Is copywriting therapy?
I'm going to make the argument it is.
Well, for one thing, good copywriters are always diving into people's dark emotions, insecurities, fears, pains, and tragedies to see what makes them tick, and therefore what makes them buy.
And there is certainly a "lay on the couch and tell me about your feelings" aspect to that.
But lest you think I am only talking about the dark emotions of the market's I am selling to (which would be my client's markets)... I am not.
Because I deal with the dark emotions of my client's as well.
Their fears, insecurities, pains, tragedies, failures, hopes, and dreams for their life & business. As a friend recently pointed out, if you are a human, and if you have a business, your 'ego' will be wrapped up in that business to a certain extent.
It's impossible to avoid. Nor would you want to avoid it (it is what makes your business unique after all).
Sure, some copywriters will stomp there feet and say, "I don't work with clients unless they are fully enlightened beings who have transcended all human emotions and blah blah blah blah blah."
To which I think:
If you are working closely with someone on their business, and there is 6+ figures on the line for a launch... or 7+ figures on the line over the course of a year... there will be some heightened emotions.
Which is a good thing in my book.
Knowing that there is a lot riding on your performance, knowing that you hold someone's hopes and dreams in your hands (to a degree)... is motivating to say the least.
It is the equivalent of the jaguar in the jungle, hunting you down. It is the thing that makes you run faster than you ever thought possible.
As such, I can not imagine finding a client who is not a pain in the arse at least once in a while.
(similarly, I do not think you can find a copywriter who is not a pain in the arse at least once in a while)
In any case, there's no getting around it. We are human after all.
I bring this up because one of my first big "aha" moments in this biz, was understanding this therapeutic aspect of being a copywriter. I figured it out, after hearing from my clients how much better they felt when I would 1) diagnose their problem, 2) create a plan to solve those problems, and 3) let them know that I was 100% on their side helping them put that plan into action.
At the time it felt strange -- they'd be lavishing me with praise before I wrote a single word, simply because they felt better about their business (and in the process, felt better about themselves <--- Strong lesson there, no matter what you sell or to who).
So ever since, I stopped thinking of myself as a "copywriter"... and started thinking of myself as a "problem-solver".
Which brings me to my oh-so generous offer:
Elon Musk and his girlfriend just had their seventh baby.
"X Æ A-12"
Yes. I chit you not. Elon Musk and his wife have literally named their baby the following symbols:
"X Æ A-12"
How do you pronounce it?
There's some debate.
One friendly bloke made the argument it's pronounced "Kyle" (it's long and complicated and too stupid to get into here. But yes, there is an argument for "Kyle".)
Musk, on the other hand, claimed it's pronounced "X Ash A-12".
While his girlfriend, who apparently came up with the name (and according to Musk, "Yeah, she's great at names"... think again Musky-poo, think again), says it's pronounced "X A.I. A-12".
Regardless of which mouth noises you need to make to say it... it's a stupid name.
And I feel bad for the poor kid.
Good thing he'll probably be raised on Mars by sentient A.I nanny bots, amirite?
Speaking of Mars-based, A.I. nanny bots, check this:
For the next few days I will be offering a 30-minute problem-solving power session, where you can get 30 minutes of my unadulterated attention on your most pressing business, marketing, or copywriting challenge, for zero dollars and zero cents.
All that you must "invest" to get this deal, is to email your list promoting my opt-in page.
To qualify, you must have a list of business owners that you contact regularly.
If you qualify and are interested, simply hit "reply" to get the ball rolling.
“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”
― Viktor E. Frankl
This may bum you out.
'Tis not a happy tale.
So if you are the type that prefers feel-good, sappy Hollywoo crap, where the guy gets the girl, the puppy gets saved, and everyone comes together hugging like some Beatle's chorus... best to tune out now.
If you prefer to live in — you know — reality... then read on my brave bandolier.
Because today, we are asking a question:
Which of the many 20th century tragedies was the most horrific?
It's tough to answer, right? Much tougher than it should be. It's sorta like what I heard A-Lister Parris Lamproupolos once say:
"If you have many options for a headline, and there's no clear winner... they all suck."
So, when it comes to 20th century tragedies... they all suck (probably an understatement).
