In the interview:
00:57 – Some background on Kevin
02:47 – What it means to go deeper
05:51 – The highest level of achievement for an email
09:33 – In other words, get real
11:35 – A couple of useful tactics
13:07 – Building performance material
14:49 – Do videos help you connect?
19:41 – How Kevin’s Uber video came about
23:31- Do you have to be a performer?
24:44 – When content is shallow
28:12 – One out of ten videos…
29:33 – Behind Kevin’s driving videos
34:16 – A quick recap
35:46 – James’s podcast record
37:47 – How to avoid being douchey
See Kevin’s SuperFastBusiness Live presentation inside SuperFastBusiness membership
James Schramko here, welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. And today I have my very good friend, Kevin Rogers from CopyChief.com on the line. Kevin?
Kevin: James, it’s exciting to be back with you.
James: It is. You’ve been on this podcast before, so we will link to the previous episodes. And you also spoke at SuperFastBusiness Live, and your presentation was a stellar success, because in that presentation, you delivered a card system, a framework that one might use to develop a good sales copy approach. If you’re starting from scratch, or you’ve got to come up with an offer, you could go through that card system and step-by-step map out a compelling sales offer, which was really well received. It’s available as a recording in SuperFastBusiness.com.
One of the things that made that training so good, it was hilarious. You delivered it so well because you’re quite funny, and there was one line in there that I particularly loved that I’ll save for listeners to discover when they go through that training.
But lately, you’ve been developing your communications to a whole new level. That’s why today, we’re talking about how to go deeper with your customer base.
Kevin: Yeah. It’s great topic. I think, it’s one of those things that when you kind of crack the nut on it, and you start to get the level of feedback that we appreciate, those of us who have worked really hard to crack this nut, it’s invigorating. And suddenly, you never have to struggle for what to say. When we’ve got too much in our heads and we have these inhibitions about reaching out and communicating, all that goes away, and it just becomes like a great conversation at a bar or a coffee shop or something, right?
James: So let’s just get a little clear on this. When we say going deeper with our customer base, what does that mean to you?
What it means to go deeper
Kevin: Well, for me it means that I can feel it when I write something. So I’m a copywriter. So oftentimes, it’s me sitting and writing that these moments happen. Although I’m working more and more with live video and posting spontaneous video, which we can talk about, but for me, here’s what I realize – I had this revelation recently that I’m all about performance. That is what fuels me.
So for instance, you mentioned me speaking at your event. That was very exciting for me to travel to Australia, to be with you and your members, and when I have something on the books like that, I’m excited for a month. From the minute I book it, and especially, it only grows as the event grows closer. Every shower I take is more and more exciting. [laughs]
That’s because we all get these great ideas and because of the white noise, we can’t be bothered in the shower, it’s where a lot of our best ideas come. And for me, I begin to fantasize about the event and being on stage and that moment, and that just fuels me like nothing else. Big ideas come, and little ideas come, and I’m always coming out of the shower dripping wet, writing stuff down. It’s such a gift in me to have a platform on which I can perform.
I had this revelation like I just need to put myself in a position to perform more and more and because that is where I make the connections. So that’s not going to be true for everybody. I understand that a lot of people who just say, “It’s not for me. I don’t want to be on stage. I don’t want to do these things.” But I think everybody has a special kind of motivation. When you tap into that, that’s where you’ll create these moments where you know that you’re making a deep connection.
What’s exciting is you don’t know for sure until it actually goes out and you see whether people respond or not. Surely, there have been times where I felt like I have this inspired idea, I shoot it out, and I get crickets, right?
Kevin: But, there are other times where you feel it when you write it and you send it out and sure enough, people respond just the way you hoped. That’s what I’m talking about when I say going deeper. It’s sort of just like sharing an inspired moment.
“Be prepared to be vulnerable with your audience.”
James: So I saw a TED talk that covered this idea of being more vulnerable. I guess that is pretty much what you’re saying, that if you’re prepared to reveal yourself, if you’re prepared to be more vulnerable with your audience that it will be well received, and that’s what you mean by going deeper.
