Joseph 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.”
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 have to learn from people, starting with your parents, family, friends, 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.
For marketers, business owners, and founders, we 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 copywriters of his time.
Who is Joseph Sugarman?
Joseph 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.
While I won’t say I have become an expert on the topic, I will soon be in copywriting.
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 writing mechanics in a way that makes people pay you.
In the later part of this article, I will show some important lessons from Joseph Sugarman.
For now, I want to ask an important question:
Who Is Your Teacher?
It’s the point of today’s post, after all. Who are the people we should learn from when it comes to content writing?
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.Joseph 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.
So, who is your teacher? Where or how are you getting old things to turn into new materials?
It’s not hard to answer if you’re being honest…
But saying their name might help you understand if you’ve been using the wrong approach in your business.
Maybe it’s time to change something.
Another thing I’ve learned about top performers in certain fields is to think about their stuff differently. You can improve if you listen to them.
Back to business, what can you learn from this guy?
Lessons from Joseph Sugarman
I am going to run a summary of important lessons I took from his book.
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.”Joseph Sugarman, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
I’ve said it before. You should ask yourself this: who do you want in your community?
Know the people you want to attract, and it’s easier to write or create content that will appeal to them.
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.
I have read many blogs all my life, and I know those I can’t forget because of how they make me feel. So I became an active reader because of that. I know people who are like me, who don’t just want to read manuals, but stories and something a little lively.
And that’s the point.
On this blog, I want people who are interested in
- Compelling stories
- Creativity and
That’s what you and I are replicating here.
One of the things I set out to achieve about my blog is that I must be part of it. My story, personality, and growth should be part of it.
So yes, this isn’t for everyone. This won’t work for some people, but those who like it will get the most out of it. It’s for people like us.
Maybe in the future, I will have the chance to tell other people’s stories, or even stories about places and products.
#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.”Joseph Sugarman
When I am asked about a certain 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 who is already grounded than someone who is not.
In short, try to understand what you’re talking/writing about. It shows when people are reading or listening.
3. Be curious, experienced, and 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.
If you’re into any creative field, you need this advice a lot.
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 picking saying something you have experienced. It might be from a book, a movie, or an awkward date you went to last summer. But the thing is, you’re picking from what you have seen, heard, and felt.
The person, who has seen, felt, or heard a lot 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 someway — 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 when people need you, they will remember you.
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: An Introduction.
5. With experience, you’ll learn how to achieve your goals
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?
You have to do marketing. You can do paid ads or choose affordable methods.
People have to listen or read what you write.
But, first, they need to 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 SEO for New Business
It’s the same thing doing SEO or content writing for small businesses: people have to find you when searching for something online. When they read your stuff, they have to check your product out. 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 them 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
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, the feelings, and not about 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?
It’s usually emotion, but you will use logic when it is time to defend them.
Here, come around, everyone. This 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 its 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. Everyone should focus on what is good for their business.
Like you should do.
Find A Great Teacher
We all know our favorite teachers and why we remember them.
It’s because they inspire us 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. That’s why I recommend picking the book.
Who is your teacher, too? You can tell me using the contact form.
Do you want to write engaging content that your readers will love? You can reach out to me here or use the contact form.