I mean, how do you even begin to choose between:
WWI -- gas attacks, living amidst mountains of corpses for years at a time (literally, look it up... WWI battlefields were veritable charnel grounds and the basis for Tolkien's Mordor), getting blown to smithereens day after day by VW Bug-sized chunks of metal, having your friends body parts rain down on you, rats, lice, dysentery...
The Russian Civil War -- mass executions, famines, and a death toll of millions...
The Rape of Nanking -- mass rape, murder, torture, theft, arson, and other war crimes (including burying POW's alive)...
The Siege of Leningrad -- mass death from starvation and bitter cold (we can also add cannibalism to the mix)...
Hiroshima & Nagasaki -- two nukes... 'nuff said...
The Holocaust -- dehumanizing millions to justify a doctrine of genocide...
All of the above is beyond sad.
But the saddest part?
The saddest part is that I could go on. There are many more 20th century tragedies I could list.
And don't just think "that's in the past". In the timeframe of history, they happened just yesterday.
They are still bubbling up in our lives, geopolitics, and interpersonal relationships every day.
And the scary thing is... we are not out of the danger zone yet.
Because the one constant between all the tragedies and horrors I laid out above is "you".
No, not "you" as an individual. "You" as a human.
Every tragedy listed was simply humans inflicting pain and suffering on other humans. They weren't caused by viruses (viruses of the mind maybe). They weren't natural disasters. They weren't freak accidents.
They were humans being cruel.
And if you are wondering how humans can be so cruel, it's because we take our hopes, fears, pains, frustrations, insecurities, and misunderstandings, and project them on other people.
You can see it every single day.
Which is why I for one don't think marching in the street... or protesting... or making dorky social media posts... or beating your chest and saying 'I stand in solidarity'... will get us one jot or tittle closer to avoiding the next tragedy.
As long as we project onto one another... disaster is just around the corner.
The only thing that can divert us from this crash course with self-destruction is looking inwards.
Finding where each of us are bigoted and hateful and violent and ignorant.
Because we all are.
It's our human "right" (curse might be a better word).
If you think I am full of it and that you are some golden shining light of an angel that is not capable of violence, death and destruction in any situation whatsoever... I'm a bit feared for you.
Because it is the things we can't see that have the most control over our minds.
Which brings me back to the quote I opened this rant with:
“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”
That is from Viktor Frankl's seminal book:
"Man's Search For Meaning"
It is undoubtedly one of the greatest books to ever be embraced by my long and sticky fingers.
It's not for the faint of heart.
Because it details Frankl's experience in the Holocaust. Where he lost his entire family. And suffered unbelievable tragedy.
But through it all, he found one thing that kept him going. Kept him sane. Kept him from giving up and dying.
And the thing that kept him going...?
Well you gotta read the book to find out.
When you do, you will learn the secret to being happy even when you are sad.
It's a great read too. And short.
My suggestion is to buy it, read it, and think about it.
You will be better off for it.
The world will be better off for it.
To make it easy for you, here is a non-affiliate link:
I won't get any money if you buy it. But I will get "paid" in the sense that the world will be that much wiser and more thoughtful.
Seriously, I can't say this enough:
If the next major tragedy comes (and it's looking more like "when" than "if"), it will be so much worse than anything we've seen before.
Technology is much deadlier... and there's more people to victimize.
So best start preparing now.
Just in case.
A few years back I got obsessed with Israeli movement guru Ido Portal.
What do I mean by "movement guru"?
Well, I wish I had an easy definition. Or even a better word to describe him. But I don't.
Because he goes way beyond just a "physical trainer"... or a "athletic achievement specialist"... or some of the other titles I've heard.
Basically, he's taken martial arts, gymnastics, hand balancing, boxing, olympic weight lifting, and any other discipline that involves moving the body... and combined them all into a single methodology that transcends each individual component completely.
As such, his methodology goes way, way beyond the "realm" of physical activity.
Because to Ido, movement is a spiritual practice.
It's a vehicle to get at the deeper aspect of what it means to be human:
One of the things Ido teaches is "Animal Locomotion" (which is a fancy way of saying walk like an animal).
There's nothing really new about that idea.
Moving like animals is prevalent in tai-chi, yoga, and many other movement practices (it's why in yoga you have poses like "downward dog").
But the way Ido teaches it, is way more fun.
