Experts Speak
Experts Speak

Episode · 2 years ago

Episode 5: Learn the Write Stuff with Copywriting Expert Michael Hume


Welcome to the Experts Speak Podcast hosted by Brand Strategist, Michael DeLon!

On this episode, meet Copywriting expert and author, Michael Hume. He's the fiction author of The 95th Christmas. On this episode, he shares the bottom line on what makes copywriting work for promoting your business. Tune in and get the scoop on why copywriting is important, how to get started with a copywriter, and much more.

You can find Michael online at

Don't forget to visit us at to learn more.  

Welcome to the experts speak podcast with Michael de Lan. Each episode features a leading expert who shares helpful insights, practical tips and memorable stories that will inspire you, educate you and help you enjoy more success, freedom and purpose in your life. For the next few minutes, enjoyed listening to experts speak with Michael Delan and welcome to another episode of experts speak on Michael Dlan. And today we are talking with Michael Hume. Michael's a friend of mine and we've worked together on a number of projects. Michael is a an author and he's also a prolific copywriter, and that's really what we're going to be talking about today, is copywriting from a business perspective and how you can do it better. So, Michael, how are you today and thanks for being with us. Hey, thanks, Michael, for having me. I'm doing great. You look like you're doing great. Everything's great. So that was me the word for the day, right. So, yeah, no, things are good. Tell us, Michael, tell us a little bit about who you are. Let me first of all plug your book, right, Michael, Michael wrote this book is called the ninety five Christmas, and you tell us a little bit. It's more of a fiction book as a neat story to it, and on our website you're going to have a link to be able to buy this and I think you've got a CD that goes with them or something as well. That's not my daughter's listen to it and it's just a really cool story. And so since July's coming up, we can celebrate Christmas in July, get yourself a copy of the ninety five Christmas and read some of Michael Hume's writing. But Michael, tell us, how did you get into this whole copywriting world? Yeah, thank you, Michael. I got my first job writing for money when I was thirteen. We moved a lot when I was a kid and we moved to a tiny town called Georgetown, Colorado, and I got to reading the local weekly newspaper, the clear creek current, and it was it turned out to be an award winning paper. In fact, it was named the best weekly in Colorado, which is great. So one afternoon I decided to peddle my little bike over to the office and shake hands with the editor and offer my services as a butting school reporter, and he hired me. He had me work in the office every Saturday. He taught me the newspaper business from the ground up. So I ended up being a newspaper editor in the Eightsecond Airborne Division. Got Out of the army and and had that same job in the private sector, working at little weekly newspapers and had to do every aspect, all the editorial, all the circulation, all the advertising. So what I learned from that whole experience was that you've you know, back in the day editorial writing was had to have a little objectivity to it. Many people would say that's changed since then, but the advertising copy was definitely persuasive and that has not changed. That's very cool. So you got a a unique background in in what I would call both sides of the newspaper Business Anyway, they editorial and the advertising side, and that has definitely played into what you do now. So help us understand what you do today when it as returns that, you know, helping business owners and things. What what's when we talk copywriting, I think many of us have kind of a vague idea what that is, but explain more about how you how you turn that and phrase it, and what is it that you do? Yeah, my business is writing. Persuasive copy to help promote your business, if you're in business, and otherwise to tell your personal story in a way that builds the know, like and trust factors in your readers, so they get to know you, they get to like you and they get to trust you on the basis of how your story is told. So you know, many experiences in my life have led me to that that possibility, including I was an actor. I kind of went back and forth between newspaper jobs and essentially singing jobs. I had too great mentors when I grew up. One taught me how to write, one taught me how to sing, and I've made those skills pay as best as I could. And from...

