June 6, 2024

Carline Anglade-Cole is a 3X award-winning direct-response copywriter, author, and consultant. With over 30 years of experience in direct marketing and a track record of crafting compelling direct mail packages and web pages, she has secured a 100% success rate on projects for major companies, such as NatureCity. Carline’s exceptional skills in storytelling and copywriting have not only saved products from being discontinued but have also led to significant controls for her clients in both the US and international markets, including a successful campaign in Germany.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • [4:34] Carline Anglade-Cole emphasizes the value of emotional storytelling in successful copywriting
  • [8:42] Crafting a narrative that connects with your audience
  • [10:35] How to evolve a single story into multiple successful campaigns
  • [12:07] Adapting copy for different cultural contexts
  • [18:17] How to assert your creative control as a copywriter when working with clients
  • [18:30] Strategies for handling the balance between client demands and your copywriting process
  • [20:17] Top tips on cultivating relationships with clients who respect and empower your writing process
  • [25:15] How dealing with copywriting failures can lead to growth and better success ratios

In this episode…

In an ever-evolving marketing landscape, how does one stay ahead and ensure their message not only reaches but also resonates with their audience? This question becomes even more pertinent when considering the transition from traditional direct mail to the digital sphere. Is the secret to successful marketing hidden in the power of storytelling, and how can one leverage personal experiences to create compelling campaigns?

For Carline Anglade-Cole, a veteran copywriter, storytelling is not just about selling a product but also building trust and creating a lasting relationship with the audience. With over 30 years in the direct marketing space, she emphasizes that regardless of the medium, the essence of marketing lies in storytelling. Through her experiences and examples, Carline demonstrates that the most effective marketing strategies are those that are authentic, emotionally engaging, and deeply human. Her narrative highlights the timeless power of storytelling in marketing, offering valuable insights for marketers aiming to elevate their campaigns.

In this episode of the Timeless Marketing Podcast, host Brian Kurtz welcomes Carline Anglade-Cole, 3X award-winning direct-response copywriter, author, and consultant, to discuss the profound impact of emotional storytelling in marketing. Carline shares insights on the transition from traditional direct mail campaigns to digital marketing, crafting a narrative that connects with your audience, and dealing with copywriting failures to foster growth and better success ratios.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Quotable Moments: 

  1. “You got to have a story, you know, and what is that story? And how are you going to make that story relevant for whomever your market is?”
  2. “Tap into the people around you; tap into your friends, your surroundings, and you will find great stories everywhere.”
  3. “I will use your story, no matter what. You know, my friend was telling me about her dad… I said, um, can you get a picture for me?”
  4. “If it’s my package, and it didn’t work, I will go back. I won’t charge anything extra. I will rework the headlines.”
  5. “Nobody is perfect. The best of the best of the best writers still had packages that failed. They only became the best writers because they had more successes than they had failures.”

Action Steps:

  1. Incorporate Personal Stories into Marketing: Drawing from Carline’s use of a personal account, marketers should seek authentic stories that can connect with their audience.
    • It grounds your product in reality, making it relatable and creating an emotional bond with potential customers.
  2. Remain Adaptable in Your Writing: Emulate Carline’s approach to refresh and adapt an effective story across different products and markets.
    • It maximizes the reach and impact of a compelling narrative, thereby increasing the marketing campaign’s effectiveness.
  3. Foster Trust Between Client and Copywriter: Take a cue from Carline and develop client relationships that allow for creative freedom.
    • Establishing trust leads to greater job satisfaction, better copy, and ultimately more successful marketing campaigns.
  4. Face Failures with Resilience: Embrace both successes and failures in your work to grow as Carline has.
    • Resilience is key to learning from failures and building a robust portfolio of successful projects.
  5. Claim Ownership of Your Copywriting Work: Stand behind your original work as Carline advises, ensuring accountability and honing your unique voice.
    • Ownership nurtures accountability and pride in your work, contributing to ongoing improvement and positioning you as a reliable professional.

    Sponsor for this episode…

    This episode is brought to you by Titans Xcelerator.

    Titans Xcelerator is a private mentorship program for direct response marketers.

