Can you believe a Copywriter wrote this..?

by Mike Hill 33 replies
I was doing some research today and came across this one website of a local copywriter. I started reading it and man it was the worst copy I'd ever read...

There were so many mistakes in the approach from the BIG words that only Harvard students would understand and his cliches pounded within his copy... talk about cheezy!

Then I came upon this comment that totally blew me away:

"The PS in direct mail letters is stupid and belongs in another millennium" ... "The PS used to be a genuine, honest thought that someone added to a letter. Now it is a contrived device calculated to do nothing more than lift response."
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SIDE NOTE: "...do nothing more than lift response" um... yeah,
that's what you get paid for dummy!"
---------------------------------------------------------------

He made that quote because he thinks the PS is stupid - quote - "Word processors make the PS obsolete." - end quote-

Just thought that I'd share this because everywhere you look agencies who are looking for copywriters are looking for graduates in literature and end up getting people like this and personally they couldn't sell their way out of a paper bag...

Mike Hill
#main internet marketing discussion forum #copywriter #wrote
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  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Goodchild
    I've just been interviewing writers for two jobs. I work as a consulter for a large company that is expanding thier writing force- and oh my goodness! Boy some of those people need to learn how to write!

    (which is a little ironic )
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    • Profile picture of the author aikay77
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Rachel Goodchild View Post

      I've just been interviewing writers for two jobs. I work as a consulter for a large company that is expanding thier writing force- and oh my goodness! Boy some of those people need to learn how to write!

      (which is a little ironic )
      Rachel, I wite really good. Are you interviewing? You can check out my site for my product at The wonder money making Secret Warrior Forum members have known for years...
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      • Profile picture of the author Lance K
        Originally Posted by norma View Post

        The point made about PS and PSS and PSSSSSSSSS ad infinitium, however, is valid. I hate the PS tags and never read them. In fact I usually ditch emails that have them in because they are treated as a gimmick. Its all a case of if a product is good and worthwhile you can easily sell it without the tricks.

        With all due respect, nothing regarding marketing is valid unless the metrics say so.


        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        The prospect doesn't usually know if the product is any good or not, so product quality has very little to do with the conversion rate.
        Right on. Focus your efforts on building PERCEIVED VALUE and crafting an IRRESISTIBLE OFFER.



        Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

        ---------------------------------------------------------------
        SIDE NOTE: "...do nothing more than lift response" um... yeah,
        that's what you get paid for dummy!"
        ---------------------------------------------------------------
        Mike, you simply must forward that snippet to him.
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        • Profile picture of the author Roy Carter
          "PS-I'm going over to makepeacetotalpackage.com now to leave a comment telling Clayton that he's been wasting his time with PSes all these years "

          Lol - I'm sure he'll stop using them now

          Roy
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  • Profile picture of the author Ricter
    Where's the Harvard sounding part?

    So much copywriting advice extols (snicker) the honest voice, what if the guy went to Harvard?
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
      Originally Posted by Ricter View Post

      Where's the Harvard sounding part?

      So much copywriting advice extols (snicker) the honest voice, what if the guy went to Harvard?
      I don't care if he went to Harvard... I'm NOT knocking Harvard. I'm pointing out the fact that the general audience in life does not speak that way.!

      So much copywriting advice extols (snicker) the honest voice,
      That kind of stuff doesn't belong in a direct response copy letter unless you're trying to impress your mother.

      Mike Hill
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      • Profile picture of the author Ricter
        Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

        And your point..? I don't care if he went to Harvard... you're missing the point. I'm NOT knocking Harvard. I'm pointing out the fact that the general audience in life does not speak that way.!


        That kind of stuff doesn't belong in a direct response copy letter unless you're trying to impress your mother.

        Mike Hill
        Who is his intended audience? Are you certain that a "general audience in life" is not his target? Maybe it is mothers, his included, no? Just asking...
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
          Originally Posted by Ricter View Post

          Who is his intended audience? Are you certain that a "general audience in life" is not his target? Maybe it is mothers, his included, no? Just asking...
          He's written ads for people (18 - 30) He states that his niche market is "...helps businesses sell their products and services using the mail"

          Mike Hill
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          • Profile picture of the author Terry Hatfield
            Do you know what the saddest part is?

            Many people are going to read his page and hire him!

            Terry
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            • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
              Originally Posted by Terry Hatfield View Post

              Do you know what the saddest part is?

              Many people are going to read his page and hire him!

              Terry

              LOL, nah that's why I didn't say his name out loud...

              Mike Hill
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            • Profile picture of the author Collette
              Originally Posted by Terry Hatfield View Post

              Do you know what the saddest part is?

              Many people are going to read his page and hire him!

