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John Carlton: A Master Speaks About Copywriting

Published by: David Garfinkel on 10-28-2019

Our guest today is John Carlton. In case you don’t know who he is, maybe you haven’t been paying attention. But you definitely should.

John has been a force of nature in copywriting and copywriting education for decades. He was Gary Halbert’s business partner. He worked in Jay Abraham’s office. He’s one of the few people allowed to speak on Dan Kennedy’s stage.

I met Carlton at the Gary Halbert Hurricane Andrew Seminar in the early 90s. About 15 years later we did our first seminar together, and we’ve been friends and partners in crime ever since.

And like all great copywriters, John’s letters and ads have sold millions upon millions of dollars worth of stuff.

In this episode, John reveals the ONE BOOK he read eleven times that got him a job in Jay Abraham’s office (a book you can easily get on Amazon for a few dollars). He also provides some very pragmatic and little-known information about how a copywriter should read a book, which is completely upside-down from how you were taught to read a book in school.

Carlton used this approach to become one of the top direct-response copywriters in the world. Definitely worth checking out.

Many people approach copywriting mostly as an intellectual activity. Big mistake, says Carlton. It’s all about wisdom-inspired action and very little about deep, wide-ranging intellectual knowledge.

“I’d rather take a streetwise salesman and turn him into a copywriter, than take a guy with a PhD in English lit and try to turn him into a salesman,” John says.

What’s the difference between someone telling you, “I like your product” and “I WANT your product?”

All the difference in the world, John says. He explains how copywriters look at this and what they do to move from getting the reaction, “I like it” to “I want it.”
The copywriter’s perspective is paramount to success. You’ll hear some things that are disturbing, some things that are enlightening, but all them are enriching and will stay with you as you move ahead in your copywriting and entrepreneurial career.

Links for this show:

John Carlton’s website:

John Carlton’s Simple Writing System:

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