For our 50th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, we’re doing things a little differently. Actually, quite a bit differently. We’ve flipped the microphone and invited Ry Schwartz back for another visit—but this time to ask questions of copywriters Kira Hug and Rob Marsh (your humble hosts for all the other episodes). Ry does his best to get the goods from us. In the process we cover…
• Rob’s advice on how to have a happy marriage (obviously he hasn’t had to give it a lot of thought)
• how copywriting applies to marriage
• the nicest thing anyone has ever said to Kira
• what Rob and Kira would look for if they were hiring a “copy cub”
• what they do to learn new things every day
• the music they listen to (or don’t) when they write—you may be surprised
• what Kira and Rob would do right now if they had to rebuild their businesses from scratch
• what they’ve learned as they created a coaching program
• what they would do if they couldn’t be copywriters any more
Plus what they think is the most important thing for copywriters to do today, Ry’s better-than-expected-but-still-bad Irish accent, a few music clips and more. If you like 80s hip hop, Disney mermaids and great copywriting advice, you’ll want to click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
It’s Tricky (Run DMC)
I Love You (Climax Blue’s Band)
The Things You Never Remember (Dave Brubeck )
Genie in a Bottle (Christina Aguilera)
Hips Don’t Lie (Shakira)
Ry’s announcement episode
The Copywriter Think Tank
Tanya Geisler on the Imposter Complex
The Copywriter Accelerator
Under Pressure (David Bowie and Queen)
The Little Mermaid
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.
Ry: Hi, all right. I’m interviewing you guys today, that’s fun.
Kira: I’m a little nervous.
Ry: A little nervous? I have some good questions here, I watched Narcos all weekend, so I have a lot of drug-related questions.
Kira: Oh, my god.
Ry: Yeah, it’s just where my brain is going. This almost blends perfectly well with my first question, but we haven’t done the actual intro yet. I’m going to do it in a British accent.
What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits, then stealing an idea or two to inspire your own work, that’s what I get to do today at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
I also get to put on a terrible Irish accent and I’m doing it because we are flipping the microphone, that’s an awkward thing to say; but we’re turning the microphone on the other side of the virtual table. I get to ask Rob and Kira the awkward questions about life, business, copywriting, and all the amazing things in between. Thanks for letting me do this and thanks for being on your own show, guys.
Rob: Yeah, you haven’t even told us who you are yet.
Kira: We’re just supposed to know after that brilliant accent.
Ry: I’m a ghost, I think we should only reveal it at the end, to see if people could guess who this has been the entire team.
Kira: That’s a good taste.
Ry: Hint, it is Rob’s younger self coming back.
Rob: Much better looking, much smarter, younger self. Yes.
Ry: Yes, who initially turned older Rob on to wearing Chuck Taylors, so it’s is not old Rob, yet.
Yes, thanks for being here. That’s an awkward transition.
I don’t know how you guys do segues so much better than I just did. But, we will start off by talking about Kira’s wedding anniversary because that is currently happening. So, talk to us about the last six years.
Kira: Oh my gosh.
Ry: I mean, we’re starting off light. If you could write a headline for the last six years, what would it be?
Kira: Oh my lord, my armpits are sweating. I feel like I’m in the hot seat, it’s terrifying.
Ry: This is like an underhand soft pitch. This is the warm up round.
Kira: This is a bad idea. Whoever came up with this idea, very bad.
Yeah, I’m happy to have hit my six year anniversary with my beloved, so. We had a great weekend and just reflecting. I feel like with the start of the school year, and the fall, and change of seasons. I don’t know I’m feeling this change within my business and within my life of just kind of wanting to figure out where I’m going next. So, this conversation comes at a good time.
Ry: Amazing. Rob, if you were to give Kira any amount of advice, being married for twenty plus years now-
Kira: I like that.
Ry: What would that be?
Rob: Man, that is…
Kira: Yeah, Rob. Come on.
Rob: So, this is a little bit unfair, because when we have guests on the podcast, we actually prep them with questions. We actually send them a few questions and say, “Hey, we might talk about these things.” You haven’t done any of that for us.
Kira: We should note that. Just that our answers may not be as great as they could be, but we’ll still answer these questions, right?
Ry: Yes. There’s no escaping it, so.
Rob: It’s sort of weird for me to answer that question because I don’t feel like I’m a counselor and I don’t feel like Kira’s and my relationship is one where I should be giving her marriage advice, so.
Kira: Oh, you should be though. You should be because you’re my life coach.
Rob: Yeah and it’s not going so well. Rob is the worst life coach around.
Okay, so how to have a happy marriage?
Rob: Marry the right person. Marry somebody that you actually like and who likes you back. That’s probably the number step, right.
Kira: Okay, say I did that part though.
Rob: Give each other space to do your own thing. I think my happy marriage is because I just married such an awesome person. We’re just really good partners. We don’t fight very often. We sort of have a lot of things in common. Things have just sort of worked out. I’m not sure that I’ve given the thought into why it’s so successful other than I just have a fantastic wife.
Ry: All right.
Let’s make this a little more specific then and transition into the copywriting game. When has your skill as a copywriter lent itself to your marriage?
