Embracing Diversity: Writing for the Firearms Community with John McCoy

About This Episode

In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with John McCoy, Firearms writer to discuss the world of firearms through the lens of a SEO writer. John also touches on the diversity of gun communities and the need to adapt writing styles to cater to different audiences. Watch this episode for a fun and interesting dive into this latest development in payments and fintech.

Insights In This Episode

  • Rifle restrictions and magazine limitations often focus on the wrong statistics and don’t address the real issues.
  • Some first-time gun buyers in liberal areas may be leftists who are concerned about crime and personal safety.
  • Writing for different gun communities requires understanding their specific sensitivities and needs.
  • SEO can help bring in new gun owners by creating inclusive and informative content.
  • The gun industry is diverse, and the writing should reflect that diversity.
  • Different gun businesses cater to specific regions and demographics, and the writing should adapt accordingly.
  • And SO much more!

About Tactical Business

Tactical Business is the weekly business show for the firearms industry. The podcast features in-depth interviews with the entrepreneurs, professionals and technologists who are enabling the next generation of firearms businesses to innovate and grow.

Episode Transcript

Wade: Welcome to the Tactical Business Show. I’m your host, Virginia Beach based firearms entrepreneur and copywriter Wade Skalsky. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the firearms industry. We’ll speak with successful firearms industry entrepreneurs about their experiences building their companies, leaders and legislators who are shaping the industry, and tech executives whose innovations will reshape the future of the firearms industry.

Wade: Well, hello there. Wade Skalsky here, host of the Tactical Business podcast. And today I’m here with SEO expert, freelance writer and general. Just bad man in general, in a good way, John McCoy. John, How are you doing, sir?

John: Good. How you doing, Wade? Good to talk to you. Good.

Wade: Good to chat again, man. Are you staying cool or are you having sort of an Indian summer or what’s going on where you’re at?

John: I wouldn’t call it an Indian summer. I’d say apocalyptic.

Wade: Probably nice things are just about to start on fire.

John: Yes. Yeah, we’re like this close.

Wade: Without getting too specific, what part of the United States are you in generally?

John: I’m in between Nebraska and Oklahoma between those two. So that pretty vaguely. Is it down?

Wade: I vaguely know where that is. So that’s good. I mean, you’re not in Arizona. That’s where I lived for a long time. And there things do start on fire.

John: Yes. Yes, they do.

Wade: Good, good. Well, I’m excited to talk to you today. We’re going to be talking about writing. We’re going to be talking about SEO. We’re going to be talking about firearms here on the Tactical Business podcast. We’d like to talk about all of those things. Let’s do a little backstory, though, for those who may not know how you got to where you are, how you got into the writing game, give us a little origin story of where you started.

John: Sure. We’ll take it back to pre 911. I was a college freshman when it happened and kind of hated school and didn’t have really a lot of direction for life. So I enlisted in the Air Force after 911 and did four years in Texas and then another nine years in the Kansas Air National Guard. I guess I just gave away where I live.

Wade: So I think most people could figure out where that state is located between, you know.

John: Exactly. So I have always been in that crowd, never on the tactical end. This is all support as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force. But I grew up shooting and it was always just probably my favorite hobby. And it was in good company. And the Air Force, there were a lot of rednecks from the Midwest that enlisted, so we would always talk guns and that just never really left me. After my time in the Air Force, I transitioned to a civilian role with the Army and worked for them for another seven and a half years. But I went ahead and got away from the Air National Guard. Since it wasn’t a full time thing, it was just leeching too much of my life. And at the time, because of some personal woes that we don’t have to get into, we were pretty really tight. And the difference my monthly drill check with the guard was about 350 bucks a month and at the time, like that made a lot of difference to me. And we were just trying to figure out how to scrape up another 350 bucks a month. And this would have been late 2015. And Upwork, which I know you’re familiar with, had just changed its name from Odesk I believe, and I’d never heard of it. I couldn’t have identified what a freelance writer is or what they do, but I found it and I went ahead and built a profile and I’d basically forgotten all about it. After a couple of months of it just sitting there the way it used to work, you could take these skills assessments and I don’t think they’re on there anymore.

John: But I was one of a very small handful of people that had aviation on theirs. And I will get to how I got into guns. But it actually all started with aviation. This guy reached out to me and I think it was like ten bucks an hour and I was editing his newsletter for like 20 or 30 hours a month, and it pretty much replaced my drill pay. And that was kind of like the proof of concept. I’m like, Hey, you really can make money on here. But it wasn’t really sure in terms of scale. I was just like, Well, 2 or 300 bucks a month. It was what I needed at the time. So fast forward a couple of years and I’d been doing I guess it’s only about a year I’ve been doing that contract and picking up a couple of small ones. There are 20 or 30 bucks here or there, but there was evidence that you could really do this, you could do this full time, but I wasn’t really thinking about that. And one day, because all of my feed was just populated with aviation stuff and one day I was like, I should just see if I can find any gun gigs on there. And lo and behold, I just put in like firearms, I think was the first search that I put in there. And it brought up it was Amazon.com. I think it’s one of those sites that kind of aggregates the best ammo prices I.

Wade: Buy ammo off.

