Tag Archives: writing

The Quiz, Resolved. And Prize Awarded…

Tuesday, 4:06pm
San Francisco, CA
I left my heart…” (Tony Bennett)

Howdy.

By the time you read this, I’ll be back home in Reno… a better man for having spent a week in San Francisco.

Even though it was all business, I still get invigorated just from hanging out in that city by the bay.  It’s one of the few things California did right (though they’re working hard at ruining it).  (Bastards.)

And while I was gone, the last blog post went freaking bonkers.  Nearly 200 comment posts (most of them well-thought-out and elegantly delivered, too).  (With the occasional funny disruptor, of course.  It wouldn’t be a good Quiz without a big healthy dose of irreverence.)

So, a big “thanks” once again to Robert Gibson (SWS veteran teacher and all-around good dude) for being ring-leader while I was off.

And congratulations to the winner.  Who we’ll announce here in a second.

First, though, let’s clarify what the answer is.

The question was: What’s the 4th big observation about money that changed my life so dramatically… that an avalanche of good stuff followed (including the phat opportunities to work with Gary Halbert)?Continue Reading

Night Of The Living-Dead Sales Letter…

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Thursday, 8:06pm
Reno, NV
Here come Johnny Yen again…” (Iggy Pop, “Lust For Life”)

Howdy…

Oh, my God!

They killed the sales letter again!

Will this horror never stop?

Actually, you can relax.  Just like Kenny in South Park, the traditional sales letter is on some kind of perverse “Permanent Hit List”…

… where every marketer trying to claim he just invented a new fad stands astride the image of a quaking letter…

… and slays it.

Huzzah! Death to you, vile long-copy sales letter!  Take that… and that…

… and that.

This latest round is clever as hell, too.  The new trend is putting your sales letter in a video, and reading along with it.

The irony:  The dude selling you the “Magic Box” product that kills the sales letter forever…

… uses a sales letter to do the killing.

Hey — don’t get me wrong.  I love video.  Been using it in marketing since… well, since it was actual videotape on reels.  (Yeah, shocking, I know.  We were so backward in the last century.)

In fact, the “Magic Box” product I’m talking about is, I’m guessing, an excellent solution for many marketers who can’t figure out how to make a video sales letter work.

And all’s fair in love, war and advertising.  So all the dudes out there telling you the sales letter is dead, and you can sell without selling, and the Web has changed everything…Continue Reading

There Are 2 Kinds Of People In The World…

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Monday, 3:29pm
Reno, NV
You’re either on the bus, or off the bus…” (Ken Kesey)

Howdy…

Quick lesson here I thought you’d enjoy.

The phrase “there are two kinds of people” is used by comics, politicians, and just-plain-folks trying to set up a point with an easily-understood little story.

It’s an over-simplification, most of the time, of course.  Life is too nuanced and complex to fit into just two tidy categories.

However, sometimes you can make a damn good argument behind the two-groups thing.

In selling, this is what we’ve called “the dichotomy of futures”…

… meaning, you can make two distinctly clear divisions:

1.) The “in” group, which is your target market…Continue Reading

Who’s Watching Your Back?

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Thursday, 7:41pm
Reno, NV
Please allow me to introduce myself…” (Stones, Sympathy For The Devil)

Howdy…

This is one of those lessons that arrived accidentally…

… and I had to stop and ruminate about it for a while before it made sense.

I’m lucky I learned it early, too.

It’s provided me with a home base of sanity when the chaos has reached shuddering crescendos and it was hard to think straight (let alone make snap decisions when crisis loomed).

You may find it obvious.

That’s fine.  Just don’t go thinking it’s obvious to the rest of the mean ol’ world out there… cuz it ain’t.

Here’s the story: One of my first jobs working for Gary Halbert was to fly to Detroit… and interview a guy who’d just lost 750 pounds.

Yeah, you read that right.Continue Reading

Have A Good One…

Misha being cute

Thursday, 11:42pm
Reno, NV
You’ve got to be digging it while it’s happening, cuz it just might be a one-shot deal.”  (Frank Zappa)

Howdy…

Today, I want to say “Thanks” to all the wonderful people in my life.

And I hope you’re having a great holiday.

Sure, the airports are clogged with sneezing, coughing mobs enraged by delays and the prospect of being locked in a house with relatives they can’t stand for a week.

And yes, the politics of this country continue to crawl ever deeper down the rabbit hole leading to Bat-Shit Crazy Land.

And everywhere you look, greed and fear and suspicion lurk.

And yet… the world spins on, and if you can just let your mind settle for a few moments, the raw gorgeous beauty of everything can still take your breath away.

There’s a clever Chinese toast that carries both a curse and a blessing: “May you live in interesting times.”

As all wordsmiths know, that word “interesting” embraces both the good and the bad, the yin and the yang, of life.