...acting I learned that you have to be versatile. The best actors and the ones who stayed employed were the ones who could play any kind of role, who could put anything on. So when you when you reach out to your prospects and your ideal clients, you want to be able to to send them words that will involve all of them in your business, suck them into your story and, as I say, build the your likability get, let them get to know you right away, your real, authentic personality and, as a writer. My challenge is to interview you, figure that out and help you bring that out in the copy that I write. That's cool. You talk so much about the story and I want you to unpacking a little bit about that, because I think that's missing in so much copywriting in business. We think, you know, there are templates out there which are good for a start, but unpacked this whole idea of story. And how do you get maybe give us an example, somebody you help for way of telling a story? And what came to my mind, Michael, is movies are all about story and that's what attracts us to a movie. And I love Star Wars all the movie. I don't know that I could quote much of the dialog the copy in it, but I can tell you the storyline. Is that kind of what you're talking about? Absolutely. You know, we live in a story starved, hungry, passionate society and it's it comes across in the movies we like to watch, the the novels that we read, the television. You know, we will sit and binge on Netflix on things that draw our attention and and that is exactly why stories are such a powerful way to position yourself in position your business in the marketplace. You know, another experience I had that really lent to my secret sauce and copywriting was working as a consultant for a huge consulting firm. And these are super smart people who, when everyone else was learning how to play a nice in the sandbox, they were inside working out a few more differential calculus problems because that's what was fun to them. So they kind of missed the whole block of instruction on how to share the ball and be nice to others and that kind of thing. So we were teaching them into personal skills and we had to become experts in personality type. So we use the most widely used and historical psychological instrument available, which is the Myers breaks type indicator, and for those of you who are familiar with it, you'll recall that you know, you personality splits along four dimensions, whether you're an extrovert or introvert, sensor and tuitor, thinker or a feeler, a judger or a receiver. And not to get into the deep psychological stuff there, but that kind of divides people and your readership, your audience, into certain groups, and you want to be able to lead with the thing that's going to get their attention the most, depending upon what the profile of your ideal client is. So there are four tools available to you. Wanted to influence that, you want to inform them, involved them, intrigue them and inspire them, and you want to mix that in the right mix. And what's your competitors think is, and I know this because I've had some prospective clients who said to me, you know, I don't really want you to church up my copy, just give them the facts and let them make an informed decision. And that does not work. And if your competitors are stick into the facts and they just want to put out information, you can beat them every day of the week and twice on Sunday if you can involve them, intrigue them and inspire them. And nothing does that better than a story. And another thing that works great to cut across all those dimensions, not that you're not going to give them some information, but you're going to do it in an entertaining way that they they're going to want to consume, want to read. So a great way to do...

