[Check Out the “Grand Theft” and 2 Bonus Tips For More Prolific, Persuasive, and Profitable Copywriting]
Do you ever need inspiration and ideas for your copy?
Do you struggle with writer’s block, need to be more prolific, want better results, and need to make a hell of a lot more money?
Well here’s the ONE activity that will keep you fired up and at the top of the financial food chain…
I’m talking about making YOUR company fly.
And the answer is highway robbery…
GRAND THEFT: Part I
I know, you already know this.
But it’s OLD news that isn’t being used.
So what’s the most overlooked resource on the planet…
… Especially when you can STEAL from the richest, most brilliant people on earth…
… And tap into a lifetime’s expertise and experience for a measly twenty bucks?
No surprise… it’s BOOKS, of course!
Yeah, yeah… you already know this.
BUT ARE YOU READING A BOOK A WEEK?
Or are you letting daily (and deadly) internet distractions steal your livelihood?
Are those cute-and-fun YouTube videos robbing you of your productivity?
Then let’s do the math to see if you have time to read like a CEO.
An average business book is about 70,000 words.
Now let’s say you read at a leisurely 350 words a minute.
That means you can zip through a book in about 200 minutes, and if you read just 6 days a week for 33.3 minutes, you can knock off a book a week for an impressive CEO-like total of…
… 52 books a year!
Entrepreneur, brain coach, and speed-reading expert, Jim Kwik, says:
“Do you know how many books the average person reads per year? Literally two or three, for the entire year. And yet, the average CEO is reading four or five books per month. That’s a drastic difference.”
Two or three is setting the bar pretty low.
GRAND THEFT: Part II
If I haven’t motivated you yet, here’s what Shark Tank regular and billionaire-owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, had to say about reading.
I have it taped above my desk:
“I would continuously search for new ideas. I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, 3 bucks for a magazine, 20 bucks for a book. One good idea that lead to a customer or solution and it paid for itself many times over. Some of the ideas I read were good, some not. In doing all the reading I learned a valuable lesson.
“Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn’t want it.”
With that said, at Levis International Marketing Inc., I’m currently researching the next books in our study sequence and may review the selections in an upcoming blog.
But one that’s currently open on desks around here is, “Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter,” by Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler.
It’s a great example of a true eye opener and jaw dropper.
And while you may be thinking, “Stay out of my financial affairs!”, I assure you that the wisdom within these pages applies DIRECTLY to all things marketing and business.
Nothing keeps you more relevant and ahead of the game then constantly studying and challenging your beliefs… and this book does it in spades.
Especially since marketing is basically applied psychology and math.
Here’s a quick look (I’m half way thru it as of today).
One story in particular may drastically change your bottom line.
It really highlights the competitive edge that comes with understanding people’s buying behavior, however irrational.
The story goes that by adding a 3rd buying option for subscriptions to their magazine, the Economist nearly tripled sales of the highest-priced option for subscribers.
But it wasn’t just any 3rd option… they added an equally priced 3rd option that was clearly an inferior choice, and voila!
Sales of the superior option spiked.
Why? Because it changed the way they thought about the purchase.
You’ve probably seen this option online and thought, “What the heck? It doesn’t make sense!”
The order form looked like this:
Welcome to The Economist Subscription Centre
Pick the type of subscription you want to buy or renew.
Economist.com subscription – US $59.00
One-year subscription to Economist.com
Includes online access to all articles since 1997.
Print Subscription – US $125.00
One-year subscription to the print edition of The Economist
Print and Web Subscription – US $125.00
One-year subscription to the print edition of The Economist
and online access to all articles since 1997
Of course the big sales jump came with the 3rd option.
Because Instead of feeling like they were buying the most expensive option, their clever little minds erroneously told them that they got the best deal.
They felt like they hacked the system by picking the smartest choice and best value for their money.
Ariely and Kreisler lay the whole thing out for you on pages 34-35. And that’s just the tip of this financially-fascinating iceberg of information no sane person should be without.
So, whether you’re trying to keep costs for your business lean but productive, or trying to figure out how to optimize your financial outcomes, this is mandatory reading.
Gem after gem in these pages, and I’m only half way through it.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” – Frederick Douglas
Grand Theft: Part III
Think about this.
The University of Southern California did a study about a different kind of university.
They found that if you live in a city and drive the average of 12,000 miles a year, you can get a college education for a pittance.
In fact, that 12,000 miles per year will give you the equivalent of a 2 year college education in just 3 years.
That’s right, audiobooks in the car or on the stairmaster, treadmill, or jogging, let you breeze through books at warp speed.
Here’s an inspiring example from getmotivation.com…
“Stephen Payne is a classic example of what can happen when you take advantage of your driving time. He was 18 years old when he qualified for his GED and 22 before he received his earned high school diploma.
“After an up-and-down struggle in life, at age 43 he became a full-time student at Automobile University – full-time, that is, when he was in his car. As a result, he speaks Spanish and French so fluently that he is now translating and interpreting for his company. He also speaks Italian and is in the process of learning both German and Japanese as well as Latin and his own Cherokee language.”
So don’t slack off if you’re a rolling university student.
And if you haven’t adopted this study habit… get at it!
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison
BONUS READING TIP #1: If You Read Nothing Else, Read This!
If you’re ever trying to write an ad or an email but writer’s block has frozen your brain and you’re staring at a blank screen for hours…
Prime the pump!
Read killer ads out loud and watch your persuasive juices start flowing.
The legendary Gary Bencivenga reads at least one new ad every morning and has done so for decades.
Imagine the cumulative brain training you get from just a few minutes a day.
Two of my favorite sources for priming the pump are…
1) The Gary Halbert Letter, www.thegaryhalbertletter.com, is an unbelievable resource. If you read one of Gary’s newsletters every day for a month, I guarantee you’ll be a MUCH more effective writer.
2) Lawrence Bernstein’s Info Marketing Blog www.infomarketingblog.com has a gold mine of the greatest ads of all time.
In fact, here’s one from Lawrence’s site, by the renowned marketing master, Gene Schwartz.
Studying blockbuster full page ad copy that appeared repeatedly in national newspapers and magazines is one of the most profoundly profitable things you can possibly do.
You know for a fact this copy pulled like a pack of mules in a thunderstorm.
I’ve literally read this ad out loud several hundred times, and copied it out longhand dozens of times, as Gary Halbert recommends.
It’s also where I ripped off one of my favorite lines:
IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE, READ THIS:
BONUS READING TIP #2: Don’t Make This Mistake!
Now I may step on a few toes with this recommendation.
But some entrepreneurs pride themselves on reading ONLY non fiction.
I think it’s a significant mistake, especially if you ever have to sell anything.
Because the best storytellers in the world inhabit the world of fiction…
… AND THEY’RE SELLING ON EVERY PAGE!
If you don’t realize that big-time authors are thinking about how to keep you reading with every sentence of every paragraph of every chapter… think again.
The competition is ferocious so they have to use every trick in the book (horrible pun) to keep you glued to the page.
It’s why Daniel posted a blog about Ernest Hemingway a couple months ago… because there’s incredible persuasion going on with every word.
And if you’re too tired to concentrate on a business book, fire up a good novel on your iPhone and let it carry you along while your storytelling skills are automatically enhanced.
OK, that’s the wrap on reading.
Leave your comments below and let us know what you’re reading now.
And I’ll leave you with one final thought about learning from other’s experience and mistakes so you don’t have to go through them yourself.
Will Rogers states it much more eloquently:
“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”