Danger, excitement, and adventure.  The kind of events that will either kill you or make you stronger.Continue Reading

How To Murder Your Business In 2010

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Wednesday, 4:48pm
Reno, NV
Shake the hand, that shook the hand, of PT Barnum and Charlie Chan” (The Grateful Dead, “US Blues”)

Howdy…

You know what the first thing many entrepreneurs and small biz owners do on January 1st (right after gagging down Excedrin with a warm dollop of “Hair o’ the dog”)?

They despair.

You know why?

It’s because… for all the “promise” a new year holds…

… for most folks in business, the months ahead are just shadows in a dark fog.

When times are good, maybe — maybe – you can stumble over some tasty opportunities as you wander.

When times are bad… you know, like our current recession-shackled economy… that fog of uncertainty gets thick enough to choke you.

Would you like to know what the UNCOMMON entrepreneurs and small biz owners do when looking ahead to 2010?

They smile.  They yawn at the recession.  And they feel damn good about their nice, clear, unobstructed view of the coming months.

No fog.  No murderous pitfalls hidden in the shadows.

They are uncommon, because they are PREPARED.

They have an action plan… and they know how to implement it.

You wanna commit business suicide?  Stumble into the coming year without a clue how you’re going to grow or get better results.

You wanna join the Feast, where the Smart Few are enjoying floods of traffic, maxed-out conversions, and the kind of almost-ridiculously-abundant free time (like a vacation every month) that “most” biz owners can only dream about?

Then get hip to the amazing magic of putting together a simple action plan.

And make sure it’s a plan you can easily (and even joyously) implement right away.

I’d like to help you, if you think getting some honest, hard-core, proven mentoring can get you off your duff… and into your seat at the Feast.

Here’s what’s up: There has always been a stark contrast between those who plan, and those who don’t even know how to plan.

For nearly 30 years now, as a high-paid consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs and biz owners figure out the critical first steps to take to get moving in a new, profitable, easier (and more fun) direction.

Having even a simple plan (with just a few steps to take) will change your life forever.

But only if you are confident (and know the easy tricks) of putting this simple plan into action.

I know how to do this.  And I hang out with masters of simple-but-insanely-lucrative planning.

So…

… I’m holding a live workshop-seminar in San Diego the last weekend of January…

… where you can come and get direct help putting your own killer action plan together.

Plus learn the tricks to implementation.  The key to making your plan a reality.

We’re gonna fill you up with proven, easy step-by-step actions to take immediately… to:

  • Blow away all constraints on flooding your biz with fresh, super-qualified traffic…
  • Put yourself in the “go to guy” spot in your market, with all the influence and swag that gets heaped on honest authority figures…
  • Maximize your ability to convert leads into happy sales…
  • And finally learn the “lazy man’s way” to put your productivity in high gear.

Best part: The powerful simplicity of this kind of planning…

… means that veteran business owners will immediately benefit, as well as raw rookies.

Most people absolutely suck at planning.

And if you insist on trying to do it yourself, without expert help…

… you’re headed down a rabbit hole that can trap you, confuse you, and murder your business while you’re fighting self-created emergencies.

The top marketers (including any competition now cleaning your clock) ALL know how to map out a simple action plan… and put it in motion.

Even the best plan in the universe is worthless, if it never gets implemented.

This, by the way, is the problem with most seminars: You get a mountain of ideas dumped on you, with no hint of how to execute any of them.

The advanced stuff (which you shouldn’t be touching yet) gets all jumbled up with soon-to-be-obsolete stuff, which buries the easy stuff…

… and you’re left with zero “real” plans.

Just a lot of notes and wishes and dreams again.

Well, screw that.

We’re even calling this unique event “The Action Seminar“.

And it is populated with the best teachers and planning wizards I know.  Including…

Mike Koenigs, the uber-talented genius behind “Traffic Geyser”… who specializes in getting the most stubbornly-resistant people to quickly (actually immediately) use his simple-yet-awesomely-effective video secrets to carpet bomb the Web with a killer sales message.  (The cheapest camera you can find will do the trick, too.)

James “Schrakmo” Schramko… the brilliant Aussie who came out of nowhere last year (knowing squat about the Web), to dominate search engine rankings and generally crush all competitors in any market he chose to conquer.

He understands what it’s like to be a rookie looking for a clue… and he has made a huge name for himself helping entrepreneurs zoom to dominance with minimal skills and very little investment.

The simple plans that are easy to master, and simple to implement, is the way to get rich and happy as fast as possible.

Oh, and check this out: Teran Dale (my personal favorite PPC advisor) has the inside track on Google.  He’s managed as much as $1 million dollars a day in pay-per-click advertising in huge, super-competitive niches.

