SoThe 7 sacred RULES every copywriter must follow.

by gjabiz
10 replies

there are NONE.

I promise my flurry of posting activity is about to end, got a trip soon (Sept. 1) but I thought I'd get as much helpful and useful (hopefully) stuff posted as I can...

NOT trying to dominate the forum, it is just much easier to post as it is to answer all the PM and email...and this way everyone (almost everyone, gee, Gary Halbert would be proud of all the weasel words I use on WF so as not to offend ANYone...he.he)

can share their spins and takes on the posts. Also, I'm NOT thin skinned by any means, as long as it doesn't turn personal, hell, I'm a lovable old curmudgeon...someone you could easily introduce your granny to without fear. (No teeth and saggy boobs OK).

Anyhow, I've been asked to share some tips for newer here goes.

YOU will at some point get to pick your bosses and you should be picky about them.

Since I need translated much of the time...I'll act as my own interpreter...OK?

I don't take jobs from CORPORATIONS. That is, if there is a layer of decision makers, if there are MEETINGS, if more than one person is involved in saying YES or NO...I won't take an assignment. I don't do committees.

I work with ENTREPRENEURS. Even at good size companies, like 700 employees, I work with the guy who can say YES or NO. Usually the owner, and I appeal to his early days of struggle when he built his business.

YOU newer copywriters haven't yet EARNED the right to do this...but I tell you honestly, it is a MINDSET you should develop from the Get Go.

OL Daniel, now the OLD lion of copywriters...well, it seems like only yesterday Sir Gary told us to keep an eye on him... we have...he's blossomed...and HE has this "attitude" I'm talking about.

It is, DON'T SELL YOURSELF SHORT. If you can write copy that sells stuff, YOU will be in demand.

And YOU will get a chance to work for big companies. Be careful.

Sure they can be profitable...just make sure the leader is direct response profit educated...they KNOW what copy is worth.

So START your career with the idea YOU can and WILL be in control of it...cause, you will get many clients who will frustrate the hell out of you...part of the learning curve until you can say

NO. My way. Or the highway.

Get to that point, you will never...ever, have to look for work...that is, as long as MY WAY puts a few coins into your client's pocket...and by a few I mean a boatload.


Become THE expert on the product. Know it inside out, upside the dark.

In my days of selling high end consumer electronics, I'd get the spec heads coming in wanting to know what the THD was or the Wow and Flutter were on a given piece.

I'd KNOW it. But I almost never told fact, I actually made fun of them...cause until you listen through a good set of speakers...all the specs mean nothing...

OH, I was one of the top salesman in a chain that had almost 250 salesman...and I was pert near always the leader in HIGH END SPEAKERS...wonder why?

KNOW your product so NO ONE can second guess your expertise.

Along with PRODUCT...even more important know your PROSPECT. In the old days we had the ability to do list comparisons...and if a target were on more than one list...of similar products...and they had RECENTLY purchased something...we could write copy that seemed like we were living in her house.

Sure, read all the as many as budget psychology, salesmanship and general fiction by best selling authors (those guys FLOW)...


KNOW your prospect.

KNOW how and when and where your PROMOTION is going to intersect with your prospect.

And you will have a wonderful time writing copy for many years to come.

Work with the person who can make decisions so you don't get bogged down in committee...

Be confident in your work BECAUSE you have prepared yourself...

And DEMAND the "wages" you deserve and you will find a world out there Ready, Willing and ABLE to pay you what you want and on your terms too.


PS. I've only got a couple more posts, then you WON'T have Ol gjabiz to kick around any more...just remember (really OLD timers)...even Richard Nixon had a comeback....YIKES.
#copywriter #follow #rules #sacred #sothe
  • Profile picture of the author DanielleLynnCopy
    Fantastic post as always Gordon,

    When I started out, I thought that all I needed to write good copy was to use sexy, persuasive wording. Ha!

    I discovered that the best copy comes from hours and hours of generous research, market insight, and immersion into product and prospect.

    And no one can quite prepare you for how much you end up dwelling on your projects when you take them on. I remember thinking I was going crazy when I started dreaming about my current projects!

    Like you said - become the expert on the product and the prospects - and the copy will flow through you.

    I don't take jobs from CORPORATIONS. That is, if there is a layer of decision makers, if there are MEETINGS, if more than one person is involved in saying YES or NO...I won't take an assignment. I don't do committees.
    And this I can utterly relate to. I recently did some work for a freelance project manager, great guy.

    Unfortunately, the project turned out to be for a non-profit organization...which was run by committee.

    Which means that when my copy was turned it, the entire committee had a go at it. And each person has their own idea what was right and wrong with it, and what should be said.

    Ultimately, what happened was the lady who was previously in charge of writing all their material up until that point, threw out my carefully targeted copy and decided all they needed was facts, numbers and figures - and filled their entire brochure with scattered percentages and pie graphs.

    What I learned from all that- don't take committee 'critiques' personally and in the future, always work for the decision maker.

    And since you've done the heavy research on product and prospect, don't be afraid to speak out and stand up for what you think will work.

    Yes, they're paying you - but they're paying you to help them make money, not to be a 'yes man'.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Good points gjabiz, or Gordon...very useful.

    The only thing I would add to your already great post, is that it's also a good idea to study your competition.

    As far as I'm concerned, you're not dominating the forum at all...

    ...matter of fact, I enjoy your posts
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  • Profile picture of the author ThatMichaelKid
    Good points both of you, incredibly helpful. What Danielle said really stood out.

    'Yes, they're paying you - but they're paying you to help them make money, not be a 'yes man'.'

    Your posts are really mind striking.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ricochet
    WOW, that was a meaty post..
    Some good advice,,
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Sanchez
    Gordon...keep um coming mate. If you're dominating the forums with threads like this - by all means: DOMINATE!

    Scott Haines and John Carlton both mentioned the same philosophy of "no corporations" attitude to freelancing. It's never fun working along side someone who doesn't value the power of quality copy.

    @Danielle (love the name by the way) - Amen to "they're paying you to help them make money, not to be a 'yes man' "

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  • Profile picture of the author Jake Gray
    Just an absolute goldmine of information and everything he
    has to say is extremely reliable.

    Every single time it seems that I check the Copywriting section
    (Oh, Which by the way is on a DAILY basis), I see to see something
    new and cannot resist clicking on it because it is so damn true!

    Awesome stuff Gordon.


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  • Profile picture of the author BlairBarnes
    Fantastic advice, I found really great value in that post...thank you for posting it.
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  • Profile picture of the author yecall
    I am not too keen on big corporations either. The reason is the coldness, I guess... I like to work with small companies. The owners usually have high hopes for their business and they are grateful for any help you can provide them with. I think it is a different and more rewarding experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author Maricela margene
    Thanks, good advice. I like "don't sell yourself short" a lot of time we do just that. We constantly should remind ourselves we are good enough!
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