He’s got a lot going on.  Full roster of well-known clients where he primarily consults on, rather than writes, their ads. A suite of training products he sells consistently for thousands in passive monthly income. Paid workshops that fill to capacity every time …

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Well, THAT went well…

How ‘bout a little look behind the curtain today?  This’ll be revealing to you if… You love copywriting and freelancing… You consider yourself to be a natural teacher… You’ve thought of creating your own courses and products… Many freelancers do, over time. Others don’t. They prefer to hang behind the scenes and produce. Which is …

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The best email copywriter I know?

The numbers are in, there are now over SEVEN MILLION copywriters calling themselves “email copy experts”…  … and that’s just in the dating niche! (Ba-dam, tsss) There are a few million more self-titled “email wizards” now teaching super wizardly email tactics like…  “writing as your dog”“spicing it up with memes” and “using whacky ‘from names’” Holy …

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The “no outcome pending” method for making big connections

Do you love April Fool’s Day?  Have you been planning for weeks exactly when to drop the plastic spider from the ceiling above the toilet and phone-record a family member screaming half-pantsed down the hallway?  That’s some Tik Tok gold right there! (forced segue alert…) But, ya know…  One place it’s ALWAYS UNCOOL to try …

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Kevin Rogers Copy Chief

Hunger, Smarts, and _____ Clayton Makepeace’s 3 traits every copywriter needs

I recently joined a panel of the world’s best copywriters to honor Clayton Makepeace.  It’s been a year since the industry was rocked by his untimely death soon after being hospitalized.  His wife, Wendy, as always, was at his side as he passed. She then served as our “rock” by inspiring us with how she …

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Copy Chief Radio

The “make or break” part of freelancing no one prepared you for

There’s a problem freelancers face when it comes to personal productivity:  Knowing how to use our time! It seems so elementary, but it’s understandable why we struggle with this. Because, as independents…  No one teaches us how to manage our own projects, let alone which things will actually grow our business and which are a …

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Everything I would tell you about copywriting on a long road trip

…(as we escaped the law!) Let’s imagine that you and I were thrown together by some random “madcap” movie plotline… Something really zany, like I’ve been falsely accused of a bank heist because I’m a dead ringer for the actual bank robber (played by Bryan Cranston)… who the cops don’t know just escaped through the …

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The “invisible” reason why sales copy thrives or dies

  What makes the difference between a piece of copywriting that stirs a deeply positive emotional reaction in the reader… and one that has them trashing it immediately. Or worse… forwarding it to a government agency as a potential scam? Very different reactions, clearly.  And yes, the stakes really are that high.  The difference comes …

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The entrepreneur’s “DNA test” (which type are you?)

  Wanna know what defines an entrepreneur? It isn’t the “billion dollar” ideas… Or the scrappy rebelliousness… Or even the ability to create revenue. Those things are inherent in most entrepreneurs, but also in wantrepreneurs – those who chatter about starting a business but never make the leap.  To me, what defines an entrepreneur is …

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4×6 Copy Breakdown: Profits Unlimited Ad by The Harmon Brothers

You’ve surely seen the hilarious viral video ads for products like Squatty Potty (with the famous ice cream-pooping unicorn), Purple Mattress, Lume Deodorant, and Poo Pourri. Those ads are made by Harmon Brothers and have single-handedly revolutionized the world of Direct Response marketing by using bold humor to interrupt the long-running pattern of “dire warning” …

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How to Find the Best Writers at Copy Chief Live’s Roundtable Meet Ups

Copy Chief writers are a special breed. They work hard at writing copy. And they care more about getting results for their customers than any person has a right to. I admit that I’m biased, because many of them have become my friends, as well as my students in Copy Chief’s Real Free Life program. …

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[Story Sells] How a “Ticking Time Bomb” Helps Capture Attention

Nothing motivates action like a time limit. It’s why sales and coupons don’t last forever. Deadlines seem to be hard-wired into our brains. It goes back to caveman days: “We get home before sun goes down, Thog. That when monster attack.” And when it comes to closing a sale, time limits create urgency to act. …

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[Story Sells] The Booster Rocket Tactic to launching a product’s Big Idea

