PI4MM21: On Story…


Click here to read The 3-Sentence Story Challenge from John’s blog


01:52 – How two of John’s famous sales letters used story in completely different ways (one where story drives the letter and the other you’d swear had no story at all)

02:20 – John: “Most people are not good storytellers” (and how to get better fast)

03:47 – Gary Halbert’s “Looping” process for perfecting copy… before writing a single word

04:22 – How to destroy the mental roadblocks holding you back from crafting a killer story

08:03 – John’s “sneaky” technique to convey a persuasive argument (this “quick fire” fix will 4x the strength of your copy)

11:46 The #1 tweak for amplifying your storytelling power in text (you’ll be stunned it can be this easy to shape your reader’s mind!)

13:08 – The REAL reason to use story in your copy (this is the secret to laughing all the way to the bank)

13:30 – John’s proven headline philosophy to churn out succinct and impactful stories

17:26 – The “I can’t miss this” way to open any story (and no it is not “Dear Friend”)

18:19 – How one simple bullet in John’s famous “sex letter” ad tells two impossible to ignore stories at once

21:08 – Why it is crucial to show and not tell with your sales copy… and how using story this way will dissolve your reader’s skepticism and turn it into a “bonding moment”

23:17 – A simple technique to supercharge your storytelling skills… so simple, you can use it every day while walking around (without looking like a crazy person)

30:15 – The single most COMMON PROBLEM bad storytellers face (are you making it?)

Show 21 Bullets provided by the member community inside Kevin’s Copy Chief.

Every self-respecting Psych Insights listener should also…

Read deeply at John’s blog, “The Rant”.

Visit Kevin’s bustling new Community of Copywriters at CopyChief.com

Get signed up for news from show producer Brian McLeod’s site – ProductSpeed.com

14 thoughts on “PI4MM21: On Story…

  1. Terry Lin

    Hi John/Kevin –

    Another awesome episode!

    If you don’t understand the customer’s problems that well, how would you go about finding empathy points to craft an authentic story that really resonates?

    – Terry

    1. John Carlton

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Now, regarding your question: Hmm… is this a trick question, Terry?

      I’m only half joking here… but first, look up “empathy” in a dictionary, and be clear on what it is. Then target your prospect, and walk a mile in his shoes — both metaphorically, using your imagination, and in reality, doing whatever you need to do to see the world (and your offer) from HIS eyes, not yours.

      Big problem if you can’t do that — as a writer, correcting this situation of “not knowing what’s going on in his head” now becomes your #1 job. It’s all explained in detail in the Simple Writing System — did you not grab a seat in the session that just started today?

  2. Coran Woodmass

    Great episode, thanks guys.

    I’m in the process of extracting month’s worth of research, deep inside my ideal prospects mind…

    I like the tip on thinking critically about story telling in person. I mentioned my new product to a friend (as a story) and now she wants to buy it. Reminds me of the Halbert bar story.

    BTW was this the post on early to rise you where talking about?


    @John your (SWS) bar room conversation exercise was a big mindshift in how to start the conversation. I tested it out for an optin landing page: a story vs a simple IM style optin.

    The story won hands down. Result? Around 20% optin from cold traffic. It’s a small sample size so far, still a very compelling reason to try story based selling.

  3. Peter Michaels

    Great headline advice at around 14.00 there John:

    “It’s the best headline it can be when you can’t take a word out without changing the meaning of the sentence… if there’s an adjective in there that doesn’t add something then take it out.”

    Kevin’s Robert McKee story reminded me of reading WIlliam Goldman’s ‘Adventures In The Screen Trade’ (and the follow-up, the brilliantly-titled ‘Which Lie Did I Tell?’)…

    It’s a storyteller telling stories about his experiences in the storytelling biz (Hollywood) – entertaining and practical, but also occasionally a brutal reality check about the writer’s life!

    1. Kevin Rogers

      Hey Peter,

      Yeah, there’s no shortage of solid Hollywood storytelling advice out there. Makes you wonder how so many shit movies get made, doesn’t it?


  4. Jordan Hall

    Great episode!

    Thanks to both of you for taking the time to do this.

    You mentioned a series of comedian interviews. Do you have a link to those by chance?

  5. M. Jamal

    I especially liked this episode, maybe cuz’ it focuses on 1 core idea & digs
    a bit deeper. Maybe cuz it’s long enough to fill my car trip time (those long
    episodes make me take longer routes & circle around the block – for real!)

    Yes please. Do pull up some amazing swipe files & dig into ’em.

    Another thing is.. how do you decide the bid idea to run with? Especially
    the ‘lead in’ to a great ad. On every ad I write I find myself going int a few
    different directions on the ‘lead in’.. then I sit & ponder which is best to
    use and pull the reader in.

    Thanks guys, great stuff
    M. Jamal

    1. John Carlton

      Decisions scare the hell out of everyone. That’s why top copywriters take a month or longer to write an ad — we need 3-1/2 weeks of dithering and fretting over deciding on hooks, headlines, pitches, bullets, every detail we need to finalize… so we can blast out the copy in a couple of frenetic days. Once you make the hard decisions, the rest is easy.

      Learn to make decisions, based on your gut, the facts, reality, your experience, and whatever other input is available. Then stick by it, and go balls-to-the-wall in the direction you’ve chosen.

      Later, you can test other decision points. But first, get your best shot down.

      I know it’s scary to make decisions. Do it anyway.

  6. Pat

    I am getting ready to listen to this. I tried to open up the link below the podcast download link and it wouldn’t open for me. It’s the link that says:
    Click here to read The 3-Sentence Story Challenge from John’s blog

    Is it just me? Or is the link broken?


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