To All The Broke Copywriters...

by max5ty 18 replies
Are you still trying to sell your stuff using only a sales letter or video?

Are you still broke trying to sell stuff because nobody wants your stuff because the sales letter you're using to sell stuff is junk even though it sold a lot of stuff in the past?

Do you think copywriters only do sales letters or videos?

It's ok, it's not your fault.

Yes, it is sales in print...

...but it's not JUST long drawn out sales letters that drone on and on about some garbage someone is trying to sell.

It's not JUST VSL's that has someone drooling on and on and on about some secret formula they discovered after falling out of bed one morning flat broke and ugly.

Now, having written the last two paragraphs, let me put a disclaimer in: Both of these methods can work to some degree if you're catering to the expert landing page funnel sliding dreamer that landed on a website promising them an out of body experience if they just became a copywriter.

In this post I want to suggest a reason you may still be broke as a copywriter. You may not be studying all successful copywriters because you're still stuck studying the same basic stuff you read about online from the so called experts on how to write the perfect sales letter or video.

I want you to also consider copywriters that make a boatload of money for themselves and the companies they work for by selling products that the everyday consumer is buying...and no, the everyday consumers that spend billions and billions of dollars a year aren't buying "get rich quick junk".

Maybe, just maybe you're focusing on just certain copywriters and not exploring the whole field. Maybe, just maybe you're only focusing on one type of copywriting, like sales letters or videos and you're not broadening your horizons to learning what works now. Maybe, just maybe it's why you're still broke.

A lot of new so-called copywriters think small. Many are happy selling a pile of crap and making a few hundred dollars. You're not a real copywriter...you're just a person trying to find a hobby. Real copywriters aren't bottom feeders. Real copywriters know their words create empires.

Problem with talking about copywriters on this forum is that some only consider someone a copywriter if they wrote a letter or video trying to sell ebooks, sell out another seminar or course on making money...and sometimes all three at once...all while in their underwear.

Some drool and cry and go weak in the knees reading and watching the super awesome crap that was written to successfully sell this stuff, all while trying to dissect every word and phrase and the placement of every period and coffee stain so we can copy it.

Guess what?

Truth is the good copywriters most never hear about are the one's that are making themselves and corporations billions of dollars. These good copywriters are the one's that are the modern day thinkers. They've adopted to the modern times...and they're not selling get rich quick junk.

You too can learn from these modern day thinkers...

There are ads that are super successful. Are you studying them and learning why an airline stole the market in the Southwest with one simple ad?

There are commercials that are super successful, are you studying them and learning why a mom and pop store in Idaho started selling out of their products so fast they had to buy their own fleet of trucks that ran 24/7 just to keep up with customer demand?

Social Media drives the market nowadays. If you can become a whiz at Social Media you can drive sales through the roof. Are you studying the successful campaigns that have made corporations millions?

New products that are successful have brilliant packaging. Are you studying the winners and learning why a simple widget in Florida went from 0 sales to millions overnight?

Are you studying the viral campaigns brilliant copywriters are creating that add thousands of new customers overnight?

Are you studying the marketing campaigns that took a company in Oregon from 1.5 million a year in sales to 27 million in sales in 14 months?

Guess what? All of these success stories are courtesy of some brilliant copywriter that was and is a modern day thinker.

Huh? You didn't realize there are copywriters that don't write sales letters?

So yeah, if you're only stuck on collecting sales letters that sell an ebook by some guru...or another video that sucks at best, and adding them to your swipe file, you've no idea everything you're missing out on.

You're overlooking the copywriters that build mega empires and take small companies to world leaders in their market.

You're overlooking the copywriters that are responsible for taking an unknown product and turning it into a household name.

If you're going broke trying to copy what the internet gurus are doing, start learning what the mega successful copywriters selling real products are doing and start copying their ideas...they work for a reason.

This post was inspired by someone that asked for a critique for a sales letter they wrote. I could only wonder where they came up with the idea of another sales letter. They obviously were only copying what one of their gurus does on the internet.

To wrap up this post...

...if you're a sales letter type of guy/gal, good luck to you. These days more products are being sold through simple ads, commercials, social and viral media campaigns, etc., then you'll ever sell with just another sales letter...and yes you will still be a copywriter.

Hmmm...wonder if we'll see someone wanting a commercial critiqued, or a Facebook campaign critiqued...

