COPYWRITING SECRETS OF THE MASTERS - Michael Masterson
MICHAEL MASTERSON – There is no one more qualified and experienced than copywriter,entrepreneur, and business-builder Michael Masterson to teach you the art, craft, and business ofcopywriting.Michael started his first business – a fifth-grade publishing venture – at age 11.After finishing grad school at the University of Michigan in 1975, he spent two years in the PeaceCorps, where he began his writing career.Several years later he was working as a writer for a small newsletter publishing company inWashington D.C. Then, in 1982, he learned the art of copywriting and launched the first of dozensof successful direct-marketing ventures, many of which have become multi-million dollarcompanies.All told, he‘s been directly involved in the generation of over ONE BILLION DOLLARS of salesthrough the mail and online.He‘s also a highly successful author. He‘s published more than a dozen books, including severalwhich have become Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com or New York Times bestsellers.Today, Michael consults mainly for newsletter publishing giant Agora, Inc., and writes regularly forEarly To Rise, one of the most popular self-improvement newsletters on the Internet, and for TheGolden Thread, AWAI‘s weekly copywriting newsletter.But there‘s more to Michael Masterson than just his writing and business skills.Michael also has a knack for taking just about anyone with a burning desire to upgrade hislifestyle – no matter what his background or education – and transforming him (or her) into a top-notch copywriter: He‘s the one responsible for transforming Paul Hollingshead from a 35-year-old minimum- wage grocery store stock boy into a copywriter earning upward of $300,000 a year … and Don Mahoney from a woodworker to a $300,000-a-year copywriter living in Miami Beach … He‘s mentored other copywriters who have gone on to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales each year through their copy … He‘s shown people in their 50s and 60s – people preparing for retirement – how to successfully change careers and become well-paid freelance copywriters … He‘s taken young people fresh out of college – with no ―life experience‖ at all – and turned them into top-notch copywriters and newsletter journalists … He‘s taught housewives, bartenders, and laborers to excel … He‘s even helped ―professionals‖ – doctors and college professors – leave successful careers to enjoy the big money and stress-free lifestyle copywriting offers …Discover how Michael can do the same for you with his AWAI Accelerated Program For Six Figure Copywriting. Michael Masterson
Fear and Greed: Two Overrated Emotions How to Become a Smarter and More Powerful Copywriter Way back when I was learning how to write advertising copy, it was commonlybelieved that the way to get high response rates was to appeal to our prospects‘ greed and fears.I don‘t know who first made this pronouncement, but it was practically acommandment of direct marketing in those days.All the ―experts‖ I listened to espoused it. All the copywriters I admired seemedto do it. On the surface, it seemed to be a good, practical rule. One I shouldfollow.But I thought it was stupid.I didn‘t need a degree in psychology to know that reducing human motivation totwo, very obvious, emotions was wrong.I knew in my bones — based on 30 years of experience (first with my mother,then with my teachers and eventually my colleagues, wife, and children) — thatthere were better ways to be persuasive than by stirring up fear and greed.Sure, using fear sometimes seemed necessary — to keep the kids from ridingtheir bikes in the dark without headlights, for example. But mostly it paralyzedthe person I wanted to motivate. I found it to be both heavy-handed and clumsy.There were many other emotions and desires I could stimulate that would get thejob done.And greed? I grew up in a household where greed was considered a deadly sin —―the devil‘s instrument.‖ I had no desire to use it as my own.I wanted to build my career by working with, and selling to, people who, like me,were subject to greed and fear but wanted to rise above those base impulses.
I wasn‘t being altruistic. Not really. I didn‘t want to associate myself with greedy,fearful people because I knew I couldn‘t trust them. I couldn‘t trust them asfriends. I couldn‘t trust them as business partners. And I couldn‘t trust them ascustomers either.So even before I got into marketing in a serious way, I knew something aboutpersuasion that most of the experts writing books and giving lectures did notseem to know.And I had enough common sense to recognize that just because something isoften said and generally believed doesn‘t make it so.I‘m happy to say that the myth about fear and greed has been eroding. I believeBill Bonner had something to do with that. The great promotions he wrote in theearly 1970s relied on other emotions and instincts to sell his products. GaryBencivenga and Clayton Makepeace, too, wrote copy that helped disprove this lie. The biggest move forward came, ironically, from a man whose intention was to warn consumers against marketing. In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini, a professor of social psychology at Arizona State University, analyzed dozens of very successful promotions. He didn‘t choose the ones that relied on greed and fear. Instead, he focused attention on those that used more subtle, clever approaches.The consumers he was hoping to enlighten hardly read the book. But it became agreat hit with a lot of marketers who applied Cialdini‘s insights on the psychologyof persuasion to their promotions.Among Cialdini‘s insights were these: We instinctively try to reciprocate when someone does something for us. Once we‘ve made a commitment to do something, we strive to be consistent with that decision. We tend to look to others to determine what our decision should be in any given situation. We prefer to say yes to the requests of people we know and like. Cialdini eventually crossed the river and became an authority on marketing. Hislater books and seminars taught how to do the kind of subtle marketing he had
despised. Good for him. Good for us. (I say ―good for us‖ because I believe thiskind of marketing is not only more effective, it is more honest. But that‘s anothersubject for another essay.)As I said, the idiotic ―rule‖ about fear and greed has been eroding — but it‘s nevergoing to completely disappear.Why? Because many marketers still believe that fear and greed are the mostmotivating of all the emotions. And there is some evidence to support this.Let‘s begin with fear.Fear is a primal emotion — one that was inherent in man at a very early stage ofhuman evolution. It is also an essential emotion, one that is necessary forsurvival.Neurobiologists tell us that our primal emotions are rooted deeply in our―reptilian‖ brains and are instinctive. Because they are instinctive, they can bevery strong and very difficult to overcome.And there is no doubt that fear is effective in selling all sorts of products — fromburglar alarms to baby monitors to almost every form of insurance.But just because an emotion is strong doesn‘t mean it should be used to marketeverything.The reason is simple. Human beings have three ―primal‖ responses to fear: tofight, to flee, or to be paralyzed into inactivity. And a copywriter doesn‘t want hisprospects to do any of those things.In selling investment advice (something I‘ve done a good deal of), fear hassometimes been useful. But I‘ve noticed that if you crank up the fear, you reducethe responsiveness to your ad. A little fear can go a long way when you are tryingto motivate people to worry about their savings or their job security, for instance.But you must quickly follow that fear with hope of some kind.And that brings us to greed.Proponents of the fear-and-greed approach often argue that the smart thing to dois to follow a fear-based lead with an appeal to the prospect‘s greed.
But I have found that if you do that, you wind up attracting the kind of customeryou don‘t want: someone who is gullible and greedy.You can‘t build a business by selling to the gullible and greedy. You can makescores, sometimes big scores. But you will never have a sustainably profitablebusiness.About six months ago, I had a conversation with a copywriter who‘d had amazingsuccess with several fear-and-greed promotions. In fact, his commissions on allthe sales from those campaigns should have come to more than a million dollars.I say ―should have,‖ because his clients discovered that many of the buyersbrought in by his fear-and-greed promotions asked for refunds. And those thatstayed were not good buyers of their other products.So he made out temporarily, but eventually lost most of his clients.I suggested that he learn to appeal to other emotions. He wasn‘t interested. Hejust kept on using his credentials to snare new clients… until they, too,experienced the same disappointing results. And now I hear through thegrapevine that he‘s finding it harder and harder to find anyone who will buy hiscopy. (By the way, he sent me an e-mail this morning. I haven‘t read it yet. Iwonder if he‘s ―seen the light.‖)Greed doesn‘t work because good customers, the kind that will stick with you andcontinue to buy from you year after year, don‘t think of themselves as greedy.They want to be successful. They want to make more money. But they don‘t wantto be greedy.Here‘s what I want you to take away from this:Use fear as a primary emotion to sell insurance products (which include suchthings as burglar alarms, baby monitors, etc.). For other products, you can try alittle fear… but don‘t go too far with it. Then concentrate on giving your prospectshope. Hope is far and away a much stronger selling proposition than fear.And never use greed. Greed-based promotions will only attract customers whowill ruin your business.Let Michael take you by the hand and show you how to tap into the raw power ofhuman emotion to sell more products and services than ever before with the
AWAI‘s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. Use those skills to sellyour own products and services or get paid handsomely for them by becoming asix-figure copywriter. How to Enjoy the Writer’s Life Even if You Can’t Write Like a ProfessionalThe most productive and, next to JK Rowling, richest writer in the world is James Patterson.If you don‘t know him, he is the author of ―Don‘t Blink‖ and ―The Postcard Killers‖as well as 48 other best-selling books in the past 10 years.By almost any perspective, Patterson is a hugely successful writer. But he doesn‘thave the normal gifts that one would typically attribute to writers: a brilliantmind, a passion for his work, etc.Instead, he has a certain set of skills that he employs over and over again andthen leverages by hiring apprentice writers to do most of his work for him.They do 80% of the work, following his directions. Then Patterson edits theirmanuscripts for pace and tension – key elements in narrative fiction.By providing the outline and the editing, Patterson insures that his books havethe Patterson feel. This is something that any successful Master Copywriter orInternet guru can do. In fact, I know quite a few well-known gurus who havejunior writers ghost writing their essays. In some cases these ghostwriters aregood, in others no. When they are not good they degrade the reputation of theguru.But what Patterson does is smarter than that. He gives his apprentice a byline.That makes the transaction more honest and it provides the apprentice with areward that is much greater than money.Several of my clients – well known financial and health authors – could havebigger businesses if they could produce more copy. But so far they have refusedmy suggestions to do so. They don‘t want to use apprentices, they say, because
they don‘t believe anyone can write as well as they can. Another reason – onethey don‘t admit – is because they don‘t want to share the credit with anyoneelse.These are both ego problems. And as you‘ve heard me say many times, ego andlaziness are a writer‘s primary vices.Patterson proves that you can maintain quality (such as it is) in your product,continue to promote your name and expand your production in multiples by usingapprentices.By taking advantage of competent researchers and writers who are willing towork for him, Patterson puts out eight or more books a year. And in 2010 hisannual earnings are estimated at $70 million.This essay, though, isn‘t about James Patterson. It‘s about Peter de Jonge andAndrew Gross and Michael Ledwidge*, three of the many researchers and writerswho have earned lots of money and in some cases became best-selling authorson their own simply by working as an apprentice to the master.I‘m talking about aspiring writers who, for whatever reason, never were able tobreak through the glass ceiling that keeps more than nine published authors outof ten to sell fewer than 100 copies of the books they write.The opportunity to become an apprentice writer for Patterson at this moment islimited, but there are hundreds or even thousands of chances right now to makea very nice six-figure income helping professional writers do their jobs.I‘m talking about a new profession – one that before the Internet did not evenexist. I‘m talking about becoming an apprentice writer/researcher to the directresponse information business.I‘m talking about a pretty exciting opportunity. It‘s exciting because it‘s brandnew and growing fast, which means the barriers of entering it are very small andthe rewards are still very great.Let me give you an example.
