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What is the best way to learn copywriting?

Miorin

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I want to fully immerse myself into this subject.

I realized that even though the competition in U.S/English is insane, there are almost no copywriters here in Brazil.

I just got some books:

Cashvertising
The Copywriter Handbook, Third Edition
Scientific Advertising
My life in Advertising
The Robert Collier Letter Book

What is the best way to learn copy?

Copy great ads by hand?
Write my own?
Read great copy until I pass out?

Background:
17y
Native Language: Portuguese
I have a product and I need to write a copy right now to sell it
No job
Summerbreak until Febuary 1, I have no obligations right now, so I can fully immerse myself in it
 

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Roz

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The best way to learn copywriting is to read the below GOLD thread.

GOLD! - 15 Days to Freedom - Make Money Copywriting in 15 Days or Less

Lex is the name when it comes to copywriting game.

He knows copywriting,NLP and other awesome stuff which you will see when you read the above thread.

Follow that thread and do the homework he gives you on that very same thread.

As for copywriting books, just pickup Cashvertising and go with it after you finish Lex's thread. You won't need any other copy books.
 

ZF Lee

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The best way to learn copywriting is to read the below GOLD thread.

GOLD! - 15 Days to Freedom - Make Money Copywriting in 15 Days or Less

Lex is the name when it comes to copywriting game.

He knows copywriting,NLP and other awesome stuff which you will see when you read the above thread.

Follow that thread and do the homework he gives you on that very same thread.

As for copywriting books, just pickup Cashvertising and go with it after you finish Lex's thread. You won't need any other copy books.
I felt that Cashvertising is more of a general book where it serves as a glossary of copywriting concepts and tricks.

I am currently reading Michael Masterson's Great Leads. Good, clarifying read. Not only does he organizes the quotes of many copywriters such as Eugene Schwartz, he explains and puts their reasonings together to come up with a few types of LEADS that cater the the various awareness stages of the prospect. Taking note of the awareness stage of the buyer was something that I failed to take note of back then, so when I first wrote copy, it turned out directionless and bland.
 

jon.M

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What is the best way to learn copy?
The books you're listing are good. But what I've observed with people who are starting out with copywriting, and read all the commonly recommended copywriting books, is that they copy those writer's styles TOO much.

Which is bad. Copywriting isn't to write in a certain way. It's not to use power words in your headlines. It's not writing in a really vivid way. It's not hand-copying sales letters until your fingers turn purple and need to be amputated. It's not writing like Russel Brunson, Joanna Wiebe or Joe Sugarman.

The #1 rule with copywriting is to (gasp) make people buy.

And there is no cookie-cutter technique that hacks the process for you. You just need to dive into the psyche of your customers. Understand them as much you can. Do a lot of deep thinking. And once you've done that, you need to take that understanding and create the perfect buying environment for your ideal customers.

I don't know if it's true, but I heard Gary Halbert went door to door trying to sell a product before writing a sales letter for it. That way, he could see people's reactions to certain pitches, hear what they disliked and liked about it and what responses put down objections.

That's a smart move. He found out what people actually thought. Instead of sitting in his ivory tower and assuming that other people would just love to buy his product for $99 and that his sales letter would spell-bind anyone who read it. Without pondering over if a bucket brigade on line 15 would increase sales.

You need to focus on the human. The writing is important but it's only a medium for your message. You need to have a good message first.

If I were to start learning copywriting again:

I would read some psychology books -- Influence and Pre-fluence by Cialdini are a good start -- and put that knowledge to use. I'd read up on my product. I'd browse forums, websites and FB groups that are relevant to the products, and learn those people's lingo, find out what's important to them etc. I'd maybe message them and ask questions. I'd try to sell my product and see what people say.
 

whiz

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Since you bought those books

Read Scientific Advertising first - it's the bible of copywriting

David Ogilvy said anyone working in advertising should have to read it 7 times before they write their first ad

Haven't read it 7 times but you should read it 1x per year at least - it is the soil that all modern advertising grew from

After that read The Gary Halbert Letters (Boron Letters) and watch all the videos about him and his life, as well as any interviews you can find. Follow his advice in creating your own swipe file and reading/copying frequently. I think there's a website swiped.co that has a pretty good swipe file. Use this as a reference.

Watch John Carlton's interview with Tony Robbins... search "Confessions of a Marketing Rebel" on YouTube. He is great.

Then read "Hey Whipple Squeeze This"

Then just start writing all the time and test your stuff - write a bunch in forums, write sales letters and send them out, just write and try to convince people to do stuff.

And just keep writing, but more important testing. Hopefully you can write for a website or make your own, or just send out letters, like I said

Also read Ogilvy on Advertising

All 4 books I listed in this post are the holy grail of copywriting books in my opinion... in that order too.

Scientific Advertising
Boron Letters
Hey Whipple Squeeze This
Ogilvy on Advertising

Honorable mention goes to the book "Hidden Persuaders" - not a copywriting book like the other 4, but a great book on marketing psychology and its history and application

But the most important part is that you read the copy of great copywriters and then write your own copy and develop your own style, complete with personality and emotion

I love Gary Halbert and personally think he's the best copywriter of all time, that's just me tho.

