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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What You Can Learn from My Biggest Blunder

Fail to Learn podcast

They say experience is the best teacher
That’s what they teach us in school
I say experience is the teacher of fools
‘Cause a wise man will learn from another man’s errors
Then apply that to determine what he shall choose
~ Da T.R.U.T.H., Click (No Regrets)

No, my biggest mistake wasn’t trying to become a rapper, although the idea did appeal to me for a few years in high school.

It’s not often that I talk about the time when my copywriting business nearly suffocated under the weight of my own stupidity. But Matt Fox got me to open up and dive into the details on an episode of his shiny new show, the Fail to Learn podcast.

I’m not going to give away the juicy details here. If you’re interested to hear about the attitude that nearly put me in the poorhouse, the advice I didn’t listen to — even though I tell other entrepreneurs not to do this all the time — and the steps I took to make my comeback, click over to Matt’s site and listen to Freelance Copywriter Painfully Discovers What Happens When You Neglect Your Own Marketing.

There are a couple other great interviews on the site you should check out, too.

As Da T.R.U.T.H said, there’s no need to learn things the hard way, in many cases. Learn from the mistakes of others…find out what warning signs you need to watch out for and how to avoid the pitfalls that may await you.

In the interview, I also talk about

  • a book that had a big impact on me in 2015
  • why my voicemail greeting offends a LOT of people (and why I’m happy about that)
  • the importance of proactive scheduling
  • a tool most freelancers don’t use enough that could help them close a lot more of the right kinds of deals
  • my worst habits
  • …and a whole lot more.

Another cool thing about the Fail to Learn site: Matt’s giving away How A Business Fails, a very helpful PDF report that outlines the 5 stages you go through when failing and give yourself a fighting chance to thrive. This is something you’re going to want to download and perform some self-analysis.

I had a lot of fun recording this interview and I hope you have a blast listening and learning.

One more thing: A couple years ago, I had a conversation with Matt about how to communicate more persuasively. He hands out some great gems in this interview.

 

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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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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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Struggles and Success as a Marketing Copywriter

Michael Zipursky interviewed me the other day about the struggles and successes I’ve experienced as a copywriter and consultant for his Business Consulting Buzz podcast.

We talked about:

  • the power of guest posting to build credibility and find an audience (instead of having to build one from scratch)
  • the crucial mindset you must have to sell anything, in any medium — it’s a simple switch, but human nature makes it a perpetual struggle
  • some of my early inspirations as a copywriter (I still love all of ’em)
  • how I got my first clients
  • one thing anyone can do to automatically boost the persuasiveness of their sales copy.

Listen to Direct Response Copywriter and Consultant: Interview with Donnie Bryant.

Thanks for listening!

 

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Are You Sabotaging Your Own Marketing?

On Thursday, I have the privilege of participating in Yasmin Razaq’s Explode Biz Profits teleseminar event.

Every day this week, business growth and marketing experts will be sharing their best insights into attracting more customers and clients, strengthening your personal or business brand and improving your overall profitability.

I’ll be talking about “5 Ways Businesses Sabotage Their Own Marketing.” Some of the topics we’ll get into are:

  • the mistake most businesses make when creating their online and offline marketing materials — actually, I’ll probably talk about at least 3 big ones
  • how recessions can be good things if you know how to weather the storm, and
  • the truth about Unique Selling Propositions (almost everyone I work with gets this wrong)

Go over to http://www.businessmarketinggirl.com/explodebizprofits/ to find out more about this week’s sessions. Plenty of good content is on the way. If you see anything that might help make your business better, register and attend the talks that appeal to you.

Each speaker will also be giving away a special freebie after the call.

Why not take a look right now? As I mentioned,  I’ll be live at 12 noon Eastern on Thursday, March 29th.

I’d love for you to get your hands on this high-quality content.

**UPDATE**

Listen to the interview here.

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