Copyblogger Editor Admits to Sleeping with Readers and Recommends You Do the Same

Copyblogger Editor Admits to Sleeping with Readers and Recommends You Do the Same

Reader Comments (66)

  1. It looks like I need to sleep with more of my audience. I know what they look and want to learn more about, but I don’t know what keeps them up at 2am and I think that’s at least part of what I’m missing. Thanks.

    • WOW. Jon this is an awesome post. It’s so beautifully written and so compelling. As you say knowing your audience is old advice, but reading this post has taken my understanding of that old idea to a totally different level. Crazy! I think I really get it now. What’s more, I’m thinking about my blog and I can see some serious opportunity to write new content that really connects. And now I’m mulling over those ideas, it’s definitely going to keep me awake tonight!

  2. Hey Jon, this is just another epic post from you.

    I get so inspired when I read articles like this one and they actually make me go and take that action you suggest.

    Thank you for that!

    PS: Now I am off to put my pajamas and into bed. 🙂

    • Eugen I feel exactly the same way! I’m totally inspired to go out and take action!

      We often read about how business owners should create “buyer personas” of our ideal clients/customers, but never have I seen it done quite as vividly as Jon did in this post.

      I think the key difference is that Jon really took into account the human element. It wasn’t just a clinical description like: “Suzy is a former stay-at-home mom who’s concerned about getting back into the work world.”

      Instead, Jon connected to her fears and dreams and hopes.

  3. You really write awesome posts, Jon. I don’t know how you do it. There’s just a different aura with the kind of headline and content you give out. Sometimes it sounds like you’re giving away too many “blogging secrets” with each of your posts.

    Thanks for the good read. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy your Holiday season!

  4. Its an interesting and somewhat depressing marketing truth that people respond more to missing out on something than they do if you promise them something extra.

    Jonah Lehrer, the popular neuro-scientist, says its all about dopamine cells that are hardwired to constantly seek that which will help us evolve. Pleasure results from finding the solution to those problems that keep us awake at night.

    Great article Jon. Going back to my landing pages to find more ways to keep honest mums up at night.

    Only kidding. I’ve kept plenty of mums up at night already in my life.

    Only kidding. Sonia, please don’t beat me for that comment.


    • I’ve read the fear of missing out may be an evolutionary trait, given that not too many years ago, being “left out” of the group often resulted in a much worse outcome than being picked on in highschool (hint: you probably died, since chances of survival in a group of humans was much higher for the average caveman back in the day, Geico cavemans not included).

      Funny that something like that could stick with us even as out civilizations advances, old habits die hard when their wired into your brain through evolution I guess.

      On another note, Jon, you killed it with this, just another post where I’m inspired to write better because I feel like a slacker after reading this. Keep up the damn fine work, ya jerk. 🙂

    • I don’t remember where I read this, but most people also have much more hardwiring for fear than they do desire. From my own experience, that’s true. It’s actually much easier to write a post leveraging nightmares than it is dreams, although if you do it too often, your blog does get sort of gloomy. 🙂

      • Desire is linked to gains, and fear is linked to losses. So, what you’d be looking for is loss aversion, first made famous by Daniel Kahneman, the first (and only I believe) psychologist to win a Nobel Prize in economics.

  5. Hello Jonathan!
    Enjoyed the honesty of your writing. Total newbie blogger that writes from the heart. I am learning as I go and by posts like this, it certainly helps me in my journey!
    Merry Wednesday,
    Lynn @Ponderful

  6. Simply one of the most provocative posts I’ve ever read. Amazingly, the body copy somehow surpassed the promise of the headline. ‘Nuf said!

  7. Jon, slightly OT, but I guess you won’t mind, the launch video of your new blog is terrific, and I subscribed although I clicked just to have a look and fully determined not to subscribe to anything. Good job indeed.
    Incidentally, your post above and the report you shared the other day are great too, else I would have never seen that video to start with…

  8. Once again you’ve gone and given us some brilliant insights, and great advice on how to write better articles. And, you made it sound so easy!!

    Can’t thank you enough, truly!!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone on CopyBlogger!!

  9. So contrary to what I’ve been taught, sleeping around is good for your reputation – who would have thunk? LOL -thanks for the inspiration. One thing I love about writing and marketing is that everyone is so helpful in trying to advance each other’s careers. That alone is enough to make a girl feel randy! Kind of like when you read a fortune cookie and end each fortune with “in bed.” It’s been right in front of my face the whole time! Awesome!