...that is with humor. If you you know, have a light touch of humor in your stuff, it works like magic. I do humorous newsletters for some of my clients and the open rate and click through rate and engagement rate that they get is multiples of what you would get with a dry kind of normal newsletter, normal meaning just the you, just the information, just the pacts, right. Yeah, and you know, I think going back to when you can start talking just the facts, man, I went back to what starge and Friday of drag net and and comparing him to like, you know, what was it? Don Johnson or something with Miami Vice, right, and and there's a story to be told there and it draws me in. But in business us, you mentioned earlier, we want to you need to get people to know I can trust you and I like it at knowing me is well, you know, through emails for billboards or direct me out, whatever, me and my competitors. You know that I exist, right, but you got to like me and we get to like people through stories. If we met at a at a party, we would say, tell me, Michael, tell me about you. Where do you we're looking for common ground so we can start building connections, and that's what that's what you're talking about. Once we do that, now I have an opportunity to start to trust you and then that leads to business. So it's a process, but that like factor that you're talking about is really really important and I think a lot of business owner shy away from revealing themselves, telling their story. But everybody has one. Right. You got to where you are to and there's a story. This really intriguing there about being that newspaper boy and doing all that. Everybody has a story. How do you draw that story out in we that into copy? And when you think copy, are you talking website or or sales letters or what? help us understand that aspect of what you do. Yeah, for most of my clients I call myself a copywriting generalist. I do have some specialties, but that means all right, anything for anybody. So I've written a lot of websites in their entirety, sum as long as forty pages, for do you different web pages? A lot of brochures, a lot of adds, a lot of sales letters. I write, as I say, the newsletters, blog, post articles for article marketing, the whole gamut. I'm professionally certified by American writers and artists, so they're there's some pretty rigorous schooling for all of those types of persuasive copy that I've had to endure, and happy to do it and it's been a very helpful affiliation. So that said, yeah, I mean that's you know, I've written every every kind of web copy there is and the and you ask me, how do you, how do I draw out your story and present it so that people will know like, can trust you, because they're never going to meet me, frankly, these days, the way things are in our world right now, they're not going to meet you for a while unless they meet through the words you send them. And it could be videos as well, which kind of need a script for that too. So you know, this is we're now living in a world for which we introverts have prepared our entire life. That said, so the words you send your prospects and your ideal clients are doubly important right now. So you and I, if I were going to write your story, I would interview you as long as it takes to really figure out your personality and your voice. So there's a there's an old expression. Don't tell me you're funny. Tell me a joke. I'll make up my own mind about how funny you are. So I'm going to have you, hopefully, tell me some jokes or, you know, tell me about your business. Tell me what it is that you love about Your Business. Tell me what it is that you do differently, that's in the sweet spot, that your competitors don't do or don't do well, that you specialize in and you do great, and that your clients are, at least your ideal clients, really need. So whatever fits all three of those categories, that's what I'm going to tell in your story. So I want to tell it in your voice. You know I don't. I don't write in the same voice for any two clients. I learned that as an actor. You got, I got to be able to put on your...