The highest level of achievement for an email
Kevin: Totally, yeah. I think that’s a great term – being vulnerable. Ways I measure it are with email for instance. Some people love to look at all their stats – their open rates, their clickthrough rates. I suppose those things are kind of important. I think sales are the most important. But also for me, when we talk about connecting, it’s replies. If somebody receives an email that they know went out to an entire list of people, yet they were so personally affected by it that their instincts, their overwhelming desire at that moment is to hit reply and type back to me their response to that email, I consider that the highest level of achievement for an email I can get.
One time, I remember in particular, a guy wrote to me and said to me, “I don’t think I’m ready for Copy Chief.” And then he proceeded to list all his insecurities around joining a community like Copy Chief and how he might be exposed for not being an expert and all these things.
So I wrote back to him, and it was obviously a private conversation, but I was so inspired by what I was saying to him, I could just sense that it was going to have an impact on him. I was basically saying to him, “You need to get over this.” I wasn’t trying to convince him to join Copy Chief. I actually told him, “I think you’re right. You’re not ready yet. Here’s what you need to overcome for you to actually get value out of things like Copy Chief.”
He wrote back, and it was what I’d hoped. He was really affected by it. He was very appreciative of my honesty. Then I thought, ‘Geez, this is almost too good to not share.’ So I turned around, and I sent it out as a mass email. Of course I protected his identity, and I just sort of framed the conversation. And man, I got more responses from that email because it turned out that tons of people on my subscriber list, my readers, were feeling the same way that this guy was. “I’ve always thought it must be so cool in Copy Chief, and it seems interesting, but I’m scared to go in there because I’m afraid I’ll instantly feel either inferior or like I don’t belong.” It really surprised me.
So you can find that inspiration, those moments, that sort of tingle you get when you know you nailed it. Sometimes, that happens in a one-on-one and it can transpose to a broader conversation, but even if you’re writing to your list, everybody knows the rule in copywriting that you want to make it feel like you’re writing to one person, but oftentimes, we all make the mistake, we just know that we’re writing to our entire list. If you can get to that moment where it really does happen one-on-one, and tap into that feeling, make that your criteria, your standard for how all your emails should feel, and you’ll be definitely making deeper connections.
James: In other words, you were just getting real. You were being genuine with this person and not trying to be a sales shark.
Kevin: Yeah. There was nothing calculated about what I was telling him. He was really vulnerable in what he wrote to me, and I appreciated that. It really struck me. So I had an emotional reaction to what he said, and I responded in kind. Again, like I did not think convincing him or even compelling him, as our friend Dean Jackson would say, to join Copy Chief was my goal or what he needed. I really, genuinely wanted to help him see the bigger picture of well, what could you possibly get value out of, what is going to help you, how will you ever get to the next level if you don’t get past these insecurities.
It was interesting because it turns out as is so often through, he represented an insecurity or a hesitation for people who could be served by Copy Chief that I was unaware of. And so, it’s really important to engage, what I call the dialogue. Everything happens in the dialogue. Every product you should ever create, if you want it to be a guaranteed money maker for you, let it stem from a back and forth dialogue with your audience. It has to involve some personal one-on-one communication. Really, the answers, they come from those situations. You’ll never have to wonder what to be doing with your business or what kind of products to be creating because you’ll just have such a long list of all the things you know people want from you that it’s just about execution at that point.
“If one person’s writing it, there’s probably a hundred people thinking it.”
A couple of useful tactics
James: Well, I just want to zero in on a couple of tactical things there that really make sense. I like this idea that if one person’s writing about it, there’s probably a hundred people thinking about it. So that’s like digging up a gold nugget and then mining out that area around it. You take that gold nugget and you repurpose that back into a general communication. Now, whatever medium you do that, it could be an email, you might cut and paste the email and protect the identity. You might make a spontaneous video on Facebook Live about it and say, “Hey, I just got this email, and I think it’s important to share with you how it deeply impacted me.” That’s very revealing.
The other thing that I would do is something like that is I will send a copy of my reply to my webmaster, and she will extract the bullet points from it and put it on to our sales page into our ‘who this is not for’ and into our FAQ section of the page. I often think that by answering these individuals, because we now run deadline funnels, and when I get the questions, it’s just like you said, they’ve got this resistance and they’re not quite sure if it’s for them and they just need some reassurance. If I’m answering it for one, I might as well put it on the page for anyone else who comes along with the same condition.