Several years ago Judith Strauss and I wrote and published a little book of dictioncalledWords that Work. It was a selection of words that appeared in Early ToRise‘s ―Words to the Wise‖ column that has been running daily for almost 10years.At the beginning of this year I wanted to do another edition but, for some reason,Judith was not available to work with me on it. So I reached out to AWAI to findsomeone to help me.Typically when I call Katie, I‘m looking for a copywriter. But this time I wantedsomeone who could do some basic research and compose simple sentences.Finding a skillful copywriter, even when you have Katie Yeakle next door to you, isnot easy. But it‘s a much simpler job to find someone who knows how to trackinformation down and summarize it in simple, concise sentences.I found someone – a retired grant writer and sometime artist who began workingwith me last month. Her job was pretty straightforward. I‘d send her lists ofwords that I wanted to cover and she‘d look at several dictionary definitions andcraft one that was the simplest version she could of the various iterations.It was a three thousand dollar job and it would have taken her, I figure, about 45to 60 hours to complete the task. After I had edited a dozen or so words sheunderstood both what I wanted in terms of a definition and also my style ofwriting, so I could see it was going to be easy for both of us to finish the job.Her compensation, because we were moving quickly, was going from $50 an hourto $75.In addition we have become language buddies along the way. We send each otherinteresting articles on language (including whatever Bob Bly writes) and have funtalking about usage.From this good experience I decided to expand the book from just anothercollection of words that work to something I‘m calling ―One Thousand Words toKnow Before You Die‖.My idea is to present one thousand words or terms that comprise much of themost important thinking in Western literature from the time of Homer to the
present. Instead of limiting my usage comments to diction and grammar, I‘mgoing to talk about how these words added to or subtracted from the history ofknowledge from Greek times to the present.It‘s a more ambitious book to be sure, but it‘s also a book that‘s more fun towrite. My researcher‘s job is pretty much the same, but she‘s having more funnow in helping me select and cull words and in learning about the many artistic,cultural, political and literary ideas that have shaped the way smart people thinktoday.Plus, she‘s also got a bigger assignment now. I upped her compensation from$3,000 to $10,000 and I‘m going to give her a percent of sales as well.Her compensation has now gone up to about $100 an hour and it could end upbeing two or three times that if the book sells well.The point of this anecdote is to introduce you to a new industry that is developingthanks to the explosion of information publishing since the Internet exploded in oraround 2000.It‘s a new type of career, one that allows you to enjoy all the fun and challenge ofbeing a professional writer (and some of the upside income potential) withouthaving to have mastered the fine art of fiction or persuasive writing.I mentioned this idea to Katie and Rebecca several months ago when I waslooking for someone to help me with another book Don Mahoney and I areworking on, a monograph on Barnett Greenberg, an obscure painter whosepersonal collection of works Don and I bought from his family‘s estate.The person we‘ve selected to help us with that book will also be doing researchand writing sentences, but will not be responsible for shaping the book or revisingit. It‘s pretty much the same thing James Patterson‘s apprentices do, but insteadof fiction the subject is biography.If Don and I make this artist a known and collected name among collector‘s ofJewish art and artifacts (a very lucrative niche market) this person will also enjoya big pay check and plenty of perks including (if he wants) appearing on radioand television programs.
In the old days (prior to 2000) researchers were drones that got paid little forendless work and were never recognized for their hard work. In today‘s world ofinformation publishing there are tens of thousands of writers and publisherslooking for people who can help them produce the many published products thatproliferate the internet.Just think about the demand: books, reports, essays, blogs, web content, e-letters, e-magazines, surveys, research reports, scientific studies, marketingstudies, religious writing, non-profit pamphlets, annual reviews, critiques, autoresponder series – the list is endless.And thanks to the Internet, the market is growing. According to Google, the Webhas already exceeded 1 trillion unique web pages (it‘s estimated they index about15 billion of those pages for search purposes). There are millions more pagescreated daily.If the market for professional writers has increased tenfold since 2,000 then themarket for Internet Research Specialists has probably increased a thousand fold.What does this mean to you?If you‘re thinking about becoming a professional writer but haven‘t yet reachedthe level of compensation you want, this is the perfect opportunity to make greatmoney as you go.If you would love to live the life of a freelance writer but don‘t have the patienceor talent for it, this is also a great way to do that without mastering the craft ofwriting.One of the biggest future opportunities for Internet Research Specialists is in thedirect marketing industry. Based on sales, direct marketing, as you may know, isa $2 trillion industry.It is bigger than traditional Madison Avenue-style advertising, as well asnewspaper advertising.And since 2000 it‘s growing at a rate of 5-7%, making it one of the fastestgrowing markets in the world today.
If you read ―Automatic Wealth‖ then you know that the fastest way to becomerich is to become an essential employee or contract worker for a fast-growingbusiness in a fast-growing market. Information publishing is exactly that.Although many of them may not know it now, the easiest way for a professionalcopywriter to double his income is to double his output. But doubling your outputwithout diminishing the quality of your work is not easy because of the enormousdemand of research.I‘ve said this a thousand times to AWAI members over the past many years. Themost important single aspect of successful writing depends on the production ofgood ideas and the production of good ideas depends almost entirely on goodresearch.That‘s where the opportunity is for those who might want to get involved in thiswonderful new industry.Gradually writers will begin to realize that they, like James Patterson, can makemuch more money if they can have apprentices helping them with all theresearch. And once they become comfortable using other people to do theresearch, they‘ll ask for more (simple sentences) like Don and I are doing.Eventually, this will mean great, lucrative new careers for thousands or even tensof thousands of smart, capable people who – for whatever reason – have decidedthey want the benefits of the writers life without putting in all the ―hard‖ work.The job of the Internet Research Specialists will be largely tracking support anddocumentation for the claims that professional writers want to make.Again, this is especially true in the area of direct marketing of published products.As Roy Furr recently pointed out in an essay in The Golden Thread: "Because the average prospect is skeptical, proof is an important part of any letter. People wont believe our claims just because we say so. Unless were established experts, our claims are just opinions."What kind of research are Internet Research Specialists likely to be doing?Collecting and organizing information for: Media mentions of the client or product Prestigious publications talking about the product, idea, or industry
Scientific studies to back claims Scientists opinions related to claims Charts, graphs, and graphics Real or implied expert endorsements Real or implied celebrity endorsements Quotes from credentialed sources Process information, or how the product (or ingredient) works Other highly-specific supporting informationHere‘s what I‘m saying: There is already a market for Internet Research Specialists It is likely to be one of the fastest growing markets in the world By getting in now you can start making $50 an hour As your skills improve you can easily be making $100 or more in no timeTo get in now at the bottom floor you will need to do two things:Quickly learn how to do quick and helpful research.Find clients.You can do the first by investing in AWAI‘s new program that teaches that. It iscalled Secrets of Becoming an Internet Research Specialist: How to Surf the Webfor Freedom and Profit. It‘s an online program consisting of 13 chapters, split intotwo main parts.The first part — Chapters 1-6 — is all about what to do and how to do it. This ishow you go from landing the gig to giving the client exactly what they want. Thisis what you do in your everyday life as an Internet Research Specialist.The second part — Chapters 7-13 — is what it takes to get paid. This is how toattract clients, get other people to sell your services for you, and develop theclient relationship so theyll come back over and over again.It also includes: Access to AWAIs exclusive members-only DirectResponseJobs.com Online Job Board. (Recently updated to include Internet Researcher gigs!)
