New Copywriters Think Too Much

19 replies
Hey Everyone,

Here is an article I just read from Clayton Makepeace's website:

Copywriting tips and secrets revealed | The Total Package

I decided to go through the back issues again, since I sometimes miss the notices when they get published.

This one in particular is really fantastic. I know I did it when I started writing copy, and I've seen people roaming this forum who're having the same problem.

So, I printed it. Highlighted it, too.

Enjoy!

Regards,

Angel
#copywriters
  • Profile picture of the author DPM70
    Wow - thanks for reaffirming my idea that copywriters are cliched bore-merchants.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marc Rodill
    What a great article. Thanks.

    So basically, the formula is...

    - grab his attention
    - present why he should buy
    - show him how your product is better than the rest
    - ask him for the sale

    Right? Let's all write that down and come back to it for weeks without doing anything.

    Oh wait. Maybe that's just what I've been doing. Damn formulas!

    I think this article definitely applies to all people who study any marketing/sales related formulas. I have a billion of them memorized and while it's cool to write them all out... as Jim Rohn would say, if you don't use them to create and hammer out something valuable, "you don't get much money."

    "Those are called... the facts!"

    ****. There I go again.
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  • Profile picture of the author SGdarling
    Really good and useful article. You can never stop improving your copywriting skills
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  • Profile picture of the author jjoshua
    I loved being a procastinator. Until recently i discovered that delaying action will deny me from any form of results, even if it's bad results. Because bad results is good feedback...and its back to the boards for revision...
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    • Profile picture of the author kalens99
      Thanks for the article. People need to get up off their butts and start actually doing something. Most of these formulas are bogus anyways you just need to learn what works for you through experience.
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      • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
        The question isn't being new, it's whether you actually have real world sales experience going into it and how ballsy you are about negotiating your rates. Being a good writer is less than 10% of it. Thinking too much isn't the issue, it's whether you're thinking as a salesperson or not.
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        • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
          Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

          The question isn't being new, it's whether you actually have real world sales experience going into it and how ballsy you are about negotiating your rates. Being a good writer is less than 10% of it. Thinking too much isn't the issue, it's whether you're thinking as a salesperson or not.
          Hey Seth,

          I appreciate the posts you've made. Very savvy.

          However, I have to disagree with you here. At least in part.

          What happens to most people... even folks who were real-world salesmen before being copywriters... can be summed up in analysis paralysis.

          This is especially common with new writers, who haven't quite "defined" their style yet. Or maybe they're unsure about writing, or transferring the salesmanship to paper. Even salespeople freeze up when they're new or entering a new market. (I know, I was in sales for a security systems company).

          Honestly, this comes back to "Keep it simple, salesman."

          Now, I do agree that being a good writer is less than 10% of reason you get hired at a reasonable rate. There are all your sales and negotiations skills. Just like in any business, the deliverable helps you keep the customer, but the marketing/selling helps you get the customer.

          Regards,

          Angel
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          • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
            For me, it's not that new copywriters think too much or too little. Coaching a number of folks has allowed me to see several common initial mistakes:

            1. Trying too hard to impress the reader with word play. It's the kiss of death. I don't know why, but it's very common when starting out. It's like people try to prove they can write, when what might be better is proving they can sell.


            2. Taking copywriting formulas too literally or swiping too liberally is equally fatal to success. The piece comes off as stilted and unnatural.

            The phrase "paint-by-numbers" comes to mind.


            3. New copywriters tend to equivocate or unintentionally "hesitate" in their writing. They unconsciously hold back. They doubt. They are loathe to come off as supremely certain of their prospect's success using the product or service they are promoting.

            If you have a product that performs, there's no disgrace in holding it above your head and telling everybody you can about it.



            4. One of the little-known "secrets" to great copywriting is polarizing the reader. You want a love/hate relationship. In other words, it's ok to piss some people off.

            New copywriters want to appeal to everyone. Today, this is a big mistake and comes off as lukewarm communication.

            I have a Client who did this recently. He got his greatest numbers of positive responses ever. And at the same time, got the most number of unsubscribes.

            Expecting him to be upset, I was surprised by his reaction: "Rick, it's ok. The ones who unsubscribed were never going buy anything anyway."

            He's probably right.

