How to Find More Success With “Anxious Reappraisal”

Anxious emoji and the question, "feeling anxious?"

What would happen if you reframed your outlook to “Feeling excited?”

What keeps you from getting things done?

I mean, come on, you’re smart. Capable. You were never really unable to do anything.

Perhaps you procrastinated and put things off. Or you felt too busy to accomplish it.

Whatever your reason for falling behind on that one thing (or 5 things) you know you needed to get done, I suspect your inner dialogue wasn’t helping.

Because when you’re faced with a task that feels insurmountable, you always give yourself a reason for why you can’t do it. Such as, “This feels insurmountable.”

Or, “I always fail.”

Or perhaps, “I’m stressed. I need to watch Netflix for 5 hours.”

You may not say it aloud or even realize you’re doing it, but deep down, you’re telling yourself, “I can’t do this.”

And why do you give yourself that lame excuse?

…when you’re faced with a task that feels insurmountable, you always give yourself a reason for why you can’t do it.

Well, because the task ahead of you made you anxious. And you were afraid you couldn’t do it perfectly, so you avoided it.

Simple, really.

However… if you want to crush that task on your plate right now, you need to recognize it makes you feel anxious, and not avoid that bad feeling. Or else, you’ll just distract yourself and never be able to confront your procrastination.

“I’m stressed. I need to watch Netflix for 5 hours.”

Go ahead. Say it.

“This makes me feel anxious.”

Easy. Say it again.

“I feel anxious.”

“I can’t do this.”

And why do you give yourself that lame excuse?

Now, here’s the meat. What if you could reframe that anxiety into something positive? And instead of giving into your anxiety, change your attitude?

So, instead of saying, “I feel anxious — try saying this instead…

“I feel excited.”

Go ahead. Say it.

“I feel excited.”

Repeat it.

“I feel excited.”

It’s not that you’re denying your feelings of anxiety. In fact, deciding you feel excited won’t lower your anxiety. You’re just setting yourself up for success instead of failure.

Exchanging the negative word “anxious” for “excited” is called Anxious Reappraisal. It’s a way of anticipating a positive outcome instead of a negative consequence.

Go ahead. Say it. “I feel excited.” Repeat it. “I feel excited.”

Because, I think, we bring ourselves down every day by expecting the worst. And what happens?

You see the worst in every situation and you become blind to the positive. In your mind, the negative grows over time until it’s this prickly, thick entity hovering above you, causing you more fatigue and a stormy outlook. And as a result, you start to lose personal motivation and no longer feel you can reach your goals in life.

After a while, you think to yourself, “I can’t do this. I just can’t.”

Time to turn that anxiety on its head!

…deciding you feel excited won’t lower your anxiety. You’re just setting yourself up for success instead of failure.

Don’t let yourself slip into a negative perspective, because our perspectives shape our reality. It’s true. You’re not lying to yourself in being positive and saying, “I feel excited about this thing I don’t quite know if I’ll succeed at.” You’re just looking for a helpful pathway through your challenges instead of pointing out the negatives and eventually getting bogged down in your head.

In your mind, the negative grows over time until it’s this prickly, thick entity hovering above you, causing you more fatigue and a stormy outlook.

To relate all of this to copywriting, let me tell you quick story. Okay?

Some months ago, my boss here at my ad agency gave me an assignment to write promoted Facebook copy. The assignment made me feel super anxious.

Internally, I was feeling, “I am anxious right now.”

But for some reason at the time, I was also feeling tenacious. So I said to myself, “Screw my anxiety. This copy is going to AWESOME!”

You’re not lying to yourself in being positive and saying, “I feel excited about this thing I don’t quite know if I’ll succeed at.”

And it turned out being just that. I blasted into writing the copy with this vigor and excitement, and the post ended up pulling in 800+ Shares and thousands of Facebook reactions. It was the most successful promoted content we’d done on that Facebook page for months.

Somehow, I believe my declaration helped me. If I had been timid about the project and said to myself, “I feel anxious about this. Ugh, I guess I’ll get to it then,” I think the copy probably would’ve sucked.

In a way, making a positive declaration to yourself before entering any project sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is more likely to come true simply by expecting a good outcome.

So I said to myself, “Screw my anxiety. This copy is going to AWESOME!”

In a personal letter, David Ogilvy explained what happens when he actually sits down to write copy:

“…I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)”

He also indicates in another work that whenever he sits down to write, he knows he’s doomed to failure. But once he eases into the task with a lot of input from colleagues and research, he ends up getting the thing done.

So take heart. Getting stuff done is just about never a clean process even for the best of us.

However, by changing your “I feel anxious” to “I feel excited,” you just might find yourself feeling happier, more productive, creative, and successful than if you stuck with “I feel anxious. I don’t want to do this.”

Making a positive declaration to yourself before entering any project sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is more likely to come true simply by expecting a good outcome.