Special reports onHow to Deliver Superior Research by Learning One Crucial SEO Skill…Proof and Credibility: 10 Ways Your Research Can Make Your Client‘s Copy Sizzle… andFive Other Research Projects to Boost Your Income A 3-part webinar series on marketing yourself as an Internet Research Specialist A brand-new white paper you can use to market yourself to writers called "Writers: How to Write Faster, Better, and Make More Money While You Do."I wrote the first draft of this essay in 90 minutes (as opposed to several hours) bywriting out the draft and leaving X‘s where I needed facts and figures to supportmy argument. I sent it – as is – to my editor Jason, who contacted one of theAWAI-trained Internet Research Specialists he has on his contact list. That persongot and finished the job in 24 hours and earned about $75 an hour for his efforts.It was good for him. It was good for me. And it can be very good for you if youcontact AWAI.Find out more about AWAI‘s Internet Research Specialist Program* Peter de Jonge is a former copywriter who spent several years on the Pattersonassembly line before writing his first solo novel (Shadows Still Remain).Andrew Gross is president of HEAD Ski and Tennis and co-wrote some of theWomens Murder Club Series with Patterson before signing his own 3-book dealwith William Morrow in 2005.
Are You Honest, Hard Working, and Financially Solvent? If So, Read This – You Won’t Like It, But You Should Read It Now Just about every adult I know is wondering about the economy.MB, who owns a large furniture wholesaling business, is wondering whenconsumers will start shopping again. ―I‘m just treading water now,‖ he says. ―Butnot making any profit. My employees are getting paid, but I‘m not.‖PE, a real estate developer, fled the US after all his hundred million dollardevelopments went bust. Now he‘s building homes in Panama. ―I wonder if I‘llever get back home,‖ he said.My sister, a high school teacher, has seen many of her friends lose careers due tobudget cutbacks. She wants to know whether we‘re in a ―recovery‖ that willprotect her job or will things get worse next year?Nobody knows for sure what will happen. But when I‘m not sure about the futuremy rule is hope for the best but plan for the worst.The best we can hope for? A gradually improving economy with full healthrestored in 5 to 7 years.Theworst? A massive, worldwide Great Recession as long and as bad as theGreat Depression.In this essay I hope to do two things. 1. Show you why I believe the worst-case scenario is about 100 times more likely than the best-case one. 2. Give you a three-part plan to survive and prosper.
Why Things Are Likely to Get WorseSince the real estate bubble inflated and collapsed trillions of dollars havedisappeared from American households.And millions of Americans – actually tens of millions – are now, for all intents andpurposes, bankrupt.My view of what happened differs a bit from the story you‘ve been told by ourgovernment and most economists.Wealth didn‘t magically appear and disappear. What happened was that thegovernment, banks, brokers, and real estate professionals colluded in the biggestwealth transfer in the history of the world.Wealth (stored assets) shifted from the bank accounts of teachers, plumbers,merchants, and people like you into the bank accounts of bankers, brokers,lawyers, and others who participated in the scam.The wealth I‘m talking about is not the tens of trillions in trumped up propertyvalues that disappeared. That wealth never really existed.The money that was cleverly shifted from one large group of people to a muchsmaller one consisted of hard-earned savings and now-depleted retirementaccounts.A significant portion of that transfer came from fees – the billions and billions ofdollars in fees charged by the bankers, brokers, and lawyers for all the new andsecond mortgages, the appraisals, the insurance, the legal vetting, etc.But even more of it came from mortgage payments. While property values werefalling, millions of Americans did their best to keep up with mortgage payments,often emptying their bank accounts in a futile attempt to maintain ―good credit.‖That transfer was probably in excess of a trillion dollars. And it hasn‘t stopped.There are still tens of millions of Americans ―under water‖ who will keep payingtill they can‘t do it any longer. Eventually, they will enter into settlements thatwill, essentially, leave them bankrupt.
So most Americans are poorer now or will be very soon, while the banking andbrokerage community – protected as it has been by the government – is richerand will become richer still.But that‘s not the entire problem.Our government itself is bankrupt. Its debt far exceeds its assets and that debthas been spiraling skyward since the Clinton administration.Whether it was to fight the ―war‖ on terror, finance fraudulent brokerages andirresponsible banks, the federal government has been taking on debt faster thanat any time in its history. We are talking about tens of trillions of dollars.And finally there are all the future financial obligations our legislators have votedin. Financing the baby boomer‘s financial and retirement needs in the next 20years will cost additional tens of trillions of dollars.The total, by any count, is more than a hundred trillion. And one way or the otherevery single dollar of that must be paid back.Who Will Pay That Back?Not the financial masters of the universe that planned it all… .not the banks,brokers and lawyers that promoted it… and certainly not the government (whichnever pays back anything).No, these trillions will be paid back by a small percentage of the population whohave been foolish enough to(a) work hard,(b) start businesses,(c) employ other people,(d) create new products and services,(e) make profits,(f) save those profits and(g) not fall for stupid scams and schemes like the real estate bubble.
Those are the people who are going to have to pay back the debt. There aren‘tmany of them. They comprise less than 20% of the population. But they will payback 80% of the remaining debt. That is a 100% certainty.And why will the sins of the 80% be paid for by the 20%?Because no one else can pay it back.Our government can‘t pay it back. It‘s bankrupt. The bankers and brokers andlawyerswon‘tpay it back. They have been ―saved.‖ Eighty percent of thepopulation won‘t be able to pay it back because they don‘t have anything.So it must be paid back by the honest, frugal taxpayers who still have wealth –the middle-class and upper-class Americans who still have assets.If you have assets that means you. It doesn‘t matter whether you are a billionaireor have a net worth of $10,000.They – the 80% of America that is (or will soon be) bankrupt are coming afteryou. And they will have the government and the financial community at theirsides.There are three ways they will come at you: 1. By taxing you more. If you have a good income, they will make you pay more taxes. If you have assets, they will make you pay a higher ―wealth/property‖ taxes on those assets. And they will introduce consumption taxes. 2. They will make create alternative, private taxes on every product or service you purchase. (These private taxes will take the form of increased banking, insurance, transportation, purchasing, and other fees – all tied to regulations meant to ―protect you.‖ 3. They will make your income shrink while your expenses rise, making you ultimately poorer unless you do something radical. This is the primary way they will make you pay back their debt. With many years of stagflation. The economy will be sluggish. Income, on a relative scale, will decrease. And prices will rise. Getting us 20% poorer is really the best and surest way to pay back all the bad debt.
If you think this is crazy speculation, do this. Post this now on your calendar for2015 and then read it again then. See how crazy it seems then.If you don‘t think I‘m crazy and want to do something to protect yourself, payclose attention to the rest of this message.Recognize that you will not be able to avoid the three-stage assault I outlinedabove. You will not be able to avoid the extra taxes you will have to pay. If you do try to get fancy with your taxes, you‘ll end up in jail. This is not an avenue worth pursuing. You‘re not going to avoid paying all the extra ―private taxes‖ on everything you buy from now on. These will all be buried in the fine print. You won‘t find them. And even if you do, you‘ll be required to pay them because the laws that are being written right now to ―protect‖ us contain clauses that allow banks and brokerages and so on to pass along the extra costs to their customers. And finally, you are not going to be able to avoid the effects of stagflation. The value of your cash-based assets (it doesn‘t matter they are in dollars or Euros or what) will diminish. Prices will increase. But your salary will not.But there is something positive you can do. Actually, there are three things: 1. Keep your job. There is a good chance that the business you work for will continue to make payroll cuts in the months and years ahead. That means your income or possibly your job is threatened. The best way to protect your job is to become an invaluable employee. When your boss has to make the tough decisions about who gets cut, who gets cut back, and who stays, you want him to want to keep you. You can do that by becoming an invaluable employee. 2. Put your savings in tangible assets: gold, real estate and, if possible, your own private business. 3. Create additional streams of income. This is the only way you can actually hope to build your wealth during the coming Great Recession. This is the most important of the three solutions.
I am a big believer in multiple streams of income. I started working on it abouttwenty years ago. At first the streams were mere trickles. Now each one of themis more than I need. And I have about a dozen of them.That‘s why I‘m not personally worried about the great recession. But if you don‘thave additional streams of income, you should be.How to Create Extra IncomeIf you have at least a half million in cash, you can create income two ways: 1. You can invest in rental real estate. I‘m doing that now and I‘m getting cash flow of between 5% and 10% on my money. 2. You can invest in quality, dividend-bearing stocks. I suggest you follow Andy Gordons recommendations in the Sound Profits newsletter. 3. If you dont have a hundred grand to invest, then you really have no choice. To create a viable second stream of income you must start a side business – something you can do evenings and weekends. You could mow lawns or clean windows. But thats hard work for modest pay. The kind of business I recommend is one that (a) doesnt require very much start-up capital, (b) provides you with job satisfaction, and (c) could eventually allow you to quit your day job.That‘s exactly what American Writers & Artists Inc. (or AWAI for short) can helpyou to do.AWAI specializes in helping people create multiple streams of income… all fromlearning just one financially valuable skill. AWAI has more than a dozenopportunities for you to choose from. Opportunities likecopywriting,being an internet researcher or publicist,writing resumes,desktop marketing,self-publishing,writing grantsgraphic designbecoming a travel writer… to name just a few.
