6 TIPS FOR WRITING PERSUASIVE COPY (FROM DALE CARNEGIE)

Dale Carnegie is one of the world’s most popular personal development writers.

How to Win Friends and Influence People (first published in 1937) has now sold more than 30 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. Even more popular is than this was his guide to public speaking titled How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking.

This book contains dozens of fascinating insights for copywriters.

For example, I found the section on opening your speech especially useful.

According to Carnegie there are 6 ways to do this:

1. Start with a story

This works best if you’re sharing something from your personal life. Your story should also have some kind of action in it. This helps to engage the audience and grabs their attention. You could say something like, “Three nights ago, a dog was run over in the street outside my house.”

2. Trigger their curiosity

There are dozens of ways to do this. The easiest is to simply make a statement which leaves your audience wanting more. For example, “I was walking down main street this morning when I saw a man dressed in a bunny suit.” This type of statement makes the audience wonder. Who was he? Why was he dressed that way? Where was he going?

3. Use pictures

Instead of opening up the copy with words, why not use a picture? Before and after pictures are one of the best ways to do this. You could also use a picture that seems weird, unsettling, or confuses the viewer.

4. Talk about their personal interests

What does your audience care about? What affects them deeply? Here are two examples of this: “Do you know how long statistics say you are expected to live?”, “What I am about to discuss will affect your business, the price of food, and your quality of life.”

6. State a shocking fact

Surprising facts will always get your audience’s attention. “Did you know that leprosy still exists in 15 countries in the world today.”

More tomorrow,

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

IS PRIVATE SOCIAL MEDIA THE HOTTEST TEND IN INTERNET MARKETING?

What fuelled the astonishing rise of Face Book?

Why did this site become so enormous so quickly?

There are dozens of reasons…the biggest being the sheer addictiveness of the platform.

Another good reason (at least at the start) was exclusivity.

Unless you went to a certain college you simply couldn’t open up an account.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.

You see, I’ve noticed an interesting new trend in internet marketing.

This trend can basically be described as “private social media.”

It’s basically the idea that you set up a social media type website and then charge for the pleasure of using it. The most common way of doing this is to allow people to join for free and then charge them for things like making posts, adding an avatar, sending private messages and so on.

This stuff has actually been around forever.

(The best example is the Something Awful forums.)

It’s only due to the fact that social media is now so restrictive that it’s becoming more popular.

Not only that, private social media offers a number of advantages to marketers.

For starters, as I said, there’s the exclusivity factor.

People LOVE being part of a secret club.

Another huge advantage is that you own the platform and therefore control everything.

You don’t have to worry about being banned or interfered with.

There’s also the fact that social media is highly addictive.

And this is why these platforms are such a great way to turn followers into buyers.

If someone joins they may end up purchasing something later on.

They don’t even have to use the paid version of the platform.

(Although people that pay are obviously better prospects.)

BTW, this is why these platforms are usually dirt cheap.

Most people charge between $1-5 i.e. the same price as your average streaming service.

This way even if members don’t buy your products you can create a nice little revenue stream.

Now this is a great idea but it’s not something everyone can pull off.

For starters you need to be somewhat well known.

If you’re a YouTuber, social media star, gamer, famous copywriter, or have some kind of following…well…this might just work.

You’ll also have to spend time developing your user base.

Especially in the beginning.

This means actually posting on the platform and interacting with users.

(You can taper this off later on.)

Anyway, food for thought.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

WANT TO BE A FREELANCE WRITER? DO THIS FIRST

I’ve had a lot of success in this business.

On the other hand, there were times when things went pear shaped

One thing I’ve learnt about freelance writing is that it definitely goes in cycles.

One minute you’re swamped with work…the next it’s crickets.

On top of this, clients come and go.

And in my experience this usually happens at the worst moment possible.

What you also have to realize is this:

Freelancing is, by its nature, a highly unstable business model.

It’s really a thing of feast or famine.

So if you’re just starting out (or you have hopes of doing this one day) then here’s a massive piece of advice: start building up your emergency fund.  You’ve probably heard it said that you should have at least 3-6 months of living expenses saved. This is good advice, but a year is even better. In fact, you should actually go beyond this, and save up as much money as possible.

What’s more, learn to spend within your means.

Don’t blow every cent that you make

Better yet, create products which you can sell as a sideline to your freelancing career.

The bottom line is this:

You need a bankroll that will help you ride out the bad times.

Do this and you’ll survive long enough to make writing into a viable career.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. Another big advantage of a bank roll is that it helps you deal with deadbeat clients. If you have money saved up then it’s very easy to dump a crummy client. On the other hand, if you’re desperate for money then you’ll have to take whatever you can get…

WHY ARE ONE WORD YOUTUBE TITLES BECOMING MORE AND MORE POPULAR?

Here’s something you may have noticed:

It seems like more and more YouTubers are using one word titles on their videos.

For example, Emma Chamberlain is one of the platforms biggest stars.