Rob: Well, let’s see. Copywriting is all about understanding the emotions and getting the response you want from the person you want across the table, right? That’s really … that’s marriage. You need the other person to be able to respond in certain ways to different things. You know, you want help with this or that. So, understanding how my significant other feels or thinks, I think, is immeasurably helpful in trying to get things done. Within our family, within starting businesses, whatever that ends up being. I think that part of copywriting for sure lends itself. What do you think, Kira?
Kira: I would say that I’m a big fan of social proof and all. I constantly send emails and reminders to my husband about how awesome I am and-
Ry: Oh, I thought you were going to say that you sent him like testimonials and case studies from previous relationships.
Kira: No, but I want him to know what’s happening in the business because it does pull me away from the family quite a bit. So, I think it’s good to remind your partner of what you’re building because ultimately it impacts everyone. He gets to experience the hard times with me where I’m stressed out, I need advice, so I do try to go out of my way to remind him of the good things. Like, “Hey, this person just said something nice about me.” Or, “Here’s something good that happened.” I got to share that. So, I have to remind myself to share that stuff too.
Kira: Because that is key to…
Ry: So, what is the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about you? That has just stuck.
Kira: Copywriting related? Or just in life?
Ry: Yeah, let’s start copywriting related.
Kira: When I’ve been called weird. I will think of James Wedmore called me weird and said he wanted to work with me originally because he picked up in the brand and the vibe that it was just about embracing who you are. He kind of dug it, so I think anyone identifying me and saying, “Hey, I think you can bring this out in me, too.” Connecting on that level of just playful, fun, weird vibe.
Kira: I think that’s a big compliment because it’s a challenge. It’s hard to embrace myself. So, if I can do that and it pulls the right person in, I feel like that’s a huge win.
Ry: Yes, love it. Totally agree. I have a crush on James Wedmore. I just had to say that out loud. I had to say it out loud. No one actually knows who this is yet on this interview, yet so I can say anything.
Kira: You can confess everything during this episode.
Rob: To me, the interesting thing about calling Kira weird is, Kira’s not that weird, right?
Rob: But, you’re really good though at connecting with everybody. You can relate to the weirdest person or to the straight laced person. It’s like you sort of cross all of those personalities or whatever, so. You’re not that weird, but you’re really good at understanding other people’s weird.
Kira: That’s what it is. People think weird, you have to have bright pink hair and lots of tattoos, whatever weird is to you. For me it’s not that. It’s, yeah, accepting people for who they are.
Kira: Liking them and I just, I typically like most…
Rob: You’re really good at that.
Kira: People. When you like people, I think then they may like you back or not. But, I just really like people, a lot. I really like you two. I like both of you a lot.
Ry: Aw, I really like you, yeah. That’s actually funny, right? When did weird become associated with your hair color. Weird has nothing to do with hair color.
Kira: Yeah, I think maybe that’s such a bad example. But, I feel like you’re right, Rob. When I think of weird, I’m sure most people would be like, “Oh, well Kira is very normal.” I feel like in so many ways I am. There are people who are more complicated, or more strange, or whatever it is to you. But, to me it’s just very much about owning who you are. Like your quirks, things you don’t like about yourself, all of that.
Ry: Yeah, totally. Amazing.
Ry: For everyone listening, these first 15 minutes have been amazing. We have marriage advice, how to surviving being weird in life, and my promise now is that…
Kira: We’re cutting all of that.
Ry: Oh, are we really? It’s all cut so everything I just alluded to, never even made it on to the episode.
But, my goal right now is to extract everything from these two amazing, talented individuals that could really accelerate and ascend your career as a copywriter. Right away with nothing else. If this is all you did, if you didn’t have hours a day to read everything else, this episode is going to give you all the good stuff, so-
Rob: This is going to be a short episode.
Kira: Maybe you can tone it down a little bit. I feel like we’re building this up a bit much here.
Ry: I’m glad we all have performance anxiety. This is great. I just set the bar way too high.
All right, so assuming copywriting is a skill that can absolutely be learned, which I believe it is. We’re going to actually go a little backwards and say if you were judges on America’s Got Talent or actually no, what’s the other one? The Voice. If you had to chose somebody, what would be the wrong, out of the box, non-trainable criteria you would look for in a copy cub that you’re taking under your wing?
Rob: You go first Kira.
Kira: Okay. So, beyond just natural talent, I do believe anyone can be trained to be a copywriter, but there are certain people that I see the writing and I’m just like, “That’s the type of person I want to work with.” I think there’s some raw talent in there. Someone who can take constructive criticism. Not just take it, but will use it and improve upon that and do the work, right?
Rob: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: Someone who is willing to just work their tush off to just do the work. I don’t know, Rob, you can throw some in there too while I’m thinking.
Rob: Yeah. I want somebody who’s interested in learning and really studying things like human behavior, or motivation, what makes people act, or do things, or think. Somebody who’s going to try to understand how stories can change. The way the whatever it is that I’m writing.
Rob: I want them to be really intellectually interested. Lots of different things. Not just about copywriting but psychology, history, politics, whatever it is. If you’re intellectually curious, I think that makes you a really good option for a writer.