  We live in the “golden age of television”, we are told. First premium cable, and now streaming, unshackled us from the constraints of storytelling dominated by commercial breaks. Now we can enjoy long, satisfying story arcs. The Sopranos. Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones. Westworld. Etc. All well and good. But don’t throw out traditional …

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The Hidden Reason Your Customers Aren’t Buying (and how to change their mind)

My mouse was hovering over the buy button for Ramit Sethi’s Dream Job. But I didn’t pull the trigger. If you asked me why I would’ve said: “It’s too expensive.” But the REAL reason was I didn’t think it could work for me. I saw Ramit as this super motivated, driven guy. He spent his …

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[Story Sells] “Ice-Breakers” in Ads: How To Gradually Introduce a Radical Idea

J.R.R. Tolkien had a big problem. He loved the ancient, epic tales. He began writing his own (see The Silmarillion). But he quickly discovered that these ancient worlds of honor and vengeance, with black and white heroes with little characterization, were almost totally inaccessible to a modern audience. All that oath-swearing. And listing of lineage. …

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[Story Sells] Beef Up Before and After Testimonials with this Story Technique

In Blake Snyder’s useful screenwriting how-to book, Save The Cat, he talks about two scenes you must have in your movie. An opening image. And a closing image. And one more thing: They should be OPPOSITES of each other. Why? To show how the character has changed and grown. This journey is the character’s “Arc.”. …

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[Story Sells] How to Name Your Products So They Stick

Han Solo. Gilderoy Lockhart. Benjamin Grimm. These names of fictional characters are easy to remember. Why? For one thing, they are all examples of “sympathetic naming”. That’s where you name a character after a trait they possess. So Han faces life pretty much “solo,” a lone-wolf. (Except for Chewbacca, who’s kind of like a dog.) …

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[Story Sells] How to Answer Customer Objections with the “Death Star” Solution

As I write this, San Diego’s Comic Con just wrapped up. Fans were served tasty selections of their favorite fictional universes. Predictably, some offerings unleashed a flurry of geek-citement. But others ignited a firestorm of critiques. Cause few folks are as argumentative as fanboys. As a market, they’re sophisticated and very vocal. That’s why storytellers …

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The 1-Sentence “RAD” Trick That Transforms a Commodity into a Brand

We live in the age of Branded Characters. Leave no lunchbox unclaimed by a caped crusader or a spiffy cartoon. Thank goodness. Who wants a boring blue box when you can have a universe of possibilities unfold every time you reach for a PB&J? And every single character has a little “TM” next to it. …

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The 5 C’s of Indoctrination: Essential Website Elements To Welcome Cold Prospects And Convert The Curious

If you only sell to people who know the value of your product or service you’ll quickly run out of new customers, doomed to forever be a small fish flopping around in a shallow pool of revenue. To expand your market and increase sales you must indoctrinate new prospects. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of indoctrination …

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[Story Sells] Prevent prospects from abandoning your ad by fixing the “Broken Film” mistake

I used to work at a movie theater in high school. One of my best jobs ever. I could watch any movie for free, and eat all the popcorn and drink all the soda I wanted. But some days were bad. When the film skipped — or worse — broke. (These were in the old …

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Unleashing Your Inner Lazy B*stard – How Freelance Copywriters Can Get More Done By Working Less

As freelance copywriters, we’re at this weird intersection between ‘creatives’ and ‘craftspeople’… Because our working practices need to draw from both areas. Creatively, copywriters must be sensitive to human emotions and highly empathetic… We have to be regularly inspired to create and develop ‘big ideas’ that resonate with people and help sell our clients’ products… …

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[Story Sells] How to win the war against wandering attention with the “John Ford Maneuver”

You know when you’re sitting in a movie theater and hear all the noise before the film begins? The flash of phone screens, the chatter, the rustling in seats, the unwrapping of a big box of Red Vines licorice? But then when the movie begins with a strong scene – like the “rolling boulder” sequence …

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How to tell your story like Tolkien (and stop losing prospects to your competitors)

If you had to tell me your story right this second, would you be able to do it … or would you choke? You’d think it’s easy explaining who you are and why people should care. But if this were true, nobody would need copywriters. Bad storytelling means we risk confusing or boring people … …

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[Story Sells] The Joy of Bob Ross: the hidden selling technique used by this mild-mannered painter in nearly every episode

When I feel stressed out at the end of the day, and I need to relax, I’ve got something better than single malt scotch. I tune in to an artist with a big ‘fro named Bob Ross, and step in his world of Happy Little Trees, in the Joy of Painting Series. (How’d he get …

[Story Sells] The Joy of Bob Ross: the hidden selling technique used by this mild-mannered painter in nearly every episode Read More »

David Bowie: The Ultimate Artist-As-Entrepreneur?