Building performance material
And then, the other thing you talked about is when you have a performance outlet, whether that’s from the platform or podcast, I want to share a handy tip that might be helpful for anyone who see themselves wanting to go deeper with their audience. If you have a Facebook propensity to publish videos, if you do a podcast, or if you speak from a platform, open up a document that is somewhere where you can collect your ideas.
So when I’m presenting on a platform, so my next presentation is at my own event in about five weeks from now, I open up a slide deck for that presentation, and as I get ideas in the shower or in the surf or driving, I will actually just add a slide to the slide deck with that idea that I can later on go and illustrate and make pretty. So I’m building the performance material on the fly over time so that when I get close to the event, I can curate the best of the best. I know from my very brief interaction with some comedians, Kevin, that you only use a fraction of the material that you ever create. Only a small portion of it makes the cut, right?
Kevin: For sure, about 10 percent.
James: And they say you should write down everything funny that ever happens to you so that you’ve got a bigger base to work from.
James: And if you’re going to do podcasts or videos, just create a little note on your phone, for example, video ideas. And when you get an inspiration like that or you put effort into replying to one, you might as well take that across multiple modalities.
Now I did want to ask you about your videos. I’ve seen a few of your videos, and some of them have had a not insignificant number of views, especially the Uber one. It seems whenever I do occasionally pop on Facebook, you’ve got some really creative and fun videos. How is that helping you with connecting to people, and does it actually have a commercial result?
Do videos help you connect?
Kevin: Good question. Yeah. You know what’s interesting is, I can’t say that I have measured it. It is not a calculated marketing effort. I want to apologize for that because I feel like when it becomes that, I will lose some of the creative edge and spontaneity behind it. I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive, but that’s my good excuse.
James: Well I just want to point out, Jen Sheahan said the same thing in March last year at my event when she was talking about social media, that the days of being able to specifically measure an exact social media output to a specific result, it’s getting fuzzier and fuzzier. But I think it would be very hard to measure deepness. That’s what I was going to say. How do we know we’re being successful when we say go deep with our audience?
Let’s say we repurpose some great messages we’ve had from customers. Let’s say we published some live videos, what do you look for as an indicator? You’ve already mentioned one – that you’ll get a flood of people saying, “This really connected with me. This resonates.” These are indicators that we’re deepening our relationship. Are there other ones we can measure?
Kevin: Yeah. I’m just going to say it’s similar to what I say about the replies. I consider it the highest regard of nailing it with an email, personal replies. It’s the same with Facebook. You mentioned that video. Again, people will make the effort to go beyond liking or commenting and they will private message me, and they’ll say, “Man, that video, dude, that was crazy.” Or, “Hey, I have a question. Was that real? What inspired you guys to do that?” Those kinds of things.
Then you will see a pattern over time. I had a guy write to me just yesterday, he joined Copy Chief, he said, “By the way,” it was in his PS, he said, “I don’t know if this is a calculated effort on your part or not, but you are the number one authority on comedy in our industry.” And I thought, see that’s interesting because I’m not running around trying to be… I do wacky stuff, but sometimes, when people think comedian, they think, the guy is always crazy, he’s outrageous, you don’t know what he’s going to do. And I’m proud of that title, at least from this individual, because I like to feel like I have a little bit of restraint around my comedy. Believe me, I try a lot of things that don’t work. But you have to be willing to do that. The risk factor is important. But it makes me proud that people pay attention.
But I think what he’s saying and what people appreciate is that it’s a teaching tool. It’s something that everybody likes – comedy and humor, and we all watch stand-up. And as marketers and writers and communicators, and infoproduct creators, we’re all thinking, why is this effective? Why am I laughing at this? Why is Louis CK so funny when it doesn’t seem like he’s even trying? He’s just up there kind of talking. Those kinds of things.
“It’s OK to not be calculated.”
So you mentioned the video, let’s talk about Facebook video for a minute. It’s interesting James, it’s the ones that I plan the least that always get the biggest response. This is the second reason why I think it’s OK to not be so calculated about it. The times that I have put a call to action anywhere around the video, even at the very end, if I just say, “More at CopyChief.com,” just a little title screen, I get significantly less likes, shares and comments, and I know it’s because people have a natural resistance to feeling used or manipulated or almost tricked into seeing your call to action. It’s much more valuable to keep it really pure.
