Friday, November 1, 2013

The Story Mike Dillard Never Told

...because he hasn't yet learned it.

Stage Mess + Wrong Focus

The old traveling minstrel was able to make a living and support his travel habits by  telling the same stories over and over - leaving town when he'd exhausted everyone's patience by telling them too many times, losing their entertainment value.

But - you can't tell a story you don't know.

And Mike has this problem - which is why he's searching for answers.

If you have one story to tell, you need to constantly put new decorations on the set and new costumes on the players, and a new title on the marquee - so people continue to come and pay to be amused, enthralled, and enlightened.

So it is with the Mike Dillard Show.

While you can take his stories and apply them to almost any circumstance, you'll see from any study that his success is actually built from several foundation pieces which are just tips of icebergs, repeated over and over to build something solid enough to put a play on.

In all of humanity, you'll find that mostly there are two main stories:
  • How Come
  • How To

For Dillard, the How Come is explained by direct-response psychology, and the How To is a membership site.

And these two skill-sets can be re-dressed and re-spun indefinitely.

All you have to do is to learn how to copywrite and market, and how to set up and run a membership site to get people paying your costs over and over.

(Why Dillard has had such success is that most people won't learn either. Even while Joe Sugarman says that just partially learning copywriting will improve your sales markedly, I can count the decent books available on building and running memberships using just a few fingers of one hand. Find that .0001% of people who dedicated themselves to learning how to write copy, plus maybe just as many figuring how to set up and operate a membership - and you'll see that you have a very rare individual. Even Dillard agrees he knows next to nothing about the technical end. So if you just studied these two subjects, the world would be completely open to you - just as it has for Dillard in the two outrageous successes he's already had.)

That simple formula (of getting people to pay you for the same story over and over) has been used since the times before our Histories were being written.

This old, old story is simple to make money with. Tell people you know how to save their lives and get them to pay you to take them to the Promised Land. Even Dorothy of Oz was able to persuade her three companions to set out to see this Wizard with no more than a hope based on a rumor.

You don't even have to know where you are going - you just need to be willing to lead. Somewhere. Anywhere. As long as they feel they are making progress, they'll keep following you and paying you. It hardly even matters that you're practically travelling in circles - as long as they're satisfied to continue paying you, you keep leading them.

This is the difference between a Scam and "The Real Thing(TM)." Both use marketing to spin their stories. Scammers will take you somewhere and leave you. Then they simply put new costumes and stages up and attract a new audience. Successful Marketers will keep re-dressing the scene and actors, but they leave the audience satisfied and moving from one act to the next.

Much like the old story-tellers from the "dime novel" era (as well as Shakespeare) would leave cliff-hangers from one scene to the next. The audience is always left wanting to know the answers to questions of "what's going to happen next?" and "but - what became of Little Nell?" If you've ever read Louis La'Mour, you'll know this type of writing style. He also extended his characters between stories, such as his long series about the Sackett family, many of which were made into movies.

That's entertainment.

There are far more How To's and How Come's which explain why copywriting, sales, and membership sites work. Each are actually broad subjects with many teachers.

All you need to know is that they do - unless you are curious enough to take your skill-sets to the next level, and even beyond that.

(To some degree, even in this article, I'm simply redressing the stage and actors, leaving you with a cliff-hanger.)

Your other alternative is simply turning around and doing more of the same, indefinitely. Lots of people (about 97-99%) do this for their entire lives. That's why we have jobs (both factory and cubicle) and why we ship our children off to schools where they are all taught how to keep a job.

There is a 1-3% out there who have managed to shrug off this training. (Thomas A. Edison was home-schooled, as well as Abraham Lincoln. Most of the richest people on the planet either never finished college, or went to no-name schools to get degrees.)

And these few people control the bulk of the wealth out there. I wasn't surprised to hear the other day that around 90% of the stock that changes hands on Wall Street is owned by this minority of people.  So the media saying that this or that affected the stock market is just putting new window dressing up so you'll come in and buy. Same old story, different reasons. Some government report comes out, the market moves up or down that day as a result. Oh, really?  (Of course, in this Internet age, you see that the media on both left and right are themselves just repeating the same stories of mayhem and destruction over and over, so the bulk of humanity will stay glued to their TV sets and advertisers will continue to pay. So it is with what passes for movies...)

The moral to this story - is that Mike Dillard is right. Once you have a model, then keep using it as long as it's successful. New scenery, new costumes, new acts. Keep the money flowing in.

It's a life, after all. Or so we've been trained.

The other option you have is to continue asking "how come?" and "what if?"

The trick is to get people to pay you to tell your story, regardless of what you find.

But as Dillard shows, that's really no trick at all. Any good copywriter can do it. Just pay someone to run the lights, draw the curtain, and sell the tickets out front.

See you in the movies.

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