Is it possible to become such a great writer,
that you no longer remember being a bad one?
If you've never heard of me, hi there...
My name is Nicolas Cole
and I'm the #1 Writer on the Internet.
What does that mean, exactly?
From the ages of 23 to 26,
I wrote every single day on a website called
If you know my story already,
then you know I became the King of Quora.
I set the record
for the fastest user to ever go from
making their first post
to being crowned a "Top Writer"
in 9 months, flat.
(Quora gets over 300M unique visitors PER MONTH,
and only 0.5% of the users are
I discovered arguably the most valuable
content marketing hack
on the entire Internet.
...and nobody else knew it existed.
I realized that Quora
had columns with almost every major publication:
- Inc Magazine
- Business Insider
- Apple News
The list goes on and on.
So what did I do?
Smart of you to ask!
I studied what each one of these publications
liked to republish from Quora,
specifically the topics, the headlines,
and the way they seemed to want the content written...
And then I replicated it.
I created formulas for myself
that matched the style guide of each publication.
Then I would write an Answer on Quora (to someone else's Question)
formatted the same way an article would appear
on Inc, or Forbes, or Business Insider.
Guess how many of these publications
republished my work?
All of them.
In fact, in 2015, there was a 6 month period
where Inc Magazine was republishing one of my Quora answers
as an article
EVERY SINGLE WEEK.
For 6 months straight.
Eventually, I just sent them an email and was like,
"Look guys and gals, you clearly are enjoying
the Nicolas Cole experience.
Why don't you give me a column
of my own?"
Pretty easy to negotiate
when the other person is already hooked
on your product.
They gave me the column.
Guess what I did next?
This is what makes me the #1 writer on the Internet.
I doubled my output.
Instead of saying, "Thanks Quora, see ya!"
I wrote one article per day on Quora
(to keep all these distribution channels
I'd just unlocked open),
...and I wrote one article PER DAY
for Inc Magazine.
Nobody wrote as much as me.
In fact, I was one of their only daily columnists—
AND THEY HAVE HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS
In less than 30 days,
I went from being "the new guy"
contributing to Inc Magazine,
to being their Golden Boy,
"Nicky no H, the Viral King."
By the time I turned 25 years old,
I was averaging several million views
on my written content each month.
Between the 1.5M / month on Quora...
And the ~300,000 / month on Inc...
And all my articles getting republished on
dozens of other publications...
All I know is, my name was everywhere.
Next thing I know:
Podcasts start reaching out.
"Love your story, would you be willing to come on my show?"
Other columnists start reaching out.
"I've read a ton of your work, can I interview you for a piece I'm working on?"
Companies, founders, executives start reaching out.
"You have a very engaging writing voice.
Would you be willing to ghostwrite for me?"
Investors and venture capitalists start reaching out.
"Love reading your stuff on Quora. Let's keep in touch."
Google "Nicolas Cole"
and I own all of page 1, page 2, and page 3.
See, what my (well-intentioned, but highly outdated)
teachers never taught me in school was
something I had to
discover for myself:
When you can write well,
you command attention.
And when you command attention,
All throughout my twenties
people looked at how much time I spent
writing on Quora
"What on earth are you doing?"
Nobody saw what I saw.
Nobody understood my vision.
...until I turned 26 years old,
and had a web of content that stretched
across the entire Internet.
Over 50 million page views.
Articles in all the major publications.
Podcast features. Guest blogs. Interviews.
The list goes on and on...
And every single one of these pieces of content reinforced
the same 3 things:
1. My name, Nicolas Cole.
2. This is my story.
3. Here's what I'm good at (writing).
What began as just a journey
to become an independent writer...
SHOWED ME THE SINGLE GREATEST MARKETING HACK
IN THE WORLD.
More valuable than
the back door I found on Quora
straight into every major publication.
More valuable than even the tens of millions of views
I'd accumulated on my work.
After years of writing online,
what I discovered was the
of building yourself into a thought leader in your industry.
I remember when I was in college
and I used to say,
"I can't wait until a major publisher
Those ding-dongs don't know
poetry from a press release.
