Big IdeasCopywritingSelling

How Shark Tank can make you a better copywriter

By 09/17/2013August 12th, 202210 Comments


A reality television show is expanding my creativity and helping me think bigger.

It’s also reinforcing my belief that specialized skills and passion matter a lot more than general education and a career track in today’s economy.

Shark Tank is a reality show where budding entrepreneurs try to convince five self-made millionaires to invest in their business.

In order to secure the funding to jump-start their business ideas, they need a big vision, knowledge of the market, and a sound plan. A little bit of start-up success shows the investor that there’s actually a demand for the product.

I’ve noticed three things when the entrepreneurs come out and make their case:

  1. They’re usually very passionate about what they’re doing. You rarely see this kind of passion from experienced employees in the corporate world or even optimistic recent graduates.You have to be a different kind of person to run your own show.
  2. The investors never ask the business owners where they went to school or what their past experience is. They care about what the product is, how it fits into the marketplace, and what the plan for capturing part of that demand is.
  3. As passionate as they are, the entrepreneurs don’t always package themselves well. A well-written presentation would increase their chances of getting the money they want. (As a copywriter, you wouldn’t have this problem.) I watch the show with a notebook and pen because I’m writing down ideas on how they could improve.

The takeaways?

What matters here are not your educational credentials, or lack thereof. What makes a difference are …

  • Your big ideas
  • Your specialized skills
  • The demand for those skills
  • Your ability to present yourself as a solution
  • Passion for what you’re doing

All five of those qualities can make you an in-demand, successful copywriter as well.

Check out Shark Tank on Friday nights at 9:00 PM ET on ABC. If you’ve seen the show before, tell me one thing you’ve learned from watching it.

Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (33 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers create profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and live, in-person business-building workshops. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Alan says:

    You’re absolutely right Steve, there is a great deal to be learned from watching these presentations and how the “Sharks” respond. Even their “friendly” banter often reveal surprising insights and takeaways.

    In regard to the passion of the presenters, I was so moved by one couple and their enthusiasm for the benefits of their product … no Shark took the bait … that I bought their product! Guess it’s true… copywriters are suckers for a good story! And I do love the product, by the way.

    • Steve Roller says:

      If they’re doing things right, Alan, we should be going to their website and buying the product! Can you imagine the boost it gives these people just from appearing on the show?

      One of my goals is to create a product and then get it on either HSN, QVC, or write an infomercial for it. And my big goal is not to present an idea on Shark Tank, but to be one of the sharks!

      • Alan says:

        That is a truly one bodacious goal Steve. A great example of thinking outside the “Tank”!

  • Jerry Bures says:

    Love Shark Tank! I too see the copywriting and business education in watching the show. So much so, that we require our home-schooled kids to watch it with us! It’s Family Movie Night “tweaked” at the Bureses.

    One thing I highlight with my kids is the differences in personality of the sharks. Of course, they all know it’s advised and advantageous to be respectful and genuinely nice to people, no matter your financial status or position in business. =:)

    • Steve Roller says:

      This is one show we all watch together in the Roller household, too, Jerry! Great lessons for kids about business, big ideas, presentation skills, negotiating, and yes, like you said, how to treat people. My kids have gotten really good at critiquing the entrepreneurs’ presentation skills, and guessing whether or not they’ll get a shark to bite.

  • Marvin Glassman says:

    I learned how to increase my base of clients from watching Shark Tank. Some of the entrepreneurs that won also became a strong source of clients for me, so I watch the show with the intention of writing for the winners as clients.

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