From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Rewriting Samples

“After getting back from Bootcamp and having a week to digest all of the information I got, I thought I’d take an opportunity to write you a little reaction.

I am pretty much brand-new to the copywriting business and was more than a little nervous about coming to Florida for Bootcamp. Well, after three incredibly intense days, I was thrilled that I did. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Your speakers were dynamic, their topics were pertinent, and the information was non-stop. It was a more beneficial experience than I could have imagined. I made some great new contacts, was flooded with fantastic ideas and got a real intangible as well – a confidence boost that I can succeed in my new career.

I am looking forward to next year already!! Thanks to you and your whole staff who made it such an enjoyable and beneficial experience.”

Chuck D.

Glad to hear it, Chuck. Keep us posted on your success.

Hi Pat,

I’ve been working on the 6 Figure Program for a while. I’ve added my name to a lot of different mailing lists to make sure I get all the information I need.

It’s been almost a year now, and I never got anything like the American Express letter or any other examples that you use in the “Hall of Fame” book. Not one. The letters I do get are very “business-like,” with none of the enticing techniques the program teaches. It usually goes like this: “Are you looking for ABC? We have ABC to sell.”

Am I on the wrong lists? How do I get on the right ones?

Veronica D.

Hello Veronica,

Without knowing what mailing lists you’ve added your name to it’s difficult to say why you aren’t getting full sales letters. From your description it sounds like you may be on B2B lists. B2B copy tends to be more feature oriented and to the point.

Go back and re-read Section 13 of the program “Growing Your File With Seeds.” Pay close attention to page 100 -101 and the list of “26 Companies You Can Contact Immediately to Start Your Seed Library” that follows.

A lot of companies aren’t going to mail their meatier, high-end promotions to people who have never bought anything. It’s a well established pattern in direct response that mailing to “buyers” is more productive. So, if you’re just signing up for a mailing list you probably won’t get the best promotions the company has to offer.

Stick with the niches that you are interested in. If you’re into alternative health, get on the mailing lists of companies whose products you would (or already do) use. Then buy a little something. You’ll start to see all sorts of offers come your way in no time at all.

Dear Pat,

Is it ethical for me to improve my samples according to feedback from AWAI’s critiques … and then send them to potential clients as if they were all my own work? The alternative is for me to keep sending the old version. But that seems a bit silly now that I know what to change.

Of course, the best thing is to get some new samples … but until then?

Danny V.

Hey Danny,

Great question!!

And … wouldn’t you know it … the answer is: It depends.

If you re-write a sample, isn’t it still an example of what you can do? Even if you decide to rewrite it because you had it critiqued … it’s still your words.

So if your portfolio is simply made up of examples of what you can write, then updating those samples periodically is just fine. But if those samples are examples of paying assignments, it’s a different story.

Once you rewrite a paid assignment, it’s no longer an example of the work you were paid to do. Rewriting it loses you the ability to position it as a paying assignment … along with all the benefits that go along with that. Things like being able to say whether or not it became a control, the response rate, how long it mailed, etc.

So, the rule of thumb …

If it’s a paid assignment, leave it alone. If it was just a sample you wrote that no one paid you for, go ahead and give it a little facelift from time to time.

That’s it for today. Thanks to one and all – and keep those emails coming!


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Click to Rate:
Average: 3.5
Published: November 20, 2006

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