copywriting tips

EP 205: CCR New Breed – The Joy and Chaos of Rebuilding Copy Chief with Kevin Rogers and Rachel Mazza

   In This Episode Call it “Copy Chief Impossible”…  Just like business makeover shows like Restaurant Impossible or (my new favorite find) Hotel Impossible… this episode is an unfiltered look behind the curtain of the intense rebuilding project to completely overhaul Copy Chief.  My business integrator Rachel Mazza and I share all the gory details …

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David Deutsch Wisdom Tree

EP 204: CCR Wisdom Tree – A conversation with David Deutsch

   In This Episode David Deutsch is an A-List Copywriter in the truest sense… he started at Ogilvy and Mather (when Ogilvy was still leading the troops), pioneered the “magalog” style of direct mail sales letters, and has written for or consulted just about every major player in the industry for the over three decades.  …

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Dominic Hodgson Copy Chief Radio

EP 203: CCR New Breed – Dominic Hodgson’s plan to dominate the luxury pet care niche (and beyond)

   In This Episode Dominic Hodgson took an unconventional route to building an internet marketing empire – dog walking. In this loose and insightful conversation, Dom explains how he gained an immediate advantage by niching down into the “luxury pet care” market – targeting wealthy pet owners and offering not just a “dog walk”, but …

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EP 202: CCR Freelancer’s Journey – Chris Orzechowski – “Embrace the work”

   In This Episode In the six years I’ve been coaching freelance copywriters, no one has blasted through the first 6 (of 7) Phases of the Freelancer’s Journey faster than Chris Orzechoski. Four years ago this guy was teaching high school and coaching wrestling, and now he’s running his own agency. Like, a real agency, …

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Copy Chief Radio

EP 201: CCR Wisdom Tree – Carline Anglade-Cole – The Copy Control Queen

   In This Episode Carline’s new book, My Life As A 50+ Year-Old White Male is a rollicking ride through her life as a Haitian immigrant in the U.S., a colorful childhood with a tough love twist, becoming an A-List copywriter known as “queen of the control”, and raising children to understand the power of …

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EP 199: If Brands Told Jokes with Adam Hunt of White Label Comedy

   In This Episode Adam Hunt runs White Label Comedy, a done-for-you social media copywriting service that helps companies stand out with tweets and ad copy that build trust and engagement with humor. (A topic very close to my heart.) He recently joined Copy Chief and began devouring the training and applying what he learned …

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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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Ep 128: Life-Saving Copy Lessons From a Former CIA Spy with Jason Hanson

   In This Episode Jason Hanson spent his first career as a CIA Officer. Deep undercover in places on the globe most of us would be very careful to never end up. His job was to position himself in enemy territory, gain the trust of locals, then recruit people to spy for the United States. …

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Ep 119: Why Certain Copywriters Get Paid Better

   In This Episode Just you and me talking today… I had a bit of a “eureka” recently around why some copywriters seem to skyrocket to industry stardom, while others feel tethered in place. What’s making the difference here? Hard work? Connections? Luck? No. It’s something else. Resources Join Copy Chief today by clicking here …

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Ep 115: Price yourself with confidence with Laura Belgray

   In This Episode Pricing, huh?It’s the trickiest part of business. Yet, some people make it look so easy. Like my friend, Laura Belgray.She lists three simple ways clients can buy their way onto her calendar. It’s always a flat fee, and it ain’t cheap. She recently raised her price again because of simple supply …

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Ep 110: Slaying Dragons – Why Freelancers Succeed or Fail with Kevin Rogers & Ross O’Lochlainn

   In This Episode Ross was struggling to commit to making the leap to full time freelancer.He knew he wanted it. Believed he could manage it. But kept pushing his own deadline to make the leap out further.Then fate (and the Canadian government) stepped in and decided for him. Today on Copy Chief Radio, Ross …

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Ep 163: The incredible 6-word writing reframe (with Roy Peter Clark)

     In This Episode I’m fortunate to live in a town, and share a favorite coffee shop, with Roy Peter Clark. If you don’t know, Roy Peter Clark is “America’s Writing Coach”. Best-selling author of Writing Tools (which you can listen to on iTunes for free) and several other ingestible deep dives into our …

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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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[Story Sells] Use this Spider-Man ‘Twist’ to Make Your Sales Story Unforgettable

There’s one story principle that’s tough to execute, but very valuable if you do it right. This principle gives a story added depth. What does that mean? Simply, the tale penetrates deeper into the audience. The story stays with them, echoes in their minds in the days after they first see it. Instead of dissolving …

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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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How to use the “Doctors Dumbfounded” effect to Build Credibility & Desire: From Shyamalan to Schwartz

There’s a simple story technique you can use to quickly build credibility and desire for your product. The best novelists and filmmakers use it, as so do the best ad-slingers. In fact, Eugene Schwartz lists it as the 7th (out of 13) way to “strengthen desire for your product.” I recently saw this storytelling tool …

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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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[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 …

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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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[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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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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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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[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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How To Write Badass Bullets Image

How To Write Badass Bullets Your Readers Simply Can’t Resist

Bullets — they’re those titillating snippets of copy designed to tempt your reader into taking action… Have you ever read one so intriguing you couldn’t get it out of your head? Where you just HAD to know its secret? Sometimes, a single bullet is all it takes to knock your prospect off the fence and …

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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 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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