    It is one of the most giving communities and serves as the de facto board of advisors and marketing insurance policy for over 250 of the best and brightest direct response marketers, copywriters, media buyers, marketing agencies, senior executives, anyone in direct response marketing, who is committed to growing and scaling their business.

    And you don’t need to spend 10s of 1000s of dollars either. 

    Titans Xcelerator is 1/10 of the price of most groups of its kind. 

    And with a private membership, you’ll receive access to the full presentation from today’s episode, along with the Q&A and discussion that followed. 

    As an added bonus, you’ll receive access to a vault filled with many more private calls just like this one.

    The bottom line: you don’t have to grow your business alone.

    If you want to see how Titans Xcelerator can help you grow and scale your specific business, go to BrianKurtz.net/help

    Episode Transcript

    Intro  0:03  

    Welcome to the Timeless Marketing Podcast with Brian Kurtz, your connection to insights from some of the top direct response marketing minds on the planet.

    Brian Kurtz  0:16  

    Hey, it’s Brian Kurtz here, host of the Timeless Marketing Podcast. Today’s episode is a clip from one of the two-hour calls inside Titans Xcelerator, my private mentorship program for direct response marketers. Before we get to that, I have one question for you. Do you have a marketing insurance policy? If you don’t, you need one. And that’s why I created Titans Xcelerator, which is one of the most giving communities and serves as the de facto board of advisors and marketing insurance policy for over 250 of the best and brightest direct response marketers, copywriters, media buyers, marketing agencies, senior executives, anyone in direct response marketing, who is committed to growing and scaling their business, the bottom line, you don’t have to grow your business alone. And you don’t need to spend 10s of 1000s of dollars either. 

    Titans Xcelerator is 1/10 of the price of most groups of its kind. I know because I hosted a group that was over $20,000 a year. If you want to see how Titans Xcelerator can help you grow and scale your specific business, go to briankurtz.net/help. That’s B-R-I-A-N Kurtz [dot] net [slash] help. And with a private membership, you’ll receive access to the full presentation from today’s episode, along with the Q&A and discussion that followed. As an added bonus, you’ll receive access to a vault filled with many more private calls just like this one. Again, if you want to see if Titans Xcelerators are fit for you with no obligation. Go to Briankurtz.net/help. That’s B-R-I-A-N Kurtz [dot] net [slash] help. And feel free to email me directly. I respond to every email with questions about this episode. Or just to say hi, brian@briankurtz.net. 

    Now onto today’s episode. Okay, now Carlene Wait, you know, Carlene, you could leave now you get so much value.I hope I can give you guys some stuff. I’ve already learned a lot of things going, Oh, I gotta do this. I do this. Thank you very much. Yeah, that’s why you’re that’s why you’re here because you know, you’re, you know, you’re you’re an amazing teacher of copywriting. You’re a writer, you’re, you know, you do so much you’ve already spoken in Awai. And now, I also know you’re a lifelong learner too. And that’s what makes you a great teacher. And so that’s probably the main reason you’re here. But you’re here for a lot of other reasons. And I know I have to pay you double now because you’re going to do revision. But anyway, I really would. Everybody knows that. You know, Carlene spoke at our Titans masterclass in November in Arizona. And, you know, she just blew people away. I mean, well, Hamilton was there because he was in, you know, Platinum Plus Jeff Walker’s mastermind, he, I invited anybody from there in to sit in. 

    And, you know, this is a guy that’s all digital all the time. Doesn’t even have his first physical product as his playbook. And here’s Carlene, you know, a veteran of direct mail getting into the digital world in a big way. And he was blown away by everything Carlene said. And now they’re now they’re now they’re best buds. So that’s good, too. So anyway, I just want to thank you for being here, Colleen, this is like a fireside chat, but I’m gonna let you go first on what you want to share.And, and then I’ll ask questions as we go along. And anybody who wants to ask a question based on what she’s talking about, or just anything to do with copywriting, how to put together a package, how she does it. I mean, she has a, she has some really good pointers on writing, so just raise your hand and I’ll get to you. So Carlene, you’re on.

