Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Archive for November, 2016

The paradox of underfunded vs. well-capitalized clients

November 29th, 2016 by Bob Bly

Are rich people who spend a lot of money with you often prima
donnas who are demanding and impossible to please?

From what I’ve seen, this is sometimes true in the world of
consumer marketing, whether at a luxury resort, 5-star gourmet
restaurant, or exclusive London men’s shop selling bespoke suits.

But in business, I have found quite the opposite to be true —
the more money a client spends with you, the more respectful,
polite, and easy to work with they will be … because the more
they value you.

The converse is also true: the client who talks you down in
price and gets you cheap turns out to be the most difficult,
demanding, hard to deal with, and impossible to please.

My theory as to why this should be so is as follows….

If the client with deep pockets is an entrepreneur, part of his
success is that he takes pains to treat people fairly and with
respect, so they in turn will like him and give him their best

And if your client is with a big corporation with deep pockets,
then he is usually a full-time professional marketer, and he
knows how to deal with vendors in our field — and has the budget
to afford them without undue hardship.

On the other hand, some entrepreneurs with shallow pockets often
haggle over your price, not because they are jerks, but because
they are on shoestring budgets.

They also question what you do at every step. Not because they
want to be picky or difficult.

But because they desperately need their marketing campaign to
work, inexperienced clients may find it difficult to let go of their
own judgment in favor of an expert’s, like yours.

Therefore, the well-heeled clients with big budgets who pay
generous fees are so often the easiest and most cooperative to
work with … while the tiny accounts who have to watch every penny
can sometimes be difficult, demanding, and contentious.

Are there exceptions to all this? Of course. I write copy for a
number of small businesses whose owners I am incredibly fond of.

But overall, the generalizations I just made turn out to be true
more often than they are wrong.

Do you find they hold true in your business as well as mine?


Category: General | 100 Comments »

Why I do not subcontract

November 25th, 2016 by Bob Bly

RT, a potential copywriting client, recently asked me:

“Bob, if I hire you, do you farm out the work to a junior
copywriter, or do you write the copy yourself?”

I directed RT to my home page at and told him to
scroll to the bottom. There, it states:

“Unlike many top direct response copywriters today, Bob Bly does
not hire junior copywriters to work on your promotions. If you
hire Bob, he writes every word himself — an advantage available
from no other source.”

I didn’t used to have this on my home page years ago, because
back then the idea that the copywriter you hired would fob off
the job to someone else was unheard of.

But things have changed in recent years.

And now, among senior copywriters, it’s commonplace.

But I have never done it. And I never will.

I figure if a client pays my fees, which are not astronomical but
also not cheap, he should get me.

If you are a client and you are going to use a “cheap” newbie
copywriter, why not hire him directly?

I told RT what I tell all my clients and prospects:

“When you hire me, I write every word. And I never subcontract
your copy or any portion of it to other writers.”

I’m not saying it’s wrong to subcontract work out to other
vendors. It’s done all the time in many field.

I’m not even saying it’s inherently wrong in copywriting.

But I do know the clients who hire me very much care that the
copy is written by me, and not some junior copywriter.

And that’s what they get. Every project. Every time. Me. And no
one else.


Category: Writing | 164 Comments »

Confessions of an aging workaholic

November 23rd, 2016 by Bob Bly

I have always been a workaholic, putting in on average 12 hours a
day, 5 days a week, plus a few more on the weekend if the mood
strikes me.

As I rapidly approach my 60th birthday, some people ask how I am
able to keep up this level of productivity and hard work at my
advancing age.

There are 3 simple secrets that keep my reasonably respectable —
though not stellar — productivity intact:

FIRST, for it to be tenable, I have to love what I do — and I
always have.

If you hate your job, as so many 9 to 5 wage slaves do, then you
want to get out of the office or plant as soon as the five
o’clock whistle sounds, go home, pop open a cold one, and watch
the boob tube.

On the other hand, if your work is so fun that it feels like a
hobby rather than a job, as I do, you never want to leave your

SECOND, because of my waning energy, I can still go full steam
for 11 to 12 hours a day — BUT ….

… as soon as I am done for the day, I collapse into my favorite
easy chair in the living room where I read a ton of stuff —
business books, science books, history books, novels, the New
York Review of Books, and the Star Ledger.

Or, if I am so pooped I can’t concentrate on reading a book or
the paper, I mindlessly channel surf until I find a cheesy SF or
horror movie like Final Destination or Wrong Turn or one of their
endless sequels.

(I think they’re already up to Wrong Turn 8 — the Musical.)

THIRD, I do not go out on weeknights, as my father did at least
two nights a week — bowling, poker, B’nai B’rith — but stay in
and go to bed early every night.

I strongly believe Michael Masterson, Brian Tracy, and others who
say that many (not all) people who are dedicated to their work
need at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

I have quoted Noel Coward many times in these essays, who said,
“Work is more fun than fun.”

I could not agree more.

Leisure time was most precious to me years ago, when my kids were
younger and wanted to do things with us. But now they are in
their 20s and have their own lives. Sigh.

My advice to all parents: spend time with your kids when they are
still young and still want you. They will age out of that in a
blink of an eye.


Category: General | 164 Comments »