Richard Armstrong’s “Pitch Perfect” Keynote Speech – The Secret of Singing in Your Customer’s Key

Control-winning copywriting legend Richard Armstrong inspired, educated, and brought the crowd of 400 copywriters-in-training to their feet as AWAI’s 2014 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair keynote speaker.

His presentation, “Perfect Pitch – The Secret of Singing in Your Customer’s Key” – is something all copywriters should see.

In fact, I feel so strongly about this, I’m making it available to you here … at no charge. Enjoy Richard’s insights and strategies for writing copy that connects with your readers … and for getting the very most out of your copywriting career.

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If you don’t know Richard yet, he’s been in the direct-mail business since 1971 when he got a job as the Chief Stamp-Licker and Envelope-Stuffer at the Republican National Committee. His first assignment was rolling up giant life-size pictures of Richard Nixon and putting them into cardboard mailing tubes.

“It was a dirty job,” says Richard, “but somebody had to do it.”

Over the next 43 years, Richard has worked for nearly every major direct-mail organization in the United States, both non-profit and for-profit. Among his past and present clients are many names you’ll recognize.

Boardroom. Agora. Rodale. Phillips. Kiplinger’s. Greenpeace. Reader’s Digest. Time, Inc. Smithsonian. National Review. ASPCA. Newsweek. AWAI!

Along the way, he has had some stunning successes:

His package for “The Sea Turtle Rescue Fund” won best-in-show at the Caples Awards and sparked a feature-length profile of Richard in Advertising Age.

His package promoting “The Sugar Solution” was one of the biggest hits in the history of PREVENTION Health Books.

He launched the magazine “Women’s Health” for Rodale and also Rodale’s magazine for older men called “Best Life.”

Speaking of launches, Richard also wrote the launch package for The Limbaugh Letter, which quickly became one of the most widely-circulated newsletters in the United States.

Many of Richard’s direct-mail packages have set records for longevity. His “Crazy Rich Aunt” letter on behalf of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine mailed for 12 years. His membership package for The Good Sam Club mailed for over a decade. And his “Best Kept Secret” package for Practical Sailor magazine has mailed for more than 13 years.

Perhaps that’s why Gary Bencivenga once described Richard as “one of the best direct-mail copywriters on the planet.” William F. Buckley, Jr. called his writing “Terrific.” And when a reporter asked the late, great Bill Jayme who his favorite copywriter was, he said Richard Armstrong.

Richard is the author of the only book on political direct mail, THE NEXT HURRAH and the world’s only novel about direct mail, GOD DOESN’T SHOOT CRAPS. His digital portfolio of direct-mail samples, which he calls MY FIRST 40 YEARS IN JUNK MAIL, has been downloaded by more than 5,000 people around the world.

In that sample book, Richard recounts a career in which he has done just about every kind of commercial writing imaginable. Speechwriting. Publicity writing. The writing of brochures, fliers, and annual reports. Even television. He wrote an infomercial for Boardroom’s “Book of Inside Information” and co-starred in it with the legendary television announcer Hugh Downs.

Richard is the only copywriter who’s written a “junk-mail” letter that actually received fan mail … a press release that almost won an Oscar … and a speech that impressed ad-legend David Ogilvy so much, he personally sent Richard a note from his castle in France!

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Published: October 30, 2014

9 Responses to “Richard Armstrong’s “Pitch Perfect” Keynote Speech - The Secret of Singing in Your Customer’s Key [video]”

  1. What a gifted speaker and brilliant copywriter. Richard Armstrong certainly kicked off Bootcamp in grand style and set the tone for the next three days of copywriting gold.

    Make sure you grab a copy of the PDF of Richard's "MY FIRST 40 YEARS IN JUNK MAIL" and devour it at once.

    Alan Steacy

  2. What an absolutely fantastic and informative speech from a brilliant speaker. Thank you very much for making this available.

    Guest (J Hayton)

  3. A gifted speaker indeed. Very inspirational, makes me want to learn about every aspect of copywriting so I can get out there and make a name for myself.

    Glenna Hale

  4. Thank you, Katie, for making this available. Truly inspirational and enjoyable.

    Guest (Larryn Griffith)

  5. Awesome. A legend and some great insight. Thanks for posting this.

    Guest (David Allan)

  6. This was an amazing speech. And an amazing opportunity. Thank You, AWAI for making this available. !!

    Robin Shelton

    Robin Shelton

  7. Great speech and presentation! I'm a Contender!!!

    Guest (Shannon Bimbo)

  8. This have been one of the most extraordinary speeches I've ever heard. Of course, because I love copywriting, I love the life-lessons he give about the craft.

    But the AMAZING connection that he makes between the craft and between making a difference in the world BECAUSE of the craft is outstanding.

    Listen again. Take notes. GREAT stuff.

    Steve C

  9. One of the most inspirational speeches about copywriting. Richard Armstrong - thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise and point of view with us! Definitely changed my whole idea about copywriting. What a legend!

    Guest (Timea)

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