How Kevin’s Uber video came about
So the video you mentioned with Ian Stanley, it’s the Uber video, it’s such a pure moment. It’s actually quite a moment. It’s 18 minutes. We watched it and decided to just put it out unedited, and I think that was for the best ultimately because it was such a real moment, but the way it happened was, and this is what I talk about with being a performer. I know that Ian, if you’ve never heard of Ian, he’s a 26-year-old entrepreneur, super smart guy, copywriter, and a really, really funny person. I coach him, we have a relationship, and I know that he’s a performer, and he thinks like a performer, and he lives for those moments.
So he flew to town, and I was picking him up at the airport, and I’m sitting in the lot waiting for his text that he’s ready to be picked up, and I have this idea that I’m thinking, I want to do a car video with him where he gets to play one of his characters. How do I set this up to make it really spontaneous? So I had this idea where I’ll say, I thought ahead to, what’s the post going to be? How will I capture people’s imagination and curiosity to tune into this? And anytime in comedy, you want the element of surprise.
For me, a bonus, James, is if people are never quite sure if this is real or not, that’s a big bonus for me. And so, I texted Ian and he said, “I’m ready to be picked up,” I said, “OK, here’s what we’re going to do. I am pretending that I am driving Uber for a day as a research experiment, and you get in the car as Richard Thanyou,” which is one of his characters, “and I’m your Uber driver,” and he goes, “Awesome, let’s do it.”
And so what you see in the video is literally me picking him up. We haven’t said hello. No planning beyond a text. It’s hilarious. He’s in character. He gets into the car, he’s immediately insulting me, and all I have to do is kind of play the straight man, try not to laugh, and keep up this facade for him that I’m driving Uber. Obviously, like any bit of improv, there are peaks and valleys, but overall, people appreciated the video because they got the joke. It was fun for them to get the joke because it was clear from the thread and some people’s comments that they didn’t get the joke and other people were going… it was funny, one person posted twice. The first one said, “Minute 9:25, what the hell am I watching?” And then her next post was, “Alright, I’m just going to be an idiot and ask, is this real or not?” [laughs]
To me like, those are the great moments where people go, “Alright, I know who Kevin is. And I know Kevin’s having fun with me right now. But there is a purpose behind it.” To me, that’s the level of trust that when you’ve kind of earned that because they know you have their best interest at heart, you’re not just trying to use them, or manipulate them, or get a click, or trick them into wanting to buy something, it’s way more powerful. That’s the deep connection I think we’re after here.
James: Yeah. We’ll go ahead and embed that video in the post where this podcast is placed so that we can get a feel for what this spontaneous creativity looks like.
Do you think anyone can do spontaneous, creative videos, or is it just because you’re a performer?
Do you have to be a performer?
Kevin: Certainly, anybody can do it.
I would caution people not to do it on Facebook Live. You know what, that may be bad advice. The truth is, I don’t know what the stats are in Facebook Live. I know that I am a picky viewer. And I find it a little insulting when somebody goes on, they’re being so spontaneous that there seems to be no point to their video whatsoever.
Kevin: They’re just like, ‘Oh, I should try this.’ And they’re sitting there and they have nothing to say and they’re just talking to the two or three people who have popped on to watch. Next time I see that person pop on Live, I have no motivation to see what they’re up to.
Kevin: There are other people who surprise me and delight me or fascinate me for some reason, because they’re being very real or they’re taking a chance or they’re teaching me something interesting that I’ll respect. It’s all about respecting people’s feed, I guess, at the end of the day, right, when it comes to social.
When content is shallow
James: Yeah. I know exactly what you mean. I’ve seen some that, they seem to pop up every day trying to give a tip, but half the time in the video, they’re looking away from the camera doing ums and ahs. It’s really sort of low grade, and I’m thinking, why would someone watch this stuff? And yeah, as you said, you just turn it off, avoid, even click the unfollow or mute the channel.
Kevin: Right, yeah. I do that quite a bit.
James: That’s not going deeper. That’s going really shallow. That’s shallow content, in a way. It’s not heart-centered, is it? It’s very self-centered content.
