Catholic Copywriting

Sunday, 5:34 PM

Dear Friend,

I love the Catholics.

I better! I’m married to one.

Seriously, I love their faith, their traditions, their prayers, the rosary… and all those saints.

They’ve got a saint for everything.

I’ve even heard there’s one named St. Wrigley. He’s the patron saint of chewed gum stuck under desks and tables.

I’m not Catholic so don’t quote me on that one.

It’s obvious I don’t really understand everything about the Catholic faith, but I go to mass pretty frequently with my wife.

I enjoy it. The priest is a really charismatic speaker and he always has a good message I can apply to my life.

At today’s mass, a nun was reading something and the congregation had to respond after each passage with:

Tus palabras, Señor, son espiritu y vida…

For us gringos that means “Your words, Lord, are spirit and life.”

Now don’t go getting your panties in a bind. I’ve learned not to talk about politics and religion… and I’m not going to try to convert you to my way of thinking on either subject.

Spiritual stuff aside, there’s a HUGE direct response copywriting lesson here.

Words are POWERFUL!

Your word choices can determine if your sales copy is going to be a huge raging winner that brings in millions of dollars… or a big flop that stinks up the joint and loses all your money. (I’ve written both, by the way.)

Gary Halbert was hired once to try and beat a client’s direct mail control. Gary got his standard fee of $15,000 plus some kind of royalty on the back end.

After the check cleared (Important lesson there, freelancers)… Halbert changed two words in the headline and gave the piece back to the client.

Boy, was that client upset!

Until he tested it against his control.

If memory serves me, changing those two words boosted the response about 33%… and brought the client in hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales he never would have had.

Want another example?

Did you know the shampoo industry DOUBLED their sales almost overnight by just adding one word to their product bottles?

On every bottle of shampoo, the instructions used to say “Lather and rinse.”

They changed it to…

“Lather, rinse, REPEAT.”

The addition of that one word instantly doubled sales. (Duh! The customer used up the product faster.)

That is the power of choosing the right words.

Back to mass. (Hmmmm… Should “mass” be capitalized?)

As I was sitting there, pondering the power of words… and wondering if there’s a patron saint of quality footwear… I had a semi-intelligent thought.

Yes, words can be spirit and life… but they can also be the exact opposite of that.

And chances are you have to battle against those “anti spirit and life” words every day.

You probably hear a healthy dose of those “anti spirit and life” words from friends and family.

It’s kinda ironic. The people who should be speaking only “spirit and life” words to you are the ones most likely to bombard you with the opposite.

It hurts to hear that crap from people who are supposed to love and support you. But there’s one person whose words are even MORE damaging to you.

Ya know that little guy
who sits on your shoulder?

The little critic always whispering stuff in your ear?

The one who’s always saying those “anti spirit and life” words.

The guy who says stuff like “That’s a dumb idea. It’ll never work.”

Or when you’re writing copy, “That sucks. You’re a lousy copywriter. Gary Bencivenga would think you’re a loser.”

Or while you’re trying to get into the flow state and free write…

“That’s stupid.  Don’t write that. Clayton Makepeace would never do it like that.”

Yeah, that guy.

He’s a real Buzz Killington, isn’t he?

What if you could chloroform that little S.O.B. and be creative without his criticism and negative comments. What kind of copy could you produce?

If you could tie that sum-beeyotch up and gag him, I bet you’d crank out some kick boo-tay copy lickety split, huh?

Well, if you’re expecting me to tell you how to shut that guy up, you’re going to be disappointed.

I’ve never been able to do it.

Sure, I can shut him up temporarily… but he always comes back.

Ya know when he’s most vocal?

After I finish the copy. He says some nasty stuff then. Makes me feel bad.

Sure, I’d LOVE to hog tie that nasty little critter and stuff a dirty sock in his mouth. But I can’t let his words hamstring me.

I just push on, do the work and try my best to ignore him.

And he gives me periods when he’s quiet.

Sitting in that mass, thinking about “spirit and life” words, I had a little epiphany about that little critic on my shoulder… and I think I’m gonna beat that bastard.

See, there’s another guy on the other shoulder. He’s the guy who speaks those “spirit and life” words to me.

Problem is, he’s really soft-spoken.

The critic YELLS.

The other guy w-h-i-s-p-e-r-s.

Hearing the guy who yells is easy. He’s ALWAYS in action.

Listening to the guy who whispers is a little harder. You have to make the decision put him into action for you… and you have to focus intently on what he’s saying.

So I’m going to do a 30-day test…

Every time the little “anti spirit and life” guy starts chattering away in my ear, I’m gonna wake up the other guy and tell him to start talking.

And I’m going to focus on what he’s saying.

Sure, the little critic will still be chattering away at the top of his lungs… but it’s like background music in a restaurant. You know it’s there, but you don’t actually listen to it. You can tune it out and focus on the conversation at the table.

Oops! There I go again…

I wanted to give you a copywriting lesson today… but I veered off and turned it into a mindset/attitude lesson.

Oh well. Hopefully you’ll still find it a little helpful.

All the best,



P.S. In case you never hear this from anybody else, here’s your daily dose of “spirit and life” words from your pal, DD:

Ya know that idea you came up with the other day?

Yeah, that one.

The one that at first seemed like a really good one… until your little critic started running his mouth and talked you out of it.

Well, I’m here to tell you… your little critic was wrong. It IS a good idea.

And you need to start on it IMMEDIATELY.

I mean it. Right frickin’ NOW!

Motion beats meditation.

And something good is going to come out of you taking action. Probably LOTS of good things.

It may not be what you initially anticipate… but it will be good nonetheless.

Probably BETTER than good.

I’m not blowing smoke up your skirt. It’s been proven true time and time again during this 20 year entrepreneurial journey of mine.

Something good ALWAYS happens when you pursue your ideas.

And you’re sitting on a good one. So here’s your step-by-step plan:

  1. Remove butt from chair…
  2. Get started… RIGHT NOW!

Peace, I’m out.