For the 170th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob do something they haven’t done in awhile and that’s chat about what’s going on in their lives and The Copywriter Club. Plus, they talk about the most popular episodes of the podcast this year—and of all time. Both of them listed a few of their favorites from the past 12 months… if you haven’t listened to all the past year’s episodes, this is a great way to find a few you don’t want to miss. Here’s what they covered:
• what’s happening in our lives right now
• the goals we have for the coming year
• the amazing speaker line-up at The Copywriter Club In Real Life
• what makes TCCIRL different from other conferences
• what you’ll walk away with if you come to the event
• another great resource for reaching your goals—The Copywriter Underground
• the new Underground Case Studies
• a few specifics about the print newsletter that goes out to all members
• the top podcasts from 2019—these are the most listened to episodes
• our favorite podcasts from the past year—and a few of our take aways
You won’t want to miss this one. Click the play button below to hear it now, or download episode 170 to your podcast app. Want to read it? Scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:The Copywriter Club In Real Life Event
The Copywriter Underground Case Study
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Rob: This episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Club In Real Life. our live event in San Diego this March 12th through the 14th. You can get your tickets now at thecopywriterclub.com/tccirl.
Kira: Hey, Rob.
Rob: Hey, Kira.
Kira: Happy 2020.
Rob: It’s always a little awkward starting these when we don’t write an intro for ourselves to read about ourselves. But this is an episode where we don’t have a guest. We’re just going to talk amongst ourselves. Yeah, let’s do it. Happy 2020 to you, too.
Kira: Yeah, it’s been a while since we’ve chatted and recorded it, even though we chat just about daily. So let’s talk about some podcast episodes that were our favorites from 2019, some of the top most downloaded episodes, some of the ones that have resonated the most with us. But first, let’s just catch up a bit. What’s been new with you, Rob, since, I don’t know, last time we recorded anything? I don’t know what episode that was, but it’s been a while.
Rob: It’s definitely been a while since … It’s been even longer since just you and I talked. It’s been a while since we had anything to talk-
Kira: It’s been a year. Has it been a year?
Rob: Yeah, maybe. It’s been a long time. So you would think that there would be some really big changes over the course of a year. I haven’t done anything as exciting as, say, move, but this year is the first year that I am the only male person in my household. My oldest son is away to college and my youngest son is living in Phoenix on a mission. So the dynamic in my house has changed dramatically without any boys around. It’s a lot quieter.
Kira: You’re the only dude.
Rob: That’s true.
Kira: How has it changed? How is it different at home?
Rob: It is a lot quieter. I miss my sons when they’re not here. Obviously, my oldest son comes home from college quite a bit. And so, he’s around. It’s great having older children, but I definitely miss the rowdiness. I didn’t ever think that I would, but I do. I miss the noise and the rowdiness. On the other hand, it’s a lot quieter around here, and so I’m able to get more work done during the day. That is awesome.
Kira: Yeah, I’ll send Henry. Henry can spend some time at your house if you need some extra rowdiness. He’ll bring that.
Rob: I will take him any day. We can hang out and do Lego and whatever. So what big changes happened for you?
Kira: So the biggest change for me over the last year was just moving, moving from New York City to Washington, D.C. So still on the east coast, but it was a pretty big move. I think I always underestimate the toll it takes to move your family and your house to a different city and how long it takes to actually get settled. We’re still getting settled, but it’s been a nice change. It’s been really exciting and just a different energy in the city, and more space in our home too compared to our shoebox apartment in New York City. Overall, I feel like it’s been a really good move.
Rob: Yeah. It’s funny, we think about moving day, but there’s no such thing as moving day. It’s like moving year. I moved, I think, 15 years ago at the house we live in now, and there are still boxes in our basement that have stuff stored that we just don’t open.
Kira: Yeah, our living room is full of boxes. Even as I’m thinking about the new year, I’m like, ‘Oh, there’s still that. I still have to take care of all of that,’ which I’m not great at because I’d rather work on the business than unpack boxes.
Rob: Talk to podcast guests, true.
Kira: But it will be done. It will be done eventually. But it’s been a really fun change and also just good, because I was in New York for 12 years. So it just felt like it was time to switch it up and explore a new city.
Rob: Yeah, I totally get that. Now that you’re in a new city, you’ve probably got a few new goals, new things that you want to do. It’s the new year. How do you approach your resolutions or goals?
Kira: Yeah. I guess I have stopped making resolutions, but it’s just more, okay, what are my goals? I have a couple sheets of paper with just random notes, so I won’t bore you or anyone listening with all of those ideas. But some of the top ones for me are more travel-focused, which travel has been a big priority the past few years. We went to Indonesia last summer for a month.
This summer I’m looking forward to more travels. I already am looking at a conference in Iceland. I’ve never been to Iceland. Then we have a family reunion in France, so we want to spend time in France and explore for a couple of weeks, maybe a month. Yeah, travel takes precedent, and it’s fun to think about that.
