I want to learn. Please critique my process

13 replies
My Background and History

17 days ago I dropped Web Development and picked up a pen and pad. It was a drag pursuing code. The ‘learning sessions’ I had made myself endure made the blood in my body run backwards. The concepts just weren’t clicking.

It was torture.

It just wasn’t for me. It was terrifying slowly realizing the fact that I spent 2 years pursuing an A.S. degree that was ultimately useless...and it was my fault for not taking my own education in my hands.

I got fed up 17 days ago.

I realized that I lost track of my goals and my vision for my life.

I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to build software as a service companies (b2b).

It is my desire to add value by creating a team that builds software solutions that will improve the lives of business owners across several industries--and of course, fatten all wallets involved.

I’ve heard the importance of learning copy shouted from the rooftops from several sources...from those who are doing the very thing I aspire to do one day. And so...

It is my definite goal to learn and make money writing copy by May 2014. This is my definite purpose.

Why choose a date? I think it is good to press for a definite endpoint. All seeds planted must have an expected harvest date.

So, what’s my endgame? How do I picture my future as a freelance copywriter?

After months of dedication, I see myself using a pen and pad to generate money for my clients, and by extension, for myself. With that cash I can quickly bootstrap a software business, pay for developers and build beta versions of my applications (I can get pre-sells at this stage too). I can also pitch in and help game developers write better copy for their apps. I wish to use the pen to legally print money. Bottom line.

Fine n’ Dandy...but what’s your process?

As a rule I try to hand write ‘the legendary ads’ for 1 to 3 hrs a day. Generally once in the morning, and once before bed.

Books I’ve Read

Scientific Advertising
The Boron Letters
The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Getting Your Shit Together - Carlton (awesome read)
1 Gary Halbert Letter

Ad’s I’ve Written Out By Hand

Do You Make These Mistakes In English
http://www.theryanmcgrath.com/sackheim03

The Nancy L. Halbert Heraldry Letter
http://www.theryanmcgrath.com/coa.pdf

(headline) At 60 Miles An Hour The Loudest Noise In This Rolls Royce Is The Ticking Of The Electric Clock (Ogilvy).

Water Ad (Halbert)
The Gary Halbert Letter

Two Young Men (The Most Successful Letter In The History Of The World) WSJ
http://www.theryanmcgrath.com/WSJ_letter.pdf

Currently Writing

What Everybody Should Know About This Stock And Bond Business (12 pages in)
http://www.theryanmcgrath.com/This_S...d_Business.jpg

Other Stuff

I watch everything I can get my hands on by Dan Kennedy on youtube.

My Major Discovery

8 days ago I stumbled across this.
The Gary Halbert Letter
Gary Halbert’s recommendation on learning Copy.

I’m currently reading through The Robert Collier Letter Book.

In Closing

I've lurked on this forum for a while and came across the quick links for new copywriters and I picked up a suggestion to rewrite an ad for a Click Bank product. I've been reading and copying so far. I may need to create something of my own as well....

Please critique my process.

Thank you.
newleaf.
#critique #halbert #hand #learn #process
  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by newleaf View Post


    As a rule I try to hand write ‘the legendary ads’ for 1 to 3 hrs a day. Generally once in the morning, and once before bed.
    That's a smart move. One I suggest to every new copywriter.

    Few have the patience for it, so you're far ahead of most beginners in that.

    More important though, get in front of people (preferably your target market) and practice pitching ideas. Copywriting is selling and there's no substitute for in person selling experience. You see how people respond to you and you can learn much quicker.

    If you can afford a mentor, get one. It'll accelerate your learning dramatically.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8939285].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Mikesweeney
      You're doing all the right things here buddy. Keep it up.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8954640].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author newleaf
    Thanks for the tips and encouragement guys.

    To seth. I will get in front of my target market (well, on the phone at least). I've been sending out a few personalized email scripts to a few business owners. Eventually this will lead to selling them on paying me in advance to develop the software.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8954949].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
    I would try to write copy in the niche in which you want to eventually offer SAAS products. You can "print money" as you say with copywriting skills, but to me the writing is the easy part. Great copy always starts with deep knowledge of the prospect and their mental state.

    As an example, I wouldn't learn financial or health copywriting to generate cash for a SAAS in B2B. For any niche, you are going to spend a lot of time reading and researching. If you are going to do that much work, spend it in the area of business that excites you the most--SAAS, B2B, gaming, etc.

