This is not the introduction I was planning.

I hate using I.

It should be ‘you’ – that’s more engaging.

I is self-indulgent. All good copywriters know that.

But I need to use I, don’t I?

Sometimes I wish I could open every piece Trott-style…

In 1805 Gary Bingham was a captain in the Royal Navy…

And then the story unfolds…

But that’s Trott’s pattern. Not mine.

And of course, Trott’s not daft. He disrupts his own patterns too.

That’s the point you see. You’ve got to keep shifting, disrupting your own patterns to keep people engaged.

It’s not just a case of finding different ways to open either.

Patterns and clichés are quick to establish themselves throughout any piece of copy or content – long and short.

In conclusion…

Yeah, let’s do the conclusion here instead of at the end.

In conclusion, good copy never settles. It’s always trying to find new ways to present itself. And as a good copywriter, sometimes you’ve got to disrupt your own patterns too.

Example one (crap subhead)

I’m 5,000-words into a sales letter this week.

I’ll probably write up to around 10,000 and then edit back down to 7,000.

That’s the rough length the market seems to suggest for the price point I’m writing for.

I love this part of working on a long piece of copy.

It’s like you’re on the edge of losing it. It’s getting too big, but then little parts sing out and want more attention.

But you’ve got to be careful not to settle into old patterns at this point.

I wrote a section you’d find in almost any similar letter and then suddenly realised – it’s copy, it’s cliché.

The section I wrote conforms to the established pattern of what you’d expect to see as a copywriter and that’s the only reason it’s in there.

So what do you do:

You disrupt the pattern.

You try something different.

You mix it up.

Why this email is never ‘on time’ (a.k.a. example two)

I was asked on Twitter this week about whether you should be regular and consistent when you send an email newsletter.

It’s commonly accepted that it’s good to be consistent for your readers…

Send every Tuesday at 3pm.

That way they’ll know to look out for your email.


This works on the assumption people are waiting for your email.

They’re not.

Every time you send an email – be it a newsletter, an alert about a new blog post or just an invitation to dinner – you have to give the reader a reason to open it.

That it’s ‘on time’ is not a reason anyone opens an email.

In fact, the worse thing you can do is to send an email at exactly the same time every week as it’ll become predictable, irritating and that much easier to delete.

Sure, provide regular content…

But if you want it to be noticed…

Provide it in irregular ways. Once again, you’ve got to disrupt yourself.

Subhead 3 (is this intentional?)

You ever get those emails that seem like someone screwed up in the office?

The subject line reads:

[insert subject line]

What’s interesting about these subject lines is they often work better than the ones you’ll spend time thinking up.


Because they disrupt the pattern…

They literally look different in your inbox.

I split test every edition of this email with two subject lines because I find these things interesting.

Often I’ll test a ‘typically engaging’ subject line – one that most ‘experts’ would have you believe work…

And then I’ll just run a single word against it.

Guess which wins.


I think you know…

But if you want to find out for sure…

The answer is here.