So on any given day you might find me horse walking (pretty tough tbh), crawling across the ground like a lizard, squat-waddling like a pigeon, and more and more.
In fact, when I'm out and about in the wild world, you can catch me mimicking any old animal I see for fun.
Like a while back when I was at the park and saw a crane hunting lizards. So I started doing the "crane walk".
Or more recently when I've been copying some of the stretches my dog does.
Or a few years ago in Hawaii, when I started mimicking a pigeon (by squat-waddling and bobbing my head) to the glee of a few youngsters near by (and mocking taunts from their parents — the praise of toddlers washes away the shame of adults any day).
Sure I do these movements because they're healthy and make me stronger. But the real reason I've incorporated them into my life is much deeper than that.
It's the same reason those youngsters were giggling at my pigeon-antics.
And my feeling is that the more we (as adults) can learn to play and have fun, with nothing but out bodies and minds (no booze, cell phones, gossiping, drama, or any of the other things that magnetize the adult mind), the richer and more compelling life is.
Sure you gotta be serious sometimes and head to the stock market to do a business.
Of course you have to P&L the investors for maximum sixth quarter growth.
Yes you have to bottomeline the spreadsheets from time to time.
(see, that's me having fun)
But if you forget how to play, you're missing out on a lot of what it means to be human.
Alritey den — Tomorrow I have something special for you. But for now, you can join my client waiting list here:
Have you seen the old Batman shows?
You know, the one that goes "NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BAT-MAN!!!"
If so, you should remember the scenes when Batman squares up against a bad guy, reels back his fist, and...
"BAM! CRASH! BOFF! POW!"
Though a bit cheesy for our modern tastes, there were many good reasons for using "POW'S" in the '60s when Batman aired.
For one thing, special effects were virtually non-existent back then. So you couldn't have any cool Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon type scenes.
In addition, these "POW'S" toned down the violence in an era when depicting violence on tv was a big no-no.
But there is one more thing it does for the viewer.
It lets them really know that a solid punch was landed (a bit obvious, right?).
See, sometimes in movies and tv it's not enough to just show the viewer what is going on. You have to really hammer the point home. And adding an occasional "BOFF!" to the mix, did just that.
There's a corollary here to copywriting.
Which is that you can't just throw out a benefit and expect it will land. Many times, you have to make the reader feel the benefit. You have to let them hold the benefit in their hands. Let them find out how the benefit will impact their lives. You have to really drive it home.
This is what top copywriter Parris Lampropolous calls "grasping the advantage".
And it can make a world of difference to how compelling your copy is.
If you'd like me to grasp your advantages (sounds weird) and write compelling copy that makes your prospect's punch drunk with desire, simply go here www.copybymccune.com/waitlist
P.S. Here's an example of a POW-less benefit to illustrate the point:
"Using my proprietary 'anti-crunch' protocol, you can get a six-pack in six seconds flat!"
See the lack of the POW? Then check below where we get the reader to 1) grasp the advantage of having a six-pack, and 2) grasp the advantage of getting a six-pack using my made-up method:
"Using my proprietary 'anti-crunch' protocol, you can get a six-pack in six seconds flat! Which means no hours of toiling in the gym. Or counting calories. Or eating bland, boring food.
Instead, you can spend all that extra time strolling the beach with your shirt off. But a quick warning: Every girl there will be staring. So you better bring a stick to beat them off of you!
And watch out for the drama. All the dude bros are going to be mad jealous of you."
Obviously that's a bit silly. I wouldn't actually use that in copy. But, I hope it shows you how you can POW up your copy.
The tale that follows is sure to horrify some. It horrifies even me to be honest.
So suffice it to say, I ain't proud.
I am, however, laughing.
Because in college, my friends and I decided to emulate a popular show, and leave a dollar on the street, sit on our roof, and watch who picked it up.
Why is that so horrifyingly funny?
Because inside that dollar bill, was a little present.
That's right. You guessed it. Poo dolla.
Even though I'm morbidly ashamed of it, and would never do something like it again, I can't say I regret it.
Because it was a masterclass in human psychology.
We got all different types of people stopping to swoop our stinky bills. Like the people who picked it up, got shocked and threw the bill down disgustedly — and then laughed when they realized they'd been duped.
