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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Would you pay $900 for a book?

You would have realized from my posts that I’m all about “the job�?. Preparing for it. Landing it. Keeping it. Getting paid for it. Today, I thought I’d write about “being good at it�?. So as I cast about in my mind for how to handle today’s topic, I was inspired by an amazing book that would help me stick to my theme of excellence in copywriting: “Breakthrough Advertising�? by Eugene M. Schwartz.

It’s one of the greatest, most sought after books ever written about the craft of copywriting (apparently a used copy was recently sold online for over $900.00)…by one of the most legendary copywriters in the world (it is rumored that Schwartz was once paid $54, 000.00 for 4 hours of work.)

Is the hype valid? Who knows? But I do know that it has helped me “up my game�?, and especially improve my headlines. In fact “Breakthrough Advertising�? gives over 35 creative ways to strengthen headlines. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Measure the SIZE of the claim: (lighter, bigger)
2. Measure the SPEED of the claim: (faster)
3. COMPARE the claim: (less, more, whiter, easier)
4. SENSITIZE the claim: (appeal to taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing)
5. REMOVE LIMITATIONS from the claim: (no effort required)
6. Tie AUTHORITY into the claim: (used by the pros)
7. Stress the NEWNESS of the claim: (announcing, now, new)
8. Stress the EXCLUSIVITY of the claim: (not available anywhere else)

Of course, Schwartz gives lots of actual headline examples in the book, so if you’re ever stumped, you’ll get tons of ideas to start the creative juices flowing. “Breakthrough Advertising�? really is an excellent how-to for anyone who writes direct mail or advertising copy for a living.

Three Post Scripts:

1. I’m still working on my headlines. They are always a challenge.
2. One of my favorite “real world�? headlines: Gone today. Hair Tomorrow. For a hair transplant doctor. Priceless.
3. No. I did not pay $900.00 for the book. I got it in my company bookstore for $2.00!

©Lisa Downer 2006

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