Eugene M. Schwartz’s Biggest Copywriting Secret (Not Mentioned in Breakthrough Advertising)

Title (and my nearly verbatim notes) from David Garfinkel’s Copywriting Podcast

Here it is…

“Copy is not written, copy is assembled” —Gene Schwartz

Schwartz didn’t mention this in Breakthrough Advertising. I think he did in his Rodale speech, Phillips Publishing talk or some other hard-to-find interview he did. If I can find it somewhere, I’ll put it here.

Update: Didn’t find it yet, but did find a transcript of his Phillips Publishing speech.

Garfinkel Goes on to Say

Assembling copy is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle…think of it like building blocks

Several “Assembling Levels.” Assemble each of the pieces first:

  • HL
  • Bullet points
  • Story / stories
  • Testimonials
  • Offer
  • Guarantee

This list is a starter. You might have notebooks / digital docs with each of the above components.

Assemble an outline of pieces, then…

Assemble the completed pieces into the ENTIRE sales letter

Writer’s block problems that assembling copy solves

Not knowing what to write


Not knowing HOW to write it

Where to find material to assemble your copy from

Assuming you know:

WHAT you’re selling
WHO (avatar) you’re selling to and
WHAT part of the sales process you want it to cover (Generate a lead, close sale to cold lead, close sale to warm lead, upsell to another promo?)

Then you pull from:

1. Material from your memory

Study great copy + infomercials + ads

Hang out in your market, and learn how they feel/felt

You’ll start to internalize a lot of the stuff and your memory will take over.

2. Material from swipes


Adapt / modify ideas

Copy structure / ingredients

3. Your own groundwork / research

Go through the product THOROUGHLY and record all the product’s details in writing:

What are the facts?
What are the benefits?
What are the advantages?

“Assemble each component, then assemble all the components together”

It’s fractal: Build the parts, then build the entire letter from the completed parts

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”


David Garfinkel is a copywriting OG and a legend.

Check out his podcast – Copywriter’s Podcast