I'm Overwhelmed - Where Should I Start?

26 replies
Hey,

I currently have a successful business selling B2B services. I'm a student of marketing and have studied many of the big marketing gurus such as, Jay Abraham, Dan kennedy and many more.

One skill I've always wanted to learn (or get better at) is copy writing, but I've always put this off... possibly because it seems like to much work or I've been to busy (or had some excuse for not doing so).

Over the years I've accumulated a large collection of copy writing courses and books. I want to get stuck in and master this new skill as I have a few business ideas I'm looking to start and this skill-set would help make this easier.

Here's a partial list of whats on my Book shelf and hard drive. Any pointers on where to start would?.

  • Desktop Copy Coach
  • Power Marketing Summit
  • Bencivenga 100 Seminar
  • Simple Writing System
  • Kick-ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel
  • Copywriting Templates
  • Most of Dan Kennedy's Copywriting Courses
  • All The Classic Books (Caples, Schwab, Ogilvy, Hopkins, Halbert etc)
Should I read and study all the above then practice writing winning promotions by hand? Any recommendations on where a beginner should start on that list?


Any help or guidance would be appreciated.


Thanks
#overwhelmed #start
  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
    If you study everything you've listed it'll be at least another year before you do anything.

    To keep it simple, a good trio of books to start with is:

    Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy

    The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman

    How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab

    And while you're reading them start applying the principles you learn to whatever you write, whether it's copy or not.
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    Andrew Gould

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  • Profile picture of the author MIB Mastermind
    Thanks Andrew.

    I have those three books on my shelf, I've read The Ultimate Sales Letter and How To Write a Good Advertisement, they're very good but I do need to read them a few more times (and take notes) so the info really sinks in.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
    "If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a
    fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn, you must
    mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual
    trial." -- Wilbur Wright, address to the Western Society of
    Engineers, 1901

    Study without practice is bird watching. You've read enough to get started. Time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
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  • Profile picture of the author Corey Geer
    Originally Posted by MIB Mastermind View Post

    Hey,

    I currently have a successful business selling B2B services. I'm a student of marketing and have studied many of the big marketing gurus such as, Jay Abraham, Dan kennedy and many more.

    One skill I've always wanted to learn (or get better at) is copy writing, but I've always put this off... possibly because it seems like to much work or I've been to busy (or had some excuse for not doing so).

    Over the years I've accumulated a large collection of copy writing courses and books. I want to get stuck in and master this new skill as I have a few business ideas I'm looking to start and this skill-set would help make this easier.

    Here's a partial list of whats on my Book shelf and hard drive. Any pointers on where to start would?.

    • Desktop Copy Coach
    • Power Marketing Summit
    • Bencivenga 100 Seminar
    • Simple Writing System
    • Kick-ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel
    • Copywriting Templates
    • Most of Dan Kennedy's Copywriting Courses
    • All The Classic Books (Caples, Schwab, Ogilvy, Hopkins, Halbert etc)
    Should I read and study all the above then practice writing winning promotions by hand? Any recommendations on where a beginner should start on that list?


    Any help or guidance would be appreciated.


    Thanks
    I don't understand why some people feel you "need" to continuously buy up Copywriting books. You'll gain more knowledge and benefit from a book about psychology than you will any of the Copy related books that have been suggested.

    It's just like people in the Main Marketing forum who recommend buying "Money Making" books in general.

    You don't need anymore books, the best way to learn is to just do it.

    Start by finding either local businesses that could use some Copy or finding people via Google.

    INB4: "No, you're wrong, you need to spend $500, $997 on books to learn how to write Copy."

    You can read every book out there, you can have experts sit down with you and explain step by step how they do it, but it's still not going to make you great at what you do. Some people can do it and some people can't.
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    Skype: Coreygeer319

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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Corey Geer View Post


      You'll gain more knowledge and benefit from a book about psychology than you will any of the Copy related books that have been suggested.
      Oh blimey. Here we go again. :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by Corey Geer View Post

      I don't understand why some people feel you "need" to continuously buy up Copywriting books. You'll gain more knowledge and benefit from a book about psychology than you will any of the Copy related books that have been suggested.
      All depends on whether you want to be an expert or just
      fool around. That's what an expert does--he wants to
      know everything there is to know in the field. That's the
      reason why a specialist charge more than your family
      doctor.