Then there was the guy in the wheelchair (and this was less funny than sad really), who bent down to get it and almost fell out of his wheelchair picking it up (I can't remember if he kept or not. I suppose my brain blocked the memory out of shame).
Then there was the guy who picked it up, noticed there was something in the middle, shook out the... contents, and then proceeded to take out his wallet and put the poo dolla away.
To be fair, it was a rather dry piece of poop. So though gross, it's not like the guy was walking around with wet poo in his pocket.
Even still, my friends and I lost it. We knew it couldn't get any better than that.
So we washed our hands and went inside.
The morale of the story?
Even a dollar bill on the dirty street, with a hardened dog turd rolled up inside, will be grabbed, fingered, and claimed as personal property by some people some of the time.
Which is why you can get away with a crappy offer. Some people just ignore the smell.
But if you have a really good offer? And you send that offer to the right audience? And you use the right messaging that tickles your audience in the right way to make it a no-brainer decision?
Then you got a real business on your hands.
If you are interested in hiring me to write copy, the first step is to click the link below to get on my waitlist. Click the link, fill out the form and if you qualify, you'll be added to my waiting list and will be notified when I have an opening in my schedule.
To get started, simply click the sparkling clean link below:
The other day I was on a call with a potential client. And as any good salesperson would do, I started digging & trying to find out what this project really meant to him.
You see, he was already a successful business owner. He had a great lifestyle. Didn't work around the clock. And was doing something he enjoyed.
So then why was he talking to me about starting something new?
Because, as he said:
"This is a passion project. If I don't succeed, it's really just a personal failure. It won't change my lifestyle in any way."
Which is the place I think we should all shoot for. To be in a position where it success is not a monetary value. But a personal goal.
Because if you're always driven by money. If you always want to grow your bottomline. If the only word on your tongue is "scale"...
It seems to me you missed the point of this whole entrepreneur thing.
That doesn't mean growing you business and making more money is bad.
It just means that when your life is ruled by your business, instead of your business being ruled by your life, you may be overstepping.
However, most people aren't quite in that position. And for them, growing their business, scaling, making more, and working less, is a stellar goal.
Because that's what allows you to spend more time doing the things you love.
Like hanging with your family.
Or simply goofing off.
For help doing more of that, hop here:
Today I have a tale that is sure to shock & horrify.
I don't tell it to be gross.
I simply share this tale of woe and wonder because it fascinated me. And I hope it fascinates you too.
The tale begins in 1849 in the strategically-placed town of Poitiers, France. It begins with the birth of a little girl.
A quite average girl to be honest. Nothing out of the ordinary. Other than that she was born to an aristocratic and well-to-do family. And, as it turns out, she grew into a teenager that caught the eyes of many potential suitors.
Which really pissed her family off.
So much so in fact, they did something dreadful.
They locked her in a room and boarded it up. So that not even the sunlight could come in for 25 long, grueling years.
To make matters worse:
She was not allowed to get out of bed.
She was not allowed to shower.
All she could do was lay in bed, where she ate, drank, and... uhm... did the things that happen after you eat and drink. All in her crusty bed.
As you can imagine, she went crazy.
All as her thin frame wasted away.
I mean, the quarantine we are coming out of was bad... but could you imagine 25 years like that?
The cruelest part is that her family never intended to let her out. The only reason she was found is because one of the servants sent an anonymous letter to the police warning of a "spinster who is locked up in Madame Monnier's house, half-starved and living on a putrid litter for the past twenty-five years — in a word, in her own filth."
The police, thinking it was a hoax as the family was extremely well-respected, went to the house as a formality.
So how did they find her?
Well, I gotta warn you... it's GROSS.
They SMELLED her.
Yup. The reek from her room was so noxious that they were alerted by a "rotting smell coming from one of the rooms."
And as if your lunch wasn't curdling enough, when the police found her, they described her as:
"lying naked on a rotten mattress. All around her formed a crust made from excrement and fragments of food... We also saw bugs running across [the] bed. The air inside was so unbearable, it was impossible for us to proceed with our investigation any longer."
And on that note, I fear it is impossible for me to proceed with this email any longer. Lest I lose my breaky.
I know here you're probably expecting me to tie this into some marketing lesson as I usually do.
And I'm sure I could.
