Labeling myself a “Copywriter Wannabe” over the years has been both painful and a blessing.
Painful because some readers inside my online family called me out, telling me that it was all a ploy to sell them more of what I was selling (which wasn’t very much) …by playing the “I don’t know what I’m really doing” card.
That was never true…but I loved that some of you thought I could be so devilish. 🙂
It’s also been a blessing because it spawned an entirely new definition of what “copywriting” really is—and can be—for everyone.
I’m not a wannabe…I am a copywriter…and so are all of you.
Copywriting at its core can be viewed as the art (and science) of getting prospects to gladly part with their money, for appropriate products and services, by building a compelling story and/or writing to their deepest emotions.
That makes it sound like a way to rip people off (or at least trick them into buying) on one end of the spectrum; and on the other end, pure magic, with the tricks only known by a select few.
Obviously, it’s neither one of those.
And we also know it’s not a commodity.
The skill to create any kind of selling message to get people to pay you money is a special talent, reserved for a select few.
And that’s why I called myself a “wannabe” in the first place because I knew I did not have that talent, patience or skillset to write a “soup-to-nuts promotion” that would ever bring in millions of dollars.
However, I can write.
And that’s something.
That’s when I realized we are all copywriters (in one way or another) and the criteria is not millions of dollars earned through the craft but rather millions of words shared with an audience who wants to hear from us.
Not everyone can do the former but everyone can do the latter.
The formal end to my wannabe status came sometime during this past year and a half of COVID when I was asked by a copywriting coach to teach two sessions to his students:
- Pick apart my most successful promotions (i.e., “copy forensics without a cadaver”), showing what I did and why I did it.
- Critique the writing of his students (being their coroner?), giving them advice on what they are doing wrong or right…or where they were doing both…and what was “most testable.”
My response to the coach was that I could do the second session with ease—coming from my wannabe brain and the idea that those of us who can’t do it just teach it.
However, I lamented to him, with sad, wannabe eyes, that I couldn’t teach the first session from all of my successful promotions because…well…I didn’t have any.
Poor me, right?
Don’t worry…this story has a happy ending…which I will get back to shortly…after a brief flashback.
I thought about the process leading to the epiphany I had regarding “everyone is a copywriter” (thanks to many of you) …which began as early as 2015 (although if I knew what a copywriter was when I was in junior high school, and had folks telling me that copywriting is not some secret code, I could have saved myself a lot of pain and suffering).
Just because I have never written a full-on control package, sales letter, webinar script, launch videos (or anything else with the sole purpose of selling something), I have written these blog posts for over seven years…once again, that’s something.
Whether you open them (you opened today…yay!), read them, react to them, respond to them, all I can say is that I can trace millions of dollars’ worth of products and services, directly or indirectly, to these weekly blogs.
See the P.S. and read my post, “The top priority in your business” to learn the inspiration for making this weekly blog the most important thing I do each week.
And making money was not on my radar when I started them. Nor is it the top priority today.
Talk about a sideways sales letter…call it a “hidden in plain sight sales letter.”
And no, I am not going to sell you something right now. 🙂
My emphasis for you today is that everything you write should be for a purpose…whether it’s to elicit a response from a family member (and I suggest using text as your medium of choice if you’re trying to reach those under 30) …or to an online or offline family of like-minded people (e.g., this blog).
Being a devotee of direct mail throughout my career, where we pay for postage and printing, everything you write (and send) to a potential list of buyers has to sell something (even if you give away some content in the process).
In today’s multichannel, mostly digital (and much less expensive) environment to send messages, everything you write (and send) must achieve something.
Note that achieving something is not the same as a “participation trophy” for your writing.
In this context, achieving means that everything you write (and send) needs an objective…and both immediate and long-term objectives qualify in my book.
Actually, my book (literally), is called Overdeliver…and the philosophy within it, which encompasses playing the long game, “patient marketing,” and the notion of “Life is Long,” may be an acquired taste for many of you.
For those of you playing the “I want the cash and I want it now” game, I’m fine if you can get to your objectives and goals (and cash) faster than I do.
We can still be friends.
Bottom line: Your writing needs to have a goal…and I’ve outlined some possibilities for you to consider, whether you consider yourself a world class copywriter or a wannabe (or even a hack), in “The top priority in your business”…and also in the P.S. below.