Ry: I actually want to go deeper in to that. To me education, and interest, and curiosity is such a double edged sword. There’s so many different rabbit holes we can go into. If we allowed our curiosity alone to lead us, we would probably never get anywhere. How do you guys, Rob in particular because I think you’ve written about this before, how do you structure your process for growing your intellectual asset or your skill asset? In a contained way that doesn’t rob you of your energy, or the hours you’re devoting to actually working and growing the business.
Rob: Yeah. This is something that I’ve definitely struggled with. I am curious about a lot of different things. If you saw my podcast list, you’d see podcasts about history, and philosophy, and business, and all kinds of things. The reading that I do crosses a whole bunch of different kinds of fiction to some of the same things that I listed in my podcast likes. The temptation is always to be learning. It’s like, I can very easily sit down and want to watch a course or go through some of the materials that I’ve collected about writing or about whatever and spend the entire day learning because, I love that.
I’m not sure that I’ve got a great process for doing that, but I have, this year, tried to make an effort to read something that’s educational, that helps me grow my skill set, my knowledge base for 30 minutes every morning as just part of a morning routine. At various times I’m a lot better at that than I have been at other times, but when I’m able to focus, make sure that I have at least 30 minutes in the morning to study something that I’m choosing to study, that really helps.
Ry: I actually love that you’ve boiled it down to this kind of minimum viable way of learning. I, too, have really tried to structure my learning in the past and say I’m going to devote a certain chunk to copywriting specifically, and another to human behavior and personal development, and another to all these other interests. Those systems and processes just break down really fast. But I think if you just devote that half an hour every day or 45 minutes, whatever it is, every day to just learning and growth. Trusting that compound effect of that over time, is going to make you super well rounded in all the areas that are interesting and aligned with what you’re trying to do. I think that just feels a lot more sane.
Rob: I agree. A couple of years ago, I thought, I want to learn about ancient philosophy. So, I thought, this year I’m only going to read stuff about philosophy, ancient philosophy, maybe more modern, or whatever. After a few weeks of that I get bored. It’s like I need to read other things, too. I’m still interested in that, but there’s lots of things I want to learn, so.
Kira: I have a hard time learning that way because I feel like just the stage of life I’m in with two little kids and I’ve just taken on a lot of projects over the last few years … I’d love to set aside time and I think that does work, when I can do it, it’s great. But, the way I’ve been able to learn is by working with people who are better than me, constantly. So, what I’ve done that’s worked really well, and I recommend it, is if you get a project or you take on a new project … Let’s say you’ve never written a VSL before, find somebody who has done it. Even if they’re not the best person out there but they’ve done it a couple more times than you have, partner with them. Figure out … Have that conversation. “What do you need to make on this project to make it worthwhile and hey, can you also throw in some coaching along the way because this is my first time working on a VSL.”
So, not only do you get paid to work on a project, you get to learn from someone who can teach you what they’ve already learned. It’s like a course in itself, but you’re getting paid for the project, plus you’re getting a case study. It can work for any type of new project. Just really kind of tapping the pool of people that we’re surrounded by as far as what is everybody good at. Everyone does have their zone of genius and if you can figure out, well this person does this really well, and I need to get better at that. How can I work with them in some way where we’re both getting paid, it’s worth our time. I think that’s the way I’ve been able to learn because it’s on the job. The pressure is on, I have to perform, I’m getting paid, there’s a timeline. Plus, I’m bringing in this other expert who can teach me. I think that works well, too.
You could try both approaches or mix it up a bit.
Rob: Yeah, ignore what I said I think that’s a better answer.
Ry: Yeah, that’s a really interesting hack and one I never thought of before. But, I’m going to ask you a follow up question. What would be the thing, your zone of genius, that other people would approach you and say, “Damn, I got to work with her on this project.”
Kira: I would say at this point it would probably be some long form sales page, potentially emails, but mostly a long form sales page. That’s where I feel like I could teach someone else and really work well with someone on that type of project.
Ry: I’m glad you said that because your sales page, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say who the client is, but you run a sales page Once Upon a Time. That’s the only one I’ve read all year word to word for the sheer entertainment level.
Question about that sales page that’s been bugging me ever since I read it. But, on what draft of that sales page did you decide it would be freakin’ awesome to drop some 80’s hip-hop lyrics on the page?
Kira: Wait, I don’t know which one you’re talking about.
Ry: What? Are you saying you’ve never written 80’s hip-hop on a sales page?
Kira: I probably have…
Ry: Or more references?
Kira: But, I’ve probably done it on multiple ones.
Ry: You just do it so often.
Kira: I do…
Ry: That … yeah.
Kira: The voices in my head command me, yes.
Ry: So, actually we’ll segue this in to another question. Do you listen to music while you write?
Kira: I don’t. I need silence. I’ve tried it and I’ve been inspired by, especially Hillary Wiess, who talks a lot about how she pulls music in to her writing and I get it, I believe in it. But, for me when I’m writing, I either need to be in a coffee shop with just a buzz or I need it to be silent. I can’t, I really struggle to have music in my ear, so I pull music from the past. Mostly from growing up, and commercials, and just pop culture songs from the 90’s some 80’s-
Ry: Yeah. What is your favorite 80’s song? 80’s ballad? I’m going to get more specific, 80’s ballad.