    Carline Anglade-Cole  4:34  

    All right. Well, yeah. We said this is a fireside chat. So I did not prepare. I don’t usually prepare. Anyway, I like to talk and I definitely love feedback. So we can make this go wherever you want it to go. And I think that’s kind of the best way to learn. It’s kind of let me answer what you want to know. Let me get started on something I think is just very important, no matter what industry you’re in,

    that you never forget, you know, kind of the power of the story. He says, in fact, we found out not only the left leg, but the right leg also has poor circulation. And that leg needs to be amputated. So he said, Well, okay, I told you, you couldn’t cut off one leg, you’re sure not gonna cut off both of them. And so he didn’t, he refused treatment. And within a matter of just a few, little more than a week and a half, he passed away. And so now I’m going back home, I decided on Maryland for that and came back home to Georgia. And now it’s time for me to write this package, you know, this beat package on blood circulation improvement, you know, with this product. And I just wasn’t feeling it. I just wasn’t I mean, I was, you know, morning, I’m upset. I’m mad, I’m angry. And yet, here’s his product that is supposed to build, you know, boost circulation. 

    And, wow, if he had found out about this could have made a difference to him. What could this do? And so I thought, you know, what, I’m not doing as a B thing, forget it. I just wrote, my stepfather’s name is Jerry. I just wrote Jerry’s story. And Jerry story, you know, just, I did, I literally cried and wrote the story. At the same time, kind of, here’s what happened. And normally I’ll change people’s names and protect their identity. But in this case, I love Jerry, I just changed. His name was Jerry with a G, I just changed from Jerry with A J. That was it. And pretty much I just said, I’m just gonna write a story and see what happens when I’m going with this package. And I tend to be much more of an organic writer, I just go with it, you know, just put it out there and see what happens. And then this change, and later. So I told the story, I told Jerry the story about what happened. And then I have let me share with you what the cover looks like if you hadn’t seen it.

    So this was the cover, you know, when blood flow goes bad. Jerry turned 78, two days ago, and now he’s hooked up the tubes hanging on for his life in the ICU. Inside a true story and cautionary tale of what happens when you ignore the warning signs of poor circulation. Here’s what you must, you must know now. And so I just go in here and I start again, I’m all about Gerry’s story, and I start telling it at first his left leg would fall asleep. I will build up on what was going on. You know, it was you know, he thought it was just, you know, an irritating pins and needles sensation, so he didn’t think much about it. Then when his toenails started getting dark, he just chalked it up to old age a few months later, Jerry couldn’t get that leg to stay warm. 

    His toes felt like ice cubes, the skin on his heel started to turn so he just put on an extra pair of socks and sat close to the space heater. A few weeks later, after that he bumped his leg against the corner of the table. It didn’t hurt. So he didn’t think about it much until he saw blood, then, you know, there was a gash on his leg he didn’t even know was there, you didn’t feel it. And the wound seemed to take forever to heal. Then one day before his 78th birthday, Jerry woke up and couldn’t put his foot down on the floor. You know, he couldn’t move his leg. He said it felt wooden, you know, so he finally decided to go to a doctor. And that’s when he received the life changing news that he had very poor circulation and that leg and tissues were dying, he was rushed to the hospital for bypass surgery. And now he’s talking about two days later, he just turned 78. He’s hooked up to tubes. In the ICU unit, doctors performed bypass surgery to attempt to get oxygen and blood flow to his leg. I didn’t have to get emotional. I’m sorry. 

    But they knew the chance of success was slim. Jerry may lose his leg, his family can do nothing more than pray and says Do you see what went wrong here? He ignored the early signs of poor circulation. And then I sort of just transition Sorry, just kind of transition into, you know, talking about a little bit about how that can happen to everybody else and how you don’t want to, you know, get yourself to that point. And then from there, I widened it out and talked about what this product can do. Now I also make sure I say, you know that the product did not you know, he didn’t take this product. I’m not gonna lie and say oh, yeah, you know, he didn’t take it. I said it could have gotten better if he had taken it. I don’t know. But my point is, I don’t want you to get to this point, you know, don’t ignore the signs, you know, here’s a product that can actually help you to, you know, improve circulation and get better and etc, etc. And so, you know, bringing it all the angles, how the family felt about the situation, but just walking your prospect through the process, you know, have him if he can’t say oh, that could be me, he better be able to say oh, that could be my mother. 