John: Of there. Yes, it was ammo Seeker. It was another one. Similar name, same idea. It was just an aggregate website where they’re pulling in all that stuff. And I saw the ad and they were looking for someone that had firearms riding experience. Like, you know what? I’m just going to shoot him to him straight and let him know that I wasn’t BS’ing. Actually, no. So I was talking about an AR build that I had just done and just gun stuff that a non firearms enthusiast would not know what I was talking about. And I think he got back with me in like ten minutes and he’s like, Yeah, you’re on. I was writing ammo. It was all ammunition descriptions, like listing descriptions for all these different ones, like 40 grain, 22 long rifle and then Winchester double up Buck. He’d give me a list of them and I had to write these like 200 word descriptions for each one. So that was really how I broke into the firearms side. And ever since then, I’ve had two distinctly separate sides of kind of mechanical slash aviation side. And then the firearm side is off to the other side because those two communities, aircraft mechanics and stuff, they’re usually shooters. They’re more in that camp. But I do a lot of writing with corporate aviation and they’re a little more proper. So I keep those two sides apart from each other. Yeah, and a.

Wade: Lot of people that aren’t in the firearms industry don’t realize that the closer that you get to engineer, the more likely it is that person shoots, right? Yes.

John: Oh, absolutely. The suits are not in that. They are very much kind of in the alphabet soup of He/Him type of there in there in that camp. But yeah, you’re absolutely right. The closer you get. To the nuts and bolts of the aircraft. The Venn diagram becomes a circle at that point.

Wade: Right. And there’s no link between rednecks.

John: And shoot and rednecks at Wrench.

Wade: Yeah. Yeah. You touch on a really good point, too, about the fact that if you’re going to write for that industry, it’s definitely something that you have to have some experience in because people will be able to identify right away if you know what you’re writing about or not.

John: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s 100%. When I was talking to them specifics about my build, that was it. He knew that I was a gun guy. I couldn’t bluff that because, I mean, just a writer who is who is dropping 100 applications a day, he probably doesn’t know what a bolt carrier group is. So I was kind of describing and saying what I’d built with and the company is about it for him. So that was the first one that I actually had some real traction in the industry. And then night vision sights, they do night sights. They were a startup at the time. This would have been like 2017 ish. They brought me on. I did some more. I think that was maybe still descriptions, but I think I did a couple of blog posts for them. And the other thing I found about this really cool about the gun industry and is that they send you swag. I’d never written in any other industry that sends you anything, and then I’m like, Oh, this is awesome. These guys send me stuff like they sent me a set of night sights from my MMP and I was like, Well, that’s pretty cool, right? And yeah, they’re still on there. So so I wrote for them for a few months and then my first kind of bigger break while I’m still just a part. This is still like 2017 to 2020 ish. I landed with Weidner’s. They’re kind of a competitor with Brownells and Midway kind of in that camp. A lot of reloading supplies, selling parts for AR’s and stuff like that. They’re a little bit more heavily, kind of like Brownells in the space of reloading stuff. So I wrote for them for a while and then just that one just kind of petered out.

John: And so did a lot of one off gigs in the firearms space, probably up until about. 2020 actually until 2021, 2022, maybe even right now. Really, this is the first time that I’ve seen that as not being so much of a side product. But I want to lean into it like completely lean into that industry. But so anyway, I ended up picking up a few other gigs here and there, and then my big one that’s been one of my, my not necessarily bread and butter monetarily, but definitely my biggest gun contract has been Bear Creek Arsenal, which I can say that because I have a they gave me a byline, so my name is on all of my stuff. So that and that’s been awesome. A lot of traction, a lot of visibility on those posts. So that brings me up to 2021 and I 2020 chaos ensues. I was a federal employee and without getting too much in the politics, I spent 13.5 years in the military getting inoculated for everything under God’s green earth. And when 2021 rolled around and it was kind of obvious where things were going, we my wife and I had been kicking around the idea of me taking on writing full time, and I knew that a mandate for a certain thing was going to get issued. And I said, I’m not doing it. I had to when I was wearing the uniform, I’m not doing it anymore. So April 20th, 21, basically I packed my bags and said goodbye to civil service in the military altogether and hit the ground running as a writer. And here I am now.

Wade: And you’ve been writing ever since.

John: Yep, absolutely.

Wade: So and I think you touched on a lot of really good points. Point number one is that the content writing by itself is a hard gig, right? So writing anything online, writing for businesses online just by itself is a hard gig. In terms of the firearms community. There’s a whole nother level of complexity there because like you said, you’ve got to be knowledgeable about what you’re writing about or people are going to sniff that out right away. You have to have oh, man. Background, right? Yeah. Then there’s the compliance issues because you’ve got all sorts. It’s a it’s a very regulated industry. So then you have all these sort of compliance issues. So now walk me through a little bit sort of the difference that you had between going from more content to more the SEO side and maybe some people might not even know about how SEO works or what it is kind of if you could just kind of walk me through that for a little bit and we’ll go from there.

