One of the most effective ways to persuade people through the written word is through copywriting. This is the art of writing content that sells a product or service and drives readers to take action.
It’s a craft I’m learning to master. And like all good students, I intend to do my homework and read any good books on the subjects I can get my hands on.
One of the most highly recommended books on the subject is the Boron Letters, by legendary copywriter, the ‘Prince of Print’, Gary Halbert. The title is named after the Boron Federal Prison Camp where Halbert did time in the 1980’s for some shady dealings.
Though the emphasis of this book is for learning the craft of writing compelling copy, sales and marketing, it also conveys a ton of valuable wisdom applicable to men looking to better themselves. These letters were written by Halbert to his son, through which he hoped to give him guidance while he was locked up.
What All Men Must Do Every Day
Surprisingly, the first couple of letters have an emphasis on physical fitness which Halbert calls ‘Road Work’ (referring to jogging and walking). Being locked up in a federal prison, it really shows him how important being big and strong is, as well as keeping healthy.
This discussion on physical fitness really highlights the importance of health in a person’s life. Halbert was arguably the most talented writer in his field, and has so much wisdom to teach his son, yet health is the first thing that came to mind when writing these letters.
Mindset is Everything
I don’t know what it’s like to be locked up in a federal prison. Nor do I have any intention of finding out. All I know is that it’s perhaps the worst environment a man can find himself in (Outside of Toronto).
Despite this precarious situation, Halbert never frets or fusses. Sure, he gets emotional at times, but he never throws a pity party, especially when writing to his young son.
What really keeps his head above water is his mindset. In fact, even in prison money is always on his mind and he is constantly throwing out million dollar ideas to his son.
Everyone wants to climb the mountain, but the big difference between those at the top and those still on the bottom is simply a matter of showing up tomorrow to give it just one more shot.”
A Lesson in Writing from the Master
This is one of the best books I’ve read on writing. He explains every detail and facet of writing in such a simplistic manner, so his teenage son could understand it, goes a long way for readers.
One way to increase believability I to give exact details. Instead of “most car owners” write “77.6% of all car owners.”
“What is a good writer? Well, in my opinion a good writer is one who makes things perfectly clear. He makes it easy for the reader. Easy to understands what he is saying, easy to keep reading.”
“The very best writing goes unnoticed… You don’t want someone to read one of your ads and say, “Gosh, that advertisement was sure well written! No. What you really want is for the reader to order from your ad…”If you are writing for applause… you will go home with empty pockets. Write for money!”
Businesses spend a ton of time and money marketing their product or service, but oftentimes they overlook the most obvious solutions. One piece of advice Halbert offers is:
You Must Always Find A Market First… And Then Concentrate On A Product!”
His logic is that products are a ‘dime a dozen’, but if there’s no market for it then it’s no good. Find a market starving for a product and then give the people what they want.
Sell people what they want to buy! So obvious, so overlooked and so important.”
A few more insights:
Usually when someone asks me what this the #1 big secret to making money I tell them they should get involved in whatever excites them the most… Money, in my opinion, especially big money, is most often a byproduct of enthusiasm.”
“Therefore, truth… can be determined NOT by how people use their mouth but rather how they use their wallet!”
“You know, kiddo, quite often I am referred to as an advertising genius, the “best copywriter in the world”… but if I really am so good, there is at least one reason for it that everybody misses… “I WORK LIKE CRAZY!”
I was pleasantly surprised with these letters. Altogether they’re fairly short, but are filled with advice in marketing, writing, health and more.While the book is best suited for writers, anyone can benefit from the lessons in this book.
Click here to purchase the Boron Letters by Gary Halbert.
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