Then I would say another goal that I pulled from you, because, Rob, you inspire me, is to read for 30 minutes every day, which I know you do that and it’s something that I think it sounds so easy and simple, but it’s easy to step away from that. It’s really easy to think that you are doing that, especially if you love books and you love to read. You collect books like I do. It’s easy for me to trick myself into thinking I’m reading more than I’m actually reading. I think having that time, around 30 minutes, and really sticking to that every day will help me make more progress in my reading than …
What typically happens is I get distracted or my kids call me and I read a couple of pages, and then that’s it for the day. That’s a big one, a big achievable, easy one. That shouldn’t be too hard. I have a couple other ones, but what about you, Rob? What are some of your goals?
Rob: First of all, I’m going to have to send you my list of places to go in France, because just spending some time there, it is … But that’s awesome. Maybe I’m going to have to think a little bit more about what we’re going to do travel-wise this summer.
I have this love-hate relationship with goals and resolutions. I know this is maybe popular right now, but I’ve been trying to think about these more as habits than goals, things that I’m trying to achieve, but rather trying to just change different things that I do on a daily basis.
One of the things that I have gotten away from over the past year that I definitely need to get back to is just building a better habit of healthy eating. I know when we first met, Kira, I think I was off of sugar. I didn’t eat any sugar for a long time. I’ve gotten away from that.
Kira: I thought you were still off sugar. I just assumed that you never ate sugar.
Rob: No. Well, and you know we’ve had some visitors from the UK who brought a suitcase full of Cadbury’s chocolates, and every kind of candy bar that we can’t get here they’ve brought over. And so, I need to get back to that habit. So that’s on my list is I’m going to be eating healthier in the coming year.
Then, also, I mean you mentioned my habit of reading. I haven’t been as deliberate and purposeful in choosing the books that I want to read. Oftentimes I’ll just default to fiction or things that are maybe a little bit more mind candy. And so, I’m going to be a lot more purposeful in choosing the books that I’m reading this year. In fact, I posted a short post in The Copywriter Underground Facebook group just asking for people’s favorite nonfiction books because I’m going to be adding a few of those to my list. So I’m definitely going to strengthen that habit as well.
Then you and I have some business goals, and we won’t get into the details of what those are. But we’re going to be doing some pretty different things in The Copywriter Club and maybe even introducing a new product or two, and growing The Underground and trying to improve and just make all of the resources that we offer for copywriters that much better, that much more available, and hopefully help inspire more writers to become better at what they do.
Kira: Yeah, I wrote down for a bit a lot of business goals, but one of them is around building a team. I feel like I’m someone who maybe even five years ago, maybe less than that, the idea of growing a team, building a team just turned me off completely. I was like, ‘That’s not why I went into entrepreneurship. I just want to be solo.’ Then here I am with a business partner and excited to grow a team and to mentor team members and figure out how we can grow and expand. That’s just always surprising when you change your mind so dramatically about something that you’re excited about. I think that will have a big effect on our business as we move into the new year.
Rob: Yeah. It’s funny that you mention that too, because I used to have a corporate job where I was running this business for HP, and at some point HP decided to close all of that down. And so, I had to lay off more than 100 people. I’ve talked about this in the past with other people, but it was easily the worst day of my life having to do that. I told myself at that point I’m never going to have to do that again, like I never want to work with a team.
Kira: Oh my gosh.
Rob: I wouldn’t call it trauma necessarily, but it’s one of those experiences that really had an impact on me. And so, even exploring the idea of having a team help us with The Copywriter Club has … There’s definitely some mindset issues that I’ve got to overcome again, because I just never wanted to be in that position again. Hopefully The Copywriter Club continues to grow and build and we don’t ever find ourselves in that position as we continue to offer a lot of value to people. But, yes, growing a team is definitely something that’s going to be fun and exciting. I hope fun. Hey, hiring people, that’s a lot of fun.
Kira: It is fun. It is fun.
Rob: It is exciting and it’s going to allow us to do a lot of things that we haven’t been able to do in the past, which I am excited.
Kira: So you laid off 100 people in one day?
Rob: Yeah, it was kind of [crosstalk 00:09:52].
Kira: How was that even possible? That’s crazy.
Rob: Well, it was a crazy day. But it’s one of those things and it’s just, I don’t know, those corporate decisions that just don’t make a lot of sense. I think in almost every case, people are definitely better off than what they were now. But those kinds of things are definitely hard to get through.
Kira: Oh, okay. Then the last item I had for a goal for the upcoming year is to be less of a contrarian, because I always feel so proud of myself for being a contrarian. Recently, I just have had a bunch of people call me out on it, especially when I play Cards Against Humanity. It’s really clear that I’m a contrarian when I play that game, and everyone can just see through it. I had someone challenge me to be less of a contrarian in 2020, and I’m going to try to do that. I’m not quite sure how to do it, but, Rob, you’re allowed to call me out if I’m being a contrarian. But just for the sake of being a contrarian with no other reason.
Rob: This is going to be great because then every time you disagree with me, I’ll just say, ‘No, no, no. You’re just being a contrarian. You’ve got to not do that.’ I like this is goal.
