Research

Research means you have to do your homework.

I never write a letter for a product or a service until I've studied that product or service. You have to read all the literature, all previous marketing pieces, talk to customers, use the product, and so on.

When Tony Robbins' office wanted me to promote his new audio series called The Edge, I asked to see it. Even though Robbins is world famous and known for his high-quality material, I needed to see the material to absorb all I could about it.

You never know where you'll get an insight. David Ogilvy found the headline for one of his famous ads by reading the technical manuals for the car he was advertising. The headline is now legendary: "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."

Dan Kennedy once told me a copywriter's job is to pull out of the company owner what he can't or won't say. Talk to the people who sell the product. Talk to the owner. In conversation, they may say something you can use in your copy.

This is the "feeding your brain" part of copywriting. Soak up all the facts before you can write a word of copy. Otherwise, you're writing fiction.

My own little secret is that I look at a product or service for what is exciting about it. Since excitement is contagious and excitement sells, I assume that once I find the excitement in a product or service, I can then radiate my own feelings of excitement, through my words, out to my readers. Those readers then turn into buyers.

Another secret is that I try to come up with a working headline based on my research. The headline acts as a "thought handle" for me. It anchors the basic message of the letter for me. I may change the headline later. For now, it serves as a focal point for my mind.

Robert Collier, author of The Robert Collier Letter Book (the greatest manual on writing letters ever written by anyone, ever), said people want news. What I do is think like a reporter. I review the literature for whatever I want to sell, and I look for what is new about it. Is the product new? Is there a new use for it? How will this product be new to my readers? News will grab and hold attention, so I eagerly look for it in my research.

Spend a few minutes here jotting down some points, some facts, based on your research about the item you want to sell.

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