Kevin: Exactly right. I think it’s like, either you got it in your head, like you were obliged to use this tool, and that’s as far as you got in thinking through how it could somehow, you’ve never thought, ‘Well, how would this be valuable to the viewer?’ Or, ‘Let me come on here and show my attitude, I’m a rebel.’ It just comes off as posturing and posing. I think people can immediately spot whether you have their best intentions at heart or not. And if they sense that you don’t, they’re excited to detach. You know, slice the tether that you had to them.
And so going back to your question about can anybody be spontaneous, I would encourage people to do it, but remember that it is free to practice. Everybody has a film studio in their pocket. And you can pull out your camera, do a spontaneous selfie video. What we say in copywriting is, “Write drunk, edit sober.” Let that baby go cold for a minute or a day or a night and look at it later and then be your own best judge and go, “Oh this is actually funny,” or “This is actually interesting.”
“Write drunk, edit sober.”
And it may even need some editing. And it’s super simple on, say, an iPhone. You’ve got a free app right there called iMovie, and it’s wicked fun to play around with. I edit my videos all the time, and I used to resist that, thinking ‘Well, it’s not going to feel as real.’ People respect that you edited out the uninteresting parts. It’s a sign of respect. It doesn’t have to be a nice transition, it can be choppy as hell. Look at SnapChat. It’s all about choppy, 10-second video. People are used to that, right?
Kevin: So again, it really just comes down to have something to say, and have your viewers’ best interest at heart. And practice for free on yourself. I know that Facebook, its algorithm respects Live, and they’ll put people right in your feed. There’s certainly value in that. To be honest with you, I’ve probably done two or three Facebook Lives at all. I like to be a little more calculated. But when I release a video, it would feel just like a Live video, because again there’s no links or titles.
James: But you don’t have to do the Romper Room thing. “Hello Suzie, hello Fred, hello David…”
Kevin: Yeah. All that stuff that breaks down. Yeah. I feel like it’s a disrespectful interruption.
One out of 10 videos…
James: And I’ve seen a lot of live videos where they buffer. Like you, you could make 10 videos and no one will see the nine you didn’t use, if you’re really concerned about it. They only see the one you want them to see, when you pre-produce something. I think that makes sense.
“People only see the video you want them to see.”
Kevin: And you’ll get better over time. It really does take some practice, and you’ll develop better instincts, you’ll learn how to look at the camera, and oh, I’m staring at myself on the screen, and instead of looking at that little circle, that little lens I need to be looking into, you know, there’s a learning curve, and you’ll get better quickly. But I tell you what, if you did just what you said, James, and made 10 spontaneous content videos or simply just for fun or to show your character, one of them would certainly be worth posting, and that’s a great way to start.
James: I did a SnapChat style one last year where I just took little snippets, me in different places saying different phrases and then just stitched them together. And that was wildly successful, because it held attention and it was easy to watch. And then if you throw a little bit of paid traffic to it, you can drive a lot of eyeballs. And in that case, it was easy to measure a result, because I was asking people to buy a certain thing with a particular reward for them.
Behind Kevin’s driving videos
I wanted to ask you about your driving videos. I think we’ve had this conversation before, but you’ve gone back to driving around while you’re filming instead of just parking. Is that the case?
Kevin: Yeah, it is. I do both, but I’ve gone back to the driving videos because people really like them. I know there are some people again who are uncomfortable. My thing is this: first of all, I would never do it live, simply because God forbid there were an accident, I would never want somebody have to watch me get into an accident. That would be traumatic. So I would never risk that scenario.
I stand by my position that me shooting myself in the car is no less safe than me having a conversation with a passenger in my car. I am always looking at the road. It’s just that it is two interesting things happen. One is, the movement keeps the viewer interested, they can look out the window at what’s going by and those sort of things. So engagement is always better.
The other thing is, a weird thing happens in my brain, however it’s wired or dysfunctional that because I’m driving, I’m able to oftentimes express my thoughts more clearly because of dual tasking in that little way. I don’t know why that is, but you’ll notice I have a little bit of a, not a stutter, but sometimes I have to reach for words. And it’s because I had open-heart surgery in 2005, and there’s a thing called a pump brain. They remove your heart, and they put it on a machine, and you’re kept alive on a pump. And depending on how long you’re under that circumstance, it’s proven to affect your brain. And one of the things is that sometimes you search for words. And I am conscious of the fact that I have that, and somehow when I’m driving, because I’m focused on driving in the road, that cures that, and it allows me to get into a flow state better when I converse, and oftentimes it makes the content better. I get my point across better while I’m driving.
