Issue #90—January 3, 2020
It's the first issue of the new year...and the new decade.
And I'm going to try to keep it shorter this time.
I've basically been cramming a full week's worth of work into the past two days.
Maybe you're in the same boat. But hey, don't fret...the weekend's already just about here!
I did manage to spend a little time earlier today reminiscing about what I was doing 10 years ago. Back in 2009 and 2010, I was primarily writing long-form direct mail promos.
Direct mail royalties accounted for more than half my income.
Online royalties were just starting to kick in, but were in the low four-figures--a mere fraction of what I earned.
And I wasn't doing any coaching or mentoring programs then, nor had I put together any courses or training.
I just kept my head down, did my copywriting for 4 or 5 hours a day, and aside from attending a few conferences or mastermind events each year, kept a low profile.
It's been an interesting journey since...especially the past few years. Starting in 2017, I began getting my own insights and stories and experiences out into the world via this email list...the live boot camp intensive I did in LA...speaking on stage at various copywriting events...and my own Copywriting Velocity event last March.
I never would have thought I'd be doing these things ten years ago, but so many changes have made it possible. But by far the one thing I've found most fulfilling is coaching and mentoring other copywriters...and seeing them grow and thrive.
And that leads me to today's "mini-topic"...
Fending off the robots and copywriting AI
The kind of long-form copywriting I've been doing for years...and that I help train others to do...is the kind that's timeless.
I don't think you're going to find robots replacing us anytime soon.
And even with more advertising promotions shifting to video, the same long-form copy skills apply to scripting video sales letters and other video promotions.
They're all based on the art of human persuasion...of truly understanding the pain points (even more so than your prospect thinks he or she does)...of digging out the unique story or mechanism behind a product...and all those things that can't simply be "templated" or mass-produced by artificial intelligence.
Look, we've all read formulaic copy before. When tried-and-true headlines are used and re-used again and again, they lose their punch.
Want to lose your prospect's attention? Sound like everyone else.
You have to do the work for each promotion. Each one has its own unique, organic process, I've found.
Simply re-purposing and adapting is not nearly enough to soar above the noise...nor is it enough to motivate your prospect to read and take action in today's over-saturated and overly distracted world.
So am I worried the robots are coming and that AI (artificial intelligence) is going to take my "job"?
Not one bit...
It helps, of course, that I've diversified away from strictly copywriting.
But even if I was still writing copy full-time, I wouldn't be worried.
Though I wouldn't be complacent, either.
The truth is, there IS some copy that doesn't require being brilliantly written from "scratch" each time...things like autoresponder emails, for example (though you definitely want to inject your brand/personality...and reinforce the unique benefits/mechanism/promise behind your product and the purchase decision).
But when you sit down to create a long-form sales page, or video sales letter, or magalog, well--it's basically creating all of the following:
--a brand or origination story
--a USP statement (unique selling proposition) and positioning strategy
--consumer research to create the ideal avatar
--features and benefits of the product or service
--a list of claims you can make and research/support to back it up
--gathering customer testimonials and media/professional endorsements
--interviewing the product spokesperson and pulling out the "gold"
--developing the initial offer, upsells/cross-sells/downsells, and continuity offer
--coming up with ideas for premiums and other incentives
--oh, and of course, THE ACTUAL WORDS to sell the product or service!
As you can see, it's so much more than copywriting that we do...we act as marketers, too. Each new promo, especially for a new product, is like its own launch.
And by mastering all of these marketing tactics and strategies, beyond just the word-smithing (which is still critical just on its own to do well), you make yourself immune to the robots and AI some folks say are trying to take away your livelihood.
I don't have any predictions for where I--or any of us--will be 10 years from now. But I'm quite certain we'll still be selling products and services that make people better off in ways they desire.
And we'll be using our words AND marketing know-how to do so.
Yours for smarter marketing,