What a Comedian & a Best-Selling Author Can Teach Big Business About Better Sales

A good marketer knows their audience. A great marketer builds a personal connection with them.

Robin Williams signing a marine's cap
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robin_Williams_USS_Enterprise3.jpg

A comedian, a best-selling author, and a bunch of copywriters walk into a bar… heard that one already?

While we’re loaded for a real zinger there, I’m not joking when I say all three have more in common than you’d think.

For starters, they all understand how building a personal connection with your audience can make or break success. Without it, people stop coming to shows, readers stop reading, and customers stop buying services.

But what does it take to develop a meaningful bond with an audience? And, more to our point, how can it help brands ditch bland, ineffective copy and target customers with words that demonstrate knowledge and build trust?


Humoring Your Audience

Robin Williams made his name in comedy, but those that worked with him knew him for his research too. Robin spent days, even weeks, studying his audience before a performance. It gave him insight into what would reel in the crowd. He understood their victories and hardships; he grasped their daily lives and the issues that got their backs up.

He used this insider knowledge to maximum effect—masterfully injecting his routines with emotional references and cultural details that built rapport.

The brands that write winning copy are the ones that totally get their customers. And that requires research.


A quote from Stephen King, over an image of the author reclining in a chair next to a typewriter and discarded papers.
Credit: Lifehack Quotes


Make Them Smile, Make Them Scream  

Having penned over 60 novels, Stephen King knows a thing or two about engaging an audience.

Great novels inspire emotion. Just think about the chills that ran up your spine when psychotic nurse Annie Wilkes lops off Paul Sheldon’s foot in Misery.

The best copywriting doesn’t just communicate clearly—it grips readers with emotions as strongly as any thriller.

Have you ever felt furious, terrified, ecstatic, or passionate after reading about a software service? Or an insurance policy? A training program?

Not often, right? Too many businesses see their copy as filler rather than a keenly devised weapon in a marketing arsenal.


Reel ‘Em In… and then what? 

Consider the last novel that truly moved you. Or the last comedian that made you laugh out loud. If a company’s copy did the same, it’d certainly stand out in the sea of bland business content. Do you think you’d be more likely to buy?

The data suggests so: Studies show that an ad that stirs an emotional response impacts consumer’s intent to buy by a factor of 3-to-1.

Of course, it takes more than emotional connection to win customers—there’s a whole host of tactics that help compel people to buy. We share some of these trade secrets on our blog. But you can’t beat in-person training.

That’s why we’re launching a range of training courses aimed at helping brands use words to engage their customers and increase sales. We’re kicking off by demystifying the business of blogging—check out our DIY Blogging Course to learn more.

Written by Charlie Claxton and Chase Williams.

Charlie Claxton

Charlie Claxton

A native Brit, Charlie comes to MarketSmiths by way of Paris, Montreal, and Sydney.

She’s written for both B2B and B2C clients while on the content teams for global brands, digital agencies, and as a freelancer. She loves nothing better than crafting captivating copy for clients. Her experience ranges from blog posts to news articles to landing pages, with a focus on nonprofits, travel, and tech.

When not writing, she’s usually following her own foodie tour round NYC, kickboxing, or planning her next weekend trip out the city.

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