              Terry
              Nope. The saddest part is that those same people who hired him are then going to say "Copywriting is a waste of time." when his pathetic and misbegotten attempts fall flat on their singular and collective faces.
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            • Profile picture of the author jestershaw
              What do they say..."no such thing as bad publicity". I wonder if that goes for Internet Marketing.

              P.S.
              Have a great Friday!

              Originally Posted by Terry Hatfield View Post

              Do you know what the saddest part is?

              Many people are going to read his page and hire him!

              Terry
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
          Originally Posted by Ricter View Post

          Who is his intended audience? Are you certain that a "general audience in life" is not his target? Maybe it is mothers, his included, no? Just asking...
          Well if this is how he writes to a general audience then talk about a waste of money..! I see a lot of ads, I subscribe to a lot of direct mail just to see what arrives at the front door and I can tell you over the years I've seen a lot of wasted money.

          Mike Hill
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    • Profile picture of the author Norma Holt
      Hmmm! Food for thought. I am a writer and take extreme care with spelling and grammar. One of the first things you learn about writing for the Internet is to use words that an 8th grader can read and understand. While the temptation is there is exploit language for all one can get out of it in order to emphasise a point restraint is essential if one wants to be read.

      The point made about PS and PSS and PSSSSSSSSS ad infinitium, however, is valid. I hate the PS tags and never read them. In fact I usually ditch emails that have them in because they are treated as a gimmick. Its all a case of if a product is good and worthwhile you can easily sell it without the tricks.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
        Originally Posted by norma View Post

        The point made about PS and PSS and PSSSSSSSSS ad infinitium, however, is valid. I hate the PS tags and never read them. In fact I usually ditch emails that have them in because they are treated as a gimmick. Its all a case of if a product is good and worthwhile you can easily sell it without the tricks.

        Yes you may not read them, but how do you know the target audience doesn't read them..? I don't believe the P.S. is a "trick" at all. It simply guides the reader to take the action you want them to make...

        Mike Hill
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        • Profile picture of the author Collette
          There is an enormous difference between a copywriter, and a writer:

          A writer's job is to use words to clearly convey an idea or concept - but not necessarily to sell. A writer does not need to be a copywriter.

          A copywriter's first job is to SELL - a product, a service, an idea, a concept, an ideal - whatever. A copywriter needs to be a writer; a writer who can SELL.

          HOW a copywriter sells, and the words they sell WITH, depends on WHO they're selling TO. The skill is in knowing how to put all the bits together to make a persuasive, irresistable case for what you're selling.

          The big tip off that this guy is a 'writer' and not a 'copywriter' is his disparaging comment about lift notes. The guy doesn't know squat about direct response or marketing. Or he would never have said something so colossally ignorant.

          Truth is, there's a place for all kinds of writers. But it's a tad galling when someone annoints themselves with a title they so clearly have no right to hold.
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          • Profile picture of the author logosi
            Originally Posted by Collette View Post

            There is an enormous difference between a copywriter, and a writer:
            Well said. Same with songwriting, I can and have written screenplays, but when I tired songwriting, they sounded like a first grader. Same goes for copywriting.

            I have a friend who was a prolific non-fiction (hypnosis) writer, there was simply no one better, but when he tried his hand at fiction he couldn't make the grade.

            We all have talents, but most of us (certainly me) have our limits too.
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            • Profile picture of the author Matt James
              C'mon Mike, I'm dying to read his site now. Link please?
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            • Profile picture of the author Elmer Hurlstone
              Originally Posted by logosi View Post

              Well said. Same with songwriting, I can and have written screenplays, but when I tired songwriting, they sounded like a first grader. Same goes for copywriting.

              I have a friend who was a prolific non-fiction (hypnosis) writer, there was simply no one better, but when he tried his hand at fiction he couldn't make the grade.

              We all have talents, but most of us (certainly me) have our limits too.
              One of the best quotes I've recently seen is this from Charlie Munger,
              "It's a disaster if you don't know the edge of your competency."
              Munger, if you don't know, is and has been Warren Buffetts's business partner for close to 50 years.

              Elmer

              Since this thread demands a PS:

              PS.
              Heart Kids Tweet-a-thon
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              • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                Mike, with the week I have had, I would believe anything.

                It will be interesting to see how successful he is with his business.
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              • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                Originally Posted by Elmer Hurlstone View Post

                One of the best quotes I've recently seen is this from Charlie Munger, Munger, if you don't know, is and has been Warren Buffetts's business partner for close to 50 years.

                Elmer

                Since this thread demands a PS:

                PS.
                Heart Kids Tweet-a-thon
                "A man's got to know his limitations..." -'Dirty' Harry Calahan

                PS - What he said re: Heart Kids
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                • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
                  LOL... Mike.