            The only reason I am posting is because once someone points out a mistake, you're well on your way to eliminating it.

            - Rick Duris
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            • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
              Hey Rick,

              As always, I appreciate your input.

              I have to admit, I'm guilty of many of the above when starting out. The formulas, the swiping, etc. But, I came to the conclusion rather quickly that the writing just ended up terrible.

              And sometimes, I still make the same mistake.

              You also mentioned polarizing the reader. I can't remember who went into detail about it specifically (Maybe Dan Kennedy?), but this is a very effective selling tool.

              If you're familiar with Ben Hart, he said in an audio seminar once, "I know the way to generate massive sales and business growth, but it must also generate negative mail. And I know how to generate only positive mail. But I do not know a way to create business growth without negative mail."

              Of course, that's not verbatim. But you can get the general idea.

              Best,

              Angel
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              • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
                Originally Posted by ARSuarez View Post

                Hey Rick,

                As always, I appreciate your input.

                I have to admit, I'm guilty of many of the above when starting out. The formulas, the swiping, etc. But, I came to the conclusion rather quickly that the writing just ended up terrible.

                And sometimes, I still make the same mistake.

                You also mentioned polarizing the reader. I can't remember who went into detail about it specifically (Maybe Dan Kennedy?), but this is a very effective selling tool.

                If you're familiar with Ben Hart, he said in an audio seminar once, "I know the way to generate massive sales and business growth, but it must also generate negative mail. And I know how to generate only positive mail. But I do not know a way to create business growth without negative mail."

                Of course, that's not verbatim. But you can get the general idea.

                Best,

                Angel
                I'll let other people chime in with "polarity" stories from famous marketers and copywriters. They abound. Kennedy is famous for it. But there are others. (My favorite is Jay Abraham's "You don't know Jack" email.)

                All are designed to light a fire.

                However, I am NOT advocating pissing people off deliberately. That would be foolish.

                I am advocating taking a stand for someone else's well being and success, and if that means occasionally calling "a spade a spade", so be it.

                It comes with the copywriting territory.

                - Rick Duris
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          • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
            Originally Posted by ARSuarez View Post

            Hey Seth,

            I appreciate the posts you've made. Very savvy.

            However, I have to disagree with you here. At least in part.

            What happens to most people... even folks who were real-world salesmen before being copywriters... can be summed up in analysis paralysis.

            This is especially common with new writers, who haven't quite "defined" their style yet. Or maybe they're unsure about writing, or transferring the salesmanship to paper. Even salespeople freeze up when they're new or entering a new market. (I know, I was in sales for a security systems company).

            Honestly, this comes back to "Keep it simple, salesman."

            Now, I do agree that being a good writer is less than 10% of reason you get hired at a reasonable rate. There are all your sales and negotiations skills. Just like in any business, the deliverable helps you keep the customer, but the marketing/selling helps you get the customer.

            Regards,

            Angel
            How dare you disagree!! That's it Angel...Pistols at dawn! lol

            Seriously, I think if we take this another level we're still talking about a lack of structure...which it sounds like you and I are actually saying the same thing. I mean if it's when a sales person is new to a market, the problem is they have no structure to follow...and so they have no where to aim their thoughts...they're all over the place.

            I've always said that writers don't get writers block just as accountants don't get accountant's block. Once you get a sense of structure, analysis paralysis disappears like a canoe over the Bermuda Triangle. Good stuff, thanks Angel.
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  • Profile picture of the author jushuaburnham
    Thanks for the link, I really hope I improve my copywriting skill.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Eliott
      Rick Duris Post # 9 .

      Not a long time Forum participant , newer still to this particular sub-section of WarriorForum, have been involved in sales somewhat but light on the literature proffered by the Titans of Sales Copy.

      Your Post allowed willing eyes to travel to the top and down twice and review a third. Without coercion.
      My want was to give a double tap to the Thanks button, it deserves two.

      Most of my Copy resides in memory used little on paper, still in use orally on a good week.
      What has been contributed on this thread and the few others recently visited have been enlightening.

      The polarity stories? There seemed to be a particularly nasty year [05?], a veritable dearth of grating, goading "hithers to buy".
      If the incredulous reader was stupid enough not to, he/she would forever be branded a lesser stunned human for not doing so.
      The "I'm a rich guy, and your scum because Your not" person sticks out but forget his handle. Cynicism, further compounded.