Even Ogilvy admits:

“Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.”

Be that person with “much greater facility.” You’re intelligent, capable, and you know you can do it.

All it takes is convincing yourself.

Now, say “I’m excited about that project” and experience first-hand the more positive outcome.

Email me at if you want to reach out. I’d love to hear from you.



7 Creative Leaps Your Readers Wish You’d Take (So Your Content Doesn’t Feel Like Work)

“Don’t think. Just jump. Don’t worry: I’ve gotcha!”

Have you read an article about marketing or copywriting this month?

Chances are, you got some tips, tricks and advice on how to do your job better.

You know: Strategy. Structure. Technique. Best practices.

The article probably kicked butt. I mean, let’s get real.

You wouldn’t have read any old sucky content.

Because you sniff out janky crap from more than 300 feet away (read: you avoid useless content because there’s nothing in it for you to improve your life.)

Practicality vs. Creativity

Let me ask you: as you chowed down on that latest article, did you feel more like (A) a professional reading it, or (B) a creative artist indulging yourself?

No, really. Think about it. What’s your answer: (A) or (B)?

You probably felt both like a professional, gleaning useful advice to perform your job better, and also like a bit of an artist. After all, writing’s a creative field, right?

Stick with me here.

Seriously, did the article activate more the copy critique in you, or did it fire up your creative soul? The pendulum swung more in one direction than another, I’m sure of it.

As all you content marketers find convenient ways to pump out useful, actionable content on a regular, frequent basis, your content becomes pretty technical and academic (I love academics, by the way. I scored a Master’s in Teaching 3 years ago for some odd reason, so I’m no stranger to library nostalgia.)

What hogties your attention?

The problem with this content, and its academic tone, is that bleeding-heart artists (i.e. writers like me) are reading your stuff.

We realize it’s useful while we’re reading it, and we know it’ll help us become better writers and entrepreneurs. And look, sometimes I don’t want fun stuff. I just want good information and that’s it.

But it’s darn difficult NOT to wander off to more visually stimulating content somewhere else, sometimeslike YouTube, BuzzFeed, our favorite app or Netflix. Hence, our writing breakthrough that could’ve happened goes on hold.

That’s why infographics and videos boost marketing stats more than some other mediums. Let’s do more of that, for sure…

How can you grab my attention better, starting now?

Look, as a writer, I’m not keen on creating my own infographics. I’d like to change that, but…

Same goes for videos. Am I motivated to create my own videos? I’ll get there someday. I’d love to learn how to produce video…

Use your natural abilities to capture your readers.

However, one thing I know how to do is draw. I’m freakin’ great at it. Not to brag. Just recognizing an asset I could tap into to grab more attention and make readers feel more like artists when they read my stuff. I’m no longer speaking to copy-chewing drones.

I’m reaching my readers on a brain-intimate level. They’re gonna love me for it: drawing them pictures, giving them more metaphors than they can swallow, and so on.

This is why I’ve drawn some of my own blog post images.

I also draw because I haven’t seen anything like it in the content marketing space yet. Exceptions: Mike Davenport and Henneke Duistermaat, and Neville Medhora. (Please let me know of others, and I’d love to glean ideas from them.)

I see a lot of great minds in the content marketing space, wonderful people who are just dang incredible at what they do, to be honest. Thank you for your relentless awesomeness.

But the content marketing space sometimes feels academic as opposed to creative.

Doesn’t it?

Am I right or am I right?

There’s nothing wrong with it, you know, as long as you’re confident and able to attract all those brilliant, creative minds before they don’t get bored and drift away.

But why don’t you break the mold a little more? It could do your creative readers a lot of good.

That’s not to say you should break — or go against — templates, tactics and best practices that’re just proven to work.

No. I mean, come on, who is this guy…?

What I mean is this: Use those best practices, but just get more creative more often. Find other types of potentially high-converting content to experiment with.

For example, why don’t you see more of the following in content marketing?

So here’s the meat.

7 creative practices your readers wish you’d just get on with already:

  1. handwritten blog posts, scanned in, to give readers a more intimate, emotional, personal experience
  2. hand-drawn infographics and other simple images to help illustrate a concept or data
  3. posts with built-in music players to texture and supercharge posts
  4. posts with guest-submitted any of the above to supplement content (read: if you can’t do it, get a content marketing creative genius to create your hand-drawn elements)
  5. more predominately image/slide-based content
  6. ideas told through a personal story, fictional scenario or personality (so the content is equal parts creative writing and actionable tips)
  7. video/audio clips of you reading out your blog post if people don’t want to read (to get visitors to stick around longer and understand your content better)

Therefore: think about injecting your content with more varied elements. You’ll come across as relevant and trustworthy, and Google’s SE will probably like it, too.

Poets vs. Killers: Which are you?

David Ogilvy distinguished two types of writers: poets, and killers.