                  When will they learn they can find a better copywriter living in the sticks who never graduated high school and works blue collar jobs than an English professor from Yale...

                  Most people read at an 8th grade level.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
        Originally Posted by norma View Post


        I hate the PS tags and never read them. In fact I usually ditch emails that have them in because they are treated as a gimmick. Its all a case of if a product is good and worthwhile you can easily sell it without the tricks.
        The P.S. is neither a gimmick or a trick.

        According to proven research from people such as Forrester and
        others, a well written P.S. will lift the response from an email or a
        sales letter.

        My own extensive testing confirms that, apart from the subject,
        the P.S. is one of the most read elements of an email.

        John
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      • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
        Originally Posted by norma View Post

        Hmmm! Food for thought. I am a writer and take extreme care with spelling and grammar. One of the first things you learn about writing for the Internet is to use words that an 8th grader can read and understand. While the temptation is there is exploit language for all one can get out of it in order to emphasise a point restraint is essential if one wants to be read.

        The point made about PS and PSS and PSSSSSSSSS ad infinitium, however, is valid. I hate the PS tags and never read them. In fact I usually ditch emails that have them in because they are treated as a gimmick. Its all a case of if a product is good and worthwhile you can easily sell it without the tricks.

        Well I hate PSSSSSSSSSSS as well.

        Not for the reasons you state Norma, but because PSS is the incorrect use of the expression. As you know, P.S. is the abbreviation of post scriptum, which, if I can remember my latin, means after writing.

        The correct usage is; P.P.S. - (post post scriptum) and then P.P.P.S. etc, but, as a writer, you knew that.

        Peter
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        • Profile picture of the author Greg Cooksley
          Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

          Well I hate PSSSSSSSSSSS as well.

          Not for the reasons you state Norma, but because PSS is the incorrect
          use of the expression. As you know, P.S. is the abbreviation
          of post scriptum, which, if I can remember my latin, means
          after writing.

          The correct usage is; P.P.S. - (post post scriptum) and then
          P.P.P.S. etc, but, as a writer, you knew that.

          Peter
          Hey Peter,

          Sheeesh, you just reminded me about when I did latin......

          My teacher always said that he wished he could give me marks
          based on my hand writing because my latin was so poor...

          Aaaaahhhhh, school days.....I wish I could go back to school
          with all the knowledge I have now......man, I'd clean up...

          Regards

          Greg
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          • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
            Originally Posted by Greg Cooksley View Post

            Hey Peter,

            Sheeesh, you just reminded me about when I did latin......

            ......Aaaaahhhhh, school days.....I wish I could go back to school
            with all the knowledge I have now......man, I'd clean up...

            Regards

            Greg
            Hi Greg,

            You are hilarious. I desired this several times already, but did not come true. Who knows, why?

            Cheers,

            Sandor
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          • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
            The point made about PS and PSS and PSSSSSSSSS
            There should only ever be one 'S' in a postscript. PPS stands for "post postscript." Et cetera.
            In fact I usually ditch emails that have them in because they are treated as a gimmick. Its all a case of if a product is good and worthwhile you can easily sell it without the tricks.
            Non sequitur. And sloppy thinking.

            The prospect doesn't usually know if the product is any good or not, so product quality has very little to do with the conversion rate. The exception is when the seller or someone recommending the product is a trusted entity, and even then it's a matter of confidence rather than knowledge.

            Sharpe should be ashamed. It has long been the case that PS's are often used as reminders or summaries, and it is in that role that they find their value today. There is nothing deceitful about them in that capacity. In fact, they can be used in a way that saves the prospect time and energy.

            Lazy thinkers should not write sales copy.

            (Hmmm... I think I have two extraneous words at the end of that sentence...)


            Paul

            PS: The only deceitful usage of a PS that I think I've ever seen is putting them at the beginning of a standard sig file in a personal email.
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            • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
              Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

              The prospect doesn't usually know if the product is any good or not, so product quality has very little to do with the conversion rate.
              I've thought that for a long time... and it amazes me how many people get hung up it.
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            • Profile picture of the author Greg Cooksley
              Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

              The prospect doesn't usually know if the product is any
              good
              or not, so product quality has very little to do with the conversion
              rate.
              The exception is when the seller or someone recommending
              the product is a trusted entity, and even then it's a matter
              of confidence rather than knowledge.

              Paul

              Hey Paul,

              That hits the proverbial on the head......

              The quality of the product is only known on receipt. And that's
              when it will affect the "refund" rate......because you then have
              the knowledge.....

