Group of friends in conversation

I’ve been around long enough to remember what marketing was like before the arrival of the web.

Back in the 1980s I was a print copywriter, writing ads for magazines and newspapers.

I loved the craft. And I worked with an art director who was equally passionate about his work.

Our ads were highly polished. We spent days or sometimes even weeks on a single ad. The final results were as near perfect as we were able to achieve.

Truth be told, we cared more about the opinions of the next industry awards committee than we did about the opinions of our readers.

In a very real sense, we lived and worked in an adland ivory tower.

But that was then. And now is now.

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In conversation with Tim Washer

In this post I get to interview Tim Washer… speaker, creative director and comedy writer whose credits include Late Show With David Letterman, and Saturday Night Live.

I met Tim at a conference in Austin, Texas. We were both speakers, but he was way, way funnier.

He gave this great talk that held everyone’s total attention. Everyone in the audience was totally spellbound.

I remember how Tim clearly cared about the people in the room.

And how he used humor to connect with people, engage with the whole audience and make us all feel we were his friends.

Imagine being able to harness that kind of attention as a marketer.

No wonder Tim is on my must-interview list.

Let’s get started…

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Love your audience with conversational copywriting

I was taking part in a mastermind group a while back and someone asked the question, “Do you like your customers?”


Amazing question.

It had a huge impact on everyone in the room. We all had to pause and think about our own feelings about our customers and even our prospects.

Did we like them? Did we respect them?

Did we even think about our customers in terms of liking or respecting them?

Or did we just see them as anonymous specs within a demographic group? As data points?

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Engage emotions with conversation

I have a homework assignment for you.

I want you to write a few lines promoting a swimming pool safety fence.

I’ll give you a full briefing about the fencing… what it looks like, how it can be installed, taken down, and so on.

And then it will be up to you.

This is one of the 6 homework assignments I give students of my Conversational Copywriting course.

And when I look at all the submissions, I can divide them fairly neatly into two categories.

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Conversational headlines about peanut butter
I’m trying to think of a reason why you might want to write a headline that doesn’t attempt to engage your readers in some meaningful way.

I guess if you’re just making a product launch announcement, you might simply want to get the message out and be done.

You could write something like:

NEW! Nick’s Peanut Butter available in stores today!

But most of the time we’re trying to do more with our headlines.

We want to hold the reader’s interest and attention beyond just the headline itself. We want people to keep reading.

How do you keep them reading?

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