What Made You Decide to Become a Copywriter?

21 replies
What led you to the world of copywriting? What compelled you, fascinated you, sparked that burning passion and fire within the depths of your existence to follow this path?

Okay I admit, that last one was pretty corny. But in all seriousness.. Besides the money, what interests you the most in this field? What motivated you in the initial stages? Did you gain a new appreciation for the English (or your chosen) language? Self-confidence? What have you learned about persuasion and human nature?

Most importantly, what have you learned about yourself? Do you feel your work constantly encourages your own development?

Just to get an idea, inspire some discussion and sharing... so many info-products focus on the product and the traffic in their millions of forms, but discuss the conversion. I wanna know not only how that particular aspect is accomplished (which I understand is beyond the scope of this thread alone), but what goes through a copywriter's mind when they start their craft... and what goes through their mind as they progress in their career.

So... what made you decide to become a copywriter?
#copywriter #decide #made
  • Profile picture of the author videolover7
    Initially, the need to write effective advertising copy for my own business drew me to it.

    The dynamic between the scientific and artistic facets of copywriting keeps me interested.

    VL
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    • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
      Because they don't make Duesenbergs anymore.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    A down economy and the Well-Fed Writer
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    Why? Reading lots of Gary Halbert letters over my morning cereal when I was a kid, because my parents had a subscription.

    Progression? It get more interesting by the day - the psychology of persuasion is fascinating stuff. There's always something new to learn or discover.
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  • Profile picture of the author ECTally
    Originally Posted by Emily Meeks View Post

    What led you to the world of copywriting? What compelled you, fascinated you, sparked that burning passion and fire within the depths of your existence to follow this path?
    You mean apart from the women (or men - hey, I'm not judging), fine wine and fast cars?
    I think if we're honest with ourselves, and if we set aside the contributing factors and external influences, most of us became copywriters so we can make a living from something we love doing. No?

    Originally Posted by Emily Meeks View Post

    What have you learned about persuasion and human nature?
    Most importantly, what have you learned about yourself? Do you feel your work constantly encourages your own development?
    We are gullible, and we WANT to believe in the unlikely, the impossible, the too good to be true. Tapping into that instinctive part of our subconscious always leaves me feeling a little uneasy.

    Originally Posted by Emily Meeks View Post

    Just to get an idea, inspire some discussion and sharing... so many info-products focus on the product and the traffic in their millions of forms, but discuss the conversion. I wanna know not only how that particular aspect is accomplished (which I understand is beyond the scope of this thread alone), but what goes through a copywriter's mind when they start their craft... and what goes through their mind as they progress in their career.
    This is difficult to surmise in a couple of paragraphs - another day, perhaps. But just for the record, I made a conscious decision a while back to only write for the people I trust. I had an attack of the conscience that left me blunt for weeks. I felt filthy and immoral, no different from a common whore. At least with them, people get a measure of satisfaction. But the nonsensical products that I once wrote copies for were essentially useless, nothing more than lipstick for pigs. It's been a while, but I can still remember the feeling of distaste.
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  • Profile picture of the author Arroway
    I'm currently getting into product creation and teaching IM to other people, so copywriting is becoming a necessary ability to me. Now that I need it, I'm actually starting to find it interesting, both from an economical point of view as well as a psychological one. I want to master it, then I have one more thing I can teach

    Allen
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    • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
      Originally Posted by Arroway View Post

      I'm currently getting into product creation and teaching IM to other people, so copywriting is becoming a necessary ability to me. Now that I need it, I'm actually starting to find it interesting, both from an economical point of view as well as a psychological one. I want to master it, then I have one more thing I can teach

      Allen
      That's awesome, and I say go for it.

      Would you want to put together a copywriting course as an info product, or teach it in a coaching program? Or both? I'm seeing a pretty damn decent frontend sale as well as a highly-exclusive coaching program on the backend... Ooooooh. I'm thinking of ideas again.

      Anywho!

      I think the art of copywriting's been understated in this business for a reason... not so much greedy "gurus" wanting to hold onto their secrets (though I'm sure there are a few), but let's face it, how many people are actually willing to delve into the psychology of it in great depths? It's often outsourced (by those who can afford to anyway), but however deep you dig is the difference between being decent (or not) at it, and being absolutely phenomenal.