The kicker: The competition in these niches are paying $7 – $12 dollars per click… while Teran’s clients are only paying $0.21 cents.

If you suspect that everything you believe about PPC is dead wrong… you’re right.

Teran will be working directly with select folks at this seminar, while we watch and learn.  And he’s gonna be sharing ALL the good stuff… brought down to doable, simple and easy steps.  (You’re invited to join the pool of attendees we’ll choose Teran’s subjects from.)

Oh, yeah.

This is just a small taste of the Feast you’re about to share in.

We’ve also got the globally-respected Les Brown (to get your head straight about planning for success)… Melanie Benson Strick (to help you finally get off your butt and start being massively productive) (with more time off)…

… my hilarious (but deadly serious about profits) colleagues Travis Miller and Jimmy Vee will show you how to become a social media MONSTER (even if you can’t yet spell “blog”)…

… and I’ll be joined by copywriting legends Harlan Kilstein (still the only guy around who can show you how to hypnotize readers into following you anywhere) and Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero (of “She Factor” fame — and remember, the ladies still control 90% of the money out there, guys).

Plus: The entire faculty of the Simple Writing System mentoring program will be there, for you to corner and suck every shred of sales-boosting secret out of their super-talented brains.

Let’s drop names:  Kevin Rogers (my head writer for The Stable O’ Copywriters)… “Million Dollar” Mike Morgan (a top freelancer with tremendous chops)… Tony Flores (head writer for The Arbitrage Conspiracy)… Scott Haines (a killer writer and old pal of mine and Gary Halbert’s)… Jimbo Curley (the star writer who replaces me at OHP Golf)… Tina Lorenz (easily the hottest copywriter in the “launch” game right now)… and two “under the radar” (for now) writers I’ve personally hired to write for me: Robert Gibson and Mark Landstrom.

Special guest stars include “A List” copywriter David Deutsch (who recently had 6 million-dollar controls for Boardroom, Inc)… Gary Halbert’s sons Bond and Kevin (who I’ve been working closely with while they restructure Gary’s legacy)… and some Mystery Guests who should blow your mind.

There’s just one catch:

This event is coming up soon… and there are VERY limited spots open.

To get the details, just check out this info-site:

www.marketingrebel.com/action-seminar

There’s quite a bit more to the fun and seriously-lucrative stuff you’ll encounter at this rare, totally unique event.

And… I am personally making sure that you get at least 12 action-steps, customized to your situation, that are simple enough for you to implement as soon as you get home (or back to your room).

If you can handle more, you’ll get more.

But the main thing is this: This ain’t a “talk at you” event.

It’s interactive… and it’s all about helping you put together a freakin’ PLAN to go out and put into action NOW.

So you can get back to your office and start demolishing your evil competitors and dominating your market.

While earning more, and having more time off, and generally being happier and staring down the economy and every obstacle in your life…

… and winning.

Oh, this is gonna be good.

For the few who get their act together and score a spot, that is.

For the rest… well, good luck out there in the fog.

Seriously — go check out the info-site now.  (You’re gonna faint when you see how CHEAP it is, too):

www.marketingrebel.com/action-seminar/

Stay frosty,

John

P.S. Just in case it wasn’t made crystal clear:  No prior experience or skills or hidden “insider” advantages are necessary to make ANY of this stuff work like crazy for you.

Just hurry, okay? It’s coming up fast, and won’t be repeated.

It's All Fun & Games Until…

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Saturday, 2:48pm
Tampa, FL
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?” (Monty Python)

Howdy…

Special treat today on the blog.

Another guest post by our good friend, colleague and former stand-up comic (before his new career as killer copywriter), Kevin Rogers.

(Kevin is also the head writer for my Stable O’ Copywriters project, where you can find a recommended freelancer who meets my strict standards of professionalism — and who has my ear for consultations: www.carlton-copywriting.com.)

This cat is funny.  And every time Kevin and I hang out, I’m reminded of two things:

1. Nearly every top marketer and writer I know personally… has a shockingly-acute high-end sense of humor. (This explains the comraderie you see among the best in the biz.  We make each other laugh.)

2. And… there are awesomely valuable insights to life and success available in studying lessons in tales from the “vice squad”. (Meaning, that part of living well which includes hanging out, challenging the boundaries of sobriety, and squandering time laughing as hard as you can for as long as you can.)

Being funny won’t make you smarter.  And it doesn’t bestow an automatic deeper understanding of human behavior.

However… if you pay attention… Continue Reading

Writer's block is…

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Saturday, 12:17pm
Reno, NV
So what?” (Miles Davis)

Howdy…

Okay, I know I’m a few hours late delivering the answer to the very excellent Quiz #8.

I had writer’s block.  Just couldn’t think of what to write…

Kidding!  I’m joshing with you.

