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The Best You on the Planet

Aug 17, 2007
You can learn a lot by listening. Recently, I interviewed Craig Perrine for a project about list marketing.

Craig spent a lot of time talking about knowing who you are, and knowing who your readers are.

It's important to be real. If you have a firm grasp on who you are- as a marketer, copywriter, author, or musician- you can speak with your authentic voice.

That's the important thing.

It doesn't matter what niche you pick, there will be other people writing about and marketing that niche.

Cool. Those people are your future Joint-Venture partners. In the meantime, the thing to remember is no matter how many people are telling the story- if you're telling YOUR story in YOUR voice, it's going to ring true and people are going to want to hear it.

If you're telling somebody else's story, and trying to sound like somebody else- well, bluntly, why bother? Who wants an imitation?

There's a great story that B.B. King tells about talking to, of all people, a cab driver. It was late at night, after the gig, and B.B. was depressed because he couldn't play like T-Bone Walker.

The cab driver told B.B. to not worry about that- he may not be the best T-Bone Walker in town, but he could be the best B .B. King on the planet.

That's the trick. From deciding what niche you want to work in, to writing your sales copy, to writing your email marketing material- the hardest thing to do is keep it simple. Just tell your story like you would tell a friend.

After the interview, we hung out on the manicured lawn of his very nice house talking about the time we wasted before we "got it."

Craig has only been working in internet marketing since 2003. To go from "unknown" to "speaking at Big Seminar 7" that fast is just amazing.

I learned a lot doing the interview.

One of the things we talked about was how hard it is for beginning marketers to get started. It's hard to believe how easy it is to crank out product, once you realize that it's easy. Realizing that it's easy is the hard part.

Since Craig's the email marketing guy, we talked a lot about email. I was especially interested in that moment when you've built a small list, and you have to write that very first email.

It can be a scary, lonely moment.

Those of you who have already started building your list and developing your relationship(s) with them, know what I'm talking about.

It reminded me of when I first started producing records.

Actually, in my case, there should have been a new job description: "overproducer." As in, "This CD was overproduced by "Pat O'Bryan."

It came from insecurity and fear. I can see that, now.

If one rhythm guitar part would work, I used three. If one background vocal part would be enough, I'd use six. One time I used 28!!!

My mistake? Focusing on exactly the wrong things.

I was making records to impress other musicians. Musicians don't buy records. Dancers do. Lovers do. Truck drivers buy records. Musicians get them from other musicians or steal them.

The same thing is true in the internet marketing world. I could waste a lot of time wondering what Joe Vitale or Armand Morin think about my writing. Actually, I could get scared shirtless and freeze completely- and not write a word- if I worried about it too much.

Wanna know a secret?

Joe and Armand aren't gonna buy my stuff.

Joe's a dear friend, and I like Armand and am looking forward to getting to know him better- but they're not my audience. You are. And your readers are YOUR audience. Don't worry about the Joe's and Armand's of the world. They get infoproducts free- by the truckload.

Personally, I like raw music. A lot of people do.

Back in the day, when I was playing- and living- the blues, the real good music was in the dives. At least in Austin. Stevie Ray was at the Continental Club, Delbert McClinton was at Soap Creek Saloon. W.C. Clark was at the Austin Outhouse. The Fabulous T-Birds were at the Rome Inn.

That's where the action was. Little smoky joints with a hint of danger and romance... sometimes more than a hint. Of both. We were young, then, and stupid.

I love the microtonal slide guitar work of Muddy Waters- The over-the-top vocals of Howling Wolf. Even some of the newer things- Ray Wylie Hubbard's last few CDs are as rough and raw as anything Lightnin' Hopkins ever did.

Lucinda Williams, Eric Clapton (when he's playing blues, he plays real blues), early Peter Green.

Of course, I like Pat Metheny, too. He plays guitar like he's been practicing twenty-four hours a day. On another planet. For three lifetimes.

But, especially when I was in the music biz full time, what I loved was the "real" stuff. Raw, rough and dirty.

My live show was always that way. Unpredictable.

Why, then, did I make my CDs, and the ones I produced for others, sound like pale imitations of Steely Dan? Multi-tracked, pitch-corrected, over-dubbed to absolute lifelessness...

I can remember one day when I locked myself in the studio and spent eight hours on a 30 second guitar solo. That's sick.

Here's the movie that was going through my mind: "what will Eric Johnson think when he hears this lead?" What will Stevie Ray Vaughan think?"

The fact is, if either of those guys ever got a copy of the CD, it would be because I handed it to them. They weren't my customers.

And, while we're exploring the truth, they both would have appreciated an honest and raw statement from me musically, a lot more than they would have respected an over-produced, over-dubbed, mess- like the ones I came up with. All that production and obfuscation gave me a place to hide, where I couldn't really be criticized- but I also couldn't be seen.


It gets worse, though. I know some very talented musicians (Terri in Houston, can you hear me?) who never got around to recording anything. Nothing was good enough... they were so concerned with what other people would think or say that they never had the guts to commit themselves to recording their music.

Some great music got lost that way.

The solution: whether you're making music, or art, or sales letters, or love letters, or writing emails to your subscribers- just say what you've got to say and be yourself.

I've been threatening to re-record a lot of my songs, now that I'm not really focusing on the music business anymore. I don't have anything to lose, so I don't need to hide behind the "wall of sound."

The hard, cold truth is that I would have been much more successful if I had just been "me." Warts (and flat vocals) and all.

What's this got to do with internet marketing?

Well, everything.

And then some.

If you're sitting around, waiting to write to your subscribers- or to start building your list and your relationships- what are you waiting for?

This is another point Craig and I hammered out- even if you don't have anything new to say, the fact that you're saying it in your voice is going to make it interesting. As long as you're telling your story honestly, people are going to want to hear it. The only mistake you can make is to not start now.

Don't let the quest for perfection stand in the way of building your portable empire.
About the Author
Pat O'Bryan is the CEO of Practical Metaphysics, Inc., Director of the Milagro Research Institute, an award winning songwriter, recording artist, visual artist, author, video producer and internet marketer. He is the host and promoter of the "Your Portable Empire" Un-Seminars.
Work at home, or from anywhere - http://www.patobryan.com
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