May 30, 2024

Kim Krause Schwalm is the Founder of “Get Dangerously Good,” a training and mentorship hub designed to elevate the skills of copywriters. She is an A-list copywriter and copy mentor with over 20 years of freelancing experience. With a remarkable track record in producing high-converting copy that has generated an estimated 1 billion in sales revenue for her clients, Kim has positioned herself as a leading figure in the copywriting and marketing industry.

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

  • [2:56] Kim Krause Schwalm’s journey to becoming a legendary marketer
  • [4:22] The six-step research process to make your copy irresistibly persuasive
  • [4:22] How proper research can drastically reduce copywriting time
  • [5:35] Identifying your prospect’s deepest emotions to transform your marketing 
  • [6:05] The crucial steps to finding and leveraging your product’s unique qualities
  • [14:22] How to gather the right kind of marketing nuggets through client discovery calls
  • [17:52] Strategies for crafting a clear and emotionally resonant picture of your prospects

In this episode…

What makes certain marketing copy so compelling that it seems almost dangerously good? How do some marketers manage to write content that not only captures attention but also convinces and converts? What if there was a way to make your own copy evoke the same powerful response?

Kim Krause Schwalm, a seasoned marketer and copywriter, elaborates on how efficient and effective research can significantly enhance the quality of your content. She stresses the importance of understanding your product and prospect, finding what’s unique about your offer, and developing a big idea and blueprint for your advertisement. By adopting her approach, marketers can expect to produce stronger copy in less time, overcoming creative blocks and becoming heroes to their clients.

In this episode of the Timeless Marketing Podcast, Brian Kurtz sits down with Kim Krause Schwam, the Founder of Get Dangerously Good Copywriting, about crafting compelling marketing copy. Kim reveals how comprehensive research underpins successful copywriting, how to uncover and leverage your product’s unique qualities, and the value of gathering deep insights into prospects’ fears, desires, and frustrations.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Quotable moments:

  • “Doing effective research lets you beat the existing control to a pulp and become a hero to your client.”
  • “Great ads are built on deep research. The best copywriters are tenacious researchers like miners.”
  •  “We don’t take what the defense gives us. We take what we want.”
  • “Identify those deeply felt emotions that are linked to your product and the problem it solves.”
  • “You’ve got to hit the right emotions because everybody is mostly guided by emotion when it comes to purchase decisions.”

Action Steps:

  1. Compile a comprehensive start kit of marketing materials from your client.
    • By starting with a solid foundation of existing materials, you establish an informed basis from which to develop a tailored strategy.
  2. Conduct client discovery calls to gain deep insights and product understanding.
    • Personal conversations reveal the unique aspects and potential selling points of a product that might otherwise be overlooked.
  3. Utilize the PRISM exercise to understand your prospect’s emotional drivers deeply.
    • Connecting with prospects on an emotional level is essential for crafting copy that resonates and incites action.
  4. Employ the five-step features and benefits exercise to vividly describe your product’s impact.
    • By thoroughly exploring and dimensionally describing features and benefits, you create a compelling narrative for your product that speaks to consumers’ needs.
  5. Verify AI research findings with credible sources to ensure accuracy and relevance.
    • Confirming data and insights maintain the integrity of your marketing message and avoid potential misinformation.

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. All right, Kim. Hey, now best-selling author Kim Krause Schwalm has been on here to talk about clients. I know. I know. I was looking for a segue that wasn’t there. Let’s put it that way. Okay, Kim has got a great topic for us today. You know, Kim has been a great friend for well over 20 years, maybe closer to 30. I think I’ve known you for close to 30 when you were at Phillip Edward.

Kim Krause Schwalm 2:56

Well, you kinda ignored me the first five years but…

Brian Kurtz  2:59  

Not as a freelancer I didn’t, when you worked for Philips. Hey, you know what? 

Kim Krause Schwalm 3:03

It’s only when I beat him ratchet like Oh, Kim. Yeah, maybe we should talk.

