Do you suffer from 'over copyfidence'?

13 replies
Something I find a lot of copywrites suffer from - especially more experienced ones - is something I call 'over copyfidence'.

What is it?

Well, for me it's when you think you're finished learning.

You've done your time in Copy School. You've made enough tea for the copywriting master who trained you and by rights he or she should be making you one... and come to think of it, they should be fanning you with your latest control promotion by now.

Yeah, you're a superstar. So why on earth would you need to read at least one new sales promotion everyday?

Hang on, hang on, HANG ON!

"What do you mean read a new promotion everyday?" you ask. "I don't do that."

Exactly.

And it probably means you are suffering from 'over copyfidence' too. I just hope it's not been going on for too long

Seriously though, you've got to. I'm not talking about just opening up an endorsement, clicking through on link and glancing at the headline and lead. You need to read the whole thing - in full. Headline, lead, the offer, the PS and all the bits inbetween.

In my opinion, you simply can not stop learning as a copywriter. There will always be new developments, new techniques and new challenges in the field and it is ONLY by reading new promotions - at least one everyday - that you'll be able to advance to and stay on top of your game.

Even if the promotion you choose to read on a given day is a pile of pants - you should STILL read it. Analyse why it is so bad, take it apart and then make sure that you're not using any of the negative techniques you've just identified.

The fact is: you can ALWAYS take something useful from a promotion, be that promotion good, bad or downright ugly.

So, venture forth fellow copy king (or queen) and make a promise to yourself to read at least one new sales promotion everyday from now on. Do so and you'll never need worry about 'over copyfidence' again.
#analyzing copywriting #copyfidence #copywriting basics #copywriting technique #reading copy #sales promotion #suffer
  • Profile picture of the author Neil AM
    Amen, brother.

    I was watching one of Drayton Bird's webinars the other day and he was stressing the importance of knowledge - not just in copywriting either, but in all areas of marketing, and in all areas of your market. Everything you learn can be put to good use in a sales letter.

    And, y'know, if it's good enough for Drayton, it's good enough for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author videolover7
    Originally Posted by Glenn@AllGoodCopy View Post

    Something I find a lot of copywriters suffer from - especially more experienced ones - is something I call 'over copyfidence'.
    I don't believe you.

    Experienced copywriters are by nature very curious. And we enjoy learning new things.

    You may have "found" an experienced copywriter here or there who fits your definition of "over copyfidence" but certainly not "a lot".

    No way.

    VL
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    • Profile picture of the author Glenn@AllGoodCopy
      I'm not sure videolover7. I'd like to think there's more good than bad, but in my experience it's not the case. Still, so long as you're a writer who keeps learning, you're a step ahead of most!
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      • Profile picture of the author videolover7
        Originally Posted by Glenn@AllGoodCopy View Post

        I'm not sure videolover7. I'd like to think there's more good than bad, but in my experience it's not the case. Still, so long as you're a writer who keeps learning, you're a step ahead of most!
        How many "excellent copywriters" do you know well enough to say they suffer from "copyfidence"?

        VL
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        • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
          I've never really met anyone with the over copyfidence, and the good guys for sure aren't master wordsmiths because they know it all - on the contrary, they do all they can to know and learn as much as possible.

          It's what keeps their skills sharp and polished. Take me for example, I've only been doing this a short while, having had a super duper coach for 6 months...and since then I've devoured LOTS of books on marketing and copy.

          I'm currently going through John Carlton's stuff. And I don't just mean reading it, I mean actually studying it. Breathing it in. Applying it. Really trying to WORK it!

          I've got Clayton's and Kennedy's stuff on my desktop eagerly waiting for me to delve right in.

          And because I need to know more (I have a voracious appetite when it comes to seeking knowledge) I'll never stop. I set aside around 5-10 hours a week just on learning, depending on how much work I have on.

          Any man who thinks he knows it all in this field is either a total genius or totally naive. Or totally deluded.