Kira: This is not going to go well. I’m going to cross that out right now. That’s it for the upcoming year. I know we have other goals, but let’s talk about some other events that are coming up and what is happening in The Copywriter Club.
Rob: Big event coming up. I know we’ve mentioned this a few times if you’ve been in the group, if you’ve listened to the podcast, The Copywriter Club In Real Life this coming March 12th through 14th is happening. We’ve got an amazing line up of speakers. We’ve had amazing speakers in the last two years, and I think this year’s even better, or certainly as good.
I’m excited to hear from so many of the people that I respect in this business, to learn from them, but even more so, just hanging out with copywriters for three days. It’s so much fun and it’s unlike any other conference that I’ve ever been to, maybe because everybody who’s there understands the struggles that we all have. We’re all in the same place. We’re all trying to accomplish some more things, and the ideas, the relationships, the friendships. It’s an amazing three days. I highly encourage anybody who is thinking about doing a conference this year to choose TCCIRL in March. Join us in San Diego and have a lot of fun.
Kira: Yeah. Just to share some of the speakers, I’ll share some-
Siri: [crosstalk 00:12:21].
Rob: Sorry, that was my … That was Siri. That was-
Kira: That freaked me out.
Rob: Yeah, sorry
Kira: Oh my gosh, creepy robots. Geez.
Rob: Yeah, it was artificial intelligence at its best.
Kira: It’s just the robots taking over the world in our podcast. We should leave it. Okay, so a couple of speakers. Rob, if I’m forgetting one, let me know. We have Joanna Wiebe is coming back for the third time. She’s been at all three of our events. We’re excited to have her back.
We also have Jasmine Star, Joel Klettke, Momo Price, Kirsty Fanton, Sam Woods, Tyler James Koenig, Sage Polaris, Justin Blackman, Rachael Kay Albers. Then we have a bunch of new speakers we haven’t even announced yet. We can share a couple of their names, too.
Rob: Yeah. We’re actually still waiting for confirmation from some of the speakers, as we’ve invited them to speak or to participate in panels. And so, I believe Abbey Woodcock is coming back as well to participate on a panel and to share her knowledge. Lindsay Hotmire is coming. Jen Walker and Jen Havice are going to be speaking … They’re going to be doing something together actually, which would be a little different from things that we’ve done in the past. There’s a bunch of others that I can’t wait to hear from.
Kira: Yeah, Stefan Georgi, who’s one of the top copywriters out there right now, and Bond Halbert is coming back for the second time. Jamie Jensen, we’re really excited to have her for the first time, and Adam Bensman, who we’ll probably talk about in a little bit. He had a really popular podcast episode on our show, too.
Then again we’re waiting to hear back from a lot of people. We have three different panels this year, so we’re going to have some really great discussions about pricing, packaging, scaling your business, mindset. I mean we’re going to definitely talk about what’s happening in your head this year more than we did last year. So that will be really fun to incorporate that discussion, too.
Rob: Yeah, it’s going to be a blast. Then, of course, there are we organized dinners and lunches for people so that you’re never alone. If you want to participate in them, just we ask you to send us your name and we match you up in a group of, say, six to eight people, and everybody goes out together. That helps bring people together, create new relationships. That’s something that no other conference that we’re aware of does. It’s one of the things, I think, that people really have liked in past two years as we’ve gotten together.
Kira: Well, yeah, I don’t think other conferences do it because it takes a lot of work to put people into groups-
Rob: It’s a lot.
Kira: … and then to make sure it’s the right group. But we want to take the time to do that and make sure you’re with the right people, just so you aren’t necessarily eating lunch alone. You’re eating with a group of people that you can connect with. We also have a VIP ticket this year for the first time ever. I think we have a couple VIP spots left.
Rob: I think we have nine spots left.
Kira: Nine, okay.
Rob: Yeah, where we are today.
Kira: The cool thing about the VIP option is that when you sign up for VIP, you get a half day implementation session with the two of us and with a couple other speakers and workshop presenters we’re bringing in. We’re really going to dive into taking the content and figuring out how you can actually use it in your business and apply it. So you can go back to your business and home with a plan that you can use. It’s not just like we’re throwing content at you. You can figure out how to use it.
Then we also have a private dinner as part of the VIP package on the first night, the kickoff night. You can have a private dinner with our speakers and our Think Tank Mastermind members. It will be more of an intimate gathering. Then there’s the private VIP lunch included, a couple other perks, too. But it’s really just a way for you to spend more time with speakers and have a couple more intimate events throughout the conference.
Rob: Yeah, it’s going to be great. If your goal for 2020 includes any kind of investing in yourself or in your business, this would be a fantastic way to kick that off to ideas for your business, ideas for self-improvement, ways to improve your own copywriting, ways to find better clients, ways to increase your prices or create packages that are fit for what you want to do. We’ll be talking about all of that at the event, and guarantee you’ll walk away with a notebook full of ideas that you’ll be able to spend the next four or five months implementing and doing things to grow your business.
Kira: We also have a payment plan, which is available if you want to attend, but it’s challenging to pay for the ticket upfront. We can break it down into three different payments, which is always helpful. I always love that when I invest in events.