These opportunities can give you a sizeable second (or third) stream of incomedoing something enjoyable. And more than that, they can be leveraged intobuilding even more opportunities.Let me give you a couple of examples of AWAI members who have done just this:Ann Kuffner originally became an AWAI member so she could promote herretirement/relaxation development in Belize. But things changed – and changeddramatically – after she attended her first Bootcamp last year.While she remains Vice-President of Sales of the Grand Baymen development, shealso has become a full-fledged copywriter enjoying her second stream of income… ―Earlier this year, I reached one of my primary goals. I landed a significant assignment with a reputable international lifestyle publication. I‘ve already completed and been paid for the job. And, I‘m expecting more follow on work… I would never have come this far, this fast, if not for Bootcamp…‖Member Roy Furr wasn‘t expecting any big changes in his life last year. Heactually liked his job, but he knew he was limited there.Today Roy‘s enjoying a recession-proof income stream and has no ceiling on howmuch he can make… "This time last year, I had no clue how my life would be changed when I attended AWAIs FastTrack To Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. I was holding on to my full-time job, only dreaming one day Id tell my boss, Adios! Im off to do what I want to do and make myself rich! "I wasnt sure if I was ready, but I invested in Bootcamp anyway and to my surprise (and my former employers) I launched my full-time freelance copywriting business 3 months and 3 days after returning home. "Now I can tell you flat-out: AWAIs Bootcamp was the best investment I could possibly have made in launching my freelance copywriting career.‖Ann and Roy‘s stories are far from unique. They tell typical stories of doorsopening when you put yourself in the fast-paced, high intensity environment ofAWAI‘sFastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.
Bootcamp opens doors by providing master-level training, training packed withcopywriting and marketing secrets.It opens doors by giving you opportunities almost every moment you‘re there tonetwork with other members and with master copywriters and marketers who arepresenting at Bootcamp.And the most exciting opportunity of all: AWAI‘sFastTrack to Copywriting SuccessBootcamp and Job Fair opens doors by letting you meet face-to-face withrepresentatives from companies at the Job Fair… who are there specifically to hirenew writers. That‘s how Ann and Roy starting building their second incomestreams and how you can too.There are many others too. Like Susan Clark. from HawthorneCalifornia… “Last month I made $13,210 from writing copy. I never could have done it without AWAIs FastTrack to Success.‖Or Eric Gelb… "I attended my first Bootcamp last November. The event changed my life. I learned new and essential techniques and skills. I became friends with two copywriters and we brainstorm ideas that help me make money. I landed two clients at the Job Fair. And the best news is within six weeks of Bootcamp, I received $4,350 in fees."This year‘s Bootcamp features an amazing lineup of professionals willing – nomake that eager – to share their insights, their lessons, and their secrets withyou so you can get started on building your second, third, or fourth incomestream quickly and surely.These are pros like… Bill Bonner – whose famous International Living letter ran as a control unchallenged for 30 years, and whose Agora Publishing is now one of the largest publishers in the world… Ted Nicholas – whose copywriting has produced over $5.9 billion in sales for his companies and his clients companies, in industries as wide ranging as candy products to incorporation to marketing to natural health. Mark Everett Johnson – copy chief for legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz, his 15-plus year control for a major health provider has generated over 3.3 million paid orders and over $80 million in sales.And, of course, I‘ll be there too. This year I‘m teaching a systematic way to writemillion-dollar copy again and again.This is just a glimpse of what you can expect to experience at this year‘sgathering of the greatest minds in direct marketing and copywriting.Perhaps, you will walk away from Bootcamp this year with an experience likeSusie H‘s…
"My expectations for Bootcamp were that Id learn loads, get psyched up, be exhausted by the end, and meet plenty of eager AWAI members, generous seminar leaders, and Bootcamp coordinators. I was not disappointed in any of those expectations… “What I didn‘t go expecting, even though Ive read these stories myself, was to walk away with a paid assignment from this Bootcamp… but I did! Networking happens, whether you consciously do it or not (unless you talk to absolutely no one while youre there). “Let it take you where it will, because youll be thrilled when it does. And, when you get home and the phone rings the next day with another paid assignment, you can grin, make the deal, then hang up and scream, and jump for joy. Go ahead. Expect it all. It happens."If you want to create an extra stream (or streams) of income for yourself, youropportunity to start begins at the AWAI FastTrack to Copywriting SuccessBootcamp and Job Fair. It is the best way I know of to do it.It works. It‘s worked for these copywriters you‘ve already heard from. And it‘sworked for many others who‘ve used it to generate their own income streams.Bootcamp opens its doors in just two months. And when those doors open, theywill open doors for you… if you‘re willing to take the first steps.Click this link to learn even more about the exciting adventure awaiting you atBootcamp. And the fulfilling life a second and third income stream can provide foryou.This is a great chance – maybe the best chance you will ever have – to get to thenext level of financial success.If youre serious about taking charge of your future, be there!As I said, the most significant thing you can do to protect yourself from what Ipredict will be a disintegrating economic environment is to get an extra (or two)stream of income. But this is NOT something you should wait to do next year. Thelonger you put it off, the more challenging it will be. There‘s still a significantopportunity to create a lifelong cash stream if you act immediately.
The Power of One – One Big IdeaOne of the biggest lessons I have ever learned about writing came very late – in fact, more than twenty years after I wrote my first piece of copy.It happened about a year after I began writing the Early To Rise(ETR). I waslooking over issues Id written that year and noting which ones readers rated thehighest. Without exception, those achieving the highest scores presented a singleidea.It struck me that readers didnt want to hear everything I had to say about atopic every time I wrote. They were looking for a single, useful suggestion or ideathat could make them more successful.That was one of those "aha!" experiences for me.As a reader, I had always most enjoyed stories and essays that tackled onesubject effectively and deeply. As a writer, I sensed my readers felt this way too.But it wasnt until I looked at the ETR results that I recognized the power of anarrow focus in writing.I checked to see if this same phenomenon applied to advertising copy. I pulledout my box of "best promotions of all time." While not all of them were on asingle topic, most of the very best hit just one idea strongly.It seemed I was on to something. I presented this idea as one "powerful secret topublishing success" when Agora had our first company-wide meeting forpublishers in France.
Bill Bonner reminded me hed learned about the Power of One from the greatadvertising guru David Ogilvy. Ogilvys concept was that every great promotionhas, at its core, a single, powerful idea that he called "the Big Idea."At about that same time, John Forde was rereading the classic 1941 book, "Howto Write a Good Advertisement" by Victor Schwab – the man Advertising Agecalled the "greatest mail-order copywriter of all time."In that book, Schwab listed his choice for the "Top 100 Headlines." John foundthat of those 100 top headlines, 90 were driven by single, Big Ideas.Note how instantly clear and engaging these "Big Ideas" are… "The Secret of Making People Like You" "Is the Life of a Child Worth $1 to You?" "To Men Who Want to Quit Work Someday" "Are You Ever Tongue-Tied at a Party?" "How a New Discovery Made a Plain Girl Beautiful" "Who Else Wants a Screen Star Figure?" "You Can Laugh at Money Worries – If You Follow This Simple Plan" "When Doctors Feel Rotten This is What They Do" "How I Improved My Memory in One Evening" "Discover the Fortune That Lies Hidden In Your Salary" "How I Made a Fortune with a Fool Idea" "Have You a Worry Stock?"At ETR, we made this concept a "rule" for writing. The mandate was clear. Writeabout one thing at a time. One good idea, clearly and convincingly presented,was better than a dozen so-so ideas strung together.When we obeyed that rule, our essays were stronger. When we ignored it, theywere not as powerful as they could have been.Heres an example of the Rule of One as applied to an advertorial taken fromETR:Subject Line: The Easiest Product to Sell OnlineDear Early to Riser,Would you be interested in investing $175 to make $20,727?Thats exactly what Bob Bly just accomplished!See how he did it below… and how easily you could do the same.MaryEllen Tribby,ETR Publisher
Dear Friend,Theres no product easier to create or sell online…… than a simple, straightforward instructional or how-toe-book.Why are e-books the perfect information product to sell on the Internet? 100% profit margin. No printing costs. No inventory to store. Quick and easy to update. No shipping costs or delays. Higher perceived value than regular books. Quick, simple, and inexpensive to produce.My very first e-book has generated $20,727 in sales (so far).My total investment in producing it: just $175.Now, I want to show you how to make huge profits creating and selling simple e-books – in my new e-book "Writing E-Books for Fun & Profit."Normally my e-books sell for anywhere from $29 to $79, and later this year,"Writing E-Books for Fun & Profit" will sell for $59.However, to make it affordable for you to get started in e-book publishing, Imletting you have "Writing E-Books for Fun & Profit" for only $19 today – a savingsof $40 off the cover price!For more information… or to order on a risk-free 90-day trial basis… just clickhere now.Sincerely,Bob BlyP.S. But, I urge you to hurry. This special $40 discount is for alimited timeonly.And once it expires, it may never be repeated again.Let me explain how the Power of One operates here.In the lift letter (signed by MaryEllen Tribby), Bob asks a question and then tells asingle sentence story. The question is an inverted promise. The story validatesthe promise.The sales letter follows. This, too, is a beautifully simple piece of copy. It leadswith a statement that expresses one clear idea: "The easiest way to make moneyon the Internet it to market e-books."That statement is supported by a number of bulleted "facts." Then, Bob validatesthe statement by mentioning his own experience.The reader is already sold. Bob makes the sale irresistible with a strong, one-time-only offer.Short, sweet, andsimple.
