I love conspiracy theories.
They are—in my opinion—the truest form of “myth” we have today.
They project people’s inner feelings of fear, mistrust, and corruption onto the “facts” of reality.
And in some ways, they are a more accurate representation of society and the psychology of those who comprise it than the so-called “real” news.
Which brings us to:
If you don’t know Q (AKA our lord and savior) then you are missing out on one of the richest veins of American literature ever made. (I’m a recovering English-major so you can trust me on that.)
Q’s supporters believe he (or she I suppose) is a high up Government official with “Q” level security clearance who is working with Donald Trump to take down a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles running a global child sex-trafficking ring.
And yet, somehow that’s not the craziest part.
Because, just like Campbell postulated the “mono-myth”, QAnon is the “mono-conspiracy”.
It’s a wide ranging philosophy—spouted off through cryptic messages called “QDrops” and greedily analyzed for deeper meanings by his followers—that basically covers every conspiracy you can think of.
One recovering Q supporter summed it up by saying:
“The beauty of QAnon is you can believe whatever you want”.
(Lots of copywriting wisdom in that gem)
So whether you believe in FEMA death camps… the flat earth… or even lizard-alien overlords… you can find a home with Q.
And yet STILL that’s not the craziest part.
So what is?
The origins of Q.
Which started in a humble image board (sort of like a forum) with an inside joke roleplaying game where they’d make posts pretending to be high-level government officials.
So there was FBIAnon… CIAAnon… and OnAndOnAnon (ok, that ones a joke).
But for some reason Q stuck.
And not just with the internet meme culture. But it sprouted it's ugliness into the "boomer" generation and has infected a whole lotta 50+ year old white Trump supporters.
Which, strangely enough, brings me to the point of this whole spiel:
In a lot of ways I feel like Q.
I started these daily emails as a “role playing” game more or less where I just wanted a chance to write every day and practice my copy skills so I could improve.
And now it’s morphed and grown into something much bigger.
It’s really quite strange.
Anyway, there’s more about Q then I could ever fit in one email.
I highly recommend going down the rabbit hole.
Not only is it endless entertaining, but you’ll also pick up a lot of tips on how to build a rabid fanbase and see how much people want to believe.
Just like Gene Schwartz said they would.
For more copywriting tips, go here:
If you’ve been with me for a time, you may remember a while back when I had a public “spat” with Aussie wiseguy, Daniel “Koala-Kickin” Throssell.
Well guess what!?
After my email about the “Resurge” VSL and how it used Christianity to the hilt…
The pumpkin-pie-hair-cutted-freak gave me an EARFUL on the moral implications of using religion in direct-response!
Guess he really IS an anime-loving masochist.
Daniel and I are actually quite chummy and share copywriting tips from time to time. And just to put that rumor to rest once and for all, that public “spat” I mentioned was a totally planned bit of email theater for PR and list-building purposes.
But Daniel did actually email me about that VSL and how it used religion.
And he made a very interesting point.
Here’s what he said:
“... what strikes me about the first 60 seconds is they focus 10x harder on the whole "LOOK I'M A CHRISTIAN GOD GOD MIRACLE GOD" than anything about fat, which is mentioned twice.
Interesting. But as a Christian, I'll say it's not ineffective. I'm way more inclined to listen to someone who shares that deep part of me (well, not in a VSL lol because I know it's some copywriter just trying to fake it haha).
That in itself is a fascinating insight”
That truly is a fascinating insight (Daniel is no gorgonzola when it comes to fascinating copywriting insights).
And it is possibly even more interesting than the insight I gave in that email (which was about how to pre-frame arguments for maximum believability).
Because Daniel’s insight gets to the core of what this whole daily email shtick is all about.
Having people like you…
Bonding with your list…
Getting your prospects sitting up and saying “yeah this guy is just like me, we have a lot in common, I feel safe with him”.
And to Daniel’s point about “well, not in a VSL because I know it’s some copywriter just trying to fake it”...
Well here’s the thing:
When you show up daily (or very regularly) it becomes extremely hard to “fake it”.
Sure in just one or two emails you can pull the cloth over someone’s eyes.
But after one or two hundred?
Not gonna happen.
It’s the same thing reading a 800 word article versus listening to a 3-hour in-depth podcast interview.
If someone can talk cogently on a certain topic for 3-hours without your “BS alarms” going “ringa-dinga-ding”, then it’s very likely they know what they are talking about.
And it’s very likely you will sit up and listen and take what they say seriously.
If you want to build that type of trust and authority with your prospects and fans, go sign up for my daily email tips here:
One of my all-time favorite subreddits is r/InstagramReality.
It’s basically where people post obviously photoshopped pictures from Instagram, TikTok, and other social media accounts.
On one hand it is just SO much fun.
But on the other?
It is completely depressing.
