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7 Keys to Believability—Old Masters Series

Published by: David Garfinkel on 07-25-2022





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After a long pause, we are back with our popular Old Masters Series. Today, a deep dive into an important part of the work of Clyde Bedell.

He’s not all that well known these days, but decades ago he was one of the top guys you would turn to if you want to learn how to write copy that works. Besides being a highly successful advertiser, he was a prominent teacher.

For example, he built a national sales training program for Ford Motor Company in the 1930s. When he was teaching copywriting at Northwestern University, he couldn’t find a suitable textbook, so he wrote one.

That turned into “How To Write Advertising That Sells.” It was first published in 1940—13 years before I was born. The book is 8-1/2 by 11 and a massive 539 pages. It’s pretty hard to find a copy these days, but I found one copy on Amazon for $736. Lucky for me, I got my copy years ago when it was easier to get and not quite as expensive.

We zeroed-in on one chapter which I would call “7 Keys To Believability.” The word for believability that Bedell used was “conviction.” Same idea -- you want to get your prospect convinced that what you’re selling is valuable and worth buying, just by the way you write about it in your ads.

As we go through these 7 keys, you may be reminded on things you’re not doing as well as you could, or you aren’t doing at all. What we’re covering today is a little different in that we’re looking at elements of copy through the lens of believability, which is all-important. A focus on believability.

Copywriters and entrepreneurs intuitively know this is important, but I’ve never really seen a checklist-based system for maximizing believability.

This is that system.

The 7 Keys To Believability we’ll cover are:

1. Present the Main Ideas 3 Times

2. Tell of the Product’s Popularity—Who Uses It And Likes It

3. Zero-in with Bona-Fide Testimonials—And Authority’s Approval

4. Give Assurances and Proof—Build Confidence

5. Guarantee If You Can

6. Make Your Offer Vitally Valid—Be Congruous

7. Convey the Value Definitively—Positively


Keywords: Trust credibility copywriting

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