The Five Factor Model — February 4, 2018

Hey Reader,

I know, it’s been awhile. But I’ve got some interesting posts planned for the future, so stay involved and updated.

But let’s get right into it. We’ve both got things to do, places to be.

Today’s topic: THE BIG FIVE

Not to be confused with the sporting goods chain, the Big Five is known also as the Five Factor Model (FFM). It’s a taxonomic model of generalized abstracted traits with universal applicability. These traits—Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism (OCEAN)—can be used to describe any person, to define behavior to understand the generalized direction of a given person or group’s actions. Within reason, that is.

As copywriters we can use this system to tailor our copy to appeal specifically to whatever niche customer group is most likely buying the product of our clients. Sure, a large part of our job is keyword research and SEO. But if the copy itself doesn’t appeal to the customer most likely to click on the ad in the top five pages of a given Google search, then the overall purpose of the copy, higher CTR and conversion, isn’t fulfilled, making that important keyword research and SEO info you probably spent money to obtain worthless in the eyes of the client.

HERE is an article written by Jacob B. Hirsch et al. that proves a correlation exists between tailored marketing to the FFM traits and positive consumer response. This picture shows the correlation he found when tailoring an ad to specific traits (such as, “for extraversion: ‘With XPhone, you’ll always be where the excitement is’; for neuroticism: ‘Stay safe and secure with the XPhone'”):

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I think starting copywriters struggle to find a steady process by which to write their copy. The keyword research and SEO is relatively easy to learn as there are tens of thousands of articles each describing every step you need to take to parse out the golden words. It’s from there, though, that the great copywriters separate from the chaff. Your creativity will shine as your ability to tailor copy to specific personalities increases.

The FFM gives you a process by which to activate your creativity within psychological research and personality structure.

So let’s get started:

To get a good understanding of the history of the FFM, as well as a history of taxonomic trait models, all the big names involved and their respective experiments that eventually proved the presence of these abstract traits, you can read John M Digman’s paper on Personality Structure here.

But just to summarize it:


The story starts in 1932 with a conclusive statement at the end of an early academic journal by William McDougall. He thought perhaps to some benefit the study of personality might yield five factors, “namely, intellect, character, temperament, disposition, and temper”.

After this statement there came a flood of studies attempting to systematize personality through language. As Digman points out, however, these probably weren’t directly influenced by McDougall’s statement, which could be seen as a primordial ordinance of where psychological organization of personality was to head.

The actual originary force was most likely, Digman says, to be the work of two German psychologists Klages and Baumgarten, the former suggesting a study of language could define a superordinate structure of personality while the latter carried out the study utilizing common German terms about personality.

This study caught the eye of Allport and Odbert, who in 1936 began their own study of the connection between language and personality. This study then influenced the work of Cattell throughout the ’40s.

Cattell, using the term “factor” with a more recent definition than McDougall, found his 16-factor system using factor analysis, a statistical technique used to find patterns within a set of defined variables, in order to discover any factors that could explain any found patterns.

From Cattell on we see a series of psychologists using this technique in order to critique and further define Cattell’s system. Psychologists such as Banks, Fiske, Eysenck, Tupes & Christal, Borgatta and more, all were able to find a certain number of factors through the analysis of language that seemed to cluster and explain patterns of generally defined descriptions of people. Eventually the disparate examiners were able to agree upon finding five factors in their linguisitc analyses.

Further studies of questionnaires, whether self-report or peer-report, also found approximately five factors. The disagreements came with the naming of these factors and how exactly they were to be defined. Here you can see the different examiners and the names given to this trait taxonomy.

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As you can see, though, the overlap among even the names is definitive. The different names could even give you a better idea of what behaviors and descriptors might fall under this or that trait.

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Here’s a picture from McCrae and John’s paper (HERE) on the FFM and its applications. It shows the different but overlapping adjectives from questionnaires as well as lexical studies that fall under each trait.

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To quote from H. vazifehdoost et al.’s 2012 paper, “The Role of Psychological Traits in Market Mavenism Using Big Five Model”:

Factor I – “OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious) Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety. Some disagreement remains about how to interpret the openness factor, which is sometimes called ‘intellect’ rather than openness to experience.”

