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The 5 Lightbulbs of Copy, with Billy Broas

Published by: David Garfinkel on 04-11-2022

People start out writing copy all kinds of different ways. But how many times have you heard, “It all started with beer?”

I’m not talking about drinking a beer. I’m talking about brewing your own beer! That’s how our guest today, Billy Broas, got started in online marketing: He launched a website for his fellow home beer brewers. That was in 2010.

His online course sales from the site got to the point where Billy was able to leave his job and become an entrepreneur. He hired me as a copywriting mentor in 2015, and his since gone on to do great things helping people launch online courses. Especially the new wave of instruction called cohort-based courses.

Now, course creators are very often not copywriters, which makes sense. But Billy is, and, as a teacher, he needed to find ways to get some important copywriting concepts across to them quickly and meaningfully. On today’s show, we talked about what I consider a brilliant construct to do just that, called The 5 Lightbulbs, today.

Billy told us how he came up with The 5 Lightbulbs construct, and what it is.

As it turns out, it worked just as well back in the day — like 100 years ago — as it does today. In other words, it’s kind of universal. Bill walked us through Old Master Max Sackheim’s famous ad, written in 1919, with the well-known headline “Do You Make These Mistakes In English?”, to show how it follows the 5 Lightbulbs formula to a tee.

But in 2022, it’s a very flexible formula, for copywriters and non-copywriters alike.

Billy told us about:

- How non-copywriters use it to organize a sales letter

- How marketers use it to sequence emails in a sales campaign

- How teams use it as a common language, or a shorthand

Bill also offered Copywriters Podcast listeners a free 5 Lightbulbs worksheet, to audit any marketing message, available at

Keywords: copywriting for books and courses

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