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Archive for December, 2018

The 4th element in copywriting mastery

December 11th, 2018 by Bob Bly

I used to say there are only 3 ways to learn copywriting.

But I left out an important one, so there are really 4 ways to
become a good copywriter.

First let me recap the first 3 steps:

Step #1: Write.

Write every day. It could be sales copy, blog posts, articles, or

But write something every day.

Step #2: Read.

Read every day.

And read everything: newspapers, magazines, newsletters, essays,
short stories, novels, history, science, and business books.

Warning: If you read only business books, that’s a mistake,
because you are not acquiring knowledge of subjects that can help
add depth to your copy.

Step #3: Study the promotions you receive.

Read direct mail, newspaper ads, email, and online sales letters
both as a consumer and a copywriter — as a consumer to see what
motivates you to buy, and as a copywriter to learn the techniques.

Now for the crucial step #4 which I have previously left out.

Step #4: Participate in numerous direct response tests.

The more test results you see, the better you will understand
what works and what doesn’t in copy.

The longer you are a copywriter, and the more tests you are
involved in, the more you will learn from testing and the better
you will be.

Remember, subjective judgment is of limited value. Only tests
show you what works and what doesn’t.

Some potential clients ask me, “Why should we hire you instead of
a cheaper copywriter?”

There are many answers, but perhaps the most important is this:

I have been writing direct response copy around 12 hours a day, 5
days a week, for nearly 4 decades.

Because of that, I have participated in and seen the results of
more tests than most other working copywriters.

For this reason, I have a slightly better handle than many of
these other copywriters on what works and what doesn’t in
sales copy.

The more tests you participate in, the more you’ll know about
selling your product or anyone else’s.

And that’s the fact, Jack.


Category: Writing | 18,352 Comments »

The #1 success factor (hint: it’s not passion)

December 7th, 2018 by Bob Bly

It’s fashionable to say one should go into a business one is
“passionate” about.

I think a clearer road to success is to go into a business you
have an aptitude for.

There are 3 parts to having an aptitude for something.

First, you are naturally drawn to it.

For reasons you may not be able to articulate, it’s something you
want to do — in fact, feel compelled to do.

If you are not doing it, you feel incomplete and dissatisfied.

Second, you have natural ability.

Most people who become auto mechanics are good at fixing things.

Most people who become novelists are good at writing.

The activity is a good fit for your interests and skills.

Third, you enjoy it.

Most people who become marine biologists love the ocean, marine
life, and diving.

Most people who become video game designers are really into video

If you lack aptitude for the profession, task, or skill in which
you plan to make your living, you probably won’t enjoy work … and
may perform the job with indifference.

Exceptions? Of course.

But since you spend about half of your waking hours during the
week doing your work, why not do something you have an aptitude
for — so you enjoy it and do it well?


Category: Success | 9,202 Comments »

Positive thinking: can’t solve everything

December 4th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Theories such as positive thinking, the Law of Attraction, and
Earl Nightingale’s maxim “We become what we think about” are

But they are not absolutes that work in all situations.

For instance, here are 3 things I can’t do — and just thinking
about them won’t solve the problem:

#1–I can’t swim.

I could swim as a kid.

But when I got older, the composition of muscle and fat in my
body changed to give me “negative buoyancy.”

Most people have positive buoyance, which means if they are in
water, they float naturally with little effort.

With negative buoyance (it’s not BS; Google it), the greater
density of lean muscle mass causes me to be unable to float … and
instead, I sink like a stone.

So far, the Law of Attraction has failed to switch my buoyance to
positive, which I need to avoid drowning.

#2–I don’t laugh.

I seem to be missing the “laugh reflex” that most people possess.

When I see or hear something that is uproariously funny, I smile,
but do not laugh.

Bellowing, guffawing, giggling, and prolonged, uncontrolled
laughter are not in my wheel house.

#3–I can’t dunk.

I’m 5’7″ … I can’t jump — and the basketball hoop is 10 feet

Actually, I can dunk. But only if I am standing on a tall ladder!

Now, the positive thinkers and Law of Attraction advocates
believe what they are doing can motivate you to have or do
whatever you want.

But when someone who, say, has negative buoyance hears the
motivational speaker telling them they can do anything they think
about — including swimming — well, for me, it just doesn’t work.
Because I’m not fond of my lungs filling with water.

Optimists and the positive thinking crowd will disavow me for
saying this, but not everybody can do everything.

What’s wrong with saying that? If you don’t have the physical
attributes, the intelligence, or the aptitude for anything from
pole vaulting to singing opera, changing your thoughts is not
always going to change the reality.

Solution: find other things you like that are a good fit for your
natural talents, skills, aptitudes, and abilities. And do those


Category: General | 11,927 Comments »