I don’t wait for inspiration. I go out hunting it with a club!” ~ Jack London

Thinking back to October 19-22, I can still almost hear the energy…the synergy of the copywriting event of the year. The best actionable tips from AWAI bootcamp 2016 are finally here. 

This year’s stellar event was unforgettable.  I remember how that energy electrified the rooms and corridors at the Marriott in Delray Beach for 4 days last month. 

The learning opportunity this year was outstanding. There were so many  take-aways that part of me wanted to resist summarizing them. In favour of keeping the memory of those presentations in their entirety…to myself.

But keeping that would be…well, selfish. So keep reading for 17 of the best tips from Bootcamp ’16.

 But first – in case you weren’t able to be there –  I want to give you an idea of who presented.

A-Listers of the copywriting world whom I’ve come to cherish like Carline Anglade-Cole, Clayton Makepeace, Nick Usborne, and Steve Slaunwhite graced the stage. And names I hadn’t known, like Alexander Green and Marcia Yudkin dished up equally valuable nuggets. 

New Habits

  • Write every day. We’ve all heard it. But  simply writing anything is not enough. So here’s the kicker: write a 2000-word persuasive essay every day! That’ll step up your writing skill faster than simply writing a page or two in a journal. (Alexander Green)
  • Type looking at the screen. Force yourself if need be.(Alexander Green)
  • Do not allow phones, music, or TV in your air space. Put a ‘do not disturb sign’ on your door. (Alexander Green)
  • Study headlines that are curiosity-evoking, says Makepeace. He also advises reading John Caples, who says in Tested Advertising Methods that curiosity alone is not enough to pull readers into the copy. “Although curiosity alone is seldom enough to make a good headline, it’s an excellent idea to get curiosity into your self-interest headlines. Compare these two headlines:
  1. (purely self-interest)  How I Saved Myself From Baldness
  2. (self-interest & curiosity) How A Strange Accident Saved Me From Baldness


  • A stellar website is essential. Because “it’s not about the value of your product. It’s about the perceived value.” (Nick Usborne)
  • When offering something like a free white paper, tell the prospect in the letter exactly where to find a useful detail. For example, “When you download your free white paper turn to p. 15 and see how your drivers can learn to work more productively.” (Steve Slaunwhite)

Writing Copy

  • Starting out, don’t target sales letter writing. It’s too competitive. Instead, focus on collateral like web copy, traffic driver e-mail, and so on. (Clayton Makepeace)
  • If using fear as a motivator, make sure to always offer HOPE in the copy. In other words, give readers a solution. (Makepeace)
  • Acknowledge where the prospects are and tell them where you can take them. (Makepeace)
  • Important to present options to your client so he can test different covers and find the best. That way your copy will be tested against your own copy.  (Makepeace)
  • If the product you’re writing about is new, ask for samples from the client and give them to your family and friends. Get them to write testimonials in return. (Carline Anglade-Cole)
  • Get an “implied testimonial”. Ask an expert to make a statement about an ingredient in the product you’re writing about.
  • Show in illustrations what prospects can expect if they use or do not use this product. An example Carline gave was a picture of a healthy liver next to one of an unhealthy liver. The caption read “what your overworked liver is dying to tell you”. (Anglade-Cole)
  • “APATHY is the kiss of death for your copy!” insisted Carline. Take your prospect by the hand and ask for the sale. (Anglade-Cole)
  • Humor works, if presented with vulnerability. Carline showed her ‘UH OH – Gotta go…AGAIN! A caption for a picture of a middle-aged woman crossing her legs trying not to pee her pants.
  • Quiz questions in the copy can be effective IF the answer also appears somewhere in the copy. (Anglade-Cole)


Finally, while listening to a presentation by Marcia Yudkin near the end of Bootcamp, I hung onto her every word. You see, the very concept of her topic was brand new to me. It was all about functioning as a copywriter if you are an introvert.

In Yudkin’s insightful presentation I gained a deeper understanding of my introverted self. For example, I learned the reasons why I sometimes shine when  speaking in front of groups of people and other times I cringe at the very thought.

Here’s the thing. If introverted people have a designated role, says Yudkin, they’ll speak with ease. Otherwise the thought of speaking in front of people will likely send the introvert running the other way!

This list of 17 best actionable tips from Bootcamp 2016 is by no means exhaustive. I heard more stand-out speakers than the one’s mentioned here. Left with more outstanding ‘tricks o’ the trade’. But these 17 tips particularly resonated with me, as I hope they will with you.

I’d love to hear your views on any of these 17 or others not mentioned here.