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Copywriting Learn Copywriting

How Can I Start Writing Copy? 7 Rules…

Man asking How Can I Start Writing Copy

So, you want to know how to start writing copy.  Admirable.

We’ll approach this noble goal by laying out some obvious, and some not so obvious, caveats.

  • One – Don’t start in the middle.
  • Two – Don’t rely solely on Free Content.
  • Three – Don’t follow all the tips you see on X/Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Instagram and the like.
  • Four – “Never trust anyone you don’t understand.”
  • Five – Don’t shell out $500 to $10,000 for the promise of a quick and easy $10k a month internet business.
  • Six – Don’t depend on free seminars to teach you.
  • Seven – Don’t try to go it alone.

So, with all of these cautions, do I still think you are admirable for wanting to start writing copy?  Damn right I do.

Now, almost everyone who gravitates to copywriting because they like to write.

That’s how I started.  Writing skits, songs, parodies for the enjoyment of my classmates, friends, and – most of all – myself.  I got a kick out of being recognized and praised just for things I wrote, rather than being able to memorize and regurgitate scientific formulas, mathematical equations, notable dates in history, etc., etc., etc.

If you’re anything like me, and your head is filled with ideas more than it is with facts, I’m happy to be your guide to true happiness and satisfaction with your next career or side gig.  And there’s no time like today for you to start your copywriting education and training.

“Don’t start in the middle” is number one on my list.  Not because it’s first in the process, but because it’s supremely important to get off on the right foot.

Writers to be – control yourself. 

  1. You can’t turn a slick double play without first learning to correctly field a ground ball.
  2. It’s tough to be a rock musician if you can’t play the heck out of your instrument. (If this wasn’t true, the Beatles would be John, Paul, George, and Peter.)
  3. Do prima ballerinas become such at 18? No…they’ve been learning and practicing since they were five.

Almost no one can pick up and be an effective copywriter on desire alone.  You must prepare.  And, in copywriting, that means you learn the building blocks – the techniques, and the strategies, that will make you into a fine writer with a great future.

If you begin anywhere other than the beginning it’s a sure harbinger of coming frustration, and an elongated learning curve.

The most significant word in the above headline is “solely”.  Free Content is wonderful.  But it can’t be the basis of your knowledge, your career, or your business.

I say this as a Content Provider and Marketer.  I freely and happily give away over 430 video and audio tips, articles, Twizdoms™, quotes, checklists, reports, newsletters, and self-tests.  All free – all helpful.  But as valuable as they are…they are no substitute for a strong knowledge of copywriting fundamentals.

Free Copywriting Content – and there is loads of it on the internet – is not categorized as “beginner”, “intermediate”, or “advanced”.  So, unfortunately, you can have a hard time figuring out just which piece of content, is intended for your experience level.

Random copywriting “tips” commonly appear as short individual posts or tweets.  These are even less organized than the free content, which usually takes the form of more substantive articles, checklists, case studies, and videos.

Additionally, simply because it’s posted on social media doesn’t mean it’s correct advice (nor does it mean it’s not).  You have to look carefully at the source of the tip.  There are many successful, knowledgeable, and reputable copywriters on social sites.  Given my 35+ year career including formative years at a top Madison Avenue Ad Agency, I like to consider myself among this group.

Before committing wholeheartedly to the advice of one or another self-proclaimed copywriting expert, check their bios, websites, reviews, and – if possible – samples of their work. You know, be persnickety.

I recently posted this tweet on X – not for anyone specific, but for way too many tweets that came across my feed.

“Expert” is losing its meaning.

To the 24 yr old with a BS in Business who holds herself out as a “Life” coach and the 28 yr old “Copywriting Guru” with a thin portfolio.

Please learn your trade before “helping” people with theirs.

Jack Trout, the author of the above quote, is an acknowledged marketing expert.  He understands that some “so-called experts” cloak their lack of true copywriting and marketing ability in a tsunami of words meant to impress by confusing.

Even if you cannot EASILY comprehend what is said or written, a percentage of you will, in my experience, decide the speaker/writer must be an absolute genius.  Jack disagreed.

And I agree with Jack.

Complexity is NOT to be admired

The internet is good.  The internet is great.  And, the internet is also full of traps.

My friends, I like to be transparent.  I make money by selling subscriptions to my “How To Write Copy” system.  But for goodness’ sake, please do not buy or subscribe to any course(s) – including mine – without…

  • An iron clad guarantee, free trial, or preview.
  • A reasonably small initial commitment (less than $100) on your credit card.
  • The opportunity to cancel anytime, for any reason.
  • The chance to upgrade to a more cost efficient plan after you’ve had a chance (7-30 days) to work with the program and determine if it will help you reach your goals.

