Story Power Blog

The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading — and Why I Focus on The Former…

Rumor has it that some crafty marketers sprinkle typos and misspellings into their emails on purpose. The reason: Emails with typos and misspellings seem more personal and authentic — or so some claim.  I get the idea. Typos and misspellings ARE common in “personal” emails.  But I’m not into the fake-authenticity thing.  When you see…

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My Ancestor’s Incredible Journey and How it Instructs Yours…

My great-great grandfather Joseph Ruwitch was born in 1852 in a place known today as Ukraine. Back then it was part of Russia – an area called the Pale of Settlement.  It was a massive place created by Tzar Catherine the Great. It was a place the government set aside for Jews… …a place to…

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Here’s What Really Sets Apple Apart

Fifteen years ago today (June 29, 2007), Apple released the first iPhone. The rest is… …you know.  Here’s the thing about Apple: The company makes great technology, but what really sets it apart is the storytelling.  So many great, story-powered ads.  My favorite? One called “Bounce” — a 2019 ad for AirPods (ear phones).  I…

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Top Gun Marketing Tips – How to Pilot Your Business to Soaring Success

“It’s not the plane…It’s the pilot.” So says Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) in the new movie Top Gun: Maverick.  I saw it over the weekend, and I liked it.  That quote about planes and pilots keeps knocking around in my noggin. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many business people get it backwards.  They…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.06.27

Recommended ReadingHow to Stay Relevant — The Beatles and George Carlin Way In past Monday Mash-Ups, I’ve recommended the documentaries “George Carlin’s American Dream” (HBO) and “The Beatles: Get Back” (Apple TV). Here’s a great article by Brian Kurtz that is loaded with lessons about how the best creators evolve to stay relevant (and then some).  And…

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The Greatest News Ever

Hello and welcome. We’ve introduced new security protocols here at Story Power Marketing. So before you read any further, you must complete a “simple” CAPTCHA puzzle to prove that you are not a robot, alien, aardvark, or orangutan. And by “simple,” I mean: “Isn’t it amazing how SIMPLE it is to turn a perfectly calm human…

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How to Make Your Content More Readable

Notice anything different? A quick story to help you solve the riddle… Last night, I was going through my inbox when I came across an email from a talented coach named Kim. I wanted to read Kim’s email but I didn’t… …because the font was too small. My aging eyes struggled to read it —…

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Friendly PR Guy or Satan? You Decide…

I met a “PR guy” named mark at an online networking event last month. He seemed like a nice guy.  (Spoiler-Hint: Remember Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate, Robert De Nero in Angel Heart, or Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick? At first, they seemed like nice guys, too).  So I was happy to hear from Mark…

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How to Identify Ideal Prospects? Here’s a Hint…

A curious subscriber named Cynthia asked me last week: “If I want to create a business based on my expertise, how do I begin to identify my prospects?” Great question… …because most business people think they’ve identified their prospects well, but most get it (somewhat or totally) wrong.  So most waste time and money on marketing…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.06.20

InvitationAsk Tom Anything You’re invited to a special live Zoom event called “Ask Tom Anything.” When: This Wednesday, June 22, 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT. Where: Zoom. Registration: Click the blue button below Anything on your mind now? Ask away asap. If you reply to this email and ask a question right away, I’ll answer it at the beginning…

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Avoid This Storytelling Advice at All Costs

A few weeks back, I stumbled across an article by a so-called “storytelling expert” who droned on and on about something called Freytag’s Storytelling Pyramid. Freytag was a 19th-century German playwright. And, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, I have good news for you:  You don’t have to know anything about Freytag or his pyramid…

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Any Questions?

Next week, I’m going to host a special live Zoom event called “Ask Tom Anything.” You’ll be invited (keep an eye out for an email with the details).  Anything on your mind now? Ask away asap. If you reply to this email and ask a question right away, I’ll answer it at the beginning of…

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Don’t Market Like This Booger-eating Blowhard

Back in the early 1970s, I was still a wee lad playing kick ball on the blacktop at Conway School… …when I heard the rumor. Cathy Summers eats her own boogers. (GASP!) I don’t remember who started the rumor, and I have no idea if it was true.  But I know the booger-rumor stuck.  And…

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Are You Stuffing Chocolates Down Your Shirt Like Lucy Ricardo?

A few days ago, I watched the old I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel take a job at the chocolate factory… …and can’t keep pace with the assembly line. It might be the funniest scene in television history.  Classic slapstick comedy… …that also has me thinking about business systems. Assembly lines and other automations are…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.06.13

Recommended ListeningRichard Koch on the Tim Ferriss Show Richard Koch is an entrepreneur, investor, former strategy consultant, and author of several books on business and ideas, including four on how to apply the 80/20 principle in all walks of life. In September 2020, Koch was a guest on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. This conversation is a beauty…

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Dave Letterman Dissed Us, But We’re Not Gonna Take It

A few days ago, I was watching David Letterman on the living room flat screen. He was interviewing the singer/songwriter Billie Eilish, and he said this: “I have seen your concerts…And the commanding power that emanates from you and the music is stunning. Do you remember the first time you recognized…” Dave paused for a…

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If This is Your Mindset, Get a Job at Amazon

Every so often, I hear from a sad-sack marketer who plays the “easy for you to say” card… …as in “Write story-powered emails that captivate prospects? Easy for you to say, Tom. You’re a storytelling genius.” (Sigh!) I heard from someone yesterday who griped about my list-building advice.  In yesterday’s email, I encouraged you to…

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The Surprisingly Simple Way to Build Your Email List

How can I build my email list? That was the question I got yesterday from a member of my Content Transformation Academy during our weekly group meeting.  He has transformed his emails from boring to brilliant. Now he wants to share his content with a larger audience and reap the rewards.  My answer: Just ask. …

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Why Your “Why” May Miss The Mark — And What You Can do About It

I touched a nerve yesterday. In my Monday Mash-Up yesterday, I shared an article that called “B.S.” on Simon Sinek’s “start with why.” I received lots of replies from subscribers who agreed. No one defended Sinek. Sinek’s big idea from his 2010 TED talk, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”  That…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.06.06

Recommended ReadingWhy ‘Know Your Why’ Isn’t Great Content Marketing Advice I say this often: Storytelling for business is not about fashioning your origin story. It’s about discovering your prospects’ stories. That’s why I love this article by Robert Rose. So many marketers “start with why,” thanks to Simon Sinek who touted the idea in his TED talk…

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Do Toddlers Write Better Emails? You may be Surprised…

Yesterday, while I was walking Moose around the block (actually, Moose was walking me) I heard this gem from marketing master Justin Blackman: “Want your writing to sound more natural? Make zero effort to sound smart. That’s it…Sentences are short, and my vocabulary is on par with a toddler. And no big words. I just…

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Today’s Email From Me

Quick question:  Why did you open this email?  Really, it’s not a trick question. Please shoot me a quick reply and let me know. You can do that now (the rest of this email can wait).  … … … So…back to the question at hand… Why’d you open the email?  It couldn’t have been the…

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Why I Called B.S. on my Friend Who Said All Marketers are Liars

I met yesterday with a friend who’s feeling down in the dumps. His business is struggling and so is he.  And even though he’s a brilliant mindset coach, he now questions everything he’s doing – including all things marketing.  “I don’t like marketing,” he told me. “It’s the use of psychology to deceive people into…

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Invitation: Stand Out Above the Trash-generating Crowd

