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Oct 31

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How An Innocuous Dinner Conversation Taught Me A Valuable Copywriting Lesson!

I had been studying the words of Gary Halbert and spending some time writing out portions of his more famous letters long hand, hoping to infuse some of his style into my writing. As I was doing this I had the words of Pete Godfrey ringing in my head from a recent phone conversation.

Pete said “Just write, you will find your own voice.” And I was thinking that if I kept writing out the Halbert letters I might find his voice and lose my own.

A strange quandary to be facing I thought but at least we shared the same initials. I let a wry smile slip across my face and then went back to writing.

At the recent Masters of Conversion conference I was talking to Alexi Neocleous after dinner about the Halbert letters. One in particular had fascinated me.

Gary had been spruiking away in his inimitable fashion and he then said that he was going to hand the reins over to his secretary to tell us all about the next bit of news.

Well I read it… and then reread it… and could not see any difference between his writing and hers! I thought “He hasn’t handed the reins over; he is just padding his newsletter with fluff.”

I was telling Alexi of the two separate pieces of content and my take on it. He responded that if I was to think about things a little deeper I might consider a different view.

He explained that Gary always wrote his letters in long hand then gave his hand scribed prose to his secretary. His secretary was the one who always typed up his letters and edited them in terms of spelling and grammar and stuff.

In Alexi’s opinion Gary Halbert’s secretary would have had his style permanently ingrained into her psyche. Not only did she type all of his letters but she talked to him all the time too.

What a revelation! I could now see the benefit in rewriting winning sales letters long hand. How could I have missed this? It seemed so obvious.

So, now I have changed tack slightly because I don’t really want to lose my own voice. Now I am taking sections of many different successful letters by different authors. Halbert, Nicholas, Carlton, Ogilvy, Godfrey and Neocleous to name a few.

I am heading towards developing my own style with a hint of the masters instilled into the pedigree of every word I write. I know the punch is coming. I am looking to extract it and emotionally apply it. Writing the proven words of the masters is a sure fire way to achieve it.

It’s true! Although there are naturals in this field, it really is a skill that can be learned. It’s a passion that can become addictive too. So much fun putting emotionally charged paragraphs on paper and creating a planned outcome.

Thanks Alexi for enlightening me and stretching my mind, even while we were enjoying an informal dinner.

It seems you are never too old to learn. In fact if you’re not open to change, you are not open to growth and learning is all about growth.

I hope this tip helps you to grow in your writing as well.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.buzzmatics.com/2011/10/how-an-innocuous-dinner-conversation-taught-me-a-valuable-copywriting-lesson/

2 comments

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  1. Konrad

    North of Jewfish Creek.(Apologies to the late Gary c Halbert)
    I couldn’t help myself Gary,interesting point you bring out about writing out longhand those masterpieces from the Godfathers of Emotional Direct Response,I have written several of G Halberts letters out long hand and need to write many more, I find it helped me to look at the piece quite differently from my original perspective,almost like climbing inside it. We are so fortunate that we have Guy’s like Pete Godfrey Alexi Neocleous so willing to help and encourage, awesome that we can support each other through the online world.As you say “Although there are naturals in this field, it really is a skill that can be learned. It’s a passion that can become addictive too. So much fun putting emotionally charged paragraphs on paper and creating a planned outcome.” Over here in the West very few people have any idea about what we know and are even scared to have ago.It would be so dangerous to be in business and not to know about it. It certainly is addictive and helps us to understand a lot about human Psychology and how we think.
    Cheers Konrad

    1. Gary

      So true Konrad, I just finished leaving a response on Pete’s blog. There is no way that you can afford not to be versed up in Emotional Direct Response (EDR). Almsot every great sale person does it naturally like a living chess game. They see the objection coming and block it with value or some other tactic which takes the eyes off the price.

      Before becoming involved with EDR I detested selling with a passion. Now I am fast becoming a hunter for the challenge. Enlightenment! What can I say. Let’s get emotional! It’s so engaging.

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