Rob: Yeah, and that’s something not a lot of events do. That’s new for us. We haven’t done it in the past. We’re interested to see if that helps people be able to come that might not have been able to come before.
Kira: So beyond the big event in San Diego, what else is happening with The Copywriter Club?
Rob: Yeah, so this week we are opening up The Underground for new members. It hasn’t been open for new members for about five months, and we felt it was time. We’ve been trying to make some improvements there. We’ve got a bunch of things that we’re in the process of changing and adding. But we didn’t want to wait any longer because we know a lot of people want to kick off the new year by investing in their business, and The Underground is a very, very affordable way to get access to a lot of training, a lot of ideas, and a community of people who are doing the same kinds of things as you develop your business and grow it into something bigger for the new year.
Kira: Yeah. The Underground is great because there’s so much in it. But it’s funny when we talk about what’s included, like the monthly hot seats and group coaching calls with us and the trainings and even the newsletter that is so valuable and covers a different topic every month, it’s all wonderful. But what our members actually say they like the most and get the most out of it is the community.
Even though you may not join for the community, people stay for the community because this group is really solid. They share job leads with each other, they’re critiquing each other’s copy. They’re really supportive of each other in this group. It’s a great way to connect with other copywriters and build some strong relationships that could help your business, too.
Rob: Yeah. Over the last few months, and we’ve asked several members of The Underground about their successes and about what they’ve been able to accomplish over the last years we’ve been open, and I am amazed at how many of them have made really significant growth and increased their revenues over the past year, people telling us that for the first time they’ve had five-figure months consistently and people hitting six-figure goals.
That’s not necessarily what The Underground is all about. It is about hitting your goals and about being smart about the things you want to do, but the impact that it has being surrounded by other people who are doing great things or trying new ideas, being surrounded by people who can give you answers to questions that you have, or who have faced down the same challenges that you have, and being able to learn from them has an impact on your business that is really hard to describe until you’ve been in it and until you’ve experienced it.
Obviously, The Underground is that kind of a community. There are other communities that do something similar, but The Underground for our group and for the people who are there has just had an amazing impact on the businesses of most of the members there. It’s really gratifying to see that.
Kira: Yeah. If you are listening and you need proof of that, we do have case studies. We have three case studies, recent case studies, from Underground members that actually talk about how their businesses changed in The Underground. We can link to those case studies in the show notes for this episode if you want to check that out.
Rob: Yeah, we’ll be sharing that in email. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s there. But, yeah, it’s an amazing group, and we are open now. It’s not going to be open for a long period of time. I don’t even know if you and I have set the dates of when we’re closing it. We are keeping it open a little bit longer than what we normally would just because it’s been five months since we opened last. But we are going to be closing the doors again for several months.
And so, if that’s something that you would want to invest in your business, it’s less than $100 a month. It’s access to some amazing resources and certainly worth checking out. There’s also no commitment. I think that’s important to mention. If, for any reason, you want to leave, just let us know. There’s no ongoing commitment there. So definitely a great way to invest in your business in the coming year.
Kira: Yeah, what I like that we’ve seen happen recently is for members to actually connect in person. We’ve already seen that, a meetup in Atlanta, I believe, with a bunch of Underground members connecting in person. We plan on seeing more of that and helping that happen more often in 2020 so we can connect in person as well as online.
But, Rob, before we move on, can you just talk a little bit about the newsletter? Because it is easy … We overlook the newsletter and talk about community, which is important. But each month we do share a newsletter in The Underground. I know you put a ton of time into it. Can you just talk about some of the topics that we’ve covered recently and that we will cover the next few months?
Rob: Yes. I think a lot of people think of a newsletter as this email that shows up in your inbox, and that is not what we’re talking about when we talk about the newsletter. We send out every month a print newsletter. It ranges somewhere between 12 and 20 pages, sometimes it goes a little bit longer than that. But we tackle a topic from copywriting. Sometimes we talk about marketing.
In the past, we’ve talked about ways to demonstrate proof in your copy. We’ve talked about mindset issues and self-care. We’ve talked about sales calls and how do you put those together. We’ve talked about putting together the perfect proposal.
Each month, it’s a different topic. We go really, really in-depth. It’s almost like getting some kind of a book or training in print, but it’s small enough to be able to sit down and read through in less than an hour. But hopefully it’s the kind of stuff that can have just a massive impact on your business, give you ideas to try out over the coming month, make a few changes, and help people to just do things in a new way or in a better way.
When you join The Underground, we don’t send you back issues of all of the print newsletters, but you do have access to PDFs of everything that we sent out before. And so, you can see some of those issues about how do you make quantum leaps and how do you persuade people to do things when you’re writing content or copy. That’s something that we share every month. It gets mailed to your mailbox no matter where you are in the world.
Kira: All right. We hope to see you in The Underground, if that sounds like it’s right up your alley. All right, so let’s talk about podcasts from 2019. Rob, do you want to share the top podcast? We did pull the numbers to see which podcasts were the most downloaded in 2019. So we have that list of top 10. Then we have some of our favorites that we’ll share, too. But let’s start with the top most downloaded shows.