What? Another sales letter?

Just trying to get you to explore all the possibilities.
#copywriting #broke #copywriters
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Strategy is something sorely missing from a lot of people's copywriting educations these days.

    WHY are you doing this? WHO do you need to reach? WHAT do they need/are you trying to accomplish? Given budget and channel constraints/opportunities and competition, HOW will you accomplish this? HOW will you measure success? HOW does that translate to the next campaign? WHEN will you know to ditch the current campaign as a dud?

    Just a few things I see people failing to think about as they set about their long form letters.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Wow! A real article. Written by a real copywriter.

    It's been a long time, but I remember these.

    Great job, Max.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Thanks Max,

    I call it first guru syndrome, the newbie stumbles across copywriting via a guru and tends to follow that person as if he/she wrote the bible. It becomes canon to the noober.

    I don't take on students any longer, but anyone asking me for help, who didn't read Adweek, AdAge or knew what the AMA or DMA was...was told, no thanks and good luck.

    I think one should read THR, Variety, and select others too. Why?

    The Entertainment Industry is full of brilliant people schooled in the persuasive arts, even the trailers are crafted professional productions with INTENT involved from the start.

    We used to get all these things in the mail and we'd pass them around, often covering them with sticky notes to share the nuggets we found.

    Today, IM gurus are good at making a 7 figure income selling the Naive on ways to make 6 figures a year via writing out long sales letters by hand and other unimportant, unproductive tasks.

    Thanks again for your post.

    GordonJ

    PS. I get just as much moolah from a repeatable postcard these days as I did writing 14 page letters, selling trinkets.
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    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Strategy is something sorely missing from a lot of people's copywriting educations these days.

      WHY are you doing this? WHO do you need to reach? WHAT do they need/are you trying to accomplish? Given budget and channel constraints/opportunities and competition, HOW will you accomplish this? HOW will you measure success? HOW does that translate to the next campaign? WHEN will you know to ditch the current campaign as a dud?

      Just a few things I see people failing to think about as they set about their long form letters.
      Written like the great copywriter that you are!

      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      Wow! A real article. Written by a real copywriter.

      It's been a long time, but I remember these.

      Great job, Max.
      Thanks Rick. Still don't think I'll ever be able to write as good as you though. You're definitely one of the best.

      Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

      Thanks Max,

      I call it first guru syndrome, the newbie stumbles across copywriting via a guru and tends to follow that person as if he/she wrote the bible. It becomes canon to the noober.

      I don't take on students any longer, but anyone asking me for help, who didn't read Adweek, AdAge or knew what the AMA or DMA was...was told, no thanks and good luck.

      I think one should read THR, Variety, and select others too. Why?

      The Entertainment Industry is full of brilliant people schooled in the persuasive arts, even the trailers are crafted professional productions with INTENT involved from the start.

      We used to get all these things in the mail and we'd pass them around, often covering them with sticky notes to share the nuggets we found.

      Today, IM gurus are good at making a 7 figure income selling the Naive on ways to make 6 figures a year via writing out long sales letters by hand and other unimportant, unproductive tasks.

      Thanks again for your post.

      GordonJ

      PS. I get just as much moolah from a repeatable postcard these days as I did writing 14 page letters, selling trinkets.
      Nice post.

      I too really love postcards. They're definitely one of the best tools that can be used. I know Steve The Copywriter agrees too...he's an expert on postcards.

      @Princess Balestra - I don't think there's any doubt you're a very creative person. I enjoy your posts. Thanks.

      @Alex Cohen - Yes sales letters and videos have their place. Was trying to open up minds to explore other options including those that are working today.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


        @Alex Cohen - Yes sales letters and videos have their place. Was trying to open up minds to explore other options including those that are working today.
        I get what you were trying to do. But to do it on the shoulders of misleading information doesn't properly serve the reader.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author max5ty
          Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

          I get what you were trying to do. But to do it on the shoulders of misleading information doesn't properly serve the reader.

          Alex
          I went back and read my post again and couldn't find one misleading thing.

          If you are selling stuff on the internet and still want to use your sales letters...by all means express yourself. As I told you earlier, sales letters and VSLs still have a place in copywriting.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
            Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

            I went back and read my post again and couldn't find one misleading thing.
            So you don't understand how you created a false impression of online sales letters and VSLs?