We all want to be killers. We want to sell. We want to convert.

But you can’t be a killer all the time, beating your readers over the head with all your great ideas. Where the heck did your childish, devil-may-care creativity run off to? Get more sensory elements into your content and get out of the stuffy college conference room.

We seriously need to have more fun. At least do. I’ve read tons of content about copywriting since 14 months ago when I changed careers to become a copywriter.

Okay, I haven’t read that much. But it feels like a lot to me 😉 And now I wish you would just take a chill pill and answer me this:

Why did you become a marketing pro in the first place?

Was it possibly that you…oh, I don’t know…

…fell in love with the art?


And I know art involves technique, and templates, and structure. But why not take what we’re already doing and just spice it up a little? See: my 7 suggestions for improving content above.

Lastly, here’s a list of content marketers I admire because they have a real love for the craft, and they’re not just technicians about it. They’re just artists:

When you launch  into creating content, think about ways to make your pieces more interesting to readers. And you’ll grab the fleeting attention of those more creative, whimsical types in the process. And I suspect everybody else, too.

Because there’s nothing wrong with loving pictures, audio and creative solutions to a problem. It just takes a little more effort on your part to destroy the marketing status quo and pull this off.

Get creative again. You miss it.

You’ve lost Ogilvy’s poet. Get it back.

Too much of your inner critic whispering in your ear. Time to unhinge the stifling restrictions you trap yourself with.

Get excited about marketing again. Get obsessed with content creation again.

Let’s tear down the rule board. Just for a day.

And play in the wreckage.

Come along…

Animate your craft, friends.

And hop to it!

(Feel free to comment or email me if you felt inspired reading this. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cut the robo-speak. Act natural!

Man with red hair and suit talking on the phone who's about to cross the street

“Your voice sounds funny…like, in a robot sort of way. Are you okay?!”

“Because it’s not difficult to convince your best friend to do something for you.”

Have you been in this scenario at least one time this month?

Who’s calling me from this mysterious number, 614-555-2664?!

Probably a sales call.

I’ll just answer it just to make sure I’m not dissing my brother-in-law who might have purchased a new phone.


Uh, hello…?

Hi, my name’s Jennifer Hollingsworth. How are you today?

Doing well, how are you?

I’m with the Clarence Financial Group and I’d like to tell you about an exciting, new offer you can have for FREE today!

I’m sorry, I’m working. I have to–

This AMAZING offer is only available a limited time and–

I know, I know, I just–

–so it’s TRULY a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…

Wait a minute…

…if you act now, we’ll give you an ADDITIONAL bundle of products ABSOLUTELY free.


Whether you’re retiring, need a life insurance policy or–

*End Call*

A robot! And it almost had me going!

Has that happened to you like, MORE than once this month? If so, you’re a sucker! Like me 😉

“So why do you allow your copy to sound like a mechanical toy that’s low on batteries?”

Get to the point.

No one likes talking to anything that sounds like a robot.

If you do for some sick reason, it’s probably because you’re trying to see how inadequately it portrays a human being. Like punching in some rude, bizarre question to see how it reacts.

So here’s the big issue I want to bring up. There’s this terrible, terrible trend in rookie copywriting of sounding like a machine.

Would you like to read about the benefits of this product now? Click “yes” if you do and “No thanks” IF I SOUND LIKE FREAKIN’ SIRI!

No SIRI-bob.

It doesn’t matter how sophisticated or high-end your brand’s tone is. People want to speak to people.

Are you a person? Think about it.


So why do you allow your copy to sound like a mechanical toy that’s low on batteries?



Okay, I may sound a little harsh. That’s because I’m freakin’ passionate about it!

“Close the gap between your speech cadence and texture and the keyboard and screen in front of you.”

Readers love natural-flowing copy AND it converts.

Neville Medhora‘s a great example (and salesperson) whose copy converts because he writes how he speaks. And it’s wacky. And fun.

And that wacky, fun flavor to a lot of his copy SELLS because Medhora is wacky. He is fun. It’s the reason he can sell people on pretty much anything.

But! Just watch him write. He talks –moving his mouth — WHILE he types. The words he lays down come straight from his physical mouth and onto the digital page. No mental gap between the two.

So when people read Medhora’s copy, they don’t consume stale information from a soulless word-spewing robot. Instead, they get language that pops, dances, sways side to side, is super useful and makes jokes. Just like Medhora does when he speaks.

That’s the stuff people wanna read!

“Just sound natural, like the little best friend of your customer is sitting inside your paragraph speaking to them.”

Take action, copywriters. Close the gap between your speech cadence and texture and the keyboard and screen in front of you. And while you write, ask yourself constantly, “Am I full of robot dookie while writing this sentence?”

Then capture the language as it rolls off your tongue instead.

A super brief concession.