Rob: Yeah. So I did pull the numbers. I thought it’d be fun just to review the top 10. The number one listened to episode from 2019 was our interview with Nikita Morell. We’ll talk maybe just some details of what that included here in just a minute. Number two is when we talked with Austin Mullins. Our third most downloaded podcast episode was our interview with Amy Posner from the very beginning of this year.
Number four on the list is Bob Hoffman. He’s the ad contrarian we talked to this past spring. Number five was Tamara Glick. Number six, Lisa Pierson. Number seven, Matt Hall. Number eight was Robert Skrob. Number nine was Laura Lopuch. And number 10 was Keli Chevalier.
There’s a little bit of a bias here because obviously the longer an episode is out, the more listeners that collects over the course of the year. A lot of these are from earlier on in the year, but a couple of them were actually quite late, Laura Lopuch, Matt Hall were both just very recent. And so, they’ve got a lot of listens. Maybe that’s some indication of the value of both of those interviews.
Kira: Right. So, yeah, this doesn’t necessarily mean these are the only top interviews from this past year. We have so many great ones, and we’ll share a couple other ones that really resonated with us. But it is fun just to look at those numbers and see what people downloaded and shared the most.
Rob: Yeah. Like you said, it’s really hard to choose favorites. We did 52 episodes this year and we interviewed some amazing guests. As I was looking through all of the interviews that we did, there are some crazy ones, there are some that were maybe really outside of at least what I’m comfortable with in my wheelhouse, that were very different than the kinds of things that maybe we’ve talked about with people in the past. There are some really good interviews with people who’ve shared ideas for growing a business that quite literally these are million-dollar ideas that people have used to build six, seven-figure businesses. So what was your favorite, Kira?
Kira: Yeah. Oh, yeah. My favorite probably is no surprise to you, Rob, but it was the most recent one that just came out with Glynn Washington. Glynn is the podcaster and producer behind Snap Judgement and behind my favorite podcast, Spooked, which is all about paranormal activities and ghost stories.
So I’ve listened to Glynn … He’s been in my ear a lot. I love his voice and the way he produces these high-quality shows with the music and the audio quality. To me, it’s like that’s what you strive for as a podcaster. I was actually really nervous before we interviewed him because to me he’s celeb status, and he didn’t disappoint at all.
I felt like he showed up to that interview and just brought it and shared so many valuable insights about the way he tells stories, how he looks at storytelling, and insights that we can use as copywriters to tell stories in our own copy about how important it is to have the hook at the beginning and to have a credible voice … To be a credible speaker on a podcast, but to also have a credible voice as you’re writing copy and how that really makes an impact. So that one was definitely one of my favorites.
Rob: Yeah, that was a good one.
Kira: What about you, Rob?
Rob: Well, I was going to say that one with Glynn was really fun. I think he was recording in a basement. He just had a flood or whatever, so it was very real. But the things that he shared were fantastic.
Then I just happened to be out driving on Saturday and turned on NPR, and there was Glynn telling a story, sharing one of his … It’s a podcast, but it’s also a radio show on NPR. And so, knowing the background of how he built his shows was just interesting as I heard him on the radio.
My favorite, it’s so hard to choose. I started making a list of the ones that I really enjoyed. But I’m going to pull out our interview with Bob Hoffman. So Bob was the ad contrarian. He’s somebody that I followed for quite a while. I’ve had several of his books. He’s been this contrarian invoice in the ad agency world for a long time, calling out the ad agency world on the things that they do wrong.
We talked about privacy and the abuse of privacy that advertisers in places like Facebook and Google, what they’re doing to consumers and the information that they have and why that’s not good, and maybe how we as an industry need to start doing something about it. He talked about the focus of youth in advertising agencies and why that hurts the advertising that we have, and how so much of what gets created by agencies is focused on the wrong audiences.
It was just a really interesting conversation, maybe less applicable to most of our businesses, but eye-opening in the ways that marketing affects a lot of people, not always for good.
Kira: Yeah. So another one for me is … I guess it’s best to say most shocking, most surprising, most fun was Drayton Bird, a recent interview with Drayton Bird, one of the original mad men. Drayton was just … I mean I think we both were entertained as we were sitting through that interview and listening to his stories, where you’re like, ‘This could not possibly be true,’ but it’s true.
So beyond his wild stories about being stabbed by his wife and being hit over the head with a plate by his other girlfriend and just stories, I think, just made my jaw drop as I was listening, there were some really great takeaways in that episode with Drayton.
For me, it came down to really understanding that his success and the success of other ad men and women during that time, like Ogilvy, was all about the power of being well-read and having a well-furnished mind. Really it’s about reading more, traveling more, saying yes more, having more experiences. I don’t think it necessarily means you have to lean into experiences where you’re going to get stabbed.
He has crazy stories, but I think it just helped me think through life differently and just kind of challenge myself to get uncomfortable and try new things and to get out of a routine and to really put myself out there more, because that’s where we learn and can pull in those experiences into our copy and become a better creative because of that.
