Copywriting Question From Newbie

36 replies
I was reading a book the other day by a fellow name Ted Nicholas. He said one of the quickest ways for a person to improve their copy writing skills is to routinely practice writing successful sales letters over and over.

My question ...
1. Has anyone heard of Ted Nicholas?
2. Has anyone heard of this technique?
2. Has anyone tried this technique?
3. I'm assuming when he said to write successful sales letter he meant to hand write them. But does typing them give the same results?

Thanks for any insights, opinions or thoughts concerning this post.
#copywriting #newbie #question
  • Profile picture of the author oda
    It makes sense really as the old saying goes "Practice makes Perfect"

    I think it is important to practice your copywriting, and yes Typing is good for me as my hand writing is horrible. It still seems to stick.

    Personally I am not familiar with ted Nicholas, It rings a bell, just can't think why?

    If you look at it like this, everyone that wants to improve at anything, practices and trains.

    I don't imagine the guys that can charge thousands for a sales letter just sat down one day and started banging 'em out, they would have done plenty before people would happily pay that.

    Best Wishes

    ODA
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    • Profile picture of the author markpocock
      Err.... I think this Ted Nicholas guy knows what he's talking about. What's he sold in print? Is it $5 - $7 BILLION worth...--
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Rickfold
      Originally Posted by oda View Post

      It makes sense really as the old saying goes "Practice makes Perfect"
      Perfect practice makes perfect.
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      • Profile picture of the author IM Alex
        Originally Posted by antipot View Post

        Perfect practice makes perfect.

        Perfectly said
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisMoon
    Ted Nicholas, Joe Sugerman and Gary Halbert are the best teachers you can find.


    They have sold BILLONS and BILLONS of dollars of products just through the magic of choosing the right words.
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    • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
      Originally Posted by markpocock View Post

      Err.... I think this Ted Nicholas guy knows what he's talking about. What's he sold in print? Is it $5 - $7 BILLION worth...--
      Actually, it's more like 8 billion at this point (7.9). He told us this at his Bootcamp in FL.

      Originally Posted by ChrisMoon View Post

      Ted Nicholas, Joe Sugerman and Gary Halbert are the best teachers you can find.


      They have sold BILLONS and BILLONS of dollars of products just through the magic of choosing the right words.
      I wouldn't say this. The best teacher is really subjective - it really depends on your style. I didn't \ring with Nicholas of Sugarman. But Halbert, Makepeace, Bencivenga, and Kennedy all seemed to be on my wavelength (as was Schwartz).

      But yes, they are definitely worth studying. They've all been highly successful and have a lot of material out there for education.

      To the OP, Ted is a great guy and very sharp, even though he's far along in his years (you would never guess it if you meet him).

      If you decide to study him, you'll certainly learn to write copy. But again, it comes back to what teaching style resonates with you.

      By the way, Ted is not, to the best of my knowledge, the originator of the Handwriting Ads technique. I'm not sure who did it first (just like Robert Collier invented the dollar-bill letter, but Halbert has all the fame because nobody bothers to read Collier).

      Warm regards,

      Angel
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      • Hi guys and gals,

        Yes, I've met Ted Nicholas and he is really a great guy. He was one of the two teachers I was taught by when I turned from face to face selling to copy writing.

        He's still going strong at 80+ and divides his time between homes in Florida and Switzerland. He still gives master classes all over the world, and I was lucky enough to meet him here in England.

        Regarding, whether you hand write or type: either is good, because it drives the words and phrases deep into your subconscious.

        It also helps if you say the words out loud as you type/write. That way, you are ...

        * Seeing the words
        * Writing the words
        * Hearing the words

        ... which makes the whole exercise even more effective.

        But, in the end, you should develop your own personal style and also understand WHY the sales letters are structured that way.

        After all, merely copying other folk's sales letters - no matter how successful - is like trying to become an architect simply by sketching famous buildings.

        You need to know WHY they work. And that's another story.

        Warmest regards,

        Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author SearchBlogger
    The more you write the better you will become - it's just like anything else - if you get behind the wheel of a car every day when you're learning you'll become a better driver quicker than if you just take one lesson a week.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Ted Nicholas?

    Who he?
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  • Profile picture of the author hlsmith
    Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

    I was reading a book the other day by a fellow name Ted Nicholas. He said one of the quickest ways for a person to improve their copy writing skills is to routinely practice writing successful sales letters over and over.