      -Ray Edwards
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      The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author Studio13
    Start by closing the books and go fail a few dozen times.

    Real learning is a result of multitude of "failures".

    Your books are only worth $20 a pop. Your experience however, is priceless and cannot be purchased at any price.

    If you change your thinking patterns into the "do" mindset, you'll know the answer to your question is that you start where your at. No one hires a copywriter because they have 1000 copywriting books. They hire them because they've tried, failed and know what works and what doesn't by their own merits.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Marketeer
    You've got some kick ass resources which some people dream of having.

    Despite that, if you still feel you need some motivation...

    And a way to make sense of all the info so that you can start writing copy then I'd advise you to get a mentor or a coach.

    There are plenty to choose from on this forum.

    Go with one that resonates with you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by The Marketeer View Post

      You've got some kick ass resources which some people dream of having.

      Despite all the resources you've got, if you still feel you need some motivation...

      And a way to make sense of all the info so that you can start writing copy then I'd advise you to get a mentor or a coach.

      There are plenty to choose from on this forum.

      Go with one that resonates with you.
      Yep. Info products are nice, but when you get stuck you can't ask them a question. Nor do they provide accountability.

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
    Originally Posted by MIB Mastermind View Post


    Over the years I've accumulated a large collection of copy writing courses and books.

    Here's a partial list of whats on my Book shelf and hard drive. Any pointers on where to start would?. Desktop Copy Coach, Power Marketing Summi, Bencivenga 100 Seminal, Simple Writing System, Kick-ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel, Copywriting Template, Most of Dan Kennedy's Copywriting Courses, All The Classic Books (Caples, Schwab, Ogilvy, Hopkins, Halbert etc)
    MIB Mastermind,

    You're not going to like me after you read my comment. But, you will make more money because of it.

    I'm calling B.S. on you.

    Not because I don't think you bought all those courses (I do believe you), but because there is clearly a mental issue keeping you from practicing copywriting.

    Based on the list of courses you've bought (which has got to be over $5,000), and not having actually implemented anything tells me a couple of things:

    1.) You're an information junkie, 2.) You've got some mental block.

    The real issue here isn't what book to read first. Nope.

    The heart of the issue is: why am I spending tons of money on stuff I'm not reading and/or using.

    Solve this first.

    Here's another approach. Assume I'm a high level guru. Here's what I'd tell you: " I give you permission to excel and become better at that which you are already good at".

    If copywriting isn't your thing, that's okay. It's okay to be JUST good at a couple of things. Trust me, there are plenty of great copywriters on this board who will gladly take your money and produce great results for you so you can...

    focus on what you are great at.

    My sense is that you've achieved a level of success. Focus on that. Increase that skill 10x.

    Your ability to make money, lots of it, depends on your ability to spend time on high value items you NATURALLY DO WELL.

    Please, let me know what you think of my reply to you.

    I'm curious.

    Adam
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Adam's right.

      Kinda like owning a '58 Strat, '59 Les Paul and a Martin D28, and asking "Gee, which guitar should I play first?"

      Makes no sense.

      - Rick Duris
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    • Profile picture of the author Daedalus15
      MIB Mastermind,

      I am new to the forum, and new to copy writing in general so I can relate to your feeling of being overwhelmed with information when just starting out. I do not have any of the resources that you have mentioned, but I have found some excellent free resources in the sticky posts in this forum. I am starting from scratch and my approach is this:
      • Read an info product and take notes--- try to get an idea of the fundamentals
      • Pick a couple of random products on clickbank and write a copy for them---practice what I just learned
      • Read another info product and take notes--- with some experience and previous knowledge it is easier to relate to the material and understand your strengths and weaknesses
      • Review my previous copies---now that some time has elapsed since you wrote them and you have more knowledge; assess the strenghts and weaknesses of each copy you have written
      • Repeat the process--- trying to improve each time

      A few other things I plan on doing is to pick an accomplished copy writer that I have respect for and dissect their work. Try to identify the techniques they used, the way they construct their copies, and determine if there is any type of pattern they tend to use. I also plan on posting some of my mock copies in this forum (if that is not against any of the rules---I haven't checked yet) and get feedback from other copy writers.