John: Yeah. So it’s funny, my very first gig that going way back to the newsletter, he was like, You’re gonna be doing editing, but you also need to do some writing. I was like, Oh, okay. I have no clue what I’m doing. None whatsoever. No idea. And and he’s like, Try to make sure you optimize it for SEO. And I’m like, like you said, this is like early 2016 and I’m like, What’s SEO? So go Google it. I’m like, Oh, okay, Search engine optimization, that makes sense, but you want Google to see it. So that was my very first. I was such a rank novice seven years ago, didn’t even know what it was. I’d never heard of the term. And so, I mean, my skills in it were totally rudimentary for a long time. And I mean it. The thing about SEO is that it is not a static, it’s a completely dynamic process. It is always changing. So the faster someone, especially if anyone is aspiring to be into this, is understanding that that the game is always in a perpetual state of motion. It is never sitting still because the algorithms are always changing. The things that Google and Bing are looking for are always changing, and then there’s always new search engines, DuckDuckGo entering the mix, and there’s a few others. But so you always have to be on your toes. But I didn’t start with an interest in SEO. I it was just a means to an end to make me a better writer and to make my writing more persuasive, but more, more importantly, to get it ranking.

John: It really wasn’t until probably I started talking to you six, eight months a year ago. I don’t know that I started realizing that people were not really so interested in the writing component as they were the SEO component. Because if you go on LinkedIn or Twitter, I don’t know what to call it anymore. I like to call it Twitter because it’s kind of like an X, right? That if you just look for writers, you will be absolutely inundated with writers, whether or not they’ve ever produced a single piece of content published anywhere besides Twitter is hard to verify, but. But they’re everywhere. But everyone is interested in SEO because I think there’s kind of a mysticism around it, like it’s some something that is not achievable, which is crazy because I assure you if you can write emails and people will pay you for them, you can absolutely understand SEO wrapped up in all of its complexities. The idea is pretty simple that you want to look for key words and phrases that people are looking for. Really, SEO, at its most boiled down point is just understanding human nature because you’re trying to get their eyeballs on the thing that you are talking about and you want to do that better than the other guy who’s got basically an identical service or product, who’s also trying to get eyeballs on it. So it’s kind of a chess match.

Wade: And it’s it’s a system like anything else, right? And that’s what totally once people understand that and especially business owners, you know, business owners think it’s a tech thing, right? So they think that it’s something that only, you know, a tech nerd will understand. Okay. And in reality, it’s just a system just like anything else. And if you can figure it out and be consistent with that system, then you get these returns continually over time. So I like the example you told me one time where I think you wrote a blog post six years ago or something like that, that it was still one of your legal posts. That was six years ago, still ranking number one. You had to do that blog post one time and they’re still getting traffic off that post.

John: Yes, substantial traffic. Yeah. And that’s so that is. You’re exactly right. I was actually just reading an a ahrefs article. It’s one of the major SEO curators and it said it described it best as a system of systems. And that’s really all it is. That is it is not a tech thing. And that’s good because I am not a tech guy, so that’s hard to understand that it is something wrapped up in the most powerful system company of the world is known, or one of them, which is Google. It’s a huge tech company, but SEO itself is not. You’re absolutely right. It’s a system. And when you you you’re not trying to game the system, you need to understand the system and understand what it’s looking for. And that is what makes it so powerful. And that is what makes content writing. And I’ll divest in that a little bit. Maybe no one even knows what it is outside of our circle of content versus copywriting, but they’re two very different things. So copywriting, you’re looking for a direct response, you’re there to pitch a product, you are there to win hearts and minds and get them to sign up for your service or buy your product. That’s copywriting. Content writing is different. Content writing is more looking to be an authority, what they call it a thought authority or can’t remember what the jargon is. But basically that’s the gist of it. Content is looking to present something what’s. Yes, yes. Thought leadership. They’re just like a thought leader.

Wade: Just shout at you different times thought leader. Just shout it out.

John: Thought leaders. Yeah. No, you’re absolutely right. That’s what it was. So content is not you’re still trying to sell like we all are all in this to sell. Everyone’s in sales. But it is a passive system versus the active system of direct response copywriting. You’re directly trying to appeal to them to get them to buy. Content is different, and that’s where SEO is more of a subtle sort of system. But it’s incredible because once you understand the system, once you start working within the system and once you start winning in the system, then you can get yield results from that system, from those for years. You’re absolutely right. That article from Dirt Legal is six years old and it’s not getting a lot of hits every month, like two. 100 a month, but that’s 200 people going there before any other website. It’s one specific thing, and you’re getting that for years without having to do a thing to it. Once you’re there, it’s there and it’s very hard to dislodge you from that.

Wade: Well, and that’s the thing. What I think that it’s important for people in the firearms industry to understand is, one, because it’s so regulated and because active advertising is actually very difficult to do in such a regulated industry. So, for example, if you want to try to advertise, if you’re in the firearms industry and you want to advertise on Facebook, good luck with that, right? If you want to advertise on any platform, you’re going to have problems just because of it may be just your product itself. Okay, we disqualify you from even running ads. But for SEO, if you’re doing a blog, you know, you’re doing SEO blog, writing content, writing on your site week in, week out, what happens is that you build up organic traffic that then starts to get momentum, but also helps to create a moat for anybody else trying to do the same thing. Yeah, and that’s the great thing about it. And you only have to do it quote once, but you have to do it consistently and all those things then start to come into effect. And it’s a very powerful flywheel.

