A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a smitten more...

by GordonJ 21 replies
can be debilitating... making your copy weak and feeble.

Sorry to say, but, my advice for today's wannabee copywriters is DON'T read any of the classics or take any class, BECAUSE, you'll pick up conflicting and confusing HOW TO.

Sure if you are dead set on becoming an A list 7 figure copywriter, by all means and endless nights study, write, tweak and study some more.

But, if you just want to earn a living writing copy, here is some heresy for you:
the more you read, study and learn...the worse you will become unless you stick with it through some very Ramen and Peanut Butter times.

We like to speak from experience here, and I've long argued about the anecdotal stories of success, whatever that means to you, because what YOU did or he/she did is NOT transferable to anyone else.

Over and over, year after year, I've worked with people who struggled with writing copy for their own products because they knew OR were familiar with some copy guru's formulas, and there are what, 27 different formulas????

On the other hand, I've had some students who didn't even know what copy was and they became much better, and started to make money much sooner than those that had taken courses .
to be continued
so...

Sorry, some glitch with forum. But anyhow, here is my advice for MOST of you, the ones who want to make money from writing copy, and aren't interested in becoming the next guru...

Write.

Write quickly and throw your promotions out there and get feedback in the form of sales or no sales.

Get any sales, you have a start, a baseline to grow from. Too much OVERthinking, over analysis and some pretty stinkin thinking.

I do suggest you start with Colin Theriot (NOT affiliated) at FB, and ignore any and all further study of past greats, old masters, classics, and start selling something as soon as you can.

Copy writing is fast becoming a cheap commodity, cash in while you can. Or not.

GordonJ
#copywriting #dangerous #knowledge #smitten #thing
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author RazvanRogozC
    I agree.

    It is easy to fall into paralysis of analysis when learning to write copy. There are 500 different rules and filters to run your copy through. I've first noticed this when I've tried to write the copy using the checklists from "The Ultimate Desktop Copy Coach" by Clayton Makepeace. Each chapter came with a set of tasks and this made me treat the copy so analytically, so mechanically that in the end, I had to start again without following 125 different steps.

    At the end of the day, it is a good idea to have some rules to review your copy against. However, the worst thing you can do is have those rules in front of you while you are actually writing it. When you do, it is not copywriting anymore, it is writing code, where the syntax becomes more important than the argument itself.

    This is why the best copywriters don't learn tactics. They learn principles. Principles can be shaped with ease in whatever you need. It is useful to know 41 ways to write bullets but it is a lot useful to know the principles of reciprocity, consistency, the contrast principle and so on.

    Best regards,
    Razvan
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11121150].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    The overthinking thing is a good ad copy killer. Learn, test, then when you develop skills, learn to trust your gut too. If you copy comes more from a space of co-creation versus manipulation, everything really pops.
    Signature
    Ryan Biddulph, Blogger, Author, World Traveling Digital Nomad
    Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging at Blogging From Paradise
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11121276].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    I have a slightly different perspective, but mostly because I believe in being a lifelong student...

    Study. But take action.

    Do both.

    Copywriters are great synthesizers of ideas, and you never know when some nugget you read in a random newspaper or even an old ad will collide with whatever's been floating around in your head to spark a magnificent hook.

    But the challenge here is that most people read and study and hand copy and never DO.

    I do. But I also study. Getting 1% better every day has put me leaps and bounds ahead of a lot of my competitors.
    Signature

    For women ONLY...start getting what you want, when you want it. Join the Club.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11121535].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author SARubin
    Good post Gordon,

    I respect when you tell it like it is.

    So many wannabes are looking for a secret sauce to make them excel. And there's plenty of gooroos out there who will sell them the "keys to the kingdom" or the "magic formula" to make all their copywriting dreams come true. (All for only $19.97 ... and it also comes with over $2000.00 worth of free bonuses )

    Many moons ago I was one of those holy grail seekers, and I spent a lot of time (and thousands of dollars) learning many formulas and systems, from many gooroos. But they never seemed to work quite the way they were advertised. And too many of them conflicted with the one before it.