    My question ...
    1. Has anyone heard of Ted Nicholas?
    2. Has anyone heard of this technique?
    2. Has anyone tried this technique?
    3. I'm assuming when he said to write successful sales letter he meant to hand write them. But does typing them give the same results?

    Thanks for any insights, opinions or thoughts concerning this post.
    Ted Nicholas...(can't say I have...)

    Seriously though - Ted is one of the best writers you can learn from in my opinion. Along with Gary Halbert, John Carlton, and Eugene Schwartz, you can learn a lot about writing.

    The technique he's talking about really does work. Here's why:

    When you write letters out by hand, you have to read the copy twice. One before you write it, and once AFTER you write it. By doing this, you actually run the copy through your mind just as the writer originally wrote it.

    So you actually write a successful sales letter through OSMOSIS. It's weird, but it works wonders.

    You'll see how many of the sentences are structured, why they chose certain words and you'll understand the 'rhythm' they used to communicate with their prospects.

    Scott Haines, a protege of Gary Halbert, copied Gary Halbert's entire book out by HAND. The entire book. In donig that, he was able to write a sales letter to Gary and wound up working with him and made a TON of money!

    ...but he wouldn't have done that if he hadn't written that book out by hand.

    I've done it, and it's great. I start copying letters for aboug 10 mins before I actually write copy. It's a good starting point.

    It works. Try it out.
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    • Profile picture of the author nick1980
      Practice is definitely the way to go. It's the same for any discipline. Natural talent isn't always enough. It's hard work that gets people to the top, and copywriting is no different.

      It's also crucial to split test those sales letters repeatedly, and find out what works and what doesn't. It's not simply a question of writing sales letter after sales letter. That won't get you anywhere.

      You need to understand why a particular sales letter produced more sales than the last. Was it the headline? Was it the call to action? Was it the postscript, etc etc.

      Test, test and test again. Do this and your ability to convert readers into buyers will improve.
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  • Profile picture of the author oda
    Well after my previous post and then seeing evryone seemed to know the guy but me I have spent a day and a half reading some of his stuff.

    If your basing your writing on the principles that ted nicholas users then your on the right track.

    I Now have a solid month of editing ahead of me due to some new found knowledge.

    Great thread thanks everyone
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by oda View Post

      Well after my previous post and then seeing evryone seemed to know the guy but me I have spent a day and a half reading some of his stuff.

      If your basing your writing on the principles that ted nicholas users then your on the right track.

      I Now have a solid month of editing ahead of me due to some new found knowledge.

      Great thread thanks everyone
      Glad my question opened your mind to Ted Nicholas, now hopefully your sales and income will open too!
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      • Profile picture of the author club20coaching
        hey niche man have you heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking? it's a speech to text software that allows you to write articles by just simply talking. I found in the beginning when I was working on copywriting, I really got sick of all the writing because my hands go numb.

        Anyway, I found that I can write about 10 times faster using my voice it allows me to write several different articles really quickly and effectively and all on autopilot.

        Cheers
        Jake
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        • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
          Originally Posted by club20coaching View Post

          hey niche man have you heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking? it's a speech to text software that allows you to write articles by just simply talking. I found in the beginning when I was working on copywriting, I really got sick of all the writing because my hands go numb.

          Anyway, I found that I can write about 10 times faster using my voice it allows me to write several different articles really quickly and effectively and all on autopilot.

          Cheers
          Jake
          I am hearing more and more about that technology, but my question, there's so many out there which brand is the best. Any recommendations?
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    It's 100% true. Dan Kennedy says that's what made him as good as he is.

    It's a psychological thing more than anything. When you write something out (has to be by hand), the thought and communication patterns become "burned in" to your subconscious. It starts affecting your internal dialogue and changing the way you communicate and even the way you think and behave.

    Just to give you an idea, I've used this exercise to help my coaching clients make changes in their thinking and behaviors. It's damn effective. Give it a shot for about 30 days and you'll see.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kev Stevenson
      Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

      It's a psychological thing more than anything.
      Just reading this thread and I had a thought about the actual handwriting vs typing thing...

      A friend of mine studies handwriting - graphology - where you look for clues about a person based on the way they format letters, words and sentences.

      I suppose the theory of this is that there is some kind of connection between sub-conscious and hand.

      Seth and some other posters (and the authors mentioned) may be alluding to a 2-way connection - hand to mind and mind to hand...

