Storytelling

Ep 129: Where Con Artists and Copywriters Collide with Richard Armstrong

   In This Episode In Richard Armstrong’s new fiction novel, The Don Con, we follow a two-bit New York con artist and small-time actor (whose single claim to fame is a background role on the Sopranos) as he gets cornered into joining a big heist job that, let’s just say, he is ill-equipped to pull …

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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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Ep 152: Michael Hauge – 5 Mistakes of Ordinary Storytellers

   In This Episode What makes the difference between an ordinary story and a powerful story? (For starters, they don’t make the 5 mistakes in this upcoming episode 🙂 The real answer is Emotion, and knowing which parts of the story to use for the biggest impact on the reader. Remember, if your readers don’t …

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[Story Sells] Boring Story? Play This Silly Kid’s Game

Now Christmas is a distant memory, how sad does winter look without the pretty lights and decoration?  At the height of the holidays, you barely notice the inclement weather. Now, without the festive cheer masking the reality, we yearn for the return of those ornaments that stir our excitement and lift our mood. You crave …

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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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Ep 134: Copywriting Legends Highlights with Henry Bingaman, Marcella Allison and Parris Lampropoulos

   In This Episode We’re doing something a little different for this week’s episode. As you may know, our first ever Copy Chief Live event is just around the corner. And we’ve got some of the most accomplished and respected copywriters and marketers in the game taking the podium… … and sharing insider secrets and …

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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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Ep 131: Marc Gutman – Better Storytelling From The Guy Oliver Stone Trusted To Find The Best Ones

   In This Episode Today, If you want to grab someone’s attention… it’s no longer enough to just tell a compelling story. You’ve also got to get specific. Most stories fall flat because we’re afraid of diving deep and getting specific in our tales. Reality is, that’s exactly what you must do to tap into …

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Ep 71: How To Add Tension To Your Copy And Keep Your Readers Glued with Carolynn Ananian

   In This Episode The reality is, people rarely remember facts. But they’ll always remember how you made them feel. Most marketers make the mistake of omitting all the facts from their sales stories. That’s a mistake because a lack of facts make for a weak sales argument. You DO need facts… … but you’ve …

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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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Ep 63: How To Write Visually and Spring Your Sales Copy to Life with Henry Bingaman

   In This Episode Smooth writing and a great story are useless if you don’t tie ’em into your promotion. One of the biggest mistakes even top copywriters make is losing themselves in the writing and forgetting the purpose of the ad. And if your visual language doesn’t fit the promo like a glove, you’ll …

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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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[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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[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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Ep 47 – The Huge Opportunity Hiding In Short Explainer Videos with Dean Edelson

   In This Episode What if you can get your prospects hanging on to every word of your sales copy like they were kids hypnotized by their favorite cartoon? Today, former screenwriter and stand-up comic turned copywriter, Dean Edelson joins me on the show. Dean helps high-level clients craft compelling marketing messages using explainer videos. …

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Ep 46 – Spice Up Your Messages with “Snapshot Copywriting” with Pete Michaels

   In This Episode You ever notice how people are happy to carry around a thousand page Stephen King novel? What if it was possible for you to connect with prospects so strongly that they can’t stop reading your sales copy? Today freelance copywriter and Copy Chief founding member Peter Michaels joins me on the …

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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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[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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Ep 38 – Freelancers: Why You’re Not Getting Hired Pt 1 With Abbey Woodcock

   In This Episode If you’ve been in the freelancing game long enough, you know exactly what it’s like to be turned down for a gig with no explanation at all. In this episode, you’ll learn how to increase your chance of landing a gig and why talent is only one small factor in the …

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Ep 36 – The Hidden Power of Weekly Newsletters with April Dykman

   In This Episode In this episode, Copy Chief member April Dykman will show you how to discover how to create a newsletter that your readers look forward to reading and what you must do if you want to monetize your newsletter (without jeopardizing the new relationship you formed with your readers). Resources: There’s no …

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Ep 35 – Flash fiction for powerful story copy with AJ Silvers

   In This Episode Another hot episode with a Copy Chief member, AJ Silvers. He’s here to help you discover how to make your sales copy more engaging and effective in boosting the bottom line using flash fiction principles. Resources: Learn what “flash fiction” means and how to use it in the name of higher …

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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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[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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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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