John Caples’ 7-Point Copywriting Checklist

Copywriting checklistJohn Caples established himself as one of the greatest direct marketing copywriters around. As a young copywriter, he wrote “They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano…”, which became probably one of the most famous ads of all time.

In his book Making Ads Pay (published in 1957 & now out of print) he revealed a 7-point proven checklist. By asking himself these questions, Caples cranked out successful copy time and again. As you’ll see below, his questions refer to ads, but they apply to many communication mediums in today’s marketing world – from direct mail letters to online sales pages.

Ask yourself these questions when you review your content:

1. Does your ad attract the right audience?
2. Does your ad hold the audience?
3. Does your copy create desire?
4. Do you prove it is a bargain?
5. Do you establish confidence (credibility)?
6. Do you make it easy to act?
7. Do you give prospects a reason to act at once?

John Caples died at the age of 90. Like his fellow veteran direct marketing copywriters, the late Gene Schwartz and Gary Halbert, his copywriting tips are timeless.

Whether you’re writing a marketing brochure or Web content, follow this 7-point checklist when you’re reviewing your copy and put Caples’ keys to success to work for you.

Have a copywriting pointer you’ve achieved success with? Feel free to share it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. Wow – funny how this is even more relevant today in the age of overwhelming distraction.

    Thanks for sharing – excellent checklist.

    Dee Ankary recently posted…Integrating Monetization Into Your Blog [Part 10: Building A Profitable Niche Website]My Profile

    • @Dee these tips are timeless. You’re right, with so much distraction around us, catching (and holding) your prospect’s attention is so vital. Let me know how the checklist works for you. Have a great day.
      Thanks for sharing your comments. Much appreciated. 🙂 ~Debra

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! As Dee said, we often forget these basic principles in favor of the next “new” or “flashy” technique to get someone interested in what we have to offer.

    The reality is, all of these “new” techniques really always come back to these basics – and it is only by understanding these basics that we can really move forward.

    Thanks for sharing!

    – Cheryl
    Cheryl Woodhouse recently posted…My free assessment is live!My Profile

    • So true Cheryl. Guess that’s why they’re called “basics” as well as “timeless.” They’ll hold true for days (years) to come. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated. ~Debra

  3. I love John Caples! His books are so amazing. And the beauty is that the same principles still work today with modern technology.
    Melissa Wood recently posted…What Makes an Advertising Headline Great?My Profile


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