Best (relatively) new copywriters?

27 replies
I was wondering if there are any new guys that are doing great things out there.
I'd like to learn from someone new...is there anyone worth following?

Right now I'm copying salesletters by hand...I've done so daily for the past 3-4 months. I'm up at around 50 letters now, and going to do 50 more.

Any suggestions?
#copywriters
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    When I was younger, I dabbled in close-up card magic. Got good enough to fool friends, family and the occasional professional magician.

    One time I told a guy that I could cut the deck in half with one hand 80 times in a minute.

    He replied, "So what?". lol

    He was right. So what?

    Having somebody choose a random card, replace it in the deck, and then me being able to "miraculously" produce it was the name of the game.

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

      When I was younger, I dabbled in close-up card magic. Got good enough to fool friends, family and the occasional professional magician.

      One time I told a guy that I could cut the deck in half with one hand 80 times in a minute.

      He replied, "So what?". lol

      He was right. So what?

      Having somebody choose a random card, replace it in the deck, and then me being able to "miraculously" produce it was the name of the game.

      Alex
      Was that an attempt to be smart or what was the purpose of that?
      Didn't get it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by stolpioni View Post

        Was that an attempt to be smart or what was the purpose of that?
        Didn't get it.
        Think of it as a life lesson.

        It doesn't matter how many sales letters you copy. What matters is how well you write sales copy.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          In other words, human psychology and what triggers buying really hasn't changed much in the past 100 years.
          But what triggers buying has changed some.

          For example, people are more skeptical than they used to be. So we've been seeing a shift towards including more believability elements in sales copy.

          That crap Schwartz used to sell wouldn't do as well today with the sales letters he wrote back then.

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

            But what triggers buying has changed some.

            For example, people are more skeptical than they used to be. So we've been seeing a shift towards including more believability elements in sales copy.

            That crap that Schwartz used to sell wouldn't do as well today with the sales letters he wrote back then.

            Alex
            Good point Alex, I think today, people need a shortcut method in order to cut through all the BS out there. Supposedly we all get bombarded with 3,000 sales messages a day, but I'm not too sure about that.

            that's why things like authority figures (doctors, experts) work well... they offer the prospect a "shortcut" to believability.

            It was much easier to stand out 100 years ago, today you gotta cut through all the noise just to get noticed.

            And then, it's pretty much a matter of proof.

            So, very good point... the times they are a changing and will continue to...
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            • Profile picture of the author svedski
              Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

              Good point Alex, I think today, people need a shortcut method in order to cut through all the BS out there. Supposedly we all get bombarded with 3,000 sales messages a day, but I'm not too sure about that.

              that's why things like authority figures (doctors, experts) work well... they offer the prospect a "shortcut" to believability.

              It was much easier to stand out 100 years ago, today you gotta cut through all the noise just to get noticed.

              And then, it's pretty much a matter of proof.

              So, very good point... the times they are a changing and will continue to...
              I agree. However, I think that has been the case almost forever. An authority figure backing up your statements is always a big plus. That's just human nature and that's how we've been since the beginning of time. After all, we are a species of sheep.

              But yeah, readers are definitely more wary nowadays and they're harder to sell.
              I believe John Reese said that in general, you have to pay $4 now for every $1 you'd pay for advertising in 1984, for the same amount of sales.

              But I guess that only counts if you do advertising just the same as you did in the 80's.

              I've found that by giving away some actual great content in the salesletter itself (if the product allows it) and actually making it valuable (instead of doing a blind-sell) you will up both your readership and conversions.
              And that ties in to what you said about proof and believability. If you can show them in the salesletter that you're no joke (by actually teaching them something), conversions will go up.
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          • Profile picture of the author medway
            Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

            But what triggers buying has changed some.

            For example, people are more skeptical than they used to be. So we've been seeing a shift towards including more believability elements in sales copy.

            That crap Schwartz used to sell wouldn't do as well today with the sales letters he wrote back then.

            Alex
            Think the emotional triggers are generally the same, just the way you present them changes.
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        • Profile picture of the author svedski
          Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

          Think of it as a life lesson.

          It doesn't matter how many sales letters you copy. What matters is how well you write sales copy.

          Alex
          And how do you get better at writing sales copy?

          *DRUMROLLS*

          By practice!

          And how do you practice?