    Now don't get me wrong, I did learn some things, and I have very few regrets.
    And besides, I'm basically one of those education junkies. So once I re-framed all the lost time and money, and decided it was just the cost of "real world tuition," then it was all justified and I managed to move on (I figure that I could've easily spent the same time and money going to a college, while still NOT learning how to be successful at anything)


    All that said... I do still read and learn from the classic masters of yesteryear (and today). But I'm not looking for any magic formula. Instead, I like to study the philosophies, and discover little nuggets of wisdom regarding human nature.

    A couple of examples:

    The first time I read Eugene Schwartz "Breakthrough Advertising" (about 15 years ago) it was the first time I discovered the concept of different stages of awareness in the market. No formula... Just solid psychological concepts.

    And Gary Bencivenga was the first one who introduced me to the concept of making the advertising itself contain value to your market. (good stuff)

    I could go on, but I think we all get the point. I don't study this stuff looking for a secret sauce. I study it because I'm fascinated with the power of words and consumer psychology.

    And yes, I do realize that for someone just starting out, my reasons for studying this stuff will lead to many, MANY, nights of Ramen and Peanut Butter.


    So, to make a long post just a little longer... I fully agree with the advice here for up and coming wannabees.

    Right now, don't waste a lot of time (or money) trying to learn all the different, and conflicting, copywriting methods. (Unless you plan on branding yourself as a scholar. But be forewarned, that's the direction I'm considering. And I've already got a head start on you )


    As Gordon already said... ignore all further study. Just start writing and selling something as soon as you can.

    This advice is pure gold!


    But, I will add; if you are looking for something to study, that will help you with your marketing future, here it is...

    Claude Hopkins Scientific Advertising (read it 5 times). It will give you the foundational concepts of testing small before rolling out big.

    Robert Collier Letter Book (read it 3 times) The examples in the book are pretty outdated, so take them for whatever they're worth, and don't get too hung up on the outdated language. But the bulk of the book is pure gold for the mindset you need to write with empathy for your market.

    Finally, take this advice from SARubin... Always start with the mindset of "how can my product or service provide value to people" and NOT with the mindset of simply extracting money from people.

    In my own humble opinion, this last one is the best advice of all . And if you can truly internalize the concept, it will shine through in your copy, and serve you well in your career.
    Signature
    Professional Sales Copy - For small business owners who are spending money on advertising, but are not getting enough sales (and would like to get more sales)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11121861].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author dee4d
      I believe the best thing is to get a mentor, a very good one at that. You will learn so much from just one person, and get insights that are not shared in any forum.
      Signature
      We often give credit to a drug, when in reality it's the patient's belief that makes the difference - Dr. Henry Beecher - Havard Uni.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11122127].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author depotgang
    90% of my copy sucked...but 10% did not... wow..do it is the answer it's like writing a hit song...most of time it sucks...but when it's good...boom
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11122853].message }}
  • Hellor GordonJ,

    Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

    Copy writing is fast becoming a cheap commodity, cash in while you can. Or not.

    GordonJ
    Copy writing is not a commodity.

    Copy writing is a business. A SERVICE business.

    Copy writing services produce commodities, the client's written and/or graphic designed product/project.

    Studying classics doesn't prevent one from acquiring accounts.

    If a wannabee is having Ramen and Peanut Butter days and nights, it is their own fault.

    Not proactively marketing ones services, day in and day out, thins the herd and weeds out the current wannabees.

    This is the real secret to owning and running a copy writing business.

    Chinchilla
    Signature
    Force-Communication - "It is the noble art of causing a client, a customer, or a prospect to perform a positive act as the direct result of reading your words." - Herschell Gordon Lewis
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11123618].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author tunglevs
      I agree with you .

      Copywritting is BUSINESS
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11130527].message }}
  • Jus' my luck to go on vacation as WF pitches a humdinger!

    So I return home to discover my GordonJ light is flashin', my Angie C vuvuzela is soundin', an' butterflies been released from their Chinchilla trap.

    *Alert Nirvana!*

    So, hey — gotta wonder 'bout copy tricks gonna play for all eternity (as identified by gooroos & dispensed from their orifi from on high).