Because all these girls (and some guys too) do the silliest things to try to make themselves look better. And most of the time, it makes them look alien and Barbie doll to the point it’s a huge turn off.
But there is some fun to be had.
Especially when they slim themselves down but by doing so the entire background gets skewed (you see some funny comments like “ahh guess a black hole hit that restaurant”).
There are also people who photoshop themselves into pictures of the Maldives, put sunsets where there clearly arne’t (because you can see the sun shining from the other side), and more and more.
Again it’s sad.
But it’s also not so different from gurus in the marketing world.
Many of them front like they are multi-millionaires driving lambo’s to and from their beachside mansions.
Others act like they work 2 minutes a week and other than that have a fully optimized life.
What do I say to that?
It's all a crock of horse doo-doo.
Anyway, if you want a bit of fun and you want to see how far people will go to make themselves look better in other eyes (a powerful emotion you can wrench on in your copy) check out r/InstagramReality.
And if you want more fun and wacky tips like this, head here:
I’ve been studying the Resurge VSL which is #1 offer on clickbank right now and I noticed something really interesting about the type of language they use.
It has to do with the religious audience it is aimed at.
Specifically using religious language.
As the VSL is switching from the horror story to the “journey of discovery” (which this VSL does pretty early on), it uses a very interesting “transition” phrase.
What’s the phrase?
“I thank God every morning for allowing me to wake up… and especially for what happened next… because miraculously, what happened next…”
And then it launches into the story of redemption, benefits, proof points, and so on.
But the transition phrase I quoted “preframes” everything that comes later on in the VSL.
Why do I think this is so interesting?
Because of the audience.
This offer is clearly aimed at a mostly conservative, christian audience. So using phrases like “I thank God”... and “miraculously”... frames this entire story of discovery (and the solution it entails) as a miracle.
And obviously christians are predisposed to believe in miracles.
Especially of the medical variety.
But this copywriter clearly had some subtlety and nuance. They don’t beat the prospect over the head with it. They simply use language that a christian would use, especially when describing it to another christian.
And it doesn’t end there in the VSL.
They also bring in “God’s plan”... “divine intervention”... and even have a background music that sounds strangely angelic.
So what if you don’t sell to a mainly christian market?
The point is to understand your prospect well enough where you can use tiny, little, subtle clues that preframe your arguments in a way your audience likes.
Simple, but not easy.
To get my help with it, click this link ⇒ https://www.copybymccune.com
Ever heard of the “Drake Equation”?
It’s a revolutionary equation that changed science and astronomy forever by predicting how likely we are to find intelligent life in the cosmos. And the story of its creation is not only interesting, but can be used to come up with big ideas, product ideas, headlines, subjec lines, and more.
Well in an interview with the creator (his last name is Drake) he said something like this about the equations origin:
“I always think I should come up with some romantic story of sitting under an apple tree or sitting on the edge of Haleakala crater on Hawaii at sunrise or something.”
In other words, an idea so important and transformational deserves a good origin story.
At least that's how it seems.
But in reality?
In reality, these big, bold, grand ideas that change the course of history forever often don’t come from sitting on the top of a mountain cross-legged or fasting for 40 days or while wading through stacks of books in the basement of the Library of Congress or something.
Most of the time they just come when you need a solution to a problem.
Which is how the Drake Equation was formed.
You see, Drake wasn’t trying to come up with some big breakthrough equation that would be used for generations.
He was simply trying to come up with a way for a group of scientists to have a rational discussion about the possibility of aliens. And so he sat down and thought “what is everything we need to know in order to accurately predict the likelihood of running into intelligent life.”
It was really quite pragmatic and simple.
And yet, we got something so grand out of it.
So what does this have to do with you and your copy?
Well if you’re sitting under apple trees or on the edge of volcanoes trying to think up your next big promo, you might be doing it wrong.
Because where the rubber really meets the road is when you give your brain a problem to solve and let it get to work.
Which usually only comes after hours of research, drafting, ideating, and so on.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t give your brain time to rest.
And if that means grazing under apple trees or watching the sunset, go for it.
But if you’re counting on some big idea to come to you without putting in the work?
And to get my help, so you can spend more time dreaming and less time doing the nitty-gritty work that coming up with big ideas takes, go here:
Cash flow lessons from the Starbucks banking empire (How to get a 1.6 BILLION dollar loan interest free)
In high school, one of my friend’s fathers owned a construction business that was constantly plagued by poor cash flow.
It was pretty insane too, because it was a 7-figure a year business.
But even still, his dad was ALWAYS cash poor (it didn’t help they had a huge house, RV, vacation home, jet skis, a boat, and a bunch of other “toys” that suck up money each month).
Seeing this "successful" business, give its owner a constant ulcer was a brilliant lesson for me.
And ever since then I’ve understood that cash flow is king.
