Today’s message, you will learn my simple three-part
formula that could make your copy almost unbeatable in any direct,
head-to-head copy writing test.
That’s a huge claim, I know.
But the fact is, I’ve been using this formula for over three
decades and have one of the best track records in the newsletter
publishing industry, beating existing controls (or even my own)
close to 70 percent of the time.
The times I lost–guess what?–I was beaten by other top writers who had mastered this formula too. The difference?
They simply had mastered it more effectively than I did on that assignment. So there’s no question that this simple selling formula works.
Today I’m going to show you how to make it work for you.
What is it?
Actually, it’s the next step in Aristotle’s Advantage, which I
spoke of in Discovery #1. Once you master this, you’ll have taken
your copy writing expertise up another notch.
Three Ways to Make Your Copy Sell More
If Aristotle were alive today and coaching you one-on-one, I’m
convinced he would pull you to the side and whisper in your ear,
“Your copy will never convince anybody, my friend, if they don’t
believe you first.”
It’s a simple truth, to be sure.
But the fact is, getting your readers to believe what you say is
the master key to improving your copy writing results
Thankfully, Aristotle, who spent half his life studying and
refining this persuasive technique, identified a simple three-part
formula that you can apply to any selling situation–with enormous
Without getting too technical, he called each part of his formula
by a different name: ethos, logos, and pathos. While they may
(pardon the pun) sound like Greek to you, they are truly the Holy
Grail of copy writing, as I see it.
Let me give you the quick schoolbook definition first, then I’ll
show you how to apply this today.
Part 1. Supercharge Your Copy With a Powerful Dose of Ethos
If you’re wondering, “What the heck is ethos?” you’re not alone.
After all, it’s a Greek word.
But trust me on this. Once you understand its mind-convincing
power and apply it to your copy writing, you will see a significant
jump in the response you get. No other outcome is possible.
Simply put, Aristotle defined ethos as “the speaker’s power of
evincing a personal character that will make his speech credible.”
In plain English, what he is trying to tell you is that if you want
to sell more stuff, then you must establish your credibility FIRST!
Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Yet many promotional pieces I see today totally miss this point.
The copy starts selling before the copywriter establishes any
credibility. This is important because if you don’t establish your
credibility first, your prospect may not be open to the sales
message that follows.
Let me give you a great example of establishing credibility from
the health and newsletter publishing areas, two fields that I have
specialized in for 20 years. (Hey, look–I’m establishing my
credibility in these areas.)
In all my most successful direct mail packages in these areas, you
will always see me establish credibility by introducing the
newsletter editor’s expertise as a foundation for why you should
believe the story he is going to tell you.
In one of my most successful promotions, The Great Retirement
Betrayal (for Phillips Investment Resource), I introduced editor
Pete Dickenson this way.
“My name is Pete Dickenson. And for the past 18 years, I havebeen the editor of the Retirement Letter. I write specifically for
successful professionals over 45 who want to live better in
retirement and just don’t know how.
“I promise that when you heed my advice and take advantage of my
experience, you won’t be their next victim. Or regret that you
could have easily avoided the costly retirement-shattering traps
they never tell you about.”
You can see that this is not a long introduction. It doesn’t have
to be. Nor is it filled with braggadocio. It’s just a simple
credibility builder that establishes Pete as an expert.
Here’s another example from my control package for Alternative &
As a board-certified anesthesiologist, I often spend 12 hours a day
in the operating room. It’s my job to safely administer powerful
drugs and monitor for adverse reactions.
I can tell you firsthand that every drug you take–including pain
relievers, cough medicine, insulin, blood thinners, you name it–has
side effects that can cause you serious harm.
That’s why I… “
As you can see above, I quickly establish the editor/doctor’s
credibility in this area. After all, how can you argue with the
credibility of a “board-certified anesthesiologist”?
The fact is, no matter what you are selling, it is your credibility
that you must sell first if you want your prospects to believe in
and buy from you!
When you add Aristotle’s next advantage to your copy writing
arsenal, you’ll have the second powerful punch in a potent 1-2-3
combination that will boost your response exponentially.
Part 2. Increase Your Sales With
the Passion of Pathos
It’s an old saying that faith can move mountains.
But when it comes it comes to copy writing, it is passion–your
passion, that is–that can move more people to buy from you.
This passion, my friends, is what Aristotle defined as pathos,
the “power of stirring the emotions of his hearers.”
Pathos works this way.