    Why so?

    Way I see it, problem with eternity is it goes on kinda forever which means you gotta fill it out with sumthin' excitin' or hang yusself.

    Question is, what stays excitin' for all eternity?

    So I figure runnin' with the same kinda sumthin' gonna be tedious — 'specially for immortal beings gotta digest stuff 24/7 till the enda days.

    That is why Time invented epochs, I guess — evrythin' from The Jurassic Era to the 80s to post-Brexit.

    Eternity as bite-sized chunks is more digestible.

    Gotta figure also how eacha these epochs sub-divide up into more specific interschwinglesa time — idiosycratically arbitrary phases — all occupied by kaleidoscopesa non-immortals hangin' out...together.

    One minute they want finger spinners, next they want cocktail stick crossbow ballistics — an' this specific demand-SLASH-lure defines specific slasha quill ink on papyrus.

    I would want always for any writin' comes outta that kinda slash to pulse out on the nouveau verve inherent in the nouveau situation — spontaneous yelpsa joy as catch the wind an' startle slumberin' pugs kinda thing.

    But mebbe I am antsy cos I am not allowed pets in my apartment.

    Gonna go ladle the butterflies back into their underfloor hammocks an' unpack my vacation stuffs...
    Signature

    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11127363].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author WD Mino
    No. Don't bother studying the effects of the mind, the emotional response certain word strings will bring, don't bother learning how to format , how to use color, fonts, how to make your sentences impactful and draw people in. don't bother, right?

    Your bank account will forever be=0
    What a bunch of nonsense. Study and learn and do it. practice, do it some more, do it some more, when ya get your first sale from your own copy, that gives you a starting point. I have sat and learned from people who sell billions of dollars worth of products, no they don't have anything to offer or say that will help me at all,
    By the way. your title=Smidgen not smitten. Smitten is like being in love. Smidgen is an increase

    Colin, btw, teaches... well. LOL, ask Him. He studied and studied an awful lot there OP. He is super smart.
    Big difference from following a scientifically proven formula and writing jumble
    No one can drive for you, they keys, gas and vehicle are all at your disposal with training. It is up to you to drive, words are for copy what gas is to cars.your fuel. the car still needs to be put in gear etc.
    -WD
    Signature

    "As a man thinks in his heart so is he-Proverbs 23:7"
    Coming Soon http://graphicsdon.com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11127452].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by WD Mino View Post

      No. Don't bother studying the effects of the mind, the emotional response certain word strings will bring, don't bother learning how to format , how to use color, fonts, how to make your sentences impactful and draw people in. don't bother, right?

      Your bank account will forever be=0
      What a bunch of nonsense. Study and learn and do it. practice, do it some more, do it some more, when ya get your first sale from your own copy, that gives you a starting point. I have sat and learned from people who sell billions of dollars worth of products, no they don't have anything to offer or say that will help me at all,
      By the way. your title=Smidgen not smitten. Smitten is like being in love. Smidgen is an increase

      Colin, btw, teaches... well. LOL, ask Him. He studied and studied an awful lot there OP. He is super smart.
      Big difference from following a scientifically proven formula and writing jumble
      No one can drive for you, they keys, gas and vehicle are all at your disposal with training. It is up to you to drive, words are for copy what gas is to cars.your fuel. the car still needs to be put in gear etc.
      -WD
      Smitten is what 80% of so-called copywriters are in, a state of love of the idea of becoming a successful freelancer. You, and the others are absolutely right, and as someone who has spent over 50 years continuously studying the art and craft of persuasion and influence, it is a game where learning never stops.

      People like Angie, for example, are PROFESSIONALS, and are going to want and love to learn and APPLY. But alas, the real nonsense is in what has become the BIZ-OP of copywriting. Where promises are made and most certainly implied, anyone who can string sentences together, and can follow a formula, or fill in the blank template can quickly ascend to a freelance six figure copywriter.

      Just look around, in Cult of Copy group, Halbert, Kennedy or any of the dozen and one groups and places which allow freelancers to bid on work.

      It does not require a lot of effort to see the vast majority of these trained and schooled copywriters aren't making it.