      Whiiiiiiiiich needless to say, for that kind of work offering no less than four figures to write for someone is perfectly reasonable. Maybe you don't need a PhD in psychology to master it, but humans are paradoxically simple AND complex, so taking the time to study their needs and speak to them on a fundamental level is no walk in the park, to say the least...
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  • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
    Thank you, ECTally. I was hoping someone would mention the psychological aspect of it.

    The more I think on it, to be really good at what you do in the copywriting business, it's more than just knowing that it's the conversion that brings in money. This is, of course, from an outsider's perspective (I have no experience with copywriting), but to be really successful you must really be willing to get inside what people's heads... what makes them tick... understanding human desire at its basic core, and provoke that fire within a prospective buyer. In other words, the difference between, "Oooooh this looks pretty useful," and "I MUST HAVE THIS. NOW. NOW!"

    Makes me think of a thread here someone posted awhile back - bringing out the EMOTION in prospective buyers is what makes good copy. To do that, you not only have to really pursue it as a study, but hold a certain passion for it... perhaps why in my experience the copywriters I know are quite the characters? (Of course, I mean that in the highest form possible. I'm friends with a few )

    Also makes me think of a short little report in the War Room by Blair Warren... I see you're not a War Room member yet but I highly recommend you join even if that's the only book in there you read (though there's also a bunch of other neat little gems in there anywho). It got me to thinking about persuasion, and human nature... and where else in the IM arena, is this most exemplified...?
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    • Profile picture of the author ECTally
      Very perceptive of you, Emily.

      What many fail to realize is, the act of buying is rarely an intellectual one. Almost always, our buying decisions are guided by emotions. An effective copy communicates an emotional need to a specific demographic. Clients, sales/mktg/advertising managers, and even the end users themselves, however, insist that facts play a prominent role in the success of a copy - an opinion not shared by many copywriters.

      Check out this paper, "Fifty years using the wrong model
      of advertising"
      (goo.gl/Q6Jek), published by Professors Heath and Feldwick (Bath) several years ago. Their investigation vindicated the romantics in the industry.

      "With these two data sets it was possible to examine the correlation between the three different constructs: Emotional Content (Emotive PowerTM), Rational Content (Cognitive PowerTM) and difference in Brand Favourability. Despite differences in advertising styles across the two countries, the results, shown in Table 2, are consistent. Emotive Powerâ„¢ showed a significant linear relationship with the shift in favourability, but Cognitive Powerâ„¢ showed no significant relationship at all."

      Additionally, I feel that Abraham Maslow's 1943 paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation" (goo.gl/cE4PS), should be required reading for any budding copywriter. His hierarchy of needs, in particular, can make things so much simpler (goo.gl/m9Aue)

      This brings us to the report and War Room. My interest is sufficiently piqued - you wrote a pretty compelling copy there lady. Why not? Perhaps I'll be back tomorrow to subscribe.

      And Emily, just for the record, most of us are mad - no need to tip toe around the fact.
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      • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
        @ECTally

        Why thank ya thank ya. I'll definitely check out those papers. Also, no denying madness - I think the loosely screwed ones have the most anyway

        Emotions over intellectualism when making buying decisions applies not only online, but in the "real world" as well - for instance, grocery shopping on an empty stomach tends to be a BAD idea. Everything in sight looks good, especially if it's packed with calories and fat. Next thing ya know, well...

        And of course, I think the most skilled copywriters understand that. Conversely, a lot of the "failed attempts" at copy, if you will, tend to try to appeal more to people's intellectual side, which usually (always) falls flat (not to mention, there's usually poor web design that goes with it, but that's a whole other subforum altogether >)

        Understanding buyer's emotions and appealing to their senses... now who's game for that??
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  • Profile picture of the author ShawnPeter
    Money in the pocket, in the bank, in the retirement fund.
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    • Well I wanted to live in an attic, wearing jeans, white T shirts and Nikes.

      Drinking gallons of coffee and losing all track of time.

      Clattering away on an ancient but trusted typewriter with everything in courier.

      Taking the copy to the local businesses and basking in the glory of the results.


      Then somebody invented computers.


      Now it's all done on a MacBook Pro and emailed to the clients worldwide.

      Of course it's great - but not quite the same.

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author EricMN
        I know a whole lot about psychology and have been writing since seventh grade. Seemed like the right thing to do.


