In-Print Salesmanship 101:
"Copywriting Course from the Trenches"
Issue #1
From: Dexter Paglinawan
From Way Up High City of Pines (OSB, BC)
Start – 5:17 PM (April 4, 2013)

Hey there Buddy,

Welcome to "In-Print Salesmanship 101" by yours truly, the ‘accidental’ copywriter for #1’s.

This is going to be the first in a 10-part series of letters in which I transfer to you my personal ideas (…and the ones I borrowed from great masters of the craft) on how to…
Whip Persuasive Letters to Command Attention, Stir Desire & Inspire Action... Even if You've Hated Writing Before
You get real life advantages by reading this...
  • if you’re someone who wants the benefits of the power of words for practical purposes like: writing resume for job application, a letter to ask for promotions, raise project funds, increase in salary, collect debts, write instructions for your sons, daughters and employees etc…
  • if you’re someone who is in sales, marketing & advertising field (consultants, freelancers, in-house staffs etc.) and you want to maximize your or your clients’ marketing effort and budget
  • if you’re someone who is into business (small to medium local business, network marketing, direct selling, service related business etc.) and you want to maximize your profit
  • if you’re someone who is in the show business & reputation management field and you want to be seen as someone with high value or authority so you could attract more followers
Don’t get deceived by the “101” here though – because 101 here stands for dangerously epic foundations.

What you’re getting here are secrets and principles I’ve learned in-the-trenches: from selling face-to-face, doing classroom and auditorium type sales pitches, and marketing offline & online with sales letters and videos.

These experiences helped me distinguish marketing lessons that are worth taking note of when relating back to copywriting (or in-print salesmanship).

This means I can now weed out garbage information and just present you ideas worth presenting... so you're saved from overthinking and information overload.

By the time of this writing, I’ve already written’copies’ promoting health, wellness & beauty products, dating guides and bootcamps, guitar thingamajigs and instructional materials, and business opportunities.

Most people know me from my ‘accidental’ gig – spreading wildfire messages to market events (to fill-up venues that hold hundreds to thousands of people) where #1’s in different fields are involved.
But please, don’t take this wrongly…

As you may already know, there are a lot of people running around trying to convince you that they have all the answers. Well, unfortunately, I don’t have ALL the answers for you.

Heck, I can tell you that my friends are way better than me in a lot of things. Some of my closest ones would even refer to me as ‘slow’ – and I don’t have a problem with that!

But I believe that I have SOME of the answers… and I think the answers I have are pretty important (and just for the fun of it, inside my mind, I happily label these as cool freakin’ awesome answers).

My exact goal in this newsletter is... give YOU tools, ideas, and techniques that I WOULD personally share to my daughter in the future. You see, at the time of this writing… 3 months to go & I’ll be officially a father (how cool is that!)

You can treat this newsletter series as my advanced gift for her.

The reason is because when she grows up I want her to read ‘raw’ materials from me – meaning no censorship on my part. Just the best I could give at this moment.

Cheesy… but… I want to go pure heart on this newsletter.

While she’s still in the womb, I feel like I can still talk about sex, drugs and rock & roll more freely (ingredients that I had fair shares of… so I can’t say… what if my princess comes out… and then… soften my heart, right?)

No holds barred...

So, don’t get surprised if I go rambling about myself and my experiences, the life of another person, or the things I see in this world we live in. Don’t worry. I’ll ONLY include them if I feel that they’re relevant in making you more money or growing your business and career.

Well, unlike other copywriting materials out there, what you’re getting here is a more personal type of sharing from me. Aside from the fact that I’ll be unloading to you some of the most profound knock-out marketing ideas I find out there…

I’ll also tell you of my failures and shameful acts… my life & business misjudgments. … all for the sake that you learn from my mistakes.

(So, my girl, by the time you read this, I hope you’ve grown with an open & critical mind, a strong gut, and a loving heart. And if ever you see daddy use profanity, please be in good judgement if you’re tempted to use the same. Or better yet, stay clean, my princess...

...I wonder how it would feel like if we’re reading this letter together side-by-side a few years from now. I guess that would be a treat. Remember that daddy and mommy love you and that this is dedicated to you.)


My plan is to spend about an hour or so per week in actual writing time for each letter. From here, this first letter will be divided into three points:
  • 1st) what can letters do for you;
  • 2nd) what is copywriting; and…
  • 3rd) the truth about USP (unique selling proposition)
First point…
What Can
Letters Do
for You?
Read the Rules

Two kinds of letters cross every desk. One—paper, ink and formality—goes the way of the waste basket.

The other—logical, human appeal— draws the eye, grips, sways, convinces.

