While putting together the Action Guide for the Magnetic Copywriting home-study program. I headed to my bookshelf – yes, a bookshelf, not the Internet – and discovered a classic that I forgot I owned.
Back in the late 80s, I took a direct response copywriting course from a seasoned veteran, Milt Pierce. Milt encouraged me to pursue my career. And, in doing so, he introduced me to my first client (and mentor), Eugene Schwartz. So, as you can imagine, Milt (R.I.P.) holds a special place in my heart.
Milt was also a member of “The Magnificent Seven.” I liken this to what these days is commonly called a MasterMind – it was a group of awesome direct marketing copywriters that included Bob Bly, Don Hauptman, Richard Armstrong and more. They put together what might have been one of the first, self-published, collaborative efforts among colleagues.
The book is titled, How To Get More People To Respond To Your Offer: 21 Leading Direct Marketing Copywriters Reveal Their Secrets. When I opened the book to the first chapter, I thought “good ‘ol basics never die.”
Entitled “15 Essential Things You Must Tell Your Copywriter,” this reminded me of a blog post I wrote a while back, “Is your copywriter nosey?”
When working with creative talent, the “Magnificent Seven’s” basics from the late 80s still hold true today, Therefore, to help you achieve winning results, I’m outlining them for you here.
Are you following these 15 essential tips with your copywriter?
1. What is your objective – what do you hope to get of this mailing (in today’s world, it could also be your web site, sales page, email campaign)?
2. What is your budget – for this specific project, for the next 6 months, 12 months?
3. Share everything you have . . . whether it’s print or online (including marketing plans).
4. Reveal everything you know about your customer – especially, “what is their biggest problem?”
5. Provide a sample of the product … if it’s a physical product, provide an actual sample. If that’s not possible, provide photos, drawings, etc.
6. Convey an honest evaluation of the product, positioning it within the market & listing its strengths and weaknesses,
7. Offer an analysis of what has and hasn’t worked in the past . . . copywriters can learn as much, or more, from the bombs as they do from the hits.
8. Share material you particularly like . . . it can be any approach you like, explain what you like about it & why it might work for your product.
9. Let him/her know who the person doing the ultimate judging of creative material will be – whoever it is should be someone involved in the first creative meeting (copywriters need to get a “feel” for the person in charge).
10. How will success be measured?
11. If your ad or package pulls over 10%, are you prepared to fill orders?
12. What are the legalities. Will the ad have to be checked by a lawyer, and what is involved in meeting proper standards?
13. What is your follow-up plan? How can you successfully create and sell to your database?
14. Be honest and give your own straightforward approach to your creative people. State what you want, what you have, what your product has going for it and against it. Don’t play games with your copywriter . . . don’t be paranoid about disclosing facts.
15. Share a certain basic goodwill. Some clients see themselves as the businessperson and the copywriter as the enemy. Don’t be defensive. . . . Start with the idea that the two of you are working together to create a new approach that gets your new customers.
As point #15 states, this is a collaboration. Your copywriter’s goal is to gather information that allows him/her to create the best content that gets you results. Share the good, the bad and the ugly.
Do you follow these guidelines when you’re working with a copywriter? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you (and we learn from one another). Here’s to your sweet success. Thanks!