    You could also think of it as advanced research for your SAAS company down the line. Maybe you want to offer one service, but your copywriting research unearths a need for another, different SAAS service, possibly one that only you can fill and will make you rich at a young age. How does that sound?
    Signature
    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8955003].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author newleaf
    I see.

    Wow man this really makes me think twice about what niche to target. I haven't thought about pursing something in line with my interests.. (D'oh)

    I chose this niche based on financial information / growing trends. I'm not really connected to it...it was unrelated to my pivot into copywriting as well.

    I have work to do. Thanks for the tip.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8955154].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
      The copywriters I've known can write in any niche, although as they get established, they tend to specialize in the areas they have the most interest in.

      Take Gary Halbert, the great Master. He could write on anything because he used his research skills to uncover potential copy points, but he had a foundation of understanding human behavior.

      So my advice to you (take it or leave it) is to consider a 90 day program, the first 30 being dedicated to one hour a day of studying human nature. Then 2 months of writing.

      First day, google Abraham Maslow, read and SEE his pyramid, take notes.
      Day two copy Cialdini's weapons.
      Day three, Elmer Wheeler (video on youtube) and Elmer Leterman
      Day 4 Les Giblin
      5-Psychology behavior) wikipedia will work
      6-Robert Ringer
      On the seventh day spend your hour reviewing what you have learned and make bullet points for your own use re: salesmanship, primal preoccupations, human wants and needs.

      So, I suggest you build a solid foundation of understanding how humans behave BEFORE your try to persuade them to do anything.

      Do this for 30 days until you have copious notes on how our brains work what is on our mind, how do we process informatin. THEN, once you grasp how we think and act in general, then you can niche this down to ask questions about your TARGET market.

      Example, GOLF. Most want a longer TEE shot. And millions have been made with the big promise of longer drives.

      However, senior golfers in FL, may be more concerned with pain, so your message would be different or a combination, offer longer drives with a less stressful on the body golf swing. SEE?

      Learn salesmanship and psycholoagy first, then the process for writing makes a lot more sense.

      gjabiz

      PS. Questions??

      Originally Posted by newleaf View Post

      I see.

      Wow man this really makes me think twice about what niche to target. I haven't thought about pursing something in line with my interests.. (D'oh)

      I chose this niche based on financial information / growing trends. I'm not really connected to it...it was unrelated to my pivot into copywriting as well.

      I have work to do. Thanks for the tip.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8959396].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Petar P
        Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post


        PS. Questions??
        You gave stuff to study for the first 7 days. So, after the first seven days, should I repeat the same thing or study other books about persuasion and human nature?

        And do you still recommend this:
        Spend a couple of hours watching movies and taking notes.

        First up...learn the AIDCAS formula from Professor Harold Hill (the Robert Preston version) of The Music Man

        Then learn Hypnosis from Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry and if you like Sinclair, the book is great.

        On your notepad, write down the AIDCAS...Attention-Interest-Desire-Conclusion-Action-SATISFACTION and maybe the Six Cialdini principles too...which are:

        Reciprocity - Commitment and Consistency - Social Proof - Authority - Liking and Scarcity

        Then tune in an hour of Joel Olsteen...

        And in one afternoon, you have a complete course on INFLUENCE AND PERSUASION

        gjabiz

        PS. Consider Prof Hill's introduction of TROUBLE...with a Capital T ... right there in River City. And his winning over of the Mayor while winning the heart of the librarian.
        http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...ng-per-se.html
        ?
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8989705].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
          Day 8: Watch the Jay Abraham video on his site about how he got started. About 90 minutes or so. The take away...you're not so arrogant that you can read a book one time, with the distilled wisdom of a lifetime, and think that you KNOW what the author knows are you?...Jay uses Caples as an example.

          Day 9: Answer these questions:
          Do you now understand people are preoccupied with their own lives?
          Do you get that a guy could be on a list of buyers, yet he is still a self absorbed person?
          Do you know why a person born into an affluent family thinks differently than one born into a poor family?
          Do you know why an emotional appeal is almost always superior to a logical one? And when it isn't?
          Do you get that 2 out of 100 yes responses in direct response can make you a living and how 3 can make you rich?
          Do you get that many successful promotions FAIL to 90% to 97% of the people who are exposed to them?
          Do you understand how hard it really is to get people to part with money for what you are selling?
          Day 10: Watch the original Music Man and then write a few paragraphs about his persuasion and influence techniques. How many of the Cialdini keys did you find? How many Wheelerpoints? how did he apply the AIDCAS formula?
          Day 11: Read anything you can find online about Adolph Hitler and his use of persuasion, hypnosis and/or influence technique in the early years, before he had the gun to the head persuasion technique mastered.
          Day 12: If you haven't started a notebook, do so now and bring it up to date, use at least one page per day and write down what you learned or discovered.
          Day 13: Buy a book. Search Kindle for a non-fiction book which appeals to you. Let the best written copy about the book be your choice. you can probably find one for 99 cents...once you have paid for it, write out your reasons for buying it. You are going to self analyze your decision.

