How to veto-proof your copywriting

Recently, in the great state of Kansas where I live, our state legislature passed a bill with a super-majority in both houses.

Normally the bill would likely be vetoed by the current governor.

But more than two-thirds of each house voted yes, making the bill theoretically “veto-proof”. 

It doesn’t matter so much what the bill was about, so I will stop yipping about politics.

The point is that you can “veto-proof” your copywriting. 

And this isn’t really a copywriting tactic at all. It’s more big picture than that.

You can do all the linguistic judo on your website and sales pages you want, but the one thing that will veto-proof your writing…

…is having a no-brainer offer.

A no-brainer offer is something that your ideal, qualified prospect almost CANNOT say no to. Something where the perceived value is exponentially greater than the price.

There are at least two ways to get this done:

There are at least two ways to get this done:

1. Lower the price of the offer


2. Add something to up the value of the offer

If you do this successfully, and your prospect has an immediate need, this will veto-proof your copywriting.

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Wodehouse fools the nazis

A story:

British writer P. G. Wodehouse was captured by the Nazis during World War II.

When the Germans realized he was a well-known writer, they “asked” him if he would write propaganda for them.

He inwardly snickered (as you’ll see why) and accepted their offer.

Now why would a loyal Brit gladly write for one of the evil empires of history?

He was so talented that he could write in such a way that the Germans thought he was writing propaganda for them while signaling an entirely different meaning to the British people.

Good copywriting is like this.

And especially your headlines.

It should really only make sense to the exact ideal customer. And everyone else should shrug it off.

Here’s a famous example: “Do you make these mistakes in English?”

This headline sold a home-study course about improving your English skills. And it was published during a time when refugees and immigrants from Europe were flooding into the United States.

Now, are you especially intrigued by the headline? Do you feel like your broken English keeps you from succeeding?

Probably not, but back when this was written there were hundreds of thousands of people who felt that way.

It resonated with them and no one else.

So, one test to apply to your advertising is this: would this resonate with a lot of people or only the ones I really want?

To get more tips for crafting that perfect headline for your landing pages, sales pages, and more, go here:


Recently I attended Carline Anglade-Cole’s webinar Tribute to Clayton Makepeace, one of the legends of direct response copywriting.

It was a who’s who of the past 40+ years of direct response marketing featuring people like...

Gary Bencivenga
Bob Bly
David Deutsch
Brian Kurtz
Kim Krause Schwalm
Kevin Rogers
Parris Lampropoulos
Lori Haller
Richard Viguerie
Marcella Allison
And others...

And they said many great things which I will not go into here.

But there was something taught there in silent whispers

The practice of reading.

If you want to be a great writer (and that includes copywriting), you have to be a great reader.

This concept was powerfully sold by the fact that at least half of these legends of direct response copywriting were surrounded by bookshelves.

And not cute ones - these were packed to the brim with books. Book stuffed in sideways and piles of them everywhere.

And I would suspect that the other half also has loads of books, they just weren’t shown on camera.

This was all confirmed when Bob Bly said that if you want to learn to be a great writer “you have to read everyday, and write everyday.”

Enough for today.

As always, if it is time to take your copy from the “Dick & Jane” level to “Lord of the Rings”, you can get that help here:

How to build authority like Ben Franklin’s father

I once picked up a story from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography about his father.

Franklin Sr. was apparently very well regarded in his community as a man of sound judgement.

Franklin Jr. says that he was often visited by both politicians and clergymen to give his advice on certain matters. All this without his invitation.

And not only that, but he was often an arbitrator in disputes among the residents of his town.

In fact, Franklin even refers to his father’s work as “consulting” (though I am sure he didn’t mean exactly how we think of consulting in a business sense today).

How does a mere Candlemaker become the sought-after conscience of government officials, pastors, and “private persons”?

Junior explains...

“At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve the minds of his children.”

Franklin Sr. wasn’t necessarily the most knowledgeable guy in the room (though he couldn’t have gained his reputation without knowledge).

Instead, he was the facilitator of discussions. Particularly smart discussions.

And you can do this as well. Whether that means sharing interesting articles with your coworkers. Being the one who asks the question that starts the smart conversation.

Or even reporting things from the autobiographies of famous people to your email list (ahem).

This is of course a double-edged sword. Because you have to gain new knowledge to share new knowledge.

So as you gain new knowledge, you also build your own authority among people who may be interested in buying from you or partnering with you.

As always, go here for more tips like this:

The case for removing your logo from your website

Recently at work, we were asked to figure out why a certain page wasn’t converting the high amount traffic that was being sent to it.

And upon arrival, it was clear what was wrong. Too much branding.

People who clicked on the ad (which was about a specific make/model of car) expected to see content about that.

But what they ended up seeing was a big header image of a car (different make/model) with the company logo on it.

Big mistake.

My suggestion?

Remove the header image entirely—in fact, toss the logo in a dumpster fire. Stick it at the bottom of the page below the contact info if we really want it.

But for marketing’s sake, make sure what they see on the page delivers on the promise of the ad.

And that is really the main point. If your landing page doesn’t instantly deliver on the promise of the ad—you should *expect* people to click off quickly.

Speaking of clicking, click right here to join my “Golden Horde” and get more tips like this delivered to your inbox:


Why I voraciously sign up for email lists and ruthlessly unsubscribe from the ones that provide little to no value

A “tribe” is any group which is gathered around a common goal with a common set of beliefs and rules for belonging.

But tribes exist in many forms.

The main benefit of tribes is the collective experience. The “hive mind”—or in science fiction they call this “gestalt intelligence”.