Be skeptical, be careful, and that goes double for seminars.

I’m fairly sure you all know this, but for 100% coverage, I must include it in the list.  (Besides, as all good copywriters now a list with 7 items is much preferred by readers to one with six of eight items.)

Free seminars exist to grab your attention, create interest (or pain), generate desire, and move you to action.  And the action we’re talking about is to buy whatever the seminar is selling.  Along with some useful information, you get, depending on the vendor, a wonderful opportunity (for today only) or an extremely well-written and rehearsed sales pitch that the product being promoted will solve your problem and ease your pain, or make you oodles of money.

To my thinking these “up-sell seminars” are the highest priced and probably most profitable of all online marketing vehicles.  I don’t do them because I am simply not comfortable with the process.

Some First-Hand Information

Out of curiosity, I watched over 40 online seminars, and I marveled at the presenters’ reasoning skills – even when I had a strong disdain for the way they used them.

Upsell Seminars often work a three-tier method:

  1. Give them something of “value” free or cheap.
  2. Entice them to sign up for our “program” at a “reasonable”, but elevated cost.
  3. Then introduce the “Platinum Program” with all the bells, whistles and promises to disclose the “Secret Sauce”, or even “Do It For You”.

I watched a seminar take me from a $35 sale (I paid it to go further) to a $950 membership (I did not buy) and finally culminated in a $35,000 “Done For You” service.  Whew – some trip, eh?

Okay…I realize I have (maybe) scared a few of you.

I did it for two reasons:

  1. To make you aware that there are a whole lot of choices for you if you want to start writing copy. Some of those choices (I’ve expressed six in this article) are meant as cautions.
  2. Although there are some seriously good and honest copywriting course providers, who have both the knowledge and experience to do you some real good, there are some who simply do not.

I  sincerely want you to follow your dream and to start writing copy as soon as possible – but safely and without unnecessary frustration, loss of time, and loss of money.

My advice?  Get trained in the foundational concepts, strategies, and techniques, of professional copywriting.

I’m happy you chose to read my article – and I would be proud if we got to know each other better. 

If you’re truly interested in starting to write copy, let me remind you to download my Free Copywriters Aptitude Test.  It’s Private and self-scoring.  No one knows your answers except you.

And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to register from my Free Newsletter, “Classic Copywriting”

Self-Scoring Copywriting Aptitude Test

To close with a little serf serving “commercial”, I believe that my How To Write Copy system is a premier educational experience.  I hope you will take a few minutes to get acquainted with it here.

To your astounding success,

Categories
Copywriting Learn Copywriting Marketing

I’m A Good Writer. So Why Should I Learn Copywriting?

Why Learn Copywriting? The short answer is: There’s a huge difference between being a good generic writer and being a good Copywriter.

The difference is obvious in the Intent, the Construction, and the Results of the writing.

  • Intent – The intent of generic writing is usually to impart information or news, or a story to the reader.  A Copywriter’s intent is to educate, inform, and influence readers to take a specific action, or member a specific thought. 
  • Construction – There are few, if any, hard and fast rules on how generic writing should be arranged.  The science/art of Copywriting has many standards, customs, and templates that have been proven effective in elevating basic writing into celebrated and acclaimed, and money-making, copy.
  • Results – Good writing is still good writing when the results follow the intent.  Good Copywriting is the same – but the results are vastly different…educate and inform readers on a specific topic, leading them to conclude that this product, service, or cause, is one that brings benefits to themselves or others.

Now, let’s move on to some of the writing and construction (aka structure) guides and tutorials you can expect to get from a good, detailed, comprehensive copywriting course(s) or system.

You already said you’re a good writer.  About 7-in-10 people have what it takes to be genuinely talented copywriters and don’t even know it.

How do I know?  Look at your life.  Have you ever…

  • Asked someone out on a date and they said “yes”?
  • Offered a suggestion to a work or civic group that was met with enthusiasm?
  • Put together an impromptu party, ball game, or even for you and your friends?

If you done these sorts of things, my friends, you did the job of a copywriter…you got an idea, placed that idea in front of people who might benefit from it, and they reacted positively and acted.  Bingo!

The key to great copywriting is “the Ability to use the Right Words and the Right Images, in the Right Order”.  I call that the copywriter’s “Million Dollar Advantage”.

