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#1 Secret to Copywriting Success

In the very first article I wrote for The Golden Thread – now over two years ago – I revealed the #1 secret to copywriting success.

I can’t exaggerate the importance of this secret, so I’m going to revisit it today.

Let me start by talking a little bit about my “chosen grandson” Daniel. Daniel recently turned 16. Although small and wiry for his age, Daniel doesn’t shy away from physical challenges.

He was the smallest young man on his high school football team, indeed the smallest on all the teams our high school faced. He didn’t play much, but when he did play, he played with abandon.

Midway through the football season, the high school wrestling coach spoke with Daniel to convince him to join the wrestling team instead of the basketball team. Robert guaranteed Daniel if he joined the wrestling team, he would wrestle every meet. Robert and Daniel both knew if Daniel joined the basketball team, which had been his intention, he would’ve ridden the bench for the entire season. Just too small.

Daniel tried something he’d never done before. Wrestling. He was, as you might expect, the smallest member of the team. His wrestling partner was a senior and the team’s best wrestler.

It may not seem like it, but Daniel did what you’re doing in plotting your future as a copywriter. You’re both taking on new challenges to make your life more interesting … and more successful.

Three meets … and not one win

Let me explain this comparison before I get to that #1 copywriting success secret.

Daniel wrestled his first three meets without a win. This meant nine straight losses. How would you have responded if you’d been turned down nine times by prospective clients?

Daniel didn’t let this get the better of him, though. His coach and I reminded Daniel that many first-time wrestlers go their first year without a victory. The first year is about learning and improving.

Then, on a gray, overcast afternoon in Oregon, Daniel got his first victory. He racked up three more victories before the end of the season, including one by a pin.

This is the #1 secret to copywriting success.

Daniel kept practicing every day in spite of being discouraged at times. This is why he succeeded in the end. This is why his coach wants him to wrestle the next three years.


You cannot be a successful copywriter if you don’t practice. For Daniel, practice meant wrestling against his teammates every day. For you, the soon-to-be-successful copywriter, practice means writing every single day.

It doesn’t matter how many books you read. It doesn’t matter how many AWAI programs you study. It doesn’t even matter if you join Circle of Success and take their fantastic copywriting intensives.

You will not be a successful copywriter if you don’t write.

Write something every day. Seven days a week. At least 250 words. Make it something that’ll have the biggest impact possible on your career.

But, what can you write when you don’t have any “real clients”?

Embrace a world of possibilities …

Copywriting is persuasion. Make your daily writing persuasive writing. Find something you’re passionate about and persuade someone else to see your point of view.

Write to members of your family about your new copywriting career. Or, write a personal letter to a friend praising the benefits of a product you like.

Write your local newspaper and convince readers why they should support the cause you believe in.

Write a testimonial letter for products you’ve tried and have been wowed by. Or, write a company about one that disappointed you.

Did you see a movie you loved – or hated? Write an in-depth review.

Once you’ve finished one of your written exercises, don’t send it off … yet. Let it sit for a few days. Then, go back for one of your daily writing sessions and don’t write. Rewrite. Look at one of your writing samples with a critical eye. Polish it. Make it perfect. Then send it off.

Still looking for ideas? Tackle the exercises in your AWAI programs. But, it’s not good enough just to look at an exercise and think about it. It’s not good enough just to plan what you’ll say when you write it. It’s not good enough just to say, “I’ll get back to it later after I’ve finished a few more chapters.”

Do it right then!

Are you afraid you’ll run out of ideas to write about? Not a chance! Carry a pad of paper and pen with you everywhere. (You’re a writer now. Never be without your tools.) When something interesting or compelling or disturbing strikes you, jot it down in your notebook. Then, use what you’ve written as fodder for your daily writing.

The more Daniel practiced, the more natural his moves became. As important, he gained more confidence in his developing abilities.

The same goes for you. The more you write, the easier writing becomes. You gain more confidence. And soon, you’re submitting real spec assignments to real companies you want to write for … and you’re getting paid.

But, it won’t happen if you don’t invoke the #1 secret to copywriting success … write every day.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: March 31, 2014

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