...personality when I'm writing your story. So I'm going to write it in your voice. I'm going to use a light touch of humor, if I can get away with it. Remember, your competitors do not have the courage to go there, so when you do, you're beating them about the head and shoulders in the market place, metaphorically speaking. And I'm definitely going to going to involve them in your life to the extent that that it's you know, a good idea to do so intrigue them. You know, what makes you different? What what have you? You know, not Ma, not very many writers I know have also been an actress, singer, have had an album on the market, have a songwriter and comped out of airplanes for the army. You know. So, so that's some stuff that that makes me different. I'm going to find out what makes you different. What makes what is the thing that's going to work, the several things that are going to make you stand out in the mind of the people that you're trying to influence? Well, and that's that's really important. What you just said there is stand out, because in any market we're all competing against competitors, right, and there are always choices that that can rumor, can have. They can choose me or they can choose about a dozen other people. But when you tell this story, it's the story that separates you. And in marketing, you know, I've always talked about the magnet principle that a magnet has two ends. So in Markting we want to attract our ideal client and we want to repel those who aren't ideal, and a lot of times you can do that through the story and in finding somebody like you who can extract that story and then weave that story through all of the car copywriting. What happens is is it's like it's like creating a tapestry that after they see a few of your messages, they start to feel who you are and we make decisions emotionally first, then we back it up with all the logic right and so what you're able to do, it sounds like, is get that underlying feeling through the words that you use in the clients force, which is really challenging. So that's intriguing. It's not something everyone can pull off and I'm proud to say that my clients think I'm pulling it off on a weekly, daily, monthly basis. And you know, another thing that that you you touched on. So, for instance, I do humorous newsletters for some businesses that you would not think of as having personality, a CPA, a bookkeeper, a painter and asbestos removal guy. You know, he's in a scary business and he didn't like the words he had in his brochure when he first met me. He said it's too scary. It's all about Mesothy Leema and not about my own authentic personality. He's a funny guy, very funny guy. So we started turning that around and writing his his work in his voice and with humor. He said in front of a group the other day. Yeah, Michael's writing for us and it really sucks for our competitors. Love to hear that, but you know it and I asked him and I've asked my CPA and the bookkeeper. How is it going? Do you feel like this is working for you? We're making you know, one or two in from informative points and every piece, but we're all we're doing it in a way that people look forward to. They want to read it because it's funny. It's going to give them a little smile in their day and universally they say, you know, I worried at first that I wasn't going to come across as professional enough, and I've had clients say I don't want humor because it's not professional. And but my clients say if I have, if I run into someone who, as you say, you know, you want to attract and repel, you want to sort and and sort out people who are not your clients and sort in those who are. I've heard over and over again. If somebody thinks my blog post or my newsletter is too funny to be professional, I don't want to work with them anyway. And I have the luxury of all of those clients are doing very, very well, and so they all feel like they have a luxury to pick can choose their clients, and that's the Holy Rail, I mean, that's what we're looking for. Well,... is. And and the aspect there is when you when you bond with somebody emotionally through the feelings and they become a client, they're going to stick with you many times through the the good times in the bad, if there is a problem, but you've got a connection emotionally with that client, they're going to they're going to hang with you most. They're going to be more forgiving than if they came to you just on price alone. Let's say you're just a commodity, and so telling your story and getting yourself out there is really important. And and there's a lot of things like your as best as guy putting his humor in there. I bet he does some things in his business because of his personality that is competitors don't do in some former fashion. You're able to pull that out, and what happens is that those are the things that the prospects remember. They like this guy and at the end of the day, if I'm choosing between two or three as best as guys, you know what, I like this guy better. So we're going to try him. You have to know I can trust somebody that's going to do something important for you, like remove your asbestis or do your taxes. I remember years ago when I was having my eyes fixed. I was born with horrible and your you know, near sightedness, and I was sitting with a doctor who was reputed to be the very best in the city and he was going to perform photo of refractive caratotomy on me, since my eyes weren't candidates for Lasik, and he went through all the procedures and everything else and I and I finally just had to say, so, how is your life? You know, what do you do when you're not shining down eyeballs? And he didn't want to know, for I had to draw the personal out of them, but I'm like, you know, if I'm if I'm going to go under the knife, so to speak, going to the laser in this case, and have the possibility of being blinded for the rest of my life at the age of whatever, thirty something I was at the time. I want to trust and like and know the person who's doing it, and you know he comes highly recommended, but until I really got to know him a little bit, I wasn't sure. I still had doubts. Yeah, yeah, because you didn't feel good enough to hand over to trust him at that point. And once what I did. It was great and when we got along, Great. Use a good guy. Yeah, but breaking down that professional barrier right. Talk to me about some some questions, with thoughts and business owners may have when they're thinking about copying. What types of things projects do you work on? Is it a ongoing agreement with you? Do they sign up for a year or do you do a project by part? How could somebody start with your first sitting here going yeah, my website need a little teak, or I need a I need a lead generation magnet, or I need a landing page or I need a direct MELP. Is that something they can reach out to you and have a conversation and say do you do that? What? How could a business owner who's listening to this say, wow, I might want to get engaged, but I'm not real sure what the next step would be or the even what questions I should ask. Ah, good, good question. American writers and artists. My certifying agency does put out a copywriting pricing guide every year and a professional copywriter will charge by the project. They will not charge by the hour. There's too many perverse incentives involved in that. I want the project to go well on your schedule and you know I'm going to charge you one fee. I'll take a deposit up front if I don't know you yet and then we'll go from there. But but yeah, you want to look for someone who is going to do it on that basis that will not charge an hourly rate. Most say I can. I'll do two to three rounds of revisions for you. I do all revisions that the client wants for free. I don't. I don't charge for that. I've been burned by that a couple of times, but I've been appreciated for it much more. So I'm going to continue that and essentially, you know, depends on the project. For Myself I have, you know, on a newsletter client, somebody who wants me to write monthly copy...