      BUT my issue is with those who are also writing for their own products, and there is that school of thought which says, a copywriter SHOULD be creating and selling her own products (I belong to this school).

      With all the training, the money being spent, what is most prevalent is the awful attempts at using either "swipes" or "templates", BECAUSE there are so many gurus who are teaching that is all that is needed.

      So, I only take issue with your tone, which I find to be a smidgen smug.

      It is my opinion, today's so-called freelance copywriter is woefully under educated, but, if making money is the goal, he only needs a good cult leader...and any of them will do.

      GordonJ
      Signature

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11127587].message }}
      • Hellor GordonJ,

        Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

        But alas, the real nonsense is in what has become the BIZ-OP of copywriting. Where promises are made and most certainly implied, anyone who can string sentences together, and can follow a formula, or fill in the blank template can quickly ascend to a freelance six figure copywriter.
        Oh...

        ...so you don't like how copy writing has become a BIZ-OP. Making or implying promises...

        like...
        • Be your own boss
        • Stop living paycheck to paycheck
        • Live the freelance lifestyle
        • Give up the 9-5 rat race
        • You can make extra money in your spare time
        Sadly my colleague but BIZ-OP selling and the formula above, has been going on long before Claude Hopkins' era. (And with 50+ years in the business you already know this)

        Not just in copy writing...

        But in:
        • Locksmithing
        • Gunsmithing
        • Blacksmithing
        • Small Engine Repair
        • Sharping
        • Graphic Design
        • Published Author
        • Sales
        • Consulting
        • Gold Mining
        • Import-Export
        • Drop Shipping
        • Day Trading
        • Promotional Products
        • Stamp Collecting
        • Coin Collecting
        • Antiques
        • and the list goes on
        It's not that copy writing has become a BIZ-OP. It's just another, out of site service, brought to the forefront with spectacular copy, by none other, but master copy writers.
        • Halbert
        • Kennedy
        • Bly
        • AWAI
        • Bird
        • Hatch
        • Masterson
        • Lewis
        • Settle
        • Makepeace
        • Deiss
        • Bencivenga
        • Stone
        • Jacobs
        • Kilstein
        • Suarez
        • and the list goes on
        If those today, the 80%, believe what is written and told to them, then we must look back on those who changed the service from
        • copy writing
        • to copy-writing
        • to finally copywriting.
        Our forefathers of the craft, who saw yet another chance to bring something mundane, a service, and packaged it, as the next big "Bell & Whistle" opportunity.

        Regardless, what any person, (professional or part-timer), puts into what they've learned, they will reap the effort for it.

        This craft is no different than other crafts listed above. You will have "doers" and "I'll do it laters". Taking action or taking it easy.

        Each are rewarded accordingly.

        Ironically, in your original post...

        Sorry to say, but, my advice for today's wannabee copywriters is DON'T read any of the classics or take any class, BECAUSE, you'll pick up conflicting and confusing HOW TO.

        Sure if you are dead set on becoming an A list 7 figure copywriter, by all means and endless nights study, write, tweak and study some more.

        But, if you just want to earn a living writing copy, here is some heresy for you:
        the more you read, study and learn...the worse you will become unless you stick with it through some very Ramen and Peanut Butter times.
        ...you created a new belief for the craft that the inexperienced and unlearned are sure to latch onto.

        You may be setting yourself up to become a new type of guru.

        Chinchilla
        Signature
        Force-Communication - "It is the noble art of causing a client, a customer, or a prospect to perform a positive act as the direct result of reading your words." - Herschell Gordon Lewis
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11127677].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
          Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

          Hellor GordonJ,



          Oh...

          ...so you don't like how copy writing has become a BIZ-OP. Making or implying promises...

          like...
          • Be your own boss
          • Stop living paycheck to paycheck
          • Live the freelance lifestyle
          • Give up the 9-5 rat race
          • You can make extra money in your spare time
          Sadly my colleague but BIZ-OP selling and the formula above, has been going on long before Claude Hopkins' era. (And with 50+ years in the business you already know this)

          Not just in copy writing...