Factor II – “CONSCIENTIOUSNESS: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going careless) A tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behavior; organized, and dependable.”

Factor III – “EXTRAVERSION: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved) Energy, positive emotions, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.”

Factor IV – “AGREEABLENESS: (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind) A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others.”

Factor V – “NEUROTICISM: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident) The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control, and is sometimes referred by its low pole—’emotional stability’.”

Note at the beginning of these definitions the two poles given for each trait—e.g. sensitive vs. secure; or friendly vs. cold; or inventive vs. consistent). When researching where the customers to which you to hope to appeal fall within the FFM, it’s important to keep in mind these poles. The traits themselves are abstracted and therefore don’t explain the particulars of the reasons behind a given behavior. As McCrae says, “A moderate score in Extraversion, for example, might be obtained by an individual who was energetic but aloof, or lethargic but friendly, or average on both energy level and sociability.

The traits are at a fourth level of abstraction; the first is direct responses, the second is developed habits, the third is chacteristics—the fourth is the traits of the FFM.

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This abstraction can lead to different interpretations of what actions the factors might lead to, as well as different interpretations of what factor might correlate with this or that action or description.


If you’ve got a given product you’re meant to advertise, and this product is purposed to appease some given insecurity or problem, then it’s by this insecurity or problem that you could decipher which type of personality the typical customer for this product would fall under.

(Of course more generalized products, with a larger audience, would require conversations with the client as to which direction to head; but for products directed towards a specific audience this is how the FFM could aid in formulating a helpful direction to your copy.)

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For example, the Goat Mug appeals primarily to an aesthetic need while also fulfilling a practical purpose—a reusable mug that you don’t always have to carry in your hands with a greater aesthetic appeal than a thermos.

The market for this would probably fall under the Openness to Experience. The campaign would focus on appealing to the customer’s need to experience coffee in a different, new, innovative way.

And would you look at that:

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Their homepage not only encapsulates perfectly the need for their target audience to experience coffee in a more artsy and innovative fashion—a fashion with a distinctive style—but also they mention a fact not many people know about the humble beginnings of coffee stemming from a goat, which has inspired their product. The interest in information also drives the target audience and thus drives the marketing successfully.

These interpretations of important. But these interpretations being just that—interpretations—it should be kept in mind the overlapping nature of these trait structures.

Read this from McCrae’s article: “McCrae and Costa (1990) argued…that each of the five factors can be regarded both as a set of traits that must be structured and organized, and as a contributor to the organization and interaction of other traits. Consider O and C: Open people are inquisitive. If they are also conscientious, their curiosity may take the form of sustained and systematic study of a topic; if they are low in C, theirs will be an idle curiosity, absorbed by the passing interest of the moment. Theoretical elaboration of such interactions of factors can bring a more dynamic flavor to trait psychology.”

The organization of a customer’s actions could be directed by two or more separate traits, one or more directing the flow of action that could lead to a destination determined by another.

In an article by Trapnell (HERE), he discusses the difference in interpretation over the behavior of self-reflection, which for a good period of time was presumed to be indicative of the Neuroticism trait.

Trapnell, however, proved that there were different motivations behind a given person’s desire to self-reflect. He divided the need to self-reflect into two separate types: reflection and rumination. Rumination was what was most familiar historically. It described someone who was preoccupied with how they looked, how they acted or thought, someone always conscious of their flaws; so preoccupied that they couldn’t act. Those who are ruminative are self-conscious.

Those, however, who are reflective are self-examining; that is, they are interested, out of a generalized curiosity, in their state of mind, in how their perceived by others, how they process through a given problem. These people are not neurotic, they fall under the category Openness to Experience.

Trapnell showed that a perceived behavior can have two different motivations, can have two different trait categories from which they originate.

So I’ll leave you with this last bit of advice—to always examine all facets of a potential customer’s actions before you put the pen to paper. My last post detailed my process in the context of MedReps. I said customers were most likely those from the STEM program and were thus goal-oriented and Conscientious. What I should have kept in mind, too, was that MedReps catered to salesmen, who fall under the Extraversion category. While writing the copy for that homepage I could’ve kept that in mind and further hit upon the need to be active, to be at the forefront of knowledge, etc.

Next week I’m going to discuss how to further distinguish which trait your potential customer might fall into. I hope you enjoyed this. See you next week.

Enjoy yourself and life.


Cameron Edward Reilly (ER Copy)





My Copywriting Process – January 14, 2018

So—this is gonna be a long one:

I’ve decided to detail out how I would go about the research into writing copy for a website home page. This is just an exercise. And the site I’m going to be using as a template is MedReps’s copy, by the way, is in no way bad and this is not a critique. Their site and their industry is just the foundation upon which I’ll guide my research—to give you an idea of what I would do when researching for a particular client. (If, by the way, you end up reading this MedReps, no bad intentions meant here. Just using your site as an incentive. I really hope you don’t mind!)


MedReps is a job posting platform specializing in the medical sales industry. On it candidates can post their resumes, look for jobs either locally or non-, and adjust their search for particular fields in the industry (biotech, pharmaceuticals, or medical device). About 20% of their job listings are exclusive to the MedReps site and membership for candidates is only $20.

Recruiters, employers and hiring managers also, of course, use their site to search through candidates (and just as a quick side note: MedReps also advertises to this group that their candidates have higher quality of experience; reading the case studies from Forest Pharamceutical and MicroDental shows that not only were they “thrilled with the caliber of candidates,” as MicroDental says, but they were also happy with the ease of MedReps’s posting process as compared to that of other job posting platforms such as Monster).

But what I’m going to focus on, for the sake of time and space, is the target audience of their home page—their candidates.

Now since I haven’t been in contact with MedReps I haven’t been able to ask them about the general direction they’d like to advertise their service. So I’m going to be using the main pull I can glean from looking at their home page.

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(If you don’t want to read through the whole process, you can scroll to the bottom just to see the changes made.)

From what I can see the stand-out quality MedReps is emphasizing here is really spelled out in the second benefit they list: the increased odds of joining their job posting site. I’m going to be using the general outline they’ve already laid out here and just tweak it a tad utilizing some research.


The first thing I researched were other job posting platforms to get a sense of the general attitude and personality. Then, perhaps, I could work off that and add to MedReps’s copy a style that will be unique to them, but somewhat familiar.

I’ll just list a few.

So here’s Monster:

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You notice that they’re appealing to a more general audience than MedReps is, speaking to an audience whose particular job preference isn’t as relevant as it is MedReps. This is why Monster’s headline both appeals to those who are stressed by the job search and to those who feel capable of doing the job themselves (this will be explained in detail later). “Find Better” calms the reader who is stressed by using the word “Find”, which is a more passive word than “Search” (as in “Job Search”) and by using the word “Better”, which obviously conjures comforting emotions. It’s simple and effective. Monster is a site to help those in need or simply aid those who’re looking for a leg-up. Great.

Indeed doesn’t have much of a personality:

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But the one I find most interesting is ZipRecruiter:

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ZipRecruiter’s headline evokes feelings of not only comfort, but of control—the customer, by using ZipRecruiter, can at all times know where he/she is at while searching for a job. ZipRecruiter’s personality is one that tells the potential candidate of their control, while also easing the responsibility of that control. It’s from ZipRecruiter that I got the main inspiration behind the personality for MedReps’s copy.

Then, just to make sure I covered my bases, I checked out the copy for sites similar to MedReps, who also specialized in the medical sales industry.

Here’s MedZilla:

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And here’s BioSpace:

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And here’s PharmaOpportunities:

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Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can get from these sites. There isn’t much personality, there isn’t much attempt to sell or advertise, meaning that the copy reads like an ad—and as many copywriters will tell you, once someone can tell their reading an ad, they turn away. “The good salesman does not merely cry a name. He doesn’t say, ‘Buy my article.’ He pictures the customers side of his service until the natural result is to buy.” So says Claude Hopkins and so says I. The target customer needs to be understood, and it’s from this understanding that good copy emerges.


So let’s understand, then, the customer MedReps is targeting. Of course these are people who’ve gone through the nightmare that is the STEM program. They are hard workers, dedicated, motivated and goal-oriented. I know this from first-hand experience, having friends who have gone through the STEM system, as well as from a simple common sense empathy and second-hand comprehension of the difficulty of gaining the experience to get an MD.