      I feel like this method is a good way to balance studying and practicing. I hope this helps you. Good luck with everything!

      ---Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author ASCW
    Read the classics first, they'll be the foundation that you pour everything else on top of.

    (Also I find Vic Schwab's How To Write A Good Advertisement - to be very practical. I still revisit the headlines section of the book when I need to brainstorm for a client.)
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    Site being revamped.

    If you want help with copy stuff, pm me.

    Cool.

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    • Profile picture of the author Grain
      If you're writing for B2B, you might want to start by getting successful ads (swipes) and segment them out. And that means separating or fractionally distilling it into its components, like:

      -- The lead - preheadline, headline, deck copy and leading paragraph

      -- Body - certain features like value-building, proof elements, bullets, price reveal, guarantee, little "side-notes", editorials, PS's etc

      You can get a feel for this by looking at books like either sugarman's adweek or dan kennedy's ultimate sales letter. Do note that the whole layout is really malleable, and it depends on what media you're writing on.

      Write out ads (make sure they are known to be successful, some swipes DO bomb). Or you can go the route of rote memorization until you can recite standard action paragraphs like guarantees and price reveals.

      Do write ads until you can't get them out of your mind. B2B styles differ from writing to consumer markets, so you need to be clear about the difference in styles.

      Once you've reached an acceptable standard of writing mediocre letters, and want to get even better, then pick up a few books:

      -- art of selling anything by harry browne
      -- robert collier book
      -- thomas hall letters
      -- either sugarman triggers or breakthrough advertising by schwartz

      It's as Rick said. When you get decent, you can play any guitar and it'll sound normal or under-performed. When you're good, you can use these books' insights to fuller advantage.

      Oh, and for bullets, you could go with makepeace's copy coach or carlton's courses.
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      Kind Regards,
      Grain.

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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Hey MIBM,

      On the other hand, maybe it's not a fear of failure or success or block thing, maybe you just have too much to do. Your avatar suggests you're a family man and you said you have a successful B2B business to run.

      So maybe you hire some designer and copywriter, etc. freelancers to help you get your other ideas to market instead of feeling like you have to be the one actually doing the work.

      Jay Abraham is probably spending his time getting ideas and consulting, not likely that he is writing all his own copy and emails. Not likely that he is the one actually doing the email marketing and website building and social media posting...

      Maybe it's time to tell yourself it's okay to delegate and just be the idea guy and leader?

      Dan

      PS - I just thouroughly re-read Adam - copyassassin's - post and realize I'm sort of redundant. Should have had a double espresso.
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      "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        I'm calling B.S. on you.

        Not because I don't think you bought all those courses (I do believe you), but because there is clearly a mental issue keeping you from practicing copywriting.

        Based on the list of courses you've bought (which has got to be over $5,000), and not having actually implemented anything tells me a couple of things:

        1.) You're an information junkie, 2.) You've got some mental block.
        When I read crap like this, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

        At best, you know .0000000001% about this guy or his life. And yet you have the audacity to publicly "analyze" him.

        Did you notice he said he has "a successful business selling B2B services"? It simply could be that he hasn't had time to learn copywriting yet, and he bought those courses in anticipation of the day he would.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
          Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

          At best, you know .0000000001% about this guy or his life. And yet you have the audacity to publicly "analyze" him.
          Alex
          Alex,

          I wouldn't call it "audacity". I call it "experience".

          I know from experience that when a person has a purchase history like the OP, with little to no results to show for it, with an already successful business in place, there are some fundamental issues that need to be addressed prior to the issue the OP raises.

          The key issue here is the purchase history.

          The OP isn't buying ebooks for $7. No, the dude is buying EVERY high end product out there "with the hope of someday using the information".

          That would be like a blind person buying a Rolls Royce Phantom, Porsche 911 Turbo, & 7 other high end performance cars with the hope of "SOMEDAY I'LL SEE & DRIVE".

          I've personally lived it. I know it. I've seen this same pattern in my clients. Hundreds of times.

          And this guy needs, what I needed, is a pattern interrupt. Somebody to call him on his B.S.

          Now, there is a journey of self-discovery we must go through to arrive at certain conclusions. Some people question whether getting hit by a bus will actually kill them. So they step into one. Some, look at another person get smashed and decide, "Yup, probably not a good idea."

