Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

Nov 25

The brutally honest job advert

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

Humour Writing Exercise 5 comin’ at you!  

“The brutally honest job advert”

Today’s exercise is the other side of ‘The Honest Bio’.

I want you to write the most honest job advert you can.

Don’t worry if you’re not in a position to hire anyone. Make the advert for a personal assistant. Make it honest.

Here is one I made earlier: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/brutally-honest-completely-nutty-job-12879802

Don’t worry if you think your output isn’t good or funny. Just get it out!

This is a starting point. It’s an exercise. Nearly every first draft sucks!

Remember:
Be refreshingly honest.

Exaggerate the bad points.

Understate the good points.

Nov 24

Exercise 4: The honest bio

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

Write the most honest CV or bio as possible.

Talk about how you got started in your sector. Was it obvious all along? Or did you fall into it?

Don’t brag, perhaps even be a little hard on yourself when describing your dedication, work ethic, skill etc.

Perhaps talk about your surprise you’ve got to where you are.

Talk about the horrible places you worked, or the people you didn’t like, or the commutes you didn’t like, or whatever it might be.

Talk about the journey you’ve been on, and exaggerate the bad parts and understate the good parts.

Be playful, don’t be too brutal on the places you may pick on, unless they deserve it.

I don’t suggest you use this in real life 😉 – but it’s a good exercise in being playful with things in your own life that are meant to be serious.

Talk sarcastically or absurdly or miserably or naively about your plans for the future.

This is an exercise in being more honest than is normative, while using some exaggeration and understatement.

“The truth is the funniest joke of all”

– Muhammad Ali

Nov 22

Satirical Press Release

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

Sorry to some of you who have seen this one already. I’ve added a little extra detail which may be helpful. Don’t worry, a third exercise “The Productive Rant” is on it’s way to you shortly 🙂
 
At some point, I decided to target PR and Communications Directors. 

I figured they may have £budget that I’d like to see in my bank account.

I could have sent a version of my original ‘informal/formal/absurd’ cold email, but I decided to try something new.

I like to use the form that the resonates with the prospect. For PR / Comms Directors, I knew they’d recognise the format of a press release.

I decided to send them a faux press release


The press release announced that I was sending them a completely unsolicited email.

The prospect is part of the story.

There’s added humour as you get to write lines for the prospect, who is ostensibly being quoted.

Even if you don’t wish to write to journos/PR types, this template will be useful.

Writing your own ‘meta press release’ is a great way of practising writing self-referential humour. 

 

This Google Doc shows this template and includes comments that explain each line -> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1m56RzbClDS0sF9kES3ZTITw5zMaswHNXHqSTiYlDpIE/edit?usp=sharin

 
Action: Try writing your own. Even if it’s similar to mine. You’ll get a feel for how to write self-referential humour
 
You’re writing a press release about a press release. 
 
You’re announcing an announcement. 
 
There are other ways to play with form. 
 
For example, a news story about a news story. e.g. The second post on my satirical news website, The Influential, was a story about the debut article the site published. Check it out here: http://theinfluential.io/breaking-news/satirical-site-debuts-amusing-riff-scarcity-bias/
To start with, try emulating my press release. Look at the comments to help you.
Nov 22

The Productive Rant

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

Let’s move onto the productive rant.

This is a simplified version of an exercise from The Serious Guide to Joke Writing by Sally Holloway. A great book, check it out.

Think of a topic you have strong opinions on.

Start a Google doc and put a heading at the top:

I can’t stand [topic]

E.g. I can’t stand annoying marketers emailing me every day…

There are two ways of doing this.

You can either start writing out your rant, or record yourself speaking and transcribe it. The latter is especially useful for those who turn into the most serious or formal person in the world as soon as they get in front of a keyboard.

Let all your thoughts out.

Don’t hold back.

Here are some prompts to help you write your ‘productive rant’.

They must think ______

What really gets me is ______

In an ideal world, they would ______

In a parallel universe _____

I’d love to tell them ______

If I could change just one thing, it would be ______

Start by writing for just 5 minutes.

Then try 10 minutes.

Don’t worry if you don’t like what you’ve written.

This is just an exercise to get your true thoughts on paper.

You’ll see where you exaggerate. 

This is the muscle we want to exercise.

Being able to show your point of view in an entertaining way is a great way to deliver humour. Exaggeration is one way to achieve this.

This can create humour all on its own. 

However, it’s most useful when combined with the other exercises in this course.

If you can use exaggeration and “say one thing and mean another”, you are blending two elements of humour. This is what the ‘Letter of Hate’ exercise helped with.

The same goes for using exaggeration while being self-referential. This is what the satirical press release exercise helped with.

… and we have several more exercises to come 😉

It’s also a fun way to blow off steam. It’s more productive than letting something annoy you.

Nov 09

Stop Selling Time & Inspiring Influence

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

I did a training session called Stop Selling Time last night.

It focused on the last 7 months, where I’ve created an entirely new business creating and selling digital products to my audience. (Hi Charmers!)

It covered:

  • Why you should build a following
  • The key elements that speed up organic growth
  • The technology, time and skills you’ll need
  • The 5 stages of growing a following and turning it into a new revenue stream

You can find a replay of the training session here.

You can learn all about by new programme, Inspiring Influence, by clicking here.

Nov 07

The hidden benefits of having a following 

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

My recent interview with Ben Settle reminded me one of the cool side benefits of having a ‘following’.