The email from longtime subscriber “Scott H” landed in my inbox last week with a “thud” It flashed as a notification on my iPhone’s home screen, revealing just the first line… “I have a problem with your…emails…”  “Uh-oh!” I thought.  I took a deep breath, sat up straight, and clicked the notification to open the…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.05.30

Memorial Day ViewingHonoring Soldiers on Both Sides of the Battlefield Memorial Day. Every year around this time, I re-watch Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima — a pair of films directed by Clint Eastwood and released in 2006. Both tell the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima — “Flags…” from the perspective of the Americans and…

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Storytelling Lessons From a Good Song by Taylor Swift

Driving yesterday from St. Louis to Kansas City, Melissa and I listened to one of my favorite podcasts called “Good Songs.” The singer/songwriter Peter Himmelman and his son Isaac pick a song they love and discuss it briefly.  As we drove through Kingdom City, MO, we listened to the episode about Taylor Swift’s song “Tis…

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How to Rise Above The Dime-a-dozen

I got a GREAT email last week from world-class marketer Dave Dee. Dave told about a conversation he had with a lawyer who thought creative, personalized marketing was below him.  “I didn’t go to law school to be seen as a celebrity,” the lawyer told Dave.  I hear the same from some coaches, consultants, and…

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The Difference Between “Motion” and “Action” — and Why it Matters

In the Mastermind Book Club this month, we’re discussing Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear.  You’re invited to join us tomorrow for our monthly meeting (Thursday 5/26, 1 p.m. EDT, 10 a.m. PDT). You can join the Club here (it’s free).  Club members will discuss lessons learned…

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I Wanted to “Murder” the Prosecutor in This Murder Trial. Here’s the Story…

As jury selection entered its second hour, with no end in sight, the prosecutor strolled slowly to his table, grabbed his notes, paged through them, paused, paged through them some more, took a deep breath, and then asked, “Have any of you ever had a negative encounter with a prosecutor that would prevent you from…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.05.23

Recommended ReadingSeth Godin on Quality vs. Quantity Here’s another short blog post from Seth Godin that packs a big punch. Here’s a bit from the post… “The media and our culture push us to build something for everyone, to sand off the edges and to invest in infrastructure toward scale. But it turns out that quality, magic…

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Entertainment vs. Sales — Which Matters More? (Hint: It’s a Trick Question)

I was up past my bedtime last night watching the NHL playoffs (St. Louis Blues 4, Colorado Avalanche 1. Woo-hoo!) And I had to rush downtown this morning to report for jury duty. So I’m sitting here, sleep-deprived, in the St. Louis Municipal Courts jury waiting room (quite possibly the dreariest place in the galaxy). The…

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How to Know if You’re Sending Too Many Emails

After sending my daily email yesterday (subject line: “I didn’t punch Chad in the face, but his email tempted me” — which you can read here) I received a reply from a surprised-to-be-happy subscriber named Kimberly. When she signed up for my list earlier this month, she was hesitant. Daily emails? Not her thing, she thought. …

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I Didn’t Punch Chad in The Face, But his Email Tempted Me

I woke this morning to an email from a guy named Chad who claimed his appointment-setting firm could  add “an extra 20K to 40K” to my monthly recurring revenue. Wow! What a promise.  The email contained a video. And in the video, Chad said this:  “We have a system that allows us to harvest anywhere…

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The tragic Tale of Sweetie and The Prince of Joy

Sana met “Prince of Joy” in an online chat room after she grew tired of her husband, Adnan. She called herself “Sweetie” in the chat room, and she poured her heart out to Prince of Joy. Prince poured back.  They had so much in common. Both from Bosnia. Both in loveless marriages. Both looking for…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.05.16

Recommended ReadingCreative Thinking – What’s Holding You Back? Brian Clark was serving up great, creative content before “content marketing” was a thing. He created Copyblogger, one of my favorite sites for marketing tips. Here’s a post by Brian from last year that I especially like.  I say this often: Every one can deliver content that…

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Ripped From the Headlines: Wacky News Stories that Make Great Emails

Every so often, my buddy Adam sends me a link with a challenge to “email this.” Sometimes it’s a link to a crazy discussion thread on Reddit. Often, it’s a random, funny news story.  My favorite “email this” challenge was a news story about status-hungry Chinese big-shots and strippers (more on that in a moment). …

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The Power of Scratch-between-the-ears Marketing

Moose is jealous. For those of you just tuning in, Moose is my dog (Melissa claims him, too).  He’s big and brown, with floppy ears, like a moose, and he’s usually the only dog around.  But there’s a new dog in town.  His name is Cooper, named after a place called Cooper’s Landing in Alaska…

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How I Broke my Monstrous Cookie Habit

Three days after the Girl Scout cookies arrived, I couldn’t find them. I searched all over the kitchen.  In the snack cabinet? Nope. The freezer? Not there.  That tiny never-used space above the fridge that requires a step ladder to reach? Not there, either.  As I stepped down from the ladder, I yelled for my…

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This Braggy Bigshot is Full of BS, so I Dumped Him

A few months back, I saw a video on Facebook by a marketer named Victory. The video begins with a camera panning across his well-appointed bedroom. Victory strolls into the frame, sits on his king size bed, ties his fashionable shoes, and then marches from his room down the stairs and out the front-door of…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.05.09

Free WorkshopMonday Morning Live Event Starting Soon Here’s a good way to start the week: Discover… How to Build Emotional Bondswith Prospects So They’llChoose to Buy from You That’s the title of the one-hour workshop I’m hosting today… …and it starts soon — 10:30 a.m. CDT, 8:30 a.m. PDT. You may still have time to…

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Lessons From a World-class Marketer Who Loved my Email

I got lots of great feedback from subscribers after sending an email yesterday about my humiliating Cinco de Mayo mishap.  My favorite response came from the great Michael DeLon — America’s Foremost Authority on Credibility Marketing — who said:  “Well done! I could just picture being at the table, drinking margaritas with you… and telling you, ‘You have salsa on…

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Ai yi yi! This was Embarrassing…

When Dr. Ruth Allan asked me during a podcast interview to, “tell us about an embarrassing thing that happened to you,” I didn’t hesitate. I’ve deposited piles of embarrassments in my memory bank. But Ruth was interviewing me during the first week in May, so I had to trot out the story of… My humiliating Cinco…

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A Simpler Way to Ensure the (Storytelling) Force Is With You

Yo! It’s Star Wars Day. May the fourth be with you! (Get it!?)  So dust off your Chewbacca costume. Fire up your lightsaber. And let the celebration begin!  One thing… …I won’t be joining you.  I have nothing against the Star Wars movies.  It’s not my favorite sci-fi (that honor goes to Battlestar Galactica, the 2004-09 edition), but…

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How Richard Transformed an Email from Boring to Brilliant

Here’s a content transformation story starring my client Richard Terry. Richard runs Accolade Kitchen and Bath in my hometown, St. Louis, MO, USA.  Richard’s promise: Help clients take their outdated kitchens, bathrooms, and closets and transform them into Gourmet Playgrounds, Spa-Like Retreats, and Personal Sanctuaries. Promise kept for Melissa and me. Richard transformed our kitchen…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.05.02

Les “The Time Lord” Watson + How to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant + Dan Ariely re: Irrational Humans and Pricing Strategy + The Marketoonist re: Loyalty Programs + DaVinci re: the “Urgency of Doing”

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Why I Died of Boredom and How to Keep from Killing Your Prospects

Yesterday, I was minding my own business, scrolling through a news feed, when I came across an article that preached storytelling. And, mercy me, that article was…. …BORING! I read the first sentence and quickly began to tune out. My eyelids were heavy. My head began to bob.  Then I got to the part that…