I started thinking about this again the other day when I heard a story about how Starbucks is not only in the coffee business, but in the banking business as well.
Through the magic of prepaid gift cards.
Apparently, between gift cards, the Starbucks app where you can prepay, and other similar devices that transfer cash from you to the Starbucks beancounters (heh), Starbucks has wrapped up a pretty penny.
Around 1.6 billion dollars.
Which, if I understand correctly, is around 6% of Starbucks total assets.
In other words, Starbucks essentially got a 1.6 billion dollar loans totally interest free.
Think of it like this:
That would be like someone dropping $100k into your bank account to book up your copywriting calendar for the next year.
Or if someone cut you a check for a cool $10k to buy info-products you haven’t even released.
And then you could go use that money to invest in more ads for your business, a VA, a new website, better infrastructure, or whatever it is your business needs to grow.
See why cash flow is so important?
The truth is, you probably can’t do the exact same thing as Starbucks. I don’t think people will buy info-products on a gift card.
That’s not the point of the email.
The point of the email is that when you are very creative you can think up solutions that not only solve your problem, but turn that “problem” into an opportunity for something great.
It’s also worth noting you are not in the “copy” business or the “info-product” business or whatever it is you sell.
You are ultimately in the business of generating profit that can then be used to further build your business, fuel your lifestyle, help you retire early, or whatever it is that your dreams and goals are.
If you’d like me to help you reach those goals, you can sign up for my email tips here:
Being a freelance copywriter is often less about your “copy skills” and more about your ability to network and make friends.
Case in point:
Yesterday I was on a call with voice specialist and direct-response celebrity Susan Berkley who hired me to write some of her emails.
Even if you’ve never heard of Susan, chances are you’ve heard her speak.
Because she’s the signature voice of AT&T and is the voice you hear whenever you call Citibank. She’s also done work with Google, Sears, Home Depot, Agora Financial, and was even a cast member on Howard Stern.
So she’s kinda a big deal.
She’s also a consummate extravert. And when I asked her if she had any horror stories from hiring copywriters (a question I ask on all my sales calls) she told me something that made me lol.
She told me that while she didn’t have any horror stories from hiring freelancers, she did have some horror stories from talking to them on the phone.
She told me (and this is what made me laugh) that some of my colleagues are “sociopathic”.
Now obviously she was just being silly.
But she does bring up a good point. Which is that lots of copywriters are anxiety-ridden wallflowers who, while near poetic at the keyboard, struggle to hook up their vocal cords to make any sort of enjoyable, engaging, or even human-sounding conversation.
It’s why copywriting seminars are second only to Comic Con in the amount of dorky awkwardness you will see.
The problem is, to get clients you have to put yourself out there. Whether that’s networking and meeting new people, reaching out to contacts and staying in touch, or marketing yourself on podcasts and the like.
Either way, you have to be ok with being in the spotlight, and you have to be even more ok with being told ‘no’.
And don't worry if that doesn't come naturally to you.
It didn't come naturally to me.
Anyway, I share a lot of tips like this on my email list. If you'd like to join and come along for the ride, just head here:
Netflix writer reveals advanced copy secrets of a narcissistic, drug-abusing, once-famous horse
What can a show about a narcissistic, drug-abusing, once-famous horse teach us about copy?
More than you could ever imagine.
We are of course talking about Netflix’s Emmy-nominated, award-winning cartoon, “Bojack Horseman” (which is, in my opinion, the greatest cartoon ever, equaled only by childhood favorite “Calvin and Hobbes” in its creativity, depth, and ability to elicit that “gooey-heart” feeling).
What makes Bojack so great?
Well on one hand it’s an adventure.
It’s an immersive world that draws you in and lets you play and explore without the shackles of reality pulling you down (half the characters are talking animals, which is only where the zaniness begins).
But it’s not *just* a wacky, wild, zany adventure.
It also deals with the modern human condition better than just about any other story I can think of.
And that’s what makes it so great.
It gives you just enough breathing room (between the talking animal characters and wild wordplay that characterizes the show) to hit you in gut with topics like abuse, addiction, depression, suicide, shitty childhood trauma, and lots of other issues that plague our modern society.
In fact, because of the “breathing room” the cartoony zaniness creates, the emotional bits hit you even harder.
It’s like a good comedian.
They will often sandwich controversial, emotional, political, or other “heavy” content in between humor. Part of why is that the humor opens you up to receive the “heavier” stuff.
But there’s also lots of contrast going on there too.
So the funny is even funnier.
And the sad is even sadder.
That’s what makes Bojack tick too.
The show creator even went as far as saying, “the brighter and the sillier and the cartoonier we went, the more the audience was willing to go with us to these very melancholy places that maybe on a live-action show would have come off as indulgent or saccharine. And the darker we went, the more our audience was willing to follow us.”
So am I saying you should make your copy wacky, wild, zany and cartoony?
