“There are two ways to look at the world.” He said.
“Depending on how you see it, you will either be an incredible marketer – or you won’t.”
That’s copywriting Caesar, John Carlton, speaking to me in a dream last night (I need to stop reading his stuff before bed).
Now, before he went on to reveal the rest of his lesson, he morphed into Professor Brian Cox. It was freaky … but weird stuff like that often happens in my dreams.
“All the greatest scientists are just interested in looking at things.Really looking at things. And figuring out how those things occur; how the grass grows, why the tide goes out, why the sky is blue …”
He morphed back into the beardy Calrton.
“You can either look at the world how you wish it was or believe it should be … or you can see it for what it actually is. That’s how Einstein approached the speed of light problem. And it’s how John Tyndall ended up contributing to a theory that linked microbes to disease.”
By the way, this wasn’t just a chunk of fantasy vomit from my waltzing sleepy brain. Both Carlton and Cox actually teach this stuff for real.
Carlton’s advice is here: http://www.john-carlton.com/2011/11/mid-life-crisis-5/
The Prof’s is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jdgvx
I get what they’re saying – because I look at the world in this way when reading posts from other copywriters. I try to notice what works and what doesn’t.
Then I try to understand why.
I like to think of it as though I’m ‘plugging in’ to some kind of Matrix world for content marketing.
By engaging with content, not just reading, you can plug in too. Before you know it, you’ll be in a thread of 50+ comments, learning much more than what the original piece offered.
“The comments are often more enlightening than my articles.” - Ramsay Taplin, Blog Tyrant
Try my three techniques to keep yourself reading and learning. Let me know how you get on:
Plug in (and set yourself up to look like a dick)
A few months back, Demian Farnworth told me about a book - The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. Demian’s the chief copywriter for Copyblogger and so yeah, I’m an embarrassing fan-boy.
But seriously, I respect this guy and learn a lot from him. If you’re looking for content writing advice that’s 100% meatier than what I’m giving you here, head straight to The Copybot now and forget the rest of my post.
If you’re sticking around – nice one.
Anyway, I told Demian I’d get a copy of the book and he jokingly replied:
“I’ll believe it when I see it.”
So, I ordered a paperback version from Amazon and it arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’m halfway through and it’s blowing my mind. I would never have spared the time to read it if I didn’t think so highly of The Chief.
The point: If you commit to doing something to somebody who you respect, then you’ll always make sure you follow through on that commitment,…
…,if for anything else, to avoid looking like a dick.
Unplug and learn in the real world
TV in the morning. Monitor in the day. TV in the evening. Laptop at night. Tablet and/or smartphone for every hour in between.
Friend – your eyeballs hate you.
Get away from the screen whenever you can.
- Buy paperbacks
- Download podcasts
- Print your ebooks
“I’m unplugged. A new man, so to speak. Like you, apparently, free.”
– Agent Smith
The real world is far too awesome to experience through computers all the time. Take a blog to the park, listen to a downloaded G+ Hangout while you drive to the beach and learn in as many different ways as you can.
It’s more fun – and it’s more doable.
Never stop reading
Throughout university, I was always told the best way to learn how to write, was to read. Those of you who follow me on G+ might know about my previously poor attitude to that mantra.
I now understand why it exists.
“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”
– George R.R. Martin
The next time you’re reading a post from somebody you enjoy, syringe everything you can from the content – not just the author’s main point(s).
I’m talking about the words they use, how they lay things out on the page and how they structure the piece. As a reader, you know what works and what doesn’t. Steal the things that worked.
But what do I know?
Not enough really.
As a copywriter, I still consider myself a n00b with a lot to get my head around. But I’m already noticing a difference after reading some of the MyCopyblogger ebooks.
Eventually, I’ll shift up to Authority in hope of ‘becoming a content marketing expert’. For now, I’ll keep dropping what I learn into this blog.
How are you learning? Let me know in the comments – we’ll get to the bottom of this content marketing jazz one day.