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You’re Invited…

Tomorrow, I’m hosting a live workshop (on Zoom) called… How to Harness the Power of Storytelling to Boost Sales — without Pitching and Prodding When: Friday, 4/29, 11:30-12:30 p.m. EDT, 10:30-11:30 a.m. CDT. Where: Zoom. Click the button below to reserve your spot Here’s a sneak peek… I’ll share the story of a business owner who was…

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? Why I’m Focused on Habit-formation

A few days back, I was seeing double.   Not in the metaphorical, mad-as-hell kind of way. No, I was literally seeing double.  On Saturday, I began wearing glasses with progressive lenses.  I’ve used reading glasses for the last few years. But I can’t wear those while driving or at a hockey game or watching…

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A Marketing Legend’s Wise Take on Storytelling

I love it when the legends praise “story power.” It happened again yesterday. An email from Drayton Bird. He’s a living legend – among the most influential and successful marketers and copywriters alive.  And in his email he broke down a century old ad for a mail-order business course.  The ad tells “the story of…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.04.25

A Customer Support Horror Story + A Unique Way to Deal with a Writing Deadline + Aretha Reinvents a Legendary Song + Two Comedy Greats Discuss Great Comedians + re: Babe Ruth’s Homruns and Strikeouts

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Why The Wrong Way is Often The Right Way to Persuade and Teach

Once in a while, I share with you stories about the wrong way to market your business. Like this story about a marketer who pretended she’d sent me a personal note when it was, actually, a message sent to everyone on her list.  Or this story about a marketer who sent me a sales pitch disguised as a…

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The Most Important Holiday You’ve Never Heard Of

Happy Get to Know Your Customers Day. Let the confetti fly! Do you have any big celebrations planned?  A confession: I didn’t know there was such a holiday until a few days back when I consulted my calendar of strange holidays.  Strange holidays make great hooks for emails so I check the calendar often.  Some are…

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The Wreck Wasn’t My Fault, But This Was…

Yesterday, I shared the story of how a hit-and-run driver wrecked my car. I was stopped at an intersection. The truck driver cut a left turn too tightly and slammed their trailer into my car.  I didn’t get the driver’s license plate. No company logos or other identifying info on the truck or trailer. No recording…

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Why I Won’t Treat You How This Truck Driver Treated Me…

A few hours before leaving on my family vacation last week, I was running errands around town when this happened… I was in my car, idling in the intersection turn lane, waiting for the left-turn arrow, turning the radio to another station. Not a care in the world… …and then the airbag exploded in my…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.04.18

Rewriting the Stories We Tell Ourselves + Is This Syndrome Sinking Your Sales? + Picking the Brain of an Egyptian Scientist + A Deep Track by The Monkees + Conan O’Brien on Worst Fears Realized

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Why Home is Better Than Oz to Build Your Business

Last weekend, I watched The Wizard of Oz for the zillionth time. The first time I watched it, I was terrified. You know, the flying monkeys and all.  But this time I wasn’t scared. I was inspired.  Dorothy dished out some inspiring wisdom right before she clicked her heels and returned to Kansas. “If I ever go…

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Opening Day Marketing Wisdom From Yogi

Major League Baseball opening day… …makes me think of Yogi Berra… …and something he once said: “If people don’t want to come to the ballpark, how are you gonna stop them?” Yogi was a Hall-of-Fame catcher for the New York Yankees – not a marketing genius. But those words are loaded with profound marketing wisdom. …

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The One Word That Can Make You More Persuasive

Here’s a quick story that reveals how a single word can make you more persuasive. That word: Because A Harvard social psychologist Ellen Langer sent researchers to a copy store near campus to study how powerful that word can be.  Researchers, posing as customers, visited the store multiple times and asked if they could skip…

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How to Captivate an Audience — the Zelensky Way

On March 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on video before the British House of Commons. He delivered a defiant, confident speech that included these words: “We will not give up, and we will not lose. We will fight to the end, at sea, in the air, we will continue fighting for our land, whatever…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.04.04

Organize All Your Shift + Brian Kurtz’s Tribute to Joe Sugarman + The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey + “Coming Home” by Drew and Ellie Holcomb + re: Procrastination

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How to Consistently Create Never-boring Content

In case you missed, I sent an email yesterday that was bursting with dick jokes. Vance Morris dared me to do it (“…use “oversize reproductive assemblage” in an email to your audience,” he said). And I rose to the challenge.  There’s a big lesson in that email (you can read the archived email for that)… …but there’s…

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R-rated Lessons Enclosed. I Dare You to Read On.

It’s not every day that someone triple-dog-dares you… …but that’s exactly what my friend Vance Morris did yesterday. I’ll get to that story in a moment. But first, a warning: When I turn this email into a movie, The Motion Picture Association of America will give it an R rating. So if you’re the G…

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A Cautionary Tale About a Marketer’s Trust-busting Email…

I got an eye-roll-inducing email yesterday from a marketer named Stephanie. I signed up for her list a few months ago. So technically, this wasn’t SPAM… …but it sure felt like it.  Here’s what it said:  Hi there Tom, I wanted to send you a special note, but I don’t have your mailing address 🙂…

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You’re Invited (Today)…

If you’re free today at 3 p.m. CENTRAL, here’s an idea… Be my guest as I reveal… 9 secrets to write client-attracting, story-powered content (the Joe Sugarman way). Here’s what you’ll learn… Eight “magic” words that transform readers from tuned-out do-nothings to turned-on buyers The single, most important thing your copy needs to keep prospects’…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.03.28

Joe+Joe — Polish Interviews Sugarman + You’re Invited… + The Implied Trade-Off with Loyalty Programs + Is Persuasion Legal? Ethical? Where Do You Draw the Line + The Medicine Man by Keb’ Mo’ + Tom Peters Says “Think Small!”

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The story-powered Ad That Launched an Eyeglasses Empire

We lost a legend this week — Joe Sugarman, a copywriting great, who taught me (and countless others) tons about marketing. He wrote many great books, including The Adweek Copywriting Handbook. I pulled that book from my shelf yesterday and flung it open to the place I dog-eared long ago: Page 178. The section about storytelling.…

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Ben Franklin’s Wily Way to Turn Foes to Friends

Want to turn an enemy into an ally? Here’s a story I got from chapter 18 of “Yes!” by Robert Cialdini – this month’s selection in the Mastermind Book Club (more on that below).  Back in colonial times, long before he graced the $100-bill, Benjamin Franklin was running for reelection as an officer for a literary and…

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I Missed the Holiday. Here’s a Pot o’ Gold to Make up For It…

Happy Belated World Storytelling Day. The big day was Sunday. I can’t believe I missed it. 🙁 I usually round up a bunch of my storytelling pals, head down to the corner tavern, and get drunk on green beer… …um…check that… Different holiday.  World Storytelling Day? I don’t have any special alcohol-soaked traditions.  In fact, I…

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How my Client Overcame a Dreaded, Business-Crushing Disease

“I don’t have an interesting story,” Elizabeth said. Her shoulders slumped. She stared at her shoes.  Elizabeth was a client. We’d discussed how storytelling captivates prospects and inspires them to act. She understood and agreed. But then she told me she didn’t have what it takes.  “There’s nothing about me worth telling. My story is…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.-03.21

How to Make Your Business Grow Without Being a Braggy, Bigshot Bro + How Content Marketing Has Evolved + Is Persuasion Legal? + 9 Strategies To Make Content Creation Effective And Enjoyable + Prepare for the BEST

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The Great Peanut Fiasco and What it Reveals for Your Business

All I wanted was a friggin’ bag of peanuts! Last night, at the NHL hockey game between (my beloved) St. Louis Blues and the Pittsburgh Penguins, I had a hankering for some salt and crunch. Peanuts in the shell. Some water to wash ‘em down.  It was between the first and second periods so the…

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How to Turn “Yawns” to “Yeses” When You Ask for Email Signups

Want to know one of the best ways to inspire more qualified prospects to join your email list? Sell them on the idea of subscribing.  Seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it?  Yet so many business people undersell their emails.  They put a little form on their site with a headline “Join our email list” (or…

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How to Build Your Email List with the Right Prospects

I’m hosting a free workshop tomorrow (Thursday, March 17)  at 3 p.m. EST, 2 p.m. CST) called: 5 Ways to Build Your Email List with the Right Prospects. This is a 5in25 presentation – five tips in 25 minutes – followed by discussion and Q&A.  If you want to join us, sign up here. 