Kira: Oh my gosh. I’ll think of it.
Ry: Rob do you have … Do you have one?
Rob: I don’t know about favorites, let’s see. What’s the one … Is this even an 80’s song or a 70’s song, I’m trying to remember. Climax Blues Band. I should just pull up one of my music mixes and just choose one from iTunes. But, there’s a few.
Music—Climax Blues Band
Rob: I’m not really a ballad listener. When I’m writing, it depends a little bit on what kind of work that I’m doing. Sometimes I’ll write in silence, which is probably the most effective. But, every once in a while I’ll think it’s too quiet, so I’ll put on some jazz piano. Or something that’s kind of soft maybe some sax or trumpet, maybe Frank Morgan, or Dave Brubeck, or something like that. But, if it’s more strategy type stuff and I’m thinking and I need to get myself excited or whatever, sometimes I’ll throw on some Christina Aguilera and turn it up.
Kira: No way.
Rob: So, the walls are shaking kind of a thing.
Ry: I don’t see it. I just don’t see it.
Rob: Guilty pleasure, guilty pleasure. I mean, I couldn’t sit down and write a sales page or blog post with that kind of music on in the background. It’s got to be just sort of something that’s in the background.
Ry: Right. The legend of Rob Marsh grows. I’m just picturing all sorts of genie in the bottle dance moves.
Rob: You got it. You got it. Or a little Shakira, Hips Don’t Lie.
Ry: What an amazing background animation. Best music video ever.
Rob: You should see me dance, yeah.
Ry: I should just see you dance. Literally, I should see you dance. We got to turn cameras on right now.
I was actually at a birthing workshop with my partner this past weekend and we were learning these techniques. There’s like this hip swooping motion to really open up your pelvis in anticipation of birth. They actually had the guys doing it. I got to say hip swooping is not an easy move. I have mad levels of respect for anybody who’s actually mastered any kind of hip dancing, shaking movements.
Kira: It’s good preparation though for that big day.
Ry: Yes, yes. For that big day. For…
Kira: Which is approaching fast for you, right?
Ry: Yeah, it’s four to six weeks. Something like that.
Kira: Oh, wow.
Ry: Yeah, it’s really soon.
Kira: I feel like you just announced it on the show.
Rob: It’s kind of crazy.
Ry: It feels like just yesterday, right?
Rob: If anybody’s listening and doesn’t know who’s interviewing us, now they’ll go back and listen to the past couple of episodes because yeah.
Ry: This show is the milestone marker of my life. Every time I come back in any kind of form or fashion, yeah. Yeah.
Kira: You have to come back for the next baby.
Ry: Yeah. Right.
Kira: The next baby announcement.
Ry: Yes. So, important question for both of you. But, okay so this weekend we did the birthing workshop. The weekend before I did something a lot more productive, which was watching all of Narcos season 3 in two days. Terrible. No one ever do it. Just bad idea. But, if you guys testified against a drug cartel and immediately got put in to witness protection. Had to assume a new identity and cut ties with everyone you currently know.
Kira: Except for our immediate family?
Ry: Except for your immediate family. But, all your current clients, everyone in your network. New identity, same skill set, same everything else, but just you’re in witness protection. A, what would your new name be? B, knowing what you now know. How would you rebuild your career in half the time?
Kira: Oh my god.
Rob: Could we still podcast? Like? Could they trace me through the podcast?
Ry: I mean, I don’t know if cartels are interested in copywriting podcasts, but it is a business, so.
Kira: Yeah, don’t take away our microphone, okay. I would call myself Kiki.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Dig it.
Kira: Last name to be determined. And I guess, gosh, it would be a shame to lose hug. I feel like…
Ry: Kiki TBD. Like, that’s a great name.
Rob: I like it.
Kira: Career pursuits. You know, I feel like I might get into ghost hunting might be kind of cool. I feel like there could be a good career in that.
Ry: We’re talking specifically about your copywriting career. If you had to get to where you are now in half the time under you’re new-
Kira: Oh, oh, so…
Ry: Under your new name of Kiki TBD. How would she do it?
Kira: I thought you were pulling away the whole copywriting career and basically being like, “Start over.”
Ry: Nope. You still get to do the copy thing. Like with every piece of knowledge and skill you currently have. Yeah.
Kira: Yeah, oh my goodness that’s an awesome question. Okay. I would skip over all the more challenge clients I had early on.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: Because I do think it’s important when you’re just figuring things out to say, “Yes.” I feel like say yes for a long time until you can start saying no. I did that but it also is quite painful. You work with a lot of the wrong clients, so I would just skip over that whole stage.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: And jump into, I’d just jump into video script and start rocking building out a media platform.
Kira: Where only I’m helping other people write scripts but I’m really into the idea of building out different media platforms where I take the idea, or work with somebody and build a show, build something that’s around an idea, a movement, and create the community, the media platform around it using the copywriting marketing skills that I already have. I definitely am leaning towards media, which is not a surprise, being that we’re on a podcast right now.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Amazing. Kiki TV, going live in early 2018.
Kira: There we go. We’re live.
