Mr Schwartz will join us in a moment…
… But first the reason why I mention him.
On Tuesday I was watching an online tutorial about conversion copywriting.
(That’s the art of reviewing, analysing and revising words on the web for better results).
The tutorial was on the topic of crossheads.
These are the pieces of text which look like sub headings. They are in a larger font than the body copy and tell the reader what’s coming next.
You are Looking At One Right Now
The tutor was explaining how most crossheads used by businesses on their web pages were a bit lame. Typically no more than ‘placeholder’ copy (words people put in as a temporary measure while they think of something better).
Placeholder copy might be something like “FAQs” (Frequently Asked Questions) or “What our customers say” (introducing a set of testimonials).
The session really forced me to think about some of the copy I’ve used in the past – and see how I could make it better.
It Pays to Review Your Crossheads
In fact, I used the process yesterday when reviewing (and revising) a 19-page sales page I wrote for a client.
When the client saw the ‘new’ version this morning they responded “Gary, I think you’ve nailed it”.
It’s now a 21-page sales page… and all the better for it.
Making stronger use of crossheads is definitely a way to go with long copy.
But that’s not what intrigued me most about the tutorial.
What caught my attention was this…
The tutor said their approach was based on something they picked up from one of the most successful copywriters in history… a guy called Eugene Schwartz.
Schwartz is no longer with us. He died in 1995, in his late 60s.
But his legacy lives on.
He wrote a book called Breakthrough Advertising.
You’ll find it a challenge in the UK to find a copy… unless you have deep pockets.
On Amazon, there are only TWO ‘new’ copies of the original hardback.
The cheapest will set you back (including postage) £459.71.
Don’t worry. You can find it for less
EBay can offer you a ‘new’ (possibly used, judging by the seller notes) for £283.99.
Check a few online bookshops who specialise in secondhand, rare and out-of-print books… and you might find a ‘new’ edition of the original for £296.27 or less.
What’s this got to do with you or your business?
It’s about understanding the value of copy – and copywriting.
So many businesses fret and focus on branding, a logo, a ‘clever’ slogan or fancy web design. Yet they think little about the words they allow or put on the page.
On their website. On their landing pages. On their sales pages. In their emails. In their social media posts. In their sales letters.
Seemingly oblivious to the consequences.
In other words, they make a mistake
Good copywriters understand the value of copy. (Smart business owners understand it, too).
That’s why they continue to learn from the masters of old, like Eugene Schwartz. They recognise he knew what he was doing – because he made millions of dollars for his clients, and became one of the highest paid copywriters of the 1950s and 1960s.
That’s why they continue to study
That’s why they would move heaven and earth to secure a copy of a book like Breakthrough Advertising.
Just one tip, technique or formula could transform their craft – and the results for their clients.
When you boil it down all marketing is words.
Even videos (because they tend to use words… and usually somebody has to write a script for it).
But some see copywriting as something that’s easy. Something that should be cheap.
(They’re usually the ones who end up with results to match).
I’ve been doing this stuff 4 or 5 years now and I’m still learning.
You cannot help but learn from the old masters or books like Breakthrough Advertising.
Have a great end to your week and enjoy the weekend.
P.S. The most I’ve ever paid for a book is £78 (well it was TWO books as it was sold in two volumes). It’s still on my reference shelves. I dip into it when I need a dose of inspiration or want ideas for the visual look of a page.
Now off to find my next £296.27 of work so I can add another classic – Breakthrough Advertising – to my collection.