HOW DO REAL COPYWRITERS MOTIVATE THEMSELVES????

29 replies
Dear Warriors,

Copy writing is an art and a science and its main function is to ultimately sell and rack up numbers for yourself or your clients/employers.

Now, I'm a writer by profession and as far as writing copy is concerned, I'm not afraid to admit that compared to some of the big names here, I'm a rank rookie, but definitely not that far behind either...or am I?

I began writing for a living full time back in somewhere around mid 2004, and I haven't looked back ever since. Along the way, I've developed a few products and offers on my own and have written my own copy too! Most of these have done really well, especially the later ones. Some of my early projects were... well, learning experiences...

Now, based on my experiences, I sincerely do believe I can write hard hitting, number crunching sales letters, and I say this because my copy has made me great profits on some of my hard-to-sell products as well!

I'm not tooting my own horn here, just saying that whenever it came down to writing copy to sell my own products, I could do it. And the words almost always came to me automatically!

Off late, some of my regular clients have asked me to write sales copy for them and offered me decent money to do it! The problem is, as much as I want to write great copy for them, I'm unable to find the motivation within! The words just don't flow as easily as they do when I'm writing for my own products, and somehow my mind blocks up!

I desperately want to make a name for myself as a copywriter but this mental block is proving too daunting and needless to say, annoying right now!

I want to hear from some of the experienced guys here....HOW DO YOU DO IT?? What's your secret to motivate yourself to write great copy for others, besides the cash of course....What do you do to get yourself going for someone else??

Help a noob out...cheers...
Jay B.
#copywriters #motivate #real
  • Profile picture of the author copywarrior
    No problem man...Am in a bit of rut with this whole situation at the moment...hope some of the big guns speak up soon...btw, thanks for your input too...cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
    For me, it's a couple of things...

    I find a velvet thread, a story line/scenario to work with - this sort of thing I totally love writing.

    I find the benefits of the product and get totally lost in how wonderful the product is and how happy it can make the people who need it. One of my raison d'etre is to help others. When I can understand how important it can be to someone, that makes me excited and eager to tell someone about how it can help.

    I am extremely deadline-oriented. I absolutely HATE to miss a deadline by even as much as a day, and I'll contact the client immediately, once I know I need more time than originally agreed on.

    Hope this helps,
    Dot

    PS - Jay, it does not sound like you're the noob you say you are. Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author copywarrior
      Dorothydot

      Hey, Thanks for revealing some of the things that motivate you... and I agree with you...it's very important to want to genuinely help someone to be able to deliver great copy for them...but Could that really be the Key motivator when it comes to writing great copy?

      P.S. Thanks for the good luck wishes too...think I'm going to need it

      Colmodwyer:

      Yes, I do spend hours researching...I take the time out to know and understand my client's product thoroughly before I even try penning down a single word...I want to know, not what needs to be done to write copy...but what a copy writer does to motivate themselves to write great copy...cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    I'm not tooting my own horn here, just saying that whenever it came down to writing copy to sell my own products, I could do it. And the words almost always came to me automatically!
    Maybe you're not doing enough research?

    Obviously you know your own products inside and out; so the words come automatically. But you won't know your clients products as well, hence the writer's block... IF you're not doing proper research.

    That's my theory anyway.

    Colm
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Originally Posted by copywarrior View Post

    Dear Warriors,

    Off late, some of my regular clients have asked me to write sales copy for them and offered me decent money to do it! The problem is, as much as I want to write great copy for them, I'm unable to find the motivation within! The words just don't flow as easily as they do when I'm writing for my own products, and somehow my mind blocks up!

    Jay B.
    This is not unusual. I know a couple talented copywriters who
    wouldn't write for anyone else. They are smart like you! They know
    that they can make more money writing for themselves.

    I have the opposite 'problem' to you--It takes a lot of motivation
    for me to write for myself, but I give my clients my best. I love
    helping people, so the money is not a motivation for me (keeps
    my wife in a good mood though) but the thrill of clients getting
    great results does give me a high.

