The Donnie Bryant Method for Research

daily profit podcast on copywriting research

I recently had the good fortune to appear on Jason Wellington Strachan’s new show, the Daily Profit Podcast.

Jason, also known as the Copywriting Prince, reached out to me to talk about “the Donnie Bryant Method” for creating/discovering big ideas for your copy projects. According to me (and pretty much any other big name copywriter you can think of), the Big Idea is the most important part of any marketing message.

For example, here’s what David Ogilvy has to say on the subject:

“You will never win fame and fortune unless you invent big ideas. It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”

More than “power words,” magic persuasive templates or fancy graphics, your marketing needs to be built on the foundation of a compelling big idea.

I hate to spoil the interview — which you can listen to on the Daily Profit Podcast website or iTunes (it’s Episode 5) — but there’s no real “method” to big idea hunt. I

  • read a lot, every day
  • research like I’m working on a Ph.D. dissertation
  • and try to form unique connections that will hit home for a particular audience.

By my most recent calculations, I spend about 6 hours a day reading. (Most days, I spend about 2-3 hours writing.)

Books, competitive intelligence, product knowledge stuff, news, copywriting and marketing stuff, etc.

Why? Because I very rarely come up with good ideas – I find them.

Reading and researching is how I make sure my brain has the raw material to make those big idea connections. To quote Ogilvy again:

“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.”

Even though I’ve let the cat out of the proverbial bag regarding the podcast, I think there’s still some valuable content in there. Give it a listen (Episode 5 here). And while you’re at it, check out Jason’s other interviews. There are a lot of very great insights from some of the sharpest copywriters and marketers on the planet.

Enjoy!

 

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Email Copywriting Masterclass Tonight

Email Copywriting

I wanted to let you know about the a free Email Copywriting Masterclass I’m giving with Conrad Deas, one of the most creative, engaging and prolific writers I know.

Conrad and I will be on Facebook Live TONIGHT (June 22) at 8:00pm Eastern, barring any unforeseen technical difficulties.

We’ll be coming to you live from the Hilton Chicago Indian Lakes Resort, where Conrad is speaking at Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning Mastery event.

You must request access to the Email Copywriting Corner FB group in order to see it live and participate.

During the broadcast, we will reveal:

  – specific ways to generate tons of great ideas

  – 5 proven psychological principles guaranteed to get and keep your readers attention 

  – painful mistakes many people make that suck the life out of their emails and sabotage their customer relationships

  – battle-tested formulas we use to construct compelling emails more easily than you may think possible, and

  – our best tips for getting readers to take action after reading your emails.

We’re going to try to answer viewer questions, too. But you have to be live during the broadcast!

Again, request to join the Email Copywriting Corner on Facebook to get access.

Whether you’re a copywriter an entrepreneur who wants to connect better with your customers (and sell more stuff, without being pushy, greasy or sleazy), you’re not going to want to miss this.

Hope to see you tonight!

**Update** If you know you should be sending more emails to your list, but you have trouble finding ideas to write about, Emails That Make Sales may be just what you’re looking for. You’ll get enough ideas to write an email every day of the month (if you’d like), along with multiple ways to approach each idea. You’ll also receive exclusive training to write better emails faster.

**Update #2 [5/10/17]** We’ve just made the recording of most of this masterclass available to the public. Enjoy!

 

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Foolproof Attention-Getting Tactics of Great Copywriters

attention-getting copywriting secrets

How do you break through the hullabaloo that your “should-be” customers are immersed in and get YOUR message across?

Well, it starts with attention. “Have I got your attention? Good.” **Queue scene from Glengarry Glen Ross**

I got the chance to spill some of what I’ve learned about getting attention online, in print and in person on The Small Business Marketing Report podcast (now called the Click and Convert Podcast) with Robert Tyson.

In 56 minutes, we discussed:

  • How to use hidden dangers and unexpected consequences to draw people to your message like moths to a flame
  • Why certain kinds of statistics get shared on social media
  • Why picking a fight is often great for business (and how to benefit even if you don’t do the fight-picking)
  • How to use personality… and how much personality is too much?
  • How to use secrets and codes for almost guaranteed attention

Check out “The Psychology of Attention: 5 Foolproof Ways to Grab ‘Em by the Eyeballs”

Or, if you prefer, you can listen on iTunes or Stitcher.

Honestly, I’ve been fiending to be a guest on The Small Business Marketing Report podcast for quite some time, and I’m a big fan of Robert and his co-host Sean Clark, so I’m excited about this.

Enjoy!

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Science of Copywriting: Blab with Lamar Tyler

Copywriting Blab with Lamar Tyler

For me, Lamar Tyler is one of my top answers to the question “If you could spend an hour with one person/celebrity, who would it be?” I have a TON of respect and admiration for Lamar’s business acumen, leadership and brilliance. Plus, he’s one of the coolest guys you’d ever want to meet.

Last weekend, I got my hour with the man.