If you look at her channel some of the latest videos are titled: cool, film, rotten, haunted, and haircut. But isn’t this the exact wrong thing to do? Shouldn’t she be using something more descriptive…some type of title that grabs you by the eyeballs and refuses to let go?

Turns out no.

You see, there are a few good reasons why she does this.

First of all, these titles look completely different to everything else and actually help her stand out.

Second, she simply doesn’t need to.

What you have to realize is that she’s one of the most famous YouTube stars right now.

This means her name carries more weight than any convoluted clickbait title ever could.

Not only that, her audience is rabid and basically guaranteed to watch anything she puts out…

…no matter what title she uses.

And this brings me neatly to the point.

A lot of email marketers get obsessed with subject lines.

Yes, subject lines are important BUT they’re not nearly as important as WHO sends the message.

(Think about it.)

This is why it’s so important to build your name.

You need to become the type of person your audience loves to hear from.

The type of person who they eagerly click on no matter what you’re sending.

Most importantly you need to become FAMOUS.

Do this and half the battle is won.

Do this and your subject lines won’t matter nearly as much.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

A SIMPLE HACK FOR WRITING PERSUASIVE EMAILS

Here’s a simple hack for creating persuasive emails.

You see, if you’re writing an email…you may be stuck wondering what to actually write about.

What theme, subject, or idea do you base your email around?

Now, most people will simply default to writing about their product.

Alternatively, they might write about the problem their product solves…

…or some type of pain point the market is experiencing.

The problem is that this can get boring after a while.

Especially if you’ve said everything there is to say about your product or market.

But there is another topic you can use when everything else is exhausted.

What is this?

Quite simply, MOTIVATION.

Basically, if you have nothing left to write, write something motivating.

The reason why this works is simple:

Everyone needs motivation from time to time.

The fact is that achieving certain goals can be immensely difficult.

This is true, whether you’re starting a business or trying to lose weight.

But by providing motivation you can make people feel good.

Not only that, you can inspire them to change their life or reach new heights.

Naturally, this will mean taking some kind of action.

Which of course is where your product comes in…

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. This secret can be used when creating any type of copy. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing emails, sales letters, or articles. Simply weaving motivation into the mix makes the whole thing more persuasive.

WHAT WALTER WHITE CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT BUSINESS

I recently re-watched Breaking Bad.

In case you don’t know, this show charts the rise and fall of meth baron Walter White.

It’s said to be one of the best shows ever created and I’m inclined to agree.

Believe it or not it can also teach you a great deal about the copywriting business.

For example:

1. Be the absolute best at what you do

The secret behind Walters success is simple: throughout the show he works to be the best and refuses to sell an “inferior product.”

2. Raise prices and ask for more money

Walter always wants more and it’s never enough. He pushes his buyers to make bigger orders and always asks for more money.

3. Work for yourself

Walter refuses to be under the thumb of anyone else. This is critical if you’re going to make big bucks as a copywriter. Don’t waste your time working for other people. Starting your own business is the way to go if you’re going to reach the top.

4. Defend your territory

One of the best scenes in this show is where Walter confronts a pair of rival meth cooks. The point is that success relies on ruthlessly defending yourself against the competition.

5. Avoid hubris

The reason why Walter eventually gets caught is mostly due to his ego. After getting to the top he develops massive hubris and this leads to his downfall. You need do avoid this. Always assume you’re the underdog and have more to learn. Search for weaknesses in yourself and finds ways to improve.

(BTW, if you haven’t watched this show do yourself a favor…it really is excellent).

Bye for now.  

Alastair Walton

P.S. One more point: realize that you’re never too old. At the start of the show Walter is a burnt out 50 year old with a cancer diagnosis. Despite this he manages to go toe to toe with the big dogs. If he can do it so can you…

THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE MORE MONEY

A lot of copywriters are looking for the “ultimate secret.”

That one tip or technique that will make them maximum money in minimum time.

The unfortunate truth is that nothing like this exists.

That being said, there is one thing you can do…

…which is simply this…

Be excellent!

This might sound simple or even stupid but there’s a reason why I say this…

You see, the biggest problem with freelance copywriting is that getting work can be seriously difficult (maybe you’ve experienced this yourself). Most of the time it’s not the actual writing which is the hard part. Nope, it’s the getting clients part that people struggle with. You’ve probably heard it said that selling to existing buyers is vastly easier than finding new ones.

It’s exactly the same with clients.

Getting new clients can be a major hassle…

…but selling to existing clients is a breeze.

The hard part, of course, is keeping any client you’re lucky enough to get.

And this is why excellence is the best skill you can have.

You need to be excellence in everything you do.

From the copy you write to delivering on time, replying to messages etc. etc.

Do this and people will continue to hire you.

Not only that, you’ll find yourself working with better clients and therefore earning more.

Now, not everyone wants to hear this.

They want some sexy “hack” that will generate millions overnight.  

And to be honest, I used to think this way as well.

But like I’ve said, shortcuts don’t exist.

The only real shortcut to success is being excellent.

Until next time.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. The idea of excellence can apply to any industry. Even if you mow lawns for a living, you should strive to be the best you can possibly be.