            Alex
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            • Profile picture of the author John Kirby
              Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

              So you don't understand how you created a false impression of online sales letters and VSLs?

              Alex
              I think he misrepresented sales pieces and VSLs when he grouped everything that's not his "modern day thinker" mentality as "get rich quick junk".

              I doubt he meant to imply that, but on a forum that deals in MMO specifically I understand why he did it.
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              • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
                Originally Posted by John Kirby View Post

                I think he misrepresented sales pieces and VSLs when he grouped everything that's not his "modern day thinker" mentality as "get rich quick junk".
                Interesting that you - a newcomer to this discussion board - understand that, but the OP (and the amen corner) apparently don't.

                Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    To dismiss online sales letters and VSLs as simply ways to sell e-books and get-rich-quick "junk" is naive.

    Billions of dollars are spent each year by folks who respond to online sales letters and VSLs.

    Health, financial, relationship, prepper, coaching... are some of the categories.

    For those of you still living in the 1980s, webinars are also huge money makers.

    Alex
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  • Modern day thinkers is a cool concept.

    It is easy with copywritin' to forget about the generative aspecta the Here an' Now when you got pilesa history blockin' your horizon like a wall.

    I figure the deal depends on exploitation/generation of novelty in ways that pleasure a zillion eon-old gene pool.

    So you got evolution on either sidea the divide — an' a big hole in the middle to catapult your stuff.

    Thinkin' trad, prolly you would spend an age calibratin' your catapult an' figurin' out exactly where you wanted to aim your boulder.

    Then, after testin', you would sneak incognito to the edgea the evolutionary thinky-feely hole an' take well-aimed shot, wearin' matchin' goggles an' safety helmet.

    But thanks to the ents industry — an' the cinematic newsreela interactivity in your pocket — stuff plays a little differently.

    Now we got a whole buncha inflatable dinosaurs an' aliens screamin' from the edgea the hole.

    "Look over here, you losers!"

    We got theatre as exotic dancers construct the catapult against the clock.

    They cannot saw or nail shit to save their lives — oh but they got heart, an' you are jus' gonna love Mary B from Texas an' her cute l'il dawgie.

    Best thing: get yourself in the firin' line for the forthcomin' Missile Extravaganza 2016 OMG OMG OMG an' you could meet all the girls backstage after the show.

    An' did you know Johnny Depp once had a dawgie like Mary B?

    Here are some selfiesa what it mighta looked like, along with 10 killer facts about Johnny an' a 3-for-1 kumquat offer at WalMart.

    *squee*

    As the preamble turns more to spectacle, an' the covert overts the heck outta the fourth wall, the missile-to-be is loaded up with incendiary intangibles.

    Come the launch, there is no sneakin', no subterfuge.

    'pult fires off to a fanfare, launchin' the spinnin' boulder waaaaaaay high.

    Its persuasion power is neck muscle deep cos no one can look away.

    Here it comes, here it comes, here it cooooooooomes!
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Glad to see you back on the forum Max.

    Yes...

    Postcards. Very high tech - splashes of ink on pieces of card.

    Your very own advertising super medium.

    They can launch businesses and keep the money rolling in without any other promotions or interweb presence.

    Clients have become true "friends of the family" with householders because of the weekly postcards which are helpful and friendly and of course generate continued sales and referrals.

    If we accidentally miss a week people phone up to check if everyone is Ok.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author 1Bryan
    There's a fairly good reason why broke copywriters are broke:

    They can't sell.

    It really is that simple.

    If you can't sell?

    It's like, if you can't hit or pitch ...

    Changing fields doesn't make you suddenly know how to play baseball.

    Most wannabe copywriters are calling themselves baseball players cuz they read a book on baseball.

    But they've never swung a bat or put on a glove and fielded a live ball.

    That's why they're broke.

    They read a book about copywriting, memorized some copywriting trivia ... and think it's all about spinning some words ...

    And they never learn how to sell.

    So whether or not they use a VSL, a letter, a Facebook Ad, whatever ...

    They're not going to sell much of anything.

    They don't know how.

    They sure as hell think they do. The cockiness and confidence of folks fresh off their first book about copywriting is astounding.

    But the proof that they don't know how?

    Is in their empty bank account.

    Copywriting's cool like that.

    If you know how to sell?

