Sun Tzu, Muhammad Ali, and Copywriting

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Like most of the world, I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Muhammad Ali.

This morning, I pulled out some of my old boxing magazines I collected as a kid, and read through the articles with The Greatest.

One quote that Ali had said really stuck out, because I had heard something similar at a copywriting seminar a few years back.

Ali said... "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights"

Well, at a copywriting seminar I attended back in 2005, I remember seeing the Sun Tzu quote posted in our notes...

"Every battle is won or lost before it's ever fought"

This morning, after reading both of those quotes, I realized how much success leaves clues. If some of the greatest in the world talk about how important practice is when it comes to striving for perfection... it made me also realize that most winning piece of copy are won, long before they're actually written and tested.

Any great copywriter calls upon years of practice when writing. So, in a way, it's something that is practiced, over and over again, to the point where writing winning pieces is a bit easier each time, because you know the building blocks of great copy.

They say that great salespeople and copywriters are born.

I don't believe that. I feel they are trained, and then practice their craft until they achieve the results they want.

Like anything, copywriting is a skill that can be learned. But learning is half the battle... it's the continuous study and practice that makes the great ones, well, great.

So, it really resonated with me this morning, reading that quote in my old Boxing News magazines.

Ali's quote about how winning his fights is a matter of all the hard work he puts in, before the fight.

And Sun Tzu saying that each battle is won before it's actually fought.

So, it's a matter of preparation, practice, and execution.

Copywriters prepare when writing a piece, by making sure they know their market, have their studies and research done.

They draw on their years of practice of writing... and know how the building blocks of good copy come together.

And then it's a matter of executing the skills they've learned... and creating a piece of copy they feel will beat the current control... or hand a biz owner a new control piece.

Bottom line, there's something to be said for hard work, practice, and continually striving to improve and get better... whether we're talking boxing, war, or copy.
#ali #copywriting #muhammad #sun #tzu
  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin

    Can you say more about how Ali prepared?

    Was he trying to get to know his opponent, trying to psych out the opponent or was it just physical practice?

    This too can probably carry over to copywriting.

    Marcia Yudkin
    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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