Interview with AWAI Member Michael Samonek
AWAI: What got you started in copywriting and advertising as a profession?
Michael: I got started back in 1970. I had dropped out of Ohio State University’s pre-med program. I read a story about how the American economy was changing from a manufacturing economy to a service-based economy. It also said selling information was going to be the wave of the future. So I wrote my first information product – a report on how to instantly stop hiccups – with a technique I invented called, “The Accupinch.”
I decided to test an ad in the National Inquirer’s classified section. Using a free booklet I ordered called “How to Write a Classified Ad that Pulls,” I wrote and placed the ad. And waited. I only got 3 orders. But, in the process I learned to create products and advertising that people WANT, not NEED. People need a hiccup cure, but they want tacos, pizza, and Chunky Monkey ice cream.
One day I saw a full-page ad for a book titled, “The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches.” That was the headline of the ad, too. I was foaming at the mouth, so I ordered it (along with a about a million other people I later learned.)
That’s the book that really got me started in the business of direct response advertising as a profession. A few years back, I was placing an ad for a book I had written through an agency that buys and sells ad space. The owner of the agency said he liked my writing style and asked if I would write an ad for his son who was struggling with a mail order business. I wrote the ad for free – and Irv, the owner (and father) – started recommending my copywriting to his other clients. Suddenly, I was a professional copywriter.
AWAI: Can you tell us about any “Eureka!” moments since you’ve become an AWAI student?
Michael: Yes, it was at the first AWAI bootcamp I attended. During the afternoon session, when Michael Masterson revealed the 4 U’s for the first time, I knew right there that my job had suddenly become a lot easier! In space ads, being able to write scorching headlines and bullets is the whole ball game.
Prior to this bootcamp, I was averaging $1,000 a week with my little agency. After applying the new principles I had learned to my own advertising, my income jumped to an average $10,000 per month.
AWAI: What advice would you offer students enrolled in AWAI’s copywriting program?
Michael: I try to set daily goals for myself. And, I read everything published about direct response copywriting.
The best advice I can offer to other students is to write and study a few pages every day. Then reward yourself. Make it a habit every day to do a little and before long you will have accomplished a lot.