Legendary Copywriter says it's critical to learn copywriting from the classic texts.

Here’s what you can expect to add to your current writing talents when you learn copywriting with the How To Write Copy system:

  • The Techniques and Secrets of the World’s Best Copywriters.
  • How to write Clearly, Concisely, Conversationally, and Convincingly.
  • Understanding how to choose the Right Psychological Approach.
  • How to Differentiate and be Unique.
  • Formulas and insights to creating your Unique Marketing Message .(aka Value Proposition).
  • How to know when to break the Grammar Rules.
  • Rules when writing for Print Media.
  • How to write Radio spots.
  • Rules when writing for TV.
  • How to write a Press Release.
  • How to Write Web Copy.
  • The keys to creating Effective Email Campaigns and Sales Letters.
  • How to choose the Best Fonts for the Situation.
  • How to Sell Your Product with a Story.
  • The AIDA Code.
  • How to create a Credibility Letter.
  • How to write Reports, White Papers, and Brochures.
  • The secret to write Incredibly Effective Headlines & Sub-Heads.
  • Why you should follow the “5 Steps To Benefits” Headline Rule.
  • How to Avoid False Alarm Headlines.
  • Why you need to know about Cross-Heads.
  • Writing Long Copy Made Easy.
  • How to create a Hook and how to use it.
  • The Methodology of Copywriting.
  • How to use the Curiosity Factor.
  • How to get the Specificity Advantage.
  • Learning to write in Thought Bites.
  • How to create Taglines for Branding.
  • How to avoid the Spam Police.

Copywriters, in general, write about products, services, and charitable causes.  So, a copywriting education without some reference to Marketing is incomplete.

Don't be one of "them". Learn Copywriting>

Every copywriter, whether in-house, agency-based, or freelance must learn about business marketing…and every business marketer should learn some copywriting.

A good, extensive, copywriting course/system will have a robust lineup of marketing guides specifically written for copywriters and marketer/copywriters. In other words, you’ll learn copywriting from a Master Copywriter.

Here are some examples:

  • The TRUE Definition of Marketing.
  • Understanding the difference between Tactical and Strategic Marketing.
  • How to develop your Unique Selling Proposition.
  • The clues to Generating Leads.
  • How to distinguish Features, Benefits, and Satisfactions.
  • How to avoid the most Common Marketing Mistakes businesses make.
  • Why the old stand-by Elevator Pitch is outmoded and how to improve it.
  • Understand the difference between Now Buyers and Future Buyers.
  • How To decide on Offers and Risk Reducers.
  • The vital importance of your Call-To-Action (CTA).
  • Cautions for Start-Ups (under 2 years in business).
  • Basics of Franchising.

Marketing and Copywriting are inextricably bound together.  Specializing in one without knowing the other would be like building a house and forgetting the roof.

Almost all Businesses, Organizations, and Non-Profits have websites.  For small businesses, websites are the MOST important tool in their arsenal.

Writing for websites is very close to copywriting with the one caveat of, “Get The Facts Out First” – In 7 seconds or less.  All “Learn Copywriting Courses” worth their salt should offer significant assets and spend significant time on the subject of Websites, Landing Pages, etc.  Some examples follow.

  • Why A Website Doesn’t Produce – and how to fix it
  • Why the first 7 Inches and 7 Seconds are critical for Website Success
  • Essentials you Must Have on your site
  • Colors and your Website, A Psychological Approach
  • How to get More Clicks from your Call-To-Action (CTA)
  • How to write Facebook Ads
  • Key Elements of a World-Class Website
  • Obstacle to Website Success
  • SEO or PPC – which is better for you?
  • The “Write In” Test – Can your Homepage Pass?

A lot of Website Strategy and Effectiveness is covered in our next section, Construction.

One of our modern Marketer/Philosopher understands why business people need to learn copywriting.

Now we come to the final section where we will explore what a copywriter and marketer/copywriter must know about the psychological and physiological effects how the readers react to the copy on your page (paper or digital).

Page construction (aka Structure) can’t be overestimated – especially online – because people with Intent (that is, the desire to see what you have and do business with you if their needs are met) are looking to see three things immediately on arriving at your website, opening your email, or looking at your ad.

  1. Am I in the right place for what I want?
  2. Does this company do what I’m looking for?
  3. What are the Benefits I get from them?

If you don’t answer these questions within about 7-8 seconds, visitors , readers, listeners, start leaving.  Below you’ll see samples of what you should expect when you take Copywriting Courses.