Good luck

edit: I can't believe I've never read the Robert Collier book - gotta add it to my list. Gary said to read, I just forgot to...
 

ZF Lee

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The books you're listing are good. But what I've observed with people who are starting out with copywriting, and read all the commonly recommended copywriting books, is that they copy those writer's styles TOO much.

Which is bad. Copywriting isn't to write in a certain way. It's not to use power words in your headlines. It's not writing in a really vivid way. It's not hand-copying sales letters until your fingers turn purple and need to be amputated. It's not writing like Russel Brunson, Joanna Wiebe or Joe Sugarman.

The #1 rule with copywriting is to (gasp) make people buy.

And there is no cookie-cutter technique that hacks the process for you. You just need to dive into the psyche of your customers. Understand them as much you can. Do a lot of deep thinking. And once you've done that, you need to take that understanding and create the perfect buying environment for your ideal customers.

I don't know if it's true, but I heard Gary Halbert went door to door trying to sell a product before writing a sales letter for it. That way, he could see people's reactions to certain pitches, hear what they disliked and liked about it and what responses put down objections.

That's a smart move. He found out what people actually thought. Instead of sitting in his ivory tower and assuming that other people would just love to buy his product for $99 or whatever. Without worrying about if a bucket brigade on line 15 would increase sales.

You need to focus on the human. The writing is important but it's only a medium for your message. You need to have a good message first.

If I were to start learning copywriting again:

I would read some psychology books -- Influence and Pre-fluence by Cialdini are a good start -- and put that knowledge to use. I'd read up on my product. I'd browse forums, websites and FB groups that are relevant to the products, and learn those people's lingo, find out what's important to them etc. I'd maybe message them and ask questions. I'd try to sell my product and see what people say.
I also subscribe to several emails to read. I read their content and how they promote new products.

Copy style is not the only thing that is important. It is the understanding of how the world works that helps you write. When you take breaks and edit, your brain can use what you know unconsciously as a library.

I classify the emails I have now for this purpose:

General emails
For general knowledge and news (e.g. Quora Digest, Hustle). Just take 30 seconds to skim thru.

Copywriting-specific emails
For some specific copywriting stuff (Kopywriting). I read how their promote their materials or articles, if any. I don't spent a lot of time and focus reading these though, as somehow they say the same stuff over and over again.

Industry-specific emails
Very important here.

You might find that you can write good copy for a specific niche or industry. Health, finance, education. Rarely do you become a copywriter that 'writes everything and anything'.

At the moment, I have emails from tech/programming bootcamps, language educational courses and health (SHTF once in a while suggests some health stuff as opposed to their doomsday end-of-the-world drivel lol), since I am interested in health and education niches.
 

whiz

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But what I've observed with people who are starting out with copywriting, and read all the commonly recommended copywriting books, is that they copy those writer's styles TOO much.

Which is bad.
The #1 rule with copywriting is to (gasp) make people buy.
This sums it up.

Good copy makes $$$, end of story.

The best copy is a result of really really really good market research.

You must understand your target, inside out.

Then you write in a style so you sound like one of their peers.

You know how when a friend tells you to go check out a restaurant, and they sell it to you real good because they know what you like? That's how you have to write

The John Carlton interview is great because he talks about grabbing "Wow Facts" (Gary Halbert's technique) and using them to create a tagline that gives people permission to buy.

People buy emotionally and justify rationally. Give them permission to buy.

Maybe John Doe wasn't going to buy that new car, but your copy said "It's the safest car tested in 2018 - they put wine glasses in the car and then did a test crash, and all the wine glasses were still in tact!" blah blah

John Doe has kids and a wife that worries about the kids. This was your target market. You knew this before you wrote the ad.

Now you gave him permission to buy, and a tagline to parrot back to his wife to rationalize it to her as well.

So he tells his wife "It's the safest car tested in 2018 - they put wine glasses in the car and then did a test crash, and all the wine glasses were still in tact!"

I wrote it exactly the same both times purposely.

Because that's what you want to do in your copy. You want to pass an emotion/idea so clearly that he can't help but use it as his rationale behind justifying the purchase.

Watch next time a big product or something comes out, or when an event happens - most people just talk about 1 or 2 things. You hear the same damn sentence over and over... almost verbatim

People just need permission to buy, that's it

They already want to buy but you have to make them feel "not bad" for buying, that's all
 
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Miorin

Miorin

Contributor
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Jul 13, 2018
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Thanks for the help, everyone!

I'm not just doing the Gary Halbert Challenge and learning copy for only 30 days.

I want to be really good at it. I'm in it for the long term. I'll be following all advices.

Read 151 pages of cashvertising and finished my first copy today.

T

Maybe John Doe wasn't going to buy that new car, but your copy said "It's the safest car tested in 2018 - they put wine glasses in the car and then did a test crash, and all the wine glasses were still in tact!" blah blah

John Doe has kids and a wife that worries about the kids. This was your target market. You knew this before you wrote the ad.
Thanks, @whiz! Implemented it in my copy.