Besides, what's the one thing
every single major publisher promises
the wide-eyed writer
who just signed his or her rights away?
And what's the one thing
every single company,
every single entrepreneur, speaker,
(...do I have to keep going?)
What's the one thing
every single person in the entire WORLD
They want people to know 3 things:
1. Their name
2. Who they are
3. What they're great at
You're smart, so I'm sure you've
already drawn the parallel in your own mind
before I've even said it...
All that writing I did on Quora,
and the 400+ columns I wrote for Inc Magazine,
and the 100+ podcast interviews I've done,
and the hundreds of guest blogs...
ALL OF IT taught me something
so much more valuable
than just "how to write."
I didn't quite know how valuable this was
until I launched a company of my own.
When I was 26 years old,
and had tens of millions of page views
to my name,
I told my boss (who was my mentor at the time),
"Hey man, I think it's time I go my own way."
To be perfectly honest,
I was nervous.
I didn't know what life would be like
without a consistent paycheck.
If I could cover my overhead
as a freelance writer,
and eat at Chipotle once a week—
that's what "success" would look like to me.
call it "the Slingshot effect."
Because as soon as I took the leap
from my 9-5,
and I told all those hundreds of thousands of people
who read my writing each and every day
that I was a free agent...
I had more business than I knew what to do with.
My first month as a freelance ghostwriter,
I doubled my income.
My second month as a ghostwriter,
I doubled it again.
By the end of the 3rd month, December 2016,
I made more money in the last quarter of the year
than I had the ENTIRE 9 months prior
working 50 hours a week.
BY LEVERAGING MY PERSONAL BRAND!
Every single time I got on the phone with someone—
a founder of a company, or a well-known CEO
about my services as a ghostwriter—
they would ask,
"But what's the ROI of writing on the Internet?"
"You called me."
That's what I would say to them.
What's the ROI?
WHAT'S THE ROI?
The ROI, sir CMO extraordinaire,
is that you sent me an email
- Read one of my articles
- Enjoyed it
- Googled my name
- Were impressed by what you saw
- Reached out to me directly
That's the ROI.
...As I'm sure you can imagine,
it was the easiest sales pitch
in the entire world.
And the fact they were on the phone with me
and not someone else
proved my point exactly.
What happened next?
As a brand-spankin'-new
I was working 12 hours per day,
7 days per week,
ghostwriting at premium rates ($300 per article, then $400 per article, then $500 per article...),
for people who had sold companies for
millions of dollars.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Incredibly successful investors.
Speakers who had some of the most
I'd ever heard.
"Quit your job," I told one of my best friends.
I called up one of my closest friends of ten years,
and while ghostwriting 5 articles per day,
7 days per week,
I said, "I think I've stumbled onto something big. You need to quit your job and do this with me."
"But, but..." he said.
Until I visited him in Atlanta
and I opened up my email and showed him
my latest client was going to pay me $800 to write an 800-word article.
It was like I'd found gold.
See, most writers make the mistake
of valuing themselves by how many words
are on the page.
But stop for a second
and think about how silly that is.
That would be like
judging an app
by how many lines of code it has.
THAT'S NOT WHAT'S IMPORTANT!
No, what people CARE about
is whether the code WORKS or not.
They want to be taken on a ride.
They want an experience.
And wouldn't you believe it,
writing is the same way.
300 words, 750 words,
it doesn’t matter.
What matters is what you say,
how effectively you say it,
and the feeling the reader walks away with
at the end.
So, after my good, good friend finally had the cajones to tell his boss,
"I think I need to head out...
(No joke, that's verbatim what he said the day he gave his 2 weeks.
We laugh about it all the time.)
After he quit his job, we launched a company called
working exclusively with founders,
and industry experts
to write high-performing content for them online.
I'll skip to the good part:
We scaled that company from 0 to 7-figures in revenue
in less than 12 months.
*claps hands together*
THE POWER OF WRITING!
Which leads me back to you,
to answer the very question
I started this letter with:
Is is possible to become such a great writer,
that you no longer remember being a bad one?
