7 Ways to Harness the Power of Positive Copywriting

Katie asked me the other day, “Don, what would you consider your most important secret for copywriting success?”

I came up with an answer that I realized is common for most successful copywriters I know. It’s at the heart of my success, Bob Bly’s, Paul Hollingshead’s, and especially Michael Masterson’s.

The secret is this: Be positive.

Let me share with you 7 ways to harness the “Power of Positive Copywriting.”


    Even though I’ve been writing a long time, I still get nervous when I’m asked to write about something I don’t know much about. The first thought running through my mind is something like, “I can’t do this. I don’t know anything about it.”

    If that’s where I stopped – with this negative attitude – I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in this business. Because when you start out, you really don’t know much about anything.

    Instead of letting negativity freeze me, I look at the assignment as a challenge. How much can I learn about this product? And the way it works and the new field I’m investigating?

    Attacking a brand-new area is an opportunity to learn. It’s an opportunity to become better informed … and also more interesting.


    When I get asked to write about a product I’ve done before, it’s easy to feel, “I could write this in my sleep.”

    This is an invitation to boredom. An invitation to do a half-baked job.

    So when faced with assignments like this, I challenge myself. What new ideas can I come up with? How can I make it exciting to myself again? Because if I’m not excited, my prospect sure won’t be.

    Putting this positive spin on what could be a so-so assignment keeps me in the game. I help repeat clients make lots of money … and have them coming back to me to write for them again and again.

    All because of a positive perspective on the work.


    Every time I submit copy, I want my client to love it and not want changes. I’m human, okay?

    But I know if I don’t get critical feedback, I won’t improve my skills. So criticism is a positive force in my professional life. A force that propels me forward and keeps my writing fresh and effective.

    This is how my successful colleagues approach criticism. Rather than trying to justify themselves when critiqued, they listen. And they adopt a positive attitude about what they hear so they can meet their clients’ needs … and produce successful packages.


    You’ve heard this from experts like Lori Appling and Ilise Benun: Your clients would much rather deal with copywriters who are courteous, respectful, and easy to work with.

    If you’re competing for a job against someone whose skills are equal to yours … but who’s a raving jerk … you’re going to get the job. No question.

    This also applies to working with people other than clients. The DM industry is close-knit. If you maintain a positive attitude with people who aren’t in a position to give you a job, word gets around to those who are. And if you’re a jerk, that word spreads too.

    Being positive with industry contacts has tremendous benefits to your career.


    Negativity builds on itself. It sucks up time. Time you could be working, earning money, and promoting your career.

    But a positive outlook increases productivity. It lets you concentrate on what you need to accomplish. You think more clearly … and are more open to new ideas when they “magically” appear.


    Every failure is one less that you have to go through in the future. What you are really doing is accelerating your success.

    Don’t let failures get you down. They’re normal.


    If you have a positive outlook, people will want to be with you. They’ll want to sit and chat over a cup of coffee or a beer.

These are your prospects – the very people you want to sell to. People who will teach you more than any book on copywriting can offer.

So if you ask me how to add that extra edge to your success plans, I’ll tell you this: Be positive in your work. Be positive with associates. Be positive in your everyday life. You will succeed, and you’ll have a whole lot more fun.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: February 20, 2006

1 Response to “7 Ways to Harness the Power of Positive Copywriting”

  1. I liked how understandably he writes...

    EileenOctober 5, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)