    Deadlines keep me motivated as well. I think I would get bored
    if I just wrote for myself. The challenge of learning a new product
    and writing a persuasive piece for it keeps me in this business.

    So the bottom line is that you shouldn't feel that there is something
    wrong because you are more excited about your own products
    than writing for others. At least you'll make more money for yourself!

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Why not work on client and your own projects?

      It's one thing I've found really works for me. Every project is different... different niches, different clients, different benefit for me (instant cash vs. building my own info-product empire). My wife loves the cash from copywriting... like Ray said, it's an easy way to keep her in a good mood.

      Personally, I really like helping other people... and if I can do something that helps them become more successful, that's awesome.

      Another factor I found helps with motivation is to only work on projects that you are really interested or passionate about. If you accept a project just for the cash and you personally don't enjoy the niche/topic you'll be writing on then it's going to be really hard to get motivated to write emotionally charged copy that converts well for your client.

      Hope that helps,

      Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author copywarrior
        You've got a great point there Mike, in some of the projects that I've had to turn down recently, the client lost me two minutes into describing his product...it's very important to like the niche you're writing a sales letter for...but then if you're trying to make a living as a Copy Writer...is that really enough?

        A good copywriter should be able to sell Ice Cream to an Eskimo...what does he do when he hates the flavor of the ice-cream....he lies... right? But what could be the best way to motivate yourself to do that....

        I guess, the key really really lies in wanting to help the guy who made the ice cream...or is there more to it than meets the eye....?
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
          If it's a project that you're not really interested in or don't like then you won't do your best work.

          Your best work is what builds your portfolio and allows you to command higher fees. Your best work is what gets you more repeat business, referrals, and public recognition. The public recognition is things like people recommending you as a "top" copywriter in forums like this one.

          Focus on creating business relationships with your clients. Your first project should be the first of hopefully many projects together. Don't treat it as a cash grab or just a means to pay your bills in the short-term.

          If you are, then it's very likely that you have a marketing problem. In my opinion, you aren't marketing yourself very well. You need to market yourself to the point where you can choose which projects you want to do because they excite you and NOT what ones fall in your lap.

          Hope that helps,

          Mike
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        • Profile picture of the author Raydal
          Originally Posted by copywarrior View Post


          A good copywriter should be able to sell Ice Cream to an Eskimo...what does he do when he hates the flavor of the ice-cream....he lies... right?
          This might be called persuasion but it is not good copywriting. You want
          to write for a product that people want; that there is a demand for, the
          'hungry crowd'. If there is not demand for your product, then you'll
          end up lying to make some sales--not good.

          I don't have to be excited about a product to write for it, but if the
          product creator is then I can capture that for him. At the same time
          product owners prefer if you as the copywriter are excited about the
          product. They want you to fall in love with it.

          -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 CDarklock
          Originally Posted by copywarrior View Post

          what does he do when he hates the flavor of the ice-cream....he lies... right?
          WRONG.

          He talks about something other than whether the flavour of the ice cream is good.

          Let's say you're selling motor oil flavoured ice cream. (Yes, it exists.) You probably are not going to eat any of it, so you don't even know how it tastes.

          But you can talk about the smooth, slick consistency of the product; the deep golden color, like straight out of the bottle; and the perfectly nuanced aroma that could come from nothing else. You'll know it's authentic even before you taste it.

          Not a single lie in the bunch.

          The key is to find the things about the product that you can be passionate about, locating the positive qualities that are in ANYTHING if you just look hard enough and open yourself to the possibility.

          The key to being a good writer at all is the ability to see things from someone else's perspective; when your main character loves something you don't love, you still have to convince your reader - who quite possibly DOES love that something - that your character loves it. So on some level, in some way, you have to not only research the subject so as not to sound like an idiot... you have to love it. You have to connect with it on the same level you connect with other things you love.