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Mastermind Book Club is live. Join now…

The Mastermind Book Club is live. And You’re invited… Go to MasterMindBook.club to join. Ted Prodromou and I started the club to help ourselves (and YOU) turn all those books we read into business-advancing action.  Here’s how it works… Ted and I will choose a book every month.  We will share insights they draw from the books. Community…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.03.14

Goodreads is a Great Resource for Book Lovers + How the Chandlers Built Goodreads + How to Accomplish More in Less Time + Setting the Table + …from Albert Einstein

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This Book Proves the Power of Rapport-Building

When I make a new connection on LinkedIn, I usually send a direct message ice-breaker to build rapport with the person. Often I’ll say, “Please tell me something about you that I wouldn’t know by reading your profile…” and then I share something about myself.  I got that idea from Ted Prodromou (America’s Leading LinkedIn…

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This Club Will Break All The Rules — in a Good Way

Every few months my wife, Melissa, leaves me. It’s not the pack-her-bags, move-back-to-her-mom’s, and call-a-lawyer kind of leave me.  It’s the Book-Club-in-four-days kind of leave me.  And it goes like this… Tom: It’s a Wonderful Life is on TV tonight. You love that movie. Wanna watch it?  Melissa (with 3-inch thick Toni Morrison novel propped on her…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.03.07

My Birthday and My Dad + Remembering “Bloody Sunday” + The Go-Giver Marriage + Tim Ferriss Interviews Neil Gaiman + …from John Lewis

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Why I Should Have Dumped That Rotten Client Sooner…

I fired a client last month. It felt great.  I should have done it several months ago, but I balked.  This client didn’t return emails, voicemails or texts. Didn’t complete work they promised. Didn’t meet deadlines for work they delivered.  Then, they would pop up out of the blue and bark some command at me,…

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Why That Email Signup Raffle Will Backfire

I spotted the following this morning on one of my favorite online marketing forums: “I have a trade show coming up. I want to take advantage of the traffic and grow my email list. The best thing I can think of is an email sign up raffle…What is the best way to approach this?”  …

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.02.28

Before It Happened + Donna Loughlin on the Story Power Marketing Show + Sleep Better with Light-Blocking Stickers + 6 Grammar Rules You Can Break + …from John Steinbeck

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The Dirty Little Secret About the “Best Content Money Can Buy”

A couple of days ago, I told you about a sad-sack business owner who decided “email doesn’t work” because it hasn’t worked for her. She was hunting for a content delivery channel that works.  I wrote to her and said the problem might be her content, not the delivery channel.  I’ve been doing this for…

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Why Hunting For a Better Marketing Tool is a Waste of Time

Breaking news: If you want to convert leads to clients… Email doesn’t work.  Neither does text.  Same goes for video So says a frustrated consultant who posted a cry for help on Facebook “​​20 years in business, I don’t remember ever it being this hard to connect with prospects. Text and email, videos, and articles…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.02.21

Four Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln + The Go-Giver Marriage + Maxine Cunningham and I Discuss the Power of One-to-Ones + Six Strategies To Stop Procrastinating + Abraham Lincoln

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Image of gold medals

The Mindset You Need to Build a Gold-Medal Business

Last night, I stayed up late to watch women’s Olympic hockey – the gold medal match between the USA and Canada. Canada won 3-2, powered by two goals from captain Marie-Philip Poulin.  This was Poulin’s fourth Olympic gold-medal game. She’s the only hockey player ever (woman or man) to score in four Olympic gold-medal games.…

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Master Copywriters’ Simple Formula to Captivate Prospects…

I read some great advice last week from my friend Jack Turk, “The World’s Fastest Copywriter.” If you want prospects to pay attention to you — your webinar, your sales letter, your landing page, your emails —  you must do as the great Dan Kennedy does… Say interesting things in interesting ways.  That sums up…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.02.14

How a Hotel Owner Discovered the Story to Skyrocket Sales + How to Build a Bliss Station + How to Communicate with Humans + A Book About Cults & More + Frederick Douglass

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Marketing Lessons From the Prince of Denmark

Picture this: Your dad, the King, is sleeping in the castle garden. His brother creeps into the garden, kills Dad by pouring poison in his ear, marries the Queen, and takes the throne. So it went for Prince Hamlet of Denmark – at least in William Shakespeare’s version of the story.  At first, Hamlet thought…

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You Know The One About “the company you keep?” What do you think?

I love it when high-quality people call B.S. on me… …hold me accountable… …get me out of my rut… …share a perspective I hadn’t considered… …inspire me to implement, not dawdle… …encourage me to be my best… …and then guide me to be even better. And I love to offer peers all of the above. …

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.02.07

The Hidden Danger in Copying Successful People + Do You Talk At or Converse With Your Prospects + The Art, Drama and Power of Olympic Competition + Why I Noodle, Doodle, and Jot + re: Creativity

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A Unique Chance to Create Dangerously Entertaining Content

My favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie is The Trouble With Harry. It’s not a thriller or murder mystery… …although there is a dead body. The dead guy is Harry. He’s lying flat on his back in the woods in Vermont, with a bullet hole in his head, dead as a bug on a windshield. The movie is…

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Ashamed to Sell? Nuh-uh. Here’s the Key…

There’s this bloke down under named Daniel Throssell who fills my inbox with entertaining (and informative) story-powered emails every day. I’d like to tell you about a pair of emails he sent last month… …because they’re so spot on… …and so relevant to anyone who has ever struggled with selling their services. Last month, Daniel…

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Monday Mash-Up 2022.01.31

Train Your Brain To Become a Learning Machine + PickMyBrain.world + Doreen Downing on the Story Power Marketing Show + The Giant Hand Of Vyrnwy + The Voyage of Discovery

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Willie Nelson and The Power of Creative Content

A few days ago, I began reading a book called Keep Going by Austin Kleon. On the very first page, Kleon shares a quote from Willie Nelson. The quote keeps rattling around in my brain:  “I think I need to keep being creative, not to prove anything but because it makes me happy just to do it……

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My Shameful Trip Down the Social Media Rabbit Hole

I read a GREAT thing yesterday. It’s from Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist… “You’re going to see a lot of stupid stuff out there and you’re going to feel like you need to correct it. One time I was up late on my laptop and my wife yelled at me, ‘Quit picking fights on…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.01.24

Show, Don’t Tell + InnovaBuzz with Jürgen Strauss + Jon Keel on the Story Power Marketing Show + A Book to Keep You From Getting Spread Too Thin + From Essentialism…

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The Second-Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Done in the Shower…

Remember that time you were in the shower… …and a great idea popped into your head… …and by the time you stepped out of the shower… …the idea was GONE! That used to happen to me all the time. But no longer.  Earlier this week, I got me some AquaNotes! (Thanks, Todd Cherches, for telling…

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When Content Inspiration Strikes, Will You be Ready?