When you’re excited about and believe in something very strongly,
you generate a certain electricity–not only about yourself, but
also in others–that can help you win people to your way of
Nobody wants to buy from people who are boring. People liketo buy from people who are passionate about what they are selling.
Sadly, much copy I see today reads as if the writer is shuffling
down the highway of life hunched over–instead of each wordstanding tall with confidence.
Here’s how I look at passion. I consider it to be the thermostat
that regulates the electricity your copy generates. Turn it up and
you’ll see your sales explode. Turn it down and you’ll put people
Now if you’ve read this far and you’re thinking, “This sounds
great, Doug, but we only sell widgets…,” then you have missed my
I don’t care what you’re selling; if you don’t communicate your
passion through your words, you are not going to sell as much.Let me share with you one of the most passionate introductions I
have ever written.
“I suspect I’m a lot like you. My retirement is serious business.
Every dime I invest is my future. So I don’t take it lightly.
I’ve worked hard to get where I am.
“Just the thought of getting blindsided gives me the chills. I
don’t need a bank failure, insurance company bankruptcy, or risky
investment messing up my retirement. And I’m sure you feel the
As you can tell from this example, the person speaking has passion
and cares about the subject–and it shines through in his words.
If you would like to see your copy writing take off exponentially,
you must work to achieve this same kind of passion in your writing.In future emails, I’ll share with you some of my favorite
One is so powerful, your copy will take on an almost magnetic
quality, luring readers off their duffs to the order form like a
copy writing pied piper. Until then, I urge you to make sure your
sales copy passes this simple passion test. Is my copy exciting to
read? Or does it fall flat?
The Wealth-Building Secret Behind Reason-Why Copy
If you’ve been studying copy writing for some time, then you’
certainly read about reason-why copy writing and why it is so
What you probably didn’t know, however, is that this highly
persuasive copy writing technique was first defined by Aristotle,
300 years before Christ was born!
While Aristotle called this persuasive technique logos, you’ll call
it the best copy writing discovery of your life.
Simply put, logos means “the power of proving a truth, or an
apparent truth, by means of persuasive arguments.” In other words,it’s the reason why people should buy from you.
How to Win the Debate in Your Prospects’ Minds
As you know, my background isn’t in advertising. It’s in speech
communication. That’s why I see copy writing as simply a speechto persuade on paper.
Just like an oral speech, whose aim is to win the hearts and minds
of the listeners, your written words are working to achieve the
The fact is, whether your audience is listening to your words or
reading them, their minds are continuously debating what you have
With virtually every sentence, your readers are debating in their
– Whether or not to believe you
– Whether or not to trust you
– Whether or not to buy from you
– Whether or not to continue reading
The only way you can win that internal debate is, as Aristotle puts
it, “by means of persuasive arguments.”
This is what makes reason-why copy (logos) so important. It is
ultimately the tool that will help you to win the debate in your
In one area of copy writing I specialize in, investment
newsletters, winning that debate can be quite exhausting.
That’s because you not only have to persuade readers that the
editor’s methodology for investing is better than the one they’re
following now, but must also take it one step further: that putting
their money in an envelope and subscribing to your investment
letter will solve their financial problems.
As I learned long ago, if you haven’t won the debate for the
methodology first, you’ll never win the debate for them to actually
buy what you’re selling.
The key here is to realize that winning your readers over means
winning not one grand debate but a number of mini-debates. That’s
why–like a great attorney–you must continue to prove the facts of
your case as you present it.
While your reason-why argument is where your selling power comes
from, it is your facts and sources that will win the debate in your
readers’ minds. This is true whether you’re selling an investment
newsletter, a vitamin supplement, or a used car.
Currently, I’m writing a promotion on value investing. Simply put,
value investing can be summed up in four words: buy low/sell high.
Momentum investing is something quite different–think: buy
No matter which approach readers subscribe to, my job is to prove
beyond a doubt that the value approach is the one that will make
How to do it: no differently than preparing for a debate. By
comparing and contrasting a number of investing methodologies and
proving the case for value investing with facts and sources.Does this make sense to you?
If you can honestly say, “Yes,” then I have won the debate in your
mind why reason-why copy can be so effective.
All good wishes,
PS My three-part formula for success would only have been half as
successful if I didn’t learn how to write long copy and develop a
compelling sales argument. That’s why it’s so important you learn
how to write long copy.
If you’d like to learn the incredibly simple formula behind my
success, I invite you to view a clip from my classic 1992 video,
How to Write Long Copy That Makes Money, that I’ve just posted online.
I guarantee you’ll get a more than few tips on improving your long copywritingskills as well as your results.