        What keeps me going? 2 things. . .


        1. I really, really like the idea of rolling out of bed, turning my computer on, and knowing I'm at work. . . and I haven't even put my pants on.


        2. When I first started seeing results for my clients. A lot of "writers" write all sorts of stuff and it never really does anything. Mine made people money. That was pretty damn cool. . . so I kept doing it.


        Also. . .

        Originally Posted by Steve Copywriter View Post

        Well I wanted to live in an attic, wearing jeans, white T shirts and Nikes.

        Drinking gallons of coffee and losing all track of time.

        Clattering away on an ancient but trusted typewriter with everything in courier.

        Taking the copy to the local businesses and basking in the glory of the results.


        Then somebody invented computers.


        Now it's all done on a MacBook Pro and emailed to the clients worldwide.

        Of course it's great - but not quite the same.

        Steve
        This is some powerful stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    I had to. Was managing call centers and had to write scripts. Then I realized I could make a lot more money doing it on my own. So I did.
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  • Profile picture of the author queen bee
    I enjoy writing...it helps me unwind :-) besides, if you are asked to write about something that you have no idea about, you learn so much from research
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I created a product and was too dumb to know that content writers didn't also write their own sales copy. It's worked out okay though. I don't really consider myself a copywriter, just a writer who occasionally rises to the challenge of writing decent copy.
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  • Profile picture of the author jimsyyap
    I met Dan Rosenthal in Manila back in 1997. Back then, I did not know "who" Dan was. All he mentioned to me was that he wrote advertising, and I thought he was just a rich guy who got lucky with his business.

    In three instances, I saw ads that he wrote that became rain makers. He even introduced me to some of his client-partners that became millionaires because of his copywriting.

    Dan and I have been good friends since, but it was only this year, 2012, that I found out about the real Dan Rosenthal. I was looking for ways to improve a copy I wrote for my business. I was listening to Gary Bencivenga being interviewed by Ken McCarthy. It was about copywriting, and Gary's ideas about copywriting resonated with me--they made sense. At some point, Gary mentioned working with a Dan Rosenthal that sounded very familiar by the way he described him.

    I skyped Dan to inquire if he knew Gary Bencivenga--he said yes.

    I was floored.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosbies
    When i was in collage, many people appreciate me for my writing skills..This thing motivate me to choose such profession, which i can enjoy.I doing the same...
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    • Profile picture of the author linaO
      Originally Posted by mosbies View Post

      When i was in collage, many people appreciate me for my writing skills..This thing motivate me to choose such profession, which i can enjoy.I doing the same...
      Same here. Besides the money, I had a fascination with words and being able to persuade someone to "act" in a way you wanted. I found this to be a cool as hell lol.

      And it's a "cool kids" scene. I wanted to be a cool kid
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  • Profile picture of the author David Mcalorum
    I have always been into psychology, and then I got the sales bug.
    As soon as I started to see positive (and negative) returns on my efforts,
    it just made me push harder. I wanted to do better and better, so I wrote more.

    Then I stopped for a while.

    Feeling disconnected from my roots, I wondered why the hell I stopped in the first place and maybe it was because of the pure laziness allure that success can provide.
    Now, when I look at it, its exactly what I should have been doing all along. I never should have stopped. In fact, I kind of smacked myself in the head for being so stupid, because I can only imagine how much higher my conversion rates would be today. But again, thats totally my fault.

    Its funny how much being a professional copywriter is actually full of benefit's.
    Such as; being able to charge a premium fee for your services, zero refunds
    and getting better with the craft that brings you sales in the first place.

    In terms of marketing, those three are a pretty big deal. Especially when they
    are all stacked together so nicely.

    Granted, you actually have to WORK (which seems to be a stigma of many people here, who expect to be hand fed a executive lifestyle for next to peanuts AND little to no work.) But hey, if that work is going to make you better at the craft of selling, and your actually serious about the industry, then the choice is really a no brainer.
    Of course it helps to like writing too, but really, any skill can be learned. And even more truthfully, there will always people who preform better than you maybe due to a natural knack and talent for the whole thing.

    But in the end of the day, everyone has to start somewhere.
    And in the world of direct response marketing, copywriting is a DAMN
    good place to start.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    The realization that copywriting leads to money is what got me - the other stuff is cool and fascinating, but without the money I wouldn't do it.
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