    That could be my sister. That could be my next door neighbor. You know, just have them attached to something or someone so to me a real story like that is very powerful to use when you’re trying to make a point about your product. So that was what I talked about when I was in with Brian November and just had the power of that. But here’s another thing to add on to that level of conversation: you can take power, you can tell a great story. And you don’t have to limit it to just one product. Because this product works so well for the client. Well, their product, which is called nitro beats, it’s backed up on the market is doing well, they’re mailing the product, we have different cover tests going on for it now. It’s going into the second year of mailing. Great is saying the product, so wonderful, you know, that’s terrific. But then I started working with a German client who had a product, it was a natto kinase product, which is again to help with blood flow. 

    And just you know, it kind of improves your heart. A totally different product had nothing to do with night with the beats and nitric oxide in here, it was totally talking about what has some nitric oxide in there. But it’s really more about getting calcium plaque out of your arteries, you know, getting their blood flow moving quicker or whatnot. And so it was sort of, okay, I’m working for the German market. Now, if you don’t know this, the German market in the US market is very similar. They parallel and the German market is just much smaller. But I have found that if it works in the US, you have a good chance that they work in Germany. And so it’s like, okay, so I thought, you know, Jerry’s story was pretty darn powerful. You know, what if I did a little switcheroo here and made a little change, so I took Jerry’s story. And in this case, he became Peter. And it’s like, when I don’t speak German, by the way, I am half German, but I don’t speak German when their boots flew. So a couple of guests, okay, you know, when blood flow goes kaput, and that sense, and I’m telling you know, I changed the age a little bit, I call them Jerry Peters, a very popular name in Germany. 

    So he became Peter, he was turning 74 instead of 78. But in essence, it’s the same story, you know, the same story about you know, his leg and what happened to him. And so from there, only on the front and back covers a year. So I took the same story idea for a completely different product. It kicked butt in Germany, or it kicked boot. That’s my way of saying. So, and that’s it. So my lesson, my takeaway here was like, you can really take a good story and give it many, many lives for your product, you know, and again, there’s no competition here. I’m in the German German market versus the US market. As you know, it’s a totally different product. They are so there’s no no, there’s no issues like oh, you can’t just do that. Can you? Oh, yeah, I can, I can totally do that. I did it. And so I just feel like wow, that’s, that’s pretty awesome. To be able to know that a story can have many, many lives depending on what you’re doing, you know, with it and who you’re doing it with. And so I say my stepfather left me the best legacy ever. I was not a wealthy man and did not leave a lot of money. But oh, my God, just the story was definitely funded.

    Brian Kurtz  18:15  

    Yeah, after your two controls that he left me a legacy, maybe two or three or four. Who knows? I can probably move this story a couple of different ways here. Anybody have any questions for Carlene? Linda.

    Linda Hamilton  18:30  

    Hey, Carlene like I said, I finished your book last night and it was great. And you know, for being an old Phillips person, it was really great to walk down memory lane. But one thing that you said in your book that really struck me, and maybe I’ve reached a certain point in my career now that I can do that. It’s these clients that want to choose the headlines first, before you’ve even written a word, you want an outline from you. And you’re like, I have no freaking idea. All this stuff is in my head, it’s eventually going to come out. I’ll send you the outline afterwards, you know, but I would caution younger copywriters about getting into that mindset, because that truly stifles your creativity, and then they totally criticize your outline, or they love your outline, but then you get into writing and it goes off in a completely different direction. 

    So I would like to ask you, what would you say to and now like, I had a client or an old client actually come back to me and want me to write a package? And I said, No, because I couldn’t stand the process that they imposed on me to do a bunch of headlines first and then write an outline. I said, No, I really don’t like your process. So I don’t want to work for you. And I have that luxury now but I know that a lot of younger copywriters, you know, don’t how would you and I think that is so important that when you talked about that, that is one of my big things. And I think if there’s a way that a younger copywriter can diplomatically, you know, because they need the money, they need to build their portfolio, they need, you know, clients, how to deal with that issue with a client upfront.