          But in:
          • Locksmithing
          • Gunsmithing
          • Blacksmithing
          • Small Engine Repair
          • Sharping
          • Graphic Design
          • Published Author
          • Sales
          • Consulting
          • Gold Mining
          • Import-Export
          • Drop Shipping
          • Day Trading
          • Promotional Products
          • Stamp Collecting
          • Coin Collecting
          • Antiques
          • and the list goes on
          It's not that copy writing has become a BIZ-OP. It's just another, out of site service, brought to the forefront with spectacular copy, by none other, but master copy writers.
          • Halbert
          • Kennedy
          • Bly
          • AWAI
          • Bird
          • Hatch
          • Masterson
          • Lewis
          • Settle
          • Makepeace
          • Deiss
          • Bencivenga
          • Stone
          • Jacobs
          • Kilstein
          • Suarez
          • and the list goes on
          If those today, the 80%, believe what is written and told to them, then we must look back on those who changed the service from
          • copy writing
          • to copy-writing
          • to finally copywriting.
          Our forefathers of the craft, who saw yet another chance to bring something mundane, a service, and packaged it, as the next big "Bell & Whistle" opportunity.

          Regardless, what any person, (professional or part-timer), puts into what they've learned, they will reap the effort for it.

          This craft is no different than other crafts listed above. You will have "doers" and "I'll do it laters". Taking action or taking it easy.

          Each are rewarded accordingly.

          Ironically, in your original post...

          ...you created a new belief for the craft that the inexperienced and unlearned are sure to latch onto.

          You may be setting yourself up to become a new type of guru.

          Chinchilla
          Yes, you and the others are right.

          I need a key made, take it to a kiosk, pay for the new key, it doesn't work. Guy tries again, next key doesn't work either. Do I get a refund and try someone else, oh, he has a no refund policy.
          Locksmith goes home, can't open the door with the locks he installed and the keys he made. Maybe should try sharpening?

          The service of locksmithing, with 5 key shops all within a few minutes of each other, is it not a commodity at this point?

          You would say NO, it is a service.

          Copywriting was never hidden from anyone, those classic books shined plenty of light upon the profession, and like the best locksmith in town, the people who studied and learned made more than a guy who sent away a thousand bux to the American Lockpickers Institute and got themselves a how to manual and a tool kit, and SIGN: Open for business.

          GordonJ
          Signature

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11127710].message }}
          • Hellor GordonJ,

            Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

            Yes, you and the others are right.

            I need a key made, take it to a kiosk, pay for the new key, it doesn't work. Guy tries again, next key doesn't work either. Do I get a refund and try someone else, oh, he has a no refund policy.

            He can't refund your key purchase. You brought him a key, he duplicated it. You didn't bring the lock in for him to test his duplicate. T
            he key element that guarantees 100% accuracy.

            You the buyer are taking a chance, a risk, that your key might be able to be duplicated. But what you do not take into account is the wear on your key, the lock, the pin tumblers or the lock's plug. You the buyer assume the locksmith will know how to correct it, and should be able to do so, sight unseen without the lock in hand.


            Locksmith goes home, can't open the door with the locks he installed and the keys he made. Maybe should try sharpening?

            Now you are grasping at straws and insinuating locksmiths are ignorant.


            The service of locksmithing, with 5 key shops all within a few minutes of each other, is it not a commodity at this point?

            You would say NO, it is a service.

            No I would say there are multiple locations. Each location renders lock services. At the end of a specific service, buyer is given a key, or safe code, or access card, or fob, & etc... (the commodity).


            Copywriting was never hidden from anyone.

            Never said it was hidden. I said it was an out of site service. Those who work or worked in advertising and marketing know about and use copy writers.

            The general public, on the other hand, even to this day, still do not know what a copy writer is or does. This is what makes it an out of site service.


            those classic books shined plenty of light upon the profession,

            Correct, agency copy writing and agency cub writer teaching and training.

            Not freelance, work from home, the copywriters lifestyle. That is modern day copy writing teaching.


            and like the best locksmith in town, the people who studied and learned made more than a guy who sent away a thousand bux to the American Lockpickers Institute and got themselves a how to manual and a tool kit, and SIGN: Open for business.

