Laser eyes

Most of the time, the logical answer is the right one.

Trouble is, “most” isn’t “always”…

I’ve recently been struggling with an eye problem.

When it hurt I did the “logical” thing – stepped away from the keyboard, went somewhere dark and quiet, so I could shut my eyes and rest it up.

Sounds logical, right?

“Actually, that’s probably the worst thing you could do”, said my eye doctor.

(I say “eye doctor” because I can’t spell “op-fam-ol-ee-jist”)

“Best thing to do? Go somewhere bright. Flood your eye with light…”

I’m gonna take a punt and suggest to you that this advice – that…

“The logical, common sense and bloody obvious answer isn’t always the right one” applies to more than just eye health.

Marketing too mebbe?

“I’m not going to go into that market, it’s too crowded…”
“I need to offer more bonuses for my course than anyone else…”
“Once I give ‘em all the graphic and performance stats compared to the PlayStation… that’ll sell ‘em on this Xbox.”

Maybe, or maybe…… that crowded market is so starving for your offer, demand is higher than supply. Not only that but this crowded, starving, “take my money” market is already sold on your solution and looking for a button to click!

… your audience feels overwhelmed by a massive “piling on” of bonus after bonus after bonus. They’re suffocating under the weight of it all. They’re looking for something simpler they’ll actually USE.

… they don’t care about graphics. The only thing they care about is that their kid loves watching Spiderman games on YouTube so she wants to get one for him. And since Spiderman is ONLY on PlayStation…*

* That was WAY more specific than I’d hoped it would be, but I’ve just had lasers blasted into my eyes, so cut me a little slack.

Most of the time, the logical answer is the right one.

Just don’t always ASSUME it is.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my eye hurts, so I’m going to book a trip to the Sun…

John Holt

Have you tried juggling kumquats?

If you’re the kind of canny business owner who appreciates the value of compelling copy, but doesn’t want to shell out your shekels on a copywriter to make yours better…

Let me point you in the direction of someone who can give you a free critique.

Yep, it’s YOU.

Let’s face it, you probably already feel like you’re doing ALL THE THINGS, so adding “critiquing my own copy” to your ever-expanding list won’t make too much difference.

First, a warning…

I’m NOT going to tell you the ideas I’m about to share are just as good as having a professional copywriter look over your words, but…

… I AM going to say if you put these simple ideas to work, you WILL write better copy.

1. “I’d give it 20 minutes if I were you…”

You’ve done battle with the blank page and wrote some awesome words. 

You’re tempted to hit “send” as soon as you hit that last full stop and finish your “YAY! I just wrote an email” celebratory dance…



(Must… fight… the… MC… Hammer… gag)

Step away from the computer and go and do something else for an hour – something that doesn’t involve words, like doing a random act of kindness for a stranger or juggling some kumquats.

Once the sixty minutes (at least) are up, it’s safe to head back to the keyboard.

Have a look at your words now. 

Yep, I know. Stop crying.

It’s weird how the simple act of taking a break can help us get clarity on what we wanted to say. Looking at your words now, you can probably see a whole bunch of ways you can make them better. 

Pop your editor’s cap* on and make any changes.

* memo to self – merch idea

Who’d have thought juggling kumquats could help you write better copy?

2. “You don’t actually mean ‘out loud’ do you?”

I know I keep banging the “read everything you send out loud” drum.

There’s a good reason for that – it works.

It works so well, I even coined it “the one copywriting tip to rule them all”.

After you’ve stepped away from your keyboard for an hour and made your changes, read what you’ve written out loud.

Notice any weird-sounding words? Change ‘em.

I heard you stumble on that overly long sentence from here. Break it up.

Hang on… did you just use the word “notwithstanding”? You never say that. Swap it for something you WOULD say.

Done that? Fab. Now read it through again. And again. And again.

(And try not to hate me)

3. A problem shared…

After you’ve set your words aside for an hour or so and read it out loud so many times you’re sick to death of the damn thing, now’s the perfect time to invite someone else to this little critiquing party we got going…

You know who you’re writing these words for, so why not send it to them and ask for their thoughts?

Actually, don’t do that. That’s a terrible suggestion. 

Send an email asking “thoughts?”, and you’ll just get a bunch of:

“Yeah… looks good” type responses.

We want to know HOW to make your copy better so when you send over your words ask for:

– The THREE bits they liked best or connected with (and why)

– The THREE bits they didn’t like or didn’t gel with (and why)

If you’re writing a sales page for your primo-super-duper offer, you don’t want “yeah, that’s fine.”, you want…

“OMG! This is fucking awesome. Here’s my credit card… Please tell me you have one left!”

The easiest way to get that ^^^ kind of reaction? 

Ask your people how to get it.

(No, this isn’t cheating. Legendary copywriters are famous for heading to bars to read their words out loud to test what worked*)

* Or maybe that’s what they told their partners…

– – –

That’ll do for now.

Like anything in life, these aren’t hard and fast rules. For example, I only used two of these ideas in writing this email.

(A heavily dented kumquat to the first person to hit reply and tell me the right answer)

The more tools you have in your copywriting toolbelt, the more easily you’re able to spot what’s going wonky with your copy.


You can just have me do it for you.

Either way, I hope you found it useful.

Have an absolute beast of a Thursday,


I lied to you

I’ve been meaning to write to you for a while…

Thing is, it’s not easy to admit when you’ve been caught lying.