June 2017 marks 50 years since David Bowie released his first album. The title of this landmark record? Somewhat unimaginatively, it was called: David Bowie. Ironic, because nothing else in Bowie’s extraordinary life was ever that predictable again… The Ultimate Artist-as-Entrepreneur As a long-time fan, I was recently struck by just how well some of …

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[Story Sells] The Harry Potter trick to easier storytelling

Got a “productivity hack” for you today. Especially for all you procrastinators out there, as you sit down in consternation at your vintage Corona-Smith typewriter. (If you’re a hipster or an oldster, that is.) If you don’t know how to start your story, use a trick from Harry Potter-author J.K. Rowling. To explain: You remember …

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How Eugene Schwartz’s Branding Secret Ignites Direct Response Sales

Before I became a copywriter, I spent 29 years working with brands. The power of those brands allowed me to create multi-million dollar businesses around the globe. That’s a nice piece of change. It worked because each brand had a clear identity that resonated with certain consumers. In fact, the product itself was often secondary. …

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[Story Sells] Establish Authority by Copying This Novelist Trick

  Can you establish credibility while lying your ass off? Yep. Novelists and other storytellers do it all the time. And when you tell true stories as a marketer, you can copy their technique to build trust. (Bonus: when you pull from real life, you don’t have to work as hard as professional liars.) Here’s …

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[Story Sells] How Bush beats Obama in your sales stories

  I loved watching SNL as a kid. My favorite player? Dana Carvey. You might remember some of his best characters … The very special Church Lady. The dependable Garth. And, of course, the fake George Herbert Walker Bush. Carvey’s impression of President Bush became so widespread, that the former president himself once did a …

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The Conscious Consumer: Who they are and why you need to know about them

  I’ve been watching this for a while and wondering if others have noticed it too. The modern-day consumer is more aware and conscious than ever before. For us as marketers, copywriters and business owners, we need to be more aware of what we do when we sell to them. You may be thinking… “what …

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[Story Sells] Plunder this storytelling jewel from the British Royal Family

I’m watching The Crown on Netflix. The show follows the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in the 1950s. If you’re into period dramas and stuffy British manners, it might be your kind of thing. But for me, it looked like a bit of a snooze fest. Nonetheless, I’d heard it was good, so I …

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The Voice Mistakes That Are Costing You Money (And How To Fix Them)

How do you measure whether your voice is a success? Here’s a quick test. Try reading this out loud: It’s impossible not to read it in Liam Neeson’s voice. If you’ve nailed voice, that’s exactly what you should be looking for when someone reads your copy. They need to hear you. On Copy Chief, we’ve …

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[Story Sells] How to Capture Drifting Attention with the Captain “Hook” Rule

You will lose sales unless you hook your customer’s attention with the very first sentence. But what do you say? Well, to figure that out, let’s look at what not to do. And then just do the opposite. Captain Hook and his pals at Jake and the Neverland Pirates hold the treasure we seek. If …

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Stephen King’s IT And The Secret To Creating Emotion-Driven Copy That Converts

It’s one of the most notorious openings to any novel… Shocking, gruesome… …and so very, very vivid. From Stephen King’s epic 1986 tale, IT: “A small boy in a yellow slicker and red galoshes ran cheerfully along beside the newspaper boat. The rain had not stopped, but it was finally slackening. It tapped on the …

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[Story Sells] The “Mother Rule” for Keeping Faith with your Prospect

Sell on emotion, justify with logic? Yes, but … Stories teach us that emotions have a logic of their own. We may be irrational, unknowable creatures … But at least in stories, emotions must make sense. If they don’t, then we the audience won’t believe what’s happening in the story. Like when characters do dumb …

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Here’s The Secret To Copy That Keeps Your Prospects Coming Back For More

