One of the lightbulb moments for me in my copywriting education came over 10 years ago, when I interviewed the great A-list copywriter Doug D’Anna.
It was a pretty short interview.
(I think it clocked in at under 35 minutes.)
And we started talking about headlines.
He told me about a winning headline he’d written that I suspect nary a hotshot copywriter today would think is either secksy or persuasive. In fact, I suspect 9 out of 10 copywriters would scoff at it and say it sucks if they were to critique the sales letter without knowing who wrote it.
“Can India Stop China?”
I doubt you’ll ever see that headline in a list of 100 greatest headlines. I doubt you’ll see anyone try to “swipe” it. And, I doubt you’d see it held up as a shining example of copywriting brilliance at any seminars.
But, it according to Doug it was a huge hit.
And, the reason why is because it wasn’t trying to impress copywriters.
It was trying to make a sale.
And to that market, at that time in history, that question was burning in their minds, and of 100% importance & significance to their lives.
This is, btw, why I don’t do critiques anymore.
(Besides the fact I hate doing copywriting critiques)
As Doug D’Anna put it in the same interview:
“How can I offer somebody a copywriting critique on a piece of sales copy for a product or a prospect that I am 100 percent unfamiliar with?”
Anyway, guys like Doug and other A-listers have incredible headline knowledge.
And, I’m always taken to school when I read their stuff.
Speaking of which:
There is a particular A-list copywriter who, for my money, is the single best headline writer on the planet. Someone whose headlines I study (even if they are a bit gross sometimes…) all the time, and who I also get many email subject line and theme ideas just from the headlines.
And, on page 15 I show you where to find this copywriter’s ads.
(It’s my secret headline “stash” when I write ads.)
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