I know, you can’t always be yourself in copy. You’re usually selling someone else’s product and posing as something you’re not. Unless of course you build a personal brand and use it to sell stuff, such as Neville Medhora.

Imagination is key to unlock the natural voice of a brand that’s SO-NOT-YOU.

But look, this is where your creativity and unrequited love for acting come in to play.

You must imagine you are your reader’s best friendBecause, let’s face it, you are!

“Imaginative people have a knack for impersonating anyone.”

Try this.

Once you’re in that intimate mental space with your reader, explain why they should … click, sign up, scroll down, stick around, give you their time, or buy, or comment, or … do WHATEVER it is you wish they’d just do.

Because it’s not difficult to convince your best friend to do something for you.

“WRITE as you SPEAK.

Keep being awesome, though.

All the while, of course, you’re using your ground-level, master copywriting skills to structure your piece so it converts. You’re not throwing away your kick-butt skills. You’re just doing it without sounding like a 3,000,000-year-old robot newly discovered on Venus.

Resources to revolutionize your copy.

If you haven’t developed your basic copywriting skills, LEARN from Copyblogger and Neil Patel and Buffer and Jon Morrow and Henneke Duistermaat and Nicki Krawkzak.

Like, seriously dawg, it’s time for a fresh lesson in writing killer copy.

All these amazing folks have free, proven tips they publish relentlessly to help keep you writing like a god. I don’t think I’m a great copywriter or entrepreneur (yet), but these people are helping me get there!


WRITE as you SPEAK. Whether it’s your voice or someone else’s you’re using those dormant acting skills on. You should sound natural either way.

After all, imaginative people have a knack for impersonating anyone. Robots are at a total disadvantage.

Just sound natural, like the little best friend of your customer is sitting inside your paragraph speaking to them.

You get my point.

Wrap it up!


Never EVER go all “robot” on your poor customers again. If you do, they’ll just…”hang up” on you!

Wanna bump shoulders?

Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email if you have thoughts. Would love to hear from you, distant-person-interested-in-the-same-stuff-I-am!

P.S. Seriously, contact me. But first, STOP THE ROBO-TALK. ACT NATURAL!

photo credit: On the phone via photopin (license)

How to tickle your reader’s brain with motion words

Break dancing, motion, crowd, standing on hand, plant, kick, lifting himself up.

Plant your hand on the floor. Lift yourself up. Hang upside-down. Kick the air. Balance your teetering body.

So what the HECK is a “motion word”?

Whoa, whoa. Listen, I wish there were some existing term for this.

But I always land on “motion word.”

Define: Motion word

Noun. A verb describing physical motion you can experience with your own body.


  • GET is not a motion word. GRAB is.
  • GO is not. STEP INTO is (and a motion phrase at that).

Some A/B tests up this alley might spew out some interesting numbers.

For example,

Control: “Get your free e-book”

Variable/Experiment: “Snag your free e-book”

This has probably been done. If you have a source for it, let me know!




Remember that time you rode a roller coaster? In constant motion, you felt giddy.

But remember that kid in the booth operating the ride with a mic?

He had to stand in one spot all day. Bored out of his mind, he felt unhappy.



So I’ve gotten really screwed up in my head lately and pondered this question: How do you stay energetic as a copywriter if you’re just sitting around at a computer all day?

Answer: Throw extra motion words into your copy. And you’ll grab your readers more effectively in the process.



Motion words trick your brain into believing you’re physically moving around. It turns out the brain doesn’t recognize fiction from reality, according to this New York Times article.

Motion words are one way copywriters can grip the brain’s control panel.



Motion words push those buttons in your brain activating the physical motion your motion word refers to. Huh?

So the word “KICK” spins the gear in your brain telling your leg to actually-for-real kick.

This becomes intriguing for copywriters, who spend their time cracking the mysteries of the human brain on a daily basis. And motion words are one way copywriters can grip the brain’s control panel.

Do your feet flutter when you read “kick,” “punt,” “stomp,” “rush” or another foot-related word?



There are many great resources instructing copywriters to use words that inspire.

I tip my hat to Jon Morrow’s list of power words. Also, I love Henneke Duistermaat’s e-book on how to turbocharge copy and win customers. (Henneke’s free e-book includes lots of motion words. And it’s a blast.)

I’ve literally been building this article while I discover Henneke’s content about sensory words. What I mean is I drafted this article, then read Henneke, then revised.

Henneke’s got the right idea, and she’s just … brilliant. I hope she keeps delving into sensory words and gracing us with useful applications for them.

I really think this emphasis on word choice needs further exploration.




So what am I asking you to do?

Use more motion-oriented vocab when you draft and revise. Replace drab, non-physical action words with physically stimulating commands.

You know how to write and you’re good at it, duh! But somewhere in the shuffle your word choice got wrinkly and now it’s time for a lift.



We easily slip into writing in an abstract way so readers can’t connect and engage with our copy.

