Are you a new copywriter?
that’s just getting into the business, or, maybe you want to learn copywriting and you’re not so sure how to get started. Today, I’m gonna share with you five copywriting tips for beginners. So, if you are a beginner, you’re just getting started, this video is for you.
Tip number one, and that is, desire is much more important than your degree.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of learning how to write copy. I remember when I first learn about copywriting, I thought to myself, I was a bit unsure and I didn’t have a lot of certainty. Could I do this? ‘Cause I didn’t do so well in school. I flunked English twice when I was in high school. And, I don’t have a journalism degree. Could I actually do this?
And what I realize is that when it comes to copywriting, a lot of the things that we learn in school, maybe even in journalism, those skills don’t apply. Those proper academic writing, it’s very, very different from copywriting, right. Academic writing is designed to educate, right, that’s why they’re kind of dry, could be very boring, or kind of textbook like. Copywriting, it’s a form of writing that is designed to sell, to convert a prospect into a customer.
So, it’s a very much a street-smart kind of skill, not so much school-smart, right. You think about school-smart, it’s, you know, accounting and engineering and all these skillsets, versus copywriting, it’s much more street-smart. Over all these years I’ve had maybe, maybe, one or two clients and prospects asking me, “hey, do you have any degree in writing?”
“Do you have a degree in journalism?” They do not care. What they care is, can your writing produce results.
Copywriting tip number two, and that is, master short form copy before you learn long form copy.
Now, what do I mean by that? So, when it comes to copywriting, there’s so many different types of copywriting. Long form I’m referring to, it could be a long landing page, right, could be like five, 10 pages, or crafting a webinar, crafting a direct mail piece if you’re doing any kind of direct mail, that’s okay, but it takes years to learn and hone your craft. I always suggest to my copywriting students, when they’re just learning, when they’re just getting started, learn a short form copy.
I’m talking about, it could be an email, right, it could be an autoresponder sequence in an email. It could be a social media post, it could be an Instagram post, it could be a short form Facebook ad, even Google Ads with just a headline and a few lines, right. You’re learning how people respond. You’re basically crafting short paragraph or headlines.
Once you get feedback and you get data and you kinda develop this sense of, hey, this would work or that wouldn’t work, then you’re honing your skill, and also, it builds your confidence, right. ‘Cause sometimes when you write a long page, it’s like 10, 20 pages, it is so intimidating, right.
It might take you three weeks to craft something, versus if you craft something short, a short email, it might just take you 30 minutes, if you’re good, or an hour. And you can test it, you can send it to your clients. So, I think it’s much easier way to get in the game.
Copywriting tip number three, and that is, spend 80% of your time doing research and only 20% of your time writing.
Now, one of the mistakes I see a lot beginner copywriters make is, they get all excited, they can’t wait to go to their laptop, or you grab a pen and you grab your legal pad, and they start writing. That’s not what you wanna do. You wanna spend a majority of your time researching about your prospect, getting to know, what are their frustrations, what are their pain points, what are their goals, where do they wanna get to?
Once you know a lot about your prospects, you’re much easier, you have a much easier time, crafting a message that speaks directly to them something that they would resonate with, versus you rush into it, you just want to write.
If you do your job right, if you do your research right, when you actually write that copy it is so much easier and so much faster. So, spend a lot of time thinking about it, just researching about it, right, just think it through. Think about the hooks, think about the pain points, think about the messages, before you write a single word.
Copywriting tip number four, and that is, write the way you talk.
See, that’s why having the degree and getting the formal education is actually not that important, because when it comes to copy, it is about communicating, you connecting and communicating with your customer or your prospect or your reader. So, you wanna write in very simple language. So, I’ll give you an example. Sometimes you might use what I call one-sentence paragraph, which in English is not very proper. Sometimes when I write I even use one-word paragraph.
So, imagine if I’m actually talking and writing, one word paragraph, period. And then I will start the next paragraph. Again, this is very unconventional, but when it comes to copy, it works. Why it works, because it’s easy to read.