Brian Kurtz 3:07

Yeah, but that was Yeah, Kim was a marketer, not a copywriter. I’ll defend myself on that. 

Kim Krause Schwalm 3:11

It’s okay. 

Brian Kurtz 3:13

As long as you keep on repeating the story.

Kim Krause Schwalm  3:15  

It is a funny story. But yeah, I felt brushed off one time at a conference. You know, like, yeah, you’re a copywriter now and you’re kind of like, okay. 

Brian Kurtz 3:22

You’re not the first.

Kim Krause Schwalm 3:26

We all start somewhere, everybody. Right?

Brian Kurtz  3:28  

Thank you, Kim. I needed that.

Kim Krause Schwalm  3:31  

You need a little humility.

Brian Kurtz  3:32  

I do. So Kim has been a member of Titans Xcelerator from the beginning. She just renewed her legendary membership for the fifth year.

Kim Krause Schwalm  3:44  

It’s legendary now, I’m at legendary status.

Brian Kurtz  3:47  

You’re legendary. So Kim has also been an active participant here. She’s done spotlights before she did multiple sessions in the breakthrough advertising study group. So she is a participator, a giver in the large in the biggest way, and she wanted to do another spotlight on a topic that she felt would be meaningful to all the Xceleratorsrators. So Kim, the screen is yours and I will go crawl into a hole.

Kim Krause Schwalm  4:22  

Alright I’ll share my screen. Alright, so I’m going to be talking about the six step research process that makes your copy dangerously good. And by dangerous good I mean, high converting, convincing, compelling people have to read it, it resonates with them, right. All that requires doing the right research. And I’m not talking about spending, you know, oodles of time I’m talking about having a process that’s very efficient, and highly effective. I’m going to share with you. So six steps I’ll be covering and I’m going to open a loop here the fifth I’ll reveal later. The first step is to gather nuggets, and I’ll explain what that means. The second step is to get crystal clear on your prospect. The third is to dig out what’s special about your product. And this can be the same for service. The fourth step is to find the unique mechanism. Usually there is something there for your solution. And the sixth and last step, because remember, there’s a mystery step in between, which I’ll get to, is to then develop the big idea and blueprint for your ad. 

And this is, you know, the end result of all your research is that when you do start writing, it should take you significantly less time to write stronger copy, because you’ve done the research in advance. So doing effective research lets you beat the existing control to a pop and become a hero to your client. easily come up with the big idea and any supporting copy. So your copy practically writes itself. Act like a mind reader so your prospect feels like you are talking to them and that you can be trusted. Seal off all the doors so that your solution becomes the obvious choice closing the sale, and turn prospects into buyers because you made them believe your product or service would work for them. Why should you listen to me? Well, I’ve written a successful copy that generated an estimated 1 billion in sales revenue over the last 25 years for my clients. And prior to that, as a marketer. I’ve played in the most competitive sales channels and niches where copy is king for more than 25 years. And I’ve learned from some of the best like Brian, and I’ve trained and mentored some of the best. But you might also want to listen to Gary Bencivenga. Here’s what he says about research. 

Great ads are built on deep research. The best copywriters are tenacious researchers, like miners, they dig drill dynamite and Chip until they have Carlos Carlos of or John Caples advised me once to gather seven times more interesting information than I could possibly use. And obviously, Gary Bencivenga had a pretty amazing track record. So I did a research on people on my copy insiders list about a year and a half ago. You know, what did they want to know about copywriting research? And I found out that at least two and three people don’t spend enough time on copywriting research and buy enough time, I recommend and most if you ask any top copywriter how much time they spent on research, it’s usually at least half of the total time and sometimes more maybe 60 to 70%. And you know, it’s probably going to be a little bit more time if it’s a brand new launch, right? Because there’s a whole lot more new stuff, you have to dig up, but at least half that you can see only about maybe a little over 30%, you know, actually spent half or more of their total time on research. 