The Power of One is not only one big, central idea. Its a fully engaging piece ofcopy with five necessary elements. Using Bobs example: One good idea: "Theres no product easier to create or sell online than a simple, straightforward instructional or how-to e-book." One core emotion: "It is simple! I bet I can do it!" One captivating story: Told brilliantly in 11 words: ―My very first e-book has generated $20,727 in sales (so far).‖ One single, desirable benefit: "Now, I want to show you how to make huge profits creating and selling simple e-books" One inevitable response: The only way to get this book for $19 is "click here now." To create blockbuster promotions time after time, you must understand thedifference between good copy and great copy. The Power of One is the drivingforce behind great copy.Veteran advertising consultant James Loftus, whos worked with Anheuser-Busch,Holiday Inn, McDonalds, and many other clients, agrees:"Also keep in mind that the more points you try to cover, the less effective eachpoint, and therefore your ad, will be. An effective ad will actually have only onecentral focus, even if you discuss it from two or three perspectives. If your pointsare too diverse, they compete with each other, and end up pulling the readersattention in separate directions."When challenged with an advertising assignment, most writers conjure lists offeatures and benefits, then mention as many as possible. Their thinking goes, "Iwonder which of these benefits will really push the buttons I want? Ill throw themall in. That way if one doesnt work, another one will."This is B-level copywriting. Its not the way to create breakthrough advertising.The Power of One is commonplace now at Agora… it‘s taught by AWAI… and you‘llsee that most top copywriters follow it.You can use the Power of One to create your own blockbuster copy. Ask yourself:"What is the Big Idea here?" "Is this idea strong enough to capture the hearts ofmy customers?" Or "Are my ideas all over the place?"The challenge is to find that one good idea the reader can grasp immediately. Andstick to it. So the idea has to be strong, easy to understand…and easy to believe.Put the Power of One to work for you in all your communications. Youll beamazed at how much stronger – and successful – your copy will be.
For more breakthrough copywriting tips and tactics check out the AWAIAccelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. Making Omelets, Breaking Eggs and Sexist AdsKatie sent me some of the comments given byGolden Threadreaders of an essay I wrote on ―The Most Interesting Man in the World.‖The ad reminded me of David Ogilvy‘s classic advertisement campaign forHathaway Shirts. It propelled Hathaway from a local company with no reputationat all to the most recognized shirt brand in America.I said that while the Dos Equis ad was in many ways a creative knockoff, it fellshort of the Ogilvy classic by failing to make the brand name itself a prominentfeature of the commercial.For Ogilvy, the name of the product was critical. It was so important to him thathe put the brand name in almost all of his headlines.One reader, Christine, had this to say: ―While this may have worked for a mensshirt in Ogilvy‘s day this present ad "The Most Interesting Man in the World" isdisgusting and painful to watch.She found it ―offensive to women.‖ Besides the content (a bearded mansurrounded by beautiful women) it suggests, she said, that women don‘t drinkbeer when they do.Christine says she would ―go out of (her) way NOT to buy this beer.‖―Some ads are just too offensive. Copying old ‗Mad Men‘ ads per se without a fewupdates is ‗madness.‘ If I were this guys wife and I found this beer in the fridge,I would throw it out! Lets get 21st century.‖I think it‘s interesting that Christine imagines herself married to ―this guy.‖ Is itpossible that the most interesting man in the world got her pulse racing, eventhough she objects to his image?
That‘s the thing about edgy advertising. It offends as many people as it attracts.But does that mean it shouldn‘t be done?It reminds me of the scene from Howard Stern‘s movie, ―Private Parts‖. Pig Vomit,the network executive who has been trying to get Stern fired, finds out that theratings for his show have shot sky high, despite his puerile, offensive-to-somehumor.―Howard‘s fans,‖ he is told, ―listen to him for two and a half hours.‖―Well what about all the people who hate him?‖ he asks.The researcher looks at his notes, ―People who hate him listen to him for fivehours.‖There is no question that if you want to grab attention, being outrageous is aneffective tactic. But the question still needs to be asked: How far should you bewilling to go to sell your product?What boundaries, if any, should you be willing to cross? Is it okay to be sexist if itsells more beer?Moral issues aside, the criterion for making such a decision has to be theadvertisement‘s effect on sales. Looks like Dos Equis made the right decision:According to Dos Equis brand manager Ryan V. Thompson, since Dos Equisintroduced The Most Interesting Man in the World in 2006, sales have shot upsignificantly every year, leaping 26% since January alone. He recently told AustinCarr of FastCompany.com. "Were now the fastest growing beer import in thecountry.‖To create breakthrough-advertising campaigns you must be willing to breakthrough convention. You have to be willing to offend some people so long as theincrease in sales that you stimulate is greater than any loss of business you getfrom the offense.It‘s not that you want to offend anyone. You don‘t. But you recognize that in aworld as diverse and opinionated as ours is, some breakthrough ads will offend.Elsewhere I have explained that the two greatest vices of a marketer are lazinessand egotism. And the two greatest virtues are empathy and courage.You must be empathetic enough to understand what your core customers thinkand feel and believe (their Core Complex). And, then you must have the courageto use that empathy to create an ad that tells them you understand.
That, in my view, is what the Dos Equis commercial does. It ―gets‖ guys. And ithas the courage to tap into what motivates them most of the time. It‘s not sex,by the way. And it‘s not the objectification of women. It‘s much more about aman‘s relationship with other men. Thus, the most interesting man in the world.It reminds me very much of the new viral marketing campaign to sell Old Spice.In that, ex-football player Isaiah Mustafa stands topless, showing off his six-pack,promising women ―he‘s the man your man could smell like.‖Last time I checked the original ad had attracted 13 million hits.Christine‘s mistake, if I can judge from her short message, was that she let herown feelings and thoughts and beliefs (her own core complex) interfere with herability to see this ad for what it is.It‘s no more sexist than the Old Spice campaign. It‘s clever. It‘s compelling. Andit‘s full of self-referential humor.If Christine thinks this ad is offensive, what must she think of the blue-jeans adsthat Calvin Klein introduced in 1980. Older readers will remember the 15-year-oldBrooke Shields telling the world that ―nothing comes between me and myCalvins.‖ People were offended by the millions. But the campaign not only putCalvin Klein on top of the heap, but also virtually created the multibillion-dollardesigner jeans market.There is something else that needs to be understood about this ad. It not reallyabout attracting women per se, but about becoming more interesting than othermen. Men are very competitive. And in the world of wooing women, their desireto compete is at its evolutionary height. The liminal* promise of the ad is acompetitive one: to be more interesting than other men. Yes, the payoff is beingsurrounded by beautiful women. But the real issue is other men.Marketers of women‘s clothing sometimes make the same mistake. Theyincorrectly believe women dress to impress or entice men, when in fact theydress to impress and entice other women.The point I‘m getting to is this: if you are empathetic enough to really understandwhat motivates your core customers at a very basic level, then you will be able tocreate outrageous, breakthrough ads that work.Ask yourself: what is it that my customer really wants?And don‘t be satisfied with the first or second answer that pops in your head.Spend some time thinking or talking about his core emotions. Figure out what hedesires, what he thinks and what he believes.
And finally, don‘t forget about the product. It‘s great to get the attention youwant but you don‘t want to forget the product.Here are some other comments on the essay: “Excellent. Michael Masterson is spot on about the Dos Equis ads. I love the ad but am always left wanting to know what the product is. I had to actually force myself to concentrate on the commercial so I could know what the product is. Further I enjoyed the Golden Thread example. Ive been struggling with that in my writing but with this concise example I now fully understand the Golden Thread.”– Shawn Maus “Excellent. Inspiring and great information!! I will read this article a dozen times and when I get home. I will pull out my AWAI books and start changing my career… with results this time!”– E.Oneill “Excellent. WOW I love those Commercials so that was number one when I saw "SAW" the "GUY" I was compelled to read on and now I understand some more about this business I love but never knew how much until this article.”– Dan Slaughter Jr “Excellent. Great article Michael. Makes perfect sense and a very interesting insight into David Ogilvy as well!”– Gus G. “Excellent. What a gift… Thank you Michael!!! There is so much marketing wisdom in this simple article… Thank you for sharing so generously.”– Laurie Attwood “Excellent. Very Interesting and informative. Also reminiscent of Commander Whiteheads beard. ”– Mike Rodriguez “Excellent. What a wonderful and insightful piece! You have written this piece like a good painter that paint work of art you are the masters. The sequence from thought to purchase and how to influence elegantly if there is such a word.”– Avihu KiselsteinYOU‘RE INVITED to continue this discussion with Michael at this year‘s Fast Trackto Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.Anything else you want to talk to him about? You‘ll have plenty of opportunitiesduring the 3-day event. Plus, you‘ll have access to Bob Bly, John Forde, TedNicholas, Bill Bonner and the dozen other master copywriters and marketers whowill be there… ready and eager to share their experiences and strategies withyou.*Ed Note: In case you‘re curious about the meaning of the word ―liminal‖, itmeans just at the edge of consciousness. It‘s not to be confused with―subliminal,‖ which means just below the threshold of consciousness.