In terms of the medical sales industry though, I found an article on Monster discussing the differences in experience needed to break into either the pharma, biotech, or medical device sales industry ( “[T]he level of technological and scientific savvy required to be a top-notch salesperson is generally lowest for pharma, a little higher for biotech (which requires a thorough understanding of research using genetic engineering technology) and extremely high for medical devices.”

Using the five-factor/”Big Five” model the combination of sales and STEM says to me that MedReps candidates fall most likely in the Conscientious and Extraversion categories. A simple explanation can be found in this article here:

But I’ll give a quick run-down.

Conscientious: dependable, organized, planful, careful, hardworking, responsible, goal-oriented, persevering

Extraversion: sociable, gregarious, assertive, talkative, active, ambitious

We’ve now got an idea for personality and an idea of to whom that personality should speak directly speak.


The next thing I did was some quote mining. I attempted to look up reviews for sites like ZipRecruiter, MedZilla, BioSpace, etc., as well as for MedReps itself—but nothing really special came out of it, except in the CafePharma forum. I read there some opinions regarding the worth of MedReps (there seemed to be a general positive consensus, minus the spam), and the personality of the typical MedReps candidate was confirmed when compared to the average reviews I’d read for the more general job boards like ZipRecruiter or Monster.

The MedReps candidates weren’t starry-eyed over the MedReps site or service. To them, it was just a job board. They were looking at the site practically. Which is the point at which I could start the creative search for a headline—a headline that would predict, understand, and then hopefully win over and change the minds of those who would view MedReps as just a job board—by giving MedReps a solid personality that could speak to them.


The personality I developed would be one that, like ZipRecruiter, would put the control always in the hands of the potential candidate. These are hardworking Conscientious people: You know what you’re doing; we at MedReps know you know what you’re doing; we understand; we’re not going to sell to you, we’re just going to give you the facts and you make the decision.

I then spent a few hours developing the headline. I learned from Will Paterson the technique of writing down in an hour all of my “bad” ideas. In that hour I could get the creative juices flowing and purge the bullshit. Then out of these “bad” ones I could develop a better idea. The main purpose of this part of the process is to create a cohesive whole, to write a kind of narrative that the reader can follow and understand, and from which he/she can feel understood. It starts with the headline. After this, everything else should flow easily.

Here’s another Claude Hopkins quote for you, just for fun: “The writer of this chapter spends far more time on headlines than on writing. He often spends hours on a single headline. Often scores of headlines are discarded before the right one is selected.”

And here’s what I came up with (keep in mind, I’m not a designer, so excuse the shitty framework the copy’s housed in–just focus on the copy):

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Here’s the original again to give you a better comparison:

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I first put “Industry’s Preferred Resource” up front, ahead of “15 Years” in order to emphasize the trust I’m going to end the copy with.

Then there’s the main headline, which punctuates the forward- and hard-working personalities of these bio-salesmen by the word “Hunt”, as well as shows right off the bat that they’re position is understood—that this is a no-nonsense website which skips right to the punch. And all while adding that extra bit of personality that’s solidified in that subheadline beneath “Whatever field you hunt in”.

I made the copy the copy more sociable by changing “Benefits” to “What You Can Expect”. And then I decided on using more colorful words that appealed to the mind of a goal-oriented candidate: “Prospects”, “Trust”, “Better Shot” (which also ties in the hunting theme).

The very short body text below also utilizes some of the keyword research I did using Moz’s Keyword Explorer. The highest searched, least difficult, highest prioritized keyword found was: “biotech jobs”, and so the order “pharma, medical device, and biotech job offers”. Also the body copy of these subheadlines are more forward than the original in order to further personify the brand and match and appreciate the general attitude of the potential candidate.

And lastly I changed the “Find Jobs!” button text to “Start Now” to match the overall personality being developed. “Find Jobs!” was a bit too typical-ad-copy.

And voila. Our final text.

Once again, I’d just like to restate: THIS IS NOT A CRITICISM OF MEDREPS COPY. THIS IS JUST AN EXERCISE. (Though if they’d like to use it they’re more than welcome. Free of charge. Have at it.—If not, that’s cool too. No hard feelings.)