John: Yeah, no, that is a great way of looking at it. And yeah, I like the I like the idea of a moat because that’s really what it is now. And that’s where you start getting into the layers of the system because if you’re just trying to trend for like 15, good luck. I mean, don’t even know what the search traffic is for that very simple search term. But I mean, it’s probably hundreds of thousands a month. So you’re not going to win that. But what you can do is you can start to branch out into much more niche parts of it. So if you’re a you’re a gun manufacturer and you sell buffer tubes and the buffer weight, there you go. And that’s your bread and butter is you have multiple weights of buffer weights for your AR. That is something that is a much smaller niche. You might be down into a few hundred searches a month and depending on the difficulty of that, if you have a low difficulty rating and it’s something that’s not highly sought after, you can absolutely build that moat because you can get into that number one slot and you’re not going to get moved. Someone’s going to have to spend a lot of time and probably a lot of money to kick you out of that spot. So what SEO is doing, this is where, particularly in the early stage of SEO, you’re identifying trends, you’re identifying keywords. That actually gives business owners an idea of the direction to go. What they can do is look for holes in the market, places where people there is a demand, there is some search volume, but no one else is meeting that demand and nothing gives you that idea, that 10,000 foot view better than SEO because that’s exactly what you’re doing.

Wade: And this is one thing to get people to understand is that as a writer myself, it’s like, yes, we can write about the current trends, okay? Like we can take the energy from current topics and we can use that energy to drive traffic to your blog or to you. Or you could be a thought leader on that stuff and do political commentary all you want all day long, right? Yes. Challenge with that, though, is everybody’s doing that and it’s incredibly difficult to stand out. Seo, you make the trend right. You look at a you look at something that’s not being addressed but that you know your audience cares about. And let’s face it, and this is why I love the firearms industry in terms of writing for it or talking about it, is that it’s a very engaged industry on everything. Like it cares about the weight of the it cares about how much everything weighs. So it’s like it cares about everything, what it’s made of, the dimensions, how much it weighs, how stress tests will work on cold. Will it work in hot like it’s so your audience cares about everything and so everything that you find, anything that you find that’s not being served is something that people will want to know. And so you can create trends in that type of writing.

John: Oh, yeah, that’s. He just said something to me. Made me think of, like, what other community except for maybe like hardcore, like off road truck enthusiasts, which is usually the same guys like would spend hours fighting each other about which is superior carbine length gas system or a mid length gas system. Like who cares? No one else cares about that except for these nerds, which is kind of a double edged sword because I will tell you from experience, no other industry gets more of the well actuallys than guns. I mean, the comments just I don’t even bother. I don’t even bother looking at them. I’m like, I already know. Because if you get one thing wrong, like you’re talking about, you use a 62 grain 223 instead of a 55 grain and, and, and you got the ballistics slightly wrong. Those guys will sniff it out. But there is the flip side. Like that’s kind of obnoxious as a writer. You’re like, all right, whatever. Did you understand the point of why I was getting at? It was an analogy. But the good thing about that is, though, back to what you’re saying is identifying those holes in the market, when you find that there is a demand, even if it’s a low demand, just a few hundred search queries a month on this very specific thing, like people looking for a three ounce buffer weight versus a four or whatever, you can capitalize that because those guys are relentless. They will not stop until they get what they’re looking for.

Wade: Well, and but in any engagement is good. So even negative engagement is because, quote, negative engagement. The algorithm doesn’t care if someone puts a negative comment about something. It doesn’t care about the words themselves necessarily. It just cares. Oh, someone’s commenting. And so the debates over what you say or the debates over terms or whatever, not to get too far in the weeds. That’s a great thing. That helps in anything in business, right? Because in thinking about business is that if you can dominate one thing and then once you kind of got that going, then you just stack another thing on top of it. And at some point, as you keep stacking things on top of each other and dominating some of these terms, you’re going to you’re going to get momentum and it’s going to start to have big time results.

John: Yeah, Yeah, that’s exactly right. And and frankly, from on the personal side of the house, that’s exactly where I found myself leaning into SEO because I’ve seen there’s just so many people are interested in it. And that’s kind of where I’ve shifted my momentum to being specifically eyeballing this industry because there are a million different agencies out there that are willing to lend their SEO services. But firearms is such a polarizing topic that a lot of them don’t want to touch it just for personal reasons, or because they think that it will be suicide for their agency. But differentiation is key. Being able to say, I’ll stand in there in that firestorm and I’ll embrace it. And that’s where I’m at now, because I think that there’s a great market out there for people wanting. Both the SEO side of research and then a competent writer who is not afraid of some backlash or to just hang it all out there and embrace that industry as a whole. So that’s kind of where I’m at now. And if you look at it, it’s hard to find accurate statistics. But the industry is somewhere between 20 and $40 billion industry a year. I know that fluctuates depending on what political action was taken that year. The more dastardly it is about trying to ante to the sales, just go through the roof. So I mean, from my end, that’s a great thing. I believe that the powers that be are the best thing to happen to that industry.

Wade: Well, and to your point, and we’ve talked about this before, is even those marketing agencies that want to do that SEO, they don’t know who they’re talking to. They’re going to talk down to the audience because they’re not behind the policies or behind the Second Amendment or they’re not going to know what they’re going to talk about, and they’re going to try to use ChatGPT to do it. And that’s going to be a disaster, right? It is. So so there’s a huge need for good writers in the space, for sure. This episode is brought to you by TacticalPay.com. Every few years it seems large banks and national credit card processors suddenly decide that they no longer want to process payments for firearms and firearms related businesses. And so they drop these businesses with almost no notice, freezing tens of thousands of dollars in payments for months on end. If you want to ensure your partner with a payments provider that is dedicated to supporting the firearms industry or you just want to find out if you could be paying less for your ACH debit and credit card processing, visit TacticalPay.com. Again, that’s TacticalPay.com. So we’ve gotten real micro right? We’ve gotten real granular. Let’s go a little bit bigger for a second. Talk about themes. What sort of themes are you seeing right now that you think that work in the firearm space? Is it sort of like the more the general historical ones we’re talking about freedom we’re talking about today? What are some of the themes that you’re seeing that are really important right now?