  10. I love the premise you’re running with here Jon – going deeper into conversations people are having with themselves. And I believe that the “S” word is at the core of this conversation – Shame.

    The Sources of Shame Start With The Proposition That “I MUST BE LOVED”

    And this has various ramifications such as I must be popular, I must be accepted, I must be approved of, I must be un-criticized. And then therefore, it is awful if I am un-popular, unacceptable, disapproved, criticized ridiculed, etc.

    The second main source of shame comes from the idea of, “I MUST ACHIEVE”

    And this means I must achieve many things and it’s amazing how many there really are, such as competence, excellence, intelligence, normality, physical perfection, emotional maturity, strength of character, moral goodness, godliness, saint hood, nobility, and the special subheading of this is, in the sexual area where we particularly, in our society and probably in most, ally or connect our feelings of shame that I must achieve sexual adequacy, sexual conquest, sexual excellence, sexual normality, sexual decency, and sexual morality to say the least.

    And to sum up all of these things into one phrase, you’re really saying, when you’re ashamed, “I must achieve greatness, goodness, and godliness.”

    And then the obvious conclusion with these premises is that it is therefore, AWFUL if I am . . . incompetent, average, stupid, idiosyncratic, physically imperfect, emotionally disturbed, weak in character, immoral or bad, ignoble, un-saintly, un-godly.

    By the same token, it is awful if you are sexually inadequate, sexually un-attractive, sexually average, sexually deviant, sexually indecent.

    But you can see that with these nice premises, and the conclusions there of, that practically everyone would feel ashamed.

    I believe that as an info-marketer, when the by-product of you sleeping around with your prospects gives you all of their specific shames they’re doing their damnedest to avoid and you show up in their inbox with answers that help them dramatically lower the levels of shame they feel around this particular subject they’re interested in, you become their hero, their savior.

    Thank you Jon for making internet marketing world a better place with all the work you’re doing with Sonia this week to help people become attuned to the difference that makes the difference in communication. 🙂

  11. “To really understand people, you need to know what keeps them awake until 2 AM, tossing and turning and unable to sleep.”

    That line just nails it. So well said Jon, great post. I love the dirty lead-in too, always fun to write using outrageous metaphors! 🙂


  12. This exercise has killed more of my blog posts than I want to admit. Hovering over the “Publish” button, I’ll look at the headline and ask if this addresses something that my readers have lost sleep over. Many a well written (says the writer) blog post has bitten the dust because the answer was no.

    I have a love/hate relationship with this, as you can imagine 🙂

    • Well, you need to decide if the topic is something they lose sleep over BEFORE you write the post. If you wait until it’s time to publish, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of wasted effort. 🙂

      • Now you tell me! 🙂 You’re right of course. It’s a hard learned lesson, but even taking the time to redo a post is worth the improved performance and engagement I *eventually* get. Great post, by the way, Jon, I always look forward to your writing.

  13. I’ve surveyed my readers, I interviewed them over the phone, I work with them, eat lunch with, and I am them. Yet I didn’t realize what kept them up at night until I wrote a post on making more money. It is consistently the most popular article on my site. However, people were adamant that they don’t care about money when I did my research and even when I talk to collegues and friends.

    So, how do you find out what keeps up at night when your audience is too embarrassed to say it?

    • The short answer is, “Empathy.” Rarely ever do they tell you directly, so you have to feel your way through it. When you’re listening to them, pay more attention to their emotions than their words.

  14. “It’s all about knowing what keeps people awake at night.”

    Right there is the ‘crunch line’. I’ve yet to meet someone who hasn’t been deprived of sleep worrying about a problem in their life. That means that the reachable market from this angle is near unlimited.

    That’s a big market.

    Connect with the reader. Understand them. Sit with them and listen. Learn, discover, create FOR them. Then, listen to them again. And keep creating 🙂

  15. I feel like I just had the top of my head taken off and everything is wide open … Love it love it love it !!!! Thank you.

  16. Terrific post Jon. “Intentional Empathy” offers powerful insight into the world of our prospect/client. And you wield it masterfully.

    Clayton Makepeace called it “crawling inside the skin” of your prospect. Which sounds creepy in a Bodysnatchers sort of way. Your “sleeping with your prospect” approach is just as memorable and a lot more friendly.

    Since romancing a prospect is more a chick flick than a horror, I’ll go with your new metaphor.