      Thank 'ya Sir.

      Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author robbertpenny
    Good reading resource, I learn a lot. Wish to improve more my writing skills.
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  • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
    @ Jushua - You're quite welcome. If you want to improve your skill, enjoy the recommended book thread and read through the Makepeace Total Package as well as The Gary Halbert Letter. And of course, hand write some winning ads.

    @ Robbertpenny - Good stuff, right? Like I mentioned to Jushua, learning to write good copy is less about difficulty and more about tedium.

    Personally, I recommend everyone starts out with Bob Stone's book, "Successful Direct Marketing Methods." He goes over mostly the marketing aspect of things, but does show you examples of how to structure an offer and write copy.

    Really, get marketing down first:

    1. Succesful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone
    2. Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout
    3. The Ultimate Marketing Plan by Dan Kennedy

    Start there. I wish I had. You'll be well on the way to kicking quite the ass.

    (Like I said for copywriting - check the book thread... and see my many posts on this subject)

    @ Seth - Damn. I think you're right.

    I know when I started writing copy, it was a real pain. Part of the reason is I had no structure - never pre-planned my copy. Did some research, then started writing. No outline, no market psychology list, no glossary of terms, etc. (My system is very formalized now).

    When I developed a structure, life became a lot easier. I haven't sat here staring at a blank page since.

    BTW, your book, "The Cashflow Copywriter," is solid stuff.

    Well done.

    Regards,

    Angel
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Originally Posted by ARSuarez View Post

      @ Seth - Damn. I think you're right.

      I know when I started writing copy, it was a real pain. Part of the reason is I had no structure - never pre-planned my copy. Did some research, then started writing. No outline, no market psychology list, no glossary of terms, etc. (My system is very formalized now).

      When I developed a structure, life became a lot easier. I haven't sat here staring at a blank page since.

      BTW, your book, "The Cashflow Copywriter," is solid stuff.

      Well done.

      Regards,

      Angel
      Thanks Angel. You are okay man.
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  • Profile picture of the author Martin2010
    Yes and a good source for my copy is junk emails. I learn so much from them it's untrue.

    Your junk is my gain.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sarah S
      Wow, thanks very much for posting a link to such a helpful article! I've saved it on my desktop to refer to in the future.

      I think that Clayton really hit the nail on the head in his descriptions of the kinds of "first draft" copy that comes his way from new copywriters, with all of its cliches, overused words, copied formulas, and especially failure to connect with the prospective buyer. The biggest annoyance to me is when I read copy that talks "at" me through a lot of hype, instead of just talking to me like a normal human being.

      I think that it's ironic when perfectly reasonable people write the kind of copy that they would never be convinced by themselves. The average person is perfectly capable of separating what seems to be too good to be true from the actual truth, and having so much hype is just a turn-off to anyone.

      My main criteria whenever I'm browsing the Clickbank marketplace looking for new products to promote the actual squeeze page before the gravity or commission.. I try to think like the buyer who would stumble across the squeeze page, and if the copy doesn't convince me, then I find another product.

      Thanks again Angel, hopefully anyone who's struggling with copywriting will find this thread, and take the time to read the article you shared, because it could really help.

      -Sarah
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      • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
        @ Martin - I love junk mail. But the problem is, some junk mail is total crap. And you really should be cautious when swiping junk mail, because some of it is just an initial roll-out and may have fallen flat on its face.

        So, make sure it is running more than once.

        If you have a chance, buy something from Bottom Line books or Rodale or one of the major mailers. Get a Bottomline Newsletter (really inexpensive - less than $50 for a whole year's subscription). Once you do, they'll be sending you winning direct mail with some frequency.

        I recently bought something from Rodale. I thought it was my birthday, with all those swipes.

        Think it was Dan Kennedy who said "there's a million dollar education in your mailbox."



        @ Sarah - Thank you for the kind words. Truth is, I have a background studying academic/scholarly writing. So sometimes, I'm guilty of speaking AT the reader, instead of with them. However, I usually eliminate this pretty quickly in the first draft.

        The better I know my reader, the less likely I am to make this mistake. As a result, I spend about 75% of my time (maybe a little more than I should) doing research and becoming familiar with the market.

        Best!

        Angel
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