John: Again, I think that just blows with the political winds. But one thing that you talked about earlier is absolutely true. And actually I’ll touch this. Remember to bring me back around to 3D printing because that’s where I’m going to come back to. That’s the big one. Then they’re always, always entertaining. But what you said about current events and if you watch any of the major, I won’t name them, but you know who the big influencers in the firearm space is. I did some writing for a company a couple of years ago, and they were another aggregate site that just listed prices and stuff and they have me writing on. It was when the ATF, it was the lower the polymer 80 debacle, the unfinished lower one. And they had me writing on that. And what you were saying about that, about not being able to when things are trending, it’s great from a writer because those are fun to write about because you can just really let it all go and you know what your community is. They’ve got your back, especially if it’s something that’s not like the technical specifications of a particular firearm component. If you’re talking broad things like our rights are being infringed, that’s easy. You don’t have to have lots of supporting documentation besides whatever the ATF itself produces. But trying to rank for that, I mean, good luck behind these guys. That 500 plus thousand subs you’re not ever going to. And then the other thing is everyone’s going to forget about it in ten days anyway. Once the news cycle is over with, those are dead. So big picture, I think that what I like right now is 3D printing. That’s where it’s at. Talk about.

Wade: Why do you think that.

John: It kills gun control, man, unless you’re going to regulate the entire Internet. I mean, what are you going to do, Rick? You’re going to have to put a background check on every industry that gets sold on Amazon. They sell like half a million of those a month. And PLA and any other types of filaments that are dirt cheap. And I can buy at Hobby Lobby and then defense deterred. Can’t remember who they are. They have their own CNC machine. Now. Basically you can buy. Yeah. That’s awesome. You buy it and it’s the size of a small box and you can’t regulate that because it’s not a firearm. Cnc It’s just a CNC that hooks up to your laptop and but of course you can mill anything you want and it’s not illegal. The home production of firearms, which I know you know about, is regulated completely differently than commercial consumption of firearms, right?

Wade: Yeah. Think about it the same way that I think about how drones started.

John: Yeah, that’s a good one.

Wade: When drones first started, they were horrifically expensive. They were huge, you know, And it was basically like it was a remote control airplane, you know what I mean? And but now the technology has gotten so, so far advanced. We have put on it. You can have these huge high def cameras on them. And they’re this big.

John: They’re crazy.

Wade: Yeah, it’s insane. The technology is only going to get harder to regulate, not easier.

John: Yeah, it’s funny. That’s an interesting crossover. Like I said, from my aviation side, it was 2016, 17 and 18. I did a lot of writing on drones because that was a real hot button issue because the FAA had no idea how to handle these things because they were selling at I mean, I don’t remember the stats, but I mean, it was hundreds of thousands a month that DJI was selling. And yeah, the technology is unreal. And the same exact technology, not the exact technology, but those trends, I mean, that’s what’s going on with additive manufacturing, which is 3D printing. And one of the really cool trends, I don’t know if you follow that stuff, but is actual metal additive manufacturing. So basically what it is, is it takes a Tig welder and it does the same thing. So you could build up a frame, an actual metal frame, and it uses same process of as the filament, except for it’s doing beads of weld and it gives you this perfect product. It’s just building up, stacking up beads of welding one on top of another, and you can change the infill quality, which would be, is it a hollow design or is it completely full? So that nullifies gun control because an average guy like me can buy an ender three for 170 bucks and next year that’s going to be a hundred bucks. And then next year it’ll be even cheaper. And then the ones that are 500 now will be 250 next year. And you can do it all from your phone with those. So for a thousand bucks, you can have five printers going, producing five lowers a day. So yeah, I think that’s where it’s at. And every passing year just makes it better for the two way community. I mean, it really is an incredible movement. If you follow any of the guys like Defcad. Mr.. Snow makes control alt PPU, everyone should. It is even if you never plan on printing your own firearms or firearm components. It’s just such a cool thing to see these guys what they’re coming up with.

Wade: Well, and I think what it’s going to do is it’s going to force a real and maybe look, I’m always very idealistic about two a and so where we’re going and I would like to think it’s going to force a real debate, right? Because right now the debate is just not your normal people who practice self-defense. Who. Basically our favor of to a that will actually tell you this is why I’m in favor of it. The national figures, there’s one side that they pair at one point, the other side pairs the other point and yell at each other and the rest of us are just like, okay, whatever. Yeah. But the actual think it’s going to force a real debate where it’s going to say, look like you’re not going to be able to regulate it. But here’s why. Here’s why it’s not as important that you do. And this is the meaning behind it. And these are the stats. Like if you look at the stats, if you don’t cherry pick the stats, the percentage of challenges with regards to firearms based upon the number of firearms that are out there is really small compared to other things that we deal with on a daily basis. Like a car. Oh yeah. Like cars for. Oh, cars.