Some tribes are very small and curated such as the “Inklings” which was a small group of literary enthusiasts including the household names Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

And then there are email lists—which give you the collected experience of the person writing the emails. Which is why I suggest you keep these to a minimum. Perhaps only 3. And only the best. Only the ones that consistently provide something valuable, something thought-inducing—even if they have something to sell every time.

Speaking of something to sell, you can join my “Golden Horde” to get copywriting tips to squeeze more money from your website and landing pages:

Copywriting as decision-making

One of my favorites, “Start With No” by the late Jim Camp, outlines a method of negotiation that centers on decision-making.

The main point being that negotiations are moved forward by effective decision-making by both parties.

The negotiator’s role is to make effective decisions and then facilitate and encourage effective decision-making on the part of his adversary. 

This involves things like…

– Painting a picture of their pain
– Giving them an agenda and deadline
– Managing expectations
– Helping them understand the full weight of their decision
– Letting them be “okay”
– Giving them the right to say no

All of which he explains in much more detail in his book.

The point? Oh yes, I got carried away.

Copywriting is not much different. It is merely negotiation (or facilitating effective decision-making) in print (or pixels).

Which is why good copywriting always paints a picture of the reader’s pain, gives them the info needed to make a decision, manages their expectations, and requires a decision (without taking away their right to veto). 

Anyway, enough yappings on.

If you need more tips for negotiating with your customer in print or online, you can sign up for my Golden Horde email newsletter here:

Why I am displeased when people like my LinkedIn posts

I often post content on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. That may very well be how you got on this email list. 

Vast hordes of people are communicating every day on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and others. Likes, comments, and shares are the currency over there. And each has a different value attached to it.

But those three of are really little value to the entrepreneur.

Especially likes. 

I referred to likes as one of the “currencies” on social media. But in reality, likes rarely translate into actual cash for your business. 

A story:

I heard once that the president of J. Crew (the women’s clothing brand) was getting a report from his marketing department on the social media likes their posts were receiving. He shot back a reply that they could continue to measure their success in likes as long as they were okay with him putting likes on their paycheck.

Which is an uncommon piece of common sense.

Especially for an entrepreneur, when the price of time is extremely high, social media engagement is useful for the platform it happens on—but it is less useful for your business.

That is why I put little stock in LinkedIn likes. They are useful for knowing what kinds of things people are interested in, but they don’t give me the information I really need. They don’t let me know who might be interested in what I have to offer.

A like can’t tell you if a person is interested in what you have to offer or if they remember you from college and appreciate that you are still moving and shaking.

So, likes are low on the totem pole (or high? I heard recently that the Native Americans put the most respected people at the bottom of a totem pole).  

What do I like more than LinkedIn likes? That’ll come tomorrow.

But enough about social media. Do you need to communicate online or in print with your customers? In a way that brings in cold hard casheesh instead of mere likes, comments, and shares? Click on over to

My favorite out of body experience

One of the more useful things about having an out of body experience would be seeing your mannerisms, quirks, and the overall presentation (brand?) that you put off to other people.

That would be quite useful. Correcting all the things other people notice but never say anything about.

We tend to be able to recall what we said and did, but not the general feeling that we put off towards others.

The same goes for writing. When you are in the heat of writing, it is easy to examine the technical meaning of your words.

(This is especially important in copywriting and marketing since you want to attract the reader not merely by technically, market-research approved benefits and facts, but by the very personality of the writing.)

But it is hard to judge the more esoteric “feeling” that your writing puts out. The “life”, if you will, in the bones of sentence structure and information.

So, one way to beat this was taught to me by a college instructor (not professor, there’s a difference) of mine.

She said you should let your writing “cool”. Take a break. Take a step back.

Give your mind time to forget what you wrote. Get out of the frame of mind you were in when you wrote it.

One minor disagreement – she said to take 20 minutes and come back to it. Which if you’re in a time crunch might be the best you can get.

But I have always found that taking much longer yields much more beneficial results.

Taking days or even weeks can give you what I call my favorite out of body experience.

The goal is to be so far removed that think you are reading something that someone else wrote.

Then you can begin to truly critique it.

But don’t trust me. See for yourself. Go read something you wrote weeks or even years ago. Then you too can enjoy this same out of body experience.

Need to write copy that matches the personality of your audience so they are naturally attracted to your products and services? Float on over to

One of the biggest mistakes I made in high school English class

I imagine quite a few people have made the mistake I am about to describe.

And for many more, it kept their English grade at a C for most of their high school career.

When assigned a paper, I would find a topic and start writing. And usually this happened a couple days before the paper was due.

I remember many a night viciously swiping through pages of a book searching for things to use in my paper. 

A bonehead mistake which cost me many hours of sleep and added pounds of frustration.

You see, many people when writing English papers or ads, do a teeny amount of preliminary research and start with the writing.

I always found writing difficult. I often stared at a blank screen and blinking cursor. And that is what many entrepreneurs do today.

And the fix for this is really simple.

Start with research. 

Research is like water. If you fill your pitcher all the way up, you can fill up multiple cups without refilling.

But many people fill up the “pitcher” of their mind with just enough “water” to *start* writing.

Which means they constantly run out of water, don’t know what to say, and have to do more research to fill themselves up again.

This tends to happen to entrepreneurs especially because they tend to focus on the one next thing that needs to get done. They do what they can and learn as they grow.

But when it comes to writing, you need to get all the supplies you need and then figure out how to arrange them.

Want to know what to research and how to arrange it in a compelling way? Click on over to to get those tips.