Who Is Your Teacher (1): Joe Sugarman

Joe Sugarman once said:

“It’s not whether you win or lose in life that’s important but whether you play the game. Lose enough and eventually you will win. It’s only a matter of time.”

To win, you must learn from your losses. Let the thirst for success force you to try again.

Who is your teacher? 

Since that day when I opened my eyes as a newborn baby and saw a bunch of people looking at me curiously, I’ve realized that this world needs some understanding to navigate. 

You must learn from people, starting with your parents, family, friends, and teachers. 

And teachers. 

As you start a career path, you realize, too, that you still have to keep learning. 

If you’re curious, smart, seeking growth, getting into relationships, getting out of it, investing, and losing it, you still have to keep learning

It’s like breathing or eating. You stop. You die. Or, to put it correctly, you stop growing.

Marketers, business owners, and founders have one thing in common: learning.

So, Who Are You Learning From? 

To answer that question, I include it as part of the series.

This is going to be a long series anyway.

I’ve been fascinated with some individuals regarding business and marketing. Most of them are people I listened to or read their books and success stories. They have earned some of the things I want to achieve and know some things that can help me get there. 

And I use some of their knowledge in my everyday steps.

Let me introduce you to one of the best copywriting businesses of its time: Joe Sugarman.

Who is Joe Sugarman

Joe Sugarman is a copywriter famously known for writing this ad, Vision Breakthrough, for a sunglass brand. The ad was a “blockbuster,” if there is anything like that in the advertising world. It makes the brand famous and Surgarman rich. 

His ad agency created some mail-order ads that sold many of his client’s products.

Joe Sugarman is one expert I look up to for copywriting tips. 

You know that feeling when you finally find your lost wristwatch after searching for an hour? That’s how I feel after his book: The JS Adweek. 

I heard about it from a blog I followed. Then I got a copy of the book and read everything religiously. 

Joe educated me about the mechanics of writing in a way that makes people pay you. 

It’s the point of today’s post, after all. So who are the people we should learn from when it comes to content writing or copywriting? 

There is nothing really new in life. It’s simply a matter of taking previous pieces of knowledge and putting them together in a unique and different format. Matter is not created and destroyed. Everything on earth that was here a billion years ago is pretty much here now. The only difference is that it has taken new forms.

Joe Sugarman

If you agree that nothing is new and all things are being repurposed, you know you should find the old things and learn to repurpose them. 

Joseph Sugarman’s Copywriting Examples:

You can see some more of his works at Swipefile.co.

What can you learn from this guy? 

7 Copywriting Lessons from Joe Sugarman 

I will run a summary of important lessons I took from his book, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook

I suggest reading the whole thing to get the most awesome experience that can transform your life and business. 

Here are the lessons from Joe:

#1. Know your customer 

“You’ve got to be an expert on who your customer is by gathering specific information on whom you are selling to.”

Know the people you want to attract, and it’s easier to write or create content or products that will appeal to them.

Here’s Joseph Sugarman again:

You may already be an expert under being a typical customer. You know your likes and dislikes, what excites you and what you would expect from a company selling you a product.

One of the reasons I started this blog is to learn Search Engine Optimization, but more than that, I want a blog written more for humans. Make it as fun and educative as possible.

#2. Become an expert 

“Say to yourself, “I am an expert or have learned enough to be able to effectively communicate this product to the consumer.” That’s what we mean by “specific knowledge.”

When I am asked about a product or niche that I have not understood, I know deep down it’s a matter of learning. The question is will I have enough time to learn it or pass it on? It has helped me choose what jobs to take or brands to work with. 

Sometimes, I get rejected because “I don’t have the experience.” 

And that’s the thing. It’s a mutual understanding that it sometimes takes time to figure some things out, and it’s better to hire someone already grounded than someone not. 

In short, try to understand what you’re talking/writing about. It shows when people are reading or listening. 

#3. Be curious and experienced. Try things 

The quote below can help you build a legacy and achieve your dreams.

Try things.

The best copywriters in the world are those who are curious about life, read a great deal, have many hobbies, like to travel, have a variety of interests, often master many skills, get bored and then look for other skills to master.

You need this advice if you’re into any creative field. 

For example, let’s play a game… 

I want you to tell me a short, interesting story I’ve never heard before. 

Go on. I’m listening. Trust me. 



All right, time’s up.

If you try that exercise, you’ll realize you are saying something you have experienced. It might be from a book, a movie, or an awkward date you went on last summer. But the thing is, you’re picking from what you have seen, heard, and felt.

The person who has seen, experienced, felt, or heard much more stuff will have more data or creative, raw materials in their brain. It might look new, but the seeds have been planted in there in some way — through your experiences.

The more we experience and the more knowledge we have, the easier it is to come up with that big copy idea or marketing concept.

#4. Consistency is the winning formula

That’s why you need content writers for your brand or product. They will create content for you every day or week, not because they must bring new customers every time, but to create awareness.