Ry: Going live. But I love what you said about not being afraid to say no to the wrong projects sooner in your career. There is no magical cut off for really kind of focusing on the right gigs and the right fit. I do feel like all of us really probably say yes to everything for way too long, and much longer than we need to.
Kira: Yeah, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. Just thinking bigger earlier, I feel like. And I struggle with this now-
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: Feeling like there’s a certain path we need to be on as a copywriter.
Kira: And you see in the path from other people and feeling like, “Okay, well I have to put in my time. I have to do this, this, and this before I can create this new thing or think bigger or put myself in an authority role.”
Just to kind of skip over all of that BS really and just feel like this is what I want to do, I want to do it now, this is how I want to do it and I’m capable of doing it. That’s really hard to do when you’re just figuring out for the first time.
Kira: But if I’m coming back the second time I can definitely do that.
Ry: How about you, Rob. What’s you’re new name and what are you up to.
Rob: First I want to follow up on what Kira was saying because I think that’s really smart. I was actually thinking about this this past weekend. Edison tried how many times to get the right filament for the light bulb, it was like 1,100 different things. The second guy who made a light bulb didn’t say, “Well, I’ve got to put in my dues and try 1,100 things for the filament.” He jumped right on the thing that Edison had figured out and then improved on it. I’m sort of assuming that.
You don’t have to pay your dues.
Rob: As long as what you’re doing builds on something that you know and can take it farther, right? I totally agree with what Kira was saying about that. I think that’s super smart.
My new name, wow. Before I was born my dad wanted to name me Malcolm, so maybe I’d go with Malcolm. I don’t know. It doesn’t really fit me I don’t think.
Kira: Can we give you a name? I think … We can give you a name. I like Rocky.
Ry: I like Rocky.
Rob: We were joking about Rocky the other day. What was that? I can’t remember. I can take Rocky. I could live with Rocky, yeah. I don’t know.
Ry: The Kiki and Rocky show. That’s what we’re renaming the show now.
Rob: Copywriter Club with Kiki and Rocky. Maybe. Maybe that could work. We’ll see.
Ry: All right, so bring me through Rocky’s career path. You’ve set up in your new location, somewhere in North Dakota, probably. I don’t know why I always hate on North Dakota. I’ve never actually been there. You set up there, you have your new place. You’ve hooked up your internet and you got to make this work right now without having to pay your dues, because they’ve already been paid.
Yeah. What do you do?
Rob: Yeah, a couple thing’s I’d do differently. First, instead of focusing quite so much on just being a writer I think I would focus very quickly on building a network. The network would be with writers and with business owners. I would probably lean towards writing some of the same stuff that I write now, so technology space or health and wellness products, and so I would start reaching out to marketing directors, owners of those kinds of companies. Creators of those kinds of products. Really focus a lot of my time on building a network, because that’s where work comes from. It doesn’t come from knowing copywriting. It comes from your network.
In addition to that I would probably write a book focused on that niche. I’ve written a book already, not really niche focused but more around branding and storytelling that kind of a thing. If I were doing good again I would start with that niche and create something better than a glorified business card but a book that really addresses the needs of that niche so that I could establish myself as an expert that people would want to turn to. I would not put my picture on the book jacket because I don’t want the mob to track me down through my book.
Ry: Smart thinking. That would be terrible if that was the thing that gave you away, right?
Rob: There’s some one in the mob there reading Rob’s book about copywriting, yeah.
Ry: Yeah, exactly. Once again, cartels are business. These scales are important to them. Yeah. Don’t put your picture on that book jacket. Be the mystery guy.
Rob: That’s right.
Ry: One thing I do want to ask, Kira already kind of alluded to a lot of the mistakes around mindset people make in taking gigs they don’t want for too long and paying their dues for too long. As the co-trainers and creators of a mastermind and a think tank, what are some of those nasty recurring limiting roadblocks and challenges and beliefs that you just wish would cease to exist.
Kira: Yeah, so it helps to have a partner like Rob because I can go to Rob and say, “Hey, I’m having doubts about this,” or, “Am I ready to do this?” And Rob talks me through it and helps me kind of deal with my imposter complex, as Tonya Geiser shared with us.
Yeah, constantly as we build something that’s just kind of like, well it goes pack to the path that we’ve seen, especially if you haven’t seen other people do it or maybe you’ve seen one or two other people do it but they seem like they’re these all powerful being who are more capable than you. You question yourself constantly. I always question myself, even when I take on a new project that’s a bit more challenging or with a client that’s a client I’ve been dreaming of working with. It doesn’t go away and I still do it constantly. If anything I do it more, but you just get better at talking yourself through it because you have the record. You’ve got the pattern, you’ve got the case studies to show, “Yeah, I feel I’m questioning this, but look at my track record. I’ve been able to get through all of these things so I know I will get through this too.”
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: That’s what usually helps me through it other than talking to Rob, talking to other copywriter friends who I trust, who know me well and can say, “Hey, you’re being stupid. Get over this.”
Ry: Right. Good answer. I think what I really want to get into, though, is the people in your mastermind, the copywriters, the people who are really kind of like looking to you guys for the answers, what are those … The most common thing holding everyone back that you want to take a magic wand to and-
Ry: Be like, “No.” Like, “Stop that right now.”