Rob: Yeah. When we do an episode, we choose a title and we always try to pick out an idea or something from the episode. We probably should have just had Drayton’s episode called WTF with Drayton Bird. There were so many crazy stories. He’s so interesting as a human being and very clearly from a different time period. I’m not sure that you can even live a life like he’s lived today. But what an amazing story.
Another one that really stood out to me was our interview with Robert Skrob. We’re friends with Robert, and he came on, generously shared how he has built his business. He was really a little bit controversial when he said that there is no future in copywriting. What he meant by that is that if you’re selling yourself as a copywriter, only as a copywriter, that you are probably going to not grow like you could if you think about your business in a bigger way.
He talked a lot about choosing a niche and how he niched into the kinds of work that he does. He helps memberships, not just membership sites but professional memberships, grow and served their clients. He talked a lot about how he markets himself not as a copywriter, even though all that he does is copywriting, but as a consultant, as a strategizer, somebody who helps his clients identify the problems in their business and then overcome them. Literally, what he provides for them is copy.
He also talked about how he got his first big clients. It was an idea that we said was worth stealing. What he did is he hired a VA to find a couple hundred potential clients that he wanted to work with, and he started sending them a print newsletter, about four pages, articles that he would write. I think he cross-posted that content on his website. Then he would send it out to people along with sales information and how he could help.
It was basically a sales pitch that he was sending people in the mail month after month after month, and a lot of those people that he was reaching out to realized as they would read that content that they needed his help. I thought that was a fantastic idea certainly we’re stealing and using in other niches. But his interview, if I were to say of all the interviews we’ve talked about that might be most useful to copywriters, this one’s certainly in the top three or four.
Kira: No, I agree. Even though Glynn was my favorite, because I’m a fan girl, this interview with Robert Skrob is definitely the one I’ve referred to the most. I feel like as we interview these different guests, so many of the lessons really make their way into what we talk about in The Think Tank Mastermind, in The Underground. So much of what we’ve learned from Robert Skrob has showed up in our conversations with copywriters.
So I think this is a big change for a lot of copywriters to make because we show up as copywriters, that’s our identification, that’s usually our title, and he’s just flipped that over and said, ‘Stop doing that. You are a problem-solver. You’re not just a copywriter.’
That’s been really helpful for me, and I’ve seen it help other copywriters as we think through what we’re doing and how we work with clients. We are solving problems, we are problem-solvers, and it’s empowering to view myself as a problem-solver rather than just a copywriter, because copy is a piece of what I do, but it’s not everything that I do.
Rob: Yeah. I think a good one-two punch with that interview also is our interview with Adam Bensman, which I think was the week before that we talked to Robert. Adam shared his strategies for growing a very different business, but of a similar size and how he radically protects his personal time, how he only works with a certain kind of client, how he niched by the problem that he could solve as opposed to the industry or the product that he would create. Listening to the two of those together, Robert and Adam, I think is … It’s almost a copywriting course in itself.
Kira: Yeah. Yes, and Adam is speaking out our event, TCC In Real Life, in March. If you want to meet Adam, he’s been such an active member of the community and is helping so many copywriters. I know he’s just great about answering questions. So you can meet him and hear him on his presentation in San Diego.
Kira: Another podcast episode that I thought was really powerful was the one with Sarah Henson. Sarah, is a Think Tank member and a copywriter who really just became a copywriter 18, maybe 20 months ago now. I think she’s been in it for years and years and years, but she was just really vulnerable and opened up in this conversation about her anxiety and how hard it can be as a business owner, especially when you’re going through a divorce and you’re supporting children and you’re a copywriter, and at the same time you lose one of your main clients. She talks through those struggles and also a lot of the successes she’s had, because she’s had 11k months and her business has continued to grow and have success after success.
But she talks about how it’s not easy. I think when I listen to that episode, I just realize how important it is to ask for help, which was the main lesson Sarah shared with us, how that’s the biggest change she’s made in her business is seeking help, asking for help from other copywriters. Also, just the importance of strength and resilience, which I think Sarah embodies.
Rob: Yeah, Sarah’s been a member of our Think Tank. And so, we’ve been able to see her grow her business. She has accomplished some amazing things. It was fun listening to her talk about how her business has changed over the course of the last year and the goals that she’s reached.
Like we said, she went through all of those challenges, but at the same time she was able to earn enough to buy a home and to set herself up in other ways. And so, it was great to listen to her share that story as well.
I also liked our interview with Austin Mullins. Austin is an unassuming guy. He is very young, or at least he looks very young. He came onto the podcast and shared his sales process. I just remember, at the end of that interview, just being really wowed by how thoughtful he has been about his sales process, how he sells copy, how he sells content. He talked about some of the mistakes that copywriters and others make during the sales process. He even talked about how we started way back in high school as a copywriter.
Kira: Yeah, he was 17.