  • How to plan your page with Logical Thought Sequencing
  • When to offer your Value Proposition
  • How to maximize the Look and Flow of your Website
  • How to Maximize Call-To-Action Buttons
  • The “One Concept Per Page” Imperative

Okay…enough already.

I apologize if I took the long route to answer the question.  But, as a Master Copywriter for almost 40 years, I wanted to do a thorough job because I believe,  wholeheartedly, in what I’m saying.

In closing, I want to offer you – other than my words of wisdom – a solidly helpful Check List for you when you write copy.  It’s called, “The Unbreakable, Unassailable, Copywriting & Structure Rules”.  It’s one page; it’s Free, and it helps many of my clients and students write better copy.  Download It Here.

One more thing.  If copywriting interests you and you’d like to see more free content from me, simply go to my website.  And…don’t forget to download my latest book…Free!

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Categories
Copywriting Free Copywriting Content Learn Copywriting

Can I Learn Copywriting From Free Content?

Up to a point…yeah. Depending on where your current skill level lies, I have no doubts that anyone can learn copywriting from free internet content.

For some, this will be enough to help them in their business or career.  For others it will be a starting point.

It was much too nice a day to stay inside watching college football.  Temperatures in the mid-eighties under a cloudless Arizona sky beckoned a few of us to hit some golf balls and then grab lunch on the patio while we were recording the Tennessee – Alabama game for watching that evening.

At lunch, my friend Raul, who knew only that I was a writer, speaker, and coach, asked me about what it was that I wrote, spoke, and coached about.  I explained that my writings were focused on providing marketing and copywriting how-to guides and tools for small businesses and emerging “wannabe better” copywriters to elevate their skills.  It seemed to grab his interest, as he was dead set, so he said, on adding skills to his resume in this  scary, highly uncertain economy.

Then, he came out with a question I’d not heard before, “Can I learn copywriting from Free Content on the internet”?

I’d never had to actually put my thoughts in order enough that I could answer his question fully, yet concisely.  So, I begged off answering until “later”.

That evening, after we watched Alabama eke out a victory against a very good Tennessee team 34 to 20 (the thrill of victory for me; the agony of defeat for Raul). I asked Raul to let me think on his question some more so I could give him a reasonably good, thoughtful, fact-based answer. 

That night, when the house was quiet, I started to compile my answer.

Let’s start by breaking down his question, “Can I learn copywriting from free content on the Internet?” into parts.

First, we’ll need to examine:

  • Why do you want to learn copywriting?
  • Who shares good, helpful, Free, content on the net?
  • Why do these Content Providers post all that free content?
  • Copywriting Content is my business.
  • Why is most content free, but some is not?

As we progress, I’ll be using my own experiences mixed with what I know of other Content Providers, to craft the best answer possible.

Before anyone can answer your question, they must first know your “Why”.

  1. Are you looking at copywriting as a career choice? (Highest level of training.)
  2. Are you a marketer who wants to increase results by learning to write copy better? (Level of training will vary depending on how you acquire customers, and what your goals are.)
  3. Do you have a J.O.B. and want to add copywriting skills to your resume? (Training level will be basic to intermediate.)

All good, solid reasons.  And, as you can see, all get different answers.

Larger amounts of Free content are usually given by people like me – experts in their fields…and usually in conjunction with their businesses.

I, personally, provide the following content about Copywriting, Marketing, and Website Strategy on open forums:

  • Over one hundred articles on my blog.
  • Forty “20-Second Video Tips” on YouTube.
  • More than two hundred twenty TWIZDOMSä tips and quotes posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linked-In.
  • And even my 16 Lesson Audio book, “WIN the Marketing Game and STOP Wasting Money” is posted on my website.
  • One hundred percent FREE.

There are many providers like me posting content in their areas of expertise.  It’s up to you, the questioner, to submit a question to Google that covers exactly what you want to know.  Make it too narrow, you’ll get sparse results; make it too broad you’ll be wading through hundreds of options.

Content Marketers do have a very good reason for creating content and putting it out free for all to see and learn from. 

Many of us write our content to answer questions that people are entering in the Search Engines, like Google, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, Bing, and others.  Since Google is the elephant in the room, I will use them in my examples. 

Why do we do it?  So the Search Engines will find our piece of content and rank it high on the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) and that the searcher will click on, and read, our articles.  Here’s an example:

  • Someone enters “Will A.I. Replace Copywriters?”. I have an article by that exact name.  Google will, therefore, rank that article very high on the results pages because Search Engines are really in the business of finding answers to your questions. 
  • Then, the searcher sees that I have an answer to his or her question, clicks on it, reads it, and then the reader and the provider have an opportunity for mutually beneficial engagement.