So why is that? Well, top reasons include, you know, they don’t know where to find good research or how to do it, right? They’re tired of wasting time on endless internet searches. I mean, we’ve all been there, we go down those endless rabbit holes, they can’t find what they need to know about their prospect or market where a common reason is the client or their boss just doesn’t give them enough time to be able to fit research into their whole process. Yeah, which is a huge mistake. So here’s all the things that good research involves, gather the nuggets that can include, you know, getting together a client, you know, start a kit from your client, having a discovery call or series of discovery calls, and I’ll talk about those more later. You know, doing surveys using AI tools, you know, pull together everything you need to get started. The second step is to get crystal clear on your prospect, identify those deeply felt emotions that are linked to your product, and the problem it solves. Dig out what’s special about your product, bring your products biggest benefits to life and connect them back to your prospect. Very important step. 

A lot of people, you know, think traditional features have benefits, we’re gonna go beyond that. Find the unique mechanism. And this, you know, again, interchangeably, you could use the word USP unique selling proposition, but is that one differentiator that builds belief that your product will be the one that works for them, where others have failed. And then take everything together. And there’s that fifth mystery step I’ll get to in a moment. And then you’re going to develop the big idea and create that blueprint for your ad so that when you sit down, you’re going to have a copy platform put together and an outline, and you just have to be able to jump right in and let your copyright itself. sounds pretty good. Everybody likes this? All right. Nope. Demetrius doesn’t want to do it. Yeah. That’s a lazy F lazy, right? All right, fine. Okay, so let’s talk about gathering the nuggets like an A level research beast. Okay? So start it. And if anybody is on my email list or wants to get on my email list, one of the things you get when you join is a five in one copywriting checklist. And that I believe it still includes a Start Kit checklist, right things to ask for from your client. 

But yeah, you want to, and it makes you look like a professional, right? Like, it’s like, okay, well, here’s what I need to get started. And again, you don’t want to create a lot of work for your client, it’s usually pretty easy for them to do things like if you’re writing a newsletter promotion, all they have to do is just give you access to everything that’s on the newsletter portal, right. But yeah, get access to everything they have, you know, past promos, any surveys they’ve done of their customers, any testimonials, you know, if it’s for a supplement or skincare product, you know, what studies do they already have, you know, that they use to create the product, sometimes they have an entire, you know, 20 page, you know, document that, you know, has all the justification for the product. So just, you know, get everything that they have right to get started, and then figure out what’s missing. Right? And, you know, go out and find what you want, right? And this reminds me of a quote that Gary Bencivenga, you know, said when I attended his Bencivenga 100 event, and Brian was there, too. And he quoted, I think it was an Oakland Raiders coach. 

And he said, we don’t, we don’t take what the defense gives us, we take what we want. And I have just let that be my guiding principle. It’s like, what is it that I want? Right? What would I like to be able to say about this product? What claim would I like to be able to make, you know, what, what proof what, you know, what do I need to back up the you know, you know, to make a case for the enormity of the problem, or prevalence or whatever. And I go out and find that, I don’t just say, Oh, I’ve just got to deal with what the client gave me. It’s like, No, I’m gonna go out and find what I want. But I need to give my promo the edge. So a lot of things, you know, what I do is obviously, I’m out there digging up the most recent studies, for example, it’s like, oh, their stuff only goes up to 2020. I wonder if any news will come out? Oh, wow, look at that, right? Or, gee, you guys haven’t done a survey in a while and you have very few testimonials, I’ll put together a survey for you. And you mind sending it out? Sure, they’re usually pretty happy to do that. Sometimes I’ll ask for a list of maybe 100 repeat buyers. And I’ll do personal phone call interviews. 