          Isn't that what being a "good coach" is all about? Telling the client, "Hey, that's really stupid. Don't do that. Try this first. This way. This order."

          Did you notice he said he has "a successful business selling B2B services"? It simply could be that he hasn't had time to learn copywriting yet, and he bought those courses in anticipation of the day he would
          Yes I did. Please see "blind man" above.

          I think he should focus his efforts on improving the skill set that made that business successful. That will make him the most amount of money.

          Then he can afford to hire a copywriter.

          If he wants to become a better copywriter, he needs to first deal with his mental block issue.

          Adam

          P.S. I've got a 70% chance I'm right on this one.
          P.P.S. The is 100% NO shame in having mental blocks; mental issues. I've got plenty. In 2012 I spent over $3,000 dealing with my personal issues. I spent another $10,000 or so in masterminds where people called me out on my B.S.
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          • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
            Originally Posted by copyassassin View Post

            P.P.S. The is 100% NO shame in having mental blocks; mental issues. I've got plenty. In 2012 I spent over $3,000 dealing with my personal issues. I spent another $10,000 or so in masterminds where people called me out on my B.S.
            Damn Adam, you shoulda called me. I woulda kicked your ass just for the fun of it.

            - Rick Duris
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            • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
              Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

              Damn Adam, you shoulda called me. I woulda kicked your ass just for the fun of it.

              - Rick Duris
              When did Rick turn from nice guy into pro ass kicker?
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              • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
                Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

                When did Rick turn from nice guy into pro ass kicker?
                What? I'm just a wuvable guy.

                Even Mark Andrews think so.

                - Rick Duris
                Signature
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                • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
                  P.S. I've got a 70% chance I'm right on this one.
                  Good to see you admit you could be wrong.

                  The OP responded:

                  Copywriting is always something I've put to the side (get to it later kinda thing) as I've been busy learning and growing my own business.
                  I choose to believe him rather than rely on your armchair psychology.

                  Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    Listen, you have an edge. No matter what you read you'll instantly relate. It's way tougher to appreciate and understand classucs when you don't have any products or copy to go back to...

    Personally though (and some might bite because of this) but I think you should read Claytons Desktop Copy coach.

    It's very simple and goes over EVERY single principle all classic books have and includes WINNING SAMPLES (not examples) of them in use.


    David
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  • Profile picture of the author MIB Mastermind
    Copywriting is always something I've put to the side (get to it later kinda thing) as I've been busy learning and growing my own business. I left high school with no education partly due to family situation and stuff I don't want to get into.

    I've bought and paid for all the above info as I invest around 10 - 15% of what I earn back into my eduction. The reason I feel I'm ready to get started writing copy is I've identified one or two really promising business opportunities that require me to write copy and write the products etc.

    Writings something I've always wanted to get better at as I feel its a very important skill in selling ( the way I want to sell) and communicating with customers and prospects.

    Only looking for a bit of advice from guys who do this for a living and know what it takes to get to a high level and write winning promotions. I have no plans to write for clients, just my own products and services. The niche I'm in just now (and plan to be in) doesn't require me to be an A level copywriter to make money.
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Another way to get a top-notch copy education is to dissect and
    see what's working well today. I know some of the most famous
    copywriters got to the big time by studying proven winners,
    dissecting them, writing them out by hand, etc...

    Something I'm doing a lot of today, just to give the
    material to students, is I buy stuff from the big mailers
    like Rodale, Boardroom, Philips, Agora, Health and Healing,
    etc...

    I'll usually just buy a smaller ticket item... because in no time,
    my mailbox is stuff to the brim with direct mail letters that
    are being used today... letters written by some of the brightest
    minds in copywriting.

    So, you could always just buy a few things from the top
    mailers and before you bat an eye, your mailbox will be
    stuffed with top letters you can dissect, study, write out
    by hand, etc....
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  • Desktop Copy Coach by Makepeace is decent but rather hard to understand. It tries to do too much.

    One of the best courses on copywriting is The Conversion Code by Glen Livingstone. It's rather big, it should take you about a month or two to finish but it contains the best of everything.

    Razvan
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    • Profile picture of the author jobucks
      Some may scoff but you really can't beat the 'for dummies' range for quick and important information. Treat the book like a checklist and you will be surprised how much you learn from it in a short space of time.
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