But readers understand ideas more effectively when they’re given concrete metaphors to interpret them by.

It turns out there are all kinds of motion words that can replace non-physical actions.

Like when we write take a stab at. We’re referring to some abstract way of trying to make something successful. But we understand this complex process by take a stab at. Brilliant.

My point is you can litter motion words all over your copy, and it’ll often work.



For CTA’s:

  • Click here -> Dive in
  • Get your e-book here -> Snuggle up with your e-book
  • Learn more -> Jump in
  • Go to site -> Climb aboard
  • Explore -> Plumb the depths of
  • Find -> Nail down
  • View photos -> Pour your eyes over these photos
  • Go to site -> Jump to site
  • View -> Flip through
  • Go to -> Rush to

And on and on and on. What are some other examples you can think of?



“GO TO”:

  • Rush over
  • Step over to
  • Dash into
  • Zoom over to
  • Blast over to
  • Gallup over to
  • Slip into
  • Dive into
  • Duck into
  • Drop into
  • Leap onto
  • Jump into/onto
  • Swing by
  • Hit up
  • Get down to



  • Grab
  • Snag
  • Devour
  • Sink your teeth into
  • Snuggle up with
  • Cuddle with
  • Rub elbows with
  • Bump shoulders with
  • Bite into
  • Eat/Eat up
  • Lasso
  • Lap up
  • Swallow
  • Hook up with
  • Plug into
  • Jump on



  • Ratchet up
  • Dial up
  • Crank up
  • Rack up
  • Boost
  • Skyrocket



  • Throw
  • Chuck
  • Drop
  • Pack
  • Jam
  • Load
  • Cram



Dive into these word lists, copywriters, and blow your reader’s brains out even more than you already do.

And visit this article again. I’ll be adding more to it as I go. So, more on this later — peace! Please feel free to email me at or comment below if you have any inspired thoughts!

PS You may have noticed that for your benefit, I’ve emboldened most of the motion words I use in this article.



Below is a list of motion words you can throw into your copy now to jazz up your readers and prime them to buy, click, read more or whatever.

  • Break
  • Slash
  • Cut
  • Drop
  • Stack
  • Step
  • Take off
  • Leap into
  • Dive into
  • Climb aboard
  • Scale
  • Plumb
  • Take a deep breath
  • Hook up with
  • Rub elbows with
  • Pack
  • Fill
  • Cram
  • Jam
  • Dribble
  • Drazzle (okay that’s not a word. Gotcha!!!)
  • Load
  • Snuggle up
  • Cuddle up
  • Bathe
  • Hit
  • Sharpen
  • Go head-to-head with
  • Come face-to-face with
  • Nosedive
  • Sweep
  • Eat up
  • Devour
  • Get down
  • Shrug off
  • Grip
  • Jump out of
  • Bind up
  • Clamp
  • Cut up
  • Dice up
  • Lasso
  • Tie up
  • Pull
  • Yank
  • Tug
  • Catch
  • Grind
  • Toss
  • Throw
  • Catapult
  • Smooth out
  • Dewrinkle
  • Iron out
  • Shake out
  • Slingshot
  • Bat
  • Zoom in
  • Squeeze
  • Step over
  • Launch
  • Clench
  • Blow up
  • Spark
  • Ignite
  • Strike
  • Kick
  • Punch
  • Boot
  • Speed
  • Zip
  • Tear (i.e. tear down the road. Tear away. Tear off)
  • Dash
  • Grab
  • Sprint
  • Scoot
  • Smoke
  • Zoom
  • Plunge
  • Plummet
  • Fly
  • Tailspin
  • Cruise
  • Leap
  • Bound (bound into the room)
  • Jump on
  • Outpace
  • Whiz by
  • Perk up
  • Juggle
  • Close in
  • Clap
  • Clasp
  • Lap up (like a dog)
  • Stretch out
  • Massage
  • Smoosh
  • Box in/out
  • Cradle
  • Hold
  • Squirm
  • Shake
  • Quiver
  • Bloodracing(ly)
  • Pulsing
  • Pulsating
  • Crane
  • Look up
  • Pound
  • Bite
  • Rush
  • Run
  • Smack
  • Grapple
  • Teeter
  • Lunge
  • Handle
  • Sprint
  • Race
  • Wrangle
  • Wrestle
  • Hurd
  • Chop
  • Poke
  • Pinch
  • Snap
  • Tickle
  • Cough up
  • Slurp up
  • March
  • Bounce over
  • Plug into
  • Shoot over
  • Release
  • Unleash
  • Get away (this one’s tricky, but I felt that whenever the brain hears it, the phrase refers to PHYSICALLY moving away from something. It probably doesn’t do what the New York Times article refers to, but I’m leaving it there for some intuitive reason that’s tough to explain.)
  • Roughhousing
  • Gallup
  • Stomp
  • Stamp out
  • Turn heads
  • Trim
  • Stir
  • Spin
  • Swirl
  • Burst
  • Blast
  • Shatter
  • Smash
  • Slam
  • Slap
  • Blow away
  • Pack a wallop (love that one)
  • Knock ’em dead
  • Break a leg
  • Blow the lid off
  • Raise the roof/bar
  • Jet-propel
  • Impact
  • Punch
  • Charge
  • Unhinge
  • Unleash (is that a repeat?)
  • Rain down on
  • Ampup
  • Stoke (the fire)
  • Stand up to
  • Cut down on
  • Tackle
  • Zap
  • Wipe out
  • Slice
  • Dice
  • Si[
  • Skip (to your grandma’s)
  • Turn around
  • Round up
  • Circle back with
  • Circle around
  • Contract (i.e. antonym to expand)
  • Tap into
  • Tap through
  • Tap along with
  • Tap your toe
  • Lock out
  • Block out
  • Take off (repeat again?)
  • Whisk away
  • Cut through
  • Boost
  • Lift
  • Turn up
  • Jack up
  • Dial up
  • Ratchet up (love this one…saw this inventive verb phrase in an article on Copyblogger, Buffer or someplace…damn!)
  • Tighten
  • Loosen
  • Streamline (okay almost)
  • Strangle
  • Take a stab at
  • Fire away
  • Scramble
  • Seize (“Heavens to Betsy, he SEIZED my arm!”)
  • Snatch up
  • Trap
  • Rake in (YEEES)
  • Reel in (McDonald’s has been using “reel” on their fish sandwich signage copy)
  • Crush
  • Grab
  • Drag
  • Slide
  • Take hold of
  • Grab hold of (been into this one lately)
  • Roast (eh, not super motion-ee. But it is stimulating in a visual, auditory way at least. ROAST YOUR COMPETITION for example.)
  • Flip
  • Shuffle
  • Shape
  • Burn off
  • Snag (seen this in CTAs around the web. A stand in for click here. SNAG THE E-BOOK for example.)
  • Shave off
  • Spearhead
  • Ladle up
  • Shoot off
  • Shoot
  • Dig
  • Shovel
  • Crank up
  • Crank out
  • Spring
  • Trip
  • Pitfall