So, you wanna write the way you talk. You want your prospect, when they are reading your message, they can almost hear you talking to them. They can hear your voice, right, versus when you read something, you’re like, ah, man, this is like, I can’t even, you’re losing me, I’m confused, or this is so difficult to understand, right. ‘Cause sometimes as a academic writer, you know how it is, they try to write something to make themselves sound smart, but it’s not very easily understandable by the audience.
So, you don’t wanna do– write the way that you talk. Also, when you’re writing, think of, you are writing to one person versus writing to a group of people, okay. So, instead of using a lot of, you know, we, or, using a lot of ours, use a lot of you, right, it’s a one-on-one communication, a lot of you, a lot of I. It’s me sitting across the table. I’m just communicating, I’m talking to you, versus our company is blah blah blah.
That’s not very personal, right. The more personal it is the more powerful, the more compelling, your copy is. I’ll read you a short paragraph here, and you just pay attention to it, okay, this is very academic writing, right. Professional communication helps meet the challenges of today’s digital world, where communication is more important than ever. Do you see it’s very wordy, it’s very like, huh, what? So, here’s the way I would express exactly the same thing, okay, in three words. Copy equals money. Copy equals money. You see a difference?
Copywriting tip number five, and that is, building your own swipe files.
Now, what do I mean by that? Think of your swipe files, they are your copywriting vault, okay. So, as a beginner, because you don’t have a lot of experience, what you wanna do, you wanna study other people’s work. You wanna look at other people’s email, other people’s landing pages, other people’s letters and marketing messages and catalogs and everything that they do, full-page ads, because when you study other people’s work, you start picking up patterns.
So, when you need to write something, the last thing you wanna do is, you turn on your computer, and you’re staring at a blank screen, and trying to come up stuff. That’s very, very difficult to do. That’s not what professionals do. Professional copywriters, they have this archive of swipe file they would refer to.
Hey, you know what, I need to write a campaign for a supplement product, okay. Instead of trying to, (breathes deeply) well, let me think, it’s gonna be, I think I’ll sell it this way, this will be the offer, no, they would go back and say, okay, in the last five years, 10 years, what are some of the ads, what are some of the proven offers, selling this similar product, right, maybe in a supplementage, that I could look at.
Oh, here’s a hook that works, here’s an angle that works, here’s a headline that works. What they do is they look at all of that, and say, okay, I think I can come up with something that’s similar, right, or maybe I can change the angle a little bit, depends on what you’re selling, and then boom, there you go. So, it’s not about creativity for the sake of creativity.
Oh, I wanna come up with something that no one’s ever, ever came up with. That is stupid, okay, you don’t wanna do that, because when you go to the bank, when you deposit your copywriting check, right, someone hires you to write the copy. No one’s gonna ask you, hey, is this your original idea here? Right, the teller’s not gonna ask you that. The teller just wants to know how much you deposit. They don’t care, they do not care.
So it’s not about creativity. And is they also don’t care how long it took you to write this piece of copy. They do not give you less money if you say, oh, it took me like a long month, man, you have no idea. I was sitting in front of my computer spending hours on it, or, you know what, I spent one day on it, that’s it. They don’t give you more money for spending more time, they don’t give you less money if you spend less time, it doesn’t matter.
So, be smart building up your swipe file. I have a massive, massive swipe file in my library. I mean like thousands and thousands, just to give you an idea. You know those three-ring binders, like those binders with like, this thick? I’ve got probably 60, 70 of those in my library, that I’ve collected over the years. I could easily think of, if I need a campaign, hey, here’s a campaign from x number of years ago, that has produced $5 million, $10 million, right there.
I would know what are some of the proven campaigns and winning pieces that I could get ideas and inspiration from. So, build your own swipe file. You see, one of the things that people don’t understand is there are many aspects to copywriting, and copywriters are among some of the highest paid professionals in the world. I call them high income copywriters.