Lamar hosted the inaugural Traffic, Sales and Profit Lunch and Learn on Blab, and I had the honor of being his first guest. We discussed a lot of topics close to my heart, like:

  • What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?
  • How do I make people want what I sell?
  • The differences in writing emails, landing pages, general web copy, etc.
  • The most painful mistakes people make when writing copy
  • When it’s time to hire a professional copywriter
  • “Why can’t I find a good copywriter?”
  • and plenty more.

I also revealed the most powerful characteristics of email copywriting — and why some people should NOT hire a copywriter to write their emails for them. (I’ve told potential clients on multiple occasions I couldn’t do better than what they’re doing.)

Check it out: The Science of Copy Lunch & Learn

An Important Point I Didn’t Make in the Interview

I realized after the Blab that I forgot an significant point when we talked about why it’s sometimes difficult to find a good copywriter. If you’re expecting a stranger to instantly create a miraculous transformation of your business, you might be expecting too much.

Your copywriter isn’t (necessarily) weak just because he can’t make your boring offer exciting…or make a dead mailing list suddenly spring to life.

I’ve often quipped that I do work miracles, just not on demand. (Yes, I’ve said it to potential clients.) Even copy that seems brilliant doesn’t work 100% of the time. Believe me, I know from embarrassing experience. All of the pros have. For optimal results, you have to make the right offer to the right audience at the right time.

On the other hand, a great offer or a hot list can make even a pedestrian copywriter look like a superstar…

Resources mentioned during the conversation:

Lamar’s Traffic, Sales and Profits private Facebook Group

Bencivenga Bullets

The Gary Halbert Letter

 

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Start Your Freelancing Thing

Direct Response Copywriter

“No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.” ~ Booker T. Washington

These wise words have served as a guiding principle for the way I operate as an entrepreneur over the past 6 or 7 years. I’ve said it a number of times; it’s my goal to be the most generous guy you’ve ever met.

One of the main ways I’ve added value to the “place in which I live” is by creating piles of instructional content. After working tirelessly to develop my craft and become something of an expert in copywriting and direct marketing, I always tried to help other succeed along the way.

Sometimes I got paid, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I should have been paid, but wasn’t. But I always had my sights fixed on making valuable contributions to the business community I came in contact with.

I had the opportunity to talk about this process on Monique Welch’s awesome new Start Your Thing podcast. It was quite a privilege. If you’d like to hear more about my journey, check out Episode 1 here. The podcast is also available on iTunes.

I hope there’s something help you and inspire you to build your expertise and go start your own thing!

P.S. Along the lines of creating value, I came up with a variation on that clever “2 secrets of success” quote you’ve likely seen floating around the internet. Naturally, this advice won’t work for everyone, but I can tell you, it has worked for me.

If you’re willing to work harder than anyone else, or do a “common thing in an uncommon way” to quote Booker T. Washington once again, you probably won’t have to worry about too many people stealing your ideas and your customers.

secrets to success content marketingI’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you more of an info-hoarder or an uber-sharer?

 

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Escape from Retail Jail: A Copywriter’s Tale

expert Copywriter

People sometimes ask me how I became an expert at copywriting. My answer is always the same; I smirk a little and say “I decided to become one.” Naturally, the story is more involved than that, but that decision — followed by commitment — is the crux of the it.

I had the opportunity to explore this decision and how it impacted my life on Episode 7 of Jason Leister’s Incomparable Expert Podcast. This was a special treat for me because of the massive respect and admiration I have for Jason. (If there’s was an incomparable individual on the call, Jason was him.)

The conversation was very raw. Jason didn’t tell me what he was going to ask, and I’m not sure he stuck to any kind of prearranged series of questions or topics, either.

So we were all over the map, talking about

  • the fact that your ideal customers probably have characteristics similar to the average serial killer – and what it’s going to take to attract and keep them
  • what “providing value” really means
  • Jason’s patent-pending “village model of evolution” and why doing business in the vast expanse of the internet is reverting, in some ways, to the old neighborhood structure
  • when content creation is just plain stupid
  • just how elastic price is — and how to start banishing the notion that you have to work harder to be worthy of making more money from your mind

One of the big takeaways is the magical power of “showing up.” I realize that one of the main reasons I reached any level of success is because I decided to keep going. Even if you’re not very talented, there’s a good chance you’ll find your status elevated simply because you consistently came to work.

Jason said it well: “Anybody with a heartbeat COULD be consistent. But it’s rare, it’s as rare as gold.”

I’ll testify to that.

Steve Lahey said it was my best interview yet…

Steve Lahey tweets Copywriter

…and I’d love you to have check it out on the Incomparable Expert site.

 

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Big Mistakes Small Businesses Make: Podcast

copywriting mistakes small businesses make

What’s are the biggest mistakes small business owners and solopreneurs make?

Well, I can name a handful of major ones — and I dealt with a couple of them during my guest appearances on the Rhino Daily Podcast with Steve Sipress.