    Joe 😀

  17. Had I seen the headline in Brian Clarks Tweet I wouldn’t have bothered I think.

    What I saw was the promise to reveal the secret of writing, marketing or life itself, which in itself is so outrageous that I should have known better than to expect anything but..

    It is a decent post and shouldn’t really have to resort to sensationalism I think. The headline certainly ruins more than it helps…

    As for the message I guess that it is a possible angle on writing, but it is not the only one and certainly not the most important one…

  18. Damn that’s a good headline! Jumped right out at me from my feedburner list…..had to click on it right away. Who says those tabloids aren’t worth reading from time to time? (Not that I ….do……usually…..)

  19. Jon, I rarely have time to read and savor an article’s every word, but today you made me do it.

    “One guy emailed to say he had been planning to commit suicide, and the post changed his mind.”


  20. Hey Jon,
    Another thought-provoking and inspiring post! I always get my post (finally) finished and get in a hurry to get it into cyberspace without spending enough time on the title. Duh! I appreciate your very engaging copy and your words of wisdom! Thanks again.

  21. Very inspiring, but easier said than done. For me the writing part comes easy; it’s the getting in other people’s heads I struggle with. Makes me wonder if I shouldn’t just write about what keeps me up at night worrying. There has to be other people worrying about the same thing, right?

  22. Outstanding Stuff! I found it funny that I’m up right at 6:30 this morning and reading this. What got me up so early? I found myself tossing and turning and thinking to myself; what can I write today to get more visitors to my blog. Reading the article this morning was just as good as my first cup of coffee! Thanks for the motivation, I needed that!

  23. Well I must be honest when I first seent he title sleeping with readers I was a little confused lol but having read the blog post itself I can see this is a fantastic post and very good advise.

    Thank you for it.

  24. Nice post! I totally agree that you have to “sleep” aka survey your audience before you market
    content, products and services. If you don’t know what buttons to press you’ll never dominate
    a niche. Although your post was spot on with making a statement, you left out the “how to”.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 I give this post a 6.5 because your analogies were nice and you
    really drove home the concept of surveying to discover what people wants and need…

    …but unfortunately you didn’t tell us how to do this… NOT GOOD!

  25. Fantastic story telling Jon – of course. Although you are talking about blogging your point has a much wider application for business owners and marketers. As I copywriter I am often trying to get this information out of my clients and it can often mean asking the same question in many different ways. You’ve just inspired me and I’ve updated my creative brief interview to use some of the same emotive language you use.

    Instead of asking, “what problem do you solve?” I’m going to ask “what your customers awake at 2AM?”

    Thanks for shifting my perspective. My clients will get better marketing as a result!

  26. For those of you who haven’t yet started a Blog, you won’t understand. You weren’t there man! Just trying one Blog will get you hooked. Sure, you say you’re just experimenting with blogging.

    Then soon, you are blogging everyday. You wake up trying to search around to see who has commented on your Blog. Then it gets to be a 3 or 4 blogpost a day habit, and you’re still saying, “I can quit anytime I want”.

  27. Jon, I cannot find my socks. Your way with words knocked my socks off so hard they are gone. You had me hooked at, “Somehow, I needed a way to make it interesting, and so I used a cheap trick to grab your attention. Here’s why:
    If you don’t understand this, you will never be a successful writer or marketer.” Now I’m wondering if everything I’ve ever written is utter crap. Thanks for the nightmare.

  28. I appreciate your emphasis, Jon, on zeroing in to what keeps your readers awake at night, because there are few emotions as prevalent as fear during these tough economic times when few have an escape hatch from heavy responsibilities.

    Indeed, insomnia is as pervasive in adults as creeping waistlines. From what I have observed, not all of them can brush away their nagging fears by pulling on headphones and plugging into an iPad. On some level, anxiety seeps through. For many of us, that anxiety revolves around making a living, taking care of kids, and the myriad other worries of real life. You put it well. We aren’t sitting Buddhas.

    I would love to know your tips and tricks for drawing out the details of what comprise a reader’s fears. Sometimes when someone hits the ‘Contact Us’ button on my blog, I am able to start a conversation and ask them directly what problems they experience and what endless loops are catching and not letting go. But these opportunities are few and far between. I have found that going out to places where folks are mixing and mingling is a more direct channel to gain access to their concerns. Especially if there is trust in the room, and a structured process for people to share their worries aloud without fear of appearing silly. So, I try to get out and about regularly to do this kind of research.

    I just wish that I could telescope the time it takes to become an expert in my niche! Ah, to have a dream and keep on pluggin….

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