If you’ve ever felt like the Earth cooled in less time than it takes you to crank out a respectable first draft of your sales copy, listen up. I’m going to tell you about some of the things I do to tear through the process.
Here are six little tricks that help me a lot…
Trick #1. Compartmentalization.
Writing an out-of-the-park grand slam promotion is a process that consists of many steps, hundreds of actions, and thousands of tiny decisions:
- Thinking about who your prospect is and why he needs your product…
- Coming up with your attention-getting strategy – your theme, headline, and lead…
- Researching your product, your competitors’ products, and their promotions…
- Organizing your attack – determining the order in which you’ll guide the prospect through your reasons why he should buy…
- Pouring the appropriate research, notes, and ideas into each section of your outline…
- Writing your first draft…
- Buffing and meticulously detailing each succeeding draft until you know that you couldn’t improve it even if someone held a gun to your head – and that any change you consider at this point will actually weaken the copy…
- And, finally, sticking a fork in it, because it’s done.
Now if you have a lick of common sense, you’re going to feel overwhelmed when you contemplate all the steps you have to complete in order to perfect the project at hand. And that’s okay. It just means you’re in touch with reality.
But you’re going to have to get past “overwhelmed” and on to work. And the only way I know to do that is to mentally chop the job into little, tiny, manageable pieces. So you tell yourself something like this: “I do NOT have to write a promotion today. All I have to do is the research. Or part of the research.”
Thinking about the work this way does more than just relieve your anxiety. It blows all that procrastination you’re usually guilty of at the beginning of a project right out of the water.
Trick #2. Something my pal Rich Schefren calls “getting into a flow state.”
Ever have a day when you sit down to work and the next thing you know it’s time for dinner… you have to force yourself to stop… and when you reflect on the day, you’re amazed by the quantity – and, more important, the quality – of what you accomplished?
That, my friend, is the flow state Rich talks about. And getting into that flow state is my goal every time I sit down at my desk.
Fact is, flow state equals money. Because the more flow states you experience during a project, the faster the project goes and the better your work output is.
But flow states don’t “just happen.” They’re kind of like hummingbirds: They show up naturally if you just create an environment that attracts them. For me, that means a light dinner and a good night’s sleep. An enclosed work space. No interruptions. No distractions. And every tool I need to do that day’s job readily at hand.
That’s just me. You’ll have to figure out what works for you.
Trick #3. Constantly visualizing success.
Yes, I know. What could possibly be more hackneyed than dusting off the decades-old concept of “positive thinking”?
Thing is, like all laws that survive the test of time, positive thinking works.
My fantasy is the phone call I’ll get from a wowed client when he sees my copy for the first time… the call telling me he had to put on three shifts to handle the orders… and, of course, all the great cuddling I’ll get when my wife sees the royalty deposit on our bank statement.
Whatever your motivation, try keeping it in mind as you write.
Trick #4. “Know thyself.”
Feelings are more intense than thoughts. So they can have a way of blanking your mind and freezing you like a biker who just spotted a grizzly in his headlights. That’s why you have to understand how negative emotions affect your work. For example, you may feel overwhelmed at the beginning of a project. Discouraged when a solution doesn’t come fast enough. And then your inferiority complex kicks into overdrive when you see how others have done it.
It helped me when I realized that 99.9 percent of all negative emotions are probably not caused by objective truth. And, therefore, the vast majority of all bad feelings are baloney.
So when I experience a negative emotion while I’m working, I pause for a moment and ask myself, “What thought zipped through my mind just before I got bummed out?” After recognizing how ridiculously wrong that thought was, I can almost instantly dismiss the negative emotion and dive back into the work.
Try it. It works.
Trick #5. Screw the rules!
You’ve learned too many copywriting rules. And, frankly, they’re getting in the way. So instead of worrying about the rules, focus on your prospective customer and be a salesman in print. Think, “If I were in a room with my best prospect and needed to get his attention, engage him, present the reasons why he should buy and close the sale – what would I say to him?” Then let the conversation flow naturally out of your fingers to the keyboard and into your document.
There’ll be plenty of time in later drafts to think about which rules you broke or didn’t follow. The first draft is about speed.
Trick #6. Do some bedtime reading.
Let your last action each day be to read what you wrote that day. File it away in your subconscious mind. And go to work the minute you wake up in the morning so the connections your brain made overnight find their way onto the page.
Take advantage of the above six “tricks” religiously on your next project, and you’ll be surprised by how much more quickly it goes and how much easier the writing feels.[Ed. Note: Master copywriter Clayton Makepeace publishes the highly acclaimed e-zine The Total Package to help business owners and copywriters accelerate their sales and profits. Claim your 4 free money-making e-books – bursting with tips, tricks, and tactics that’ll skyrocket your response – at MakepeaceTotalPackage.com.]