James: Yeah, it’s interesting. And also you have a lot of options for improv. Things that are going on around you can spontaneously prompt someone like you, a seasoned performer, who has the ability to deal with things on the fly.
Kevin: Yeah. And also then there’s just the really silly ones where it’s just me singing badly or dancing around to music in the car.
James: But that’s the vulnerable part. That’s the stuff that endears you, because this guy’s genuine and sharing. You’re sharing with people. So yeah, I think you’re using it well.
Kevin: Sharing a good time. Yeah. Thanks. I really want people to, if they could just find a little bit of joy… I can tell you James, the first one I ever did was Sympathy for the Devil from the Rolling Stones. I just love that song, and it came on, and I hit record. And the performer in me knew that the only way this is funny (and I didn’t sing it, I lip-synched it, and I sort of acted out all the parts, you know, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) I knew that the only way this video’s funny is if I go beginning to end, every single note. I have to commit.
And I can’t tell you, dude, how many people have told me they love that video. I just had Jeff Walker the other day, talking to Jeff Walker, and he’s like, “I think the first time I ever saw you was you were lip-synching to that Rolling Stones in your car.” You know what I mean? Why would he sit through that? He’s a busy man.
James: Because it’s remarkable. People are begging to be entertained and released from the burden of day-to-day boredom.
Kevin: It just goes to show you, here’s a guy who runs a serious business where people’s money is on the line, but he’s not forgetting that part of what helps you succeed is to just let it rip sometimes, right? I guess there’s that.
James: And pretty much everyone is on Facebook just being interested. It’s sort of a wildly successful platform, so to be there and to be yourself, I think that’s really one of the key points from this.
A quick recap
So just a quick sort of overview here. why do we want to go to a deeper level with our customer base? Because I think it’s more profitable, that’s one thing, but also it allows you to just loosen the stiffness around being a business operator. If you can just be yourself, it’s actually a little bit easier. And if you want to share some things with your audience, then that’s sort of revealing a part of your world. And in some cases, you could argue that that could be aspirational. In other cases, you’re just helping another human with a human story and interaction that’s enjoyable.
Specifically what we’re talking about is choosing a platform, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s YouTube, whether it’s podcast, whether it’s from stage, whether it’s even emails, or groups, or forums, you can share and open up with real stories and real information. The next step, obviously, is to go and get an idea, whether it’s in your inbox already from a customer request, or whether it is something that you feel really passionately about that you would like to get out there into the marketplace, or if it’s something that you’re experiencing that you want to share, and to put together an email or a little video or record a podcast for yourself and publish it, and just step back and see what happens.
James’s podcast record
And I remember seeing recently, I think it was on Instagram, a little video that Gary V. put out. It’s one of the rare ones of his that I actually liked, but he was saying, even if you get one view or two views or 10 views, it’s better than zero. He said one is better than zero, and not all the content you put out is going to be a wild runaway success. But if you consistently chip away at it, then you can build up a body of work. And I probably am the perfect example of that. I haven’t had a standout success with a huge runaway audience on any of the platforms that I work on.
Even my podcasts, I’ve probably only had two and a half million downloads in the last eight years or so. We just chip away with one or two thousand listens per episode, but I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of them. And these are just things that I’m quite comfortable with now, but I knew, I knew at the time before I started doing audio (and episode number one by the way was with John Carlton, even before I had an iTunes podcast, I just had the good sense to pull out a recorder and record him and see if I could capture some wisdom pearls) I knew that I had to go to audio to up my game, and I knew that that was a bit frightening for me. But I also knew how leveraged it could be, and how intimate that modality is. That’s why I like the audio podcast. You can hear somebody, you can tell that tone. When you were talking about that one customer, your voice softened, and I could almost feel tears coming through. You’ve got that raw connection. You actually care about that customer, and it comes through in that audio modality.
So that will be my assignment as a result of listening to this short but impactful podcast session, to go deeper with your customer base, you have to publish something that is a little bit revealing or a little bit more vulnerable than perhaps you are used to doing.
