Lets Get Rejected

Failure and Success: ‘Let’s Get Rejected’

We fear it. We hid from it. We reorient our lives to avoid it. We give up on the things that matter most to us … on account of it. But what if failure — especially the fear of rejection — wasn’t just an inevitable part of finding success, but the path to success itself? —————– Author’s Note: This post originally appeared in October of 2014, when I was just getting started as a freelance content marketer. But it’s lessons — and especially my motto — have guided everything since then. In fact, it was the heart of my 2016 presentation at Unbounce’s CTA Conference: —————– Good news people … the dream is very much alive. How do I know? Because over the last 120 days, I’ve not only written for Fast Company, Copyblogger, MarketingProfs, and Entrepreneur, I also landed my first nearly $20,000, three-month client. Few experiences are as joyfully intoxicating as slugging through an outline, first draft, second draft, third draft, finally hitting “Send” … and getting back the glorious word: “Yes!” This is especially true for someone who constantly feels less than and a pretender — always on the cusp of being “found out” and exposed. In fact, rereading it for myself …

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Great Career: Why You Will Fail to Have One

And 11 One-Click Tweetables to Make Sure You Don’t Great title, right? Well, I stole it. Blatantly. In November of 2011, Larry Smith, Professor of Economics at Canada’s University of Waterloo, dropped it like a bomb at TEDxUW. With just under 3 million views and more write ups than I could count on Google, I figured I should be upfront. But enough about my lack of originality. Here’s the obvious question … Why will you — yeah, you (beautiful, talented, wonderful you) — fail to have a great career? Because … You aren’t following your passion. Sound cliche? It should. Here’s how Smith put it: No matter how many times people tell you, “If you want a great career, you have to pursue your passion, you have to pursue your dreams, you have to pursue, the greatest fascination in your life,” you hear it again and again and then you decide not to do it. And what lies beneath this killer mistake? Simple: fear. “You’re afraid,” says Smith, “to pursue your passion. You’re afraid to look ridiculous. You’re afraid to try. You’re afraid you may fail.” In other words, our fears trump our passions. And we miss out a truly great …

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Failed Copywriting Pitch: 5 Lessons

  I — deep breath — am a failure. Well, that might be too harsh. Let me reframe … I have failed. Actually … you know what? In black-and-white, even that sounds kinda rough. Maybe some specifics would soften the blow. Four weeks ago I had a failed copywriting pitch. (There, that feels right.) I won’t go into the details about names and places. Not so much to “protect the innocent,” more that I’m still hoping it turns into something. Although after this post, who knows. 😉 Here’s what happened … A friend of mine called me up and said she and her company were looking for some “help connecting with bloggers.” “Why, yes,”  I excitedly replied, “I have had a bit of success on that front recently.” So, we set up a meeting with her and the marketing team, solidified that my part in the consultation would be a freebie, and, a few days before our sit-down, I received a handful of links to peruse, including one to her company’s website. This is where things start to get sideways. The website was … not good. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was pretty. In fact, it was very pretty. …

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A Super Simple Hack to Make Your Next Meeting “Suck Less”

(or, How to Vastly Improve Your Group Productivity) Meetings suck. At least, most meetings suck. That’s the consensus anyway. Laborious, inefficient, and draining. So, how do you make your next meeting suck less? Here’s a super simple hack that’ll vastly improve your next meeting’s productivity. 24-48 hours prior, send out an email or memo with two points. First, provide a brief summary of your meeting’s central purpose. Keep it short: just one to two sentences at most. Only include the one key objective: the meeting’s must-accomplish takeaway or action item. THEN … Ask for each attendant to respond to at least one of three questions: 1.  What am I most concerned about? 2.  What opportunities do I see? 3.  What accomplishments should be recognized? Remember: they only have to respond to one. And let everyone know that their answers will be anonymous in the meeting itself. After you get the responses, craft your agenda around the central purpose you identified and use the three questions to structure the rest: concerns, opportunities, and accomplishments. Even better, incentivize responding either by carving out company time to complete the questions or by genuinely rewarding everyone who writes back. Not only does this simple …

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3 Audience-Enticing Headline Hacks: Power, Novelty & Pull

“Verbalization”: The Third Unbreakable Law of Breakthrough Copywriting In 1966, amidst a staggering career, Eugene Schwartz penned what is arguably the most profound copywriting principle ever. As Schwartz put it: Everything comes down to “5 to 10 words.” If you are right, they may start a new industry. If you are wrong, nothing you write after them will save your ad. Of course, by “5 to 10 words” Schwartz didn’t actually mean that every ad should be composed of 10 words or less. What he meant was that the success of every ad — really the success of everything you write — will always depend the simple and singular idea at its core. The genesis of these 5 to 10 words is what Schwartz termed your market’s “mass desire.” That’s the first unbreakable law of breakthrough copywriting. Last week we focused on law two: how to compose a market-driven headline built directly on your market’s “state of awareness.” You can check out that post here: 5 Ways to Systematically Craft Breakthrough Headlines from Inside Your Market’s Mind. Today we’re gonna turn things up even more. You can think about the first two laws as creating the skeletal structure of your ad: …

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S.E.A.L. Team Market Research … seriously, S.E.A.L. Team!