The Man in the Hathaway Shirt Have you seen The Most Interesting Man in the World? Im referring to the TV commercials for Dos Equis beer. They star arugged-looking, silver-haired man who is always surrounded by beautiful women.In one version of the commercial, he arm-wrestles a Third World general andreleases a grizzly bear from a trap. In another, the narrator relates that even hisenemies list him as their emergency contact and that the police often questionhim just because they find him interesting.If you are a student of advertising, you know this is a knockoff of David Ogilvysfamous ad campaign: The Man in the Hathaway Shirt.If you dont know the history of this ad, you should.In Brief: It was 1951. Ellerton Jette, a shirt maker from Waterville, Maine wantedto grow his little business into a national brand, but he didnt have much money.He had heard about the advertising prowess of David Ogilvy. So he booked ameeting with him."I have an advertising budget of only $30,000," he told Ogilvy. "And I know thatsmuch less than you normally work with. But I believe you can make me into a bigclient of yours if you take on the job."If hed stopped there, Ogilvy would have thrown him out of the office. But then hesaid something that sold the great salesman.He said, "If you do take on the job, Mr. Ogilvy, I promise you this. No matter howbig my company gets, I will never fire you. And I will never change a word of yourcopy."There is a big lesson here. So lets stop for a moment and talk about it.What Ellerton Jette did was a little bit of genius, in my opinion. In two shortsentences, he changed the mind of one of the most powerful men in the world ofadvertising. At the same moment, he made himself a very rich man.Not a week goes by when I dont get a letter from a complete stranger who seesme as his David Ogilvy. They are direct and to the point. "I know I can get rich ifyou help me, Mr. Masterson," they say. "So how about it?"
What makes them think I have the time, if not the inclination, to help them? Itnever even occurs to them to offer me something in return for what they areasking.Jettes $30,000 budget might have put $3,000 in Ogilvys pocket. Though it was apaltry sum then and a mere pittance now, at least it was something. But whatreally cinched the deal was the two promises Jette made.Going into the meeting, Jette knew he had one chance to forge a relationship withOgilvy. He somehow understood that Ogilvy, as successful as he was, had two bigproblems. He worried that his biggest clients would walk away from him. And hehated it when his clients screwed with his copy. So, instead of thinking only of hisown goals, Jette took the time to figure out how he could offer Ogilvy somethingthat would be of immense value to him. (This, by the way, is one of many lessonsI teach in mySpecial Theory of Automatic Wealth.)When Jette made his two promises, Ogilvy realized that he was talking to abusinessman who would eventually become a partner. He could see that Jette wasa man of good faith who would let Ogilvy be in charge of his marketing. And thathe would reward Ogilvy with a lifetime of loyalty.Now, lets get back to the story of the Hathaway shirt ad…After accepting Jettes offer, Ogilvy spent days doing in-depth research on Jettesclient base. He came up with dozens of ideas. The one he settled on was acampaign built around the image of a distinguished man in a romantic locationdressed in a Hathaway shirt. He selected a model that looked like WilliamFaulkner and booked the first photo shoot.On the way to the shoot, he passed a five and ten cent store where he bought afew cheap eye patches. At the shoot, he asked the model to wear an eye patchfor a few shots.The moment he saw the photos with the eye patch, he knew.The Man in the Hathaway Shirt campaign was an instant success. The ads werecarried in papers around the country, and were mentioned editorially in Time,Life, and Fortune. Before long, hosts of imitators appeared. Other companies ranads featuring eye patches on babies, dogs… even cows. A cartoon in The NewYorker shows three men looking into the display window of a shirt store. In thesecond panel, they are coming out of the store, with eye patches on.
Ogilvy got the idea for the patch, he said, from a photo of Ambassador LewisDouglas, who had injured his eye while fishing in England. But he got the ideaitself – the idea of this aristocratic man with a romantic life – from the JamesThurber story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." (Actually, Kenneth Roman pointedout inThe King of Madison Avenue, it could have been from the secret life of DavidOgilvy. As a young executive, Ogilvy was prone to wearing capes and bowtieswhile everyone else was in grey flannel suits.)Of course, it wasnt just the eye patch that made the ads work. It was thecombination of the model, the situation he was in, and the copy itself.And the copy was brilliant. Heres the first line of the first ad:"The melancholy disciples of Thorstein Veblen would have despised this shirt."Most readers of the ad had no idea who Thorstein Veblen was. But they got theidea. Veblen was some sort of snobby aristocratic. By posing a handsome, silver-haired model with an eye patch in a Hathaway shirt and putting that lineunderneath the photo, Ogilvy struck a chord in the American imagination. We allhate aristocrats, but we would like to be one.There was another brilliant thing about the ad. Putting the model in a romanticlocation gave the pitch a fictional element. It had "story appeal," as Ogilvy put it.Ogilvy said he discovered the concept of story appeal in a book by HaroldRudolph, a former ad agency research director. This was the first time, Romansays in his book, "that shirt advertising focused as much on the man wearing theshirt as on the shirt itself."And now, back to The Most Interesting Man in the World…I am a fan of these Dos Equis commercials. I like them both because they are asalute to David Ogilvy and also because they successfully replicate the keyelements in Ogilvys ads for the Hathaway shirt. They have the handsome, silver-haired model. They have the eye patch. And they have the anti-aristocrat touch.(The product is beer, after all.)They also have the romance and the story. Each new edition of the commercial isanother episode in this most interesting mans life.They fall short only in one respect. They dont do a great job of equating theproduct with the concept.
When I remember a Dos Equis ad, I remember the actors face. I remember thepretty girls in the background. Im aware that he is a man that women findirresistible. And that when he drinks he drinks… Wait a minute. What does hedrink?Theres the rub.We find out that The Most Interesting Man in the World drinks Dos Equis. But hecould just as well drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. The creative people behind this verygood ad campaign get a big demerit for that. Ogilvy, on the other hand, put thename of the product in the headline. The fact that his man was wearing aHathaway shirt was integral to the story.Grabbing the prospects attention with an entertaining story or idea or photo isessential for any sort of advertising campaign. But you have to do more thanthat. You have to sell the product. And to do that, you must link the initialsentiment created in the headline with the final emotion needed to close the saleat the end.In AWAIs copywriting program, I call this "the Golden Thread." Its pretty simple.The product is at one end of the thread. The prospects heart is at the other end.Every element of the copy must be connected to the product as well as to theprospect. And the connection must be taut. If the thread goes slack, even for asecond, you lose the sale.I will end this essay by saying this: You have just read about half a dozen of themost powerful marketing secrets I know. If you put this essay down and forgetabout it, you will be making a terrible mistake. Read it at least half a dozen timesand think about it. If it doesnt make you a multi-millionaire, Ill eat my shirt.Hathaway, of course.
How to Write Well: The World’s Simplest FormulaMy income is based almost entirely on writing. And it has given me a very rich life– rich in every sense of the word. It can do the same for you.I spend half of my working time coaching writers on how to write better. I spendthe other half writing memos.My memos are almost entirely persuasive: their object is to encourage my clientsto make business and marketing decisions that will make them more profitable. IfI fail to persuade them then my ideas don‘t get tested. If they don‘t get tested,then I can‘t help them make money. If I can‘t help them make money, they willstop paying me. To date I have never lost a client. (Knock on wood.) I attributemy track record to the persuasiveness of my memos.Over the 30 odd years I‘ve been doing this, I‘ve developed many complicatedtheories about what good writing is. But now I‘ve jettisoned them all in favor of avery brief, straightforward definition.My definition of good writing applies to every sort of non-fiction writing that I canthink of. It applies to writing books, magazine articles, and direct-mail salesletters. It applies to business correspondence, telemarketing scripts, andspeeches.Here it is: Good writing is the skill of expressing compelling thoughts clearly.That‘s it.
