Writing is a superpower. Email. Slack. Web copy. Ad copy. If you can master writing, you can convince, persuade, sell, and build deep connections.
I have to hand it to the My First Million Podcast hosts, Sam Parr and Shaan Puri. They walk the walk. They built an audience and then used the reach to hawk all their ideas. The podcast is like a think tank with a sales channel; I took the bait.
Sam offers a very simple email-based copywriting course. The premise goes like this: new musicians get good at music by learning other artists’ pieces. At some point, they start stitching together what they’ve learned from others to compose their original music.
But that’s not how we’re taught to write. Instead, we’re expected to craft our prose just a few years after learning how to scribe the letters. Ben Franklin had a system that was based on literal copy-writing. He’d copy great writing to make it stick in his brain, just like an amateur guitarist masters Stairway to Heaven before venturing onto his composing.
1. Making Your Writing Sing, Even If It’s Tone-Deaf
They say the best writing should have a rhythm, like a catchy song you can’t get out of your head. In the boot camp, I learned that even my writing could ‘sing’, although my shower-time renditions of Bohemian Rhapsody might disagree. Take it from Louis CK’s sales page, and Gary Halbert’s letters — simplicity and flow aren’t just for poets. They’re for us mere mortals trying to sell something as unsexy as ED pills. Rhythm. Cadence. Sentence Length. The little levers that words can pull in the readers’ brains to keep them on the page.
2. AIDA: Not The Opera, But Just As Dramatic
Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. No, it’s not the plot of a new Netflix production but the backbone of compelling sales copy. We learned to treat each piece of writing like a mini-drama, where the hero (the reader) must be wooed and won over. It turns out that getting someone to read the second sentence is like asking for a second date — you better have smiled a lot and not farted in the car.
3. The Warren Buffet Approach: Keeping It Simple
Warren Buffet writes about billion-dollar businesses with the simplicity of a bedtime story. This boot camp taught me that if I can’t explain my product to a 10-year-old, I might as well be speaking Klingon. Remember, the goal is to make your reader nod, not nap. Or rather — have them stay awake instead of succumbing to the sweet embrace of an opulent, profound repose ensconced within the velvety shadows of the nocturnal tapestry. See what I did there?
4. Storytelling: Because We All Love a Good Tale
Stories sell. It’s why we all remember the entire plot line of Breaking Bad but can’t recall the most pressing thing from that meeting recap email. The Wall Street Journal’s legendary sales letter from decades ago proved that a good story could sell a newspaper. It’s so good it could sell that paper today, even though the ad is decades old and nobody reads newspapers.
5. Write As You Speak: Unless You Grunt and Cough a Lot
Finally, ‘write like you speak’ was the mantra. You're on the right track if your writing sounds like you’re having a beer with a friend (and not boring a classroom about misplaced modifiers). This means dropping the jargon and embracing your inner conversationalist. Unlearning half what your English teacher warned against is easier said than done. Are you right-handed? Brush your teeth with your left hand for a preview of the struggle.
Ten days, countless coffees, and a few existential crises later, I emerged with these pearls of wisdom from boot camp. Writing, it turns out, isn’t just about fancy words; it’s about connecting, engaging, and sometimes, just being goofy. Who knew learning could be this much fun (and easy)?
The next time you write something, make it sing, keep it simple, tell a story, and maybe, just maybe, write like you’re having a candid chat with a close friend. Oh, and try copying writing that strikes some of these chords. It might just start rubbing off on you.