Howard succeeded because he had planted enough seeds in my mind for me to realize what insurance was for, who should sell it to me and who was a good friend and customer. When it came time to buy, only I, Joseph Sugarman, would know. And only when there was an immediate experience that hit close to home would I see the value of insurance. I went through the experience and I responded.

In this quote, you’re Howard. He is diligently informing people about his product. However, you don’t want to do the wrong thing consistently. Understand the foundation. Being persistent can turn people off if you don’t handle it well.

Not sure where to begin reading about how to sell with content? Start with Content Writing For New Business

#5. With experience, you’ll learn how to achieve your goals

Axiom 1

Copywriting is a mental process, the successful execution of which reflects the sum total of all your experiences, your specific knowledge and your ability to mentally process that information and transfer it onto a sheet of paper for the purpose of selling a product or service.

With time (and some failures), you will learn how to achieve what you want by breaking things down to their basic level.

Think About Your Business

You want to sell a product, right? 

So you have to do marketing. You can do paid ads or choose affordable methods. 

People have to listen to or read what you write. 

First, they must read the headline and the entire thing, or half of it, before deciding. 

But they need to stay engaged, or they won’t even finish it. 

If you keep breaking things down, you will uncover a helpful approach.

Apply That to Marketing A New Product

People must find your product when searching for something online. They must be interested immediately they see your products. You need to be UNFORGETTABLE so that if they don’t buy, they will remember you when they need your product.

Later, you can SELL to your readers because they enjoy reading what you’ve got. 

Knowing what you’re set to achieve, you can think about the fundamentals. Call it reverse engineering or thinking from first principles or axioms. 

Different terms: same meaning.

It’s all about how you think about what works FOR YOU.

The sole purpose of the first sentence is to get prospects to read the second sentence, and the sole purpose of the second sentence is to get them to read the third and then the fourth.

When you start getting results, you know what to replicate. 

#6. We buy on emotion and justify with logic — Joseph Sugarman

The above sentence is one of the most important of the lessons from Joe Sugarman to make you a better writer.

Note: this idea resonates with Seth Godin’s article: People like to do stuff like this. I will use both ideas to explain the concept. 

People buy on emotions and justify with logic. 

People spend time at a club with loud music and pay twice the price for the drinks. Why? 

They weren’t having more fun than they can have at a normal house party, but the additional prices are more of an emotional appeal. It’s about class and feelings. Not logic. It’s about being seen as a member of a community.  

People like us do stuff like this.

Why did you support your football or basketball team? Or that community? 

Because they are a better team?

You sure? Like, are you really sure they are the better team?

It’s usually emotion, but you will use logic when it is time to defend them. 

Here, come around, everyoneThis is why I bought a Ferrari. It’s because it is a better car. 

You sure? What do you mean by “better car”? Or because it’s a car that puts you among a class of people. People like you buy things like that. 

#7. Storytelling is Important

I love Joseph Sugarman for using storytelling and for teaching it. 

These seeds of curiosity cause you to subconsciously continue reading even though you might be at a point in the copy where the copy slows down. This concept is used a lot on TV before the show host goes to a commercial. She may say, “When we come back, we’ll see something that you’ve never seen on TV before. Stay tuned.” Well, it should be done in print, too. And here’s why. (Notice how I just used it.)

I used these “seeds of curiosity” in one of my former posts: How to use storytelling in marketing

It’s about giving your readers enough reasons to keep reading. It’s about being a skilled storyteller. Because I started off writing ghostwriting fiction, I have been interested in how to use stories in every article and to see how it works. 

You also need it in your strategy if you’re interested in creating UNFORGETTABLE content

Say “I” or “me” or “my,” and talk as if you were a friendly person chatting with your prospect. Your conversation might sound something like, “I was walking down the street when I had this neat idea for my catalog.” Such rhetoric combines storytelling and the personal approach to advertising, which I strongly recommend.

I laugh when people recommend some tools to me, suggesting loads of words and phrases to put in the article. 

They don’t care about empathy, emotions, or humans. They only care about ranking and making money from ads. 

Which is okay if it works for them.

But experts say stories are important, and they work better.

And I agree because I can’t wait for the next episode of House of Dragon.

More than that, I like every Nike ads I have seen. They are very good stories. Their advertising makes you see Nike in a positive light, and I have been used to that. Check YouTube for their ads and see what I am talking about. Another brand worth mentioning is Coca-Cola.

My idea is everyone should focus on what is good for their business. 

Like you should do. 

But I hope you will develop your storytelling skills.

Find A Great Teacher 

We all know our favorite teachers and why we remember them.

It’s because they inspire us in one way or another. That’s what they do — bring out the best in us even if they don’t know, even if they will never know. 

Of course, this post is just a few lessons you can learn as a content marketer or copywriter. That’s why I recommend picking the Joe Sugarman book, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook


This is a regular post where I pick some of the greatest achievers in a creative field (usually writers) and share lessons you can acquire from them. The next episode is about Teju Cole. You should check it out.

If you need assistance with content writing and using stories in your marketing strategy, you can contact me. The form is in the menu above.

You can find links to my Twitter and LinkedIn below.