Proof I’m not a guru :(

I’m on a copywriter’s email list.  Today’s email had this line:

“Copywriters are NOT writers! We are marketers. We are strategists. We are salespeople in print.”

She said that quote was “every copywriting guru’s favorite line in the world”.

I thought not only have I not used that line before but I’ve never heard or seen it before either.  

See, and just when I thought I was one of the cool kids…

I do agree copywriters can be strategists and we are certainly salespeople in print.  

That first part bugs the hell outta me though.  It’s like wearing only a furry itchy wool trench coat in the middle of summer.

And I live in Phoenix by the way…

When we use the fire emoji here it’s cause it’s 114 degrees, not because we think something is cool.  

Anyhoow, back to copywriters are not writers.

This is why there is so little creativity in marketing nowadays.  If you rely on formulas and short sited tactics your marketing will stop evolving.  And then you’ll take another course and learn one more thing.

You’ll keep living your life and running your business off borrowed time.  

Albert Einsten said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

This is why studying some of the old direct response marketers can be so effective.  NO, you don’t want to model most of their ads but you DO want to learn how they think.  

Read about Claude Hopkins, Rosser Reeves, John Caples, or Robert Collier.  And plenty of others.

Also study good writing.  You can learn just as much reading Michael Crichton or Mark Twain.

Good writing is good writing.  

Not only will your marketing get better but you will develop your own voice.  

Your own approaches.

Your own techniques.  

That’s when writing your copy and emails gets easier.  And you start to enjoy it.

You still will have to start with a blank screen when you write.  But at least you’ll reduce your urge to jump out of your office window.

Want less stress when you write?


Beating Entrepreneurial Fibromyalgia with 1%

When my mom was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia her doctor gave her a cheery little nugget of wisdom.   

He said something like…

You will have pain everyday for the rest of your life.

Well, that was harsh I thought…

But he wasn’t doing it to be crass, or to be a dick.  

He was doing it because to him, that was the reality of Fibromyalgia.  And he said if she could internalize that now, it wouldn’t be as bad.  

This doc’s philosophy goes against my overly Pollyanna-ish like nature but I get it.  

This is also why I tell entrepreneurs and service pros that marketing is hard.

Copy writing is hard.

Figuring out your product, your message, and the best media for you is hard.  

This is why Swipe and deploy and copying ads have a tipping point.  They work and they’ll get you started but you almost never see the success of the original.

Eugene Schwartz said it best.

“Each and every formula is simply the written solution to a particular problem that occurred in the past.  Change even one part of that problem, and you need an entirely different formula.  That’s why memorizing theories won’t make you a scientist…or rewriting somebody else’s headlines won’t make you a copy writer.”

I could steal all Lebron’s moves and the Laker’s wouldn’t be calling me anytime soon.  

Great teachers help you learn and understand foreign and complex ideas.  That’s what makes them great teachers.  

That is what I aspire to do.  

That’s why I do what I do.

That’s how I’m wired.

But I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s easy.   Or that if you take my course you’ll become the next David Deutsch and 10x your income in six months.

But when you KNOW it’s hard.  All you have to do is little things.  

Like get 1% better everyday.  

The compound effect of daily improvement will make you an entrepreneurial bad-ass.  It might take 6 months it may take 6 years.      

But it WILL happen.  

Better to put your faith in that than some mamby pamby hocus pocus course.  

If you need a little “Riddikulus”:

Adam “Expelliarmus” Street

Don’t break the trance

If you use TikTik you may have heard a song called Bored in the House by Tyga and Curtis Roach.  My wife even used this song to make a goofy little video of my son, The Peanut.  

During lockdown The Peanut was definitely bored in the house!  

I usually only hear the song in 15 second increments but this week I finally listened to the whole thing. 

It’s descent.  It’s a fun song and I get wrapped up in it.

Until I hear…

“Ayy, married to the money dressed in tuxedos (Yeah) 

I could show you mine like I’m Magneto”

As a life long comic book geek, that last line doesn’t jive with me.  All I can think is, if he really KNEW Magneto he wouldn’t say it like that.  

Why do I bring this up?

Because this is what happens when your message isn’t 100% dialed in.  Your reader/listener gets in a trance.  And then, you break it with the wrong words.

It’s like hitting a speed bump at 30 MPH.  

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say your product or service helps people with depression.  You could say:

“Have you had an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior?”

This is ok, but it may break the trance.  

How about this?

Have you ever been out with friends, having fun, and suddenly think “I wish a car would hit me.”

This is an actual situation and not a clinical definition.  It’s far more relatable!  The reader will go deeper into your message.  Deeper into your trance.

You need to internalize this because if someone hits a speed bump they may stop reading.  Their attention wanes just enough.  

And then—.

An alert on their phone buzzes.

A new text comes in.

The phone rings.

And, they’re gone.  

So how do you make sure you don’t break the trance?  I read my copy 5-10 times. 

And I read it aloud.

That way you can look for the speed bumps and get rid of them.  

Wanna write in a more captivating way?


Sharpening your ax

One problem I have with the epilogue of the Harry Potter book series is what happens to Hermione Granger.  I think she would have been a fantastic (and probably famous) witch.

I say that because she was a great student. 

Dumbledore was a great student.

Tom Riddle [Voldemort] was a great student.  

When I saw Lebron James when he was young I knew he was going to be really good when I saw how  SERIOUS a STUDENT of the game he was.  

And being 6’8’ and 240 didn’t hurt either…

Keep in mind when I say study I’m not talking about merely reading or watching videos.  Lots of people do that.  Studying is reading/watching, applying, and taking account of your results.

And doing this on purpose.

That’s why copywriters that I respect like Gary Bencivenga said 40% of his day is research.  Ken McCarthy gave a similar ratio, and so did Eugene Schwartz.

Like these greats did, STUDY your craft.

STUDY your customers.

STUDY your marketplace.

It’s like the famous Abraham Lincoln quote.  “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.” 

Sharpen your ax.

For free daily tips and insights on how to ‘sharpen your ax, sign up for free at .


A Market of One

If you have a marketing problem, you probably have a storytelling problem.  Marketers talk about storytelling.  A lot.  Musicians talk about it.  Screenwriters talk about it.  It’s important.  I even give away a free book showing you how to do it better.  

Something is missing though.  It’s missing in your google search.  It’s missing in my PDF, and it’s probably missing from your website.

It’s YOU.  

Instead of telling people the glamour and glitz as to why you’re better tell them why you care instead.  Tell them what drives you and what made you who you are today.  

I received a 3×8 inch flyer on my house door.  It was black text on yellow paper and it had no pictures.  I have no idea if the flyer is a winner but I thought it was brilliant because it was so different.  The text began like this:


My name is Brandon.  My wife, family and I have lived in Surprise for the past few years.  For a number of years I have been a part of the residential remodeling and repair industry.  I now operate “My Neighborhood Handyman….

Within a  few sentences you know what he does, who he is, his background, and where he lives.  Immediately he has rapport with me and I imagine many others in my neighborhood too.  Yet, this little flyer shatters most marketing wisdom…

Where’s his compelling headline?  Where is the problem?  Why isn’t he agitating it?  Where’s the visuals?  You can’t market with just text?

Yes, you can.  When it’s you.  When you become a market of one you can ignore many of the rules.  Why?  Because sales happen when your audience knows, likes, and trusts you.  What can do that more than telling them who you are?