(NOT) WANTED — Long Winded Bore

This is a guest post from Scott McKinstry. Scott is a brilliant copywriter and really knows how to compel with story. He’s agreed to become a regular contributor and I’m excited to welcome him.

Today Scott shares the tale of how we met and he quickly became one of my most trusted insiders. Framed, of course, in the 60-second sales hook formula.

Enjoy…

Hey, Kev, thanks for having me. It’s an honor to “share the mic” with you to riff on the power of stories.

Welcome, everyone. Thanks for pulling up a chair. Let me tell you the story of how I almost screwed up my chance of working with Kevin.

A little while back, I was trying to crack into the copywriting big leagues. My daughter was just turning 1, and I was determined to find a way to watch her grow up — instead of being stuck in Seattle traffic, commuting to a dreary corporate office every day.

I had stumbled sideways into copywriting when I discovered I could dig up my past talents as an actor, speaker, and writer … toss in my fascination with psychology and my passion for entrepreneurship … sprinkle in my rhetorical skills as an English tutor … to whip up a message that could actually make money.

And I’d quickly discovered Kevin’s name as I researched the elite copywriters of our day. (In fact, I wrote his name on a piece of paper titled “Study w/a Master” and stuck it on my wall. It’s still there to this day.)

So when I saw a listing on Kevin’s Facebook fan page for a chance to work with him on a project, I scribbled off a reply in an instant. I didn’t actually expect a response – he must get flooded with requests.

But early the next morning, a brief message waited for me, still smoking a little, hot off the digital presses.

My heart skipped a beat. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Don’t screw this up. I was determined to work with him.

Kevin asked me one simple question: what do you know about raising kids? (It related to the gig.)

I almost made a big rookie mistake … a common knee-jerk reaction when we want to persuade someone.

Like when we want:

  • a date
  • a job
  • … or a sale

The mistake?

I was tempted to explain.

Yeah, the philosophy grad in me just loves to blather on and on about ideas, causes, and reasons.

(Might have something to do with the hours-long discussions about society, religion, and psychology I had with my dad and brothers growing up.)

And hey, ideas are important, don’t get me wrong.

But when you’re making a first impression – when you’re trying to connect with someone – spewing out a flood of facts is the last way to ignite a fire of interest in you.

Instead, all those explanations will be slide away like water off a duck’s back.

But I wasn’t tuned in to that yet.

See, I wanted to impress Kevin. I was dying to catalog my understanding of the parenting market … dazzle Kevin with my insights of first-time parent psychology … supply him with a bullet list of the top pain points to tap …

… but thankfully I didn’t. (Can’t take full credit for this … Kevin phrased his question deftly, inviting me to share my personal experience.)

So instead, I told him the story of raising my daughter, peppering it with relevant details. It was easy to speak from the heart, because being a dad was most of my world.

(In fact, I even used a primitive form of the 60 Second Sales Hook … pointing out some of the parenting challenges I’d faced (PROBLEM) and some of the things I’d learned (DISCOVERY).)

What was Kevin’s response?

See for yourself:

KevinsReplyFBMess

We had that Skype call … and I’ve been plugged into Kevin’s world ever since.

Kevin’s contacts – and more importantly, his savvy advice and deep awareness of the business of selling and writing – have supercharged the trajectory of my career.

(In fact, just studying the off-hand, everyday emails he sends me is a master’s class in cutting to the heart of a matter in plain, compelling language.)

And by the way, Kev’s insights also made it a cinch to knock out this first post (without getting drenched by flop sweat.)

How?

Just follow the 60 Second Sales Hook recipe, me lad:

IDENTITY: Scott, father, freelancer.

PROBLEM: No clue how to enter the jetstream of the direct response industry.

DISCOVERY: Power of stories got me on Kev’s radar.

RESULT: Liftoff!

Ding! Instant story, fresh from the marketing oven.

Till next week,

Scott

About the author:
Scott writes sales copy for entrepreneurs big and small who need to supercharge their sales through targeted messaging. He blogs about his expertise writing advertorials here (link: advertorialcopy.wordpress.com) and can be reached at advertorialcopy[at]gmail.com

5 replies
  1. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    Great post! It makes me happy to see other parents who are madly in love with their children. Over the last 18 years, I’ve run all kinds of businesses from home just so I could watch my 5 sweet, tiny humans be their fabulous selves.

    You also opened my eyes to opportunity. It hadn’t occurred to me that people would WANT to read what I know about kids. Thanks for broadening my horizons.

    Warmly, Melanie

    • Scott McKinstry
      Scott McKinstry says:

      Thanks, Melanie.

      And 5 babies! I’m sure there are a lot of parents out there who would love to find away to be near their kids as they grow … something you could help teach them.

  2. James Broderick
    James Broderick says:

    Good stuff, Scott.

    The problem I’m facing is that I’m having a hard time cutting through all the details and getting to the point.

    I’ve been through some shit, and my past is the inspiration that’s led me to my audience.

    I love storytelling, but as I’m writing my About page (where your story counts most), I’m having a hard time cutting the fat and showing my value without detailing a sob story.

    Any suggestions, brotha?

    IDENTITY/STRUGGLE: Addict

    DISCOVERY: Health, wellness, self-development, entrepreneurship

    RESULT: Helping others (addicts) to focus on doing the same

    • Scott McKinstry
      Scott McKinstry says:

      Hey James,

      I find that the easiest way to get your message in fighting shape is to first “pig out” all over the page.

      Here’s what I mean: allow yourself to do a “brain dump”, tell your story from first to last. Don’t bother editing yourself. Let it be raw.

      Once you “get it all out”, then you can hone in on the core essential message.

      One way to do that is to read it out loud to people who know you. Don’t ask them where your story is weak — ask them where it’s strong. Where it hums. Where it grabs their attention and doesn’t let go. Highlight these bits.

      Then you can weave these glittering threads into the 60SSH framework.

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