Rob: I think at one point he was balancing three businesses. I don’t think he’s doing that anymore. But he’s growing his content agency and doing some amazing things. For copywriters who struggle with the sales process, with knowing what questions to ask, with knowing how to present themselves, that interview with Austin Mullins, I think, is a really good one.
Kira: Yeah, that episode was basically a training on how to sell. If you struggle with sales or you just want some new ideas about how to construct a consultative sales call, Austin just … Yeah, he really brought it. I remember thinking the same thing at the end of that episode. I was like, ‘This is basically a workshop on how to sell.’ So thank you, Austin, for giving us that.
Rob: It was pretty good.
Kira: Another one was our episode with Lauren Hazel, which I thought it was just such a fun episode because I didn’t know much about Lauren’s backstory and how she got into copywriting. So we walked through that episode following her timeline and her path and talking about how she started off by making cold calls and calling people on the phone as an introvert, which most of us would never do, but she did it, made 20 calls a day I don’t know for how long.
She took a lot of lessons on how to sell and how to connect with people from those phone calls. Then beyond that, what I took out of that episode is about how to create different offers in your business. Lauren’s really good at that.
One of her offers is in-house training. And so, she’ll go into companies of different sizes and train their marketing team. She gets paid it, whether it’s like a two-hour session or maybe it’s an all-day session. She gets paid well to do that type of training.
As I’ve talked to other copywriters over the last few months, I feel like this is a really great opportunity for all of us, if that’s of interest to you and it excites you to go in-house and train a company and a team, but there’s a really good way to make money, to meet in person with the teams, or potentially even build out a larger package where you go in for a day and then maybe you work with them on an ongoing basis online after that. Lauren talks through how she packages that, how she prices it, how she sells it in that episode.
Rob: Yes, it was really interesting to watch or to listen to her talk through how she does that. Workshops are a huge opportunity, I think, for a lot of copywriters. I mean we talk about being more persuasive or using the tactics and strategies that we understand as copywriters in helping marketing teams in a corporate environment understand some of those things. There’s definitely opportunities for at least some of us to add that to our product suite.
Kira: All right, let’s talk about a couple more. I feel like we could just keep going.
Rob: Yeah, we could keep going, and maybe I’ll keep a couple of these other ones just a little shorter. But I really enjoyed our interview with Patsy Kenney. Patsy does event planning. She has had some personal struggles this past year and talked a bit about that. But I was just really impressed about how positive she is in her outlook in life and her approach to branding and helping people brand events and create events that are really life-changing.
Just a really interesting episode and another opportunity for at least some copywriters to add events of some kind to the products that they offer. She even talked about how she started creating her first event, I think, was around her kitchen table and just inviting a few guests to join for a meal and to hang out. It was just a fun episode to get to know her better.
Kira: Yeah, we’ve seen that happen, too. We’ve seen more copywriters host their own events. I mean we’re hosting our own event and seeing Prerna Malik is hosting different workshops, in-person workshops. Tarzan and Sage have their new event that will become an annual event as well. So it’s definitely good to think about the event and experience side of all of our businesses, even if you’re not ready to jump in and plan your own event.
Rob: Yeah, there’s something about even just understanding how events work. Engaging with a client at some level is an event. If we can treat those customer experiences that we have as events and maybe borrow some of the things that events do really well in creating a great customer experience for our clients, then the whole process goes a lot better.
Kira: All right. Another one that we have to mention is the number one most downloaded episode with Nikita Morell. Nikita is a member of our Think Tank. And so, we’ve seen her growth firsthand. But there are so many things I love about Nikita, but what we talk about in that episode is prospecting and how she’s grown her business and of found really great clients in her niche, architecture, from prospecting, which I feel like so many copywriters are struggling to find clients, and this is a great way to start. So she talks through her prospecting process.
Then she also talks about how she’s only been in her business for three years, and she’s now taking huge projects, 20k projects, and her roster’s built. She has a wait list. She is the go-to marketer and copywriter and problem-solver in the architecture space. She’s really become a category of one. She’s done so many things right in her business that we talk about in that episode.
But also what impresses me the most is that she’s grown her business and she only works two and a half days a week. It’s great. I say only works two and a half days a week, but she works two and a half days a week because she also is growing a family at the same time. She has a baby and a toddler. And so, she’s had so much success while juggling and been really smart about how she spends her time.
Rob: Yeah, she is one of the most down to earth, humble people that I think I’ve ever met. She is a total case study in choosing a niche. When she was telling us about how she chose her niche, she was even very honest about how she had doubts as to whether it was the right step forward or not.
You mentioned the outreach that she’s done. She did a series of really cool video teardowns aimed at her target audience that I think has done really well for her in attracting even more clients. She’s just an amazing person in that episode. There’s a reason it was the most downloaded of the year. It really is a great discussion.
I would also mention our interview with Laura Lopuch. She was in the top 10. As far as usable information and something that a lot of beginning copywriters may want to check out. We talked with Laura about cold pitching, about how to personalize a cold pitch so that it feels more warm and agreeable and welcome. She shared phrases and subject lines that get results for her. She even shared with us an example of her pitch as she read through it and offered at the end of it to give samples of the templates that she’s used to generate $20,000, $30,000 of business in her own copywriting business. And so, that’s another one that people may want to check out.