Paul McCartney says his song “Yesterday” came to him in a dream. Shazam! The song popped into his head while he was sleeping. He wrote it down when he woke.  I’ve never had a song, email, or anything else I create appear to me in a dream.  Bad luck for me, I guess. But that…

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Monday Mash-Up – 2022.01.17

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. + The Power of Visual Thinking + My Favorite New Podcast: Storytime with Seth Rogen + The Sales-Generating Power of Being Helpful + The Courier

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Why the World Needs Another Friggin Podcast

A few weeks before I launched my podcast, The Story Power Marketing Show, I shared some of the details with my pal Adam and asked for his feedback.  He liked the podcast graphic, introduction, and other details. And then he wrote (with a wink and a smile), “Because…just what the world needs…another friggin’ podcast!”  Yeah, I used…

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So Many Stories to Create. So Few Ideas. How to Fix That…

Yesterday, I heard  “storytelling expert” on a podcast say, “businesses need to get their STORY right.” I hear that a lot. Story. Singular. As in ONE story.  As if storytelling for business is about getting ONE story right, and then you’re done.  But that’s not how it works.  If you want to break through the…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2022.02.10

John Carlton on Quality vs. Quantity + How to Get Paid What You Deserve + The Author of Overdeliver Reflects on the Value He Brings + The Art of Noticing + re: The Thrill of Noticing

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How to Generate Great Content Ideas Without Hurting Yourself

Beth subscribes to my email list, and yesterday she signed up for my upcoming How-to-Generate-Content-Ideas workshop. She wants some help.  When she registered for the workshop, I asked, “How do you come up with content ideas now?” Beth’s reply:  LOL… is this a trick question?!?!? I sprint from a dead stop into a chain link…

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Quick Question

No story today. Just a quick heads-up and question… I’m planning to host a free, hour-long workshop later this month (date TBD) to reveal how to create more interesting and entertaining content (emails, blogs, social posts, etc.) without getting stuck. I’ll focus on how to generate a flood of great ideas so you can kiss…

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There’s a Holiday for THIS!? It’s True

In case it slipped your mind, a reminder:   Today is National Spaghetti Day Yes, today! You didn’t know?  Me neither, until I consulted HolidaysCalendar.com.  Because of that site, I never miss a big holiday like this one.  More on that in a moment, but first… …in honor of the big day, I’d like to…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ 2021.01.03

The Secret To Better Habits in 2022 + reMarkable 2 Lives Up to Its Name + Seth Godin Does It Again + Schmigadoon! is a hoot! + Hope for the Year Ahead

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How Joyce Saved Her Family From a Deadly Twister

Just before the twister hit, Joyce walked out to her pickup truck to roll up the windows. It was November 15, 1988, and the high temperature in Davisville, MO was 70F that day – 15 degrees above normal.  Rain was falling. The wind was beginning to whip.  Joyce, her husband Jim, and their daughter Shannon…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 47

A Little-Used Strategy to Book More Clients — Without Paying + How to Create a Life You LOVE in 2022 + The Story of Content Will Spark Ideas for Your Biz + Wise Words from Carrie Fisher

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Home For The Holidays and Other Blessings…

The wonders of technology. My wife, Melissa, and I spent yesterday checking the “Find My Friends” app on our iPhones, tracking the missing piece in our family’s home-for-the-holidays puzzle Our son Jake hit the road early, with his dog Cooper in tow, to drive from his home in Fort Collins to ours in St. Louis.…

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How to Crank Out Client-attracting Content — The Easy Way

Last week, Ben Settle promoted his book Breakneck Content for sale at a 20% discount. The book is all about how to crank out business-building content.   As usual, Ben cranked out tons of emails to promote the sale – at least one per day, sometimes more. I already have the book so I wasn’t shopping. But…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 46

How to Answer Sales Objections + The Power of Sacred Time + My Octopus Teacher and the Habit of Noticing + The Power of Dishing Out Compliments + Daniel Pink Says the Future Belongs to Storytellers

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The #1 Quote of All Time? Could Be…

Here’s a quote that caught my eye. “It’s the start that stops most people.”  Michael Senoff, who interviews marketing experts and then sells the recordings, shared that one in an email earlier this week.  He attributed it to his mentor and “greatest story collector,” Rob Gilbert. He called it the “#1 QUOTE OF ALL TIME.”…

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How This One Little Question 3x’d Sales

Over the weekend, I went to one of those big-box stores that camps a “greeter” by the front door. As I marched past him, he barely lifted his eyes from his phone as he mumbled, “‘mornin.” Some greeting! Made me think of the great marketing consultant Jay Abraham and a story he told about a…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 45

A System for Scoring + How to Launch a Gifting Program to Wow Prospects and Clients + Why Your Free Consultation Offer Sucks (And How To Fix It!) + An Ode to John Prine + John Prine Wrote and Sang This…

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How NOT to “Suck on Sour Anxiety for The Rest of Your Days”

There’s an old legend about the great mystery writer John D. McDonald. When he was just getting started, he heard writers don’t get “good” until after they write their 10th novel.  That seemed like a long road to get to “good…”  So…he put it in gear and wrote 10 novels in ONE year.  In no…

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Curling Fans Screwed by “Secks” Toys

Bad news for American curling fans. Big laughs for the rest of us.  And a great marketing lesson for good measure… There’s a company in the Netherlands that makes “toys.”  The kind of toys not suitable for children… …or prudes. “Adult” toys. (Wink, wink.) Anyhow, this toy company paid someone to put their logos on…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 44

Angry Mother-of-Bride Delivers Important Mindset Lesson + James Clear: How to Get 1% Better Every Day + Marketing Legend Reveals 7 Copywriting Sins + #ReadThis #ImproveSocialReach + Gail Sheehy on Growth

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How Musicians And Marketers Become Masters

Last month, I saw Richard Thompson at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis. He’s one of my favorites. A great singer and songwriter and — maybe — the best guitarist I’ve ever heard. During the concert, I turned to my friend John and said: “Close your eyes and listen. It sounds like he has a separate…

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Famous Marketing Expert BS’d Me (and others) so I Ripped Him…

Ryan Deiss is one of the most intelligent and successful digital marketing strategists in the galaxy… …and now I’m going to rip him. After you read the story, let me know what you think. I’m interested to hear your thoughts. The story began yesterday morning when Ryan sent me one of those Cyber Monday promotions…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 43

Jack Turk on the Story Power Marketing Show + 25 Types of Humor to Tickle Your Funny Bone (+ Examples) + Get Back Reveals The Beatles Creative Process + LinkedIn Marketing for Introverts + George Harrison

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The #1 Quality That Helps Hockey Pros and A-List Copywriters Succeed

I’m about to tell you a story about a hockey game. Not a hockey fan? No worries. Stick with me. The story is not really about sports. It’s about marketing and mindset.  Last night, I went with my son, Jake, to a hockey game.  Here in St. Louis, we love the St. Louis Blues.  The…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 42

Dan Sullivan Dispenses Marketing Wisdom + Ted Prodromou and Brian Kurtz + Marketing Lessons from Mark Twain + How a Minor Leaguer Became MVP of the NHL All-Star Game + Dan Sullivan

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The Surprising Truth About Pickle-flavored Lip Balm

Looking for the perfect stocking-stuffer for a loved one who has everything? Here’s an idea:  Pickle Lip Balm.  Yeah, you heard me right.  Pickle Lip Balm is a real thing.  You can buy a gherkin-sized tube of Mr. Pickle’s World-Famous Pickle Lip Balm on Amazon for the low, low price of $11.95.  Warning: You may not like…

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A-List Copywriter: How to Create Great Content Without Getting Stuck

Yesterday, I interviewed A-List copywriter Jack Turk for an upcoming episode of my podcast, The Story Power Marketing Show. Wow! Jack delivered the goods! So many gold nuggets about how to create great, client-attracting content without getting stuck.  I’ll let you know when the episode goes live (later this week).  For now, a sneak peek… We…

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Fwd: Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 41

Recommended ListeningGuy Kawasaki and Seth Godin Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin are two of my marketing heroes. And in this episode of Kawasaki’s “Remarkable People” podcast, they’re together talking about the current state of marketing. This is one of those podcast episodes that I’ll replay many times. Recommended ViewingA Familiar and Funny Customer Service Nightmare Here’s…

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If You Had The Best Product In The World…

If you had the best product in the world, how would you market it?  I spotted that question on a marketing forum last week… …and I was sad — but not surprised — to see the responses. Every single response focused on tools and tactics.  “I would personally advertise it through Google advertisements, PPC. I…

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How C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien Collaborated Despite Conflict

I just started reading a book called “Bandersnatch.” It’s about the writers C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and their relationship as colleagues and competitors. In the 1930s and 40s, Lewis and Tolkien were members of a literary club called The Inklings at Oxford University.  Members critiqued one another’s works-in-progress.  “Bandersnatch” explores how Lewis and Tolkien…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 40

Ann Handley re: Inviting Subscribers to Share Your Stuff + Mind-Mapping to Get Unstuck + A Better Way to Write a Cold Email + Glen Campbell’s Farewell Tour and Battle with Alzheimer’s + Try a Little Kindness

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I Got This Super-creepy Email. Here Are Some Lessons…

Wow… Sometimes I can’t believe the garbage that lands in my inbox. I got this one last week from a guy named Joon: Hey Tom, I don’t want to sound weird, but I was creeping your LinkedIn profile and wanted to reach out. Thought I’d see if you’re open to hopping on a call. Put…

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How to Cure Writer’s Block to Create Client-Attracting Content

A small business owner asked me recently if I could help her cure writer’s block. She wanted to create client-attracting stories. But every time she sat at her computer to write an email, blog, or social post, she’d freeze.  She’d stare at that blinking cursor and think, “Now what!?”  She was frustrated. She was confused.…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 39

The Promises and Perils of Artificial Intelligence + A Blood-and-Gore Story with Big Business Lessons + Business Lessons from Tim Cook + Which Media Work Best? A Fascinating and Funny Look… + From Tim Cook, re: Steve Jobs

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Business-Building Wisdom from The Youngest Baseball Manager

I live in St. Louis, Missouri, USA where baseball is a big deal. Earlier this week, the St. Louis Cardinals tapped Oliver “OIi” Marmol to manage the club. He’s 35. That makes him the youngest manager in Major League Baseball. He’s younger than a few of the players he’ll manage. So, naturally, reporters asked Oli…

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The Stunning Story of My Trip to Facebook Prison

I’m not a hating kind of guy. But… I HATE Facebook. Lots of reasons. But here’s the latest… A few months ago, I set up a Facebook business account so I could run ads to promote Story Power Marketing. I logged in the other day to set up a new user. But I couldn’t manage…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 38

An Apple App to Control Procrastinating Impulses + Harnessing the Creative Power Within You + Headline Advice – Separating The Good and Bad Advice + Marketing Lessons from Horror Films + From Pablo Picasso

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Maya Angelou’s Priceless Marketing Wisdom

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” She was a civil rights activist and poet — not a marketing consultant. She didn’t say that to help you and me grow our businesses. But take her words…

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Why Your Marketing Might be a Cliche

A few months ago, I met with an employment coach who helps unhappy workers find a job to fit their passions and skills. When they come to her, they’re scared. They’re frustrated. They’re anxious. They’re unfocused. They’re unsure of themselves. She works with clients to TRANSFORM… From scared to courageous. Frustrated to satisfied. Anxious to…

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I Pull Back The Curtain to Reveal…

Remember that scene in “The Wizard of Oz” when Toto pulls back the curtain so Dorothy and her pals discover the “Wizard of Oz” is merely a man? I’m thinking about that scene for two reasons: 1) After I send this email, I’m hopping in my car with my wife to follow the gray concrete…

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3 Most Important Storytelling Keys

I just released a new on-demand micro-training (12 minutes): The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys toCaptivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Buy —Without Pitching and Prodding You can watch the whole thing in less time than it takes to down your second cup of coffee. Click the big button below to watch now. And after you watch,…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 37

Great Content for Leaders (and Marketers) + Great Calls to Action + Automations to Save Time and Connect with Leads + User-Generated Content Tips + From Samantha Melhorn

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Why You Should Implement the Proven Thing, Not Chase the “Next Big Thing”

Soon after I began the shelter-from-home thing back in 2020, a friend invited me to join Clubhouse. It was a new app that allowed people to converse in audio chat rooms. He said it was THE NEXT BIG THING. I didn’t sign up right away. But I kept hearing the Clubhouse BUZZ… ….The usual stuff…

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You Won’t Believe What This Top Executive is Willing to Do For The Team…

Last week, I toured EPCOT at Walt Disney World with my friend Vance Morris who used to work there and now is the planet’s leading expert on how to “Disnify” your business. As a surprise, Vance invited his pal Dave to share some insider secrets about how Disney World operates today. Dave is a top-dog at Disney.…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 36

A Great Example of a Story-Powered Marketing Video + Brandi Carlile + Find Your Voice, Change Your Life + Best Live Chat for Your Website + The Power of Being Different…

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Why Disney’s Magic-Makers Have Systems for Everything

Remember that time you parked in a giant lot, and when it was time to return to your car, you couldn’t remember where it was? You wandered around the parking lot like a lost lamb — your fury rising like lava — until you stumbled upon your vehicle. How’d I know about that?! Come on,…

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How a Thriving Copywriter Went From Easy Street to Skid Row

Sad story… I crossed paths recently with a full time copywriter who’s stuck on skid row. His top client accounted for 80% of the copywriter’s revenue. And then the top client opted for a cheaper option. Poof! There went 80% of the copywriter’s revenue. Now the copywriter is posting to public forums, saying he can’t…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 35

Save Your Favorite Things from The Internet in One Place + How a Psychotherapist Transformed His Marketing To Sell More + “There’s always been a rainbow hangin’ over your head…”

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Why You Need to Clean Up Your Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Back when he was a star catcher for the New York Yankees, Yogi Berra told a young teammate, “90% of the game is half mental.” OK, maybe Yogi wasn’t as good at math as he was at catching, throwing, and hitting. But he had a point. To succeed in baseball, you need mental focus and…

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How to Eliminate Guesswork and Catch a Big One…

I just returned from a week in southern Wyoming where I gathered with high school buddies for some R&R and fishing. The first day on the North Platte River I stood knee-deep in the icy water. The only sounds: The rolling river, the occasional screech of a red-tailed hawk, and the “chirp-chirp” of grasshoppers… …and…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 34

Ogilvy on Advertising + “The Moment with Brian Koppelman” + An Ogilvy Cheat-Sheet + Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Open Rates + My Favorite David Ogilvy Quote

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The Importance of Building Human Connections…