I could say something like "don't lock your customers away and ignore them for 25 years"... or "don't trust the aristocratic copywriters out there, you never know what they have rotting behind closed doors"... or "always investigate customer service complaints, even if they seem like a hoax."
But today you just get the story.
I suppose there's a lesson in that.
Now then, if you're interested in discussing a copywriting project with me (and you don't want it to take 25 grueling, disgusting years), head now to the link below:
When you do, fill out the form. If you qualify, your information will be locked into my boarded up waitlist and will be notified when I next have an opening in my schedule.
P.S. Just so you know, this was not a happy ending. Just because she left the room, does not mean she was allowed to escape, so to speak. Because after her rescue, she was simply locked up into the batty room of her own insanity.
Insanity like: eating and sexualizing human excrement... schizophrenia... exhibitionism... and more.
About a decade later she died, all by her lonesome, in a psychiatric hospital.
A sad tale indeed.
Split testing is human-guided evolution.
Because each new thing you split test is like a genetic mutation. And whichever genetic mutation "wins" the split test, goes on to dominate the niche and even reproduce more often (which means it gets sent more as direct mail, emails, ads, or whatever).
So when you split test over time, you get stronger and stronger copy. And stronger and stronger offers. And stronger and stronger sales.
(You already know this -- I know)
But doesn't it suck that you can't split-test your life?
Wouldn't it be great to plug yourself into the "Life Split Test-O-Rama" machine and try out a few different timelines?
See what would happen if you just up and quit your job?
Or if you moved to that place you've always dreamt of?
Or if you would've just done that one thing differently, that would've changed your life forever?
As someone who has made more mistakes in my short life than I can count with my fingers, toes, and any other parts that dangle off my body too, I'd sure love the Life Split Test-O-Rama machine.
But I know it's hooey.
Because that doesn't exist.
You don't get to split test your decisions.
You don't get to change what's passed.
And so all we can do is act in ways that seem appropriate. And when we make a mistake... we learn from it.
Even though it sucks.
Even though it hurts.
Even though our mistakes are embarrassing.
We can't split test our life. We can't live in fantasy lands. And we can't change the past.
It's just the way it is.
All we can do is learn from our mistakes and grow.
If you're ready to start a new timeline where I help you write your copy, head here:
My dad's a contractor. Which meant that growing up I'd often be on construction job sites with him. Just hanging out when I was young, and then working in various capacities as I grew older.
Sometimes I'd be the fetcher of things. Other times I'd clean up. And sometimes I'd help install windows and build walls (one summer I even helped put in a septic tank, which took months of grueling and often back-breaking work).
After being around so many construction guys for so many years, from electricians to plumbers to painters and more, I learned one thing real quick:
They're a gruff bunch.
Now don't get me wrong. There gruffness was their charm. And, for the most part, they are super fun to hang out with.
But a gruff bunch they are.
And the "gruff bunch" included my dad.
Why do I think my dad is a bit "gruff"? Well lets just suffice it to say, he's not the most patient guy in the world. Plus, he likes things done his way or the highway amigo.
Even still, every time I worked on a job I'd hear the same thing from his clients and subcontractors.
"You'r dad's a great guy"
"I have a lot of respect for him"
"He's one of the good guys in this industry"
And it wasn't just flattery. My dad built his business through his network and referrals. I don't think he's spent a thin dime on advertising in his entire career.
Instead, he relied on referrals. From his past and current clients and his subcontractors.
So how did this gruff, a-hole contractor get tens of millions of dollars of revenue worth of referrals?
Well over the years I came to realize it simmered down to a few things:
1) Be honest
2) Pay people on time (and at a fair wage)
3) Do what you said you would do
4) Do it when you said you would do it
Sounds pretty basic huh?
But that's what I would hear over and over again.
It taught me that networking isn't always about being the coolest, most charming guy. It's about doing the above. Helping other people out, even when it sucks for you.
That's why he got literally millions of dollars worth of referrals in his career. It's why his subcontractors would come over to our house to fix a tiny thing and not charge him. Because of the relationship deposits he had stored up in the proverbial bank.
So thanks for the lesson Dad.
That being said, not everyone should rely on referrals. Most people do have to invest in their marketing.
So, to get me -- a mellow and kind freelancer -- on your team writing emails, head here: