From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Creating the Enemy

Hello Scott,

I am writing to offer a few words of encouragement to other copywriting novices like myself. After becoming a Founder’s Circle member and attending last fall’s copywriting Bootcamp, I finally decided to buckle down and WRITE. And I got 2 paying clients by submitting 2 spec assignments! Yes, I worked long and hard on the assignments, but I am proof that the program works … and will work for them, too.

Now, I have a question for you. I have NEVER (I am embarrassed to admit) finished the 6-Figure Copywriting Program – meaning I never submitted the Men’s Supplement Assignment. Should I still do that, or not? Can that assignment potentially lead to a new client? Or, if not, is it still a worthwhile exercise?

Susan N.

Hello Susan,

The Men’s Supplement Assignment is not for a real client. And the vitamins are a fictitious product. However, if you have the time, you should complete the assignment. It’s excellent practice, because it requires you to produce a complete direct-mail package, from boot to bonnet and everything in between.

It’s also a milestone. When you finish the assignment, you’ve finished the program. You’re going to feel a sense of accomplishment and a new-found confidence in your writing ability.

Hi Scott,

I am currently enrolled in the 6-Figure Copywriting Program. I am in the process of building my website, and am creating a few sample direct-mail letters for my potential clients to look at.

I have a question about these sample letters. One of the letters is about alternative medicine and yoga techniques. The strategy that I plan on adopting in this letter is to make a case against the pharmaceutical companies and their profiteering, etc., and then present the alternate medicine approach. Is it OK for me to make a case against the pharmaceutical companies? Or do I have to worry about legal issues, etc?

Brian S.

Hello Brian,

Good instinct! You’re actually employing a technique we called “creating the enemy,” an advanced copywriting technique that’s included in our Masters Course.

Briefly, the idea behind this technique is to identify a common enemy, such as big pharmaceutical companies. You start by pointing out all the reasons the “enemy” can’t be trusted. Then you show your prospect that you’re on “his side” … that you care about him and have his best interest at heart.

But, there are two things you want to be careful of …

As with any type of writing, you have to be careful of direct attacks or coming off too negative. And, it goes without saying, that you must be able to back up all your claims with research.

The more important question for you to ask is whether or not this approach will work for your particular product.

The answer is usually “yes” in the alternative health market … but only if you do it right. You should identify the enemy quickly and then move onto the benefits of your product … how it’s going to help them. If you’re interested in learning more about this, I recommend our “Secrets of Writing for the Health Market” course.

Hi Scott,

I have wanted to send you an email to tell you how much I’m getting out of the copywriting program. I’m a family entertainer based out of Seattle, Washington. My marketing has moved primarily to the Internet, and is focused on my website – .

Since starting the program, I’ve put several of the principles into effect on my webpage, and have seen a significant jump in the number of qualified leads I’m getting. Once someone reads my website copy, when they call me they’re almost certainly ready to book the show! (Now, I have to take some credit too, since I consistently do a great job … as my testimonials illustrate.)

I just wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying the program, how valuable it is to me and my business, and that I’m very much looking forward to completing it!

Jack Turk

Hey Jack, that’s great! Keep up the good work.

That’s it for this week. Thanks to one and all. And keep those emails coming!


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Published: January 9, 2006

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