In Search of the Magic Bullet

Noise – there’s all kinds of it. Last week I talked about internet noise – that is, the constant barrage of messages emanating from the ‘offers’, the ‘quick fixes’, the newsletters, blogs and mini-courses that we sign up for, or from other sources that just ‘appear’: “I didn’t sign up for this!!”.

This notion of ‘noise’ resonated with readers: overconsumption, clutter, spam, junk, phishing – call it what you will, it all means the same thing – our inboxes are constantly being bombarded.

It’s not only our inboxes that are noisy – one reader described his whole life as being filled with “deafening” noise. Sometimes it feels that way, doesn’t it? We get so busy with all of life’s details that we sometimes become overwhelmed: the children have to get to soccer, there’s an early morning meeting at the office, the bills are due, there’s a dental appointment, there’s a commitment to meet our Mastermind group, the lawn needs cutting, the next chapter of the course is waiting, the assignment is due, the dishes, the laundry, the car, and on and on. Our minds go a mile a minute trying to orchestrate all of this – it’s often called ‘mind chatter’. This week has been exceptionally noisy for me, too. I’ve been completing the time-consuming details of selling our previous home and purchasing our ‘new’ one. I had to be available, so I couldn’t spend my usual periods with phone and e/mail turned off. I am grateful for my participation in the Stillness Experiment, but more on that later.

Last week I requested, and received, an ‘MBQ’ (most burning question) from a reader. You can read the complete question on the site, but Ed, who is at the beginning of the copywriting course, wants to know how to accelerate the whole process: develop portfolio samples, a marketing piece, and a website to launch his copywriting career and find work to pay his bills – this week.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Remember that I set out to unsubscribe from most (90.9% was the number suggested) of those magic solution sites – there are plenty of them – and many were part of my personal internet noise. They offer you an instant income, sometimes even a large income, usually through some kind of internet marketing, by next month or maybe even by next week. You can be well on your way to building your fortune, and it’s instant – just press a button, choose your colour scheme, and you’re on your way.

Well, it’s not quite so simple.

While it does sometimes happen just the way it’s advertised, it’s unlikely. The research alone into these ‘instant income’ sites takes time. How do we know that this one is the magic bullet? Sure you can put up a free or inexpensive website and have it hosted just as inexpensively, but you have to develop your systems and strategies, such as how you drive people to your site and pique their interest so that they will opt in to your contact list. Then you need to develop a relationship and know how to keep them long enough to trust you as the expert who can provide a solution to their problem; and eventually they might buy your product.

If your readers choose to buy your product, you need to be ready with your merchant account and payment options; and don’t forget your legal disclaimers and your ability to provide a money- back guarantee.

Even before you set up all of your technical systems, do you know what people are looking for, these future customers? What do they want? What is their MBQ? You might have spent time and energy developing a product, and planning how to repurpose it by extending its usefulness through up-sells, back-end sales, videos, teleconferences etc., just to find that nobody is interested.

So before everything else you need to test, test, and test again to find out what the competition is doing, whether anyone is buying this product or something similar. This will help you decide whether to proceed if you see a gap in the market, or whether you should go for something that already has lots of traffic. Your testing might suggest that you need to find a unique niche within your product area.

But most importantly, and at the basis of everything, is good copy!

Does this feel a bit like coming full circle? All of my so-called “research and development” keeps leading me back to the same core principle: to build a solid writing career – whether it is for marketing products on the internet, writing in a specialized niche, writing for the web, developing websites or blogs – you need a strong foundation, a thorough knowledge, and a good understanding of copywriting.

And what’s the best way to do it? Break out that white binder and read, read, read; practice, practice, practice; write, write, write, and then write some more.

There it is, Ed. From what I’ve found out, there may not be a guaranteed instant solution, at least not without lots of time, work, and dare I say it, luck. So it’s onwards with the course. What you can also do is check the AWAI website, look for the regular contests, and go for it. I’m still in the middle of my copywriting course, so I’m a newbie just like you. If I can do it, so can you. There’s also the Direct Response Job area that you could check out.

I promised to get back to the issue of noise. Was I successful in quieting my own internet noise? I’m getting there. I discovered that one subscription alone was generating about 60 to 80+ e/mails per day, in addition to all the others coming in. It was a viral site – and I thought I was being spammed. I spent tons of time trying to deal with my computer’s security before I understood that one unsubscribe (there’s that trigger finger again) would get rid of them all. The joke was on me and I had to laugh at myself! Another lesson learned!

While I have closed much of that kind of traffic, or set the sites aside for the moment – maybe forever (Joshua in his Monday Morning Jump Start says I can put them away on a shelf and be OK with it. Thanks for the permission, Joshua!) – I have chosen to retain a few selected newsletters, websites and blogs that strongly resonate for me, as well as continuing to learn about the power of Social Marketing.

I have for many years been on a journey of personal development which has taken me in several directions, learning from, and reading about, many different people: Jim Rohn, Napoleon Hill, Vic Johnson, Bob Proctor, Mike Brescia among others. My current personal development journey includes pursuing a balanced lifestyle, which means paying attention to my mind chatter and quieting that incessant life-noise. (How I got here is another story for another day and one that I may share sometime).

It seems that most of my on line mentors now are women. That wasn’t intentional; it’s just worked that way, and it is appropriate for me at this time in my life. That doesn’t mean, however, that they are exclusionary. One particular program that could be of great benefit to both men and women alike, and fits with today’s dialogue, is the Stillness Experiment ( I have been practicing the Stillness moment/meditation for several weeks now and it is a powerful way for me to start my day by calming my mind and centering my thoughts. I am definitely feeling more relaxed during the day and so I am more able to focus on what is important.

“Keep quiet. Do your work in the world, but inwardly keep quiet. Then all will come to you.” – Nisaragada Ha Maharaj

I intend to write another blog post about my discoveries on my mind journey. And given what has been bubbling up through my computer in the past few weeks that was to have been this week’s topic. That is, until the MBQ came in.

So I will finish today by telling you about another site I love: Zen Habits. The most recent daily articles have focused on just what I need: leading a balanced life, daily discipline, not caring (about things that don’t matter), the Art of Small and … oops – here I go again. I just clicked a link to an article called “How to simplify your social media routine”. It led me to another website called “Mashable: The Social Media Guide”. That trigger finger is still working overtime.

It’s a great site by the way!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: May 20, 2009

1 Response to “In Search of the Magic Bullet”

  1. Oh brother...

    John Wiggill

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