How to Become a Ripping Good Copy Writer

20 replies
Hi Folks,

I am by no means a proficient copy writer. However, I would like to start my education in this area.

I reviewed the sticky thread above regarding suggested reading. There are a million books in there (ok, not a million and yes I have been told a billion times to quite exaggerating).

My main goal is to gain proficiency in direct response copy writing. In the short term, I don't have time to read a whole forest of books so what would be the top 1-3 books you would recommend that would give me a good grounding in the basics?

Thanks
~Adrian
#copy #good #ripping #writer
  • Profile picture of the author adesbarats
    Awesome! Thanks Paul...

    Originally Posted by Paul McQuillan View Post

    How to Write a Good Advertisement- Schwab

    The Ultimate Sales Letter- Kennedy

    Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You've Got
    - Abraham

    The last one was not a copywriting guide, but it is one
    hell of a great book on how to sell. With your business
    I would for sure get that one.
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  • Profile picture of the author autoparts003
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      You're not going to like what I have to say.

      But it's the truth--at least for me.

      The key to becoming a "ripping good copywriter" is to go out and be a SALESMAN and sell something.

      Anything.

      It doesn't matter. Except whatever it is, you should have a passion for it. It should light you up like a 4th of July fireworks display.

      - Rick Duris
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      • Profile picture of the author adesbarats
        I agree 100%. Been doing just that for the past 2 years and have learned a lot from the process. It is that process that has really made me fully comprehend the power of words....

        Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

        You're not going to like what I have to say.

        But it's the truth--at least for me.

        The key to becoming a "ripping good copywriter" is to go out and be a SALESMAN and sell something.

        Anything.

        It doesn't matter. Except whatever it is, you should have a passion for it. It should light you up like a 4th of July fireworks display.

        - Rick Duris
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    Originally Posted by adesbarats View Post


    My main goal is to gain proficiency in direct response copy writing.

    Adrian
    Adrian,

    When you say "gain proficiency", what does that mean? Do you want to have a career as a copywriter in direct response businesses? Would you consider working for a large or small DR company? OR do you want to be able to become a FREELANCE Copywriter?

    I'll tell you what I think "proficiency" means, but, if I'm wrong then please correct me.

    IF I were in your shoes, I'd start looking at the kinds of Direct Response companies I'd want to write for. Maybe if I give you some examples...that might help.

    Here is a good field to write in, and what I mean by that is: copywriters have been making keen livings for decades in this field, which is NUMISMATICS.

    Coin Collecting. Trade pubs dedicated to it. Hundreds of small companies, BIG players too, and several "branches". Right now GOLD is hot, and the way to put your hands on gold is through the "collectible" markets.

    You'll find samples of the Promotions in a Sunday supplement, and these ads are the CURRENT STATE OF THE ART in direct response. Some of them go against what you might read in a popular book, this area of DR is very graphic heavy.

    So if collectibles might be a market I'd be interested in writing for, I'd become a BUYER of those products, and you will learn from the buying experience what their follow up COPY looks like. If you buy a collectible from the Franklin Mint, you will get to see how they try to sell you other things, what the "back-end" is and what promotions do they use (all written by a copywriter) to build business.

    Instead of buying books on copywriting, start collecting current ADVERTISING being used by the companies in the fields you might have the most interest in writing for. You'll find the Direct Response companies use "specialty" copywriters, those people who have established expertise in certain areas, and there may be a FEW, a very few, who will write on a variety of subjects, but I believe you'll find that the majority of copywriters earning their living will be specialists.

    Also, you'll want to narrow down the industries and the companies within those industries but the fastest and easiest way into the business is to KNOW what the business is and how it operates. A book in the library on direct response might be better than one on copywriting for you. Two come to mind. One by Bob Stone, the other by Ben Suarez.

    You can pick up a copy of either of these used for a few bux each.

    I feel 7 Steps to Freedom II by Suarez is as complete a book on the Direct Response business as any, and there is a section on copywriting too.

    But the best thing, in my opinion, for you to do is to be studying the current "state of the art" advertising found online, in magazines and newspapers, Sunday supplements and in the mail box once you have become a buyer of a product.

    The business (what you call Direct Response) has been rapidly changing and you want to keep the Internet in mind when considering what you want to write on. That being said, you'll probably get most of your work from established companies with a long history and track record selling things via direct response, so STUDY their ads, the ones that are currently being used, and then bounce them against a book or two on copywriting.

    Yes, it seems like a million of them, and we all have our preferences, so you might want to choose the copywriter who has sold the types of products YOU might want to write on.

    Good luck, the fastest route to "proficiency" is to WRITE, WRITE and WRITE some more, but be focused on what you want your copy to do, in whatever "niche" you choose to work in.

    gjabiz

    PS. My experience says the majority of established DR firms will welcome new copywriters, IF they demonstrate an understanding of "THEIR" business coupled with good copy for new and/or existing products they are selling.
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  • Profile picture of the author Copydog
    Hi Adrian

    Get hold of, and study, Eugene Schwartz's
    Breakthrough Advertising
    . Expensive, but
    worth every cent.

    And check out the (free) letters on The
    Gary Halbert Letter site.
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  • Profile picture of the author calbeach
    Originally Posted by Paul McQuillan View Post

    How to Write a Good Advertisement- Schwab

    The Ultimate Sales Letter- Kennedy

    Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You've Got
    - Abraham

    The last one was not a copywriting guide, but it is one
    hell of a great book on how to sell. With your business
    I would for sure get that one.
    Thanks Paul. You have made this easier for me. I don't need to do my own research on what are the effective books to read. Perhaps I will for additional reference.
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  • Profile picture of the author zzarp
    I recommend you review John Carlton's stuff.. He focuses really on the salesmanship, which is imperative to your success in copywriting. Also go over your sales letters, change all 'I's to 'You' and change all adjectives into action verbs...
    e.g.

