So, here it is... my version of Copywriting For Absolute Beginners.
Before you write any copy at all, you need to have a firm grasp of AIDA. In a nutshell, it's the copywriting "formula." Sometimes the parts are shuffled around a little, but the major parts are always present.
There are 4 basic parts to AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Within those parts, are MANY other sub-parts. Together, these are the building blocks of your sales copy.
Classic books, such as Victor Schwab's How to Write A Good Advertisement, will help you understand the hierarchy involved in greater detail.
Next, you should have a good understanding of general writing. Things like spelling, grammar, and punctuation have to be correct in your sales copy.
YOU really need to know these things.
Because, sometimes, when a non-copywriter edits a sales letter, they can end up changing the intent or meaning of it.
With that basic knowledge under your belt, the next task is research. If you have a client who is an expert in their niche, that will greatly speed things up. That's because one of the things you'll have them do is complete a DETAILED copywriting questionnaire.
A lot of beginning copywriters use the same questionnaire for every project. That's a huge mistake. Why? Because every project is a little (or a lot) different.
That's why I spend a fair amount of time creating the sales letter questionnaire. I want to make sure I've collected all the information I'll need to write the best copy possible.
Of course, many times, you'll be writing copy for an information product. Going through the product -- which is time-consuming, but necessary -- will give you everything else you need.
I actually like going through info products because it gives me tons of ideas for writing bullet points. In fact, I call them "Magic Bullets" because they are one of the most powerful copywriting elements.
Now that you've got some copywriting knowledge and the information you'll need about the product (or service), it's time to start writing the copy, right?
Actually... it's time to build an outline.
I consider creating a solid outline to be the most important part of the entire writing process. Yes, I know... quite a few copywriters skip this step and just sit down and start writing.
However, if you do that, you'll be more likely to make mistakes... you'll forget things... and editing (which I'm not too fond of) can often become a full-on nightmare.
Your outline is like a map to your sales letter. It keeps you on track. I use it to chart the points I need to hit... and when I need to hit them.
When you have a solid outline, based on AIDA, then it's time to -- FINALLY -- write the copy.
Dan Kennedy said a sales letter consists of a lot of different parts (or sections) which need to be smoothed together. And that's a good analogy.
I like to start with the headline. Starting there gives me a frame of reference while writing the rest of the copy. In other words, the headline is part of the promise I need to fulfill.
When the copy is finished, it's time to proofread it -- not just once, but many times.
During the proofreading, you'll discover a lot of sentences that can be improved. Either for increased clarity, or to make it more persuasive.
If you skimp on proofreading and editing, it will show in the final product. So, don't try to take any short-cuts with it.
And that -- with hundreds of important points glossed over -- is how to write a sales letter.
I hope it helps you.
P.S. If you don't listen to anything else I said, make sure you read the Victor Schwab book several times.