When I say this to writers, I get incredulous looks. ―How could it be that simple?‖I can hear them thinking.And then I explain. And re-explain. And eventually some of them get it. And whenthey do, their writing gets much, much better. And their income gets better too.Let‘s go over that definition in detail. It has two parts:Compelling Thoughts and Clear ExpressionBy compelling thoughts I mean ideas that make the reader think, ―Boy, that‘sinteresting!‖ Or, ―I never thought of that before!‖ Or, ―I‘ve got to remember this!‖Good writing, then, has nothing to do with correctness. It doesn‘t matter if theidea you are expressing is well reasoned or even factual. What does matter isthat your writing engages your readers intellectually and emotionally and thenmotivates them to do or think what you want them to do or think.Notice I said intellectually as well as emotionally. I have Don Hauptman, a livinglegend in the advertising business, to thank for that additional word.After a speech I made once to a group of 300 writers, he wrote me to say that Ihad reiterated a common phrase he objected to: that people buy for emotionalreasons. “This lie,” he says, “just invites all the leftist critics of advertising and capitalism to charge that everyone is „manipulated‟ by evildoers who exploit our emotions and irrationality. So we‟re cutting our own throats if we perpetuate the „it‟s all emotion‟ fallacy. I know you don‟t want to encourage that, any more than I do. “FYI, there‟s an old adage that expresses the point of your article another way: „Write the way you talk, if you could edit what you say.‟ DM agency panjandrum Emily Soell once said something like: „Write it square, then add the flair.‟ I‟ve found these tips useful throughout my career.”Don is absolutely correct. Not including the intellect in this discussion is incorrectand potentially harmful. It invites critics of advertising to accuse persuasivewriters of pandering. And it encourages writers to believe that if they pander, theyare writing well.The most successful marketers and copywriters know that good writing requiresthat we engage our readers on both plains simultaneously. Ezra Pound had thesame theory about writing poetic images. He called them ―emotional andintellectual complexes in an instant of time.‖
Creating the Ah-Ha! EffectAnd that is what I mean by a compelling thought: an emotionally andintellectually engaging idea expressed clearly and succinctly so that the readercan apprehend it in a moment of time. That is what provides the ah-ha! effect.Malcolm Gladwell is an expert at this. And that is why he has become amultimillionaire writing books about arcane and academic subjects. His criticsnaively knock him because they argue that some of his ideas are incorrect. Imade that point before: the correctness of the idea is not what makes for goodwriting. It is the effect it has on the intellect and the heart of the reader.If you want to be a wealthy marketer, copywriter or businessperson, you must beable to come up with compelling thoughts. You must be able to recognize ideasthat are intellectually and emotionally engaging, ideas that arrest and charge upyour readers and make them think, ―That‘s good! I never thought of that before!‖How do you find intellectually and emotionally compelling ideas?In all the years I‘ve been struggling to answer this question, I‘ve found only oneanswer: you must read.Successful writers are all voracious readers. Their ideas don‘t spring fully formedfrom the thigh of Zues, they come from hours of reading – reading vertically andhorizontally about the subject at hand. They read and read until they come acrosssomething that gives them theah-ha! experience.I‘d like to tell you there was an easier way. There are some well-knowncopywriting gurus who will tell you that you can steal good ideas from swipe filestaken from successful advertisements past or present. This is horseshit, plain andsimple. Stolen ideas are like luxury cars. They lose 40% of their value themoment you take them out of the showroom.The reason that my number one client is the dominant publisher in theinformation publishing industry is precisely because their 100+ writers have hadthis definition of good writing drummed into their heads. They know that theycan‘t expect to write blockbuster promotions consistently without compellingideas. And they know how to find those ideas.Ask any of them how they come up with all their great ideas and he or she willtell you: ―I read and read until I find one.‖
Where to Place the Compelling ThoughtThe compelling thought must be placed in the lead. It cannot be lingering on pagethree or thirty-three. It must be up front so the reader can have his ah-ha!moment before he tosses the copy away.It is the same for writing essays or memos. Put your most compelling idea veryearly and your readers (prospects, clients, whatever) will be excited. If they areexcited, they will read on with enthusiasm. If not, you will lose them.If you have the good fortune to discover several compelling ideas, put the bestone first and let the others follow as soon as you can. Don‘t make the mistake of―leaving the best for last.‖ You don‘t have the liberty to do that. Hit ‗em quick andhit hard with your best stuff and spend the rest of theadvertisement/essay/memo proving your points.After you have put your compelling thoughts out there, then it‘s time to makesupporting claims and promises and prove that each one of them is valid.You must do this because your reader is naturally skeptical. His intelligencerequires him to weed out most of the advice and information he receives. If itweren‘t that way we could never get anything done. We‘d be eternally lostjumping from one idea to another. Our brains are hard wired to be skeptical ofideas – and that goes for compelling thoughts as well. The reader‘s subconscioustells him: ―You have just been seduced by an intellectually and emotionallycompelling thought. Before you act on it, make sure it makes sense.‖So this is where the good writer elaborates on his compelling thought byproviding compelling proof of it. He knows he must support his ideas rationally byproviding proof that they are ―true.‖Truth, of course, comes in many shapes and sizes. And so does proof.The Three Faces of ProofThere is factual proof. There is anecdotal proof. And there is social proof. Factual proof is easy to come by if your idea has been well researched. Anyone with an Internet connection can find all the factual proof he needs on most any topic if he knows how to do online research. And if you don‘t know how to do it, don‘t worry. AWAI is developing a product that will teach you.
Anecdotal proof includes stories — factual and non-factual — that support an idea by ―showing it‖ instead of ―telling it.‖ Anecdotal proof is very powerful, because it appeals so immediately to the emotions. People are not critical when they are reading a story. Their purpose is to be entertained. This gives you, as the writer, a strong advantage. Social proof refers to the influence that other people have on our opinions and behavior. As a writer, a good way to support your ideas with social proof is to use testimonials and expert endorsements.So that‘s how you incorporate ―good thinking‖ into your writing. Now let‘s talkabout the second part of my definition of good writing: clarity of expression.Clarity of ExpressionBy that I mean the ease with which your readers can ―get‖ your compellingthought and the proof that follows. This is a very important part of the definition.It is just as important as the compelling thought.Memorize the following sentence: The easier it is to comprehend, the more likelyit is that your reader will find it to be true.There is a new science called Cognitive Fluency that supports this assertion.Among other things, it studies the effect of simple language on readers. Whatresearchers have found is that a simpler statement has more credibility than amore complex one — even if they both mean the same thing. It appears, thescientists say, that our brains are hardwired to trust simpler (and familiar) things.New writers don‘t understand this. They operate on the theory that good writingis pretty or impressive. They strive to make their copy intellectually andemotionally impressive or even intimidating. They have been miseducated intobelieve that complexity is a sign of good thinking. And so they complicate theirwriting with complex sentences and arcane diction.This is a big mistake – a mistake that is obviously foolish if you think about it fora moment. After all, if you have gone to the trouble of coming up with a reallygood idea, why would you want to hide it from them with obscure words andreferences?
The best tool I have found to help writers keep their language clear anduncomplicated is the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. The FK (as it is known) looksat the length of your sentences, how many syllables there are in each word, andother data. The result is a score that indicates how easy the text is to read. AtEarly to Rise, our policy is to keep the FK under 7.5 — which means the averageseventh-grader should be able to read and understand it easily.Let me give you an example of what I‘ve been talking about here. What follows isa paragraph by a seasoned financial writer. I had asked him for a brief summaryof the ―big idea‖ for his next essay. Here‘s what he sent me: ―Simon Properties is making good on its promise to swallow up the minnows. It‘s buying mall owner Prime Properties for $2.3 billion and not even using up all the cash it‘s been hoarding to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace. Simon is big and flush with cash. And it‘s doing what big bad companies should be doing… beating up their little brothers, grabbing the best deals out there… getting bigger… and capturing market share from other companies.‖I emailed back, telling him that I could see, by reading between the lines, that hehad a good idea in his mind. But he had failed to identify the core of it. He hadfailed to turn it into a ―big idea‖ that he could base his essay on. Here‘s what Isaid in my e-mail: ―You say that Simon Properties is a good buy because it is buying up smaller, cash-starved businesses. This is a sound proposition, but it‘s not a compelling idea. It‘s really just an assertion. To make it emotionally compelling, you have to make it both more universal and more unique. You have to find the idea behind your idea. ―In short, you have to find something that would make your reader sit up and take notice. You have to give him an idea — preferably in a single phrase — that he could repeat that night at a dinner party, something that would launch an interesting discussion. ―For example, you might have said, ‗There are companies — I call them Sharks — that outperform the market by three to one by eating up good profitable companies that are small and easy to ‗eat.‘ ―That is an engaging idea. The reader gets it immediately. He wants to know more. ―But to make this work, you would need to prove to your reader that, in today‘s market, Sharks are good investments. Only after you have done that will he be interested in your assertion about Simon Properties.‖
To help writers understand what I mean by a compelling ideas I ask them to writetheir compelling idea on top, above their copy. What I often get in reply is a fullparagraph that explains the idea. When I see an entire paragraph above the copy,I know — without even reading it — that the writer hasn‘t identified a trulycompelling idea. And if that paragraph contains long, complex sentences, then Iknow he‘s off base.Since recognizing the two key components of good writing — a ―big idea‖ andclarity of expression — I‘ve insisted that all essays or promotions given to me forreview have at the top of the page a one-sentence explanation of the main ideaand the FK score.If that one-sentence idea doesn‘t impress me, I send the piece back withoutreading it. I know the writing that I‘m being asked to review is muddled. Andmuddled writing is never good.If the one-sentence idea is good, then I look to another signal that I insist on:that the FK rating is posted just below the one-sentence idea. And if the FK scoreis above 7.5, it gets rejected too.I reject it because I have found over many years that essays and advertisementsthat have high FK scores don‘t get results. I used to think that was because theydon‘t get read. That is certainly part of the reason. But now I understand fromlearning about Congnative Fluency, that it is also because they don‘t get believed.So that is the definition: Good writing is the skill of expressing compellingthoughts clearly. To come up with compelling thoughts you must read until youexperience an ah-ha! moment. And then you must prove your promises andclaims with clean, simple language – language that scores 7.5 or below on the FKscore.This discipline has saved me lots of time and has accelerated the learning curveof every writer who has worked under my direction. I recommend it to you.
Using Daily Task Lists to Accomplish Your GoalsI didn‘t always plan my days. For most of my career, in fact, I didn‘t.I had written goals. And I referred to them regularly. My goals kept me pointed inthe right direction, but I was always moving back and forth. Often for no goodreason.Driving to work in the morning, I would think about my goals. That helpedmotivate me and often gave me specific ideas about what tasks I shouldaccomplish that day. I‘d walk into work meaning to complete those tasks… but bythe end of the day, many of them were not done.What happened? The same thing that may be happening to you right now. You sitdown at your desk, and there is a pile of new mail in your inbox. You pick up thephone, and 15 messages are waiting for you. You open your computer, and findthat you‘ve received 50 new e-mails since you last checked. You tell yourself thatyou will get to your important tasks later. Right now, you have to ―clean up‖ allthese little emergencies.Before you know it, the day is over and you haven‘t taken a single step towardachieving your important goals. You make an effort to do something, but you‘retired. Tomorrow, you tell yourself, you‘ll do better.Does that sound familiar?If so, don‘t feel bad. You‘re in good company. Most people deal with their workthat way. Even people who set goals and achieve them. Over the long term, theyget everything done. But on a day-to-day basis, they are constantly frustrated.Youcanbe successful without planning your days… but you will have to work a lotlonger and harder. The reason? When you don‘t plan your days, you end upworking for other people – not just for yourself. You feel that before you get toyour own work, you should first deal with their requests.