    Brian Kurtz 20:16

    Good question.

    Carline Anglade-Cole  20:17  

    it is a challenge, because again, if you’re just starting off, you got to kind of pay your dues, and the clients who are going to give you a shot, they’re trying to kind of manage their losses, when it comes down to, if they’re giving you a shot as a younger writer, they know that there’s a higher risk that they, you know, you’re going to fail, you know, you might just fail. So they try to kind of micromanage you to be able to help it so that they, you know, they may have a better shot of your package working, unfortunately, hit me if you can work that way. That’s great. I found out very quickly, I can’t work that way. So I will have these clients who would say, well, we need you to give us the headline, and at least, you know, two or three paragraphs for your lead. Until then I’ll get paid in essence, you know, you’ll get paid when you deliver these things. So I did my first few years, I did try to do that. Because that’s how I was gonna get paid, you know, you know, so I said, Okay, so I will try to make up a headline, and I will put some lead copy together. 

    And I will turn it in, and they would like it or not like it. But I quickly found that it had nothing to do with what they were going to get. You know, it was not it wasn’t going to be because if I tried to stay in that box that eliminated me creatively speaking, so that I couldn’t deliver what I wanted to. So I went ahead and I created headlines, I created the lead, I turned it in, they said okay, this is good. And to the best that I could I tried to stay with it. And then I deviated wherever I needed to. So then when they got the copy, he’ll be like, well, this is not what we agreed on. I said, but did you read the copy? Read the copy. In Alia, do you like the copy, you know, and so I had to get to the point where I couldn’t work with those people anymore. I couldn’t because I was not going to give them my best. And they’re not going to be happy with the way I have my writing process. So it got to where either they fired me or I fired them. And I bet I did find people. 

    And I found for me, my success was not in trying to go after the big clients, you know, who had the marketing department with the marketing director and the senior marketing manager and the marketing manager, all who need to make some kind of comment on your copy, because it’s going to affect their increase in salary at the next review, it’s going to make you know, so they have to say, Well, I think this data, whatever. So now we got five or six different hands in your copy, going five or six different directions, and you don’t know what it is that they want, and you’re frustrated as a writer. So I learned I gotta stay away from those people, because I’m not going to do my best. Fortunately, there’s that next leg down a little bit less a little lower level to very entrepreneurial companies who are usually the owner is kind of running everything and he’s got a little bit of money that he could pay a copywriter to deliver good copy, and all he wants is good copy, he doesn’t give a squat about what headline you’re going to give him first or the lead or he doesn’t care how you’re going about it or your your formula and your process. 

    No, he just wants you to give them a strong copy that he can mail to his clients and so that he can make money from it. I found a few of those people. And we grew together, you know, and that was kind of really the turning point for my success. When I’m like, great, you trust me enough, once you give a client control, the level of trust shoots up, you know, so the next time they’re gonna feel much better about you ready for them that you’re gonna give them another control, it tends to happen that way. So once I gave my little middle middle road clients a control that they will Oh, great. And they hired me again. And I will give the copy. So now it just became I gave him a copy. They he would barely look at it, send it to legal authorities, come back with any kind of edits that I have to make. I make the edits legal, give the copy back a good design, and get it mailed. So I had to sort of again, find my little niche of who I can work with, that I can do the best work for them because they’re allowing me to do the best work that I can do. 