And as long as I interview like maybe five to 10, which can take a little while. But I got some great stories. Sometimes I’ve used testimonials and case studies in promotions. And more importantly, it gives me a picture of who I’m writing to, you know, I have a picture of Joe Schmo from Tennessee, right. And this person is the kind of person that subscribes to a financial newsletter, for example. So yeah, do the extra work, right? That’s, look, you know, think of Gary Bencivenga is quote, right, you want to go out and find all the ore that you can mine all the where you can, Discovery calls, you know, make sure you do this step, especially if it’s a client you’ve never worked with, or product you’ve ever written for, you know, you want to interview the spokesperson, or whoever created the product, there could be others, there could be a formulator, there could be a manufacturer, maybe there’s some unique ingredient that you want to, you know, find out what is so special about this, what’s his mechanism of action. There’s just so much you can get from these types of calls, if it’s a, if you’re marketing a newsletter, like a financial newsletter, you obviously want to interview that guru or editor behind the newsletter, and you want to record all these calls and get them transcribed. And it’s just going to give you so much great stuff.

You want to always have to copy inspiration at your fingertips, right? So keep building your swipe file, you know, when you know you’re working on a particular type of product projects, then, you know, visit their competitor websites, scour their reviews, go to forums, I’ve get so much great stuff out of forums, you know, for example, people with arthritis or people with, you know, constipation, and we’ll get into some of those examples, right, because I wrote a promo recently for that kind of product. It’s amazing what you can find out there. And then of course, we all know there’s plenty of AI tools and prompts that you can use, and that can definitely speed up your research. It can help make sure you’re not missing anything. But you still want to always confirm and get your sources you know, specifically like this actual studies and double check things because there’s a lot of incorrect stuff out there too. All right. Alright, so to get crystal clear on your prospect, I like to use something I call the prism exercise, and it’s something I actually learned from working with Clayton Makepeace Easily Clayton Makepeace, like I said, I’ve learned from a lot of really great people over the years. 

And what this will do is help you identify and put together all of these things, my prospect fears, blank, my prospect feels frustrated by, like, my prospect once my prospect believes, right, what are the things that resonate? What are their beliefs about your product? Or, you know, could be even political beliefs? My prospect enjoys, you know, what are the things like in their best moments that they want to do? What do they love doing? And then develop a sketch of the prospect to make it just a five to six sentence summary? So where do you get that information? Right, you’re going to need to do the prism once you’ve already done some research into your avatar or prospect. So I’m going to share with you some recent examples. Earlier this spring, I wrote a direct mail promo. It’s right here. It’s the first direct mail promo I’ve written in years, it was for a constipation product. And, it did become the control. And so when I was doing my research, I decided, You know what, I really should use AI. But part of me is like, Yeah, but I just don’t trust AI alone, I still have to do it my way. Right? So I went through forums, I went through my client and had all sorts of surveys of past users of the product, etc, etc. And I was able to put up, you know, for just the first question in the prism exercise, a list of what they fear. 

And one of the big advantages doing it kind of the human method is, you’re going to really capture the same language that your prospect uses to describe the problem, right, and it’s usually going to be an emotion, more, much more emotional language, the kind of language you would probably use in your copy. So I’ve got a long list here. I mean, some of them are a little gross, because it’s a gross topic. But dying on the toilet means having a heart attack from straining, believe it or not, like there’s some huge number, like 50% of heart attacks happen on the toilet, like, it’s crazy. It’s like this huge number. And I won’t go through the rest of it kind of disgusting, but it was much more in their language, right. And even some side things that you wouldn’t normally expect, like toxins building up right there. These are, tend to be people who are health conscious, maybe more into alternative health. So they’re worried about, like, I got all these toxins and crap because it’s just all building up, right, I’m not able to go dealing with the pain of not having energy, right. 

