Arnold Palmer's Secret to Copywriting Success

Will Newman

We lost what felt like a relentless number of remarkable people in 2016. One, a gentleman on the golf course and off, was Arnold Palmer.

So, I was saddened when I learned of his passing earlier this year. But he left a legacy that can be best summed up in a quote of his.

"The more I practice, the luckier I get."

Arnold Palmer's secret to his success is your secret as well.


But what and how do you practice for copywriting?

For starters, if you’re studying any of the AWAI programs, many of them have practice exercises. Those are a good start.

But if you aren’t studying one of those programs — or if you want to truly leverage your study time — you should be looking at other ways of practicing.

And what should you study?

As an AWAI member, you get daily practice samples in your email. Every AWAI email you receive is a model of effective copywriting. Look at how they're constructed. Look at the words used. Study the subject lines.

If the emails link to a landing page, click on the link.

Study that landing page. Print it and copy it longhand. (We talked about the effectiveness of this strategy called “structural priming” in a previous The Writer's Life. Click here to read it.)

AWAI offers other great sources of practice. For example, the Hall of Fame Letters provide real, top-performing promotions from a wide range of niches to read, study, and copy longhand for practice.

Then, look beyond AWAI's offerings. Go to websites of well-known and successful direct marketers. When you go there, subscribe to these companies’ newsletters.

Doesn't this mean you'll get more marketing emails?

Lucky for you, yes.

This is what you want. Even if you're not interested in their products, the emails and landing pages provide excellent examples for you to practice and learn from.

I'm only going to recommend three direct marketers at this time. I know they have outstanding promotions.

Agora Financial Publications
Agora is one of the two top newsletter publishers worldwide. Look under the “Publications” tab on their menu for a listing of their free newsletters.

NewMarket Health
NewMarket Health, a subsidiary of Agora Publishing, is home to five information products and five nutritional/health products. Click on the info products to subscribe to free e-letters.

While you’re looking at the info product pages, click on any headline that advises you to “Watch Now” for excellent examples of powerful, effective Video Sales Letters (VSLs).

Bottomline, Inc.
Bottomline (previously Boardroom) publishes newsletters and books on a wide range of topics, but focuses on health, money, and making life better.

The link I’ve given you is for their free e-letters. But while you’re at their site, take a look around. In fact, look around on all the sites I’ve mentioned. You’ll find some of the best web copy written today.

I haven’t included links to other outstanding direct marketers such as Weiss Research. They focus on individual niches like financial, and I wanted to suggest broader offerings.

Research to fill in a missing “link”

The most successful copywriter writing today is Clayton Makepeace. Successful in terms of money he’s made his clients. And money he’s earned himself.

A few years back, you could download Swipe Files from Clayton’s website — The Total Package. These included his own samples and those of promos he felt were top-notch and worth studying.

But, alas, he no longer offers those Swipes. However, if you search the Internet for his name, you may come across a few of Clayton’s personal promos to use for practice.

If you’re able to find any of the promos he’s written, grab them. Read them. Study them. Copy them longhand several times.

You’ll be practicing and learning from the “best of the best.” And you’ll find the more you practice your copywriting, the luckier you’ll get in your career.

So, are you practicing your craft of copywriting? If so, how are you doing it? Tell us by leaving a comment. And if you really want to learn from the master of copywriting, Clayton Makepeace, you can do so in one of the most beneficial ways possible: Join his Alliance. As a member, you’ll be on the fast track to living the writer’s life because of everything you’ll receive, including hot seat critiques of your copy by Clayton, his analysis and break down of copy, sneak peeks at projects he’s currently working on, and so much more.

But here’s by far one of the biggest advantages of joining The Makepeace Mastermind Alliance: You’ll become part of Clayton’s “go-to” group of copywriters. This is the only place he looks when he needs to hire someone to take on a project for him. And, it’s the exclusive group of copywriters he recommends to his colleagues as well. All the details, including how to reserve your spot, are right here.

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 »

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Published: January 9, 2017

9 Responses to “Arnold Palmer's Secret to Copywriting Success”

  1. Speaking of Clayton, I used one of his tricks from an article in the Master Mind group. He goes to the mall or stores and looks at what is being read - magazines, books, etc. on a given topic. He looks for the headlines, the current topics and trends, and "swipes" ideas for his work.

    I have started doing this in the health niche. I find it very helpful to generate ideas, create headlines and hone in on my market and niche.

    Guest (Pat Casello-Maddox)

  2. Every day I think of some product to write about. I pick products that aren't necessarily within my niche....I do this so that I can open my mind to many different ideas. Then, I just sit down and write. I set a timer for 33:33 and work on the 4 P's. I do this every day and the more I do it, the easier it becomes.

    Nancy Alvord

  3. Good Afternoon, Mr. Newman, I read your essays everyday! Thanks for the tip on finding free emails to study. I've signed up for two.
    I'm a studying copywriter and have much to learn, but I find it fascinating.
    Sincerely, Beverly Mendenhall

    Guest (Beverly Mendenhal)

  4. My gift is an abstract connection to those who have hurts or disabilities, crying out to a voice to be heard.

    Guest (Linda )

  5. I think your point is a good one, but it is sad to see the practice/luck (actually here in Australia I would write 'practise/luck') connection ascribed to Arnold Palmer. Many golfers have used the saying, almost certainly including the great Arnold, but it surely did not originate with him. It is not easy to find the actual origin as there are so many versions.
    I often wonder how many good stories do the rounds making their point, in spite of not being true.

    Guest (Geoff)

  6. Will, I practice and improve my copywriting skills at my (AWAI-scorned) 9-5 job as creator of online content. Then at home, I do the same thing for my church while I also develop a local travel blog/website. My greatest challenge right now is to narrow my focus to a single niche.

    Scott G

  7. I'm looking to write for the Self Help market, and so have been reading those authors as much as possible. Got to get familiar with the content first. My writing practice is sporadic though. Thanks for the primer, it wasn't to late in coming!!


  8. Great article. Really helpful. Can you please suggest how to practise copywriting other than reading and copying great works? I mean I am doing that and in the meantime I also want to stretch my imagination by creating my own content. I intend to write for the self help market. So please suggest how to practise writing.

    [FROM WILL: It depends on your niche. But one effective way is to find a few smaller clients close to where you live and do some work for them while you're studying copywriting programs. If you are taking the Accelerated Program, then doing the exercises there will lay the basis for your efforts.]


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