How To Write For Profit

How to write for profit

Today’s letter is going to be a condensed version of a new primer I’m creating titled “How to Write For Profit”.

My goal is to break down some of the concepts and misconceptions about how you turn words into cash. So if you like that kind of thing then you’re going to love this letter.

First let’s define what I mean when I say, “Writing for profit.”

In this context, I’m not talking about things like grant writing or business plans. Nor am I talking about traditional writing jobs like novelistscreenwriter or journalist.

You can certainly make money doing these things but when I talk about writing for profit I mean “communication that moves your prospect closer to a sale”.

This type of communication takes two forms. Persuasive writing and Influential writing.

What is Persuasive Writing?

I’d say 90% or more of the conversations today are around the subject of persuasive writing or what most people call copywriting. And the most valuable form of copywriting is direct-response copywriting.

Modern direct-response copywriting started in the late 1800s. If I had to pick one person to be the OG of direct-response I’d have to say it’s Aaron Montgomery Ward.

In 1872 he launched what would become the Montgomery Ward catalog. A move that sparked the beginning of an entirely new way of marketing through the mail.

Since then direct-response copywriting has become the standard for all other forms of marketing because it’s measurable. We can see what kind of response we get from the words we write.

If a wealth management company spends $15,000 to mail out 10,000 letters and 500 people respond, they can measure how much new business came from those 500 respondents.

As far as I’m concerned,

Direct-Response Marketing Is The
Only Kind Of Marketing Worth Doing

Especially for small business owners in an era where you can track everything.

But this kind of marketing is EXTREMELY difficult. It requires you to reach:

  • The right person…
  • With the right offer…
  • At exactly the right time…

AND, you have to interrupt them to do it.

Think about all the obstacles a sales letter needs to overcome before it has a chance of making any money.

First, it has to get delivered to someone who has a need for your services. So you have to pick the right list to mail it to.

Then the letter has to get opened. And anyone who’s ever gone to the mailbox to find a stack of mail knows how difficult that can be. That’s because we tend to sort our mail into two piles…

Junk mail and stuff we need to open.

If your letter gets classified as junk mail it goes straight into the trash – never having the chance to persuade anyone.

Once you’ve made it past the sorting phase you now have to get your prospect to read your letter.

This is where the real magic of copywriting begins. But your prospect hasn’t asked to hear from you. You are an interruption. A pest that once identified will be squashed by your prospect.

Within a few short sentences, you must grab their attention, peak their interest and hold it long enough to convince them to give you money.

That is a nearly impossible task.

It’s also why most of the great direct-response copywriters have some experience selling door-to-door. They understand how little time they have before that door gets slammed in their face.

Here’s my point…

Direct-response copywriting was born out of a need to rapidly build trust and desire in someone you have no previous relationship with. It’s a profession where you will be wrong far more often than you will be right. However, if you learn to do it well, it becomes a kind of alchemy.

But having worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, here’s what I know:

Most Entrepreneurs Don’t
Want To Be Copywriters

They don’t want to spend their days trying to convince cold prospects to give them money.

What they want is to have a legion of fans who knowlike and trust them – waving money in the air – begging to buy whatever they’re offered.

Now doesn’t that sound nice? OF COURSE IT DOES!

That’s the dream baby! To wake up every morning to a mountain of sales and a stack of emails from people who want to give you money.

But copywriting isn’t the best way to make that dream a reality.

What if I told you there was a way of writing that would make your copy, (no matter how bad) 100-times more effective, without changing a word?

No tricks. No gimmicks. I’m talking about the same words, delivered to the same person at the same time and getting a 100X increase in your sales.


Then let me introduce you to the second form of profitable communication – Influential Writing.

What is Influential Writing?

Influential writing is about reinforcement and validation far more than persuasion.

When we write to influence we aren’t trying to convince anyone of anything. We are trying to build trust and affinity with the reader so they will lower their defenses and ultimately replace our judgment with their own.

You don’t build that kind of relationship using checklists or frameworks.

We don’t influence through information. (we inform)

We don’t influence through education. (we educate)

Your prospects are drowning in information. They don’t need another 3-step framework or 24-point checklist. And even if they did that wouldn’t do a dam thing to improve the influence you have over them.

So what DO they want? What must you provide for them to turn over their “thinking” to you?

You Must Give Your Prospects
A Faith That Can Move Mountains

Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Influence requires FAITH.

Faith in you, your goals, your experience. Faith that “your way” is right for them. Faith in themselves and their abilities. Faith that if they trust in you the outcome will be certain.

Checklists and frameworks can give them confidence, but not faith.

Testimonials and a snapshot of your stripe account might affirm their decision to take action but it cannot give them faith.

To have faith your prospects must feel they know you on a deep and intimate level.

It requires levels of trust that only exist between close friends. Influential writing allows us to create this kind of bond.

And once it’s formed, selling becomes unnecessary.

Let me explain what I mean by using an example.

A couple of months ago a friend of mine moved into my neighborhood. One afternoon he called me and asked who my internet provider was and if I was happy with the service.

I told him who it was and that I was very happy with them. He said thanks, hung up the phone, and immediately signed up with that provider.

He didn’t spend two days pouring over the sales copy on each of the providers’ websites. He didn’t spend hours comparing plans, prices and contract terms.

He had a problem (no internet), and all he wanted was for his problem to get solved as quickly as possible. He didn’t want to “think” about it. He just wanted it solved.

The internet company hadn’t spent any time building a relationship with him. So he had no faith in the claims they made on their website.

I, on the other hand, have spent hundreds of hours with my friend. We have a trust that’s been built over time. And that is 100 times more influential than any sales copy could be.

If You Want Your Prospects To Buy On Command,
With No Questions Asked – Build A Relationship
They Never Have To Question

When you have a pre-existing relationship with your prospect BEFORE you make them an offer you don’t have to spend so much time selling them on why they should buy.

The relationship does most of the selling for you.

Investing the time to learn the skill of influential writing can 100X your sales – even if you don’t change a word of your copy.

Writing for profit means learning both persuasive and influential writing. But if you have to choose just one to focus on – pour all your efforts into learning to become an influential writer.

Over the course of your career, nothing will pay you a higher ROI.


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