          By either creating new ones yourself or by copying others. DUH!

          Or are you saying that copying letters won't do me a thing? Because it has, I've learned tons and I'm a much better copywriter compared to just a couple of months ago when I first started out.

          Thanks for the lesson though, I'll keep it in mind. "It doesn't matter how much you practice or how hard you work...all that matters is how good you are."
          That's just great. I'm going to put it up on my wall so I can see it before I fall asleep every night.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
            Originally Posted by stolpioni View Post

            And how do you get better at writing sales copy?

            *DRUMROLLS*

            By practice!

            And how do you practice?

            By either creating new ones yourself or by copying others. DUH!.
            Will writing out existing sales letters improve a person's ability to write copy?

            Maybe. Maybe not.

            The issue is debatable. (And in fact, has been debated on this sub-forum before.)

            You see, people have different learning styles. One glove doesn't fit all.

            One thing's for sure. If you had spent the same time and effort working with a good copywriting coach instead, you'd be way ahead of where you are now.

            How many bad habits did you pick up writing out all those sales letters?

            You don't know.

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

              Will writing out existing sales letters improve a person's ability to write copy?

              Maybe. Maybe not.

              The issue is debatable. (And in fact, has been debated on this sub-forum before.)

              You see, people have different learning styles. One glove doesn't fit all.

              One thing's for sure. If you had spent the same time and effort working with a good copywriting coach instead, you'd be way ahead of where you are now.

              How many bad habits did you pick up writing out all those sales letters?

              You don't know.

              Alex
              Ok. Sure. As of right now however, I don't have the money to work with a coach or mentor, so I'm taking the advice of the legends.

              Gary Halbert said "There ain't 10 people in this country who has copied 100 salesletters". So, I'm copying 100 salesletters. Whether that will make me into a superstar copywriter or not doesn't really matter. I'm just doing my duty, like a soldier in Vietnam. If only 10 people has done something, and it's supposed to help you (and it's hard work), that's a good enough reason for me to do it as well. What it leads to, I have no idea...time will tell.

              What I do know however, is that it proves to me once again that I'm in this for the long run. You now, getting some momentum going.
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              • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
                "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect."
                (Vince Lombardi)

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

                  "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect."
                  (Vince Lombardi)

                  Alex
                  Ok..so I take it from you that you haven't copied letters by hand.
                  May I ask, how much money do you make per year? Do you hold a net worth of 8 digits or more?

                  Just curious.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Dan Ferrari
                    I think the handcopy ads vs. don't hand copy ads utility comes down to, as Alex Cohen mentioned, the unique learning style of the copywriter-to-be in question.

                    I am an "handcopier" myself and I've found that it works. There is no question that my work now is better than it was before I started.

                    I'm also sure Alex is correct, working with a great coach or mentor is the absolute best way to improve. No doubt about that, not just in copywriting, but in just about anything in this world.

                    And its what I am going to be looking into next as I'm sure it will take me to the next level, rapidly.

                    But when I first dedicated myself to getting better at copywriting, late last year, I didn't have the money for that. I didn't even really have the money for a course that cost me a few hundred dollars.

                    But I had a hand, some paper, a pen, and a good work ethic...

                    Handcopying ads was the only investment I was able to make using the assets I had available to me at the time and therefore the ROI was outstanding.

                    But here's the thing...

                    You have to be doing it "actively" and that's what I mean about learning styles.

                    More passive people will do better to read instruction, have structures and concepts shown to them, perhaps have a guided breakdown of an existing piece of copy, etc...

                    More active-learning people can benefit from handcopying if they use it as their teacher.

                    What I mean by that is that you shouldn't just blindly shut your brain off and start copying. Stop and look at the structure, how things are organized, the sentence syntax being used. Actually force yourself to think about the copy and learn something from it. Once you finish the ad, go back and look through it - in your handwriting - and explore it a little bit.

                    Then keep your binder of handwritten ads on hand and refer to it often.

                    I've done probably 100 letters and eventually started seeing similar patterns and trends, which as shawnlebrun mentioned, is really just learning about persuasion and salesmanship as it applies to the written word.

                    Now, I'm a bit more advanced...and I think this has DRAMATICALLY improved my work...I don't really handcopy ads anymore, unless I am starting a new project. And then I handcopy one that is in a similar niche, has a similar target prospect, speaks the same language, etc...

