What Copywriting Really Is: Interview with Ray Edwards

Have you ever had an idea you wanted to share, a story you wanted the world to hear, or conviction you wanted other people to have, as well? Well, believe it or not, that makes you a copywriter.

What Copywriting Really Is: Interview with Ray Edwards

Copywriting, it turns out, has nothing to do with trademarks. It is the art of effectively persuading your audience to take action through the written word. And today’s guest on the show is an expert at it.

Ray Edwards is an online marketing expert and copywriter extraordinaire who has worked with the likes of Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Michael Hyatt, and even yours truly.

But this episode is a bit different. Instead of interviewing Ray, who is a good friend of mine, I asked him to guest host the show, answering questions I sent him to dive into his deep knowledge of copywriting and online marketing. Ray spends the entire episode explaining how to get more people to buy more of your books, read more of your blogs, listen to more episodes of your podcast and land bigger, better book deals.

We start the episode learning more about Ray’s background in eastern Kentucky, where he grew up. He started in the radio business at 14. He began helping advertisers come up with clever ways to get people to come in and put cash in the registers and soon found he loved it. He attributes this love to his entrepreneurial family: his mom, his aunts and his uncles all had their own businesses. From them he understood business owners (including artists) want to make sales.

Ray found that lesson to be true in radio, too. It was the salespeople who made the money – not the DJs – so he befriended them. He went on client calls, he studied Jay Abraham, David Ogilvy and John Caples who are the classic masters of direct response marketing.

All of that changed when the Internet came along. It effectively killed off radio so he began offering his services online and he has never looked back.

On this episode of The Portfolio Life, Ray shares tools that any of us can use regardless of our current skill level. He also shares the medium which has allowed him to sell an estimated $300 million worth of goods and services, as well as the next steps you can take to become a better copywriter.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Ray answers the questions:

  • What is direct response marketing and why is it so powerful?
  • What was the key to Ray’s success in radio?
  • How did Ray’s family influence his understanding of business, marketing and sales?
  • Why did the Internet kill radio?
  • What is the pastor structure, and why does it have nothing to do with religion?

If you connect with the head you are dead. If you connect with the heart now we can start!

Ray Edwards

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What copywriting is and why it matters

  • What are real-life examples of copywriting from your daily life?
  • What does the movie You’ve Got Mail have to do with copywriting?
  • How has he sold an estimated $300 million worth of goods and services?
  • What are the basics of copywriting?
  • What determines how the world sees you and treats you?

Marketing is something we do for people, not to people.

Ray Edwards

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Framework for writing effective copy

P is for problem and pain
Know the person you are writing to, know their world, their situation and understand what problem they are having as they are aware of it. Identify what they think the problem is and then move on to the pain. Pain is about how it hurts for them. What matters to your reader is do they think they have a problem? If so how do they perceive the pain of the problem?

A is for amplify the pain and give aspirations
What is the cost of not solving this problem? What is the cost of doing nothing? What will happen if they do not solve this problem? Stay with the emotional experience of doing nothing and expand on it. Then give them something to aspire to – the a also stands for aspirations. Show the reader what they can aspire to if they take action and speak to it.

S stands for story, struggle and solution
Tell the story of how you or someone else faced the same problem, how they struggled through trying to solve it (including a few failure cycles) and then tell the story of how this was solved. When did you draw the line in the sand and how?

T is for transformation and testimony
Show how you or the person in your story has transformed their life by this process, product or service,  show the before and after. Then segue into the testimonials immediately in which other people tell the story of how your product, service or solution empowered them to become the after picture. This is not about facts, figures, evidence but stories.

O is for offer
The offer again is about transformation. In essence you are saying trade me this amount of money and you will receive this transformation. This is the vehicle to get you to the transformation, you have to talk about the details of what you are selling to get them to their destination.

R is for request or response
Ask them to do what you want them to do.


What are you going to use the P.A.S.T.O.R. framework for next? Let us know how you’re going to apply it and how it works out for you in the comments!