Who's your biggest copywriting influence?

43 replies
Just finished reading Damn Good Advice by George Lois. Some interesting ideas and surprised at how he's so opposed to David Ogilvy's ideas.

Got me thinking about which copywriters influenced me most. I'd probably say Gary Halbert is up there. A chap called Dave that stays under the radar. Mark Ford taught me a lot (Michael Masterson), as did Bill Bonnner. And am sorry George, but Ogilvy's had a big influence too.

What about everyone else?
#biggest #copywriting #influence
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  • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
    Don Staley, Mel Ziegler, Roy H. Williams, David Ogilvy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Sugarman, Makepeace, and Carlton.

      In that order.

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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Warriors
    Dan Kennedy is definitely my biggest influence; his book "The Ultimate Sales Letter" was the first copywriting manual I ever read, but I've also been exposed to his ideas more and more since then, as clients tend to want copywriters to emulate Kennedy.

    I'm also a big fan of Joe Sugarman, even if his ideas WRT length and certain other things are pretty much the polar opposite of Kennedy's.

    I like Carlton quite a bit too.

    I like what I've heard from Ogilvy, though I still haven't gotten around to reading "Ogilvy on Advertising." What I know of him I mostly know through Youtube clips and so on, but the whole idea of incorporating direct response copywriting principles in brand advertising makes a ton of sense to me, and it's an approach that I plan on taking eventually.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    Eugene Schwartz, Gary Halbert, Claude Hopkins, John Caples, David Ogilvy, Clayton Makepeace, Dan Kennedy, Gary Bencivenga, John Carlton, Michel Fortin, John Forde, Michael Masterton, Robert Collier - more or less in that order, to name a few.

    There are many others with a direct or indirect influence as well, such as (in no particular order): Vic Schwab, Ben Suarez, Bill Jayme, Bob Bly, Malcolm Decker, Clyde Bedell, Nick Usborne, Jon Morrow (from Copyblogger), Dan Rosenthal, Harry Browne, Frank Bettger, Joe Karbo, and many more.
    Learn more - earn more: Books for Copywriters
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    • Profile picture of the author Doceye
      The customer in front of me I'm supposed to be selling to.
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn@AllGoodCopy
    Ha! Nice answer Doceye.

    And nice to see John Forde get a mention Steve. He's a top bloke and a great copywriter. Can play a mean guitar too.
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Gary Halbert and Joe Vitale.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Sugarman's "Adweek Copywriter's Handbook" helped me re-think hooks and "big ideas" of promotions... and the guy is a phenomenal salesperson.

    As far as writing, I really dig Bencivenga... awesome style. I also love Makepeace's work, and Jack Forde is (as Ross Bowring puts it), "a living god."

    On a more personal level, Vin Montello, Matt O'Connor, Collette Gillian and Colm O'Dwyer have all been instrumental in helping shape my career. While Vin gets a fair bit of praise on the forum, the other three tend to be a little more underground... which in some ways as a shame, as they're undoubtedly world-class writers who have a LOT to offer.


    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author TerranceCharles
    I'd have to say Jack Canfield and Corey Rudl (RIP).
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  • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
    Probably... John Carlton
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  • Profile picture of the author staceythewriter
    Bob Bly and Steve Slaunwhite.

    Stacey Mathis
    Stacey Mathis Copywriting
    The Copywriter's Highway to Success
    Twitter: @staceythewriter

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  • Profile picture of the author andrewkar
    Do what you want to do!
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  • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
    Would like to tune in and say I, too, am a living god.

    Over and out.
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  • Profile picture of the author erinwrites
    This probably won't win me any points but I do not know is my biggest copywriting influence. I can tell you, though, that the best piece of copy (arguably content) that I've ever read was the instruction manual that came with my Lodge Color Dutch Oven. That thing was hysterical and made me forget that I was reading a sheet of instructions for care and maintenance.
    I put words on the Internet.
    Silly Haikus starting at $5! PM me for details! (Because it's fun)

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  • Profile picture of the author NadiaChaudhry
    Ashley Ambirge. <3
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Gary Halbert.

    Because his style suits me best.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    Eugene Schwartz, Clayton and Bencivenga....

    But I've been reading some Halbert recently... the man is a genius as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert_Rand
    Dan Kennedy. Not really in terms of actual writing, but his philosophy.

    His bold, ultra-confident attitude is what's had the biggest impact on me.
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  • Profile picture of the author SirBacon
    Personally, as much as the greats all deserve their dues, I also like scrappy, outsider copywriters like Joe Karbo, who was writing successful copy before he even knew what he was doing.

    Also, be sure to get on Agora's lists and hand-write any promotion you see more than twice in a three-month span.
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  • Profile picture of the author Navi Otsen
    Definitely Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert. Their style really screams for action taking. Their material never gets old and it can be understood either by newbies or seasoned marketers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jerome Y
    Ditto Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert. First time I ever read their stuff, I was seeing things I had never seen before once every few sentences !
    Make Money By Sharing Cool Apps with Friends! No Selling involved, PM me for details!
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  • Profile picture of the author aroth
    I'd have to say Gary Halbert, Dan Galipoo, Terry Dean, Dr. Glenn Livingston, Craig Garber, Clayton Makepeace, John Carlton.