          DAY 14. REVIEW everything. WRITE a summary about everything, start it with Now that I am aware of____________. I get that copywriting is all about ________. And tell yourself on one page what you think you know about writing effective copy after two weeks of unusual study. Then get ready to start writing.

          gjabiz

          PS My contention is most people lack the foundation to build on, the exceptions being those who have studied psychology, behavior or have actually had to rely on selling skills to make a living. My 30 days is a shortcut to awareness of the preoccupational states of mind and how you must craft your copy with a grasp of the target, the person you want to persuade. It is the biggest mistake I see newer copywriters make; thinking that a template or a swipe will work, without really grasping the importance of knowing your market.

          The biggest mistake is a mismatch between target and message, made due to lack of understanding your target's state of mind when it intersects with the copy.


          Originally Posted by PetarPrchkov View Post

          You gave stuff to study for the first 7 days. So, after the first seven days, should I repeat the same thing or study other books about persuasion and human nature?

          And do you still recommend this:
          ?
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8990345].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author newleaf
    Wow this advice is gold gjabiz. I'll follow it.

    An hour a day studying human nature is the least I can do.

    I copied your post into my Evernote, I'll integrate it into my process.

    Thanks!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8960545].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Petar P
    Gordon, thanks a lot. You rock.

    Anyone(especially if he is a beginner) who doesn't follow the advice you give is nuts. I will make studying human nature part of my process.

    However, sethczerepak was right about going out and practicing pitching ideas to see how people respond.

    So, I am still considering volunteering for a job in sales, or...

    to find something to sell, either door to door, or buy and resell stuff.

    Most and probably all great direct marketers like Ogilvy, Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, Jim Straw, Ben Suarez, Ted Nicholas, Jay Abraham, Eugene Schwartz, Bill Bonner, Frank Kern...

    ...and many others were door to door salesmen. Lot of beginner copywriters/entrepreneurs like me lack that experience in sales.


    Petar

    P.S. Did you find "7 Steps to Freedom II?"
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8990591].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
      BEST thing you can do is to take a sales job where they train you.

      Re: 7 Steps, I believe it is on a broken flash drive, I'm trying to have the data recovered, but so far, local guys can't fix it...still looking for a digital copy, if I find one, I'll let you know.

      At 10, I learned words were magic and could make people do things. And a guy gave me two books, Elmer Wheeler's Tested Sentences That Sell and Elmer Leterman's The Sale Begins When the Customer Says No. Both were things I had just experienced while selling flowers door to door.

      In 1986-87 I was one of the best Apple Computer Salesman in the country,. selling the snot out of the llc lle, and the new Mac. Spent half my life in sales, best education any copywriter could have, in one more opinion, mine.

      gjabiz


      Originally Posted by PetarPrchkov View Post

      Gordon, thanks a lot. You rock.

      Anyone(especially if he is a beginner) who doesn't follow the advice you give is nuts. I will make studying human nature part of my process.

      However, sethczerepak was right about going out and practicing pitching ideas to see how people respond.

      So, I am still considering volunteering for a job in sales, or...

      to find something to sell, either door to door, or buy and resell stuff.

      Most and probably all great direct marketers like Ogilvy, Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, Jim Straw, Ben Suarez, Ted Nicholas, Jay Abraham, Eugene Schwartz, Bill Bonner, Frank Kern...

      ...and many others were door to door salesmen. Lot of beginner copywriters/entrepreneurs like me lack that experience in sales.


      Petar

      P.S. Did you find "7 Steps to Freedom II?"
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8990807].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ASCW
    You are doing it right.

    There's another Gary Halbert Letter about bullets.
    He gives a bunch of Carlton bullets, and tells you to copy them all.

    Then he challenges you do find more in the real world, and copy those.

    Do it.
    Signature

    Site being revamped.

    If you want help with copy stuff, pm me.

    Cool.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8995657].message }}

Trending Topics