          So when you're writing copy, you have to find some way to fall in love with the product. If it's hard to do, maybe you shouldn't be selling that product. If you find this hard with too many products, maybe copywriting isn't for you.
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          "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • Profile picture of the author copywarrior
    Mike,

    Thanks for the great advice, especially the first part, although I don't have a marketing problem, it's only my existing clients who've come to me with projects thus far...

    but yes the bit about not starting off with copy writing as a means to pay your bills makes good sense....thanks man...that really does explain a few of the problems I've been having in finding motivation...not work....cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
    "A good copywriter should be able to sell Ice Cream to an Eskimo...what does he do when he hates the flavor of the ice-cream....he lies... right?"

    WRONG! Perhaps a good salesman can do this... but it's not MY idea of selling!

    I refuse to sell something that will not help improve the readers' lives, that won't fulfill the promises I make in my copy.

    I absolutely refuse to lie. NEVER.

    If I can't get excited about how the product truly can help someone's life be better, about the dream that the product fulfills, then I absolutely walk away.

    This is not an option. A good example of this is MLMs.

    My mottos says it all: I sell the magic of a dream. Selling harps, I constantly paint the picture of magic. The sound IS magical. I play it in the back yard, and birds come around and sing! This is the only instrument that will play by itself - just place it outside on a windy day. No wonder the druids thought it was magic! And the pure tone even pierces through comas - I have had the deep honor of playing for the dying. And it doesn't take a genius to sense the soul's release, making peace with its impending journey.

    This is magic. This is a dream. This is what I sell when I sell a product. Not just fingers plucking strings and reading black notes on white paper stuck on a music stand.

    No. Music is the language of the soul. It allows you to express the inexpressable, any time you want.

    This is what I sell. This is why I sell. I want to help anyone interested to share in the dream!

    Hope this helps,
    Dot
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    It's not like you can write a sales letter for tampons targeted to men and expect them to buy.
    Well it would beat dribbling piss into your y-fronts.

    Colm
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    • Profile picture of the author copywarrior
      Originally Posted by colmodwyer View Post

      Well it would beat dribbling piss into your y-fronts.

      Colm

      LOL...that's funny man.....now I've got ice tea sprayed all over my laptop..
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  • Profile picture of the author lazyfrog
    Hey I was just wondering if the copywriters buy products sold via sales pages. I mean people with that much calibre can see through the page.
    Lol I am a n00b. what do I know?
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    • Profile picture of the author procopywriter
      I'm with Ray. I have a VERY difficult time writing for myself. Most of us are near-sighted when it comes to our own business and products.

      It's much easier for me to be objective about someone else's product or service. I can see through THEIR myopia and get at the real benefits, angle, positioning, etc. I want to use.

      As for motivation, I just love doing it. I want to see the sales come in as a result of my copy. I want the pat on the back for doing such a great job. That's what really motivates me.

      Originally Posted by lazyfrog View Post

      Hey I was just wondering if the copywriters buy products sold via sales pages. I mean people with that much calibre can see through the page.
      Lol I am a n00b. what do I know?
      Hehe.... we're just as susceptible as anyone to a good sales pitch, to tell the truth! I can't tell you how many times I was desperate to buy--and actually bought--because I was only "studying" a sales letter!

      I think many of the other guys can relate to that, too!
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by procopywriter View Post

        Hehe.... we're just as susceptible as anyone to a good sales pitch, to tell the truth!
        More so:

        "Doubtless the pleasure is as great
        Of being cheated as to cheat."

        When you sell to people, you actually like to be sold. There's a part of you that delights in it, that internally claps with glee whenever your better judgment is overcome and you click "Buy Now" when you know you shouldn't. And when you get a piece of absolute shite in return, you're somehow even happier. I mean, that was an awesome pitch! It even sold you this garbage!