            Again, we cannot assume who is doing better. That best locksmith in town might actually be a graduate of the Foley-Belsaw home study course.

            GordonJ
            Chinchilla
            Signature
            Force-Communication - "It is the noble art of causing a client, a customer, or a prospect to perform a positive act as the direct result of reading your words." - Herschell Gordon Lewis
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11127930].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author WD Mino
        LOL,

        Smug is giving advice that holds no water and now trying to justify your position, you are full of it. Without study you can't do a darn thing.

        Yup. sounds whacked out to me.
        -WD
        Signature

        "As a man thinks in his heart so is he-Proverbs 23:7"
        Coming Soon http://graphicsdon.com

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11127726].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Let me be clear: copywriting IS a business opportunity. It HAS allowed me to quit my job (as a full-time corporate copywriter) and bring home the bacon... while at home.

    But it's a biz opp for people who already have an entrepreneurial inclination.

    It's not exactly freedom from the 9-to-5, and anyone who sells that to a first time entrepreneur should be shot. I can go to a coffee shop and work, but when you're buildings something from the ground up, laying the foundation is one of the biggest heavy lifts of the whole business building process.

    In essence, anyone wanting to start a business better prepare to work some long days to get it off the ground. Then figure out how to scale and take yourself out of the business.

    Some people just are better employees. That's OK. Carlton once told me to take a long hard look at myself and ask myself if I was really OK with being my own one-woman show, or if I felt more comfortable at the day job.

    And that's what he told me - it's perfectly fine if the idea of running a business scares you. Not everyone is made to do this work - not everyone can handle the ups and downs and uncertainties of the freelance lifestyle.

    And I'm freakin' self taught here, guys. I was laid off from a semi-related field and fell into this one because I read ONE book (The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman) and thought, "this makes sense to me, I think I could do that, and it beats selling drugs or myself just to keep a roof over my head".

    I am living, breathing proof that it can be done if you have basic business sense, the ability to build a compelling argument, the humility to course correct when failure inevitably strikes, and the tenacity to keep going when things aren't going so smoothly.

    But yeah, hand-copying ain't gonna cut it. It's gonna get you carpal tunnel.

    And I haven't hand-copied one single goddamn thing in my entire career.

    But you can bet your ass I read it word for word, made it my mission to understand the argument and the structure, and then asked myself how I'd do better if given the opportunity.

    Rote isn't learning - agreed with Gordon. It's memorizing.

    There's something to be said for memorizing - lord knows muscle memory saves athletes when the pressure's on during the final seconds of a championship.

    But copying isn't what makes a copywriter.

    Your BRAIN and the way you THINK is what makes you a copywriter.

    Learn the basics. Find your own voice and perspective. Apply your knowledge. Course correct.

    One day you'll find yourself in my shoes... that is to say, looking back slightly bewildered and wondering when exactly it was that you became the expert when you still feel like there's so much you don't know.
    Signature

    For women ONLY...start getting what you want, when you want it. Join the Club.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11129384].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author tunglevs
      Thanks for answer !
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11130145].message }}
    • Hellor Angie,

      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Rote isn't learning - agreed with Gordon. It's memorizing.
      ROTE WRITING

      I'm not a fan of rote writing, but I've done it and it's paid off. I did cheat, I typed my rote writings, but I only typed direct response letters from Herschell Gordon Lewis' book: World's Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters.

      ROTE READING

      I'm a huge believer in rote reading. This also has had a tremendous impact on my copy writing. I like reading sales letters 10-20 times each.

      For me I've found I gradually come to understand the audience the letter is written for with every reading. But that's me and how I learn.

      WORD BASICS

      2 books, most don't know about, gave me the word basics I live by.
      • Power Copywriting - Herschell Gordon Lewis (This book taught me how to cut the fat, bloated and useless words from my copy and replace with words that communicate and cut to the chase.)
      • The Brilliance Breakthrough - Eugene Schwartz (This book taught me about picture words and connecting words. You literally get away from school taught grammar)
      TYPOGRAPHY

      This taught me to understand fonts, capitalization, kerning, tone, and voice. Example: As I type this post the font is a serif. When I preview my post it is a sans serif font.