    You've got money.

    If you don't know how to sell?

    You are broke.

    Fairly easy to track.

    No?

    P.S. Knowing who to reach and how to reach them ... which would include the different mediums you are talking about? Is kind of fundamental when it comes to knowing how to sell. So it always goes back to that.
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  • Profile picture of the author gemmom24
    Great post.

    There are definitely niches.

    I worked in the ad agency biz for many years and I don't think I wrote one sales letter. Print, radio, tv, social media, brochures, outdoor, direct mail, yes. But not sales letters. I worked with art directors on "concepts," brainstormed campaign ideas in creative sessions, then went back to my cube to whip out copy.

    Like other mediums, writing a great sales letter is an art and requires a certain mindset. But they all have the same goal -- to sell the reader on whatever you're serving.
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  • Nowadays people are not interested in long winded copy but want to get straight to the point.
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    • Profile picture of the author EelKat
      Originally Posted by Joyce Birmingham View Post

      Nowadays people are not interested in long winded copy but want to get straight to the point.
      Not necessarily. Depends on the reader.

      You need to know your target audience. Know what type of person is looking for the type of article you put out and target them.

      There is an audience for super short 400 word articles. There is an audience for super long 20,000 word articles. And there is an audience for every word count in between. Different people want different things. There is no one size fits all expectation for writing articles.

      If you are writing to please Google... Google favors articles that are 2,000 to 3,000 words long. Which is the word length of more traditional magazine articles. In fact studies have shown that the longer the article, the more value Google perceives it to have, and thus the higher ranking it is in search results.

      The thing is, that number is only "general" and when you divide up into subjects/topics/niches you start to see some topics the favour is towards shorter 750 word articles, while other topics the favour is towards longer 7,500 word articles.

      The trick is to know what YOUR target readers are looking for, and write for THEM. If you try to write for everybody, you end up pleasing no body.

      My feeling is that people looking to get into copywriting and/or content writing often focus on the basics needed to get started, figuring out how to do the bare bones of the trade, but rarely do they ever dig below the surface and put some muscle on the bones they built. I think that's why so many fail in this trade. They build the skeleton, but forget to build a network of muscles to hold the bones together. Remember: building your foundation is only your first step, you have to build your tower on top of the foundation to see over the trees and succeed at reaching the top.

      By that I mean... after you've learned the general basics of the trade, then you have to learn the advanced step of your niche. Who is your reader? Who is searching for your article? Why? what do they hope to get out of it?

      I can tell you EXACTLY who my target reader is:

      A female 25 to 45 (maybe as young as 14 or as old as 60, but not as likely). She loves Elves, wizards, unicorns, Dungeons & Dragons, and probably reads comic books, CosPlays at conventions, watches anime, and plays RPGs (table top, CCGs, and video games.) She probably likes the Witcher franchise and the InuYasha series.

      Most importantly, she loves Yaoi, Barra, Bishonen, Twinks, Ukes, Semes, Sissies, Transvestites, BDSM, CBT, Monster Porn, and other similar forms of Gay Erotica, which she obsessively reads, and when she can not find more new titles to read, she starts writing gay slash fan fiction porn for to satisfy her need for more gay Elf wizards.

      Why is this my perfect client? Because I'm a Yaoi author. The main character of the series I write is a bisexual transvestite Elf wizard. His lover is a gay unicorn. His other lover is a Half-Elf/Half-Demon. He also has 4 wives.

      When I'm not writing Yaoi novels to sell on Amazon, I'm on my website writing articles on how to write Yaoi novels and sell them on Amazon.

      Meaning my ideal client is the young women who wants to read Yaoi (so buys my books) and then after reading Yaoi wants to write her own Yaoi (so heads to my site to read my articles on doing so.)

      She also has a lot of friends on Tumblr and shares her Yaoi obsession with them, recommending my novels to them, then recommending my articles. Together they gather on Reddit and FanFiction.net to tell even more people about my books and articles, and thus she drives traffic from far and wide by telling everyone she can, every where she goes.

      She likes reading. She likes reading a lot. She hasn't got time to waste on pitiful 500 word fluff meant to paid affiliate banners. She wants meat on her bones, big articles, packed with information she can sink her teeth into and apply to her own budding writing career. She wants details. Lots of them. Step by step instructions. With examples. An challenges. And writing prompts. And exercises at the end. She wants something the equivalent of a writing course, but without having to take classes.

