Writing a book

I’m going to have an ugly first draft done of my book, “Have Your Way With Words” on the 24th September.

I hit on something when I launched my Facebook Group at the end of March this year. There’s plenty of resources and courses and books on sales copywriting. There’s less material available on how to use words to introduce yourself in a way that stands out and compels a response.

The advent of the Internet has made it easier than ever to contact busy people. Getting your message read and responded to is another matter entirely. Most resources focus on communication and persuasion, leaving out the crucial first step, getting attention.

You don’t need bells and whistles. As one person once said in response to one of my letters, “Another agency sent me a jumbo packet of chocolate biscuits. I can’t even remember their name… Your letter was captivating and made me laugh. This is worth far more than biscuits.”

There is a style of writing that is disarming and endearing and I believe it to be teachable.

There is a framework for the type of humour that works when making an ‘ask’. There are rules of thumb and formulas that one can follow, without having to pretend you’re someone you’re not.

I’m still piecing together the exact outline. I want to write a book that is accessible to everyone. A “mainstream” book.

The right words in the right order to the right people can get you anywhere in life. I want to help people find those words. I want to give people the tools to change their life for the better. But most of all, I want to be able to tell people I’m a published author. 🙂


Sex sells, especially when paired with one of the most contentious, divisive and profitable issues of our time: Our choice of smart phone.

This piece from OKCupid pulled in coverage from hundreds of publications.

A search on Google for “iPhone users have more sex” reveals coverage in Time, Wired, Buzzfeed, Cnet, Business Insider, Gawker, CBS News, Huffington Post, Engadget, Gizmodo – and this is just the top 10 results.

OKCupid surveys their users on a whole raft of subjects, from what smartphone they use, to how often they have sex.

This data (anonymised, obviously) can be used to create stories.

This coverage was because of a blog post containing a graph. Nothing fancy. The right words.

It contained content that was irresistibly shareable by both iPhone users and Android users as they partake in one of the pointless endeavours of our time: arguing with strangers on the Internet.

Here are the key reasons why this worked:

-> The subject matter… sex & smart phones. It’s hard to imagine a better pairing of topics.

A few ideas that could easily have been done before:

-> Apple / PC laptop choice and alcohol consumption per week
-> IQ and political affiliation
-> Average life expectancy and socioeconomic status
-> Reported salary and favourite NFL team
-> Average number of children and level of education
-> Divorce rate and religious affiliation
-> Reported happiness and job title.
-> Suicide rate and birthplace. (Morbid, I know)

You’ll note some of these involve surveying an audience, (e.g. Apple/PC and alcohol consumption per week) and others are take existing data and creating a story out of it (e.g. Divorce rate and religious affiliation).

Surveying has long been used by PR professionals to craft stories, but often these are resigned to the middle pages of free newspapers.

One example was an online bingo company who surveyed the UK asking “How lucky are you?” and ‘Where do you live?”. From this, the company could identify which area in the UK was the ‘luckiest’.

This got coverage… but it’s not really a story that you’d remember, save for trying to finding an example of the obvious use of surveying for PR purposes.

Few experience coverage in countless highly authoritative publications like OKCupid’s piece.

Here is how you can do the same.

The recipe:

Just add 1 metric that is a barometer of success, e.g. average salary, life expectancy, IQ, suicide rate.

And add 1 metric that is either:

– a personal choice (Apple/PC, smartphone choice, favourite NFL team, job title)

– an event of circumstance (birthplace)

There also needs to be:

– 1 winner
– 1 loser
– A big patch of grey area.

On that last point:
There has to be room for people to pontificate widely or at least utter their favourite profanity.

It’s obvious the iPhone story is based on self-reported survey answers.

Perhaps iPhone users, like men under the magical 6ft mark, are known to exaggerate on dating profiles or surveys?

Perhaps Android users, with their penchant for standard headphone jacks, prefer to express more discretion?

You can see the arguments forming when you start connecting the stories.

For the PC/Apple example, you can imagine the jokes and memes already:

“PC users drink more because they have to dim the pain of using Windows!”

“Mac users drink more to dim the pain of having to take out another mortgage to buy a laptop!”

Here lies the fun. Just like smart phones, everyone has an opinion.

The Internet, with all its transformative power, has somehow convinced people they should definitely tell the world their opinions, insights and inventive pejoratives.

You can see how there are deeper stories lying under the surface with many of these.

For example, “Is ‘level of education’ always a choice?” – This doesn’t even have to be woven into the story, someone will add that element to the discussion on social media.

When I speak to journalists about a potential story, I show them examples of how other stories containing elements of mine have gained traction on social.

I show them Google Trends examples to show how much interest my themes have.

I give them headline ideas.

I talk in their language.

Journalists have KPIs too. Unique views, page views, new visitors, social shares, comments etc.

If you can help them write a story that will interest their audience and help them give their stats a boost, you have the magic formula and it’s likely they will cover your story – even if they’re on team Android.