John: Are horrible killers.

Wade: Yeah. So. So I’m really well, of course, and so on. But people don’t they don’t think of it that way because it’s just that the debate is framed all wrong. But and I think 3D, 3D printing might be the one thing that actually forces people to look at it objectively and say, okay, here’s where we have to figure this out. Okay. And what does all this mean? And I think that will bring your more normal people along. Maybe I’m hopeful and idealistic, though, so I could be totally wrong on that, though.

John: No, I think you’re right, though. I think that, broadly speaking, something has to push the issue because, I mean, they’ll just chip away and chip away and chip away at it with stupid nonsense like magazine restrictions and things that you and I, we know the stats. We’ve gone to the National Institute of Justice Studies think that’s the one that’s got all the data. First off, no one uses rifles. Gangs don’t use them. They use Glocks. All right. Everyone knows this. Handguns, semi-automatic handguns are the number one killer used in violent crime is not rifles. It never has been. Those are a minority. So we can go in the semantics of why the, quote unquote assault weapons are always under the gun, so to speak. But. But those aren’t.

Wade: The writing, though. So I can bring this back to writing is because it’s where it’s what grabs the public’s attention. And so yes, and that’s the thing is like is that for whatever reason, it looks that type of firearm looks scary, right? Like if a person who’s never been around a firearm. Oh, yeah. Never fired a gun, they look at that like, oh, my goodness, that’s scary. But they don’t understand anything about the gun at all. You know what I mean? And that’s the thing is, is and a lot of the guests on this show we talk about this is that if you actually take a person to a range and you have them actually handle a firearm and have them shoot it, they come out a different person with regards to what they thought before because they totally they think an AR 15 is a bazooka launcher. It shoots mortars and it puts holes in your house. That’s big. And then it gives everyone in your house radiation poisoning. Like that’s literally what some people think about that stuff. And so let me ask you this then to bring it back to the writing along that vein. So when you’re writing in the firearms industry, do you find yourself that you’re writing more technically in terms of because you’re writing to an audience that knows a lot, or when you’re writing for SEO, you have to write more for someone who’s a little less technical and more of your normal person. Where where does the writing fall in on that?

John: I’ll be honest, that completely depends on the client. So like I’m actually writing one right now that is AR 15 strip lowers versus AR ten, and it is completely an SEO driven piece. So the things that I’m having that I’m writing for, that, I mean, anyone who is familiar with is like, this is so stupid. But what they’re doing is answering questions. Does an AR 15 upper fit on an AR ten lower? I’m having to answer these questions because those are the long tail keywords that people are asking on Google. All right. So I have to craft that in a way to fill out a thousand words and not sound like a moron myself and to provide something useful. So that’s an example of one is an SEO driven piece of content because all of my headings for that are those are just questions pulled straight out of Google that people are actually asking like our AR 15 and AR ten lower is compatible and stuff like that that you and I are both are like, Well, hell no they’re not. Of course they’re not. It’s completely different gun. But so yeah so but so some of them are for that but then other ones are very technically heavy. I wrote for a small startup about a year ago called Lead and Steel and there are cool guys. I like them a lot, but you know, their stuff was very technically heavy because they were releasing holographic sights and and so that stuff was very deep. But I think they were trying to key in on something very much more specific, whereas the one about AR ten versus 15 that is just trying to generate traffic. So it really just depends on what the client wants. I mean, whatever they ask for, I’m going to do.

Wade: Well and always whenever I talk to business owners, I always try to remind them that you are not necessarily the market, right? Yes. So for me, I’m not as knowledgeable as you are on firearms. Right. So I’m just a I like to say, I don’t know if you ever saw a really old SNL, but I am just a caveman lawyer, right? Like I’m just an enthusiast. I would say I’m an enthusiast. I was never in the military. I mean, all my gun experience is more on the hunting side, right? Like I got a shotgun for my 12th birthday, which was a Ducks Unlimited 20 gauge single shot that if I was nice, it was probably this big and I could pick it. Now I look tiny, but yeah, so there’s someone like me then and then all the way up to and everywhere in between. And that’s a great thing about the firearms industry is that people just think it’s one like people that don’t know anything about it. They think it’s like one type of person, right? Who’s just like, That’s probably you, right? Who’s in it? Who’s like somewhere in Kansas, right? That’s just sitting in a cage.

John: Yeah, exactly.

Wade: Right. 3d printing guns by themselves. There’s 7000 guns and making their own ammunition and I’m sorry to hear about all your chickens, by the way. I forgot.

John: That was.

Wade: Unfortunate that. So I was going to make a chicken with a bunch of chickens, but a lot of your chickens got eaten by predators. They did. I know. You can’t be. You can’t guard them all the time. No, but the thing is, is such a broad community and people forget that with that broad community comes a lot of opportunity, especially the writing side, especially in the business side, and especially on the SEO side, because there’s a lot of people asking questions. How do people asking questions? How does that drive the content? Why is it important?