      I'd read elsewhere that copying by hand was the best way to anchor and more fully appreciate the original text.

      @paulHooperKelly

      * Seeing the words
      * Writing the words
      * Hearing the words

      Very interesting...
      That ties in with the idea of using more than one learning style as I learnt in teacher training.

      Regards
      K
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      • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
        Originally Posted by Kev Stevenson View Post

        Just reading this thread and I had a thought about the actual handwriting vs typing thing...

        A friend of mine studies handwriting - graphology - where you look for clues about a person based on the way they format letters, words and sentences.

        I suppose the theory of this is that there is some kind of connection between sub-conscious and hand.

        Seth and some other posters (and the authors mentioned) may be alluding to a 2-way connection - hand to mind and mind to hand...

        I'd read elsewhere that copying by hand was the best way to anchor and more fully appreciate the original text.

        @paulHooperKelly

        * Seeing the words
        * Writing the words
        * Hearing the words

        Very interesting...
        That ties in with the idea of using more than one learning style as I learnt in teacher training.

        Regards
        K

        That makes a lot of sense, I was reading something also along those lines this morning. The writer, a brain surgeon, commented on how she includes handwriting as part of therapy for her patents.

        She tries to get them writing as soon as possible after surgery to help speed up there recovery. So, that tells me handwriting has a lot to do with exercising the brain. Thanks, good point.
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      • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
        Originally Posted by Kev Stevenson View Post

        Seth and some other posters (and the authors mentioned) may be alluding to a 2-way connection - hand to mind and mind to hand...

        Regards
        K
        Dude, there's some real depth in what you're saying here. You know, scientists are starting to find thinking molecules within a person's body...check out Dr. Candice Pert's stuff on this...esp her book "Your body is your subconscious mind"

        Blew my freakin' hair back when I started reading it...and I've studied graphology to. I used to have clients fill out preliminary assessments by hand and fax them to me...unbelievable the stuff that a person's handwriting gives away.

        When I was a pianist in college, I used to have memory slips because my brain had forgotten something, but if my hands took over I was fine. Where are our memories stored? I think there's more to it than just the mind...
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        • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
          This technique has been topic of discussion before.

          For some people it has been effective, for others it hasn't.

          Here's what it has done for me: When I first learned about this technique many years ago, I got some John Carlton golf ads and some Gary Halbert diet ads.

          It took me many hours to hand write (must hand write) Carlton's , " One Legged Golfer Ad".... Gary Halbert's " Slim America" diet ad. You know what happened?

          Something happened that was worth the hours of hand written material. When I wrote my own DM pieces , I noticed a change in ... " Flow "... that was not present before.

          Take care,


          Bill Jeffels
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  • Profile picture of the author thegotoguy
    Chris Moon is right. And so are the rest. Practice makes perfect. Be honest, straight forward and offer a bonified solution (by buying your product) to a problem that your prospect may have. Make them feel as if your product will in fact fix their problem(s) and always close it with an iron clad satisfaction guarantee. That gets me pretty much everytime.
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    • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
      Originally Posted by thegotoguy View Post

      Chris Moon is right. And so are the rest. Practice makes perfect. Be honest, straight forward and offer a bonified solution (by buying your product) to a problem that your prospect may have. Make them feel as if your product will in fact fix their problem(s) and always close it with an iron clad satisfaction guarantee. That gets me pretty much everytime.
      Make sure you show some leg.

      Giving away information in copy-format is the easiest way to build credibility, confidence, and move much closer to the ultimate sale.

      Best,

      Angel
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  • Profile picture of the author fatimah Sanni
    Never heard of him but I know of Joe vitale. To me , he is God's gift to IM, seriously, google him.He founded the hypnotic writing concept, buying trances. Like I said, google him, Joe Vitale.
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  • Profile picture of the author tjapukai
    Michael Masterson from AWAI also preached in all his courses to write every great sales letter at least 10 times over.

    When I started my first copy writing job, the boss man locked me in a room for four weeks and I just read AWAI manuals and re-wrote at least 20 sales letters 10 times each.

    I have to admit that it made me much more instinctive in my approach to everything from banners to sales letters.

    So I agree that it works!

    G
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  • Profile picture of the author rockinsnipe159
    Sounds plausible. Practice makes perfect fits well for this situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Murlu
    It's like anything, really - the more you do it the better you become.

    Sometimes I'll rewrite my blog posts titles nearly 50 times before I feel I've nailed it.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    What a thread...