How to avoid being douchey
I’m going to ask you one more question because I think this needs to be addressed, Kevin. How do you avoid being super douchey? Because that’s the one thing that I’ve seen a lot of people do, and I was certainly conscious of that. In my last five weeks, I had a fantastic holiday, but I avoided interrupting it by turning it into a business fest and producing and recording videos from my white sand beaches with crystal-clear waters. I took a few pictures, but I was conscious to actually have a holiday and to not make it all about work. How do online entrepreneurs share their fantastic lifestyle or spoils without coming across like a douchebag?
Kevin: Yeah, it’s a great question. My answer is that you’ll know. If you take a minute to ask yourself, “Is this about me, or is there actually some value in this?” or, “Am I sure that this is entertaining?” And it’s OK if you miss the mark on those terms, it’s not OK if you go, “No, I really just want to let people know I’m in Fiji right now.” If it doesn’t pass that filter, don’t post it. Otherwise, you might get a bunch of people, “Awesome dude, looks great, lucky you.”
James: “Jealous,” etc.
Kevin: Yeah, “I’m jealous.” First of all, is that valuable to you or them, outside of your immediate little ego, your dopamine drip? And for every person who is saying that, there’s probably twice as many going, “What a douche.” It’s like we talked about before. If we don’t have your audience’s best intentions in mind and at heart, they’re going to sense it and they’re going to detach.
James: And I think you just did something that I do as well, and that’s occasionally just poke a bit of fun at yourself and not take it too seriously.
Kevin: Oh yeah, totally.
James: Like I post a picture of me wearing possibly the daggiest hat on the least cool surfer on the planet. And I just had a laugh about it. It’s like, wow, look at me. Even the photographer knew. She said, “Are you sure you’re going to wear the hat?” “Yeah, I’m going to wear the hat.” You know, I just don’t want to get sunburnt or skin cancer or if I do happen to get intimate with this reef, I’d rather have a hat between me and my scalp, so yeah I’m going to wear the hat. But having a bit of a laugh, I think that can show some humility as well. And hey, you know, Facebook’s like that curated version of what your life would like to be. You know, people put only their best stuff. It’s sometimes OK to put up something a little humbling and to let people know you are real.
Kevin: Yeah. The worst thing you can do ever is take yourself too seriously. There are moments where you’re moved to be, some seriousness to a situation. We just had a colleague die in the industry, and it was very sad, and everybody had a lot of posts about how terrible and sad it was. But it quickly turned to funny stories, and our friend John Carlton had a great post. He said, “Look, let’s not forget how fleeting this all is, and what do you want to leave behind? Don’t you want people cracking up at your funeral?”
And really isn’t that it at the end of the day, if someone knows that all I’m looking to do or all any of us are looking to do, and the two minutes of attention that we can expect from anybody is to actually impart some useful advice based on actual experience or to spread a little joy, whether that’s a laugh or a story, a heartfelt story… Look, man, you can’t avoid the negativity flying around Facebook and everywhere else, especially right now. Why not be the person who only has people’s best intentions and good feelings at heart? It’s the only way you can’t lose.
If you take yourself too seriously… I always say about comedians, like Jack Black, I think he’s not as popular anymore but…or any self-deprecating person, like who’s going to screw with them, right? Like, Donald Trump is so easy, he’s constantly defending himself and taking himself too seriously. So he’s the funnest guy in the world to mess with. He’s in this constant battle with the media, and everyone else goes, “This is great. We get to push his buttons and he actually tweets about it.” Be the opposite of that and be the first person to point out your flaws or shortcomings or that you look stupid in a hat.
James: They can’t then get that jab in, can they, if it’s already been.
Kevin: They can’t mess with you. You’re bulletproof at that point.
James: Love it. Kevin, always great chatting. My wish for this episode is that we’ve inspired a listener to go deeper with their customer base. I’ve enjoyed sharing some stories and hearing some of your stories. We’re going to embed that Uber video as an example, and I’ll keep that in mind if I’m ever down in your area, there’s some good transport options.
Kevin: That’s right. I’m always available. I could use a buck. [laughs]
James: You can get a hold of Kevin at CopyChief.com. He’s got a great podcast as well, some wonderful guests on there, and if you’re interested in learning how to write persuasive sales copy, then CopyChief.com is the resource for that. You should head over and check out what Kevin’s got cooking over there.
Kevin: Thanks, pal.
James: Thanks, mate.
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