Hello and welcome to another Mailbox Monday… It’s time to answer YOUR questions!
Today, another on The Titans of Direct Response event from last month.
This one, on takeaways for new copywriters.
I’m going to dive right in because time is tight today!
How are you personally doing right now? No, that is not my question. It seems like you caught a lot of negative flak or attitude in some of your comments. There always will be that small group, that I like to refer as the “10 percenters.” That group, you could sing, dance, play instruments and quote Shakespeare, or maybe I should say Gary Bencivenga in our neighborhood, and they still would grumble and complain.
While you were listening to the Titans speak with all of their wisdom and experience. A lot of what they had to say was probably directed to a mature, very experienced copywriter’s audience. What in your humble opinion was the single most important fact, comment or point, that would be beneficial, if the target audience was a room full of newbies trying to advance their copywriting career? I hope this doesn’t stir up a bunch of bees or hornets. But, you as an experienced and successful copywriter, can surely have, and be allowed to state your opinion. Thanks…
Regards & respectfully,
Jimmy Bradburn, AWAI Copywriter
Jimmy, thanks as always for being such a loyal reader, and for your question.
There were a few big takeaways I got at Titans that would qualify as especially relevant to newbie copywriters.
But also, remember these were presented as breakthrough ideas for old pros, too. There are a ton of people who’ve had a bunch of success in business and life without basing their life on these principles. But these are principles the Titans felt especially important to talk about in a room full of some of the best minds in marketing.
I’ll hit on each briefly…
Mindset matters, a lot.
Many of the Titans hit on mindset, from lots of different angles.
Most read “success” books. There were a few who read success books but not marketing books. And yet still managed to be some of the best marketers and copywriters on the planet.
Think of your mind like a GPS. You have to enter your desired destination, and then you have to commit to following the route. If you get off-route, you have to recalibrate and get back on-route. Set success as your destination, and focus on following through.
Don’t get caught up in the world of copywriting.
Yes, it helps to study copywriting and marketing materials to bring your tactical knowledge up to a certain workable level.
Want to become a Titan yourself, though? Don’t wallow in the mire. Internalize the fundamentals, then stop relying on them. Sure, it’s worth it to brush up every once in a while. But don’t get caught in them.
Various recommended reading included books on how to be a good trial lawyer, books on writing literature, and others.
Feed your mind a rich and varied diet to become a better copywriter and marketer.
Relationships matter as much as skills.
Yes, it’s important to get good at your craft. But as you’re doing that, you also need to get connected.
The best opportunities won’t just land in your lap. They flow through networks. The better your network, the more good opportunities will come your way.
But you can’t just approach it from a selfish perspective. You have to focus on providing value to others. In fact, the best way to be interesting to others is to be interested in them. The best way to get them to help you is to be of service to them first.
Marty Edelston featured world-renowned authors and experts (dignitaries, Nobel prize winners, etc.) in his newsletter. He invited them to special “Boardroom Dinners” to connect them with like minds. He found 1,000 ways to give to them. And it came back many-fold.
You can do the same.
Start with the fundamentals of direct response.
Understanding the fundamentals of direct response — not just copywriting — is absolutely necessary.
Testing, tracking, offers, media, market segmentation, lists, business-building, the works. Every single one of the Titans could get up on stage and do a one-hour presentation on each of these topics on-demand.
Become a student not just of the writing process, but of the entire process of building a business with direct marketing. Two books I recommend in this regard that are just the start are: Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson and Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone. Neither are new releases, and neither is the full-course, but together they provide such a solid foundation for building successful direct response campaigns and businesses that they are a must-read.
Don’t be afraid to dig in on dark and negative emotion.
This is very tactical and copy-oriented. Most copywriters — especially amateurs and semi-pros — are hard-pressed to go to dark places. They don’t want to use fear, shame, and other negative emotions to get response.
Get over it.
The most powerful selling processes reach people in the darkest depths of their problems, connect with them there, turn up the heat on the problems until they’re near-boiling, then yank the reader off the burner with an offer to solve the problem.
Not every pitch has to work this way, but if you’re good at doing this, you’ll know when to use it. And when you use it (even sprinkled in within a mostly-positive pitch), it will be devastatingly profitable.
Get good at storytelling.
“One time, at band camp…”
We all love a good story. In fact, I heard recently that one of the best ways to remember something is to put it in story form.
It makes sense. Just imagine our ancestors sitting around the fire at night, sharing myths and legends and family history in the form of story. Those stories stuck for life — and were passed between generations with word of mouth. Written communication is a relatively-recent invention — even more recent on a mass scale. Stories have been around as long as culture — in fact, culture is pretty much just the sum of our stories.
The better you can get at telling stories, the more effective communicator you will be. And the more effective communicator, the better persuader. The better persuader, the better copywriter and marketer.
So, study stories and storytelling.
Understand your market, all else follows.
I can’t underscore this enough. If you know all the copywriting tricks in the book but don’t have a blinking clue about your market, you’re toast against a writer that has even a smattering of understanding of who they’re selling to.
This is absolutely critical. If you know what moves your market, you can hit those hot buttons, and get the sale. Everything else is gravy.
Become a student of markets.
Ethics and integrity are with you for life.
Money comes and goes. Your ethics, integrity, and reputation stick around much longer.
It’s a lot easier to live a happy, successful life if you’re not leaving a trail of enemies in your wake.
So, think long-term, do the right thing, and enjoy the life-long riches that come as a result.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets