Last night I got an email from A-list copywriter Ben Settle that raised my eyebrows.
Because he opened the email by quoting an email one of his “freelancer customers” had sent him.
And that “freelancer customer” happened to be … me.
And I was NOT pleased.
Here’s what it said:
“I subscribed to a few of the other guys who advertised [to your email list], and no offence to them but it felt like I was on a second Ben Settle list? And I already have a Ben Settle to read.”
A few weeks ago I ran a classified ad in Ben’s email list. And so did four other copywriters.
Well, you know me … I jumped on all four of those other copywriters’ lists right away.
And, it’s true:
At first, I WAS bummed to find they sounded like Ben. And I mentioned that to Ben (that’s the quote you see above).
(And in case you think I was being sneaky, I said the same thing to one of those writers directly — and he agreed with me.)
That’s not the end of the story.
Because since I wrote that email, two of those guys lifted their game — and found their own ‘style’ very quickly.
In other words, they are not ‘Ben Settle hamsters‘.
Yet Ben printed my old comment, as WELL as giving it his stamp of approval — as if he agreed that all these other writers sucked!
I felt bad. There were only five people who advertised. And surely many people who joined my list also joined the others’. Had I just publicly trashed their reputations?
Distressed, I replied to Ben.
This (truncated) conversation followed:
Me: “Dude! You just threw me under the bus!!! I don’t still think that!”
Ben: “Sorry! I didn’t realize I left your name in!”
Me: “Uh … well, you didn’t. But it’s obvious who you’re talking about. Anyway, two of those writers have totally lifted their game now, and I at least owe it to them to tell you that …”
And then I told him the names of the two writers who I thought had really improved.
And now, I want to tell you who they are:
Tyler, who I confessed to last week that his subject lines put mine to shame.
And Joe, who sends me one of the most entertaining emails I get every day with his weird hooks.
I’m happy to recommend both email lists.
After all, these dudes are proof that if you’re currently stuck in the rut of imitation (and we all do when we start), it isn’t hard to snap out of it and find your own, better voice.
So go on — give ‘em some love.