John: Yeah. I’m glad you actually just triggered another. It was another smaller startup I was writing for last year or a couple years ago, and he was actually starting up an. Com slash actual storefront in the Bay Area of California gun shop. And that was really interesting because he was a Chinese immigrant, second generation maybe he was actually from Colorado and then moved out to California to the Bay Area of all places for school. I think saves younger guy. And I had to actually I talked to him at length because I had to tone my the way I was talking way down because he’s like, listen man, in the Bay Area, we’re getting a lot of first time gun buyers coming in because the crime is so bad. He’s like, these are leftists that are coming into the gun shop and he’s like, You can’t just insult them. Like you’re like, you’re shooting the crap with your friends from Oklahoma. He’s like, these are seriously, these are leftists coming in, but they’re scared for their life because they live in San Francisco. So a lot of them, they’re not open about it.

John: They don’t talk to other people. And that’s the interesting thing that you’re talking about. Shooters don’t fit these molds. A lot of these are people who never thought they’d own a gun, but for whatever reason, they’re not moving away from the Bay Area and they know how bad it is. And so but you have to be careful when you’re talking to them because you don’t want to repel them. You want to bring those people in. You want them to defend themselves. You want to let them know it’s okay, we’re not going to talk down on you because you’re a liberal from San Francisco and we’re glad that you’re here. And so, yeah, it is a really diverse community and your writing has to reflect that. And and so I talk with all of mine, like Bear Creek is from North Carolina, and they are catering to Appalachia. Stan So I don’t have to mince words with that crowd. But I did when I was dealing with Californians because you can run the way they’ll get their sensitive, they’ll run away because you hurt their sensibilities.

Wade: So it’s the reverse. Michael Jordan quote where Michael Jordan used to say Republicans buy shoes, too, is about why they asked him why he was never political. And he says Republicans buy shoes, too. Yeah, it’s the reverse where it’s like, well, liberals buy guns, too. And that’s the thing is that I think most gun owners or most gun advocates, they want legal gun ownership, as many legal gun owners as we can possibly get, because then that’s political power. That’s more likely that the that you know, that the Second Amendment is going to be protected. Right? Yes. And it’s funny you talk about California, because I met my wife in California. She’s from Virginia, where I live now. But she was very anti gun, you know, when we met. And we’ve been together for 14 years and I’ve been working on her. So now she’s but she’s extremely pro gun now let’s just say so especially with crazy. And she was an actress and she was in terms of with regards to guns very a very liberal attitude about that. And now she’s very traditional on that topic but didn’t have to say anything. It’s like the world, you know, if you just pay attention to what’s going on in the world, I think more and more people are starting to come more towards that direction and writing that helps to address those early questions from people that have never had those questions before is going to be very valuable.

John: I think so. There’s an interesting dynamic of Aecom in the MSM. There’s all these bashing articles about how easy it is to go buy a gun. You can just order it from the from buds and it’ll come to your doorstep, which is an absolute lie. I wish it were that easy. But the interesting thing is though, with Ecom stores is that people who are nervous and they don’t want their neighbor to know, you know, that they’re doing this. They can get on there and they can research and they can buy from whichever one and have it shipped to an FFL. And the only time they’re going to interface anyone is when they’re filling out the form at the FFL. That’s really something that’s actually really unique about the age that we live in, is that it’s not just hillbillies reading guns and ammo and shooting times. You have these people that they’re still lefties, but they recognize because they live in Detroit or Chicago or wherever else they’re at, they’re like, I don’t feel safe. And that is something that it was good for me to work for that client at California because it kind of shifted my perspective to realize that there are people reading my articles that aren’t from Texas in Oklahoma and Nebraska that aren’t dyed in the wool pro tours.

John: There are people that are scared, that have gotten mugged, that their car got broken into and that they had someone knocking on their door at two in the morning and they were scared to death. And the cops didn’t show up for 20 or 30 minutes. And maybe they’ve got some sacred cows they’re not going to get rid of, but they are open to a gun because they’re smart enough to realize that self-preservation at some point kicks in. And so I have shifted my perspective of those. And some of it’s just sympathetic because they have every right to self-preservation to that I do. And I want to bring those in. Like you said to that point, I want those people to come in. Maybe there’s still far to the left on everything else, but they start to rethink something when their life actually was threatened and maybe their voting patterns start to reflect that.

Wade: Well, and at the very least, they start to meet the boogeyman, Right. Which is people like you and me, lawful gun owners, Right? They’re like they’re like, oh, this person is not an this is actually a normal person who has the same things that I do. They want their family to be safe. They want their property to be safe, and they just want to do their own thing, right? Like, for the most part, most normal people fall in that category and they may have disagreements over if you should own a firearm or not or whatever, but once you decide, hey, I’m going to meet these people, they’re going to find out they’re just normal like everybody else.

John: Yeah, yeah. And that’s been the probably the very worst thing about the Internet. If you look back to it, none of us hardly even remember a time before the internet. Especially you and I. You know, it started entering our lives in the late 90s and that it’s so easy to bash and demonize people and to and to assign to them some characteristics that are just patently false, that we all at our core have these interests. We want ourselves to be safe. We want our dogs and our kids and our friends to be safe. And you used to be able to have more of an open forum without shouting matches over the Internet. So but this is the world that we live in now. So I want to bring in those people and let them know. And one thing that would really help them is when companies, e-com places, promote shooting classes, promote getting into a self-defense course so that these people can go around normal people and be like, Oh, that instructor wasn’t scary. He’s not a slobbering ex-Marine, even if he is. Hey, my.

Wade: My firearms instructor is an ex-Marine. Don’t say that. He’ll come find you.

John: Oh, he will. He’ll stop crayons down my throat till I’m dead. Probably. So I.