(Credit to Words That Sell)

photo credit: 8ª Batalha de Break Evolução Hip Hop via photopin (license)

What happens when you paste yourself into a condominium ad?

Like, I didn’t envision myself blowing up to the size of a house and reshaping my limbs until I became some kind of gross gargantuan condominium monster.


Flying home from a funeral. Left Florida behind, going to slightly cooler weather in Chattanooga. Boarded a tiny plane to get back to a tiny airport. Imagined the plane crashing. Had a dream I was hanging out with my deceased grandfather.

Awoken. Thumbed through the magazine with the best advertisements. For studying copy.

Stumbled onto this (page 4-5)

It’s an ad for seaside condominium homes. I noticed there was something sneaky and special about the body copy, so I got out my iPad Mini and typed it out. A woman next to me curiously watched me do this, but I wasn’t sure why

Introducing Palazzo del Sol. 47 new waterfront condominium residences on celebrated Fisher Island. A haven of privacy and exclusivity, minutes from South Beach and the cultural attractions of Miami, with superbly curated building amenities and 6-star white-glove services.

Hrmm, intriguing… So I created a list of strategic words and expanded them to see their true colors:

  • introducing — novelty, exciting, natural progression, incentive to upgrade
  • 47 — specific number, selling point, clear detail, establishes trust by displaying reality of product, quantifiable
  • new — needed, desirable
  • waterfront — huge selling point
  • celebrated — popular, established, trusted, proven fun
  • haven — safety, escape; being together, homey
  • privacy — freedom, peace, quiet, control
  • exclusivity — special, unique, high-status, set-apart
  • minutes — quick, fast, close, no-time, effortless, easy
  • superbly — the best, topnotch, high-standard, professional, taken-care-of
  • curated — personally carried-out, carefully done
  • 6-star — even better than 5-star; high claim, big promise
  • white-glove — visual, plain folks language; drops reader’s mental guard with image trigger
  • services — plural: varied services, all-around service, precise, variety, all-inclusive

Lots of information. The point of it was to shave away an outer layer of ad and understand what this copywriter accomplished on a persuasive/emotional level.


In short, the ad gives readers (people with lots of money who are looking for a dream house) these 11 emotional triggers –without them necessarily knowing how or why:

  1. This ad makes readers feel like they need to purchase a condominium home because it’s the next big thing on planet earth.
  2. While the copy establishes trust using a quantifiable number and trust-building vocabulary
  3. It also makes readers feel included in popular island culture
  4. safe from life’s struggles…
  5. in-control of their time…
  6. high-status and special
  7. calm
  8. Also, no other home will be an easier situation to handle
  9. The condominiums are “private“…
  10. …but also “minutes from” surrounding culture. Brilliant, so it’s easy to socialize if wanted.
  11. The ad makes readers feel they will receive the absolute best services, because of the 6-star claim. And boy, if there’s any follow-through on that promise, this has got to be one awesome home resort.