    Ted Nicholas - who?

    Joe Vitale - God's gift to IM
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    • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
      Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

      What a thread...

      Ted Nicholas - who?

      Joe Vitale - God's gift to IM
      You do realize I was jesting?
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  • hi there

    everything you learn you learn by emersion

    you gotta out yourself in there and make the mistakes -its the best way -and the only waythat works i think
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  • Profile picture of the author BartsTreasures
    Yes, Ted Nicholas is a solid source.

    Yes, the more you write, the better you get definately! (also you should always split test headlines, copy etc. to determine what works better.

    That said, if you are serious about improving your copy writing skills, you should read a variety of authors & books on the subject and take the best of each.

    Also, a great way of learning is to read other people's sales copy! Read it, analyse it, pick it apart and figure out why it works! Create a SWIPE file... File of all the best stuff you come across.

    For your 1st few projects, don't be afraid to take a successful sales letter from a different product or niche and carefully rewrite it (or parts of it) for YOUR product.

    Same with headlines!

    There's a famous headline that goes something llike...

    "They All Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano - But When I Began To Play, They All APPLAUDED!"

    ...I recently heard that very headline revamped for a "Learn A Foreign Language" product. Went something like...

    "When I Said I Would Order Dinner In French, She Laughed - But When I Said To The Waiter, (insert perfectly said French phrase here), she was Proud!" (or impressed or whatever...you get the idea).

    I actually watch infomercials to get copywriting ideas!

    Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author alcymart
    Ted Nicholas is an expert! He has his own writing style.

    Bernard
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  • Profile picture of the author GlobalMedia
    I too agree that Ted Nicholas has a good knack over his writing skills. He has proved it many times in the past.
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    • Profile picture of the author stevebent
      You can also pick up some of Dan Kennedys books on Amazon. The Ultimate Sales letter has templates you can get ideas from. Web copy,Direct mail, fax its basically same.
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  • If you're wondering about Dragon Naturally Speaking, it is good, BUT

    If you have Windows 7, simply type "windows speech recognition" into the search box in the start menu. The result will appear at the top. Click it and get started.

    Windows Speech Recognition is AWESOME. It's just as good as Dragon and IT's FREE. Most people don't even know they have it, but Microsoft went to great effort to create something that could compete with Dragon.

    WSR is very intelligent and learns your speech mannerisms. You can use it to do almost everything on your computer without using your hands: write, open and use files, surf the web, and basically anything you can do with a mouse and keyboard.

    I write about 5,000+ words/day, so this is critical for me to save my hands. The only problem that I see with either software is that you'll end up having to spend more time editing than if you typed it out by hand.

    All Windows 7 users have this on their computer, check it out and you'll be hooked. Just make sure that you have a headset-type microphone. They program won't be nearly as effective if you try to use another type.

    And don't waste the money on Dragon! (Although it IS a good program. It's just not free. However, most Wal Marts have a basic version of it for about $50.)
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    • Profile picture of the author kellabella
      Originally Posted by Russell Barnstein View Post

      If you're wondering about Dragon Naturally Speaking, it is good, BUT

      If you have Windows 7, simply type "windows speech recognition" into the search box in the start menu. The result will appear at the top. Click it and get started.

      Windows Speech Recognition is AWESOME. It's just as good as Dragon and IT's FREE. Most people don't even know they have it, but Microsoft went to great effort to create something that could compete with Dragon.

      WSR is very intelligent and learns your speech mannerisms. You can use it to do almost everything on your computer without using your hands: write, open and use files, surf the web, and basically anything you can do with a mouse and keyboard.

      I write about 5,000+ words/day, so this is critical for me to save my hands. The only problem that I see with either software is that you'll end up having to spend more time editing than if you typed it out by hand.

      All Windows 7 users have this on their computer, check it out and you'll be hooked. Just make sure that you have a headset-type microphone. They program won't be nearly as effective if you try to use another type.

      And don't waste the money on Dragon! (Although it IS a good program. It's just not free. However, most Wal Marts have a basic version of it for about $50.)
      Thank you for this tip Russell!

      After I read this I went to my search bar and voila'! I had no idea Windows 7 had this Windows Speech Recognition tool! I went through the tutorial first, then came back here to post my reply to you. It seems very cool and fun to do.

      I can't wait to test it out for real tomorrow when writing and see how it does! Thanks again
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