Recently a writer wanted her copy critiqued for an email lead generation campaign. It was for a watch targeted to bodybuilders. The writing style was “upbeat and cheerful.” Hey, wait a minute. That feels off to me… I looked at the company name and wasn’t familiar with the brand. But “upbeat and cheerful” wasn’t what …

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[Story Sells] How To Make Your “AHA!” Moment Believable with this “Dr. Strange” Magic Trick

The latest Marvel blockbuster ‘Dr. Strange’ makes you believe in magic. To the tune of $653 million and counting. And one of the secrets of the believability is a little storytelling magic trick you may use in your next promotion. We live in the Golden Age of Fantasy Movies. From epic fantasies like Game of …

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The #1 Way You’re Accidentally Killing Your Own Sales… And How To Fix It

As an entrepreneur in the self-improvement world, you’re pouring a ton of blood, sweat and tears into your business on a daily basis… You’re creating life-changing products and services and putting beaming smiles on people’s faces without them needing to gorge on an entire chocolate cake. You’d figure your work is done right there, and …

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How to 2X the value of your case studies (follow these 4 steps)

You already know case studies inspire hope, prove you’re credible, and give your reader that “If they can do it, so can I!” feeling that makes them take action. But done right, they can do a whole lot more. They can uncover objections and fears you didn’t realize your audience had. And ensure you write …

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The 15-Minute “Focus Card” That Will End Your Stress and Fatten Your Wallet

How’s your business been treating you so far this year? Is it the friend you can’t wait to wake up to? Or the beast looming in the next room? People with “real jobs” don’t quite understand how it can be. This relationship we have with our business. It’s complicated. Sometimes you can feel like you …

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More writing, happier clients: 5 ways to handle the business side of copywriting

The dream of becoming a successful freelance copywriter is an alluring one. You make your own schedule. You work with who you want to work with. And you get paid handsomely for all of it. Plus, your job is to learn about psychology and persuasion — skills that improve every single area of your life. …

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[Story Sells] Rip This Part of Your Sales Letter from Star Trek

It’s easy to bore your reader when you shift into science mode. Yeah, you often need some technical explanation to prove why your product works. But, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of jargon and research. That’s when you lose your prospect. So how do you keep it interesting? Without your techno-babble landing …

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[Story Sells] Sell On Emotion, Justify With This …

My nephew recently asked me how The Flash got his super-speed powers. My answer: “Barry Allen was struck by lightning while standing in front of a shelf of chemicals. The combination of the chemicals and the lightning gave him super speed. Lightning is very fast, after all.”* This story made sense my nephew. Lightning is fast, …

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[Story Sells] The copywriting secret that helped this summer blockbuster rake in $1.6 Billion dollars

When I was a teenager, I stood in a long line to watch the first Jurassic Park. I had just read the novel in one big gulp and I was dying to see real dinosaurs on the screen. I wasn’t alone. The movie brought in over 1.02 billion dollars. Steven Spielberg, the director, knew how to tease …

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[Story Sells] TESTIFY, brother: How To Tell A “Conversion Story” that turns your customers into your best promoters

A few years back I followed my buddy to a multilevel marketing event for a health supplements company. It was a big event, designed to bring curious seekers into the fold. Presenters talked up the company and the products … but what I remember most were the testimonials. And when I say testimonials, I mean ‘testimonial’ in …

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The Growth Engine: A Three-Step Repeatable Process That Accelerates Growth

January 2015 — Rochester, New York It was 11:22 AM and for the last 3 hours 22 minutes I’d been gagging on the question, ”What should I do next??” For the 13th month in a row my business was flat. No growth. No new opportunities. Nada. I was freaking out because I’d always heard: I …

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[Story Sells] How to harness the power of “Authenticity” for your sales story

You can ramp up the intensity of the stories you tell when you insert one basic theme. My friend Michael Hauge revealed this to me recently. According to him, nearly all stories in the world revolve around this central dilemma. And, so too, do our lives. When you put this theme into your stories – …

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How to Cure Your Shiny Tactic Syndrome And Start Creating Offers That Convert

The following is a series of emails sent about a serious epidemic in online marketing circles. Email 1 Subject: Do you suffer from “shiny tactic syndrome”? (a quick test) Here’s a quick test to see if you (or someone you love) suffers from Shiny Tactic Syndrome (STS)… __ You bought and never used Guru Buckweasel’s …