So that’s like another thing that’s really wrecking their life. So I put the same thing through different prompts using GPT for and I got a massive list of 10. So I only had no space to include here. But you can kind of see it’s a completely different language. You know, the fear of having painful bowel movements was a common fear, passing hard, dry stools, etc. So if you only do the API version of this exercise, it was really helpful to standpoint of did I cop am I going to cover everything that I capture all the things, but it doesn’t use the prospects language doesn’t capture, you know, capture those emotions, and it doesn’t capture, you know, like kind of more of the side fears like low energy or, you know, toxins, for example, they were not on the AI list, I thought was just a good, a good example of why you want to do both. Okay, the next step is you want to dig out what’s special about your product or service. And for that, I recommend using a five step features and benefits exercise not just features and benefits, like so many of us have heard. 

So the first step is to list out all the main features of your product, starting with the most important and then for each one of those features, you’re going to ask why? Why is that feature included? And we’re gonna look at a couple examples in a moment. And then for each of those features, what are the benefits, right? And you guys know about this right? How does it improve the prospects’ life or solve that problem? But then you take the extra step of dementia realization you know, what are all the ways your prospects will enjoy each benefit? So, kind of paint that picture. What is life like, you know, once you no longer have that problem in your life has been improved? What else does that mean for you, right? And then identifying the key emotion linked to each of these dimensionalized benefits is going to help you, you know, really go deep into okay, because, you know, we know that everybody is mostly guided by emotion. When it comes to purchase decisions. There are some rational parts but you gotta hit the right emotions. So here’s a couple examples. The first one is for a shoulder pain product that includes some shoulder exercise equipment, and like a kind of little strap you put on your shoulder right that you sleep with at night. 

So the first feature you know, we’re gonna look at one of the features that is a day and night system. Right, that’s one of the unique differentiating features. Why? Why is this feature included? Well, during the day, you need to strengthen your shoulders. But at night, a lot of people reinjure it, right? So that’s why we have a day and night system and the benefits so you can strengthen and heal your shoulder faster without backtracking at night. Okay, well, what are all the ways you’re going to enjoy that benefit? Let’s dimensionalize it, well, that means you’re going to start living life without constant shoulder pain, you’ll be able to do activities again that you can’t do. Now, you’ll sleep better without worrying about your shoulder, you’ll get back to fly fishing, you’ll be able to leave your grandchild in the air, etc. So you know, you get the idea. And then the dominant emotions with these benefits, freedom to do what you want, without pain, relief of pain, feel useful, again, stay in control, and independent, you know, don’t look too old, you know, look young, right? You know, you won’t look like this old person who can barely lift their shoulder. 

And also, you know, anger, it’s like, I’m tired of exercising and not getting any better. So these are all emotions you can tap into with your copy. And then the second example is for sales management software for small businesses and entrepreneurs. And a particular feature in the software is that there’s a feature that finds leads for your business. Well, why? Because finding the right clients is difficult, and it can lead to problems if it’s done wrong. So the benefit is that you can find high quality leads with less effort, less focus on the more high level stuff you need to do to run your business dimensionalize well, you’ll wake up, you know, then here, you’re going to paint the picture of life, right? Once you have this solution, you’ll wake up every morning with high quality prospects flooding your inbox, you’ll have an easier time sending the right quote and closing deals, you can focus on what really builds your business so you can be seen as successful, enjoy security, be able to take care of your family, and have more freedom. 

And again, you know, we’re doing the prism here, you know, a lot of I see one of the mistakes I see with so many cuts, which copy and even some of the latest AI tools for generating like VSL, copy, etc, that I’ve looked at is a just don’t go deep enough to the true deep motivators that a prospect has, you know, if you just focus on the surface level stuff, you’re not going to really hit the things that motivate them. You know, we’re not all like, Gee, I’m just looking around for the best software that is the most efficient now. I want my family to be proud of me. I don’t want to worry about what happens if I’m gone. I want people to see me as successful, right? There’s a lot of different emotions that are driving this. So here we go. I no longer have to be afraid of rejection by clients, I can stop worrying about money. I can level the playing field and get an advantage. I’m going to finally make money off everything I’ve put in my spouse and children and friends will respect me or look up to me. Right there’s some deeper level stuff you can get into.

Outro  23:02  

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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