There’s a well-known military quote often attributed to Napoleon (and others) that goes like this:
“An army marches on its stomach.”
The point of which is that you can’t win a war if you can’t feed the troops.
This point was brought home in great detail in a book by Victor Davis Hanson entitled “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.”
It’s a great book and it offered a lot of insights into that conflict I’d never before encountered or considered. One key lesson relevant to why the Allies won involved the capabilities of individual soldiers sent forth by the different alliances.
Hanson ranked the individual soldier in the German as top of the line – leastwise, in terms of combat effectiveness on the battlefield. The individual US soldier statistically didn’t match up.
But the outcome of the war was inevitable – because the US Army was far more effective than the Germans overall.
How? Because each individual US Army soldier not only had the weapons, ammo, and rations he carried onto the battlefield, he also had an extensive support network supporting his efforts… doctors, medicine, food, petroleum, equipment, spare parts, mechanics, intelligence, and leadership that FAR exceeded what the average German soldier could count on.
There were many reasons for the discrepancy, but the bottom line effect was that individual capabilities couldn’t offset a SYSTEM designed from the get-go to provide the necessary resources to our soldiers to enable them to become the most effective fighting force possible.
Now you may be wondering, “what does this have to do with copy?”
When you march into the battle of crafting a sales piece – whether it’s an email, a webinar, a letter, or whatever – going it alone without assets backing you up makes your job so much more difficult.
And by assets I’m talking about things like having the right mindset before you start, having tools like swipe files, proven headlines, old letters you can beg-borrow-steal from, in-depth research on the prospect… who they are, how they think, what fears they face… and of course – a system for assembling this material into a solid and compelling draft.
Yes, you can start writing without all this in place – but you’re entering enemy territory woefully unprepared.
There’s always lessons from history we can apply to today. Make sure you have your lines of support in place the next you start writing.
Write Faster. Write Better. Write Now.