How to Get Hired by One of the Country’s Top Financial Publishers

Last week, I let you in on what Bob Bly looks for when he hires a freelance copywriter.

Today, I’ll give you another perspective. This time from Mike Palmer … the man who heads up the writing team at Stansberry & Associates, Agora’s largest and most successful publishing franchise.

If your goal is to write financial copy, you can do no better than to know what’s happening at S&A.

Mike’s developed a system for finding and training writers that’s fast becoming the standard for creating world-class, in-house copy teams.

Qualities Mike looks for in new hires:

  • An obvious hard worker. (Did they work in college? Do they do more than most at their current job?)
  • Someone motivated by money.
  • Someone who has had at least one “crappy” job … so they’ll appreciate how great the writer’s life is.
  • Someone who is passionate about ideas … movies … books.

And this one is key …

  • Someone who is a buyer.

Think about that. Are you a buyer? Do you get swept up in a great sales pitch … even if you know you’re being sold? Mike believes that this is a critical impulse successful direct-response writers need to have to be able to relate to their prospects. It gives you an edge … an excitement about the product that can’t be faked.

I know lots of great copywriters. And most of them are also great buyers. (If you meet Paul Hollingshead at Bootcamp, ask him about the $3,000 massage chairs he had to have from Sharper Image!)

Once Mike finds this hard-working, motivated-by-money, happy-to-be-a-writer buyer who is passionate about ideas, movies and books …

… he puts them into a training program that starts with …

  • Taking AWAI’s Basic and Masters Copywriting programs.
  • A 6-month reading list of advertising classics that include Caples, Hopkins, Ogilvy, and (his personal favorite) Breakthrough Advertising by Gene Schwartz. Stephen King’s On Writing is on the list too.

Plus, he has them do two more things that I urge you to start doing today (if you aren’t doing them already) …

  • Write an ad or a bullet every day. (Don’t even question this. Just do it. If you don’t have a product to write for, write ads and/or bullets for the copywriting program … for one of your favorite products … for your own self-marketing materials.)
  • Break down the architecture of a control on a regular basis. Spread the letter out and, next to each section, write what’s going on from a copy standpoint. Did the writer make a promise, introduce a new benefit, offer proof … ? (Mike points out that not only will you get great insights into the flow and rhythm of successful letters, you’ll actually end up with “templates” you can use for your own letters.)

One more thing …

Mike asked me to let you know that he’s looking to add several new copywriters to his team. These are full-time staff positions … meaning you have to be willing to work in S&A’s Baltimore office for a few years. It’s a dream opportunity.

If you’re interested, send him a note at MPalmer@stansberryresearch.com. Be persuasive!

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:
No ratings yet
Published: February 11, 2008

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)