Well, that’ll be all. I enjoyed learning all about this industry and the personalities of the buyers and I think the text came out as a solid not-too-shabby.

Enjoy yourself and life.


Cameron Edward Reilly (ER Copy)




Copywriters! This Experiment is Helpful (Also, Book Recommendation)—January 9, 2018

This is just going to be a quick one off: something I found interesting, that I think might help provide, for some, a direction for their creativity when writing and developing copy for a client—something to consider when fine tuning your phrasing for a headline.

I’ve been reading Steven Pinker’s book The Language of Instinct (a great book, by the way, for those looking for a better understanding of how language is interpreted, acquired, and used—and thus, a great book for ideas on how language should be used for copy; check it out ( In his book, Pinker describes an experiment by psycholinguist David Swinney, through which Swinney attempts to find out how people “parse” interpretations of language; that is, he tries to answer the question: how do we, when interpreting a sentence or word, choose one interpretation over another?

There are two possibilities,” Pinker says. “One is that our brains are like computer parsers, computing dozens of doomed tree fragments [“tree fragments” alludes to grammatical trees, whose branches consist of things like nouns, verbs, noun phrases, verb phrases, determinators, prepositions and prepositional phrases] in the background, and the unlikely ones are somehow filtered out before they reach consciousness. The other is that the human parser somehow gambles at each step about the alternative most likely to be true and then plows ahead with that single interpretation as far as possible. Computer scientists call these alternatives ‘breadth-first search’ and ‘depth-first search.’ ”

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Breadth-first search,” simply put, is a calculation of numerous interpretations, most of which are eventually tossed as incorrect or unlikely, until the most likely or the most correct is siphoned through our consciousness.

Depth-first search” cuts the calculation. Our ability to analyze a sentence is driven by a constant, continuous “gamble” of what we take to be the intended meaning of the sentence.

And this is where Pinker introduces Swinney and his experiment. It seems that when interpreting individual words we apply a “breadth-first search.”

Swinney deciphered this question by having people listen to a sentence over headphones: “Rumor had it that, for years, the government building had been plagued with problems. The man was not surprised when he found several spiders, roaches, and other bugs in the corner of his room.”

Then when the word “bug” was heard, a computer screen before the listener would flash a word. The second the listener recognized the word flashed he/she had been instructed to press a button. The purpose of the experiment was to test the speed of the listener—what words would prompt the listener to press the button faster? Which words were more recognizable after hearing the word “bug”?

It’s well known, Pinker tells us, “that when a person hears one word, any word related to it easier to recognize, as if the mental dictionary is organized like a thesaurus, so that when one word is found, others similar in meaning are more readily available.”

It wasn’t too surprising then that the listener would press the button quicker when presented with words like “ant”, which is directly related to the word “bug”. In contrast, words like “sew” were not followed with a quick reaction—the word “sew” is unrelated.

However, what was surprising was the quick reaction listeners had to the word “spy”. Now why is this?

Well, reader, you may have not noticed it, but in the two sentences above the context is, problems within the government, followed by a discovery of bugs. Literal bugs. We, as readers, know the reference is to literal bugs because of the surrounding words, “roaches” and “spiders”. But because the context deals with government problems, the word “bugs” takes on a different meaning.

Imagine if the sentence didn’t include the words “roaches” and “spiders”: “The man was not surprised when he found bugs in the corner of his room.” We might be inclined to question whether the bugs referred to things like roaches and spiders, or to wire taps and hidden cameras.

What’s interesting though is that even when we consciously know the intended meaning of the word “bug”, the experiment shows that while parsing the interpretation of a word subconsciously we do a “breadth-first search” in which our thesaurus of a brain rifles through interpretation upon interpretation, eventually “filtering out” the one we find most likely and most correct.

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This is a fascinating bit of information to have for a copywriter.

When writing headlines or even subheadlines (this could even be applied to body copy) I think a great addition to whatever your modus operandi be, is a glance at a thesaurus—see what words will be brought up in the reader’s mind; make them a subtle part of your copy.

I personally, in my exercises, have been figuring out how to utilize this synonymous mode of parsing when capturing the personality of the brand.