One is the product of careless routine; the other of conscious creation.

A strong letter springs from a mind’s eye model, like the architect’s drawing, the builder’s bridge.

Make your letters magnetic—make them stand out—make them dominate each reader’s morning mail.

You can do it—if you will master the principles, read the rules, put yourself into the work.
Break – 5:53 PM. Resume – 7:29 PM
To master copywriting, you first need to understand exactly how it DIFFERS from regular writing. The 'rules' above came from A.W. Shaw… and I believe that they're still true today and will remain true for many years to come.

You have to understand that we, as a specie, have come to rely increasingly on the written words to share knowledge, sell ideas and goods, and convince people to follow our lead. From the resume' you create for your first job interview to the retirement letter you deliver after a long career, your ability to write will play a critical role whether you're going to succeed or not.

Problem is, many HATE writing...

Even I started out in loathing and cursing the activity of writing! You see, I don't consider myself a natural writer. But what changed my mind was this idea – in copywriting, you can become more effective if…
You Write Like How You Would Normally Talk
To master copywriting, you first need to understand exactly how it differs from regular writing. The 'rules' above came from A.W. Shaw… and I believe that they're still true today and will remain true for many years to come.

You have to understand that we, as a specie, have come to rely increasingly on the written words to share knowledge, sell ideas and goods, and convince people to follow our lead. From the resume' you create for your first job interview to the retirement letter you deliver after a long career, your ability to write will play a critical role whether you're going to succeed or not.

Problem is… many HATE writing...

Even I started out in copywriting loathing and cursing the activity of writing! You see, I don't consider myself a natural writer. But what changed my mind was this idea – in copywriting, you can become more effective if…
The Writing Style That Your English Teacher Will Hate… But Your Audience, Self-esteem & Wallet Will Love
You can simply write like you talk, and talk like you write.

But don't get trapped in this pitfall: this does not give you the license to talk like someone from the ghetto if, for example, you're writing to the board of directors of a multi-national company (and vice versa, talking like some 'royalty' when your audience are people from the ghetto… this is a no, no, no).

What you have to do every time you write is you have to use your audience' language. Every group of people would have a different feel on how they use their words and how they communicate. They have their own codes and 'jargons'.

It's up to you to find out what those differences and 'feels' are (simply go read the things they read, watch the things they watch, and go inside as near possible and safe to their lifestyle). The main idea is for you to 'talk/write' like a real breathing person and not some 'robot'.

Someone they can naturally trust and make them say "hey, this dude is just like me"

You got that buddy? Good. Let's move on...
Second point…
What is
Have you ever encountered a printed material, a video or a radio ad, offline or online that grabbed your attention, made you salivate with desire and played with your thoughts and imagination?

Making you continue reading, watching or listening to the point where… in the end, you’re happily & ethically compelled to do something like believe in a cause, visit a web page, text a certain number, register for an event, buy products or information and a whole lot more?

That's what you and I as copywriters do.

Copywriting is simply the use of words as promotional tools – 'copy'.

You can promote a person (politics, celebrity, band etc.), a business , a product, an opinion or idea, and they can appear on TV, radio, websites, in direct mailings, brochures, press releases, catalogues, on flyers, billboards or via any other kind of advertising material.

Simply …
’Copy’ is
the Lifeblood
of Your Marketing
Your job as a copywriter is to persuade the reader, listener or viewer to take action, which usually means parting with some money in exchange for a product or service. Alternatively, you can also use your skills to promote a certain opinion, or to dissuade people from subscribing to a certain point of view.

You see, I treat copywriters (that's you and me) as the rockstars of the business world. We live in a our tiny exciting world where you meet and experience the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Break – 5:53 PM. Resume – 7:29 PM
Third point…
About USP
In the very essence of marketing, your marketing message will communicate your USP and positioning. Your USP is the DNA that defines…

What Your Business Exists for, and Who You Exist to Serve

How you position yourself or your offer to that market should all be reflecting back to your unique selling proposition. This also applies to how you’re positioned relative to your competitors.
The term unique selling proposition was invented by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company. USP is a concept that was first introduced as a theory to understand patterns from successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s.

It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and that this convinced them to switch brands.

In Reality in Advertising (Reeves 1961, pp. 46–48), Reeves mourns that the USP is widely misunderstood and gives a precise definition in three parts:
  • 1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."
  • 2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique—either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
  • 3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.
Here are…
10 Examples of Products with Clear USPs:
1. Apple iPod – "1000 Songs in Your Pocket"
MP3 players had been around forever. There was really no dominant household name for MP3 players until Steve Jobs introduced the iPod. He simply described it as: 1000 songs in your pocket. All throughout time, companies simply bragged about their product’s features and extra capabilities. But Steve knew that that’s not why his customers buy. In just a few simple words, he immediately conveyed how, in essence, the iPod actually satisfies a client’s wants and needs.

