Back in 2017, my best friend Tom (who is an American … long story) came to Australia for a year, and lived at my place.
We’d done short visits before, but that was the longest we’d been together in person.
Yet it didn’t take long for us to discover that we had a mutual love of … red wine.
Nothing crazy, of course. Only a glass or two per night. More for the social aspect than any desire to get drunk.
But the truth is … if I wanted to get drunk (which I never did and still don’t), it wouldn’t have been hard. Because anything more than a single glass of red wine gave me a buzz.
So as soon as I’d had a glass, I always used to joke about being drunk, and ‘pretend’ I was more tipsy than I was.
Yet as Tom pointed out:
I only ever did that when I really was feeling a buzz from the drinks.
So we came up with this rule:
“If you joke about being drunk … you’re drunk”
(So true, right?)
To this day we still use this rule.
But the reason I tell you this story actually has nothing to do with getting drunk.
Instead, I’m proposing a badly-needed copywriting version of that rule:
“If you make fun of copywriting ‘gurus’ … you’re a guru”
Here’s why I say that:
This weekend I saw an email promoting a course from a very successful copywriter.
Based on what I’m about to say, some of you will know who this guy is. So let me be upfront that I have huge respect for his sales page chops (particularly his ability to find amazing hooks). And this isn’t about him personally.
When I saw the sales page for this course (which, to be fair, he said his business partner wrote) … I had to roll my eyes.
Because one of the very first lines on the page said:
“We’re gonna shoot straight with you and tell you something that most so-called “gurus” won’t tell you. “
Let me point out one thing:
This course they were promoting …
… was literally created on a private jet.
Yes, that’s right.
A PRIVATE FREAKING JET.
I mean, we’re not just talking “here-with-my-new-Lamborghini” level of guru-ness.
Noooope. The guru-level here is through the freakin’ stratosphere. Literally!!!
Oh, and guess what the secret that “most so-called gurus won’t tell you” was?
This scandalous refrain:
“Getting your first client is the hardest part of freelancing.”
Yep, pretty sure the “gurus” are paying big hush-money to keep THAT one quiet!
NOW I realise why all those guys were telling me the first client was the easy one!
… wait … actually, I don’t remember anyone saying that 🤔
To add to that, further down this same page, one of the guys mentions he has a course called something like “Nearly Passive Income”.
(Maybe it’s not “guru” because it says “nearly”?)
And heck, even the sales page headline was this pearler …
“How to Land Your First Client in the Next 30 Days…Even If You’re a Total Beginner With No Experience. (And create a $2,000 and $24,000 PER MONTH freelancing income in your spare time… even if you currently have a full-time job.)”
AND YOU’RE TELLING ME YOU THINK OTHER PEOPLE ARE THE ‘GURUS’?!?
If this doesn’t qualify you as a ‘guru’ … then I have no idea who these mythical people even are, lol.
I see zero problem with showing you rode a private jet — or naming your course or leading your sales page with a bold promise. In fact, this isn’t even about this one particular sales page. (As I said, I think this guy really is good, and most of his sales pages are killer.)
What I do have an issue with … is this whole ‘guru’ (or ‘goo-roo’) trope that has saturated copywriting. And in particular, this idea that “everyone other than me is a guru”.
It’s just so tired and overdone.
As copywriters, we’re supposed to be good at this.
So … can we not come up with something better now, please?
A proper enemy to rally against on behalf of people?
Because when even rich guys on private jets are telling you stuff “the ‘gurus’ won’t tell you” …
… well, I think it’s safe to say that word has lost all meaning.
Besides, nobody really believes that you’re watching their back against these ‘gurus’ out there.
And if you’re honest … you’re not, are you?
Do you truly think there are still some fat old guys out there, rubbing dollar bills between their fingers, consciously trying to keep copywriting “secret” and suppress all these new copywriters from making it? Rather than actually profiting from sharing their knowledge, like you are?
Yeah … nah. I highly doubt it.
So, to all my fellow copywriters.
From now on, please remember the rule:
“If you make fun of copywriting ‘gurus’ …
you ARE the guru”
Hey, maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Probably even makes me a guru, too, since I teach copywriting.
Whatever. I’ll own it.
But if YOU can’t handle that, at least be a bit more creative with the enemies you’re fighting against in your marketing … because nobody believes the “guru” schtick anymore.
ESPECIALLY when you’re writing those words from your Lamborghini … or your private jet.
Okay … rant over.
Let’s move on to more pressing matters.
If all this guru talk has made you think you really want a guru to write your copy …
But, I can’t help you out just yet.
I just had a glass of wine and boy am I feeling dizzy 🥴