Generally, the body copy here is hypnotic and really quite beautiful. So I decided I wanted to be one of those seaside condominiums. Not actually, duh. It wasn’t an imaginative journey like the ones 6-year-olds have…

Like, I didn’t envision myself blowing up to the size of a house and reshaping my limbs until I became some kind of gross gargantuan condominium monster.

Simply, I imagined what would happen if I inserted myself — as a product — into this body copy. So instead of this:

Introducing Palazzo del Sol.


  • Introducing Jeremy Weber

And then I thought, well, I’m not really a product I want to sell (because that would be prostitution). I want to sell myself as a copywriter.

So I did this too:

  • Introducing copywriter Jeremy Weber

But I’m a new copywriter, so I revised it to this:

  • Introducing new-blood copywriter Jeremy Weber


And the rest came up pretty easily, with headline and call to action:

New copywriter ready for hire

Introducing new-blood copywriter Jeremy Weber. Offering you self-taught copywriting skills ranging from direct mail to UX web copy and more. Personable hard worker, team soldier and lone wolf, lives minutes from downtown Chattanooga and the cultural hub of South Side. And top-notch button-down work ethic.

Hire Jeremy Weber now. He’s hungry to drive your sales, so email him before your competition snatches him up!


Have you ever transformed copy from one product to another? If so, what was your process? Email me ’cause I’ll love hearing from you! (Anyone wanna tackle “cultural attractions”?)

Why this Starbucks advertisement is secretly genius (from a copywriter’s POV)

Now, this will blow your brain to smithereens.


Did you see this last month?

This ad, at first glance, is a menu with two equally desirable options. Let’s look at it again.


So it’s a menu?


So what?

Well, it looks like a menu, but it’s an ad. Isn’t that weird? Menus present options. But ads persuade readers to pick ONE option. So which option does this ad persuade readers of? And who is the ad targeted towards?

It is a targeted advertisement for women with money who are watching their weight but still want something sweet and delicious.


If you don’t believe me, read on. Then comment here because I’d love your feedback on this.

Okay, more specifically, the objective of the ad is to sell the target customer — weight-conscious women with money — the Tiramisu Latte.

  • First, I’ll explain how the copy sells the Tiramisu over the Caramel Flan Latte.
  • Then, I’ll take in subliminal visuals that very sneakily make the Tiramisu more desirable than the Caramel Flan.

Let’s analyze some copy

Let’s take a look at the copy of the headline first.


Now let’s break it down for a minute. Let me dissect each word with an explainer for each.

Sip — action & command, engages reader

…skipping “a” although it is important…

Sweet — specifies type of drink, specifics sell

Escape — emotional tap into customer’s desire for tranquility, peace, comfort, and recharging the batteries. The target customer probably works in business, medical, education, or house mothering, all of which create constant demand and stressful possibilities.

Got it? Good. Now let’s move onto subheadings…

The titles of the drinks actually work as subheads in this ad:

IMG_1403 IMG_1404

Copy-wise, notice a difference? Copy-wise. See it?

  • Caramel Flan Latte
  • new Tiramisu Latte

The latter latte is “new,” making it more desirable in the reader’s perception.

People want new. They feel like they need new. New works for them. New is a way to avoid oldness. New stays relevant, up-to-date, hip, youthful, cool, important, relatable, acceptable. “New” is also a proven selling word in advertising, so yeah.

If one thing that is new is contrasted with a second thing that is unspecified, we assume the second thing is old.

This subtle difference in subheads makes the Tiramisu Latte more desirable than the Caramel Flan, and the subconscious leans away from the Caramel Flan and magnetizes with the Tiramisu Latte.

Got it? Great. Now let’s move onto the pricing and details copy, the remaining bit.


The remaining copy includes the sizes of drink, their pricing, and calorie count of each. Because if you’ve gotten this far in the copy, you may be ready to make a decision. And you need these brass tacks to rationalize your action.

Now, this is crazy will blow your brain to smithereens.

Caramel Flan copy

  • tall $3.95 260 cal
  • grande $4.65 330 cal
  • venti $4.95 400 cal

Tiramisu copy

  • tall $3.95 250 cal
  • grande $4.65 320 cal
  • venti $4.95 390 cal

Nearly identical. What’s the difference?

The difference is small. Doesn’t matter. There’s a difference which gives the rationale an excuse to make a decision.

So the Tiramisu has a lower calorie count on all sizes, always. And the Caramel Flan has a higher calorie count on all drinks, always

Which drink will you buy?

