Internet Creative: Think Old, Not New

In this newest medium, the tested, proven rules apply

We sold somewhere around 300 copies of my new book so far, “The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting.”

See “IN THE NEWS” at right. Mark G. was one of very few (if not the only) dissatisfied customer to demand an immediate refund. The key paragraph in Mark G.’s brief e-mail:

All of the examples of copy seem from another era and none of them gave me a clue about how to write for the Internet.

The lede of my e-mail reply to Mark G.—before getting into the nitty-gritty of his return and refund:

Sorry you feel that way. Sorrier still for your clients or employers.

Mark G.’s concept of the Internet was prevalent in those thrilling days of yesteryear—the late 1990s

“This is a new medium and a new paradigm,” the hot-shot 20-somethings told us marketing geezers back then. “We don’t need to know your old marketing rules. We make the rules now, so take a hike.”

That ignorance-is-bliss philosophy resulted in $3 trillion disappearing down the sewer in the dot-com bust, and legions of those smug, self-important kiddies wound up moving in with their parents and going back to school.

Fact: The only way to write for the Internet—or any other medium—is to study what has been tested―and proven successful―in other media from another era.

What worked then works now.

For example, what follows are two identical marketing case histories—800 years apart.

Chartres Cathedral, France, 1194 A.D.
As regular readers may recall, direct marketing was launched June 15, 1194 A.D., the week lightning kindled a huge fire that destroyed Chartres Cathedral. All that remained intact were the façade, west towers and the crypt. Bishop Regnault de Mouçon immediately started writing fundraising letters to rebuild it.

The rich noble families of France and England responded with cash and gifts, as did the many guilds, the equivalent of unions back then—shoemakers, wheelwrights, bankers, vintners, coopers, furriers, bankers, etc.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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