Osmosis Weekly #0010: Micro-Essays, Twitter Hacks, & Pulp

• 6 min read

Hey Osmotics,

Inside today's Osmosis Weekly...

  • Featured Rabbit Hole: Ship 30 for 30
  • Growth Hacks: Leveraging Twitter
  • Dumb Things to Share: Artists go to war

I'm in the next cohort of Dickie Bush's Ship 30 for 30. It's where a bunch of people write 250-word "micro-essays" for thirty days straight. It sounds masochistic, I know. Why would I do this? A few reasons...

  • First, it's not to build a writing habit. While that's one of their selling points, that's not where I'm stuck. For me, it's more about...
  • Building a platform. As I shared in issue #0008, it's clear that anyone looking to build a personal brand all go down the same route: start with warm outreach... then build an audience on social media (because that's where the people are), and pull them into your funnel (newsletter, course or whatever).

I'm having this conversation quite a bit with one of my clients who built his business purely on affiliates/cold traffic βž” VSL funnel βž” $$$. The concept of "building a personality brand" by posting a ton of free content on social media is foreign to him. And that's perfectly fine. Many DTC brands don't do social media. Especially DR ones like the one my client runs.

And that's my fascinating observation for this week. A lot of "social media agencies" will sell you on building a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. But do you really need it?

Context is everything... as I often tell people I coach and mentor. If you can apply the same method to everything you do without nuance, everyone would be fit, rich, and happy.

I'd argue that most DTC brands probably shouldn't do social media... unless they have a strong, clear, interesting voice. And most...don't. Or mess up.

Who does it right? The folks at Wendy's have it down cold. Moonpie is hilarious. And I love it when Burger King trolls McDonald's. Hmmm... I guess I only follow junk food brands on Twitter. Weird.

Finally, another reason I'm doing Ship 30? Most important to me...

  • Figuring out what content resonates. This is the core struggle that I spoke about in issue #0008 as well. Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush's philosophy of "practicing in public" simply means throwing your content out there to see what gets the most engagement. By doing that, you quickly fine-tune your content to match the market. It's basically a live-test of product-market matching.

No presh, but if you want to watch me write thirty "micro-essays" in thirty days, follow @colinyjchung. +


Growth Hacks Worth Checking Out...

This week: Using Twitter for marketing research, simple U/X principles, and groupthink.

Leveraging Twitter

Can you "reverse-engineer" Twitter for market research? (This is great if you're a copywriter).

Let's say you're trying to find out the exact words... and the type of content that resonates with your market. You can do an advanced search on Twitter, and filter based on likes and retweets.

Here's a simple one:

"copywriting" min_faves:1000 lang:en -filter:links -filter:replies

This one will search for tweets that mention "copywriting" and got at least 1,000 likes in English, ignoring links and replies.

So if you're trying to "hack Twitter" and become known as a copywriting guru... you do this search and now you have the most popular posts on copywriting in Twitter's history.

The next step is to study, swipe and be inspired by that content. (And put your own spin on it, of course).

And let's be clear here - this isn't a for Twitter only. Need inspiration for other platforms, blog posts and your own video content? You now have a list of the best ideas that got "liked" the most.

Here's another one:

(from:dickiebush) min_retweets:1000 lang:en -filter:links -filter:replies

Let's say you follow several "gurus" that you're inspired by. For this filter, you're looking up all of Dickie Bush's posts that got retweeted at least 1,000 times.

Again - we're not here to steal content outright, but to study what works and what doesn't.

In fact, as a direct response marketer, you can take this content and write ads with them.

This stuff was originally from a thread from Dickie Bush with supplemental insights from me.

The Laws of UX (User Experience)

This is a great little site that teaches you some foundational design principles for user experience.

I Love Individuals. I Hate Groups.

In 1997, Jon Stewart interviewed George Carlin on "40 Years of Comedy". This quote resonated with me...

I love individuals. I hate groups of people. I hate people who have a group of people with a common purpose because pretty soon they have little hats, and arm bands, and fight songs... and a list of people they're going to visit at 3AM. So I dislike and despise groups of people but I love individuals. Every person you look at you can see the universe in if you're really looking.

Dumb Things to Share With Loved Ones

Because wasting each other's time with trivia is what we call "bonding" around here...

  • Are you ready to lose two hours of your time? McKay Robbins, staff writer at The Atlantic, asked Twitter for fun facts to share with his kids (8 and 6). Twitter did not disappoint. (Thanks to Osmosis member Robert G. for this one). Some of my favorite below:

There's more, obviously. And you should waste your morning (or afternoon, or evening) reading every single one.

  • Pulp Fiction Covers. I love the pulp art they used to put on paperback novels. They remind me of my childhood -- when the library babysat me and I would wander into the "adult section"... or when I spent hours foraging through old fantasy novels at used bookstores. Aside from Sean Phillips, an artist who often collaborates with noir graphic novelist Ed Brubaker... very few people still paint in this style. Here's a great collection of old sci-fi & fantasy fiction book covers. (Thanks to Joseph at Plural for sending this to me.)

  • War of Art. What if... we had artists fight each other (through comic strips) in single-elimination playoffs? Wonder no more...

Coming Soon(ish)...

Book summaries go through seven stages at Osmosis: Reading, Raw Notes, First Draft, Editor Review, Revisions, Gif Hunting, and Publishing. Here's a status report of what's in the queue...
  • Breakthrough Advertising (1966) by Eugene Schwartz : 75% First Draft

OK - Time for some real talk here - I am running into some major walls with this summary.

On one level, it's a book that's dense AF and anyone who has anything to do with marketing should read the actual book. On another level, I have this book on a pedestal and tearing it down to its atoms is hard. On yet one more level, this is my industry. I find myself adding extra insights, modernizing the 50-year-old concepts, and making sure I don't sound like an idiot.

So I'm going to pivot here and do a summary of a simpler book first and take the pressure of Breakthrough Advertising for now.

Obviously, this isn't fair to our paying Osmosis+ members. I want you to know that I will cheerfully refund anyone who asks at this point. I apologize for not shipping this earlier. Simply hit 'reply' and let me know. You may also log into your Osmosis account and downgrade your membership to "free" until I have more summaries in the bag.

In other news - I am speeding through Soundtracks (2021) by Jon Acuff. It's a solid book with a nice comfy density level of 3.0. I might summarize that one first.

  • Trusted Advisor (1998) by David H. Maister : 0% Raw Notes
  • The Hard Things About Hard Things (2014) by Ben Horowitz : 75% Read

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