Fear Appeal at the Costco Cart Return

I must admit: after walking out of Costco, hands sticky from sample sticky buns, awash in a fine amalgam of consumer endorphins and existential dread, the last thing I expected to find was a fear appeal in the parking lot.

Scratch that.

TWO fear appeals packed into one big yellow sign (see above).

Oh god, I thought to myself as my right eyelid started to twitch in an involuntary convulsion of hyper-paranoia. Copywriting is…everywhere.

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5 Key Parts of a University Donor Letter

Illinois Wesleyan University is my alma mater, and for years I’ve made donations toward its annual donor drive. And each year, I receive a direct response donor letter (snail mail!) from the Office of Advancement, petitioning for my continued financial support. So, I’ve decided to dissect the rather polished fundraising letter I recently found in my mailbox for the calendar year 2017.


Because studying the direct response copy I receive personally is one of the ways I improve as a freelance writer. As it turns out, there are some salient moves and appeals made in this letter that can be used beyond just donor letters. You’re likely to find many of these elements in sales letters, landing pages, and other copywriting projects.

Illinois Wesleyan University Donor Letter

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A Bertrand Russell Quote Dedicated To The Impostor In Us All

I went to Oakland. At the Washington Inn bar I met a (now) client for whom I’ve since written a white paper. Our correspondence started with an email that included a rather telling postscript—a quote from Bertrand Russell:

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

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15 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts for the Freelance Writer

Freelance writers need every excuse they can find to procrastinate. Hangovers. Nuclear fallout. Office UK bloopers.

Hopefully, these keyboard shortcuts will free up even more time to put toward putting off that looming deadline.

Image of woman typing for Martin Ceisel's blog, courtesy of Dai Ke on Unsplash

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National Seminars Training Two-Day Copywriter’s Workshop – A Review

Dated. Generalized. Flat.

Three words that come to mind after I attended the National Seminars Training Two-day Copywriter’s Workshop in Oakland, California. My attendance was the result of a long search for conferences and workshops designed specifically for copywriters, of which there are rather few.

Learning and progress did I seek!

Naturally, “The Complete Course on Creating Killer Copy Both Traditional and E-Media” caught my eye.

Alas, the copywriting acuity ended there in a quiet burp passed through the nose.

A photo of historic Tribune Tower in Downtown Oakland

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