I apologize for the delay.  Simple matter of being abducted by friends and whisked off to an enjoyable Friday adventure.  I earned it, and knew you’d forgive me for being a tad late with the solution to the Quiz.  (You know it takes me several hours to concoct these posts, right?)

Let’s get down to it, then.

First: I want to thank, and congratulate, everyone who posted for the Quiz.  The threads on this blog are always energizing mini-riots of good critical thinking…

… along with a smattering of cleverness, sheer brilliance, pontificating idiocy, and (always) one or two utterly outraged comments from folks who wandered into the fray by accident.

I love it all.

As many have noted… the comment threads at this blog rival the actual posts for being fascinating reading.

There’s some smokin’-hot wisdom out there, for anyone paying attention.

Second:  Here is the answer to the Quiz question…

“Writer’s block is…Continue Reading

DIY vs. Mentoring

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Thursday, 12:15pm
Reno, NV
It’s too hard.  You’ll never figure it out.” (What the first copywriter I ever met told me about writing ads.)

Howdy…

I’m going to tell you about two promises here.

The stories behind them may help you chart out the rest of your life… as they did mine.

Harken:

Promise #1:

The above quote (“It’s too hard.  You’ll never figure it out.”) are the exact words that a professional copywriter said to me when I innocently asked for advice.

They are burned into my cerebral cortex, because it was one of the first times I had ever nurtured a small ember of actual hope about my future in business…

… and she crushed it like a bug.

All I’d wanted from her was a smidgen of advice. Maybe point me in the right direction.  Or offer a small word of encouragement.

I was lost at the time.  Trapped in the drudgery of a dead-end J.O.B. that sucked big-time.

And I was genuinely clueless about the process of writing anything for business.  I’d never met a real copywriter before, and was very interested in finding out more.

I didn’t even know what the word “mentor” meant at the time… but I suppose I would have squirmed with joy if she had said, instead, something like “Let me help you learn how to do this.”

Still, she did me a HUGE favor by being such a miserable, hateful bitch.

As I stood at her desk, burning with shame for having asked for something and been so brutally refused…

… I promised myself that I would prove her wrong.

And I used that promise as motivation whenever I needed some extra oomph in the next year or so, as I figured out — on my own, without help from anyone — how to write killer sales messages.

So I owe her one.  She did me a proper by igniting my until-then-dormant ability to Do It Myself.  Literally with a vengeance.

I launched my solo career as a freelance writer entirely on my own.  I took the Do It Yourself ethic and ran with it…Continue Reading

More Free Goodies Than You Probably Deserve…

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Sunday, 7:57pm
Reno, NV
It’s alive!” (Baron Von Frankenstein, kickstarting the Monster)

Howdy…

We’ve just fired up the Simple Writing System blog (www.simplewritingsystem.com/blog)…

… which means a stunning (and unprecedented) pile of free tools, tactics, advice and insight can be yours…

… just for the grabbing.

This is an all-out assault on reason and logic.  We’re just GIVING AWAY stuff that — not too long ago — would have cost you a pretty penny just to get a quick glimpse of.

We’ve created a beast here, and it’s name is FREE.

Here’s just a small taste of what’s piling up over there (that you’re missing out on if you haven’t signed in):

  • A free swipe file of “home run” ads I’ve written (which few folks outside the target markets have ever seen)… can be in your tool kit tonight.  This swipe file, alone, is causing hearts to skip a beat among marketers and freelance writers who love to rip juicy headlines and sales angles from proven ads.  (Removes any guesswork on who/what to rip.)
  • A short (but frightenly powerful) series of special reports channeling the best “how to make the sale” secrets I’ve ever used.  (I used to keep this stuff classified, only bringing it out during high-paid consultations… and here we are giving it away.)
  • The actual video (torn directly from the masters hidden in Frank’s inner sanctum) of my “How to persuade, influence and sell the shit out of anything… using the simplest stories you can create” presentation at Mass Control.

What?  You didn’t see that presentation?

It’s marketing theater at its finest… Continue Reading


All testimonials and case studies within this website are, to the best of our ability to determine, true and accurate. They were provided willingly, without any compensation offered in return.

These testimonials and case studies do not represent typical or average results. Most customers do not contact me or offer share to their results, nor are they required or expected to. Therefore, I have no way to determine what typical or average results might have been.

Many people do not implement anything I teach them. I can't make anyone follow my advice, and I obviously can't promise that our advice, as interpreted and implemented by everyone, is going to achieve for everyone the kinds of results it's helped some of the folks you read about and hear from here achieve.

The income statements and examples on this website are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results. Each individual's success will be determined by his or her desire, dedication, marketing background, product, effort, and motivation to work and follow recommendations. There is no guarantee you will duplicate results stated here. You recognize any business endeavor has inherent risk for loss of capital.

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