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I’ve just published a new book for Kindle… Buy This Now: A Beginner’s Guide to Direct Response Copywriting. Inside I’ve brought together ten simple rules that I recommend you follow when it comes to starting out in your copywriting career. This isn’t abstract stuff. It’s specific advice that you can apply to any copy you’re working on. From understanding the importance of a varied vocabulary to learning how to swallow your creative pride, Buy This…

Often the first few lines of a direct response sales letter are redundant. Sometimes, even the first few paragraphs are too. Look again at the opening of any sales letter you’re working on and ask if it would not be stronger to start a little further in. You see, when we start writing we are heading into the dark. Even with a well thought-out idea and a tight structure in mind, those first words are…

Are copywriters born? I’m not so sure. I have a different theory. More often than not it is chance – a strange series of events lead us towards the discipline. It’s what happened to me and it’s what happened for freelance copywriter, Alastaire Allday. For Alastaire it was the perfect outcome – having already worked on campaigns for the likes of Sony, Nescafé, and Oasis, he’s also already penned his first book ‘Think Like a…

One of the most fundamental things you can do in a headline is to make a promise to the reader. In fact, it’s probably one of the most often used techniques when it comes to writing headlines for direct response copy. With financial copy I’m sure you’ve come across many headlines promising that if you buy stock Y you could make X per cent gain… And in health copy you’ll have no doubt come across…

Pictures paint a thousand words, right? But when it comes to using pictures in a direct-response sales letter, a badly chosen image will more likely lose you a thousand sales. More often than not, in my own sales letters I tend to avoid using stock images altogether. After all, when writing long copy you’re really constructing a persuasive argument as to why someone should buy what you have to sell… using WORDS. Obviously, to do…

You get an email telling you the good news… If you act in the next two hours, you can claim a £100 discount on Tony Owl’s brand new copywriting seminar. That’s great news – you love Tony Owl. But is it the best way to promote Tony’s offer? Is good news always a good thing? Not necessarily. When it comes to good copy, it’s worth thinking twice about leading with good news. It could actually be…

When someone decides to pay money in return for a product or service, it’s a serious thing. Good copy should respect that. I was sat in a meeting recently when a sales letter I had written was brought up on the screen. Though I naturally recognized it as mine, the people I was meeting with did not. Rather than point out that I’d written it, I thought I’d wait to see the reaction it got…

Whatever you think about Woody Allen ‘the man’… As a filmmaker, he’s made some truly great films. That’s a simple fact. For what it’s worth, I think he’s a brilliant writer, a great director and a good actor…. You only have to look at Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Play It Again, Sam, Deconstructing Harry, Zelig, Whatever Works and on and on and on and… OK, you get the picture! But anyway… Recently…

As with most things in modern art, the first time it happened, it was down to Picasso… He painted a picture of a chair, but not satisfied with paint alone, he stuck an actual chair on the canvas. Surrealist Marcel Duchamp, took it a step further, and in 1917, he just signed a toilet, turned it upside down and said “finished”. More recently, for the Turner Prize, Tracy Emin brought her bed in, didn’t bother…

Copywriters can be precious people… I should know… I am one. And sure, tell me my copy doesn’t work or that I could do something better and once upon a time I would have sulked for a week. Yup, I used to be like that. But these days, I’ve calmed down. I’m wiser. You see, I realised sometime ago that you simply cannot be precious about your copy. And that’s never more the case than…