    I am going to give you the best education

    To

    You are going to receive the education that ensures your success...

    Also study all good copies and copy it by HAND, something magical happens when you do. The words and the patterns sync in seamlessly. Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    First of all, read "How to Write a Good Advertisement" by Schwab, then "Tested Advertising Methods" by Caples. Those books will get you off to a good start. I read them for the first time over twenty years ago -- and they're STILL the best.

    If you want still more, read the books by Claude Hopkins, Joe Sugarman, and Dan Kennedy. The books by Hopkins, "Scientific Advertising" and "My Life in Advertising" (usually sold as a single volume), are two of the all-time great marketing books.

    Regards,

    Johnny
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  • Profile picture of the author Jag82
    Here's something I recommend you
    do that will "force" you to really
    improve your copywriting craft...

    ...PAY FOR TRAFFIC...TO YOUR AD!

    Do well in your copy - you get a ROI.

    Do sucky in your copy - it's your money down the drain.

    If you are paying for traffic, it will motivate you
    to come out with the best ad you can...it will push
    you to go the extra mile...to put in the extra effort.

    After all...you don't want to be paying for nothing
    ...to negative returns right?

    I also recommend you pay for traffic because
    it forces you to...TEST!

    That's right. I think too many people pay mere lip services
    to the importance of testing.

    They say test...test...test. But how many actually
    really test on a regular basis?

    If you go over to the CPA forum (especially
    the private paid ones out there)...you get a lot
    of avid...even fanatical testers.

    They really test their ads...their landing pages...
    their traffic...everything...

    Cos' if they don't so...they may even lose
    their shirt.

    - Jag
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  • Profile picture of the author Zentech
    That's a great idea, Jag.

    One thing I plan to do soon to hone my skills is do my own Clickbank product and make the sales page for it. It's not that I'm un-confident in my skills, but I do think pushing my own product with nobody to answer to but myself will offer a unique angle that might lead to insights.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
    The Robert Collier Letter Book.

    I bought this book many years ago and review it on a regular basis. This book has a wealth of knowledge in it. And is recommended from Jay Abraham to Joe Vitale.

    I purchased my copy from marketer Carl Galletti at RobertCollierLetterBooks.com

    It is worth the investment.

    Best,


    Bill Jeffels
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  • Profile picture of the author maximus242
    Originally Posted by adesbarats View Post

    Hi Folks,

    I am by no means a proficient copy writer. However, I would like to start my education in this area.

    I reviewed the sticky thread above regarding suggested reading. There are a million books in there (ok, not a million and yes I have been told a billion times to quite exaggerating).

    My main goal is to gain proficiency in direct response copy writing. In the short term, I don't have time to read a whole forest of books so what would be the top 1-3 books you would recommend that would give me a good grounding in the basics?

    Thanks
    ~Adrian
    Just get Carltons Kick Ass Copywriting course, its $300 and then you can just study and use that. One of the BIGGEST mistakes new copywriters make is getting tooo much information. You'd be 100 times better off religiously studying one course than buying up 20 courses. Seriously, its a huge mistake and almost everyone makes it in the beginning. Ask any of the pros, chances are they only reference to a small handful of the copywriting books they own.

    Theres just too much information available to use it all, so at the end of the day you wind up picking one system and sticking with it. Honestly, stay away from buying up lots of books, get Carlton's course and dont buy anything else for the next year. Use only that course, study it like your bible and you will be 100x further ahead than the suckers who buy up every copywriting book they can and wind up being unable to use 90% of the information.

    And FYI I own all of the classics, ive read them all, and ive got the high priced courses, you know what, Carltons $300 course is still one of the best courses I own. It was only AFTER buying all the other courses that I realized just how valuable it really was.

    To be honest, I wouldnt buy another copywriting course if you held a gun to my head. Its hard enough just to use all of the information in one complete course, never mind twenty.
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  • Profile picture of the author MouseandMice
    I would second "Breakthrough Advertising" by Eugene Schwartz... but only AFTER you have basic knowledge.

    Any be prepared to sit down with a notepad and take notes-- think of it as a textbook for a class you teach yourself.

    Seriously.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ulumma
    Thanks Paul,
    I really like that last recommendation, I have checked it out and it makes a lot of good sense. Keep up the good work.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesJeffery
    Please check out my thread I created. I thanked Raydal because he really did recommend some awesome books on copy writing. As a result I purchased "all" of the books he recommended. I've also included a list of some of the books I purchased that he didn't mention but others recommended.

    Oh, and the video of Raydals recommendations is in there.

    http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...u-so-much.html
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    I'm just a regular guy doing my thing.

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    • Profile picture of the author WiredCopy
      All this advice helps a great deal.

      I've just started out, I'm taking advantage of seminars by Gary Bencivenga and Clayton Makepeace. Where do these guys rate with the Warrior copywriting community?
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      • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
        Originally Posted by WiredCopy View Post

        I've just started out, I'm taking advantage of seminars by Gary Bencivenga and Clayton Makepeace. Where do these guys rate with the Warrior copywriting community?
        Extremely high.
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      • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
        Originally Posted by WiredCopy View Post

        I've just started out, I'm taking advantage of seminars by Gary Bencivenga and Clayton Makepeace. Where do these guys rate with the Warrior copywriting community?
        Where do Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen rank
        in the guitar community?

        There.
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        • Profile picture of the author WiredCopy
          Thanks for that. I thought that was the response I was going to get.Just checking as their names hadn't been mentioned in this thread until then.
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