It’s common knowledge that the personality of your brand matters; and it’s also common knowledge that the personality of your brand should be harmonious with the personalities of a given product’s typical consumers. And I think that this bit of information could really help in that last stage of small adjustments to your copy; when you’re fiddling with words, wracking your brain over Word A or Word B. Swinney’s experiment is the creative guide to push you in the research-based (that is, the right) direction.

Happy writing, everyone.


Cameron Edward Reilly (ER Copy)




Btw, here’s the study: Lexical Access during Sentence Comprehension (Re)Consideration of Context Effects” by David A. Swinney

Twitter TNT (Tricks N Techniques) – 2018 Checklist – January 1, 2018

Hey Reader,

Happy New Year. Everything was to your satisfaction, I hope, this past year. The start of a new cycle has us all thinking of our accomplishments and failures. Any birth brings with it a reassessment. As well as a reinvestment of time wasted the past year, into new goals this new year for potential new earnings.

I (before a “pleasant” game of New Year Monopoly with the family) had a conversation with a friend of mine at the local bar about my recent interest in learning the copywriting business. He’s the same age as me (young, but not as handsome) and so has been threatening to begin the process of starting up his own business in Silicon Valley. He currently produces viruses for a company in Berkeley which, through viral vectors, is working towards a cure for cancer. His innovative motivation is a cheaper, quicker way (he claims) to make these viruses. He figures, he tells me, he could start up a company, sell these viruses, build a stronger foundation for this approach to curing a horrifying disease (a disease whose cures are not much to write home about)—BUT, he’s not sure how to start this up. More specifically, how to get investors.

Ever since I told him my interest in the art of copywriting, marketing, consumer behavior, I figure he must’ve had me in mind when wondering how exactly to get in touch with these seemingly far-away investors. And, more importantly, how to gain their trust quickly.

So he began asking me all these questions about copywriting, all the stuff I’ve picked up from my independent research—all the stuff I funnel into my work, including this here blog, dear reader.

Now, it must be remembered: he’s a hard-scientist. A graduate of the hard knocks of STEM. Read: he’s looking for clear, concise, specific answers like a math equation. And all I have to offer, by his standards at least, is a somewhat vague, general response as to what I’d do as a marketing consultant.

After telling him (a few times) of the strategies of market research, of psychological analysis of the industry as a whole, of the development of a brand personality that spoke truthfully to other businesses, what our discussion boiled down to was a new way for me to understand my own business. And understand more my goals for my business.

What copywriters/marketers/ad-people do for a company is: provide a network—or, rather, a bit of a network.

This is what my friend couldn’t understand. That there’s a part of his industry (you might say: the psychological side) that he doesn’t understand and that would take him work to understand. What he’s paying the copywriter for, is that bit of the network he doesn’t readily have access to. The copywriter provides the inner workings of an industry that the producer might only know skin-deep. It’s the copywriter’s job to learn as much as possible about the product and industry, about the personality of the brand, about the uniqueness of the product to the established industry, about the personalities the industry attracts—about, pretty much, the underlying psychological cogs and wheels that keep this or that particular industry chugging away.

And I remembered something during this conversation that I’d read a couple months ago when I first started reading about advertising and copywriting: A good chunk of a copywriter’s projects are assigned by other copywriters.

This signifies the importance of building up your own network within the copywriting industry—the importance of finding mentors and friends. To help you understand those underlying bits that will inevitably slip your gaze.

Which brings me to the main point of this damn blog post—my goals of 2018!

My goals on the larger scale are personal and regard mostly me finding a way to settle down with a girl (you know, typical story), so they don’t really need to be discussed here.

However, my goals for January of 2018 are mainly building up a network of trustworthy and talented copywriters. Mainly through the use of social media—i.e. Twitter and Facebook.

I’ll talk about Facebook ads in another blog, but for now I want to focus on Twitter. I read a sh*t-ton of articles (I’ll list some down below) on copywriting for Twitter to get a better understanding of how exactly promotion on Twitter works. And mostly what I got from it was that Twitter promotion is a lot like old direct-mail promotional material you can read about from veteran experts—except Twitter is JUST HEADLINES.

Ok, ok, it’s a little more complicated than that, I know.

