4 Important Lessons I’ve Learned on My Way to AWAI’s “Wall of Fame”

Like many of us, I initially got AWAI’s Accelerated Program and studied it on and off … never seeming to find the time to really commit to it.

Finally one day, frustrated with myself, I thought, “I’m either going to do this or I’m not.” It was at that moment that I dedicated myself to finishing the program, and I signed up for last year’s Bootcamp.

I’m very glad I did!

It would be fair to say that Bootcamp is three successive days of “aha!” moments. But for me personally, something within me awakened after listening to Michael Masterson, Bob Bly, and copywriting legend Herschell Gordon Lewis. In no small way, these three individuals triggered my unwavering commitment to becoming a top-notch copywriter. I thought to myself, “This is exactly what I want to do … and I know I can be among the best.”

Once I decided, I was ready and rearing to go. At Bootcamp, I attended Job Fair and talked to as many potential clients as I could. I submitted samples, arranged follow-up phone calls, and also decided to go onto DirectResponseJobs.com and apply to jobs I found there as well.

A week or two after Bootcamp, I received an email from Don Mahoney himself! Apparently, Don came across one of the spec assignments I submitted and was interested in having me write copy for him.

Since then, it’s been an upward success spiral, honing my copywriting chops every step of the way. And I must say, I’ve learned a lot. Especially working with Don.

Which is why if you’re an aspiring six-figure copywriter and you’re READY and committed to make your dream a reality, I’d like to share what I feel are the four most important things you should know and do …

1. Imitate the best.

If you’re serious about improving your skills fast, then the best thing you can do is write winning sales letters out by hand. Tedious? Absolutely! But by doing so, your mind will assimilate the “A-level” style of the masters that clients love to pay top dollar for.

2. Learn structure.

Sure, you can write conversationally. But equally important in making a sales letter great is its structure. The best way to learn this is by reading and closely studying winning promotions and controls every day. It also wouldn’t be such a bad idea to read the sales letter more than once. As each day passes, the invisible persuasive structure of a sales letter will be instilled into your brain.

3. Write every day.

This one is a no-brainer. Being a copywriter means you write copy, day in and day out. It’s also how you get good, fast. Set aside time every day to write, no matter how little time that may be at first. Even if it’s just working headlines, a little bit every day adds up to a lot in the long run.

Speaking of headlines, here’s another quick tip: When doing your writing, focus on writing headlines and leads for products sold by potential clients you’d like to write for. Then you can contact the client explaining the benefits of your services, and you’ll have ready-made samples perfectly tailored to their business!

4. Be in tune with your prospect.

Know who you’re writing to … and understand their emotions and what problems they want to solve. As I learned from Don and at Bootcamp last year, you need to understand and enter the thought processes they’re having in their heads at any given time. One way I do this is by analyzing what I call FBR: Features, Benefits, and Results. It’s a process that helps me get past the superficial and uncover the deep-seated desires a prospect has. In short, it helps me get to the emotional “sweet spot” that makes a prospect buy.

For instance, we all know every product has a feature, which provides a benefit. I like to take it one step further and focus on the “result.”

Let’s say a dad is buying his son a toy for Christmas. A feature of that toy might be that it is battery-operated. A benefit offered by the manufacturer is that the batteries are included, meaning Dad doesn’t have to run out and purchase them. Plus, everything needed to play with the toy is in one box.

But what’s the result?! The result (why Dad really wants to buy the toy …) of it being battery-powered (feature) and having the batteries included (benefit) is this:

Come Christmas day, the dad will get to see his son’s face beam when he opens his new toy and is able to play with it immediately … as opposed to the son crying because the toy won’t work and the dad having to go out on Christmas day, when everything is closed, looking for a couple of “D-cells.”

See what I mean about the emotional payoff? What price can you put on not disappointing a child on Christmas morning?

As I mentioned earlier, the true turning point for me … the transformation I made from aspiring copywriter to professional copywriter … happened at Bootcamp in Delray Beach, FL.

That’s why I can’t stress it enough: the best thing you can do for your career overall is attend an AWAI Bootcamp. I promise it will energize your commitment to our craft in a profound way. It’s a virtual “who’s who” of copy gurus!

When I was there last year, not only was it the true starting point of my career, but I also met a lot of great copywriters who I became friends with and who I remain in close contact with today. They are my support system … I go to them to bounce ideas off of and to share new tips and insights I’ve learned about copywriting.

I’ll be there again this year, looking to learn more and earn more. Make sure you find me and say hello.

Hope to see you there!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: September 17, 2008

4 Responses to “4 Important Lessons I’ve Learned on My Way to AWAI’s “Wall of Fame””

  1. Thanks a lot for such a helpful post. While reading it, I began to compare the FBR process to the old MasterCard "Priceless" commercials. To me, that last screen depicting a priceless moment is what the Result part of FBR is all about.

    Thinking of it like that helps me remember to single out that main emotional trigger when writing copy.

    CoachNikkiOctober 31, 2012 at 1:20 am

  2. I agree, to be like the best, you should imitate the best. I need to read something constructive every day, and write something every day. I can't dream about riding a bicycle for the foreseeable future. At some point I have to get on the bicycle and start to ride.

    LilySeptember 9, 2015 at 1:03 am

  3. Nice work.

    your right, I need to start reading the masters again.

    Your advice about Boot Camp is I am sure very accurate. But what about someone like me who can't afford to go or who can't even afford to buy the Boot Camp tapes. What chance do we have for quick success?

    I just finished the Accelerated Course but I live in Ecuador on my $1527 a month SS check and am trying to start my copywriting business from here?

    What are my odds of success from here?

    AfricascottOctober 13, 2015 at 11:32 pm

  4. During our homework assignment of copying letters, I saw the benefit of retaining how the letter was written and its structure. Not sure when it will materialize but I'd like to come visit an AWAI Bootcamp!

    Wanda F SewellAugust 4, 2018 at 10:19 pm

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