A brief recap on what just happened

The headline and subheads hook you emotionally. Therefore, when your rationale kicks in, all it takes is a tiny health benefit to close the Tiramisu sale.

So… this ad’s objective is to push the Tiramisu Latte sales at weight-conscious women with a bit of cash in the purse. Headline hooks ’em, subhead leads ’em, numbers close ’em on the deal.

Got it? Delicious.

Now for subliminal visuals that make the Tiramisu more desirable than the Caramel Flan… to rich weight-conscious women!

Image of Starbucks ad for Tiramisu and Caramel Flan lattes

There’s that again.

Tiramisu visuals that create desire:

  • clean cup
  • scooped-out whip cream
  • human hand gripping cup
  • hand-sifted pan of chocolate powder in background
  • spoon with whip on it (in use)
  • actual tiramisu desert is being eaten
  • fork has desert on it
  • warmly-lit tabletop
  • pendant-like pin (high-status symbol) holding actual tiramisu desert photo up
  • clipboard clip on Tiramisu Latte photo (connotes a daily or weekly current event… remember, new?)
  • Tiramisu Latte photo is graphically square with outer advertisement frame — all others are slanted — which draws the eye to the Tiramisu Latte photo
Caramel Flan visuals that make it less desirable than the Tiramisu:
  • hung-up photos are slanted
  • Caramel Flan Latte photo is nailed down (connotes a long passage of time — oldness)
  • actual flan desert is untouched
  • no fork in sight (not being eaten)
  • looks squatty
  • on diner-style tabletop
  • stacked dirty dishes in background
  • water pitcher in background (negatives: low-status restaurant symbols, communicates slow bussing service)
  • Caramel Flan Latte is untouched
  • dribbly sticky flan drizzle leaking down side of cup
  • coldly-lit tabletop photo
  • low-quality tabletop wood (appears synthetic)
And that’s all I have so far. What do you think?
Let’s conclude things
The copy and visuals in this ad (which is no mere menu) make the target customer want to buy the Tiramisu Latte…
…while advertising the Caramel Flan and only subliminally insulting it. It all becomes sort of weirdly clear when you actually analyze it:
Look different now? Proving once again perception is flimsy yet powerful.

Look different now? Proving once again perception is flimsy yet powerful.

In reality, people still buy the Caramel Flan, but that’s because Starbucks has already established that buying behavior. Starbucks’ advertising copywriters, graphic designers, and art/creative directors created this ad to push a new product. They do this by strategically comparing and positively contrasting the Tiramisu against an old, yet proven, Caramel Flan.
Genius. Email me if you think so!

Popular Trending Advertising Words

The word HYDRA

000_0035_005sA while back, I thought the word “hydra” would somehow find its way into popular advertising.

Because of that thought, I decided to express my interest in the word “hydra” by creatively drawing pictures of hydras, the multi-headed dragon. On the right is the picture I drew –>

Now to me, drawing that was more than mythological creatures. It was my way of acknowledging a trend. Somehow, I thought the word would appear in a radio or TV ad. I was waiting: Any day now. I can’t really say why this word was trending. It was just a feeling, I guess. But then I saw it:

Click this immeeeeejelly

Oh, that’s why

Completely unrelated to the multi-headed dragon — but still the same word. You’re thinking, “Oh, as in HYDRATE, duh.” I just put that together, too!

But wow, was I just stupid and experienced some false premonition because I had unconsciously observed the word “hydra” in a grocery aisle, and then claimed the word myself?

I don’t know, but all same — there it was. And without realizing the word “hydra” was on that particular bottle in the link above, I got home from the grocery store, having purchased it! Weird, huh? Then I found these other examples…

Click here too — THAT call to action can’t hog all the fun!


Let’s be honest – are you full of dookie?

Yeah, yeah, of course this word has probably been in advertising for some time now, but certain words do seem to “get hot” occasionally.

Even numbers get hot. Or, rather, pricing: Introducing the new $4 fast food meal as opposed to the groundbreaking $5 meal. $4 being the trending number there. Sales absolutely skyrocket, yeah!

(I am not sure why marketers use “hydra” to sell products, but I guess it is a convenient and cool enough abbreviation of hydrate that works for a product name — so the word might fall under the exciting or exclusive genres when it comes to words that convert.)

Test your ability

So before any more trending words get the better of me, I’m going to predict words that you may see pop up soon (and perhaps already have popped up) in widespread advertising right now:

  • ultra
  • mega
  • super
  • reimagine
  • and anything with the prefix re- like redefine, redo, re-love, re-like, revisit, re-energize, rejuvenate
  • infectious 
  • supreme
  • rock
  • worldview
  • delete
  • and anything with the prefix de- like de-stress, de-clutter, de-complicate
  • scrap
  • take
  • reach
  • gain

Let me know now of any other words we should look out for. Seriously though, like, email me. Like, really. I want a list and stuff… NOW… Please?