The Secret of Successful Copywriters*

Can a well-written ad campaign make a business madly successful?


But the success is not wholly in the words.

Now, don’t get me wrong. A good copywriter is worth their weight in platinum. And the right words in the right order make a fantastical difference.

But know this. The words only work if there’s a great business behind them.

For example, I’ve been saying for a while that I want to trim down, but I haven’t lost any weight yet. I hear great things about these “personal trainers.” Lots of people who have them get fit and look great. So, I hire one.

On the first visit I tell the trainer, “I’ve been saying ‘I want to trim down,’ but I haven’t lost any weight yet. I must not be good with words. Can you tell me how to say, ‘I want to trim down’ in a way that’ll make me start losing weight?”

The trainer says, “First you need to start exercising and eating better.”

I say, “Whoa buddy. I’m not about that stuff. Look, I’m paying you to get me results. Now, teach me to say the magic words ‘trim down’ in a way that makes me lose weight, or get lost.”

Clearly, the fact that I’m not losing weight is the fault of the personal trainer. Am I right, or am I right?

And then, just like all those business owners who say they’ve tried advertising and it doesn’t work; I strut around nobly wearing my crown of ignorance.

Words can be magical, but the magic has limits. Great copy can’t make a bad business good.

One of the secrets of great copywriters who make businesses madly successful is that they’re working with businesses that are already successful. (They’re just not madly successful. Yet.) They’re companies that understand customer service, cash flow, growth, management, employee retention, and all the other things that go into a successful enterprise.

So, if you’re a business owner, make sure you’re ready for a great copywriter. If you’re a copywriter, make sure the business you’re working with is ready for you.

And when the two line up, look out. You’ll be madly successful.

And it’ll be our little secret.

– Zac Smith, VC 

*The Vice Chancellor is on the road this week. So, I pulled this out of the archives from April 9th, 2021. It’s like traveling back in time one year, but without the reentry sickness.