Rob: I think there’s a coupe of them. One of the ways that we sort of deal with any doubts or the resistance, right, that keeps you from doing anything, as Kira and I are saying back and forth, like, well, this is an experiment. Everything is an experiment. We may launch something like the accelerator and it’s going well or it’s not going well. It doesn’t matter because it’s an experiment and there’s not really a failure it’s all up learning. So even if something fails, we’re really learning about what do we do differently next time, not why shouldn’t we ever do anything again.
Trying just to eliminate that voice in your head that says you can’t do it or you’re not ready for it or what are you thinking because you’ve never done this before. That’s sort of the trick that we used, at least for a lot of the stuff that we try to work on together.
Kira: Part of it too … I’m just thinking through … We wrapped up our accelerator for three months, and now we’re just starting a think tank. I can speak to the accelerator, what I’ve seen over and over and how we help people is just … Especially with pricing.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: We all tend to price too low and we know that, we know that we do that so how do we fix it? Well, it helps to be able to go to someone else who may be more experienced than you and have them provide that constructive feedback, right? Like, “Hey you’re pricing yourself way too low why don’t you think about it this way? Why don’t you structure your pricing and packaging this way?” If you know that you’re pricing yourself too low, which we’re all doing, put yourself in a situation where you can get that feedback from some type of mentor or some type of colleague or some type of program or someone’s just telling you and holding that mirror up and saying, “Look, this is not working. If you want to get over here this is what you need to do,” and then people do it. It’s like you tell them to increase their price by as much they do it, it works, and then they do it again and that’s when they start to gain that momentum so you have to find those people or some type of structure that can help you put that mirror up because that’s what we all desperately need.
Kira: Other than that, I mean, I think it’s just around putting yourself out there.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: Feeling … So that’s a lot of mindset, right? Like, who am I to speak about this? Who am I to show up on Facebook Live every day? Once you can kind of tackle that mindset that you have something to share and it’s worthwhile, then just doing it consistently. I think the consistency is the hardest part and so that’s what we try to stress too is choose whatever that channel is for you. If you’re comfortable on Facebook Live, great. If it’s a podcast, excellent. If its guest posting, great. Go all in on that and don’t worry about the rest. Just like Rob said, it’s an experiment so choose six months or a certain segment of time where you just go all in on one thing.
We’ve seen when people do that it works and we’re proof of it too, right? We both went all in on a podcast. We’re forgetting about YouTube, we’re forgetting about all the other marketing channels and just going all in on one thing and it’s paying off.
Kira: The more we do that you’ll see the results.
Ry: Yeah, I actually want to talk more about that. The podcast? Amazing. I haven’t looked at the stats but probably one of the most listened to and definitely probably the most valuable podcast in the copywriting space.
Rob: Thank you, that’s nice of you to say.
Kira: Thank you, Ry.
Ry: I mean, it’s the only podcast that would have me, so I’m a little biased. Had my twice, mind you. Yeah, so you guys have done that, which is pretty massive when you really take it into context. This is one of the popular modern mediums and you guys have totally rocked it within the copywriting space so that’s under your belt. You have both worked with amazing clients, done incredible work, you’ve mentored people, you’ve coached people through the think tank and the accelerator. What is one thing you each still want to check off the copywriting bucket list before you hang up the MacBook Pros and call it a career.
Rob: There’s way more than one, I think.
Ry: What would be the one.
Rob: For me, I think I would like to own a control with one of the really big publishers. Either in the financial or in the health supplement space. Even, when I say control, even in offline control so direct mail, do something … I’d love to have something like that under my belt.
Kira: Mine is similar. I feel like I have a lot to prove as a copywriter and just as far as my skill set, so I feel like being in control, making a name for myself in the direct marketing space would be huge, so I’m with Rob there, and I feel like I have the drive to do that.
Beyond that I’m really interested in creating some type of product. I’m not sure what that will look like yet and what it will be, but I feel like that’s kind of the next challenge is, “What can I create that will help other people solve a problem?” And then also makes them money beyond trading my time for dollars. That would be the next challenge.
Ry: Do you feel like every copywriter should actively be trying to think of what is that product they want to create or what kind of business do they want to leverage these skills in for themselves.
Kira: I do, yeah. Definitely. I think it depends on what you want but I think for most copywriters if you want to stand out and be seen as someone as an expert, you need to have that expertise and that comes from creating a product, a book. Developing something that’s your own and that’s solving problems. I think it’s just a good way to put yourself in a different role and I think it will make you a better copywriter, too, when you’re on that other side and all of a sudden you’re marketing your own product. It’s the best way to learn. If you’re launching your own product it’s the best way to learn, too. Just like, “Oh, this is what my client deals with. Oh cool, now I know how to do my job better.”
I feel like it’s just a really good exercise in improving yourself and making yourself a more well rounded business person, even if you’re not really interested in creating this gigantic platform around launching products.
Kira: Just to do something different out of your day to day will make you more well rounded and a better business person, a better writer.