    So I stayed away. I mean, I like Rodale. I mean, that was the goal, like go after these big people, you know, go after them. And even like a boardroom, all that with Philips. Then I worked at Philips for 12 years. And I tell them now, I don’t want to work with you guys. Well, they’re healthy directions now, but I’m like, they’ll say can you buy patents for us? I’m like, oh, no, you guys are paying the butt. No, thanks. No, thanks. I like this because my peeps who got it, you know, I can kind of do my own thing. So you just know, you have to get to the point where you’re comfortable enough with your skills to say I don’t need this. I can find another client who will work with me, and we can be a team together. And that took years, I had to pay my dues. Like I said, I had to do what they wanted to. And I had to kind of whittle away from them until I could find my little sweet spot, which I did. And I stayed in that sweet spot for, you know, 20 years. I think the other

    a really strong point that you’ve made, and I’ve heard you make it in other talks that you’ve done with organizations, especially why you’re always willing to go back to your copy and it fails. Well, how can we change a new headline, you know, and you study it and offer, but when they have changed everything, the headline legals tore it apart, taken out everything, you say, hey, it wasn’t my copy that failed. Copy that failed, you know, as a copywriter. I love that. And I’ve tried to get a little more, you know, ballsy. You’re like, Okay, I understand you want to make these changes. But if it doesn’t work, it’s on you. Yeah, I’m giving you my expertise, what I think will work. And I said that, you know, they took my package, and it didn’t work. I will go back, I will charge anything extra, I will go back and rework the headlines, I usually give them about six to eight different cover tests anyway. So I give him that and I will, you know, I’ll rework the lead, I’ll do whatever it takes, they’re willing to give it another shot. To retest it, I will do whatever it takes to give them another approach to see if it can work. 

    But if they had taken my package and just butchered it, I can’t even recognize it as my package. I seriously, I said, no, sorry, guys, you my package is on the cutting floor somewhere. I didn’t give you this in the mail. So I have no responsibility whatsoever towards this. I don’t know what y’all did to this. But it’s not my fault. I’m out. You know, and I have done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often. But it has happened. Marcella talked about that at length when she was on. And I tell you, we had situations in the boardroom where we had, I remember there was one with Arthur Johnson. And he did a package and Marty wanted to change it around and all this, and I had to get in between them. And I said, you know, at this point, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s apples and oranges. And the copywriter has to be the copywriter of record. And they can’t be the copywriter of a record, if you’re the one package you’re going to send out with, you know, with all these changes that the client is making. So we just had to do a major, major split. So that we could and the funny thing was, you know, the difference between the changes Marty put on it, which were not crazy, but they were crazy enough. Or an author’s package was a difference of like 7%. 

    So it wasn’t even that big a deal. But yeah, then Arthur knows what his results are. And then as you say he can go back and revise off of that. And that was you know that that’s critical. If you can’t get to that point. There’s no reason to be working with a copywriter. I mean, it’s not, it’s just not right. I mean, in the book, I talk about just empowerment and just owning your crap. You know, it’s like you have to at the end of the day, you have to go. This was mine. I did it. And so did it work? Yes. Whoo. You’re awesome. Did not work. Nope, it didn’t work. Well, you suck. So I haven’t turned what I call myself. I’m stuck. Awesome. Because I had a one day where I had a client call me up and tell me that the package that I wrote for them was like the worst package that they’ve ever had. I mean, it bombed, right. And I was devastated. 

    I was calling my husband go I suck I called Clayton I’m like, I suck, I suck. So you’re gonna need ice cream, you know, all kinds of stuff, you know, to get over it. And I’m just devastated. And in the afternoon, like around two o’clock in the afternoon. So I got a phone call from another client. This was the best packet you’ve ever had. You know, this thing is breaking all kinds of records. I’m like I got another roller coaster, but I’m stuck. Awesome. You know, and that’s what you know, as a writer, you just have to realize, nobody is perfect. The best of the best of the best writers still had packages that failed. They only became the best writers because they had more successes than they have failures. That’s all it’s just a numbers game. So you just kind of go through it but it’s a punch in the gut when you work on something for a month and then it just doesn’t work. You’re like, man, what the heck, I gotta go work at Walmart now. You know, and so it just is just kind of part of the copywriting life.

    Outro  29:40  

    Thanks for listening to the Timeless Marketing Podcast with Brian Kurtz. Visit briankurtz.net, and click podcast at the top of the page for a full transcript and show notes. If you’re interested in working with Brian personally inside of Titans Xcelerator, go to Briankurtz.net/help to see how Titans can help you grow and scale your business. That’s B-R-I-A-N Kurtz [dot] net [slash] help.

    About the author 

    Brian Kurtz

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