I Am Deaf
That is a gift… and I’ll tell you why.
I had always wanted to go to a comedy show. But I could never go because they could not provide an interpreter or a captioner. If I went to a comedy show without an interpreter, I’d miss all the jokes.
So I had given up on the idea of ever attending a comedy show. All but forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind.
Until this young woman suggested an idea. We were at a chapter meeting of the Hearing Loss Association of America, a non-profit advocacy organization that served local deaf communities all over the U.S. I was a newsletter editor and board member at the time.
She said, “why don’t we set up a group event at the comedy club with a CART captioner? We can pool our money to pay the captioner.”
I was in a rush, carrying a pile of books and papers, and my iPhone was vibrating insistently in my pocket.
“Sure, I’ll think about it,” I said hurriedly.
I must have been a little dismissive, judging from the crestfallen look on her face. But… a little while later… the wheels that hadn’t turned in my head for years, started turning again…
Then it hit me.
What a great idea this was! This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people, myself included.
At the next board meeting, I lobbied for a group event at a local comedy club. After some hand wringing over our tiny budget, I was given the green light to organize one. I asked the comedy club if I could host a group event with a batch of discounted tickets.
They said yes. So I planned to sell about 25 tickets.
The strangest place to start a copywriting career
I wrote my first ad: a simple flyer. Three weeks before the event, I blasted it through the email newsletter. I trumpeted it on Facebook.
Almost instantly, my inbox began blowing up.
Email after email, each asking for a seat at the event. Anytime I finished replying to one email, two more would pop into my inbox.
I started worrying about selling too many tickets. I asked the club how much space they had and if they could hold more seats for us. They reassured me they’d have plenty of space.
I sold four times more tickets than I expected to sell.
The comedy club actually increased their maximum capacity by making the stage smaller and adding more chairs. Despite their best efforts, the comedy club had to turn a few people away because it still was over capacity.
The whole room was in deep guttural laughter for two hours straight. Nonstop.
A projector was mounted on the wall behind the stage. Words scrolled on the projector as the captioner furiously typed on the keyboard, barely keeping up with the show’s rapid fire pace.
After the show, an elderly woman, exhausted from laughing, came up to me in tears. She thanked me profusely for the once-in-a-lifetime experience, saying she had never been to a comedy show before in her life.
She squeezed her arms around me in what was a heartfelt hug.
I would be lying if I said my own eyes didn’t get misty. It was only then I realized how much impact two hours of laughter had on many people’s lives, including my own.
How did I sell so many tickets?
I was utterly shocked how well my flyer did.
To me, it seemed nothing special. Less than 250 words. I was straightforward in my writing without trying to get cute or clever with words.
Some people at the comedy club suggested I should become a copywriter. I was perplexed at such a suggestion. I was a software developer, not a writer.
Still, I couldn’t resist thinking about it. To satisfy my curiosity, I read books from the greatest copywriters to ever walk this planet: Joseph Sugarman, David Ogilvy and Gary Halbert to name a few.
A funny thing happened as I read these books. I started to understand why my comedy show copy worked so well:
I intimately understood the target market, genuinely felt their pain, and gave them an unique opportunity to fill their unmet need. Top that off with a sense of urgency and — BOOM! Off the tickets went.
With my background in technology and software, and with lots of writing practice, I became a technical copywriter and started my business.
I don’t just write, but I also use my web design savvy by making sure the copy is neat and easy to read. Eye-friendly web design boosts your conversions and sales.
Wait a second…
I still haven’t answered my own question:
Why do I see my deafness as a gift?
Being deaf is a strength when writing copy. Noise does not pollute my mind. I turn off my hearing aids. No distractions. Complete and total silence. I become so focused and block everything else out.
My surroundings could be burning down in a fire, and I’d still be focused on what I’m doing. OK, I’m probably exaggerating a little… at least I hope so, for my own sake!
But, of course, you don’t have to be deaf to be a good copywriter. You can learn how on your own. As I did, you can practice your craft until you get good.
Better yet, you can take the fast track to getting really good! If you enjoyed my article, please go to my website and consider joining my mailing list, where I share some of my best performing copywriting tips.
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