...for them. I try to get a twelvemonth commitment and if they if they don't want to twelvemonth commitment, then I don't think I want to project. Be Honest, and I could. I am in a good position to to be busy enough to pick and choose, and that's not to sound elite, as it's just because it devision that I've worked my way up to. So and you know, for something like a website, I have a five web page minimum. Usually, when someone starting out, we're starting up a site, they're going to have home about US services, a couple of dropdowns under there and next you know. But you know websites, for I did a roofing company that was a twenty eight page site. I did a siting company that had a forty page website. So you know, it just depends on what the keywords are that are going to be searched. And my challenge with web copy is I need to make your best pitch on every page but not repeat myself, because we want we don't know, but you're your ideal client might see that page and that page only. So your best argument needs to be on there and we need to out your fantastic online reviews. We need to talk about how you know, don't take our word for it, listen to our customers. That's great. Yeah, and and the other thing you know in thinking about that, because you know websites need to be updated and redesigned on a regular basis. But it's more than that and I want business turns to be thinking this way. Redesign your website, great, but are you is your website of brochure that people are just kicking tires on, or is there a way to get a lead generation magnet to capture some information that Michael could write and then could Michael write the email sequence that would flow out of that that when they download your free report, there's a series of five or six or seven or eight emails that would go out and then a monthly newsletter. So you need to be thinking strategy, and I know that's something that you talked to clients about. It's not just a website. I mean you can start with just a website, but there's really more strategy that should go into that to go how do we make your marketing dollars work better and get more leverage from it by having a strategy at campaign right. Can you talk a little bit about that? Absolutely you know, I've been privileged to be able to study with the luminary in the copywriting business, and that's a guy named Dan Kennedy. And, as he says, if you think of yourself as a writer trying to take an order your you yourself are going to make this much. If you realize that what you really are as a marketing genius, then your your potential is much, much higher. But so I try to go into any discussion with a new client not about how to try to get their copywriting business, but how to make sales for them. That's the main thing. So, so absolutely I've written a lot of lead magnets, some white papers or case studies, that kind of thing, and sales funnels that include email campaigns like that. And then that's that's what we do, is copywriters. The website is a start, and having a website is like having a brochure. A printed business card was in the s. If you had a printed business card in a brochure, you were probably serious about being in business. In one thousand nine hundred and sixty five, yeah, in two thousand and twenty you better have a website and a better have at least five pages, and they better have some informant inform involved, intriguing inspire your your prospects, and then once you've got that going, then you could try to look at Seo, at Keyword Research, at, you know, getting people to give you their email and exchange for a free be like a white paper or a special report or something like that, and then you drip on them. If you're if you're selling be to be, business to business, the sale cycle is much longer. So you need to make sure you're staying with them and in front of them for a long time. And that's why the humorous newsletters were great, because you're in front of your clients every month in a way they appreciate, and and on on that that in a way they appreciate and a way that they actually look forward to get in your email. and Oh Cuz I know I'm going to get a smile or a...

