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I often compare writing a successful direct-response sales letter to passing your driving test… Providing you don’t make any major errors and you manage to keep the minors to a minimum – you should be OK. If figures then that when you start learning about copywriting, you generally tend to focus on avoiding the bigger blunders. Just as you’d rather not run over the instructor’s wife (and accidentally admit you’re having an affair with her…

Aristotle’s idea was to start in the middle… And I have no doubt that in creative writing classes all around the world they’re preaching the same message as we speak. But hey, I was brought up under contrarian copywriter supreme, Bill Bonner, so why not throw a spanner into Aristotelian theory. Someone’s got to, right? So… I’ll say this – and I mean it – you should start EVERY sales promotion you write at the very end. You…

Copywriters aren’t often too kind to subheads… In fact, most of the time subheads are treated as nothing more than punctuation. Indeed, one of the uses of subheads in long copy sales promotions is to punctuate copy… but it is just ONE use. There are many more. The fact is, having strong subheads throughout your promotion can be the difference between copy that bombs and copy that sells. So, let’s just take it as accepted that…

As a copywriter, you’ve got one major problem that no one really talks about: no one wants to buy anything. That would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that, as a copywriter, it’s your job to encourage people to buy things. Actually, I’m being dramatic. There’s hope… there’s something you can do to fix it… and you can start right now. Speaking with a copywriting buddy of mine recently, an English copywriter-turned-entrepreneur-in-his-own-right, he pointed something out that should…

Legend has it that direct marketing giants Bill Bonner and Mark Ford sat down to analyse all the direct mail promotions they’d written, all those that had worked and all those that had flopped. They considered what fundamental factors the successes shared. They identified what was missing from the failures. And then they put it all together. Four elements revealed themselves. Years later, some people dismiss those four factors… they think they’re old-hat… or cliche in some…

Brainstorming is a bit crap. Or is it? It’s a difficult one. I say this: You should never disregard brainstorming as a tool for generating ideas. As a copywriter, when it comes to generating original and engaging headlines for a promotion, you’ve got to develop your own style. Me; I tend to pace up and down a lot. I kind of stab my hand about a bit like as though I’m trying to karate chop…

A sales promotion landed on my desk recently… Nothing new there; being a professional copywriter, hundreds land on my desk every week. But this one caught my eye. Unfortunately, it was for the wrong reason. You see, it wasn’t the headline that caught my attention. In fact, when I got round to reading it, I didn’t think much to it. A few too many clichés in my opinion; it lacked a truly unique idea. What…

Unlike a lot of copywriting pros who’ll tell you to steer well clear of extended metaphors in copy… I like ’em. Or rather, when I’ve used them well in the past they’ve resulted in breakthrough promotions. BUT… Yup, there’s always a ‘but’, right? And the clause in this case is that if you do go with an extended metaphor, you’ve got to make sure you’re aware of all its inherent associations. Though the metaphor might make…

Who in their right mind thinks about sentence structure whilst they’re having their sausage sandwich in the morning? Well, me. And here’s something for you to think about… For a few moments after reading it, a reader remembers the end of a sentence. Just there you remembered ‘end of a sentence’, right? And having now ended twice on the phrase ‘end of a sentence’, it’s REALLY starting to stick in your mind. By subtly altering…