And whatever your ultimate goal(s) might be, you don’t have to keep score (in dollars earned) every step of the way.
Back to session #1 for the copywriting students (i.e., teaching from my own writing).
Going through this thought process, I realized I did indeed have some successful writing samples to teach from…the aforementioned 7 years of blog posts of pure content (written, audio and video), interspersed with subtle sales and marketing messages in most of them, but not all of them…and very few involve making money short term.
Did you see the link to Overdeliver above and here?
I make no money on sales of my book but I know the bonuses on that page will surprise and delight my readers…it also honors my mentors which is a bonus on top of a bonus.
And whether you ever buy anything from me in the future, if you hit that link, buy my book, and download the bonuses, I have expanded your marketing library in ways that are unimaginable.
That, my family, is an achievement and not a participation trophy.
Also…while teaching those copywriting students from my blog posts, I showed how I reserve the P.S. for “selling” …but never as an affiliate and always in the spirit of direct marketing education.
That’s not a rule of thumb…it’s only my rule of thumb.
Everyone has different rules and different thumbs.
I got the question from one of the students (of course) regarding “all the money I am leaving on the table” to which I replied, based on my post, “The five ways we get paid and the fifth is cash”:
I know this sounds blasphemous for a direct marketer who has been a slave to his numbers for over 40 years, extolling the virtues of every piece of media having an acceptable return on investment and having everything be measurable and accountable…but certain numbers cannot be counted on a calculator or on a deposit slip to your checking account.
The cumulative value of being utilized…enhancing others…appreciating others…and referring others…is incalculable.
This incalculable number is a different kind of calculation…beginning with service and contribution to others first…with bank deposits coming in due time.
That is, you can still pick up some “loose change” from the table when appropriate…and when your audience is ready.
I can live with this model.
As long as I keep (copy)writing.
P.S. As explained above, this P.S. will sell you nothing…however, it may be the key to unlocking your creative and entrepreneurial brain more than anything I could share with you today, especially in the context of my new definition of “copywriting.”
I met Justin Goff seven or eight years ago when he was running a very successful, multi-million-dollar, nutritional supplement business…with integrity, creativity…and the best copy imaginable.
He was as far from a “copywriter wannabe” as anyone I knew at the time…and know today.
He joined my Titans Mastermind at the outset so besides being a superior talent, he is also a friend for life.
And he has a nose for good masterminds. 🙂
His daily email (blog) is super effective in how he mixes compelling storytelling with copywriting education …and I read it every day to learn something new and to keep me on point to write my weekly email (blog) for you.
He does that in a number of ways:
- Watching him pour his heart and soul into his daily communications, with personal (and sometimes painful) stories from his childhood (through the present) to make his point, is always illuminating. It is a model to emulate no matter what the stories are…as long as they are your stories.
- How he stays “vulnerable yet confident” is worth observing closely, and it’s a joy to watch, and read, daily. I learn a lot from him.
- He has made the point regularly, while building a multi-million-dollar copywriting coaching company (after selling his supplement company), that the most important thing he does in his business is write his daily email/blog (and “just write” all the time). I follow his lead on that one for the reasons I mentioned earlier.
- He is the epitome of “if you’ve done it you have an obligation to teach it” …and in his daily emails he teaches all the time with his goal of making everyone he deals with a better writer and marketer.
Justin and I are committed to the education and success of our respective online families despite teaching different things in different ways…but the overlap is contagious and spreading (in a good, non-COVID way)…and that’s why I want to give you an opportunity to join his family by clicking here.
You’ll receive a free PDF for signing on with him titled, “How to Be a Direct Response Millionaire” (employing his unique S.O.S. method) …nothing for sale, all useful and applicable to whatever business you are in.
And then you will be part of Justin’s daily journey through the world of online direct response marketing…entrepreneurship…and the ups and downs he goes through (which we all go through), always with a valuable lesson.
One of Justin’s super powers is marketing to cold traffic…he has presented multiple times at Titans Mastermind…and he offers coaching and community opportunities regularly in that (and many other topics).
He has a way of cutting to the chase, with simple, real language, perfectly suited for his audience.
I think we call that copywriting.