The 33.33 Minute Rule: Find out how this “Marvel” created some of the best copies in the 1950s and 1960s! [Monday: Marketing Marvels]
Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.
A Note from Miles Everson:
Let’s start the day with motivation from our “Marketing Marvels”—outstanding people in the business and marketing industries. Every Monday, we talk about these professionals and highlight their insights, experiences, and contributions.
Today, let’s focus on one of the greatest copywriters in history. His written works and experiences show the importance of genuinely connecting with your clients or target market.
Interested to know more about this “Marvel?”
Keep reading below.
Copywriting or content writing sounds easy until you’re actually the one doing it.
If you’ve ever tried writing blogs, articles, or any other types of content, you probably understand the dilemma most writers go through, such as:
- Writer’s block
- Lack of focus
- Vocabulary problems
- Confidence issues
… and more.
Here’s the thing: These issues don’t have to hinder you from maximizing your full potential in copywriting. In fact, one of the best copywriters in history acknowledged these concerns and shared his personal routine to help others overcome their worries and “what ifs.”
Who’s this legendary copywriter?
Schwartz was one of the best and highest paid copywriters in the 1950s and 1960s. His sales records speak for themselves:
|–||He wrote an ad that sold nearly 2 million copies of a USD 25 book.|
|–||He earned USD 50 million from creating a textbook on natural health.|
|–||He sold over 2 million units of a fishing lure through a copy he wrote for a fishing company.|
Aside from being a brilliant copywriter, Schwartz was a great author. In 1966, he wrote the book, “Breakthrough Advertising,” which became “The Holy Grail of Copywriting Books” even until now.
Outside of his copywriting career, Schwartz was an enthusiastic lover of the arts, making a hobby out of collecting various masterpieces. Sometimes, he even donated a few of his collections to different art centers.
Unlike other collectors who donated art primarily to one museum in the hope of seeing a gallery named after them, Schwartz donated art pieces to large and small art institutions in the US, including:
|–||The Metropolitan Museum|
|–||The Museum of Modern Art|
|–||The Whitney Museum of American Art|
|–||The New School for Social Research|
|–||The Brooklyn Museum|
|–||The Detroit Institute of Art|
This shows he wasn’t after fame. He simply wanted to donate these art collections to contribute to the industry and help expand the knowledge of millions of art enthusiasts.
The 33.33 Minutes Rule
“Substance, not flash.”
One of the trademarks of Schwartz as a copywriter was he only wrote copies/ads for 3 hours every day, 5 days a week.
Here’s how his “ritual” went…
Whenever he was about to “get in the zone,” he would set a small kitchen timer to 33.33 minutes. During that time, there were only a few tasks he could do:
|–||He could drink coffee.|
|–||He could stare out the window or at the wall.|
|–||He could sit and do nothing.|
|–||He could write the ad.|
|–||He could not do anything else that wasn’t on this list.|
What does Schwartz’s routine teach us?
There’s power in SIMPLICITY.
Schwartz was a firm believer that complexity deteriorates creativity and innovation. So, he made sure to free up his mental bandwidth when the timer was running to create something truly extraordinary.
Additionally, he embraced boredom. Did you notice why he included in his list that he could just sit and do nothing for the entire 33.33 minutes?
That’s because he acknowledged that writing isn’t always smooth-sailing. There would be days when he’d be extra passionate to write an ad, and there would be days when he’d experience writer’s block.
… and for him, that’s okay!
He knew mistakes, failures, or mental blocks wouldn’t make him less of a writer. So, instead of filling his mind with complex thoughts, he stayed still and accepted that in a specific 33.33 minutes, he could only do either: Write or not write at all.
Let’s now move on to some lessons we can learn from his copywriting strategy and written works…
As someone who produced numerous successful ad campaigns, Schwartz is a great example to look up to, especially if you’re aiming to become a better copywriter!
Check out a few tips we can derive from his work and experiences:
- Consider your target market’s level of awareness.
According to Schwartz, advertising often starts by reaching people where the seller is, rather than where the buyer is. That’s why lots of marketers ask people to “call now,” “act now,” or “buy now.”
The problem with that?
Many buyers are not yet ready to call now, act now, or buy now. Majority of them need to be nurtured, informed, and comforted before they take action.
So, you have to know your target market’s awareness level. Schwartz said truly great copies understand where their buyer is. He outlines 5 stages of awareness:
- Unaware: A consumer doesn’t even know he or she has a problem or desire.
- Problem Aware: A consumer realizes there is something that needs fixing.
- Solution Aware: A consumer knows how to overcome a particular problem.
- Product Aware: A consumer acquaints himself or herself with the products that offer a solution to the problem.
- Most Aware: A consumer is knowledgeable about the products offered and understands how much it would cost.
Schwartz said by knowing these stages, it would be easier to give your target market the right amount of information they need to make a purchase.
- Tap into your target market’s hidden desires.
Getting consumers to take action and buy from your brand is tough work, especially in a world where lots of businesses are competing for customers’ attention—both online and offline.
One of the ways you and your brand can stand out?
By creating copies that arouse emotions within your target market!
Schwartz was a master at stirring hidden desires within his target audience. Whether it’s love, fear, anger, or excitement, he managed to let those emotions out. He even made consumers realize a problem they weren’t aware of!
As a result, many of his written ads effectively captured people’s attention. He showed that tapping into your target audience’s emotions makes the difference between uninspired, bland writing and stuff that keeps them on the edge of their seats.
- Create an image in your target market’s minds.
According to Schwartz’s book, “The Brilliance Breakthrough: How to Talk and Write So That People Will Never Forget You”:
“The shorter your images, the easier they are to understand. Too much detail overwhelms them. It prevents your reader from completing them fast enough to be comfortable with them.”
Schwartz said your target market’s only path to understanding your point of view is through the words you write to convey your message. This means the clearer your message and the more compelling your story, the higher your chance to get your idea delivery right.
Schwartz said in marketing, it’s easy to get lost in the world of conversions and sales, forgetting you’re actually writing to and for human beings.
He understood that everyone is on their own journey… and as a copywriter, your job is to help them live their lives more conveniently. By asking how your offerings can help elevate your customers’ quality of life, you’re more likely to write engaging copy.
We hope you learned a lot from Schwartz’s life and experiences as a copywriter!
Keep in mind that the best writing is ALWAYS focused on helping people. If you remember this, you stand a greater chance of convincing and compelling your target market to choose your brand.
Be more confident in your next copywriting campaign with the help of Schwartz’s tips!
(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Monday Marketing Marvels”
Too often, industry experts and the marketing press sing the praises of some brand or company’s marketing strategy.
… only for the audience to later find out that its product was a flop, or worse, that the brand or company went bankrupt.
The true ROI in marketing can’t be separated from the business as a whole.
What good is a marketing case study if one can’t prove that the company’s efforts actually paid off?
At the end of the day, either the entire business is successful or it isn’t. And the roles of marketing and communication are always paramount to that success.
Every Monday, we publish a case study that highlights the world’s greatest marketing strategies, marketers, and communicators.
However, the difference between our articles and the numerous ones out there is that we will always make certain that the firm really did generate and demonstrate earning power worthy of study in the first place (compliments of Valens Research’s finance group) in keeping with a person’s leadership skills in the area of marketing and/or communication.
We’ll also study the greatest marketing fails and analyze what they did wrong, or what they needed to improve. We all make our mistakes, but better we learn from others’ mistakes—and earlier, rather than later.
Hope you found this week’s marketing marvel interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next week’s Monday Marketing Marvels!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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