Kira: All right. Also … See, we can just keep going … our interview with Nigel Stevens is also worth listening to. Nigel also spoke at our Think Tank event in Barcelona. So it was fun to meet him in person right after we had this podcast interview.
But what Nigel’s done so well in his business is think through his pricing. He’s charging a lot and he’s pricing really intelligently, thinking through value-based pricing. Ever since we’ve talked to him about this, it’s changed the way I look at pricing completely. He basically helps you think through pricing so that you disconnect the price from the set deliverables.
As copywriters, we typically connect those two, and we want to charge per deliverable or charge per hour. He disconnects it so that you’re really focused on solving problems and measuring that, and ultimately aligning the work you do to those metrics that you set for the problem that you’re solving.
It’s a really great process to think through how to charge your clients in a way that works for your client, because you’re solving a problem for them and they get to see the results with the set metrics. Then you get paid for the value that you’re providing.
So if you want to dig more into that, it’s worth checking out that episode. But I think that’s going to have a big impact on the way that copywriters charge in their proposals.
Rob: Yeah, we didn’t talk about it on the podcast interview with him, but when Nigel presented in Barcelona, he shared his formula for talking through how his work creates value. It was another million-dollar idea. We’ve learned a lot from Nigel. He’s really smart, somebody worth listening to.
Two other episodes that we should mention, they go together, and those are our interviews with Brigitte Lyons and Mai-kee Tsang. Both of them talked about pitching podcasts. They shared successes and failures. They shared their pitch templates and the way that we can be more effective in pitching podcasts.
Both of them actually help people pitch podcasts in their niches and to get on to more shows in order to make that part of their marketing strategy. Both of them are worth a listen if you want to be on podcast, if you want to be interviewed and share your thinking and your ideas with your target market.
Kira: Yeah, podcasting is not going anywhere anytime soon, so this is such an effective marketing tool. It’s a great way to get in the ear of your ideal clients for half an hour or an hour, and build trust quickly and ultimately land more clients or grow your lists, whatever those goals are for you.
Brigitte and Mai-kee are both passionate about it and work with clients. I’m actually working with Brigitte Lyons now, and it’s been really helpful in my business so far as we’re ramping up and pitching more podcasts together.
Rob: So those are maybe our top picks, at least some of our favorites from this year. The all time list is a little bit different, so all time downloads. Obviously, episodes that have been around for a couple of years have even more time to gain listeners.
Our all time most listened to episode is our interview with Michal Eisikowitz. She shared how she’s used LinkedIn to grow her business. She shared some of the successes that she’s had. She’s another person who, over the course of three years, has just built an amazing, amazing business. If you want to listen to something that we recorded before 2019, her episode is certainly worth going back and revisiting.
Then some of the others that are top all time, our very first interview with Kaleigh Moore. That was episode number one. Our interview with Bond Halbert is number three all time. Our second interview with Tarzan Kay, where we talk about day rates, is our number four all time. And our number five all time is one of our favorite people that we’ve ever interviewed and we’ve had him interview us, and that was Ry Schwartz, our interview with him. That was clear back in episode number two.
Kira: Wow! Back in the day. We gave you enough podcasts to listen to. Hopefully there’s one or two that grabbed your interest or would be useful to you that you can check out. We’ll link to all of these episodes that we mentioned in the show notes so you can have easy access to them.
We want to thank everyone that we interviewed in 2019 because there were so many favorites, and Rob and I could really continue going and chatting about all of them and chat for the next three or four hours. But we won’t bore you with that.
Rob: Yeah, we could easily do that. I think the thing about this podcast, and it’s always been free, it’ll always be free, but it really truly is a weekly masterclass on ideas that you can use in your business as a copywriter to grow. Whether that’s ideas for new products, ideas for processes that you can try, ideas for getting clients, ideas for improving your copy, the people that we invite on to the show are so generous in sharing what they’re doing in their businesses, and they’re sharing it for free.
It’s 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of time with experts who are doing some really amazing things. It’s a great habit to incorporate to just expose yourself to those ideas on a weekly basis. If you’re doing that with our podcast, you should certainly find podcasts that do it and help you grow your business in some way in the future.
Kira: Or start your own podcasts because then you’ll have your own masterclass that you can curate on your own. So that’s it for us. We’ve mentioned the big event. We hope to see you at the event in San Diego this March and in The Underground this month as we launch that. Anything else, Rob, I’m missing?
Rob: I think that’s it for now. Keep listening to the podcast. If you like what you hear on the podcast, we would really appreciate a review in the iTunes store. We haven’t asked for those for quite a while, but it does help people find the podcast and maybe learn from some of the experts that you’re also learning from.
If you have enjoyed what we share on a regular basis week in, week out, you could pay us back just a little bit by adding a review in the iTunes store so that others can find it. We really appreciate your review when you add that.
Kira: All right, thank you.
Rob: I think that’s it. Thanks everybody and we will see you next week.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available at iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing at iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.
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