Direct Response Copywriter on Whether or Not to Attend Conferences

If you’re a direct response copywriter or if you’re a direct marketer, you could attend a conference or seminar or some type of salient event every single week with the possible exception of the last two weeks of December.

And that’s in person. You could also attend events virtually or buy access to the DVDs or videos after the event.

Should you attend events?

For about 6 years, I regularly attended events. Plus I was in a marketing peer group and we met 3 times a year.

I spent quite a bit of money attending the events. There’s the cost of attending plus the cost of travel plus the indirect costs associated with not writing.

Was it worth it?

Yes and here’s why …

I learned a huge amount about direct marketing and direct response copywriting.

It was fun to travel and see new places.

I got to meet a lot of wonderful and fantastic people.

On many occasions, I got to meet some fascinating and accomplished pros.

I received some assignments directly from certain direct marketing companies.

It also sent a message to my clients that I’m working hard to improve and learn.

I have taken what I’ve learned directly to my clients and to my practice.

However, at least for the next several months, maybe longer, I’m probably NOT going to attend any events.

I just received an invitation to attend an event next month in Brooklyn. It’s for direct response copywriters and I’m not even remotely interested in going.


For that particular event, I know some of the speakers and they’re rubbish. There are some accomplished copywriters who are attending but I’ve heard them speak before. I know what they’re going to say.

I’ve heard a lot of great speakers but I’ve also seen some speakers I find a bit galling. I don’t agree with their basic approach OR their presentation is/was poor. But that’s to be expected. You can’t like ALL the speakers at an event.

It’s happening less and less but some conferences are partly a pitch-fest where the speakers are trying to sell something. That’s a controversial subject, I know.

After about 4 years of attending events, something interesting happens. The same speakers start appearing at all the events. There are speakers who are simply famous … for being famous.

Sometimes, an event planner really works extremely hard to find people who aren’t famous but are really getting it done. Those are the people I want to hear and meet, even if they’re not the greatest speakers.

My ego says, or used to say, that I should be up there on the platform speaking. But I’m not super-interested in that anymore. I’m more interested in helping my clients succeed … and building my own business. I have plenty to say, based on my success, but event organizers never contact me. But I don’t contact them, either. It’s not a big deal, really.

So take some time to attend events but check out the speakers and the organizers first. You’ll learn a great deal at the right events, but, after a while, you might end up hearing the same material.

Direct Response Copywriter on The Crossroads Close and Open

I’m sure you’ve seen the crossroads close. I use it for just about every promotion I write. It's an important tool for the direct response copywriter.

Basically, I write, “you have two ways to go here … you can continue to live without a head on your shoulders … OR … you can get the Acme Head Attacher and live with a head firmly on your shoulders for the rest of your life. I know you’ll make the right decision. Click here now to get your head back.”

It’s a little bit aggressive, for sure, but it’s copy that moves the prospect toward buying the product or service.

But have you considered the crossroads open?

I rarely use the crossroads open in print or web copy but it’s a vital part of writing for video sales letters. I write about VSLs in a later chapter. But here’s how it might go in a VSL.

Look … you have a really simple decision to make right now. You can ignore this free presentation and never really discover this new way to find stocks that are poised to explode in value … OR … you can stay with me for a few minutes and you’ll get some exclusive information about the financial expert who has created this new stock-picking algorithm. And one more thing … this free presentation may be gone if you come back later or there may be a charge for it. Watch it now while it’s still here and still free.

You can even use the crossroads open in a headline and/or deck.

“You Can Ignore This Page and Continue to Suffer With Painful Feet … OR … You Can Meet the Doctor Who Recently Helped A Patient Go from Being in a Wheelchair to Climbing the Highest Mountain in Colorado.”

You can also use the crossroads open in your lead plus there are subtle variations. Here’s an example of a lead.

I know you’re busy and I know your time is precious. And I know you could be doing something else right now. But stay with me for the next few minutes.


Because I’m going to reveal an all-new way to take your accounting business from a disaster that’s always a headache … to a practice that’s fun and 4 TIMES MORE PROFITABLE.

Try the crossroads close, certainly, but also try the crossroads open.


I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or [contact me here][2] when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on Style and Granularity

When it comes to writing, what is style? Writing is ultimately about choosing words and putting them in a certain order. Some writers are sparse – like Kurt Vonnegut or Ernest Hemmingway. Others can be intricate and intense – like Martin Amis.

What about direct response copywriters? I don’t read enough copy by other copywriters to say: “oh that’s so-and-so.” I once read that Clayton Makepeace wanted his cub copywriters to develop their own style.

The top copywriters – based on my analysis – tend to write with the same style and it’s a combination of hyperventilation and granularity. There’s enthusiasm plus a highly contagious mix of adjectives and highly descriptive copy; the latter is the granularity.

Instead of writing …

These irons will help you hit more accurate shots on the golf course.

I write …

Strike the ball right in the sweet spot and the ball will be dancing with the flag.

There’s no real evidence that “granular” copy outperforms copy that’s more sparse. I’ve seen some Gary Bencivenga copy that is extremely straightforward. But I’ve seen some Gary Bencivenga copy that’s much more descriptive and evocative.

Some of my most successful copy is sparse and basic. But I’ve written copy with some granularity. I’m working to become better at the granular copy because I have to think it will improve response.

Quite frankly, it’s something I’d like to test.


I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Copywriter on Content. Part 6. Content and Sales Tactics.

One of my clients emphatically states: EVERY WEB PAGE IS A SALES PAGE. And I agree. Even the pages that don't look like sales pages…these MUST be sales pages.

Here’s where the marriage between content and sales strategy is so vital. People buy for two reasons.

  1. Solve a problem.
  2. Emotional reasons backed by logic.

These two are often related.

Try to organize all your content around one of these two—depending on your marketing strategy. For example, if you solve a problem like tires being too expensive, show plenty of case studies where you help people save money on tires. And then you can show people buying other tires—tires that are more expensive but ‘make sense’ to the buyer based on logic.

And spread this content around…in the blog…social media…your email or printed newsletter. And, of course, the case studies on your website.

Here’s where a direct response copywriter becomes important. A direct response copywriter wakes up in the morning thinking, ‘sell…sell…sell…’ So, when you hire a direct response copywriter to create content, the content will be oriented around sales—either direct or generating a lead.

That’s because every page is a sales page…at least in my world.

Even when writing content, I'm using a standard copywriting technique like AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action). And there's always a call to action, always a next step. The Holy Grail of content is not awards or nice comments...but ACTION!

I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting CopyOr contact me here for a direct response copywriting quote.