                    Essentially I copy something that will have a DIRECT impact on what I am going to be writing next and as I handcopy it, I make little notes on sentences, paragraphs, bullets, and whatever else that I may want to refer back to.

                    In any case, I stick to proven pieces of copy.

                    As was mentioned, for current stuff this can be hard to discern...it doesn't necessarily mean the VSLs at the top of the ClickBank rankings as those are heavily influenced by the lists/traffic being used by affiliates, the product/offer itself, etc...
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    If you're copying sales letters, you're doing the right thing already. Just keep at it. There are some free training courses on the internet as well, but it's rare to find any that are worth the money. You might want to consider purchasing a course from Dan Kennedy or someone of the like.
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    • Profile picture of the author svedski
      Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

      If you're copying sales letters, you're doing the right thing already. Just keep at it. There are some free training courses on the internet as well, but it's rare to find any that are worth the money. You might want to consider purchasing a course from Dan Kennedy or someone of the like.
      Thanks. Yeah, I've pretty much gone through every book and course on copywriting there is already.

      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun

      Even though the medium and how sales presentations will continue to change... the proven tactics of pure salesmanship will not.

      In other words, human psychology and what triggers buying really hasn't changed much in the past 100 years.

      Selling is selling... and it's simply giving people what they're already motivated to get.

      So, you'd do just as well studying the classics... and then just forming your own voice and process. I think the more you study everyone else, the less chance you are to develop your own unique voice and style.

      You will never, ever go wrong by learning from Claude Hopkins, Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, David Olgilvy, Eugene Schwartz, etc... and then just formulating your own unique voice and style.

      Are there great copywriters out there now, who are newer and up-and-coming? Yep... and there will continue to be, over and over.

      But again, it all goes back to the basics of understanding what makes people want to buy... so learn that and then develop your own voice. I've seen a lot of new writers study other writers so much, they almost "mirror" their style.

      Instead of learning from the new writers, study the classics and then formulate a voice/style so that YOU become the new hip writer.
      Thanks. And yeah, I know that already. I think I formulated my question wrong..so I'm reframing it:

      Are there any new copywriters that are on the same level (or even better) than the legends (Gary Halbert, Bencivenga, Mel Martin, John Carlton, Clayton Makepeace, Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy, Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham etc) that are worth studying?

      Because I've studied all of the above (and more), and I've learned different things from all of them. Would be nice to learn something new once again.

      Mike Humphreys: Same as above. I'm not looking for "what works now", I'm only asking if there are any new copywriters on the same level (or better) than the old-schoolers.

      Sorry if I didn't make that point clearly enough.
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Originally Posted by stolpioni View Post

        I'm only asking if there are any new copywriters on the same level (or better) than the old-schoolers.

        Sorry if I didn't make that point clearly enough.
        Have you studied the work of the people Clayton Makepeace
        mentored?

        Best,
        Ewen
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        • Profile picture of the author svedski
          Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

          Have you studied the work of the people Clayton Makepeace
          mentored?

          Best,
          Ewen
          Who are those guys?

          By the way, Alex Cohen: I'm sorry if I come across as rude or cocky. I am sure you have a lot more experience in Copywriting than I do, and I don't mean to neglect your opinion. As a matter of fact, I am thankful that you're taking the time to write in this thread, and for contributing.

          I'm going to keep copying out ads by hand however, because I feel like I learn a lot from doing so. And like Dan says, I don't doubt that having a coach would be the best way to go. It just doesn't fit into my reality at this moment since I have so many other things going on. Copywriting is not the only thing I do, I run a business as well.

          But having a coach/mentor would definitely be something to look into in the future. Thanks for the reminder.
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          • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
            Originally Posted by stolpioni View Post

            By the way, Alex Cohen: I'm sorry if I come across as rude or cocky. I am sure you have a lot more experience in Copywriting than I do, and I don't mean to neglect your opinion. As a matter of fact, I am thankful that you're taking the time to write in this thread, and for contributing.
            Classy move, dude. Well done.

            Couple important writers to seek out that I haven't seen mentioned yet:

            Kevin Rogers
            Anthony Flores
            Craig Clemmons
            Jon Benson

            Best,

            Brian
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

          Have you studied the work of the people Clayton Makepeace
          mentored?