He’s been able to leverage his following to promote his creative passion, his series of novels.

It provides a huge shortcut. Your purely creative work can ‘piggyback’ from your professional following.

Even if I made not a cent or a pence from this group, I’d still do it.

Having a following has enabled me to launch my own satirical news site, The Influential, and immediately it’s garnered a small following.

I can continually cross-promote this creative endeavour and it will continue to grow.

If I want to launch a podcast, I will immediately have listeners.

If I finally start placing videos on YouTube, they will immediately get views and engagement.

Not everyone who likes Charm Offensive will enjoy my other creative pursuits, but some will.

I’ve deliberately focused The Influential on the digital business world to maximise the crossover appeal.

However, when the time is right, I can always expand The Influential to cover other topics.

I did something similar with Charm Offensive.

I initially started to focus on my core expertise, using humour in cold pitching. I had a great hook that helped this group grow organically, “The drunk cold email that changed my life.”

I’ve since expanded the group into other areas. This post, for example, is trying to convince you to start building your own ‘following’ or ‘tribe’.

Whenever I get good at something, I can help other people do the same.

When I want to pursue something just because I enjoy it, such as writing satirical news pieces, I can and I have a huge advantage over people who are starting from scratch.

Every day I build my following. I add new group members. I add people to my email list.

Every single day, this asset becomes more valuable.

It gives me options.

It gives me more time.

It generates revenue.

It enables me to experiment and get feedback on ‘fun’ projects.

If I work hard, I know I can eventually turn those ‘fun’ projects into new revenue streams.

I’m not thinking that far ahead but I’m glad I have the option.

This is a great place to be.

You can put yourself in the same position.

You just have to start…

Nov 01

The best business decision I’ve made in a long time 

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

When people join my Facebook group, I ask three questions.

One of those questions is “What’s your biggest pain point?”

The top answer, by far, is “Need more clients”.

This is probably no surprise, as this group started out as a group predominantly about cold pitching.

I still believe cold pitching is a great way of starting conversations with potential clients.

It’s something you can start immediately and see results from immediately for no cost. This makes it a fantastic option for folks who want to quit their job and go freelance or start their own agency.

One can run a profitable business using cold pitching as their only method of generating sales opportunities.

But there is something awesome about running a group like this one. Even if it didn’t make any revenue, I’d probably still do it.

It just so happens it does. It represents the majority of my revenue now.

Starting this Facebook group, and an email list, was one of the best decisions I’ve made in business.

I think everyone who believes themselves to be an expert in their field should start building a following.

Some of the benefits:

-> It positions you as an expert in your niche.
-> You get to interact with loads of interesting people.
-> People talk about you and your group – free word of mouth advertising and social proof.
-> Prospects come to you – and they want to work with you. There’s none of that “you gotta prove yourself” fun. They are pre-sold.
-> You get invited to appear on podcasts, to speak at events, and get free positive PR coverage.
-> You get to make and sell digital products that help people.
-> You have far more free time to focus on scaling your business or to focus on stuff outside of work.

Even if you don’t wish to sell digital products, I recommend starting a Facebook group and email list.

It’s another source of leads, and these leads are easier to close.

The last two elements, making and selling digital products and having more free time, are the most important to me.

You can package your knowledge and help more people. It’s infinitely scalable.

Starting your own tribe is instantaneously gratifying than getting positive replies to a cold email blast. It takes a little longer for the benefits to show up.

But when it starts working. It’s fantastic.

I’m just trying to plant seeds. I have enjoyed seeing people get to the position where they always have opportunities due to my teachings around cold pitching.

Now I wish to help people get into the position I am right now. I have an engaged and growing Facebook group and email list, a growing suite of digital products, and new opportunities coming to me all the time.

I did all of this in the last 7 months.

I started this group on a whim. If I can make a success out of this, you can too.

Start thinking about it…

I’ll be doing a webinar on this topic next week.

I also have my “Stop Selling Time” mini guide which you can find here -> http://bit.ly/2ycwPni

If you have any questions, put them in the comments below. 

Thank you,

Jon

Oct 29

Stop Selling Time

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

I’ve created a PDF mini guide and I’m about to deliver a training session focusing on how to stop selling your time and start building a following, enabling you to sell digital products.

If you’d like to receive the guide and a recording of the webinar, head on over here.

You’ll also find out about my new course, Inspiring Influence. I’m launching to a limited beta group shortly!

 

Oct 16

Funny Writing Hack (Not me…)

By charm_offensive | Uncategorized

My friend, Sam, used to work at Primark (discount retail store) until we took him on as a copywriter.

I asked him if he missed it.

This was his response.

Hilarious.

This reminds me of a great exercise for writing funny copy from the book “Be A Great Stand Up” by Logan Murray where you write a “letter of hate”.

Think of something that has made you angry. Perhaps you had some bad service somewhere.

Then write a letter congratulating the owner on the bad service you received.

Instead of turning the volume up on your anger, you twist the knife by ostensibly praising someone (or something) while you’re actually mocking them.

This gets you into the habit of saying one thing and meaning another. This is a critical skill for writing comedic copy.

It also enables you to take your anger in the moment, and all those exaggerated feelings, and turn them into something funny and positive, rather than just have a depressing winge that nobody enjoys.

Letters like this (if they’re genuinely funny and not overly angry/bitter/scathing) can go viral and can lead to a response from whomever you are annoyed with. Bonus!

So start using the “Letter of hate” experiment today!