Basically, the only exercise I DON’T do is #5. Mostly because I have plenty of copy to write as is. I know there’s value in copying stuff by hand, but I’ve just never felt it was necessary for me personally. However, if I remember correctly, that’s how Dan Kennedy built up his mad copywriting chops – just rewriting hundreds of sales letters by hand.
Here, because I was using my desktop, Google served me all three of KAYAK’s headlines. Nonetheless, the KAYAK copywriters came prepared for smaller screens. Although the inclusion of the branded website in the third headline does help from a recognition standpoint, it’s certainly not essential information. The first two headlines, on the other hand, are much more important to the ad.
I was 15 when started blogging about politics and education, then at college I started to write essay per week + two reflections (300words each)/week,. Then I gradually became obsessed about copywriting, mainly thanks to you Neville (I honestly have no idea how have I discovered you), then I got to list building , and every other possible online marketing thing.
I’m pretty much a stickler for the hand copy idea, as I have been through copyhour not once but twice! I reckon I have copied over 140 letters by hand (yes, it hurts) The strange thing is that I find that actually trying to write my own copy has been a better exercise than copying others. I’ll keep doing the hand copy though because it forces you to read successful copy s-l-o-w-l-y and take it all in.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Beginner copywriters can get anxious or intimidated about attempting to craft a 5-page piece of copy, and it could take them weeks to craft this, because being intimidated leads to procrastination or perfectionist tendencies. However, if you craft short copy, you can get it done fast, and you won’t hold yourself back as much. It won’t be as intimidating.
Competitor research is important, but you also have to be extremely familiar with your own product or service. Rolls Royce was one of the first major accounts Ogilvy won when his agency was in its early years. In his book, he talks about spending a full three weeks reading about the car to come up with one simple headline: “At sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.” This might not seem like the type of detail that would take you three weeks to find, but sometimes you need to give your brain time to let the information soak in.
6. Write every day, without fail, no exceptions, no excuses. And don’t edit. Just write, and if you fess it up, find a way to fix it by adjusting the next sentence. Use this exercise to force yourself to write faster and generate ideas more quickly. Then, and only then, once you are done, can you go back to edit your piece. And for the record, this is the way I’ve written this post, and that’s why this last sentence wasn’t exactly the most elegant ever.
You have to be clear with your copy. If you’re selling yourself as a social media marketer, you can’t simply say, “If you need a social media marketer, I’m your guy (or gal).” You want to actively show your potential clients why they should choose your services (for example, Choose me because I have five years’ worth of experience in improving social media awareness for big brands, like…).
But one thing I feel is share worthy is when I went for the meeting, I did the “briefcase method”. Basically did my homework and prep before the meeting, added value and suggestions on how to boost his business and highlighted how I helped my own business make money before. (I was selling gold and silver investing advice in 2010 before the great crash.)
I have just started a business writing resumés and job applications and doing interview coaching. I got my first client through a friend at work who is also my hairdresser. I helped her with some job applications and she recommended me to a customer (cut, foils, blow dry!) who paid me $200 to write responses to selection criteria for a government job. It took me ages to do this but I learned a lot and it gave me the confidence to keep going.