Starting your day by clearing out your inbox, voicemail inbox, and e-mail inbox isjust plain dumb. Most of what is waiting for you every morning has nothing to dowith your goals and aspirations. It‘s work that other people want you to doforthem.If you want to be the captain of your soul and the master of your future, youhave to be in charge of your time. And the best way to be in charge of your timeis to structure your day around a task list that you, and only you, create.As I said, simply writing down my goals helped me accomplish a good deal. Butmy productivity quadrupled when I started managing my schedule with a dailytask list. If you use the system I‘m going to recommend, I‘ll bet you see thesame improvement.I have used many standard organizing systems over the years, but was neverentirely satisfied with any of them. The system I use now is my own – based onthe best of what I found elsewhere.At the beginning of the year, I lay out my goals for the next 12 months. I askmyself ―What do I need to achieve in January, February, etc. to keep myself ontrack?‖ Then, at the beginning of each month, I lay out my weekly objectives.Finally, every day, I create a very specific daily task list.Here’s how I do it…I begin each day the day before.What I mean by that is that I create my daily task list at the end of the prior day.I create Tuesday‘s task list at the end of Monday‘s workday. I create Wednesday‘sat the end of Tuesday‘s workday.I begin by reviewing the current day‘s list. I note which tasks I‘ve done and whichI have failed to do. My new list – the next day‘s task list – begins with thoseuncompleted tasks. I then look at my weekly objectives to see if there are anyother tasks that I want to add. Then I look through my inbox and decide what todo with what‘s there. I may schedule some of those items for the following day.Most of them, I schedule for later or trash or redirect to someone else.I do all this in pen on a 6‖ x 9‖ pad of lined paper. I divide the paper vertically tocreate columns for the tasks, for the time I estimate it will take to do each one,and for the actual time it takes me to complete it. I also create a column for tasksI will delegate to my assistant.
On most days, I end up with about 20 15-minute to one-hour tasks.Here is a typical daily list.I like doing this by hand, in pen and ink. You may prefer to do it on yourcomputer. The point is to enjoy the process.Because longer tasks tend to be fatiguing, I seldom schedule anything that willtake more than an hour. If you have a task that will take several hours, break itup into pieces and do it over a few days. It will be easier to accomplish. Plus, youwill probably do a better job because you‘ll be doing it with more energy and withtime to review and revise your work as you go.A typical day for me includes two or three one-hour tasks, three or four half-hourtasks, and a dozen or so 15-minute tasks. The kind of work you do may bedifferent, but I like that balance. It gives me flexibility. I can match my energylevel throughout the day to my task list.Ideally, you should get all of your important tasks and most of your lessimportant tasks done almost every day. You want to accomplish a lot so you canachieve your long-term goals as quickly as possible. But you also want to feelgood about yourself at the end of the day.You may find, as I did, that when you begin using this system you will beoverzealous – scheduling more tasks than you can possibly handle. So setrealistic time estimates when you write down your tasks. And double-check themat the end of the day by filling in the actual time you spent on each one.When you complete a task, scratch it off your list. One task done! On to the nextone!I‘ve been doing this for years, and I still get a little burst of pleasure every time.Creating each daily task list should take you less than 15 minutes. The secret isto work from your weekly objectives – which are based on your monthly andyearly goals.This system may not work for you, but I urge you to give it a try. I think you‘lllike it.
Before your colleagues, competitors, and coworkers are even sipping their firstcup of coffee, you‘ll have figured out everything you need to do that day to makeyou healthier, wealthier, and wiser. You‘ll know what to do, you‘ll know what yourpriorities are, and you‘ll already be thinking about some of them. You‘ll not haveto worry about forgetting something important. And you‘ll have a strong sense ofenergy and excitement, confident that your day is going to be a productive one. Heisting Hall of Fame HeadlinesOld-time copywriters like yours truly enjoy a walk down Memory Lane now andthen. We do it for fun, but it can be profitable, too.I‘m talking about rereading the best-known direct-marketing ads of the past.Copy written by such luminaries as Gene Schwartz, Claude Hopkins, and John E.Kennedy.It‘s fun to read through these old ads. Looking at them now — with their datedlanguage and primitive graphics — you might think they could never work intoday‘s hypercompetitive market.Yet some of them are still working. And, most of them live on as the arms andlegs or blood and bones of many modern ads written by copywriters whounderstand their value.There are many ways to learn from these time-tested ads.One way is simply to read them — over and over again. Maybe even copy themdown by hand or say them out loud. I‘m convinced that‘s the only way tounderstand all sorts of important but subtle things about good copy — diction,pacing, phrasing, etc.But the best way to learn from them is to analyze them from the inside out. Askyourself: ―What is going on here beneath the surface? What are the psychologicaltriggers that are going off in the reader‘s heart and mind as he reads this?‖
This is what I call determining the DNA of an ad. If you get the core structureright, you have a template — invisible to everyone else who looks at the same ad— of what really makes it work.So today, I want to introduce you to that kind of deep structure analysis. And I‘mgoing to do it by applying it to headlines — the smallest piece of the advertisingpuzzle, yet the most powerful.The headline you use has an enormous impact on the effectiveness of your ad.Pick the wrong headline and your response rate could drop by more than half.Select the right headline and you could double or triple response, and even createan ad which will last for decades.The Best-Known Headline Ever WrittenSeveral years ago, Raphael Marketing compiled a list of 100 of ―the best printadvertising headlines ever written.‖ As a group, these ads sold hundreds ofmillions of dollars worth of products and services. (That would be tens of billionsof dollars today.)I looked through the list this morning and thought, ―Boy, these are really good. Ibet I could use some of them right now to improve my clients‘ copy!‖I‘m not talking about copying them verbatim. A word or two or three, maybe.(And for a headline by a living writer, I wouldn‘t even do that.) But more thanthat is just plain dumb, because it doesn‘t work on so many levels. For one thing,it‘s cheating. And, it makes you a weaker marketer/writer.What I could do, though, is figure out what is going on beneath the surface(determine the DNA of those headlines), and then inject that into my clients‘ copyto invigorate it.With that in mind, let‘s take a look at one of the ―top 100‖ headlines. In fact, let‘slook at the headline that came in at number one. It was written in 1925 by JohnCaples for a correspondence course from the U.S. School of Music: They laughed when I sat down at the piano… But when I started to play!This headline instantly conveys all the key elements of a successful ad:
One strong idea One desirable benefit One driving emotion One inevitable solutionIn just 15 words, Caples tells a powerful story. You can see someone approachinga piano in a crowded room — perhaps it‘s a dinner party. You can see the look ofdisbelief on people‘s faces as he nears it. When he pulls back his cuffs, a twitterof laughter starts. Before his fingers touch the ivories, there is a chorus ofabusive cackling.How can you not feel sorry for this guy? Surely you have experienced, sometimein your life, a similar moment of embarrassing derision. (Who hasn‘t?)Imagining this situation, you feel his need for revenge and approval — two of thedeepest and strongest human desires.Now comes the second line — ―But when I started to play…‖You can see the shock and disbelief on the faces of those who were laughing. Ourhero has begun playing, and the music is flowing like wine. Men grow pale withadmiration and jealousy. Women glow in appreciation.And then the thought hits you: ―Wouldn‘t it be wonderful if I could play thepiano?‖Based on Caples‘s headline alone, the reader of this ad is already half-persuadedto sign up for the course it is selling. As I suggested above, this is an astonishingamount of work to get done with 15 simple words.What’s Going on Here?One of the most important discoveries I ever made about advertising came to meyears after I first read this wonderful headline. But, it could have been inspired byit. I call it the Rule of One.I said this about theRule of One:―Write about only one thing at a time. Becauseone good idea, clearly and convincingly presented, is better than a dozen so-soideas strung together.‖
Caples‘s headline is a beautiful example of that. Had he taken the salad bowlapproach — so popular with the whippersnappers who write copy today — itmight have read as follows: Now You Can Learn to Play the Piano Quickly and Easily!After years of research, musicologist discovers the world‘s most efficient method for teaching the piano. Using this unique new program, you can master the piano in less than a year! You will amaze your friends and neighbors! Some may even be shocked at how well you can play! Plus, you can earn extra income on the weekends!This headline doesn‘t have nearly the force of the original because it has toomuch going on. Too many unnecessary details, too many unrelated emotions, andtoo many damn words!Another reason Caples‘s headline is so strong is because, as I pointed out, it tellsa story. Of all the ways to get your readers emotionally involved in your copy,nothing works better and more consistently than the story lead.In the book I‘m writing with John Forde on copywriting, he has this to say aboutit:“I can think of a lot of people who balk at big promises. I can think of plenty morewho couldn‘t care less about a bulleted list of shocking statistics. But I can‘t thinkof a single person who can resist a good story. Can you? Everybody loves a goodstory.“As a way to communicate, nothing feels more natural.“So doesn‘t it make sense that when someone says, ‗Let me tell you a story… ‘you perk up and listen? There‘s no better way to melt resistance. Of course, if youdon‘t tell the story well, you can still lose the reader. And telling the right storieswell isn‘t always easy.“But get it right, and a story lead lets you sneak into the psyche sideways, like noother lead can, delivering anecdotal proof and promises… and a setup for the restof your pitch… long before the reader even realizes what you‘re doing.‖Caples‘s ad was an instant hit, selling thousands of correspondence courses. Manycall it the most successful ad of the 20th century.