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5 Steps to Transform Your Personal Stories Into Sales Machines

“Story sells…” “Your customers connect with stories, not features and benefits…” “Thou shalt not bore thy customers…” If you study sales copy, you’ve no doubt heard variations of the above…that you should be telling stories. Stories are what people remember, and the way to your audience’s heart. And you can probably name at least two …

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Conterintuitive Copy – Why this company reveals how to make their product on your own

There I am innocently perusing Facebook and then…  woah! Good copy alert. Yes, I’m a nerd, buuuuuut… Check it: So I did what completely normal people do (right?)… and broke this down quick by asking 4 questions: What are they saying? Who are they speaking to? What is the voice? Does it work? 1. Why are …

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[Story Sells] Exposing the 60 Second Sales Hook: When Your Story Sucks

The 60 Second Sales Hook can ignite a timid prospect into action. Or it can freeze ‘em faster than the Ice Bucket Challenge – if you’re telling the wrong story. In a sec, I’ll give you a simple rule on how to chose which story to tell. First, a brief refresher of the Hook by way of …

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How To Use “Truthful” Copy To Win Over Your Reader (Or How A Politically Incorrect Film About Mental Health Teaches You How To Overcome Objections)

When I was a kid, I was an unashamed ad junkie. (I’d love to tell you I always wanted to be in advertising, but that wouldn’t be true. I wanted to be an airforce pilot.) In my ears, I can still hear every note of the catchiest theme songs and the excited delivery of ad slogans. But …

How To Use “Truthful” Copy To Win Over Your Reader (Or How A Politically Incorrect Film About Mental Health Teaches You How To Overcome Objections) Read More »

[Story Sells] The Bradbury Trick for Spinning Easy Story Copy

Ray Bradbury fumbled his early stories. They took him a long time and were boring to read. Until in his twenties he stumbled upon a “trick” that gave him an endless supply of story ideas … giving us Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and creepy tales like Something Wicked This Way Comes. With this trick, he …

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[Story Sells] Happiness Sauce in this 2016 Superbowl Commercial

Wanna be happy in your work? Apparently, here’s the secret: Just do one thing well. That’s the message of Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism. When you pursue too many things at once, you burn out. (Or maybe even worse, never make an impact anywhere.) If you own a fancy garden hose nozzle, you know what I mean: …

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The Next Million Dollar Copywriter Live Hangout with Brian Kurtz and Kevin Rogers

 The Next Million Dollar Copywriter Live Hangout with Brian Kurtz and Kevin Rogers This epic live summit sought to help direct response copywriters and companies discover better ways to work together. Add your voice to the conversation using the comments section. Chat Log: [00:00:00 – chat] Kevin Rogers: Welcome! We will start in a few …

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Beating Copy Blindness: Weaving story into every part of the sales letter

In today’s hyper-connected cyber world, we’ve become “copy blind.”   People are reading so much copy… they tune out, go numb, and become blinded by the sheer number of ads they encounter day after day. The New York Times reported that, 30 years ago, people saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, people …

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[Story Sells] Why Morgan Freeman destroys this storytelling ‘rule’

I’m six years old and everyone is staring at me. The whole class is restless. Mrs. Brown, at the back, nods her head in encouragement. I see Eric in the third row fidgeting in his seat. He’s crumpling up paper for a spitwad. No more stalling – time to pull out the big surprise. It’s Show and …

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How to sell beyond emotion and logic (Melanie Saladino’s safety and excitement scale)

During World War I, the British Army believed high morale was the key to victory. And what builds morale better than love notes and care packages from home? So they developed an efficient way to deliver 12 million heart-wrenching letters to active-duty soldiers… every week. Here’s an excerpt from a real letter sent home during …

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3 things that must happen before anyone will buy from you…

I’m about to get all serious up in here today. There’s an alarming trend happening with freelancers and entrepreneurs that needs to be called out. People I’ve spoken with are more confused and depressed than ever over why they’re still stuck, despite dumping thousands in courses, coaching and programs. If you’re frustrated at trying and …

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How to create a “sure profit” dialogue with your customers and only produce winning offers

Do you know why 90% of small businesses fail in the first year? If you ask the owners themselves they’ll say, “we ran out of cash.” Yet, you and I both know that really means…. there was lots of cash going out and little or none coming in. In other words: “No one was buying …