...chuckle out of something, and unfortunately we all live pretty mundane lives, right, and so always looking for a way to get a smile. And when you have emails and or newsletters that bring a smile to somebody's face, they're don't open it up. And I think a lot of business owners forget that you do a business when they are ready to buy, not when you're ready to sell. So that's why you have to stay on it and maintain that relationship to the extent possible. And it could be years and then suddenly the phone rings. is like, Hey, I've been taking your newsletter for eight years. You seem like the guy to do this project for us. You know, case and case and point as we start happen. This thing up is I've been on somebody's email list for probably four years, used a couple of their products early on. They send an email two weeks ago that just caught my attention and I scheduled a call with them and I purchased from them. But it had they not sent an email and over and over and over and over and over right, and a lot of their emails on nemborying open. But I just remember they're there, they're there, they're there, and they finally got me because I was ready to buy. That's a great point, because people this is ow we're always ready to sell, absolutely and I think people put put some they emphasize some of the wrong things in their marketing these days. You know, the social media is the hot thing, but for you know, for every group of a hundred people that you get together with it when you can again, you know, eighty of them are going to be on facebook, sixty are going to be on Linkedin, ninety nine of them are going to have an email account. So email marketing is, you know, not that there's anything wrong with social media marketing. A's fantastic too, but you don't want to do just one thing. And the other thing that people forget about these days is something that was very popular thirty years ago, which is direct mail. If you really want to stand out, mail me a piece in the mail in the US posts postal service. And it's amazing how well that works these days because thirty you know, in the s you open your mailbox on a Monday and there's thirty sales packages in there. Today you get one a month, maybe that's right, and get your attention. Well it does. It's easy to stand out with direct mail today and when you do it right, direct mail produces a very, very high return on investment, when you do it right and if you do it consistently. And too many times people think direct mail has to be longform sales letters and things. It could be a postcard once a month. It could be all kinds of things right, but I went to my mailbox yesterday, two things in it, and so how easy is it to do that and to stand out? But again, you have to have the right copy right and that copy should connect with the copy on your website and your emails and everything. There's a consistency factor that goes with it, because when I go it's entry. When I go see star wars and I see Luke Skywalker and then I go see the third one, it's the same guy. He maybe he's grown up or something, but his characters the same. He has the same characaturre. Same thing in marketing. If you're doing direct mail, facebook, it doesn't matter. I want to know that you're the same person wherever you are and you have the really the same story, and it makes marketing a lot simpler, should I say, when you have a story, you can just always go back to the story and then say here's one aspect of our business. It ties right back to why we do what we do or who we are. Right on. Yeah, so that's and that's hard to do. That's hard for most people do. That's why people like you are so important and that's why I wanted you to have you on this interview. Well, yeah, exactly. So, how many of those two things you got in the mail the other day were, we're bills? Yeah, let's see, none. One was that notice from the government Yippi, and the other one, I'll tell you. The other one is from my auto repair shop here in town. They sent me a letter and a bonus bucks coupon because somebody that I had talked to it one time when and became begin doing business with them. So they sent me a thank you for referring them this client. Has the client's name in there and they sent me twenty bonus bucks to...

...use at their shop. I can give it to somebody else or they'll make a twenty dollar donation to my local charity. If you talk about knowing, liking and trusting some place, yeah, you're gonna be loyal to them for sure. Well, and next time I'm out and somebody says I need an oil change or a tire rotation or a tune up, guess who's going to come to mine? Absolutely that's where I'm sending so and that's correct now. So it's so super simple to do when you have a strategy and thought, and that's something any business owner could do. Michael, how can somebody reach out to you? How somebody get in touch with you if they're sitting here gone, yeah, I'm like to have a conversation. Oh Great, well, certainly can send me an email Michael at Michael Hume dotnet, or my website is Michael Hume dotnet. That's probably the best way. If you make it any more complex than that, Michael Hume Hun me dotnet. I love that. But see, that's the again, that's brilliant in marketing because it's just very simple. You want M to Michael, ok, to Michael at Michael Hume dotnet and run link as well. So if you want to connect on Linkedin, happy to happy to have the conversation there as well. Well, that's great, and let me let me, and we're on, to have a link as well to your book, the ninety five Christmas and your your CD there. That's really cool because my daughters listen to your CD in our car and and my eldest daughter, who's eleven, she sings it. So that's really cool and I just want to encourage people who are listening to to reach out to Michael, to go to his website checking out and if you have any thoughts around copywriting, any need, any help at all, even if you don't hire him, talk to him. You've connected with this personality a little bit here are. He's a great guy. We do a lot of work together and we'll be doing more in the future, and just want to encourage you to reach out to him, because copywriting is really the foundation of all your marketing. It's not the colors that you use, it's the words that you say. So, Michael Hume, thank you for being with us today, sir. Thank you, sir, appreciate your time well. You are quite welcome. Glad that you are a part of the expert speak a podcast and we will talk again soon. Thanks again for listening to be sure to subscribe to the podcast and we'll talk to you as I interview the next person coming up in a few days. Take Care, great thanks. Thanks for listening to experts speak with Michael Dulan. If what you've heard today was helpful to you, reach out to our expert guest and see how they can serve you to bring you more success, freedom and purpose in your life.

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