As a copywriter, I might push the boundaries a bit here and there, but lying?

A big “no no” for me.

So when I was confronted with something I’VE created (and sold) that didn’t live up to its promise?

That hurts.

It’s about my “Coffee Critiques”.

You’ve been on my list for a while now, so you’ve probably seen me offering them here and there.

“It’s a quick, easy, and stress-free to create copy that sells”, I might have said…

“You don’t have to do any heavy lifting… just give your words and I’ll show you how to make them better”, I almost definitely did say…

Well, I got an email from a client who would disagree with both of those.

“I’ve spent the last 5 hours going through my sales page, making all of your changes….  I HATED every second!

I don’t know about you, but I ain’t getting many “quick”, “easy”, “stress-free” vibes from that.

Sounds like bloody torture to me.

But I want to do the right thing and set the record straight.


If you’re looking for an agonising, slow, torturous way of creating better copy…

A way that will almost certainly make you want to rip out your eyeballs as you spend hour after hour (after hour) making tiny, nit-picky changes, slumped over your laptop, while you curse my name and vividly imagine strangling me with your Lenovo power cord…

… then you can pick up your Coffee Critique here.

Not your thing? No problem. 

There’s always the “easy” solution:

“Easily” shell out thousands of dollars of your hard-earned cash on expensive copywriting courses as you spend many “stress-free” years “joyfully” handwriting endless sales letters and “cheerfully” cranking out thousands of words every single day until you “effortlessly” glide into “guru” copywriter status…

Piss easy.

Have a good Monday!


P.S. You’ll be pleased to know I’ve updated my super-signature accordingly.

P.P.S. Did you check out the most recent episode of “HWILAT”? 

Now that IS a quick, easy, and stress-free way of learning how to write more profitable words!

You shouldn’t take my word for it though. I have a history of lying, so…

Click here and check it out for yourself

The tiny mistake that killed my launch

It’s nearly 5pm on Friday, so I’ll keep it quick.

I decided to kill off “Copywriter on Call”.

It wasn’t a total failure or anything. It made sales.

In fact, I think it was *this close* to being a pretty damn good offer.

But I made one tiny mistake – a mistake you could be making with your offers.

(And if you think you have a killer offer, but are making less sales than you expected, you probably ARE making it)

It would make for a great email, but…

It’s still Friday and it’s even closer to 5pm, so…

You’ll have to settle for this video of me talking about my little – but oh so important – mistake here.

Have a good weekend,


P.S. While I’m talking about this…

I did learn something new this week.

Someone tried to join “Copywriter on Call” after I decided to “send it to a lovely little farm” after its back legs had gone.

When I told her I’d taken it out to the Florida swamplands and put two bullets in its head, she replied:

“I was enjoying your email/sales sequence and so didn’t sign up because I wanted to see all of your emails – including the very last minute one that said ‘sign up or die, this is your last chance’…. then I was going to sign up”

I guess the moral to the story is…

Don’t write good emails?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if the website www.trite’n’ is available…

P.P.S. Of course that’s not the moral of the story.

The REAL moral of the story… the one you absolutely MUST pay attention to, no matter what you’re selling is always, always, ALWAYS make sure to co…


Let’s pick this up next week…

An extraordinary bet

The first bet I ever placed on a horse is extraordinary for just ONE reason…

It wasn’t the fact it was my first bet…

Or that I’d never been into a betting shop before…

Or that I had to suffer the embarrassment of not only asking the cashier HOW to place a bet, but also because I had to go full-on “Oliver Twist” and ask…

“Please sir… can you read the names of the horses?”

… as I’d forgotten the name of the one I was betting on.

No, my first bet was extraordinary because despite having just shy of a grand in my bank account…

… I’d withdrawn £500 of it and was placing it all on this horse…


(and it did!)

I’ll tell you the full story behind this “sounds-totally-illegal-but-actually-isn’t-please-don’t-call-the-cops” scheme later but, for now, here’s the lesson:

You don’t have to know HOW or WHY something works to profit from it.

I know. It seems wrong to think you can make money AND have 100% confidence in an idea… even if you haven’t got the foggiest idea what’s going on.

But it’s true.

Marketing’s the same.

Just like I didn’t need to know anything about horse racing to place a winning bet…

You don’t need to know anything about copywriting to create words that sell.

Just pick up a coffee critique and I’ll do it for you.

You give me your words… I’ll show you how to make them better.

Doesn’t have to be a sales page or a pitchy email either…

It can be anything collection of words you’d like a copywriter to cast his eye over and improve.

So if you want me to look over your cold email, social media bio, or website copy, I’m happy to do that too.

Here comes the scarcity bit…

Because I’m trading time for money (I’m still saving up for a life-size cutout of Robert Kiyosaki), I only have a few spaces available.

That’s why, even if you’re a little bit interested, you should probably click this link:

Let me know if you have any questions.


P.S. There’s a few testimonials on that page, but here’s one I haven’t got round to adding yet:

“John’s copy critique may well have been the best £X I’ve ever spent (I can’t remember how much it was but it was too cheap).

He gently pulled my sales page apart in a very loving manner, before putting it back together in a much clearer and compelling way.

Heck, even I’d buy from me now and I get it for free.

Get a copy critique or regret it forever.”

(I love a testimonial that provides some “couldn’t-have-said-it-better-myself” link text.) 🙂