              Regards

              Greg
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      • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
        Originally Posted by norma View Post

        Its all a case of if a product is good and worthwhile you can easily sell it without the tricks.
        If you had a sales team, you'd discover that ones who kick butt would never utter such a thing. The ones who struggle would more likely believe such a thing.

        They have a saying in the sales profession for people who think that way.. "he[she] just wants to be an order taker - not a salesman[person]".

        There's a few more words often used to describe such 'sales' people.. broke. fired. unemployed. looking for a career change.


        My father is a lawyer.. he had extreme prejudices against ANY sort of marketing. It took a long time for him to put his ego aside and realize he was a BUSINESS OWNER, and as such, his BUSINESS was selling legal services. A subtle, yet profound, difference.
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        • Profile picture of the author zapseo
          Originally Posted by jasonl70 View Post

          If you had a sales team, you'd discover that ones who kick butt would never utter such a thing. The ones who struggle would more likely believe such a thing.

          They have a saying in the sales profession for people who think that way.. "he[she] just wants to be an order taker - not a salesman[person]".

          There's a few more words often used to describe such 'sales' people.. broke. fired. unemployed. looking for a career change.


          My father is a lawyer.. he had extreme prejudices against ANY sort of marketing. It took a long time for him to put his ego aside and realize he was a BUSINESS OWNER, and as such, his BUSINESS was selling legal services. A subtle, yet profound, difference.
          My late father was a well-respected Optometrist. Even though he had definite ideas about professionalism in Optometry (didn't care for the "Sears Optometrists" folks), and eschewed "marketing" (part of professional code, I think), he was also the one who taught me "There is one profession we are all in: sales."

          What your father doesn't realize (or didn't realize) is that someone did a heck of a job marketing the idea that people with law degrees are somehow useful and deserve their rep and their income simply because they went thru 3 years of additional schooling and passed a tough exam.

          Probably the angle I would have shot for was persuasion. Do lawyers need to know how to persuade? You betcha. (Trial lawyers, especially). What is marketing ... just another persuasion vehicle.

          As for the "value" of the product -- the value of the product is not an objective quality, in my opinion. I rapped Wagenheim's knuckles for downplaying his book on copywriting, which he kindly gave me a copy of (but said he didn't understand why I'd want to read it.). Why did I rap his knuckles? Because he took the air out of my balloon of enthusiasm for reading his ebook..

          How people pre-frame the experience people will have with a product can vastly change the value that the person receives from the product. This can be a positive or a negative pre-frame.

          Have you never had the experience where you disliked something until you experienced it through the eyes of someone who was passionate about it (such as a boyfriend or a girlfriend?).

          Copywriters have the responsibility to find out all the wondrous ways the product they are writing for can be used and be useful -- and then communicate that to the reader with enthusiasm.

          Live JoyFully!

          Judy

          PS -- oh yeah. And what those other guys said... Support Dr. Mani's Heart Kids. Follow his 24 hour "tweet-a-thon" -- just go to twitter and follow "tweet-a-thon" Now in the last handful of hours...do it now!
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    SIDE NOTE: "...do nothing more than lift response" um... yeah,
    that's what you get paid for dummy!"
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    He made that quote because he thinks the PS is stupid - quote - "Word processors make the PS obsolete." - end quote-
    Yes, and those $27 salesletter generators make "copywriters" like that obsolete.

    What next, an SEO "expert" who tries to get your sites deindexed?


    He states that his niche market is "...helps businesses sell their products and services using the mail"
    Great niche there- I was gonna go for businesses that don't want to sell products or services, but he's changed my thinking.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Raybould
    Hi Mike,

    It's pretty amazing to come across these people isn't it? Talk about giving copywriters a bad name. I just feel sorry for his customers. Whether they are happy with his service or not, seems pretty obvious that they'd get much greater response rate from other copywriters.

    Still, I think hanging out in the WF all the time desensitizes us a little to the outside world. We see world class marketing and copywriting day in and day out. It's easy to forget that not everyone knows about or can get access to great resources like this place. Hanging around in this place gives you the ability to spot a poor marketer at 50 paces lol.

    Interesting thread.

    David

    PS-I'm going over to makepeacetotalpackage.com now to leave a comment telling Clayton that he's been wasting his time with PSes all these years lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    "The PS in direct mail letters is stupid and belongs in another millennium" ... "The PS used to be a genuine, honest thought that someone added to a letter. Now it is a contrived device calculated to do nothing more than lift response."
    The PS is stupid? I didn't know it was sentient. Learn something new everyday.

    Imagine that, a copywriter doing something just to lift response. What a dork. Why would anyone do that especially a copywriter?

    I really want this guy to write my sales letter next time. My customers need a good nap.
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    Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

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