In fact, I did learn some very good advice. One of the most important was from Paul Roberts at Our Social Times, who says this: “the trick is to remember that you don’t need to reach everyone, just the people who matter: your target audience.” Which was a blunt reminder to figure out who my target audience was.

And as a beginning copywriter, my target audience is, maybe surprisingly: OTHER COPYWRITERS. It is other copywriters who can mentor, who can open the doors of opportunity and thus experience—it is other copywriters who make other copywriters (who “copy” those writers).

And, also, of course, I was reminded by Sheena White at SocialQuant of a copywriting golden rule (as well as many others): to emphasize benefits not features: TWEET ABOUT WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT AND NEED… NOT YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE.”

And, then I was told by this Moz article, that “When you [promote your Twitter], don’t just show the Twitter logo—make sure you also display your @handle so that people know exactly where to find you,” which is prompting me now to change the Twitter icon on this blog to include my handle. (@ercopywriting, by the way—and for those of you who came via Twitter, I thank you (as well as the authors of these articles; go check them out)).

Oh, and Moz (such a great site) also has a short eBook about Social Media marketing here. Please read it, support Moz.

The last thing I’d like to mention on here, I also learned from Moz. I can’t fiddle with it now because of how young this blog is, but check out Tara Reed’s 14 day experiment. After reading tons of articles on Twitter, this sort of experiment is talked about often. (In fact, another Moz author in the list below makes a joke of how often you see a version of this experiment in Twitter-promotion articles. You see it almost as much as you see an author use a stat at the beginning of their articles of how many Twitter posts there are in toto to emphasize how much influence a Twitter page really has.)

I really hope to gain some copywriting friends over this next month and throughout this next year.

2017 was a great year, but 2018 will be better. I’ve got a new family I’m working towards on the way that includes the copywriting network I hope to build with these techniques.

I hope you can build them too. And I hope you join my own network as I hope to join yours.

Enjoy life and yourself.


Cameron Edward Reilly (ER Copy)

List of Twitter links:

Advertising Yourself — First Step To Becoming A Copywriter – December 29, 2017

Hey there, Reader:

Let’s talk about the first step of copywriting—the step I’ve found that deserves the initial surge of creative thought (after you’ve taken the time to research the basics of the subject):

Copywriting for yourself.

What I’m doing now for this blog, the writing for my Upwork page, my Fiverr page, the tweets on my Twitter account, the short posts on Facebook: all of these are copy that advertise the copywriter (i.e. me). And it’s actually great practice for those of you looking to sharpen your copywriting nib before you put it to the test for a paying client.

I’ve found that writing these posts, using what I’ve learned from other copywriters (by reading their articles/books/posts) to find the proper tone of voice and style particular to the vibe I want to advertise, has given me a great insight into my own creative process towards copywriting in general.—It’s the rough-cut before the sandpaper comes in to smooth things over.

Starting off, before I wrote anything at all, I looked at the Upwork, Fiverr and Facebook copywriting pages by searching for things like “copywriter”, “advertising”, “SEO”, “keyword research”, etc. I scanned through, read, and copied down (by hand!—reminder to read Gary Halbert) some of the best ones I could find.

I determined the best ones either by the rating they were given or whenever I sensed “that feeling”—you know, the one you get when you read a really great ad, that feeling that makes you want to buy despite, at times, the total uselessness of the product. (Confession: I still want to buy the Shamwow and most Billie Mays products after watching their infomercials. Simply because of the ad and “that feeling”.) So, remember: This is a good feeling. Follow it like a dog follows its nose.

After copying down a dozen or so Upwork and Fiverr account copy (taking note of the different pricing strategies) I noticed something. It may be a generalization, but I found that I could place, to some degree, half the freelancers in one personality, the other half in another. These two personalities are what I call: Bubbly and No-Nonsense.

Now obviously there’s some overlap. BUT, it did seem fairly clear (and I invite you to see for yourself) that among the freelancers there’s relatively stark spectrum between those who want to advertise themselves as friendly/sociable/inviting/bubbly (the kind of indie, hipster vibe associated mostly with newer startups) and those who want to advertise themselves as experts/to-be-taken-seriously/business-first-friendship-later/no-nonsense, and so on and so forth. You get the idea.