4 THINGS I LEARNT ABOUT WRITING FROM ANTHONY BOURDAIN

I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.

IMHO this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Not only that, it also contains dozens of lessons for writers.

For example, here are just a few of the things I picked up:

1. Be passionate and the best at what you do

Why was Anthony Bourdain able to rise to the top of the cut throat New York restaurant business? Simply because he was extremely good at what he did (as well as passionate). The point is simple: be excellent at what you do. While this may seem overly simplistic you’d be surprised at how many people simply don’t care.

2. Write conversationally

If you’ve ever watched one of his TV shows this book will really surprise you. The reason why is because it reads exactly the way he talks. There’s almost no distinction between the way he sounds on TV and the tone of this book. It’s really amazing. This is something you have to apply to your writing. It’s highly important that you write in a conversational tone and avoid sounding overly formal.

3. Work fast

The most important thing I learnt from this book is the importance of speed. In the restaurant business speed is paramount. No one wants to wait hours for their food. If this happens they will simply walk out. This is why restaurant kitchens operate like a production line. The only goal is getting orders out as quickly as possible…while still maintaining quality. This is something you absolutely have to apply to your writing. In my experience most clients are extremely impatient. They want the job done NOW.

4. Tell stories

Kitchen Confidential is basically a series of anecdotes involving Anthony Bourdain’s time in the restaurant business. One of the most famous of these is his, “why you shouldn’t order fish on a Monday” story. In this story he basically promises to reveal insider information. He does this throughout the book and this is what makes it so compelling and hard to put down.

Anyway, if you haven’t read this book yet it’s certainly worth picking up.

More tomorrow.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. The reason why you don’t want to order fish on Monday’s is because fish isn’t sold over the weekend…meaning any fish you order on Monday is old fish from the week before.

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID “COPYWRITING VIRGINS”

I’ve mentioned this time and time again but it bears repeating:

Nothing is more important than carefully selecting your clients.

Working with the wrong people means enduring stress, sleepless nights, and worse.

(Not only that, you’re likely to get cheated out of your money).

So how do you select your clients?

Well, that answer goes well beyond the scope of this post, but here’s a quick tip:

Do everything you can to avoid what I call “copywriting virgins.”

You see, marketing and more specifically copywriting is a deeply complex topic. What this means is that you’re going to want to work with people who know how the game operates. People who understand how copy works and ideally have some experience with direct response marketing.

Basically you’ll want to avoid “first timers.”

Doing this will save you a great deal of hassle and heartache.

And here’s something even more important.

You should also avoid people who haven’t made a buck in business.

Not only do these inexperienced newbies have no clue, but they’re usually a pain to deal with.

What’s more, most of them are flat broke. This means they’ll usually have a problem with paying your fee. On the other hand, experienced business people usually know the score.

Even better, they know what good copy is worth, and have no problem paying for your work.

What’s more, they’re usually a pleasure to deal with.

You basically want to find someone who has an actual business which makes money.

That way they can actually pay you.

The bottom line is this:

Avoid clients who have no experience with copywriting and marketing…

…and clients who aren’t making money and therefore cannot pay you.

Hopefully this helps.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

THE STUNNING RISE OF ONLY FANS

Over the last year Only Fans has grown into one of the world’s biggest websites.

Thousands of people have signed up and are said to be making millions of dollars per month. With all this success, it’s safe to say that Only Fans is now etched into the public consciousness. In fact, unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably also noticed their stunning rise in popularity.

But how did this happen so quickly?

Well, there are a few reasons.

(COVID-19 obviously helped).

But once again it’s all about marketing.

You see, when it comes to marketing Only Fans has a brilliant strategy.

The way they’ve done this is by advertising their success stories.

More specifically, by using paid articles to do this.

You may already know what I’m talking about.

Over the last year I’ve seen dozens and dozens of articles splashed all over the web.

These mostly take the form of the following:

“19 year old makes $100,000 per month on Only Fans…”

“Only Fans model buys a house at 21…”

“How I made a million dollars on Only Fans…”

Etc. etc.

The point of these articles is to basically generate greed, envy and curiosity. You’re supposed to read the article and then imagine yourself making the same kind of money. For example, if you were a young women and saw one of these articles…well…there’s a good chance you’d consider opening up an Only Fans account.

(BTW, people actually believe these articles, but I can guarantee you that most are fake).

So what can we learn from this?

A few things actually.

First, never underestimate the power of success stories.

Make your audience believe that others like them are enjoying success and the sky is the limit.

Paint a picture of how great life could be and people will trip over themselves trying to give you their money.

Second, never underestimate the power of paid advertising.

Don’t waste your time with stuff like SEO.

Instead, invest in advertising and putting the right copy in front of the right audience.

Do this and you can generate millions in no time at all.

Off to start my Only Fans account…

Just kidding!

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. One more thing before I go: This week Only Fans announced that they would soon ban explicit material. After a massive outcry this was reversed…but…I can pretty much guarantee you that this was simply another publicity stunt (and considering the amount of press this move received it’s fairly certain that I’m right).