    That'd be my list.
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  • Profile picture of the author zapseo
    BIGGEST influence?
    Yikes, that's a tall order.
    I think, if you have found your "voice" in copy -- it comes from a variety of influences, not just one.
    For instance, I am sure going thru Tony Robbins' Sales Training didn't hurt a bit (along with a variety of other sales training I've been exposed to...)
    On the other hand, there is the sheer psychology ... Cialdini, Dan Ariely, Chip & Dan Health's "Made To Stick" and many, many more.
    Halbert, Sugarman, Bencivenga, Garfinkel, Makepeace, Kennedy, Kilstein, Fortin, Carlton, Fladlien ... ALL have had an influence on me.
    And a number of folks who are seldom mentioned.
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  • Profile picture of the author daream
    Just happen to take a look..too many great copywriters!
    I just wonder who have mentioned the most.
    I hope below summary really help you save more time reading above posts and have a quick view of voting.

    1 Ashley Ambirge --> 1
    2 Ben Suarez --> 1
    3 Bill Bonnner --> 1
    4 Bill Jayme --> 1
    5 Bob Bly --> 1
    6 Claude Hopkins --> 2
    7 Clayton Makepeace --> 9
    8 Clyde Bedell --> 1
    9 Collette Gillian --> 1
    10 Colm O'Dwyer --> 1
    11 Corey Rudl --> 1
    12 Craig Garber --> 1
    13 Dan Galipoo --> 1
    14 Dan Kennedy --> 7
    15 Dan Rosenthal --> 1
    16 David Ogilvy --> 5
    17 Don Staley --> 1
    18 Dr. Glenn Livingston --> 1
    19 Eugene Schwartz --> 2
    20 Fladlien --> 1
    21 Frank Bettger --> 1
    22 Garfinkel --> 1
    23 Gary Bencivenga --> 5
    24 Gary Halbert --> 9
    25 Harry Browne --> 1
    26 Jack Canfield --> 1
    27 Jack Forde --> 1
    28 Joe Karbo --> 2
    29 Joe Robson --> 1
    30 Joe Sugarman --> 5
    31 Joe Vitale --> 1
    32 John Caples --> 2
    33 John Carlton --> 8
    34 John Forde --> 1
    35 Jon Morrow --> 1
    36 Kilstein --> 1
    37 Malcolm Decker --> 1
    38 Mark Ford --> 1
    39 Matt O'Connor --> 1
    40 Mel Ziegler --> 1
    41 Michael Masterton --> 1
    42 Michel Fortin --> 2
    43 Nick Usborne --> 1
    44 Robert Collier --> 1
    45 Roy H. Williams --> 1
    46 Steve Rocco --> 1
    47 Steve Slaunwhite --> 1
    48 Terry Dean --> 1
    49 Vic Schwab --> 1
    50 Vin Montello --> 1
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  • Profile picture of the author SangGuna
    I'm still learning...but for me..i'm preferring Eric Louviere n Mike Morgan...
    Work HARD n SMART...^_^
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  • Profile picture of the author wrcato2
    Ben Hart, Gary Halbert, Elmer Wheeler, Hopkins for sure, Robert Boduch, Joe Karbo, David Ogilvy, Dan Kennedy, Jimmy D. Brown, Paul Myers, Bob Serling, Eugene Schwartz, Mel Martin, A.W.Shaw, Joe Vitale, there is more just had a brain freeze up.
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  • Profile picture of the author rightknight
    I'm currently reading scientific advertising by claude hopkins and finding it very interesting.
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  • Profile picture of the author alldaycreative
    Always been a big Ogilvy fan just because his ideas work so well on the web. I've always felt that the web kind of makes 'the big idea' obsolete but I'm going to give George Lois a spin this week.

    Robert P Cialdini is great at explaining the psychological reasons why people commit to purchasing. But the book that got me into the copywriting game was Life's a Pitch by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity, mostly because it changed the way I thought about selling myself and my ideas and gave me the confidence I needed to start selling other people's products and services. Not exactly a copywriting book but the most influential in my career nonetheless.
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnos
    Definitely Eben Pagan. He really takes time to not only learn concepts and blab about them, but actually UNDERSTAND why everything works (i.e. he doesn't just read "communicate with your prospect", but goes into detail about WHAT communication is, why it's important, how it integrates into a person's life, and really teaches you how to think about your customers, think like them, and really understand how to actually speak to them rather than just writing a bunch of random "hype").
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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    lennon and mccartney

    like music to my ears
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  • Profile picture of the author eve2
    Dan Kennedy.
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  • Profile picture of the author james kirk
    Halbert, Ogilvy, Drew Eric Whitman, Tim Ferris, Michael Masterson

    To your success!

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  • Profile picture of the author EnterIn
    He's probably unknown outside Australia but I think Mal Emery is right up there for me. Other than that Claude Hopkins, His ridiculously talentedness.
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