What can be gleaned from this is that newer startup copywriters (such as myself) might do better to take on the former personality, the personality of a friendly ma-and-pa sociable business that potential clients feel that they can trust. TRUST is the key component of the former personality; while for the latter personality the key trait being triggered is not an emotional one, but instead an authoritative and RATIONAL one. (As an aside: I encourage you to watch some of Will Paterson’s videos on logo design to get a sense of how these two different approaches are used when designing company logos and icons. Check him out for some really insightful commentary.)

There are many articles available online about advertising that talk about this distinction: between triggering, in the consumer, an EMOTIONAL and RATIONAL response. And while overwhelmingly we see the major influence of emotionally driven advertising, there is a place for the authoritative tone of expertise that garners positive responses from clients/customers.

So the question becomes: How does the new copywriter advertise him-/herself?

The answer I would give (and the response I’ve decided to try to hone and form in my own tone of voice on this blog as well as in my “business persona”) is a subtle combination of the two, while relying more on the emotional.

The answer seems obvious because it is. But like most things, it’s easier said than done.

After reading people like Ogilvy (who is sociable, but more professional) or Gary Halbert (who is more sociable and kind, but with a hard professional exterior) or Dan Kennedy (who presents himself, in some of his email campaigns (which you can find online), as being forward and stern and professional, with “just enough” sociability and humor), the personality a copywriter portrays says A LOT about what he/she is capable of doing in capturing the tone necessary to sell a certain product. The personality needs to be a subtle combination of knowledge, confidence, wit and humor—which are the essential facets needed to be able to trigger proper responses in a customer.

And I’m still learning to do this.

I hope you can learn to find your voice too.

And, once again, I also hope that you’ve been able to take something away from this blog.

Enjoy life and yourself.


Cameron Edward Reilly (ER Copy)

Introduction Blog For New Copywriters (Including Myself) – December 20, 2017

New Reader,

Let’s begin formal and move to familiar territory.

So, introductions:

My name is Cameron Edward Reilly, and this is my copywriting blog: Edward Reilly (ER) Copy. A quick bio: I’m 23.

But enough of that. You’re not here for that.

After a myriad of odd-jobs ranging from retail to canvassing to technical writing for a very small, local publishing company I’ve found a new interest in copywriting and advertising—consumer behavior in general, really.

Over the past couple months I’ve been reading the articles, blogs and books (Moz, Copyblogger, Copyhacker, The Boron Letters, Ogilvy On Advertising, Dan Kennedy, etc.) and finally decided to dip my toes in the water: By starting this blog, starting up my Facebook page (joining the Facebook copy groups), launching my Twitter page, Upwork page, and Fiverr account, I’m hoping to find the copy water warm and inviting.

But for my own sake and sanity (and perhaps your own, reader), I think it best to mark down the progress of the freelance copywriter’s journey—from the bottom to the top (or maybe more toward the middle, if I keep my aim humble). To note the lessons I’ve found most important, the things I’m learning along the way in order to, not only help myself, but to hopefully help those starting from the same lowly position.

That’s the point of this blog: To be a live guide to those just about to take the plunge into copywriting.

I’m not exactly sure where this blog will end up or where it will go—but I’ve got some ideas.

I’ll be posting on Mondays and Fridays. Mondays will be more life-centric blogs (for those interested), being more focused on the “peripheral” books I’m reading, whether about philosophy, history, literature, the hard sciences, etc., but with a foundation of copywriting and advertising and consumer behavior psychology: the copywriter’s journey as just a guy. And Fridays will be totally copywriting heavy, with recaps, restatements, summaries, etc., of articles/books specifically about copywriting, advertising, and psychology, from which I think any copywriter might gain insight—including myself (but more importantly, including YOU).

My essential purpose is to help those who need it and to receive criticism from those more knowledgeable or even from those who feel they just have something interesting to say. Which is why I say: Please feel free to join in the discussion, tweet me, DM me on Facebook, whatever—contact me in any way.

Hope you get something out of this blog, as I’m hoping to get something out of it.

I’ll be posting this upcoming Friday and most likely on Christmas.


-Cameron Edward Reilly (ER Copy)