        The danger, of course, is that normal people don't think this way. So you can't let your own abnormal sensibilities direct your efforts.
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        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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        • Profile picture of the author copywarrior
          thanks to all practicing copywriters for some great advice in this thread...other's are welcome to contribute...cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author PsiCat
    I'm only just sticking my toe in the waters for writing my own copy, but I did write short stories for a time, and writers block was an issue that I had deal with in that profession too.

    a couple things that helped me:
    1) Set aside about 10 minutes before you plan to put a single word to paper and do nothing. Clear you head, relax. Meditate. Whatever it takes. During that 10 minutes, invariably all these little distractions pop up that would take me out of the moment, but eventually my thoughts would settle down and then I would be in a remarkably "clear" frame of mine to begin the real task at hand. Sometime's I'd even get a genuine "Eurika!" moment while in the mental stillness, and then I would be so excited to begin writing that I nothing could stop me!

    2) Let your customer be your motivation. For writing stories, I thought of this as creating an enjoyable experience for all the folks that I would never meet directly... I would brighten their day a little and earn a few bucks on the side as a bonus.

    As a Copywriter, you have something akin to magic: For your client, particularly one new to the market, your words might actually open a whole new life to them: Financial security, quit the day job, get out of debt... whatever. It can potentially be life altering for them, and I should think that would be extremely satisfying to know that you helped make that happen.

    For your client's customer, you will hopefully be showing them how to make their lives better by showing what a great fit the product is to fullfil their needs/desires.

    It's a two-fer! For me, that's a powerful motivator!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
    Who says you have to write for clients?

    If your own projects are profitable and you enjoy them then doesn't it make sense to follow that path?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Dhuli
    I believe most professional copywriters would agree when I say that...

    Writing high-converting copy is in itself a challenge and a motivation.

    However... regardless of what you do... boredom can creep into your work
    from time to time, and the best thing one can do is take a break for a while.

    A couple of months ago I was just bored to death of writing copy. I couldn't
    complete a single sentence without getting annoyed.

    So I took some time off and didn't write any copy for a month.

    Thanks to that break, I got my enthusiasm back again.


    Hope that helps,

    Dean
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    • Profile picture of the author Dima Kritchevski
      Originally Posted by Dean Dhuli View Post


      A couple of months ago I was just bored to death of writing copy. I couldn't
      complete a single sentence without getting annoyed.

      So I took some time off and didn't write any copy for a month.

      Thanks to that break, I got my enthusiasm back again.
      Great advice, but I think the problem might be a little more specific than just getting sick of writing copy... It's moreso writing copy for OTHER people if i understood correctly...

      I have a similar problem... End of the day working for yourself is much more lucrative and rewarding in the long run so If you feel that's what you should be doing than just do it but the experience, confidence and money you get from clients is fantastic too and will help you tremedously in the long run.

      My recommendation is a simple one.. become a master at gathering swipe files on similar offers and model the crap out of the successful ones. I'm not suggesting plagiarism, im suggesting solid research!

      Nothing speeds up your copywriting on a fresh project more than having 3-7 succesful control pieces sitting right next to you to model and draw inspiration from.

      Than find a killer story or hook and get writing!
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      • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
        Copywriting is very close to writing poetry. Every word needs to be spot-on.

        There's an old writerly (?) saying, When you write, you WRITE. When you EDIT you EDIT. And ne'er the twain shall meet.

        It's a good thing to write brain-dump style to get your basic draft down. Then take a break - half-day to whenever you can (2 weeks?) and let the whole thing simmer gently in your subconscious. So when you do start your editing phase, you'll be pleasantly surprised how it flows.

        Swipe files are something to be used, imo, as a last resort; and then just for inspiration. You need to develop and preserve your own writing style.

        There is one HUGE "but" here - you are most certainly welcome to use - even plagerize - your own previous writing projects! This is a great way to save time and get yourself going.

        Hope this helps,
        Dot
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  • Profile picture of the author webmatic
    I am not a professional copywriter as of yet but i think so copywriting is something that gets more and more better when you start writing. The comments/ratings/reviews by clients give you more idea of how to motivate yourself.
    You are a writer by profession now (as you mentioned) so i hope you know the skills needed for this as a starter people usually give out free writing services to get an idea about how they write and what should they ask for the writing services.
    I believe in "you get what you pay for" but its sometimes like "you pay if you get what needed"
    Thanks
    Webmatic
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