Rob: Yeah, I mostly agree with that. I think it really comes down to what you want as a writer. There may be a few writers out there that are just thinking, “You know what, I really only want to write. I’ve got some clients that I like.” Or maybe it’s an agency writer and they just want to be in the agency space and so they’re thinking, “Well, I don’t really need a course or book or whatever.” Having said that, I can’t see that creating a product would hurt, even those kinds of writers. It really depends on what they want.
Ry: Cool. Question for both of you right now. Before I ask it I want you to like bring to mind who your favorite client is without saying any names and let me know when you’ve got that.
Kira: I have a couple.
Rob: Yeah, I’ve got a couple as well.
Kira: Is that okay? Is that cheating?
Ry: Choose one.
Kira: Got it.
Rob: Yeah, we’re ready. Let’s do this.
Ry: All right, so that person in mind, your favorite client, just handed you a check for $200,000 cash. A check for $100-
Rob: A check for cash.
Ry: That doesn’t make sense. A check for cash.
Rob: That we can use to buy a gift card.
Ry: It is an illegal question. It’s actually a money laundering question, guys. I told you, all this drug stuff is just way too much in my head. You get this check, cashable, it’s not going to bounce, for $200,000. What would you do or deliver in the next 12 weeks to make sure they got a 10x return.
Kira: Oh my god.
Rob: Wow. I think I would probably spend my time building a new funnel to test against some existing things that they’re running right now and then spend a chunk of that on well targeted ads.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rob: I don’t know if it would get to 10x, but it might be.
Kira: I would use that money to hire some of the most brilliant online marketing strategists, or maybe not even in the online marketing space, but the most brilliant strategists I can find and afford in that budget and bring them together in a room and figure out our master plan for this particular client down to the finest detail, so there’s the blueprint and everything they need to make that money and the return. I would bring together other people who are smarter than me so we can all work together on it.
Ry: Oh, good answers.
Kira: Is that a cop out?
Ry: I mean, it’s not a cop out. I was like, just trying to like, visualize what’s going down at this super mastermind party of yours. What kind of amazing-
Kira: It’s a party.
Ry: Yeah, it’s a party.
Kira: There’s lots of beer.
Ry: Like you just spent 90K on the best DJ in New York.
Kira: It’s really just an excuse to throw a massive party.
Ry: I dig it. The ROI on partying can be pretty significant.
Kira: I’m thinking a bouncy house, probably a pool.
Rob: Now I got to try to figure out who that client is.
Ry: Is this going to the think tank?
Kira: Yeah. The client wouldn’t be there though, right? Well, maybe we would invite the client for part of it, just as the focus group aspect of it, but mostly it would just be my own party. Some of my friends might show up but it will all be, the result will be incredible, at the end-
Ry: Oh my God.
Kira: Five days.
Ry: I would show up, like make sure I’m on the list.
Kira: Right, you’re on the list. You’re on the list.
Ry: I’d be really sad if I got turned down at the door. I’d be like, “This is familiar, but it’s still very disappointing.” The sting never gets less severe.
Rob: That’s right.
Ry: Thanks, Rob. I haven’t let go of the rejection wound, clearly.
Cool, good answer. Next question, like, what if it was $1,000,000.
Kira: Bigger party.
Ry: Throw a bigger party.
Kira: 10 days, not 5.
Ry: Cool, so this actually goes back to pieces of your previous answers, but let’s say the AI writing bots got really really good, really really fast and wiped out the copywriting profession overnight, which I guess we could also assume if the bots got that good we’re probably about six months away from, like, global extinction, also.
Kira: But we still need a job for those six months. This is-
Ry: Yeah, I mean we still got bills to pay. Paying bills till the day we die. That’s great. What’s your plan?
Rob: I mean, I’m involved in more than one business so I don’t just get revenue or income from copywriting so I would probably turn to one of those other businesses that I’ve been working on, but if I had to do something entirely new maybe I would do something like Rick Steeves, you know, start creating content around travel that would allow me to be in Europe and see the cool stuff I want to see and maybe pay the bills.
Ry: Nice. I like it.
Kira: To what Rob is saying. It’s good to have something else if you can so that you don’t fall apart when technology changes. I think, also, it’s really good to have a deep knowledge of your niche so that if you are not able to write for that particular niche you can pivot and do something else in that space that hopefully AI can’t do.
Beyond that, Relationships are key. That’s not going anywhere.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Kira: People have such a desire to spend time in real life with each other. Community development is only going strengthen, in my opinion, as these jobs are eliminated so I would focus on really building communities, whether it’s online, offline, and focus on the people and getting people together. Or just become an activist.
Ry: If there was going to be like a mass revolt against the writing bots, you guys would be in the best position to rally the troops. How does that feel to be, like, the co-generals of the war against AI writing bots.
Kira: Well, I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones, so I feel like I’m prepared at this point. I’ll take notes. But I do feel like, yeah, there are lots of changes coming up. WE don’t know exactly what’s happening or going to happen, so the best way to prepare yourself is to not take anything for granted, that this path you’re on will continue forever and ever. I think what Rob is doing, create multiple businesses and pursue other ideas and deep knowledge relationships and just continuing to think outside of the box, which is so cliché, but just don’t get stuck in this, “Hey, I’m doing this now so I know I can do this 10 years from now.” Because it’s not true.