          Best,
          Ewen
          These 2 have many controls at some of the
          largest direct mailers...

          Parris Lampropoulos
          Carline Anglade Cole

          Best,
          Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Even though the medium and how sales presentations will continue to change... the proven tactics of pure salesmanship will not.

    In other words, human psychology and what triggers buying really hasn't changed much in the past 100 years.

    Selling is selling... and it's simply giving people what they're already motivated to get.

    So, you'd do just as well studying the classics... and then just forming your own voice and process. I think the more you study everyone else, the less chance you are to develop your own unique voice and style.

    You will never, ever go wrong by learning from Claude Hopkins, Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, David Olgilvy, Eugene Schwartz, etc... and then just formulating your own unique voice and style.

    Are there great copywriters out there now, who are newer and up-and-coming? Yep... and there will continue to be, over and over.

    But again, it all goes back to the basics of understanding what makes people want to buy... so learn that and then develop your own voice. I've seen a lot of new writers study other writers so much, they almost "mirror" their style.

    Instead of learning from the new writers, study the classics and then formulate a voice/style so that YOU become the new hip writer.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
    Originally Posted by stolpioni View Post

    I was wondering if there are any new guys that are doing great things out there.
    I'd like to learn from someone new...is there anyone worth following?

    Right now I'm copying salesletters by hand...I've done so daily for the past 3-4 months. I'm up at around 50 letters now, and going to do 50 more.

    Any suggestions?
    I'm not sure why you're focusing on new(er) copywriters to study. Many new(er) copywriters have holes in their game. Many are still developing their overall skill levels with the long-term goal of becoming a well-known copywriter who regularly commands high fees.

    That's one of the major reasons why the names of well-known copywriters are tossed out as people to study.

    If you're wanting to study new(er) copywriters because you're wanting to figure out what's working best right now, then that's a different story. The better question then would be "What's working best right now".

    Even with what's working best now, you still need to have the skills to deconstruct and figure out why it's working now.

    For example...

    * Is the product being sold by a beloved celebrity? Some of the IM niche guru products would fall under this one.

    * Is the product making a great offer that's converts in spite of using sub-par copy?

    * Is the product pulling a high ClickBank gravity because of the work of affiliates preselling the product and not the product's salesletter itself?

    * Is the product hitting everything right: Targeted prospects, great offer, smoking good sales copy (text and/or VSL)>

    As for who/what to study, my advice is dependent on your budget.

    If you're on a tight budget then go the traditional route of reading some of the recommended books (see sticky thread in copywriting forum). Study the classic salesletters that converted very well and figure out WHY they worked.

    If you're not on a tight budget then I'd suggest going the route of coaching or mentoring as mentoring can quickly accelerate your marketing & copywriting skill sets.

    There are several previous threads in this forum on recommended copywriting coaches or mentors which you can turn up by using the search function found at the top of the forum menu.

    Hope that helps,

    Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
    John Forde. Ryan McGrath. Ben Settle. Ray Edwards. Vin Montello.

    Some names to start you off. Google will do the rest.

    --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author fasseyer
    John Forde. Ryan McGrath. Ben Settle. Ray Edwards. Vin Montello.

    Some names to start you off. Google will do the rest.

    --- Ross
    Michel Fortin and Daniel Levis come to my mind.
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    • Profile picture of the author ryanmcgee
      Don't forget about the top copywriter right now (in my humble but correct opinion)...

      Mike Palmer, copy chief of Stansberry & Associates
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    My 2 cents...

    A lot of the "names" out there aren't "names" because they're amazing copy gods...

    They're "names" because they're good at making people THINK they are.

    Big difference.

    Also, every writer is colored by their experience (which can make a big difference if they work in certain markets).

    Here's what I do...

    I find the guys who are spending tons on paid traffic, and break down their whole funnel.

    Landing page, VSLs, upsells, emails, etc.

    Taking apart just ONE of these in detail could take you at least a month of full time work.

    I'm finding more and more there are guys I've never heard of creating amazing VSLs - guys who only really work on their own products in their own niche.

    Also, what kind of market you want to take apart will depend on who you study.

    Good questions get good answers, after all.

    -Daniel
    Signature

    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author MIB Mastermind
    Chris Haddad and Jon Benson write some killer VSL's.

    Worth studying.
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