And I know, because I did it.
When I graduated college,
I think the hardest thing for me to deal with
was how little everyone around me
supported my love for writing.
My parents, in particular, were really worried I'd struggle to earn a living.
I'll never forget the day my mom and dad
moved me into my first studio apartment
right after I graduated.
My dad shook my hand,
and hidden in his palm was $100.
All he said was,
And the look in his eyes seemed so sad,
like I'd let him down.
a poor writer.
I was poor alright.
So poor, that
for those 4 years, I said “No” to every short-term reward,
every odd job,
anything and everything that got in my way
of becoming the #1 Writer on the Internet.
I was obsessed.
I was hungry.
I didn't just want to be
one of those chapeau wearing,
red wine gulping,
window pane staring,
I wanted to be a sports car driving,
Hollywood Hills mastermind attending,
—and I wanted to own 100% of my work,
speak around the world,
and get paid (a lot of money)
to do what I love
every single day
for the rest of my life.
Dream big, or don't dream at all.
More than writing,
I love sharing what I know with others.
It just so happens
that I can do that most effectively
Which is why,
now that I'm in the position I am,
I want to give you
the 1 thing I didn't have:
When I was studying writing in college,
nobody told me the real value of great writing.
Not my parents.
Certainly not my friends.
Not my teachers, all of whom had books with major publishers...
...and told us students, "Good luck. No one makes a living as a writer."
Not even the so-called "experts"
I found online
had much concrete advice
besides how to "game" the Amazon algorithm
(which isn't a very reliable way to build a career).
So, what did I do?
I spent every single night after work
not just HOW to write,
or WHAT to write,
but really understanding the WHY
behind writing that stands the test of time.
Writing that engages and goes viral.
Writing that brings in hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars.
After everything I've learned,
I can confidently say I believe writing is one of the single most valuable and POWERFUL skills
you could possibly acquire.
Don't believe me?
How you write an email
dictates whether or not the other person responds favorably—
or doesn't respond at all.
How you write your bio
can either elevate you
or make you seem just like everybody else.
How you write—
how you COMMUNICATE
is what separates you
from the noise of the crowd.
It's what makes you stand out.
And, here's the real kicker:
Sharpening your message
is the secret to building
...not a dinky little freelance business.
A mentor of mine used to tell me,
"Cole, you want everything you do,
to be both TIMELY
Those words ended up impacting
the trajectory of my entire career.
...maybe even my entire life.
Which is why,
after a decade of mastering
the art of writing (and communicating)
after racking up tens of millions of views on my own work,
after having my writing republished in every major publication,
and being mentored
by some of the most brilliant, successful,
downright incredible humans
in both the writing world AND the business world,
I want to share everything I've learned,
and everything I continue to learn
Over a cup of coffee.
That's the deal.
See, as a writer,
I have a bit of a caffeine habit,
and I'm really only sharp
once I've had a cup.
...and not a cup of that weak stuff.
I mean one of those $4.97 cups of coffee
that tastes that gasoline,
with the Almond Milk upcharge and all.
How much would you pay
to sit down with me for an hour
once a month
to learn every single thing
that made me a successful writer
in record time?
I'm 28 years old.
And I can confidently say I spend more time
with people 10+ years older than me
and net worths like you wouldn't believe
than I do
people my own age.
I feel like I grow more
than most of my peers do
in an entire year.
if they're living a life that makes them happy,
then more power to them.
But I have big dreams for myself.
Just like you.
So, I'm not trying to spend all day Saturday
I'm trying to drive up to the Hills
for a big mastermind party
with multi-millionaires who
grab a drink and
say something totally off the cuff
that makes me rethink my entire approach
and even to life itself.
So, how much
would you pay
for me to run back to my computer
and write you directly
with all the things I've just learned?
On second thought...
Maybe I should charge
what my company workshops cost...
Let me tell you exactly why
I'm not going to do that:
Because a big part of how I got
to where I am today
is I would work very,
to get coffee
with the people I wanted to learn directly from.