I launched my new podcast, The Story Power Marketing Show, back in July. We’re up to eight episodes. Last week’s is a good one. It’s all about being HUMAN. The episode title: “Act Like a Human, Not a Humorless Robot (with Dr. Heather Walker)” The more human you are in your business, the more HUMAN…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 33

Making “Intentional Connections” in a Remote Working World + What We Can Learn from Introverts + Decisive by the Heath + 5 Storytelling Secerts + Wise Words from the Guy Who Built THE Chocolate Factory

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Bruce Springsteen’s Ode to Fallen Heroes

I usually don’t send emails on Saturday’s. But I make an exception today. In addition to Story Power Marketing, I run a thing called (ware)HOUSE Concerts — a venue in St. Louis where (before the virus) we would host intimate concerts in a space that can best be described as a warehouse turned into an oversized living…

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Client-Attracting Secrets from the Storytelling Hall of Fame

Major League Baseball inducted three players into the Hall of Fame yesterday — including one of my childhood heroes Ted Simmons. So yesterday seemed like a good day for me to release my new e-book that features …5 legendary ads from the Storytelling Hall of Fame. The e-book title: 5 Storytelling Secretsto Help You Captivate Prospectsand…

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Cautionary Tale: How to Waste Money and Repel Prospects

I came across this quote from Bill Gates the other day that makes a ton of sense: The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. For 19…

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Why I Dumped This Rotten Trickster…

I got an email the other day with the subject line that said, “Receipt for P’pal payment…” It came from a marketer named Victory Akpos. I bought software from him last month. I couldn’t understand why Victory sent a receipt now, weeks after my purchase. I worried that, maybe, I accidentally signed up for something…

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How Intention and Action Lead to Beautiful Creations

My friend Caren Libby posted a beautiful photograph on LinkedIn last week — a meadow with Black-Eyed Susans in full bloom. (That’s the photo above.) In her post, Caren wrote, “I stumbled across this lovely burst of blossoms in the John F. Kennedy trail in Forest Park.” I loved the post, and I shared it.…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 32

Sign up for Daniel Throssell’s Emails + Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong + (ware)HOUSE Concerts Song of the Day + The Difference Between Simple and Easy + Antoine de St. Exupery, author of The Little Prince, said…

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Loads of Leads Won’t Always Help. Here’s Why…

I met last week with a business owner who was hungry to get new leads. As I dove deeper with him, I learned he has NO idea how to nurture those leads. His plan: Pitch them immediately and pitch them hard. He’s one of those “Pleased to meet you. Will you marry me?” types. The…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 31

How Tim Ferriss Faces His Fear to Thrive in High-Stress Environments + Lessons from a Guy Who Had a Drunk Bartender Point a Gun at Him… + Kobe Bryant: Storytelling and the Awareness of Fear + The Marketoonist on Brand Loyalty + Seneca on the Stories we Tell Ourselves

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What Would You Do If The Stories And Music Stopped

My friend Les Landes shared with me a story about stories. I’d like to share it with you. It comes from the author Neil Gaiman who said: “My cousin Helen…was in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She and a bunch of the girls in the ghetto had to do sewing each day. And…

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Tired of Chasing Leads? [Live Demo]

I rarely send promotions on behalf of other marketers (I see too many others pitching stuff that they don’t even seem to vet). But I’m making an exception for my friend Michael DeLon, who’s the real deal. He’s offering a great training that I recommend. I recommend it only because I know it will help……

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How are B2B vs. B2C Marketing Different? You May Be Surprised…

I crossed paths the other day with a struggling marketer who said, “I’m having trouble distinguishing B2B copy from B2C copy and I feel so dumb.” No need to feel dumb, I thought. That’s a common question. How does marketing and copy change when selling to businesses (B2B) versus consumers (B2C)? Another marketer chimed in…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 30

Marketing Lessons from the Gettysburg Address + “If You Want to Win the Game, You Have to Stay in the Game” + Powerful Business Lessons from a Master Fly Fisherman + Rest in Peace, Nanci + Keep Track of the Inspiration

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How an Impulse Buy Led to a Legendary Business

While on vacation in 1986, a future legend bought a coat in Jackson, Wyoming that changed his life. John wasn’t a legend yet. He was a sales consultant, vacationing in cowboy country. The coat was a full-length “duster.” The kind of coat real cowboys wear. John saw the coat, hanging in the back of Schaefer…

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New Podcast: The Story Power Marketing Show

Hi Ryan, My new podcast is live. It’s called The Story Power Marketing Show. Please check it out. You can listen on Apple, Google, Spotify and anywhere else you get podcasts. (See below for subscription links for all the major providers). You also can visit StoryPowerMarketing.show to view episode videos, get downloadable audio, and review show notes.…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 29

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead + A Random Act of Kindness at Trader Joe’s + The Me You Cannot See + Great Business Tips from Jeff Walker + Jerry Garcia said…

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The Client-Attracting Power of Radical Empathy

In a recent Monday Mash-Up, I told you about the author Cheryl Strayed and the advice columns she wrote under the pen name “Sugar.” Her friend and fellow author Steve Almond described Strayed’s Sugar columns as “radical empathy.” I can’t get that phrase out of my mind. Radical empathy. Powerful business storytelling is all about radical…

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How to Turn a Claim from Questionable to Rock-Solid Believable

I’ve been helping one of my coaching clients Richard polish a print advertisement for his kitchen and bath remodeling business. Here’s the last line of the ad: “That’s why our average review on Facebook and Google is 4.92 stars out of 5.” You may be wondering… ”Why 4.92?” Here’s why: Because 4.92 is the EXACT…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 28

Tiny Beautiful Things + Would you swap a Patek Philippe watch for a cartoon of a Bored Ape? + Otter.ai for Transcriptions + Copywriters Podcast + James Baldwin

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“The Most Profound Advice…” From a Bestselling Author

In a recent Monday Mash-Up, I shared Tim Ferriss’ podcast interview with Annie Lamott. Her book Bird by Bird is one of my favorites about writing. In the interview, Annie tells Tim how she came up with the book title. This story alone is a priceless lesson for writers — especially those struggling to get it…

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How to Conquer Stage Fright

Powerful storytellers embrace and conquer stage fright. Take Darden Smith. He’s a singer-songwriter who has released 15 critically acclaimed albums and performed around the globe — including a concert in February 2019 at the venue I run, (ware)HOUSE Concerts in St. Louis. He’s an author, too, who wrote a book I love called The Habit of…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 27

Travis Linville + 8 Tips For Staying Creative In Your Content Marketing + How a Video Streaming Giant Has Changed Storytelling + The Fine Line Between Awareness and Noise

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Do This to Delight and Connect With Your Audience…

I heard a speechwriter describe why her boss — the First Lady of the United States — connected so well with audiences. “She would have things that she’d want to tell the audience,” the speechwriter said. “She wanted to make sure that she was honoring their stories. She’s always wants to learn about her audiences (“What…

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How Business is Like Skydiving…

In 2017, I jumped from an airplane 15,000 feet above New Zealand… …on purpose. Here’s a picture at the moment of truth. Those are MY legs, hanging out of the airplane, 2.84 miles above Lake Wanaka. Here’s another picture… …after I jumped, freefalling at about 200 feet per second. The plan: Freefall for 60 seconds,…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 26

Anne Lamott on The Tim Ferriss Show + Steel Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann + The Neurobiology of Great Business Writing + Wise Humor re: “The Next Big Thing” + Winston Churchill on Faith and Victory

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Now You Can Watch This Valuable Training Whenever You Want…