That’s not really an answer, other than just like, we need to think about this on a regular basis.
Ry: Yeah, and I think it’s super valid and important to not just have that narrow focus on writing copy alone but all the different avenues and all the ways that gets implemented and the communities you can do that with, so. Amazing point.
Kira: And even to your client relationship.
Kira: I mean, Ry, you have really strong relationships with your clients and I think even if they don’t need you for this particular service, they would still hire you to be a part of a project in some other capacity, whether it’s more on strategy or consulting or helping integrate this new technology into their business, because your client is still a person and they are going to need help.
Kira: They still want to have people they can depend on and that contact and that relationship development. I think now more than ever it’s really important to go all in with your clients. Especially your tops clients.
Kira: Build those relationships so they trust you.
Ry: Yeah even if that means I’m putting on the cheerleading spandex. I’m just like literally cheering them on on certain projects.
Kira: Yeah. Exactly.
Ry: Last rapid fire question. You brought up Game of Thrones. You guys are like overseeing this copywriting kingdom right now. Who would Cersei be in the community?
Rob: Wow, there might be more than one Cersei in our community.
Ry: You get to crown one Cersei.
Rob: Kira, you might have to answer this.
Kira: Well, the funny thing is I’m only on the second season of Game of Thrones.
Ry: That’s crazy. All right.
Kira: So I feel like I know you’re alluding to the future of it, but I’m also kind of like-
Rob: How bad does Cersei get in season 7 say as opposed to season 2, yeah?
Kira: Yeah, and like does she get better or does she get worse? I think she probably gets worse.
Ry: We can’t do it. All right. We’re going to have to edit that out. The Game of Thrones rapid fire question totally bombed.
Kira: Wait, now I’m like looking it up and like, “Okay, what’s going to happen in season three, what’s going to happen in next.”
Ry: I kind of envy you being in a position where you have like five more seasons ahead of you.
Kira: There’s yeah. Oh man. Is she going to get really bad, guys?
Ry: It’s going downhill way fast. Yeah, like. Don’t get too attached to anybody on that show.
Rob: They kill everyone you like…
Ry: We’re going to end this in a very kind of open-ended way. I know everybody asks this question but if this was the last bit of advice you gave copywriters, or business owners, what would it be.
Rob: I think that’s easy, actually. I’d say invest in yourself because the skills that you have are really the only thing that make you different from anybody else. Whether that’s books, whether its courses, and you don’t necessarily need to pay for a course, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to do it but you do need to invest time and energy into building your skills in order to move forward. The asset that you’re building is your ability to think strategically and help your clients move forward and you have to put into that bank in order to get anything out of it, so I would say invest in yourself.
Ry: Hey man. Got to make the first move.
Kira: I was just going to say, I have my 80s song.
Ry: Oh, yeah. It is not too late.
Kira: I’d say Under Pressure by David Bowie.
Kira: That’s my life right now. So I would say, similar to Rob, I do believe in investing in yourself. I will also say invest in relationships.
Kira: Everyone can train, we can take the best 10x courses by Joanna and Ry, but we all have access to that but not everyone takes advantage and really nurtures relationships. Which, that’s what will get you those better jobs, that’s what will get you this new business idea. That is crucial. It’s showing up to live events and actually building those relationships. It’s jumping on Skype with people like that’s how Rob and I met.
Ry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kira: That’s the key and that will take you further than anything else.
Ry: Amazing. If you could give pre-marriage Kira any advice what would that be?
Kira: Oh my lord.
Rob: How about this. Full steam ahead. Life is awesome. Hang on for the ride and enjoy it.
Ry: Nice. That’s a bumper sticker. I’m putting that everywhere right now.
Kira: Yeah, I’d say just stay playful, stay fun, and when that fades or is not a big part of your life question it and figure out how to find that again. Especially as you have kids that’s really crucial to your happiness. So find that.
Ry: And call Rob when all else falls.
Kira: And call Rob when you’re sad or having a bad day.
Ry: Yeah. Well, I will be reaching out to both of you in the coming months once I realize what it’s like to grow business with this…
Kira: Yeah, I’m excited for you.
Ry: Human like thing…
Rob: It’s going to be awesome.
Ry: Running around.
Ry: Yeah, I hear you guys have a lot of experience with that. So, yeah. Next podcast you will probably hear a lot more other worldly sounds on the other end.
Kira: I know.
Ry: But for now thank you for letting me steal a microphone. I tried to also steal Rob’s voice, kind of like Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
Ry: I mean. Ursula came in and stole your voice prematurely. So, that sucks. Guys thank you so much for-
Kira: Thank you, Ry.
Ry: Being on my show/your show.
Rob: Ry Schwartz, it was awesome having you.
Ry: And we will see you next week. Are you guys going to do the outro now or do I need to, like, put on my accent again and pretend I’m not me.
Kira: Can you please do your accent and just close it out.
Ry: That does it for another episode of the Copywriter Club. Make sure to tune in next time when we talk to insert persons name here. Come back here for advice tips and strategies from the world’s best copywriters.
Cool, thanks guys so much. This was awesome and I hope to catch you guys soon.
Rob: Thanks Ry.