Nothing makes you grow as fast as mentorship.
I now consider
many of those $4.97 cups of coffee
to be some of the best investments
I've ever made in my entire life.
One coffee meeting,
the guy I met with
(who has a house that looks like a spaceship)
said to me:
people don't buy what you're selling.
They buy the RESULT
they already desire
that you're helping facilitate."
I walked away from that coffee meeting
and spent two full days
doing nothing but refining
my company's message.
I then wrote dozens,
maybe close to 100 articles online to
test different messaging techniques, seeing
which articles resonated
and went viral.
And one of them DID go viral.
I published it first on Inc, and it got ~40,000 views.
Then Business Insider picked it up,
and it racked up close to 3 million views.
Then Business Insider reposted it
(because it was such a hit)
and it racked up another 1.2 million views.
And I just saw they reposted it AGAIN
and it has already racked up over 500,000 views.
Anyway, I have stories like this for days.
My point is,
I get emails every single day from writers,
even high school kids looking for
Everyone wants to know:
- What mistakes not to make,
- What habits they need to deploy
- What techniques they can learn
- And what "hacks" they can implement
To go from...
"No one is listening to me,"
"Thanks very much, I'm really glad you enjoyed my last piece!"
It's a transformation all of us want.
We want to know how to make ourselves heard
in this busy, noisy world.
We want to know how we can hold people's attention—
not just right now,
but over the long term.
But most of all,
we all want to share what we know
for the benefit of others,
and position ourselves for success in the process.
Whether what we know is extremely tactical,
or just downright thought-provoking.
That's what I want to teach you how to do.
That's the transformation I want to help you make.
So, here's the deal.
I'm a cheap date.
You cover my $4.97 coffee,
and I'll tell you everything I know,
every single month, for as long as you find value in this monthly letter.
The moment you feel like you've learned enough,
or you're bored of my stories of who I meet in Hollywood Hills—
like the guy who invented the swipe-right feature on Tinder,
or the guy who sold his company for $200M and gave me some of the best business advice I've ever heard,
you're free to unsubscribe.
In fact, if even the FIRST letter doesn't immediately grab you,
just shoot me an email,
request a refund,
and I'll give you your money back.
I'm not blocking off time every month to write something this important
just to keep your $4.97.
I've learned there are far easier ways to make money.
No, this cup of coffee is out of principle alone.
I'll also be checking my email regularly
looking for individual questions
as inspiration for the next Nicolas Cole Letter.
So please, if you have specific questions,
And I'll do my best to answer them directly in the next few letters.
The Nicolas Cole Letter will also give you access to a few things I won't be publicizing anywhere else.
In fact, only the people subscribed here will even know about some of the cool things I'm going to be offering.
Each month, I'll be hosting a live writing workshop (over Google Hangout or something like that...),
where I'll be digging DEEP into some of the most important aspects of writing in the digital age:
- How to write headlines built for virality.
- How to come up with a never-ending list of content ideas.
- 5 easy but incredibly important steps you can take to 10x your personal brand online.
...and things like that.
I'll ALSO be giving you discounts on
EVERY SINGLE BOOK, PRODUCT, AND COURSE
I ever release.
I'm planning on publishing two books in 2019.
I'm going to give every reader of The Nicolas Cole Letter
a FREE copy of the eBook,
and a discounted version of the print.
Because I want to give you all the things I didn't have.
I want to shorten your growth curve by a factor of 10.
If it took me 3 years to learn how to write viral articles,
experimenting night after night after night,
then I want to help you master it in 6 months.
If it took me 5 years to figure out
how to build a (very successful) business around WRITING,
then I want to help you do it in one year.
I am a firm believer in paying it forward,
and reaching back to help the next person.
So, after years and years of digging deep into the digital writing world,
after years of being a poor writer investing endlessly in myself,
and after finally making it to the other side,
let me save you from having to take the scenic road.
Let's grab coffee,
so your own journey can move a whole lot faster.
Copyright © 2018 Nicolas Cole. All Rights Reserved.