2. Avis – “We're number two. We try harder.”
This is a classic example of how you could turn a weakness into a great ally – a compelling benefit. For years, Avis has been second (behind Hertz) in the car rental business. It wasn’t doing very good at that time, so they hired a famous ad agency to come up with a fresh ad campaign. In just four years, this change in image brought in an increase in Avis’ market share from 11% to 35%.

3. FedEx Corporation – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
This one projects a direct and straight to the point benefit. I don’t even have to explain it, right? Funny things is, some jenius replaced this with “The World on Time” …which left me asking – “what does that have to do with me or my package?”

4. "Secret" deodorant – "Strong enough for a man. But made for a woman."
This USP plays on some basic notions in our society and genetic makeup– men are sweatier and they need more effective deodorants. So, “Secret” is telling its market (the ladies) that what they get is a deodorant that’s strong enough for man but made for a woman.

5. Cebu Pacific – "It's time every Juan flies."
There was a time in the aviation business when people thought that only the rich can afford to travel by air. In Cebu Pacific’s re-positioning campaign, you can take the name Juan dela Cruz as synonymous to a Filipino citizen. They’re simply trying to say “hey, come here to Cebu Pacific and enjoy fares that every Filipino can afford”.
6. M&Ms – “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
Who would have thought that you could use the fact that people don’t want stains in their (or their babies’) clothes, walls and sofa or car covers as a true out-of-the-box idea for a USP? Well, M&M’s just did. This ‘tag’ proved to be catchy and compelling that it’s known in almost every corner of the world.

7. Wonder Bread – "Wonder Bread Helps Build Strong Bodies 12 Ways."
Other breads already talked about their taste, their special price, or maybe how exotic its ingredients are… but not Wonder Bread. This USP plays with the fact that Wonder Bread can help you get a stronger body in twelve ways.

8. DeBeers – “A diamond is forever.”
This slogan has been around since 1948 ‘til this day. Diamonds has been positioned as the ideal symbol for undying love because they’re almost hard to break and they last forever. This is the reason why diamonds are the number one choice for engagement rings.

9. Colgate – "Cleans your breath while it cleans your teeth"
Toothpastes were known first to simply clean your teeth. Then people wanted their breath to smell fresher. So, Colgate capitalized on this by putting a fence in the market place about what t it actually does for the use r- cleans breath and teeth at the same time. What an easy to understand benefit driven USP, right?

10. Domino's Pizza – “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it's free.”
Domino’s Pizza didn’t talk about how their pizza was baked by some super chef or how they used special ingredients for great tasting pizza. They simply gave their market a deal – you get your pizza in 30 minutes or less or you don’t pay for it. Did this campaign work? You bet it did during the time it was used! Sadly, this USP is no longer available because of safety issues. Now, I feel like I have to tell this to you regarding USP.
This may seem like simple slogans for you.

But if you understand USP, these short phrases could tell you more about the 'attitude' of a company. USP can also encompass the guiding fabric that a company or a product stands for.


Great customer service above all else, quality above all else, lowest price for the best quality of its kind, simplicity in design, technology made even grandma friendly… and so on.

As a copywriter, you shouldn't beat yourself up over when you find yourself incapable of finding a truly unique selling point for a product, especially if it leads to a bending of the truth. Just start with something and then fix it as you go along.

In the world of marketing, there really is very little new under the sun (it's the same reason why hardcore marketers LOVE old marketing books dating from early 1900's). Most times, a new ad campaign is simply a rehashed version or adaptation of one that's been used effectively in the past.

When your present campaign or letter does not directly indicate the USP it wants to push, you as a copywriter must try to locate one.

Here's a little something that people rarely teach about USPs:
You Can Treat Your USP as the Common Real World Thing We Know as 'Deals'
"You give me this and I'll give you this." I'll probably talk more about this 'deals' in the future.

Anyway. The idea is to set the product apart from, and above, the competition.

What is it that your product does better than the rest? What makes your 'deal' special? Find out all you can about the market so that you can write your copy with confidence.

And there you have it.

Three ideas for Issue #1.

This is it for now. I think I'm already way over my 1-hour 'or so' per letter mark.

Just remember this:

Copywriting is in-print persuasion.

It is part psychology, gut, experience, art and science. It is powerful… and can be used for good and bad purposes. But most important of all… this 'skill' is within your reach and I'm here for you.
Hey there buddy, care to share what's on your mind?

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