I’ve heard from so many people who couldn’t attend my live training at the times I’ve offered it. So I’m now offering a replay of the training that you can watch whenever you want — 24/7. It’s called “How to Harness The Magnetic Power of Storytelling to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act… So You Can…

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Why Great Creators Noodle, Doodle, and Jot

I listened recently to my friend Dan Rubright describe how he created a song. Dan’s a great jazz guitarist and composer who appeared on the Songs Out Loud podcast and dissected his tune “Prepare for Departure.” This podcast blew me away — not just because I love great music… …but because I love to create… …and I help…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 25

A Jazz Guitarist and Composer Discusses the Creative Process + Business Lessons From Henry David Thoreau + Spreeder — A Tool to Help You Speed Read + Lessons Learned from Hanging Out with Millionaires + Desiderius Erasmus…

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Instagram cartoon

How I Developed The Habit of Noticing

When Instagram was new, I opened an account and thought… …now what!? I wasn’t into selfies. Instagram marketing wasn’t a thing yet. I didn’t know what to photograph or why. Then I decided to look for interesting images that surrounded me. I was at home so I looked for interesting stuff in my house. I…

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How Yoga Can Help You Become a Better Storyteller

I attended a yoga class last week. First time ever. I worked muscles and tendons that hadn’t stretched since the Reagan administration. Some of those muscles protested mildly. Others screamed, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Our instructor, Jessica, asked us to bend at the waist and touch the ground. She spotted me in my…

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I Nearly Ignored This Awesome Advice…

Last month, I launched a free video e-course called “How to Write Emails that Sell.” Seven videos, delivered by email, one per day, over seven days. To promote the course, I shared one of the videos in an email I sent to you and on this LinkedIn post. I got lots of positive feedback for that…

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School Reunion Calendar Cartton

Why This Letter Generated More Than $2 Billion in Sales…

A few years ago, my friend skipped his high school reunion because he was between jobs. He didn’t want to face his classmates while down on his luck. I get it. He dreaded that “what are you up to?” conversation. He didn’t want to tell his story of dreams deferred. He wanted to be the…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 24

Recommended Reading12 Business Lessons from Mel Brooks Mel Brooks was born on this day in 1926. Here’s a Fast Company article from several years back with 12 lessons Brooks discovered over his legendary career. These are valuable lessons for anyone managing a business. Recommended ResourceVelocity Jam Helps You Establish High-Value Connections on LinkedIn If you want to expand your…

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Cartoon of Pickup Artist

This LinkedIn Pickup Line Fell Flat

My brother, Mike, got a LinkedIn request the other day from a guy who wrote this: “Love to Connect. I just got a radar that detects high-performance humans. Damn thing won’t stop going off since I saw your profile.” That’s some fancy-schmancy, make-believe radar. Mike wasn’t impressed. No connection for you, Radar Man. I shared…

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7 Secrets to Write Emails that Sell

Good Morning: I’ve launched a new video e-course called 7 Secrets to Write Emails that Sell. It’s 7 short videos, one per day, delivered to your inbox over 7 days. Here’s what we cover: How to come up with great ideas for irresistible emails. The key to overcome writers block so you can knock out your…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 23

Recommended Reading / ListeningThe Daily Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Age I’m a big fan of Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic. I subscribe to his emails. I read his book. I listen to his podcast. The website describes stoicism as, “…a philosophy designed to make us more resilient, happier, more virtuous and more wise–and as a result, better…

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Why Simple Words Sell More Than Big Ones

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who peppers their speech with big, fancy words — just to show the world how smart they are? Yeah. I run into that person a lot. And, I have to admit (gulp!) I used to be that guy. I used to love big, fancy words —…

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Summit Starts Tomorrow. I Speak Friday…

Hi — I conducted a group coaching call earlier today, and one of my clients suggested she doesn’t have the “gift” needed to market her business with ease. It’s not a gift we’re born with, I told her. You master marketing and grow your business by learning from the masters. The masters make it look…

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Why You Don’t Need a Muse to Master Marketing

There’s a movie I like called The Muse. Albert Brooks plays a screenwriter named Steven Phillips who has lost his “edge.” Everyone says he’s past his prime. So Steven gets a Muse. Not a figurative muse. A literal muse — as in a real-life Greek goddess, a daughter of Zeus. Her name is Sarah Little (Sharon…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 22

Six-Figure Summit: Priceless Presentations and the Price is Right + Theresa Carrington, founder of Ten By Three + Marketoonist Mocks the “Next Big Thing” + Suzanne Somers Answer Big Questions + Happy Flag Day + From Harriet Beecher Stowe

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I Met a Remarkable Woman

I met a remarkable woman yesterday. Her name is Sarah Walugembe. She lives in Uganda. Her mom left her when she was two months old. Her dad died a few years later. She married when she was 14. She thought marriage was her ticket to a better life. But her husband was a bad man.…

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How Do You Get People to Open Your Emails?

Last month, I sent an email encouraging subscribers to answer a few questions: Why do you subscribe to my list and open these emails? What do you hope to learn/accomplish here? Any marketing questions/challenges you’d like me to address in future emails? I got a ton of great feedback and questions, including this one from…

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Old Codger Secrets for Marketing Success

Over dinner the other night, my pals and I had one of those “back-in-the-day” conversations. Back in the day, we said, people couldn’t stream music on their phones or computers. We had to buy vinyl records (big as a dinner plate) and play them on bulky record players. If you scratched the record (easy to…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 21

Six-Figure Summit: Priceless Presentations and the Price is Right + Affordable Microphones for Better Audio + Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterwork + Want More Customers? Solve Their Problems + From Frank Lloyd Wright

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Never Say “Sorry” For This…

When I was in high school, no one visited the guidance counselor. I mean NO ONE. He was a creepy hippy-turned-teacher who sat alone in his third-floor office, waiting for someone to show up and ask for help. We students thought asking for help was an act of surrender. A sign of weakness. An admission…

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I Fought The Law And The Law Lost

Happy National Speak in Sentences Day. Party on! Oops. “Party on” is not a complete sentence! My bad. Oops, I did it again. LOL! Darn it! I meant, “I am now laughing out loud.” That’s better, at least according to the “Speak In Sentences” police. I hear from them occasionally. “Your emails and blog posts…

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Memorial Day Mash-Up

Former POW Hal Kushner + Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried + National Memorial Day Concert + Eastwood’s Iwo Jima Double-Feature

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Quick Question…

Hi – Last week I sent an email about the welcome message I send to new subscribers. I later realized the questions I ask new subscribers are relevant to longtime subscribers, too. So I’m reaching out to ask… Why do you subscribe to my list and open these emails? What do you hope to learn/accomplish here? Any…

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How Tim Ferriss Named “The 4-Hour Workweek”

After his book The 4-Hour Workweek became an international bestseller, Tim Ferriss told an interviewer he wanted to name the book The 3-Hour Workweek… …But, Ferriss quipped, “My publisher thought ‘3-Hour Workweek’ was unrealistic.” Ha! I’ve read the The 4-Hour Workweek a few times. It’s loaded with valuable lessons. But the most valuable lesson is one not even in the…

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Monday Mash-Up ~ Vol. 2, Ep. 19

Cathy Sexton Overcome Email Overload + Class Action Park + Why Storytelling is So Important in the Digital Era + Chris Voss Never Split the Difference + From Bob Dylan

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How I Evolved From Procrastinator to Implementer

I recently noticed a new signature section at the bottom of emails from Dave Dee, one of my favorite marketing experts. The section described several ways prospective clients can connect and do business with him. Not a hard pitch, just a short catalog of available opportunities. I liked it so I asked Dave about it…

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