It all depends on your market, your personality, and so on.
But I do know that if you want to punch your prospects right in the gut, and you want to hit them hard with difficult emotions, that you also have to slip in some of the brighter emotions too.
Which in copy is usually hope.
Hope that they can solve whatever problem is plaguing them and causing them the difficult emotions you are wrenching on in your copy.
Otherwise, you risk losing them.
And obviously you want to tie that hope back into your product as much as possible.
Speaking of hope…
If you hope to get better at writing email copy, click this → https://www.copybymccune.com
Oh and also watch “Bojack Horseman” if you haven’t.
If you love writing, chances are you will love it.
Ever heard of the Italian Donald Trump?
His name is Silvio Berlusconi.
And in the ‘90s, he rose to the highest political office (and had way more power than any other Italian Prime Minister in history) almost solely through his intelligent—though shady—use of his media empire.
How’d he do it?
Well that’s where his evil genius really shines.
He did it through what some call “constant conditioning”.
He so controlled the narrative that his agenda was adopted by the masses.
One news outlet even said he “... transformed Italian life into the world’s longest running reality television show: ever day’s lead news — flattering or unflattering, important or trivial — is about Mr Berlusconi.”
And we know for a fact (well as close to a fact as you can get in this media-mogul controlled “fake news” era) that his media blitzes were highly effective.
How do we know?
Because one of his largest and most rabid fanbases was none other than housewives over 50.
Yup. The people most likely to watch daytime TV.
In other words, there’s a direct correlation between how much TV one watched, and how likely they were to vote for him.
My guess is it’s the same with Trump.
But there is at least one key difference between Berlusconi and our pal Trump.
Which is that Trump doesn’t even need to own any media outlets to control the narrative.
He is so good at playing the media game, that they give him all the free publicity he could chew on, simply because he gives them what they want more than anything:
Your rapt attention.
They do, after all, call it the tell-lie-vision.
The truth is, you can tap into this very same concept and reap similar levels of power and influence (albeit on a much smaller scale).
And you can do it without being shady or unethical or destroying the last shimmering facade of American freedom.
Email marketing baby.
Which will cost you a heckuva lot less than buying a TV station, radio station, or a newspaper.
To get email tips mailed to you to get better at the art of email each day, go here:
When you do, you’ll be placed on my waiting list and will be notified when I next take on a client.
Peering into the crystal ball of the most highly engaged email ever
Wanna know the secrets of the most engaged email I’ve ever sent?
Then check this:
Last week I sent a “quiz” email with the subject line, “Can you spot this subject line mistake…” and offering a swipe file bribe for anyone who got the answer right.
The results were the most highly engaged (i.e. most responses) to any email I’ve ever sent by a long shot.
Not only did the responses pour in…
They poured in for days, sometimes from people who have never written before, and the email threads sometimes piled up 4 or 5 emails deep.
All of which methinks Google likes very much.
To make matters even better, everyone seemed to have a great time and told me this little shindig was fun. Which is exactly the sorta bond you want to build with your list.
And I gotta say, I did not realize how smart everyone on my list was.
Mayhaps I made it too easy.
Or mayhaps you’ve been hitting the books.
Either way, you might be wondering what this spiel has to do with you.
And that is that if you’d like to bond with your list and make the algorithmic overlords at Google pleased, I highly suggest testing a quiz style email asking people to message you the answer.
Just be sure to 1) make it something your market knows a lot about (subject lines are one of the most talked about things in my market)... and 2) give them something valuable as a “prize”.
But ye be warned, if you have a big list, it might take a lot of time.
My list is small and I was nearly overwhelmed with the responses. So keep that in mind.
One more thing before I go:
If you remember that email, you might be curious what the answer is.
I’ll let Hannah Whitehouse (who I believe is a freelance copywriter) spill the beans:
Intrigued by this swipe.
As for the subject lines, they present the offer as being difficult to use or implement. Nobody want to scour for leads (scouring sounds like a torturous, bottom-of-the-barrel task). They want leads to fall in their lap.
Read, write and study to learn a skill? Sounds pretty tiresome (not to mention obvious).
A bucket of sweat workout doesn't sound fun. If I could drop a bucket-load of fat, maybe, but the image of filling buckets of sweat doesn't motivate me to get off the couch, especially not in this heat.
Aside from them all sounding like hell, it's all pretty obvious. It gives away the mechanism. I want to learn a new skill? Okay, I'll just read, write and study. I want to lose weight? I'll just exercise until I'm drenched in sweat (also, no thanks).
How'd I do?
You did quite well Hannah.
As did many others who responded.
If you'd like more "in-the-trenches" email tips about what's working for myself and my clients, click this link:
Until my next act,
P.S. If you do end up testing something like this, let me know how it goes.
And to get me writing curiosity-driven subject lines your list can’t wait to open and tear through, click the link above.