Steve is a well-respected, well-connected guy in the direct marketing world. He gets excited about big marketing ideas that help small businesses make big money.

Naturally, we get along very well.

He brought me on the show to talk about some of the most painful mistakes entrepreneurs make when sitting down to write sales copy…and how to fix them. In the short time I had, I gave a few specific tips:

  • Make your message about your customer, not so much about yourself. Even your “About Me” page should really not be about you
  • Never forget to appeal to the emotion. I gave one tip that even the least exciting industries can use to crank up the emotional volume of their messages
  • Boring = marketing death. How do you make a boring business interesting? What are the only two things your prospects are guaranteed to be interested in? You’ll have to listen to find out my prescription
  • “3 strikes and you’re out” is bad way to think about marketing, but it’s better than the “one and done” approach. Strangers rarely turn into paying customers the first time they see your marketing material. Don’t give up! Build follow-up and multiple touches (in multiple media, if possible) into your strategy

Check out Episodes 171 through 174 of the Rhino Daily Podcast on iTunes or on the Rhino Daily website. All 4 are less than 14 minutes long for your listening convenience and enjoyment.

I’ve also contributed a few articles to the Rhino Daily blog in the past, just in case you were wondering. You can read here if you like.

 

 

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Love + Active Verbs = The Start of Strong Copy

Donnie Bryant on direct response copywriting

“Make the verbs do the work.”

Writing “The new sales letter pummeled the previous version,” paints a more vivid picture than “the new sales letter is better than the previous version.”

“Pummel” paints a powerful picture. That’s what verbs do for writers.

I adore adjectives, but overusing them usually ends up sounding like hype. Hyperbole causes allergic reactions for many would-be buyers.

Anyway…

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being Adam Franklin’s guest on the Web Marketing that Works podcast. I’ve come to admire Adam quite a bit over the past few months, and I was honored to be on his show.

We talked for about half an hour, discussing what I believe are the most important elements of direct response copywriting and marketing:

  • a desire to understand, empathize with and provide value for your customers (which I refer to as “falling in love” with them)
  • communicating clearly and directly, rather than trying to be cute or clever
  • watching out for hype, without undercutting the strength of your promises and big ideas
  • etc.

It was a lot of fun. Have a listen over on the Bluewire Media site.

While you’re over there, check out all the other helpful resources and information Adam and his partner Toby give away. They give away 33 marketing templates from their book Web Marketing that Works. I highly recommend that you pick them up (opt-in required) and put them to use.

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Are You Really “Connecting” with Your Audience?

Connecting Content Copy

Forgive the alliteration. It might get a little crazy in here.

Connection. Conversation. Content.

Eleven months ago to the day, I did a Google Hangout with Roger Courville. Roger’s question to me was “How do you connect with people?” It’s a topic I feel like pretty well-equipped to answer.

Roger, on the other hand, is the KING of connectorship (which is a term he coined). He’s a genius in every sense of the word.

During this 50-minute conversation, we talked about my dark past in retail management, how that led me to explore the copywriting and how even in that stifling environment, people can connect with each other through content, and giving.

We also discussed the forces that make copywriting and content marketing connectors, from person to person, business to customer and business to business.

This hangout will benefit you because you’ll learn

  • what makes deep connections happen
  • how to be more customer-centric, even when time are hard
  • why giving is so important, and how to be more intentional about your giving
  • the various forms content can take, in real life as well as online
  • the best advice on the planet for copywriting that really connects
  • and plenty of other stuff.

It was a fun conversation with a good friend I don’t spend enough time with (and one of my all-time favorite clients). Have a look:

We recorded this conversation the day after my then 7 year-old son broke his arm. In all the hustle and bustle, I forgot to share this with you sooner.

I recommend you also check out Roger’s website and look him up on social media. He’s one of the smartest guys I know, and also one of the coolest and most generous. You’ll like him. More importantly, you’ll learn from him.

(FYI, Brother Roger wrote THE book on how to create webinars that rock — in 2009.  His thinking is always cutting edge, yet practical. As I said, he’s the king of connectorship.)

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Writing Copy to Crush Your Competitors

Copywriting

Wanna write great copy?

If not, have you ever wondered how you go about finding the right copywriter to partner with your business and make your competition tremble with fear?

Listen up.

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by former Olympic athlete, current podcasting machine, the one and only Fabienne Raphael, on her Marketing to Crush Your Competition podcast.

Episode 138: The Secret of Writing Great Copy

We talked about

  • why copywriting is so important
  • the right way for any copywriter or marketer to approach a project
  • the must-have ingredients of persuasive copy
  • when you should and when you SHOULDN’T hire an outside copywriter and
  • what success really means.

It’s just 31 minutes, but I think there’s some valuable content in there.

(If you’re at all interested in getting more familiar with me and what makes me tick, there are some personal details about me and my “backstory,” as well as a few insights into my worldview.)

Check it out. I hope you find it helpful.

 

 

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