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[Story Sells] Why Steve Jobs shelled out $100,000 to a freelancer for 14 days of work

The STORY After Steve Jobs got canned from Apple in the late 1980s, he was licking his wounds, deciding what to sink his fortune in. After buying a small computer division from Lucasfilm (called Pixar), Jobs focuses on his real business: He would build a new computer company called NeXT. Eventually, he produced a groundbreaking …

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[Story Sells] Netflix shows you how to have a happy family

Last column I reprinted the Wall Street Journal’s classic “Two Young Men” story and talked about the power of parables. Brief, punchy stories. Short on plot but long on meaning. Another lesson to yank from the Two Young Men story is the power of the Comparison Story. One life-path reaches Heaven and the other descends to …

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How Cards Against Humanity Writes Emails Their Customers Can’t Wait to Open

Many business owners I know cower at the prospect of emailing their customers. If they don’t have something to sell, they’re not sure what to say. When they do have something to sell, they don’t want to annoy them. And if they have any type of subscription model, they’re afraid an email will only serve …

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[Story Sells] When Customers Pay You To Read Your Ads

Stories are viruses. Once you’re exposed, you can’t unhear them. Over 15 years ago, my dad put in a request for his birthday – a book. Maybe you’ve heard of it: Rich Dad, Poor Dad. At that time, Robert Kiyosaki’s publishing juggernaut hadn’t demolished sales records. My dad had read a blurb somewhere and thought …

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How To Sell Like The UFC

You may have seen the mean looking lady at the top of this article on TV before. Or maybe on YouTube. She’s the lady who’s always in those cage fights, crushing some other girl in a “no-holds barred” blood contest. She normally ends up winning, brutalizing her opponent in a matter of seconds. Her name is Ronda Rousey. Now, how you …

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How Warren Buffet uses stories to lure his next billion-dollar deal

Warren Buffett’s name is magic when it comes to money. He’s the world’s greatest investor, neh? $66.7 billion net worth. His company, Berkshire-Hathaway, owns 56 different businesses, including ad-manic GEICO and railroad giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe. In fact, Buffett’s business is buying other businesses. He’s famous for not seeking out deals. You have to …

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How To Gossip

In the last post, I talked about how gossip grabs immediate attention. The brain identifies a story as gossip if: it’s news, especially a story that’s being covered up or denied there’s a credible source it’s about somebody specific and most importantly, it’s about something bad, controversial, or threatens a reputation I looked at two …

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Trump: The Art of Division and Persuasion

Love him or loathe him, there’s one accusation that can never be levelled at Donald Trump: he’s dull. You can roll out any number of metaphors for the billionaire and reality TV star’s impact on this presidential race. A tour de force, a whirlwind, whatever… But beneath the grandstanding and deeply controversial statements, there are …

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[Story Sells] HOMO GOSSIPUS, or Why TMZ makes $2,476.21 per minute

Legend has it that storytelling began in the flicker of a campfire … when the prehistoric hunters gathered round at the end of the day and wove tales of slaying the might beasts. In so doing, they exchanged useful information, with storytelling as the vehicle. But maybe storytelling evolved someplace else; Instead of the campfire, …

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[Story Sells] An Easy Way to Tell A Story (Pixar Approved)

The STORY On the first day of my improv class, my instructor Mike Christiansen asked us what we wanted out of the class. One student offered what seemed like a no-brainer: “To be funnier.” To which Michael replied: “I can’t teach you that.” But nobody demanded a refund. Because then Michael added: “But … I …

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The danger in presuming you know what your prospects are thinking

Picture it: June. Southeast Texas. HOT. I’m talking swamp-in-the-seat-of-your-pants HOT. I’m on the hunt for a new car because after my car accident, I’d been stuck driving my stepdad’s old Ford pickup truck. The one with the bench seat, the loud engine, and the open-all-windows variety of air conditioning. I arrive at the 5 billionth …

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Subway’s Big Marketing Problem (And It Ain’t Just Jared)

Picture the scene around the boardroom table in Subway’s publicity office. Ashen faces trying to comprehend how to deal with the public takedown of their poster boy. Furrowed brows desperately trying to work out how to extract the brand’s image from this public relations black hole. When Jared’s home was raided by police two months …

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How to stand out from the noise — Conor McGregor

A few seasons ago, a loud mouthed NFL player — Richard Sherman — aggravated a nation and drew controversy with a post-match interview. If you didn’t catch it before, have a look here: At first glance, Sherman comes across as a brash, ignorant and unsporting meat-head, who uses his air time to settle a score. …

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How to use the Hollywood Sequel technique to keep prospects coming back

“We’re doing a sequel That’s what we do in Hollywood And everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good!” So sings Kermit and friends in the latest instalment of the Muppets movie. Why is it that movie sequels have such a bad rap and infuriate movie critics so? There’s a sneering attitude of looking …

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WANTED: The Big Idea (direct response style)

The missing secret of failed campaigns. It’s true. Remove the BIG IDEA behind the world’s highest grossing marketing campaigns, and then ask yourself this question… What remains? Bum fluff. A little harsh, but if a sales letter’s body copy could speak – his testimonial would read… “Big Ideas changed my life forever – never been …

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Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Secret’ To Jacked-Up Writing

Now when it came to ‘morning’ writing rituals, no-one could touch Hunter S. Thompson. According to his biographer, his day started at 3pm with a glass of Chivas Regal and a packet of Dunhills with his papers. Minutes later, it rapidly descended into an evening-long smorgasbord of vice. Cocaine was then taken every half hour, …

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The ‘joke’ that made a millionaire

Remember Black Friday last year? If you don’t, you may not recall one of the greatest marketing pranks of all time. Cards Against Humanity – famed for its grossly offensive and utterly hilarious card games – sold 30,000 boxes of a new product called Bullshit on Black Friday. It was with some consternation that purchasers …

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How to Guide Your Customers On A Journey Like “Mr. Pain”

If stories work so well in marketing, why not put them to work in other areas of your business? After all, stories arouse attention, engage interest, and ignite feelings… so why miss out on those emotional accelerators when it comes to your actual product or service? I wrote a few weeks back how you can use the …

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Revealed: The “sales influencers” all around you

Sales influencers are those things put in place to guide buyers to the sale. Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes pretty stealth. Last week I shared a video walking through Manly Beach and Sydney, Australia and asked viewers to spot the 20 sales influencers in the video. I reveal 18 of them under the video. Watch and see if …

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House of Cards Persuasion Lessons

Enjoy a sneak peak into the Copy Chief private forums via this excellent post by Founding Member Ross O’Lochlainn…   Are you a fan of House of Cards? If not, you should be. I have only recently started watching it. It is powerful stuff. The writers and producers of this show deeply understand the themes of power, …

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The Million Dollar Potato Peeler Sales Pitch

  1. Stop traffic. Once a small crowd has gathered Joe waves his audience in closer as a “courtesy” because it “saves me shouting.” He promises, “I won’t ask you for money” to differentiate himself from the panhandlers in the streets of New York City. (And technically he does not ask for money, he asks …

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“Mike & Molly” Star Billy Gardell on How To Create Your Own Success

Billy Gardell is the star of the hit sitcom “Mike & Molly” on CBS (with co-star Melissa McCarthy). We began our comedy careers together in 1988 and we’ve been great friends ever since. Billy is the one the most inspiring people I know. A true bootstrapper who never gave up on his talent and finally …

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Secrets Smuggled Out of John Carlton’s Action Seminar 2011

Hi Friends, Just back from John Carlton’s Action Seminar – a torrid 3-day affair between the sharpest minds in marketing and the most elite group of copywriters ever assembled. I realize that statement reeks of hyperbole, so let’s briefly consider the players: John Carlton and Stan Dahl The all-star faculty of Top Dog Simple Writing …

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Why Your 2-Year-Old Write Should Write Your Next Sales Letter

Thank goodness for storyteller Mo Willems. He is the wildly popular children’s book author & illustrator of  Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!  and many other literary gems. Why am I so grateful to this man? Well, two reasons. First, as any of you parents know, kids (particularly toddlers) love to read the same story …

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Top 5 Copywriting Lessons I Learned Eating Dinner with Dan Kennedy

  Take a look at that photo… If my (the bald one) expression has a tone of “cat that just ate the canary,” it’s because I’ve just had dinner with three of the greatest copywriters alive. It would be impossible to calculate the amount of sales those brains have produced with top level copywriting and about 100 …

