Because being real is something you can’t fake.

We live in a world saturated in advertising, sales emails, and strangers telling us to “click here buy now.” But in this digital wasteland of empty promises and snake oil hustlers lay your golden opportunity.

The way we see it, there are plenty of people in the marketplace who ignore “fast food” messages of cheap, easy, and convenient. They want truth. They want real. They want results. And they buy what they want, no matter the price. So how do you talk to them so  they become clients for life? And how do you change the conversation so you connect with them… right from the start?

That’s what we help you do around here. Nail your message. Spark a real conversation that’s so awesome, they can’t look away. Be someone who’s “disarmingly genuine” in your writing, talks, and videos.  Brand yourself so that you appeal to high-end clients.  Get your projects done — and out into the world — so you make money. With a style, voice, and point of view that’s all your own. (So it shimmers naturally, without you having to gussy it up with magic, manipulative, mind-controlling power words).

Welcome to the neighborhood. We’re glad to join your team of advisers, creatives, and colleagues getting you where you want to go.

Keep up the good work,



5 things I don’t want to see on your website

What impression does your website give?

Before I read someone’s website, I feel it. I look at the colors. I evaluate the amount of white space. I look at the sorts of words they use. Are they engaging? Human? Conversational?

Does it feel grounded, expansive, real? Do I feel excited by the possibility? Are they talking to people like me?

What many business owners don’t realize is how many people are doing this. Before they even get to your words… they are picking up on the emotional honesty and what the business stands for.

That said, here are 5 … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting

5 ways the neighbors screw up their websites

It’s just like Leo Tolstoy said.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” begins Anna Karenina.

And so it is with websites.

Strong websites — ones that drive business into your business – are all alike. But screwy websites – the ones that the neighbors spent hours and hours on, that no one reads and no one buys from – are amuck in their own ways.

But here are 5 of the most common ways the neighbors royally screw up their websites:

  1. Making it all about them. “Whoa, Stella, you are
Read the rest >
Posted in copywriting

10 books I highly recommend

As the year wraps up, many of us are in reflective moods.

So I decided to spend this month reporting back from the investigations of my inner landscape.

One thing I’ve done more of this year is read books.

I tell my writing students who are working on developing their copywriting skills: “read everything.” The shampoo bottle. Ads on the side of the city bus. Articles in magazines that aren’t meant for you. Everything.

This develops your faculty to notice what pulls you in… and what turns you off.

But, being human, I have a hunger for stories.

And for … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting

Your newsletter must be different – and a great example

My client Jen had a powerful idea recently.

She’s a weight loss coach (even though she hates the term). And as soon as she got on the call, she said, “Stella, I’ve never met a woman with a weight problem.”


Then she said, “now how do I turn that into a newsletter article?”

And out of nowhere, Jay-Z’s song “99 Problems” jumped into my head. And the lyric: I got 99 problems, but a b*tch ain’t one.

(Yes, I agree. It’s not nice to call women Bs.)

But the point is, creativity works in mysterious ways.

I said, “so … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting

Read this before you buy another program.

Can we talk about the elephant in the room?

Can we talk about the elephant in the room?

Can we talk about the elephant in the room?

Can we talk about the elephant in the room?

Everyone and their mother is launching a program right now.

Word on the street is that everyone’s email open rates are down, because there’s just a lot of competition for attention right now.

(We’re seeing this on the newsletter list, which has taken a dip. But some of our opt in buckets are still getting between 30% and 40% opens.)

So, in the spirit of Fall Launch Season – and our own launch of the Write Club — , I thought I’d … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting

I failed this year – and what that taught me

Finding freedom through failure.

I’ve been marinating.

I went to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in my new old hometown of Cincinnati this weekend.

I read a couple of Warren Buffet’s letters to shareholders this weekend, because I’ve been thinking about him, oddly.

I also read a bit of Paulo Freire this morning, in preparation for our final class of the free Craft Your Message course, that wraps up tomorrow.

Just so you understand what’s in the mix.

First off, when you think about freedom, and capitalism, and the act of teaching as a political act… it’s not exactly … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting

Help! My email open rates are plummeting

Wondering why your e-mail open rates are going down?

Wondering why your e-mail open rates are going down?

Wondering why your e-mail open rates are going down?

I’ve been having a similar conversation with several clients now, so it tells me something’s up.

In a nutshell, it goes something like this:

“I used to get [certain percentage open rate] on emails. But not anymore.”

Or: “The launch I used to do that worked really well doesn’t work anymore.”

Here’s the thing. This has happened in my business, too. You find a program or a theme that’s really popular, and it’s tempting to think that it will always be so.

But what I’ve learned this year is that, if … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting

Does making people feel bad sell more?

“Buy my stuff, you struggling, overwhelmed idiot”

“Buy my stuff, you struggling, overwhelmed idiot”

“Buy my stuff, you struggling, overwhelmed idiot”

As a sensitive person who believes that words have real power, I’m amazed by how many entrepreneurs write copy that is so shaming and negative towards the very people they want to hire them.

The tone of so much sales copy is so:

  1. unbelievable
  2. fake
  3. putting people down

That it really leaves me wondering.

Who on earth would that sort of approach actually work on?

If you’ve been in any marketing 101 class, you’ve probably been told you need to “touch their pain” – or at least name what they are struggling with … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting, how to be, how to write

The thing I was ashamed of was pure gold.

The thing you are ashamed of can be pure gold, to your ideal clients.

I have a secret.

I run a successful copywriting shop and creative agency…

… but by all traditional standards, I have no right to do so.

I don’t have a marketing degree.

I have never worked in an advertising agency on Madison Avenue.

And if I’m going to be REALLY honest, I didn’t even know what copywriting was before I started my own copywriting business, 6 years ago.

Yet –

I am regularly introduced as an expert in my field.

I am often invited to speak Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting

6 steps to pick your next money-making writing project

Six steps to pick the right project for your goal

Recently I wrote about writing being the last thing you need to do to get your business off the ground, if you’re newer.

One of the philosophies behind my production labs is “right project.”

Right project means that you pick the project that stands the most chance of getting you to your goal.

See, a lot of business owners THINK that it’s their writing that isn’t working.

But that’s actually not true.

It’s usually one of two things: 1) they never stopped to pick a goal for their writing – … Read the rest >

Posted in copywriting