I did my homework and I found out that a lot of parents bought the product for their child. Added 2 lines to my copy:

Being honest, you could even teach it to a child! If you do it, she is really lucky.

That's the system I wanted them to teach me when I was younger.

[them - school] [ The copy is in Portuguese, translated it.]

Niche - Educational Program

I got a product to sell, so I can throw it on the market and test the effectiveness of the copy once it has social proof.

Struggles: Call to action
 
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whiz

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Thanks for the help, everyone!

I'm not just doing the Gary Halbert Challenge and learning copy for only 30 days.

I want to be really good at it. I'm in it for the long term. I'll be following all advices.

Read 151 pages of cashvertising and finished my first copy today.



Thanks, @whiz! Implemented it in my copy.

I did my homework and I found out that a lot of parents bought the product for their child. Added 2 lines to my copy:

Being honest, you could even teach it to a child! If you do it, she is really lucky.

That's the system I wanted them to teach me when I was younger.

[them - school] [ The copy is in Portuguese, translated it.]

Niche - Educational Program

I got a product to sell, so I can throw it on the market and test the effectiveness of the copy once it has social proof.

Struggles: Call to action
John Carlton has 4 simple rules when writing copy:

1. Explain who you are
2. Explain what you have for them
3. Explain how it will benefit them
4. Tell them what to do now

Everything else can be creative, but you should fit around this mold.

If your offer is amazing, CTA can be as simple as ‘Call Now’

Just tell them ONE THING to do, explicitly and clearly

Text 555-555-5555
Go to MyWebsite.com
Come to 123 ABC Road at 2 PM

Call to action is simple and clear


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Siddhartha

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Bookmarking this hearty copywriting thread.

I've made writing practice copy a daily thing for myself after finishing Lex's 15-day challenge, but I feel that I'm doing more of my own thing instead of writing copy.

Now,

Lex specifically states it's better to be influential and doing your own thing rather than copying the DM greats of the 80s-90s, but I just feel like I'm not stacking up at all.

Did anyone else feel the same going into copy?

(I'm aware that a good solution is just taking on jobs, I'm putting out proposals on UW and reaching out to local businesses already, but this is taking time to build steam)
 

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Thiago Machado

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Hey,
I'm currently living in Brazil too :)

Here's what I'd recommend:

1. Read all of @Lex DeVille's stuff.

2. Buy his Udemy courses.

3. And start writing copy (either for yourself or for clients)

There's one guy in Brazil who I stumbled upon called Roberto Altenhofen.

He's the copywriter for Empiricus (I'm sure you're aware of who they are here).

His style of copy is just like Agora Financial's and other major financial publishers.

And he provides a lot of great resources and tips too.

Be sure to check him out.
 
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D.Navi

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@Miorin

Since the 'best' way to learn copy is too broad a topic to discuss and there's plenty of great advice above from other members, I'll just share a few general (yet potentially game-changing) tips that work for me:
  • Have a copy warm-up ritual. Every morning before I put down a single word down I set a timer for 30-60 minutes. First I read a chapter or two of a copywriting/marketing/psychology book (I also pen down some actionable notes).

    After I do that I hand-copy an old ad while thinking deeply about its structure. I try to recognize the techniques I learn from the books and see how the copywriter used them.

    This warm-up does two things -- it 1) primes me and 'gets the juices flowing' for writing, and 2) prevents information overload, because I apply those bite-sized insights I learn into my own copy.

  • Don't get stuck in the learning loop. Write copy. As crazy as it sounds, the only real way to get good at copywriting is... to... write copy!
    Great artists create art every day. Great swimmers swim every day. Great copywriters... well you catch my drift.
    Set a target to write for 3 hours every day.
    Blog posts, mock-up ads, forum posts, Upwork proposals, cold emails, journaling, ads for things lying around your house... It doesn't matter what it is.
    English isn't your native language, so you need tons of practice to make up for it.

  • Write for feedback. This was (and sometimes still is) my #1 pitfall when writing copy.
    You should aim to get some for of feedback on the copy you write. If you only write in a vacuum you will soon drive yourself insane.
    Usually this is how it goes for me: self-doubt creeps in, you start thinking everyone is better than you, and you don't know if you're actually getting better at this copywriting thing or you're spinning your wheels.
    So preserve your sanity -- write to get feedback.

  • Read fiction. This really helped my writing in very subtle ways I still can't explain to myself. Coming up with stories is somehow easier. My writing is more descriptive and visual. Some very cool metaphors come to me out of nowhere.
    (The James Bond novels are great if you aren't sure where to begin -- they suck you right in the story.)

    By the way, these tips are coming from someone who went from a clueless, non-native rookie copywriter... to a half-decent one who writes sales copy for actual paying clients.

    So give 'em a try. I really hope they help you out, because I've been there.

    (And try not to forget about them the instant you click away from this thread.)
 

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