      She's also not afraid to email her favorite Erotica author and ask the question: "Are the heroes in your books circumcised or uncut? Which is better for CBT penal sub-incision fetish BDSM Erotica?" (Yes, that is an actual question one of my readers sent to me and I not only answered it in an article, but I made a whole video series on the topic of writing uncircumcised men in sex scenes and how to properly deal with/write about not damaging the foreskin in violent CBT sex scenes.)

      Now ask you - how many content writers out there think "I'm going to become an Internet Marketer and I'm going to do it with Content Writing.".... next go on to pick "How To Not Damage The Foreskin of an Uncut Man in a CBT Erotica Sex Scene" as the nich topic they are going to write about?

      Really... ASK EVERY MEMBER of this forum, who write content articles and 90% of them are going to tell you they write "a blog on how to make money" because they think in order to be an internet marketer you MUST write about making money.

      Me? I'm an internet marketer, but I don't write about making money. Nope. I write about sex. How to do it and how to write about doing it.

      When people tell you to pick a niche, a topic you love, and write LOTS of articles about it... they don't mean, pick a sub-niche of the topic of making money and tell other people how to make money... no... they REALLY DO MEAN: PICK A TOPIC YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT.

      What am I passionate about? Well, it certainly ain't making money online, I'll tell you that. Nope. My passion, my niche, my topic: Yaoi. Gay Porn, featuring gay Elf wizards. That's my niche. That's my topic.

      And that's why I'm successful.

      I'm not wallowing around saying: "How can I find a niche?" No. I'm running like a half crazed screaming fan girl after every gay Elf wizard of every Yaoi novel I can find, and when I couldn't find more, I started writing my own novels, and when I found out there was a whole bevy of other women out there just like me, I set out to teach them how to write about the thing they love best in the word: gay Elf wizards having sex with Liches, Unicorns, Demons, and everything else I can think of to toss in his bed.

      That is why I know WHO my target audience is, what she wants and how to write exactly the thing she wants to know.

      I took my passion, found a need, filled that need, and turned it into an income vis internet marketing.

      Can you tell me very specifically, just like that, who YOUR articles/content/copy are aimed at?

      Another thing is that copywriting and content writing are two completely different things, but often people treat them as interchangeable words meaning the same thing; I've done both and I prefer content writing to copy writing. Why? Because copywriting favors short 750 word articles while content writing favours long 4,000+ word articles and I prefer to write long content to short copy.

      Now what I do, actually falls into the category of both.

      I write content articles, the big ones, teaching newbie writers the trade.

      I write copy as well, descriptions and blurbs designed to sell a product (my novels).

      And that's where I see long and short coming into play and a place for each. In copy 400 words is often plenty. You want to hype a sale, wet the appetite and drive them to the sales page. That's what copy writing is designed to do, and so then, short and sweet is best.

      But no matter the length, no content or copy is going to attract readers at all if it lacks drive and passion. You the author of the words needs to be driven with burning lust for your topic.

      Find a topic you are ALREADY passionate about. Something you ALREADY know and love, something you can sing praises to for eternity. Doesn't matter what it is. Knitting. Sewing. Reading comic books. Playing video games. Breeding Ranchus. Collecting Action Figures. Restoring old cars. Growing herbs. Playing chess. No matter what it is... THAT thing, THAT thing that you love, THAT is your ideal niche, the thing you should be focused on writing copy for. Because your drive and passion for it is what ultimately will draw readers in and turn it from just your passion into your full time career.

      Once you know WHAT your topic is, then research what others in your topic are doing. Are they writing long or short? Only then is it time to start looking at word count... look at word counts used by your direct competition. Those are the word counts you have to be competing against. Every nich has a different style a different expected word count. It's not going to be the same for every niche.
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      Info on my Novels is HERE. History of Stephen King's Thinner Gypsies is HERE.

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      • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
        Originally Posted by EelKat View Post

        . The main character of the series I write is a bisexual transvestite Elf wizard. His lover is a gay unicorn. His other lover is a Half-Elf/Half-Demon. He also has 4 wives..
        Hi,

        I'll let Claude know you're looking for him.

        Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author MortonHill
    Great article. Well-written. Clear. Thought-provoking...
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