      I also like using tracing paper over ads, primarily direct response, but not exclusively, to study layout(s). I will trace headlines, sub heads, boxes in the sales page. Anything that is not body copy. I use a ruler and draw straight lines for any body copy.

      When I pull that tracing paper away, I discover the hidden triggers. It is quite an education on it's own.

      Yes I'm a bit rote with my approach to copy writing. But it works well for me and my clients.

      BUSINESS TRUTH

      Fortunately for me I was a business owner long before a copy writer. I started copy writing in 1993 by accident. That was not the direction I was heading in my life.

      You are absolutely correct about business.

      You will work long hours in the beginning. Then one day you will wake up and realize, "I need help".

      You will either hire someone in-house or outsource. In my case, my wife, an English major, has been the best addition.

      Chinchilla
      Signature
      Force-Communication - "It is the noble art of causing a client, a customer, or a prospect to perform a positive act as the direct result of reading your words." - Herschell Gordon Lewis
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11130216].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
        Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

        Hellor Angie,



        ROTE WRITING

        I'm not a fan of rote writing, but I've done it and it's paid off. I did cheat, I typed my rote writings, but I only typed direct response letters from Herschell Gordon Lewis' book: World's Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters.

        ROTE READING

        I'm a huge believer in rote reading. This also has had a tremendous impact on my copy writing. I like reading sales letters 10-20 times each.

        For me I've found I gradually come to understand the audience the letter is written for with every reading. But that's me and how I learn.

        WORD BASICS

        2 books, most don't know about, gave me the word basics I live by.
        • Power Copywriting - Herschell Gordon Lewis (This book taught me how to cut the fat, bloated and useless words from my copy and replace with words that communicate and cut to the chase.)
        • The Brilliance Breakthrough - Eugene Schwartz (This book taught me about picture words and connecting words. You literally get away from school taught grammar)
        TYPOGRAPHY

        This taught me to understand fonts, capitalization, kerning, tone, and voice. Example: As I type this post the font is a serif. When I preview my post it is a sans serif font.

        I also like using tracing paper over ads, primarily direct response, but not exclusively, to study layout(s). I will trace headlines, sub heads, boxes in the sales page. Anything that is not body copy. I use a ruler and draw straight lines for any body copy.

        When I pull that tracing paper away, I discover the hidden triggers. It is quite an education on it's own.

        Yes I'm a bit rote with my approach to copy writing. But it works well for me and my clients.

        BUSINESS TRUTH

        Fortunately for me I was a business owner long before a copy writer. I started copy writing in 1993 by accident. That was not the direction I was heading in my life.

        You are absolutely correct about business.

        You will work long hours in the beginning. Then one day you will wake up and realize, "I need help".

        You will either hire someone in-house or outsource. In my case, my wife, an English major, has been the best addition.

        Chinchilla
        I think that's great - odds are it's the different paths that led to our different outlooks. A lot of my learning about fonts and kerning, etc came from working in-house with a design team.

        And I have a bit of an ADD brain - if I read something over and over again, I have a tendency to zone out and think of butterflies or ponder the existence of my navel rather than absorbing.

        Different learning styles for different folks. And the only way to know is to try and see what sticks!

        But it was definitely never hand writing for me.

        Also, I'm a lefty. I would wipe away everything I write and walk away with a pen-covered writing hand and smeared paper. That may affect my perspective a bit

        Point being there's never any one way to do something. Many of us found success with rote reading and writing (which I happen to despise). Many of us found success without it.

        Find your flavor, folks.
        Signature

        For women ONLY...start getting what you want, when you want it. Join the Club.

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11130605].message }}
        • Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post


          Find your flavor, folks.
          Gotta figure the deal here is PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS.

          Already we seen divergent approaches — alla which is cool cos the emergent wannabe fyooture happens out from this step on for evry contributor here (plus Hapless Hoomanity Central Oblivious, whomsoever they may be), an' its unpredictability demands we kick the stereotypical in the ass sumhow or we all gonna be stuck.