          I tell you who I HAVE seen with over copyfidence - creatives from ad agencies. They marvel at their own so called 'creative' concoctions which ignore virtually every rule in the book about selling, and then try and pass off their bizarre creations as something to build brand awareness. Sheesh. Isn't the whole point of advertising to sell or to get someone to take action?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Actually, Glenn, I think it's the ones who really know next to nothing who suffer from over-confidence.

    Take me, for example: I know sod-all but I'm always telling people to get off their high horse.

    The really good guys became that good because they're always learning.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Warriors
    Fair point.

    A lot of what makes good copywriting is niche-specific, anyway.

    Here's an example.

    You could be the best copywriter in the world, but you'd need to do a lot of research to really know that people in the bodybuilding niche love to hear about PAIN and INTENSITY when they're getting sold to.

    It goes against conventional copywriting dogma to write about pain and hard work in a sales letter, but in that niche, it really works better than *anything* else.

    So no matter how much copywriting experience you have, there's always little things you still need to learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
    I am constantly feeding my brain with stuff about language, persuasion, psychology, human behavior, decision making, etc. but I don't actually read many written offers. I find I don't like it, and my dislike of it makes it so that I'm not studying it effectively anyway. At least not when it comes to reading them for the purpose of learning. Maybe it's like how when you know how a magic trick is done, watching a magician is boring.

    However, my business now is primarily copy review to punch up conversion, or critique to teach writers who want to get better. So I guess I do read a lot of copy, but it's not high-performing copy or else they wouldn't come to me.

    I digress. If I want to get better at copy - I read the kind of stuff I mentioned above, and then I go into where the niche actually hangs out and has conversations, and you figure out what they talk about and how they do it. If you study other copy to get good at copy, you're basically putting yourself in a twice-removed position from the market, because THEY studied the prospect, and you study them. It's like a photocopy of a photocopy.

    Anyways - I meant to make a point, but I'm not sure I did... Need more coffee I guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Some people say that those who can't do, teach. But as
    a copywriting coach I have to keep abreast and learn as
    much about the art as possible--and the best way to
    learn anything is to teach it.

    Although there is an unchangeable principles of persuasion
    factor in writing copy, new media and trends keep your
    mind active as these principles are being applied in different
    markets.

    Most great copywriters I know are voracious readers so
    I don't understand the charge.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author geegel
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      Some people say that those who can't do, teach. But as
      a copywriting coach I have to keep abreast and learn as
      much about the art as possible--and the best way to
      learn anything is to teach it.

      Although there is an unchangeable principles of persuasion
      factor in writing copy, new media and trends keep your
      mind active as these principles are being applied in different
      markets.

      Most great copywriters I know are voracious readers so
      I don't understand the charge.

      -Ray Edwards
      Excellent point Ray!

      Although I'm not strictly a copywriter anymore and I tend to deal with Analytics and heatmaps rather than Notepad, I make a point of searching writing projects every 6 months or so that force me to organize my knowledge and build a coherent picture of the process.

      It can be a series of articles, a whitepaper, heck even an e-book if I feel adventurous, but the principle is the same. In the end I benefit from a newfound understanding of the whole thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrandonLee
    In my experience the best copywriters are actually very self critical and always looking to improve and learn. I know a $25,000 writer who I honestly don't think is ever totally happy with what he writes.

    In my own case I'm always very confident that I can handle the launches that I take on, but then when I'm going through it and putting it together I'm always second guessing myself, asking for opinions from people I respect, looking to touch up this and that. Once my launches go live I almost always end up smacking myself along side the head and saying oh god, you screwed this up and screwed that up. You really messed that up, You could have done this so much better etc etc. I've done several seven figure launches and always thought I could have done better. That doesn't mean the end product wasn't good, that the clients are not happy, but just that I don't really very often give myself and A - and I've not found too many good copywriters who are much different.
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