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How the wrong bonuses can kill your sales

Trending right now inside Copy Chief: Hi @Lizzie – good question about the “wrong bonuses” killing the sale. If you’ve ever shopped for Internet Marketing courses you’ll see endless examples of too many bonuses, and some examples of wrong bonuses, too. Then, of course, there’s the ultimate: Way too many of the wrong bonuses! The over-bonusing …

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The Real Treat hiding in a Brothel

It’s time to talk about Mad Men. After all, how can I write about stories and advertising without mentioning one of the most famous stories about advertising? I know, I know. Hard-nosed direct response marketers often have less than flattering things to say about Madison Avenue advertising methods. No accountability. Entertainment but no sales. Limp, milk-toast …

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The amazing two-sentence answer to “what do you do?”

Have you ever noticed that the companies we love the most are usually rooted in rebellion? For instance… Apple started in the garage after Jobs and Wozniak left college, fed up by the slow pace of technology. Virgin Airlines was born out of Richard Branson’s frustration with crappy airline travel. Dollar Shave Club started when …

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Hook of the Week: Carrie Underwood’s Smokey Eyes

Kev here…and  we have a new record! America’s sweetheart Carrie Underwood nails the KLT sales hook in fifteen seconds flat. Check out the clever use of time lapse to get RESULT across at the end. Congratulations, Carrie, you and your smokey, hazel eyes are the reigning KLT Speed Champion (I can hear Jessica Simpson seething …

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Hook of the Week: “I Talk To Strangers” (Kickstarter)

Hello… Kev here… who are you? It’s pretty amazing how crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have revolutionized the idea of venture capitalism. For a small fee, you can become an investor in a project you feel connected to, or you can post your own project and seek donations to get it off the ground. …

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Marketing Secrets from John Carlton’s Action Seminar 2010

Hi Friends, I’m just back from San Diego where I took part in John Carlton‘s first Action Seminar. It was a 2 day event — much more marketing “workshop” than speaker parade — where John, his biz partner, Stan Dahl, and a cadre of A-list marketing talent gang-tackled the biz-building issues most relevant to attendees. …

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Your Fighting Chance In This Economy

“Everyone’s feeling it.” You’ll hear that comment daily about our fledgling U.S. economy. It’s a psychological defense against the fear of an uncertain future. Assuring yourself that you’re not alone. The discussion then trails into heartbreaking scenarios of friends, and friends of friends who have it worse than the storyteller. Countless tales of nurses and …

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The greatest benefit of a freelance career

When I was a skinny, punk-ass 16 year-old… my step-dad, Scotty, ran a construction crew building new homes in Tampa. He was a tough-as-nails, but fun-to-be-around guy (picture Willem DaFoe and Jeff Spicoli merged as one) who had one rule on the job site: Never get outworked. That summer, rather than sit around broke watching …

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Lessons From Chicago #1: What The Gurus Want From You

Anybody serious about marketing success studies other marketers – a lot. Some attend seminars, others prefer private study, and the most determined seek personal attention from the best mentors. And none of it is worth a thing until you turn it into cold hard cash. There are legions of “serial learners” out there who attend …

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If Michael Jordan Wants To Be Your Fan—Let Him.

Chicago, 1994—I was a relative newcomer on the Windy City comedy scene, but I’d landed a gig headlining the Improv comedy club about twice a month. The show was a cabaret, so I’d share the bill with all kinds of acts; jugglers, magicians, acapella groups, dancers, even the occasional ventriloquist. (Twisted bunch, ventriloquists.) Backstage at …

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Expert Interview: Chris Haddad (new golden boy of the romance niche)

Chris Haddad is as sharp as they come. He’s long been one of the Internet’s most accomplished and saught-after copywriters, penning million dollar winners for the likes of Jeff Walker, Jeff Johnson and other major players not named “Jeff.” Now Chris has slipped out from behind his keyboard and into the white hot guru spotlight …

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Expert Interview: Jason Moffatt (Genuine Facebook Rock Star)

Ever wonder why some people’s Facebook pages sparkle with the energy of a carnival sideshow, while others (despite all efforts) only chirp crickets? Is it purely a “personality thing”? Or is there a method to the madness? Click play below and find out as, Jason Moffatt, one of the most popular marketers on the Internet …

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