There’s a Devil in the Dow – May 6, 2008

This is a great headline, and I didn’t make it up. It comes from legendary copywriter Clayton Makepeace. But I can pull a Joe Sugarman here – who used to use headlines completely unrelated to the topic. The topic is simple. If you can think of disciplines that would make a good copywriter, what would they be?

Suppose a person had to write about the holistic health industry. One of the subjects I studied for many years is homeopathy. If you give this discipline any credibility – which I do – then to pick the proper remedy, the practitioner must take a detailed history of the emotional and mental makeup constituting a patient, and match it to a remedy, that closely resembles the patient’s constitution. So homeopathy would be a good discipline, to pick out emotional triggers.

Philosophy (a lifelong hobby of mine) would be a good discipline, to use logical persuasion. If you can get past the “dry as wood” (an actually commentary, by a professional philosopher) mentality of Aristotle and Kant, you will notice the wonderful art of logic. But an even better source is the method of Socrates, who uses questions to probe the suspect, and direct the questioning, to his line of thinking. If you are familiar with Socrates, then you know Plato is the brainchild, behind writing about him.

Lastly, the discipline of creative writing is a must. The art of telling a good story is key, according to contemporary copywriter Dan Kennedy. Now if Stephen King wanted to be a copywriter (not that someone with his wealth and fame, would ever want to), then he would bring a wealth of literary experience to the table, and treat the discipline as another literary genre to master. Writer Kelly James-Enger did this (before she became known), as ascribed by her book “Six Figure Freelancing”. All she did was join the local chamber of commerce, and read the book “Secrets of a Freelance Writer” by Robert Bly.

So what is it you wish to do? And what transferable skills, can you bring to the table?

Randy Kemp


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