Wade: Didn’t serve. I didn’t serve. So I have to. I didn’t serve. So I have to defend all branches equally.

John: Oh, it’s fine. No way. I never wanted to be a marine. I’m very open about that. That was never on the docket for me. Well, I’ve.

Wade: Always said that gun ranges are some of the most friendly places you’ll ever go in your entire life. Regardless, it’s the worst. They don’t. Nobody cares. Everyone just wants to be safe. Let’s be number one. Let’s be safe. Number two, let’s learn how to use a firearm. That’s it. That’s basically if you can do those two things, you’re welcome there.

John: Oh, absolutely. They are definitely one of the most welcoming places in the world. It’s unfortunately because the optics, it’s an uphill battle because it’s really easy to demonize guns and people that like guns, like there are indefensible facts. Guns do kill people. Yes, they do. They absolutely do. So do hammer, so do knives. So do ropes and definitely cars. But it’s easy to polarize guns because guns basically have this one purpose, and that’s to take this little lead projectile and put a hole in something which occasionally is a person. So the gun community is it’s waging an uphill war from the get go.

Wade: But I think it’s I think it’s starting to come full circle, though. And the reason why I say that is because, you know, I’m older than you, right? Even though I look young and boyish. Very boyish. So. Yeah, exactly. And I grew up in North Dakota, so North Dakota is was probably ten years behind sort of as the gun started to kind of move away from the guns. But you used to be able to go into a sporting goods store and buy a gun and it wasn’t a big deal. And your your dad would take you and or whatever. Yep. That was just part of the culture. And then as the society started to move away from gun culture a little bit, it became more polarizing. But now what’s happening is is is starting to move back. I think it’s we’re starting to see that. And I think what can be very powerful for people in the firearms industry and for businesses that are deal or our firearms adjacent for apparel or whatever is that there is a giant underserved emerging market. And if you can communicate with that, if you can communicate with that market effectively through writing, right, either through blog SEO, email, campaigns, whatever, there is a giant opportunity there for businesses to not only make money but to also promote Second Amendment, promote policies that are important to people who own firearms, all that good stuff. So I do think there is a return now just because of that. The world is not going to get any safer. We’re not going back. People like I’d like to go back to 2018. We’re not going back to 1990. Like, you know what I mean? Like, we’re not going back.

John: That genie is out of the bottle, man.

Wade: Yeah, exactly. Like, this is going to get itself in my not an expert on international politics. I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I think everyone senses that some things are going to happen and it’s going to get sorted out. Nobody knows how it’s going to get sorted out, but it’s not going to get sorted out in the next five years, right? Maybe every generation goes through this and now it’s like our turn to do that. But I feel like this is more of a an epoch of time kind of thing. And that just means that what we do and what we talk about in firearms is going to become more important. And I think that those markets are going to emerge. That’s kind of where I come down on that.

John: Sure. Well, there’s an adage that goes and this is a rough approximation, but 80% of the people live in 20% of the real estate of the United States. The other 20% are like me, that live out in 80% of the wide open spaces. But those that 80% of people in that 20% of space, that’s where most of the crime is happening. Those are the cities that are getting ravaged with crime. And there are people there that for whatever reasons, they can’t leave LA, they can’t leave San Francisco, they can’t leave Chicago. They don’t want to they don’t want to give up on them, but they also don’t want to get mugged or murdered in the street. So personal political reasons aside, everyone wants to stay alive and get home alive at the end of the day. And that is a huge market to appeal to. And I think that you’re right, crafting it in such a way that we aren’t polarizing them ourselves. We’re not going to go trade blow for blow with them, and especially not with all of the media that surrounds that creates the hype. The best thing to do is to be carrying and to outreach to them and make them give them the opportunity, not make them do anything, but give them the opportunity to to see our perspective and to understand that we want them to be safe, too. We want them to be able to go home to their family and their loved ones at night to that’s what drives us and that it can drive them and that they there’s a lot of us that are big time enthusiasts, but it’s just our hobby. They don’t have to be like that. They can go buy one Ruger Lc9 and be fine with that. It’s there for one purpose and that’s totally fine. And I think that’s the bridge we need to create with those people because there’s a whole lot of millions of people in that camp. Yeah.

Wade: And I think that, like I said, as I think that’s good from a policy perspective, it’s also good from a business perspective, too, So. Well, John, listen, we’re running up against the clock. I could talk to you for another two hours on this topic, and so I definitely want to have you on back on the show again. How do people find you?

John: All right. Twitter is my main go to. It’s just @JohnMcCoywrites and then if you go there, there’s a link tree that takes you to everything else. If you go to my LinkedIn, though, it’s not optimized for firearms because they don’t like guns over there. So I won’t be talking guns on that platform. But yeah, hit me up on Twitter and you can get me any way from there.

Wade: And John McCoy is j o h n m c c o y writes have to spell it out for myself or else I won’t be able to. I’ll do the wrong John, and I’ll do like McCoy. Like I don’t know what a mcc is. So. John McCoy, right? John McCoy writes or @ John McCoy writes at Twitter. John, it’s been a pleasure. Can’t wait to have you on again, man.

John: Thanks, sir. Appreciate it.

Wade: You’ve been listening to the Tactical Business show by TacticalPay.com Join us again next episode as we explore what it takes to be a business success in the firearms industry.