This is what Content Marketing is all about.

I am a Master Copywriter, and I ♥ to write.

I write about what I know best and want to share it with others interested in marketing, copywriting, and website strategy.  Most – if not all – Content Providers I know, share insights and how-to’s aimed at helping readers improve their lives in fundamental ways.  Most readers find our articles, tips, videos, and other content helpful in their quest to:

  • Get a better job.
  • Learn a new skill.
  • Start a new business.
  • Grow their current business.
  • Work on their business, not in it.
  • Be more successful in their business.
  • Make more money with their business.

People follow us because they like what they’re reading and they know they can learn – and benefit – from our content.

Because Content Marketers like me, own businesses that offer information products, services, and personal help to people…and (frankly) because we’re in business to make a living.

Our “advertising strategy” is to let you read, watch, and hear much of our products.  Then, since you experienced me as a writer and an educator, you may wish to follow me or look into more information and/or in depth training.  To these people, I offer my online “How To Write Copy” System as a solution to their needs.

And this can lead to a beautiful, win-win relationship.

Our businesses are built on our own experiences, knowledge, and skills – and we want to pass this on to our readers.

We content providers generally segment our content into three levels:

  1. Get It Fully Free – Huge amounts of content are there for you in whatever you’re looking for. Just click and read, listen, or watch.  Helpful, but Incomplete – that is to say, the content delivers what it promises – “What To”, “How-To”, and “Why-To” information.  These pieces can’t go much deeper simply because a 1200-2000 word article would easily turn into a 20,000 word book.
  2. Get It Free with Opt-In – You can have this content if you’ll give us your name and your email address. By opting-in to this content you are giving permission to the provider to communicate with you (usually through emails) about the subject area you are interested in.  Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.  What you get in exchange is a Very Helpful, but still Somewhat Incomplete piece.
  3. Get Content For $ – by a subscription, purchase, or membership – this is how we pay the bills and have the resources to create the content, websites, videos, graphics, and hopefully make a nice profit. Extremely Helpful, Very Complete Content.  For example, in addition to hundreds of free content pieces, the member area for my product consists of:
  • 4 Courses.
  • 3 Tutorials.
  • 7 Loaded Toolboxes.
  • Over 100 original articles all in one place.
  • 53 Videos and Audios with hours of material.
  • 87 full Marketing & Copywriting How-To Guides.
  • 35 Templates, Checklists, Case Studies, and Self-Tests.
  • 32 Infographics, Study Guides and Writing Companions.
  • Unlimited email support plus the ability to get personal coaching.

I am, and I know my Content Marketing colleagues are, proud of what we bring to our followers, friends, and subscribers.

The short and sweet answer to my friend and to you is, “As much as you want to…” with the caveat that you may find you want to take your training to a higher level, in which case, it may require a financial commitment.

It depends on your goals, needs, and (yes) pocketbook.

  • If you are looking for a few tips – you can have those in spades – and virtually all are Fully Free.
  • If you want study guides/infographics, newsletters, self-tests, or full checklists, you’ll have opt-in with your name and email address. You’ll be getting some relevant emails, articles of the week, and so on – and even an offer or two. If you don’t want these perks, you can also unsubscribe from that email list.
  • If you’re looking to learn all the techniques, strategies, and secrets we have practiced and perfected over a career, you can become a paid member (as I am with a few of my favorite Content sites). What’s really important is, that in my experience, the Value of the tools, information, and advice you get is almost always much greater than the cost – and there’s generally a way of contacting the author with questions. 

Look, I tried Facebook ads to attract more interested people to site.  I tried Linked In Navigator.  But it wasn’t until a good friend suggested I put my hundreds of valuable content pieces out for all to see, that I understood the value of Content Marketing.  I realized the good it does for both the reader and provider.  I became a convert.

  • Content Marketing is a way to let everyone take a massive amount of helpful, relevant content for a free “test drive”.
  • Internet Content is plentiful and easy to access, whatever your area of interest.
  • When you’re ready to go deep, you can purchase, or become a paid member to, the courses, information products, master classes, one-on-one coaching, even “Done 4 U” services providers may offer.
  • Most sites will give you a Money-back guarantee or a free trial. Beware of sites that don’t.
  • You are always in control. Go as far as your dreams and talents take you.

Remember – Success is a journey.  Learn and Prosper.

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