          Analogy strikes me rn is ICE HOCKEY TEAM.

          Goal for these guys — same as for other team sportsa this kind — is SCORE MORE THAN THE OTHER TEAM while REMAININ' DINKY LOOKIN' INYA OUTFITS an' RETAININ' TEETH.

          Gotta figure the net guy got a view on this different from the slamdunk puck guy.

          Switch 'em round, an' the team got problems.

          Skillset for both guys is still WANNA WIN c/o smackin' this slidy slippy thing with my stick — but defendin' yer own net demands a diffrent POV from attackin' thatta yr opponents.

          Team is therefore a flooid confluxa skills, roles, whatever — an' as people, we are also this.

          Lotsa stimuli, lotsa response, lotsa options — only we get to be the one unified person 'steada the team, flickin' on life's puck with whatever we got.

          I would want always to look at noo options that kinda stretch me out, but I prolly always gonna gravitate toward the Previously Easy ... kinda widen it out an' level up.

          *niche*

          One thing I figure is universal to all writers — any kind — is a willingness to roll "the rules" alongside "FFS evry Here & Now is a noo kinda disruption" with equal amountsa integrity & verve.

          After all, what is the fyooture about anyways?

          Don't we all jus' wanna become THE NOO SUPER-ENHANCED MOI?

          If it is true for us, gotta be true for the people we write for — whether we be attack dog puck flinger or stalwart net guardian.
          Signature

          Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11131204].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author BudaBrit
    Sales copy is just like any other form of writing when you get down to it. There are some great tips that can make your writing better, some great techniques to blow your competitors out of the water, and some great formulas that can increase your impact from line 1 to line 501.

    But don't follow them all in your first draft!

    How long has the world been waiting for George RR Martin to finish the next Game of Thrones? That man is so paralyzed with indecision that he could kick the bucket before we find out what happens to the characters we've all become so vested in.

    Stephen King says it right: Write now, edit later. Or Hemingway: Write drunk, edit sober.

    Get those words onto page (or screen). Sometimes your natural flow will give you something truly magical. Then leave it the hell alone.

    When you come back, put those formulas into play. Put those tips and tricks, those techniques and everything you have learned into practice. And edit the hell out of your copy.

    And when it comes to knowing what to write...it don't matter how many formulas you read if you can't spin a good yarn.


    http://davetrott.co.uk/2017/07/everything-is-copy/


    Read everything. Not just formulas. Not just business books. Not just market journals.

    Read the newspaper, read women's magazines and tractor magazines, read the latest bestseller.

    And sooner or later, you'll remember something that can help you sell whatever product you're writing about.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11142861].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics

  • 6 {{ upvoteCount | shortNum }}

    Internet Marketing VS Network Marketing

    noobz in Internet Marketing

    Last night I was invited to a small meeting and this guy who is in this one Network Marketing company happens to be the speaker. He claimed to make 6 ... [read more]

  • 23 {{ upvoteCount | shortNum }}

    Tons of Bad Advice In This Thread

    Most people that come to the forum are looking for advice on how to build their business or to otherwise make more money. Thanks to all those willing to help ... [read more]

  • 8 {{ upvoteCount | shortNum }}

    Is this a Warrior Forum owned bot?

    Dennis Gaskill in

    There have been several "test posts" by: botWFTPostNewTrd. Here's an example: http://www.warriorforum.com/freemark...l#post11172381 It looks they get deleted, but why is this user not banned? Is this a Warrior Forum bot? ... [read more]

  • 8 {{ upvoteCount | shortNum }}

    All or Nothing Decisions

    Mark Singletary in

    Some of the higher level mods can change posts, sigs, etc. The community mods (at least me) can not. That's fine - no issues with it. However, this leads to ... [read more]

  • 1 {{ upvoteCount | shortNum }}

    Why the pending clearance take 14 days in fiverr?

    Ajom Mahmud in Internet Marketing

    When I completed a work and order in fiverr the payment will be added in my withdrawal available account after 14 days? At this time this dollar is under pending ... [read more]