I just listened to a fantastic interview with Tim Larkin over at the always amazing I Love Marketing. Besides being a world-class marketer, Tim runs Target Focus Training (TTF), an insanely successful self-protection program with 52 instructors across the globe. In their own words, TTF is “the most devastatingly powerful, scientifically-proven self defense system in the world today.” So, what does a 20-year veteran of elite military special forces and law enforcement units have to do with marketing? In a word: research. (In two: market research.) Here’s how Tim described his secret to not only surviving but dominating what the S.E.A.L.s call “hell week”: My boat crew won every major event. We won something called “hell week,” which is a five-day event where they keep you up for five days doing all sorts of physical evolutions. And the reason I did so well … was because as a young kid—at thirteen—I did all the research. I knew where to hide food. I knew where the instructors looked and didn’t look. I knew the best routes to take. I knew certain ways you could protect your guys so that while everyone else was working you could be hiding and saving up …

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State of Awareness: 5 Ways to Systematically Craft Breakthrough Headlines from Inside Your Market’s Mind

The Second Unbreakable  Law of “Breakthrough” Copywriting We all know how vital headlines are. As Brian Clark puts it, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” That means your headline isn’t just your audience’s first impression … it’s more than likely their only impression. So here’s the question: Where do “breakthrough” headlines come from? You know what I’m talking about. The kind of headlines that pop up, stop your market in their tracks, and compel them to read every word after it. Now sure, there’re a ton of great cheat sheets out there to get the creative ball rolling. Jon Morrow’s “52 Headline Hacks” is among the best. The problem is most of us start out wrong because we start with us: our idea, our product, our service, our copy. But … What if there was a way to systematically craft breakthrough headlines based entirely on your market? What if there was a proven formula to pull your prospects into your copy because it actually started with your prospects themselves? And what if that formula worked because instead of coming from you, it came from inside your market’s mind? I opened this series — The 3 Unbreakable Laws of Breakthrough …

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Mass Desire: The First Unbreakable Law of “Breakthrough” Copywriting

Where the Right “5 to 10 Words” REALLY Come From I started last week with a story. Actually, more of a legend … one that just happens to be true. In 1976, Eugene Schwartz wrote a single ad for Boardroom Inc. founder Martin Edelston that set Boardroom on its path to becoming the multinational and multimillion-dollar company it is today. At the time, that one ad cost Edelston over 70% of his entire operational budget, today’s equivalent of just under $10,500. Think about it. 70% of everything. Imagine not only asking but getting 70% of your next client’s entire operational budget? Even if you’re not a copywriter, all of us are in the business of selling. How’d you like a bankable and rock-solid formula to unleash your product or service on the world? So, what was Schwartz’s formula? “5 to 10 words.” To get the full scoop on Schwartz’s epic success check out the first post in this series here: The 3 Unbreakable Laws of Breakthrough Copywriting. Within his 228-page classic Breakthrough Advertising, Schwartz unveiled three laws to mastering the only 5 to 10 words that matter. This week we’ll examine … The First Law: “Mass Desire” Let’s start with a simple definition. Another …

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2,146% Increase in AdWords CTR: Common Killers, Simple Solutions & the “Secret”

Let’s be honest… A 2,146% increase in AdWords CTR sounds crazy. And it is. So in the interest of full disclosure, here’s a bit of the back story. (And don’t worry, there’re screenshots below to prove that crazy claim.) I started working with Client X last year around May but didn’t get into their AdWords for a couple of months. At that time, they’d been running your average, let’s-just-put-something-up-and-keep-our-fingers-crossed campaign. That meant they were committing at least… Five Common (CTR) Killers 1. The keywords weren’t focused. To give you an idea of what this means, they were running 18 keywords groups with 54 individual keywords. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a high number of keywords (and, of course, Google is always tempting you with more). The problem was: those words weren’t the actual words their ideal prospects were using. And even more CTR killing… 2. The ad copy didn’t include the keywords. Instead of customizing each ad to match the triggering keywords, just two run-of-the-mill ads (no promise, no pain) were servicing all 54 words. 3. Nobody was optimizing for losers or winners. Not for CTR. And not for ultimate conversions. 4. The landing page didn’t match the ads. Actually, …

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9 Rules for Giving Negative Feedback (plus a Bonus)

1. Always go it alone. Pulling the “recipient” of negative feedback aside and sticking to one-on-one interactions promotes honesty and openness. Plus it lets your recipient (and you) save face if the issue is a serious one. 2. Identify your overarching goal: “What I want is…” Start the conversation on a positive note by letting the recipient know exactly (in no uncertain terms) what you want for them, for the relationship, and for the outcome. In other words, establish expectations early and revisit them often. 3. Be specific and direct: Just spit it out! With negative feedback, you’ll be tempted to beat around the bush. Don’t! Not only will this indirect approach keep you from addressing the real problem and getting what you want (see #2), it’ll also frustrate your recipient and leave them anxious and uncertain. 4. Support feedback with evidence: The power of “because.” Building off of #3, remember, you’re not “crafting a case” against your recipient and trying to beat them down with your proof… But you are presenting facts. Facts are objective. And (as Robert Cialdini famously pointed out in Influence: Science and Practice) giving people a reason for your request—namely, using the word “because”—drastically improves …

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