I’ve attached a second picture, which is from the website, “Spurious Connections” which shows “the number of people who drown in swimming pools” is closely correlated with the number of films Nicholas Cage has starred in.

This also got a lot of coverage – just because it’s an amusing story that proves a point “Correlation does not mean causation.”

While this is a funny example, one can imagine a swimming pool company reacting, adding to the discussion that there is also a correlation between swimming pool ownership and “Who has the best pool parties?”

So there you have it – how to create a viral news story using a blog post, a graph, and internet users who know they are ‘right’.

I’ll end with a quote:

“Last night’s ‘Itchy and Scratchy Show’ was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured, I was on the internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.”

– Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons
(pictured, right, yellow face, smug/angry disposition, has opinions)

Who says?

“You have to be more professional.”

“You can’t write an email like that to C-Suites!”

“[job-title-that-apparently-makes-them-inhuman]’s will hate it!’

I hear this all the time.

Apparently, when someone achieves success, they stop being human.

If you want a meeting with someone important, you better write a message devoid of humour. It has to be bland and boring.

When someone achieves success, they decide “I don’t like to laugh anymore.” “

Smiling is something I used to do – before I became successful!”

Think how absurd that sounds!

BREAKING NEWS: CEOs at global brands are people too.

They don’t need or want to be put on a pedestal.

Show respect, yes. Of course.

But if you want someone’s attention, you better bring something to the table.

You have to stand out. Give them a reason to hit reply.

They’re people too.

Treat them that way.

What’s next? ✅

I’ve been busy the last 3 months.

I forget just how much I’ve been doing, how hard I’ve been working and how much I’ve achieved in such a short period of time.

In 3 months, I have:

  1. Build a bustling community that grows daily around my weird area of expertise. I’ve also built an email list that grows every day.
  2. Helped many of my “Charmers” to book sales calls and win clients. Often these successes are posted in my Facebook group, further inspiring others to take action.
  3. Successfully invited myself on some awesome podcasts and succeeded in getting the attention of influencers I admire.
  4. Developed a new source of inbound leads through my new community.
  5. Drafted the outline of two books I intend to write this year.
  6. Created demand for a course that details my “Charm Offensive” way of opening opportunities.
  7. Discovered that I have a specific skill that is far more valuable than I suspected. This can’t be taken away. I may be the best in the world at this particular thing.
  8. Learned a hell of a lot. Realised that I have a hell of a lot to learn.
  9. Had a great deal of fun.

I’m now planning to:

  1. Launch my course.
  2. Go ‘all in’ on content creation. I’ll be posting far more on my own Facebook, on LinkedIn, and begin answering questions on Quora and putting videos on Facebook.
  3. Going Live on Facebook at least once per week.
  4. Get that first book completed.
  5. Get PR coverage in key online publications.
  6. Build out a more concrete b2b sales & marketing offering.
  7. Exercise every day and get in shape.

Not much, then…

In other news, I just finished writing an email for my good friend, Henrique. It’s to try and get his band, Buttered Bronson, some gigs at London venues. He’s created a mock poster to go with it. I love doing this stuff. Let’s see if it works.


All the way to the top, I guess

A lot of good things are happening.

But I still wake up with a feeling of uneasiness.

I’ve started exercising. I got out of shape. Mentally and physically. I’m trying to fix this.

I am realising that being elated all the time just isn’t possible. It’s these contrasts which make being happy possible.

My podcast with Kevin Rogers went live and it was great. I made him laugh a few times which is how I judge these things.

I posted my story on Reddit. I got the top of the 4 Subreddits I posted on. 30,000+ views. 600 odd new people in the group.

I posted a guide to how I got on The Truth About Marketing podcast and to the top of Reddit on the Badass Marketers and Founders group. Because of this, someone contacting me about writing a story about my approach to Reddit. Had a call with their journalist. I rambled a bit on the call but it went well.

I did a speaking slot at Google Campus. I got a great reception. I got some great laughs. I enjoyed it. I wasn’t nervous. Granted, there are elements I wanted to improve but even my cynical and anxious mind, I know it went well. After it was done, it was no big deal. I knew it would go well. I was confident.

I’ve started making sales more regularly. Little ones and big ones.

I’m getting more leads through my group. Work I can do well and that I enjoy and can charge good £ for.

My email list and group continues to grow.

I’m starting to write a book.

My focus now is to continue building my following. I’m going to add LinkedIn and YouTube to the mix. And this blog, which was meant to be just me writing my thoughts down for a book, but decided having something ‘live’ would force me into writing more.

I have a lot to be happy about.

I have a lot to do.

I have a lot to fix.

Writing this out has made me feel better. I forget just how much I do. I never stop. I sometimes need to wait for the world to catch up.

3 months ago I had none of this. I should be grateful.

Ok. Back to work. I’ll check in tomorrow.