Science of Copywriting Newsletter Issue 26

We’ve all heard how such and such baseball or football team went from nowhere to champions aided by some magical coach.

Some of these happen because the coach motivated the whole team to believe in themselves and their abilities.

Some happen because one player motivated the whole team to success by being the best.

But the most consistent improvements happen due to a new adoption of (or change of) a system or process.

And of those systems, the most effective is the 1% method.

As James Clear,  author of Atomic Habits, outlined, that was how the British cycling team went from almost zero trophies for 100+ years, to 5 times Tour de France winners in 6 years, 178 World Championships, and 66 Olympic and Paralympic Gold Medals in a SINGLE decade (and continue to do so to this day).

But the ONLY thing that will help you achieve the same results can be summed up in a SINGLE word:


I talked about belief in this week’s posts (links below). The highlights for me were the last two – Belief and Indifference. But there’s one more motivation associated with this:


Eugene Schwartz argues that without desire nothing sells. He says desire must be present – you cannot manufacture it.

If that were true, it means we’re all born with certain desires, and that those desires never change.

I’m not sure he’s right, but the real point is, it’s very hard to convert someone with no desire for the thing you’re selling to someone full of desire who will buy it.

There’s something deeper though, and maybe that’s why I have doubts about Schwartz’ message.

At the root of our lives is the need to survive. A need is a desire. So ANYTHING that helps us survive has some desire level to it. It might be food, sleep, fitness, looking good (for an important interview or relationship) or any of a thousand things.

The point is, if you can pick out benefits that help in any way with survival (eg. seat-belts and other safety items on a car), then you have a good chance of selling it to an audience who will benefit from whatever it is you are selling.

Or to put it another way, desire is present in all of us in one form or another, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to angle that desire into the thing we are selling.

Desire is one of the three great scales used in copywriting. Read the piece on Indifference to find out more (link below).

Last Week

The week started with the piece called Process. It’s a far better way to get things done than thinking about goals.

On topic (albeit a sad one) was Viral – how to use two human behaviours to get attention.

That was followed by Belief and Indifference, both of which inspired this week’s newsletter.





With my love,

Quentin Pain

Science of Copywriting

PS. The new organisation I’ve mentioned on and off for the last month will be opening its doors to members on Monday 23rd March 2020. If you’re new to copywriting, it will teach you what to do. If you’re an old hand, it will add prestige to your profile. Whatever stage you’re at in your copywriting career, this one’s for you.



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