Let’s start with understanding what is copywriting. It is the art of writing copy. Now please don’t confuse it with ‘copy,’ i.e., a duplicate or replica of something. It specifically refers to the written content, content that will educate, inform, motivate, inspire, convince, or persuade a specific set of audience to buy something, or take a specific action. In essence, Copywriting is verbal salesmanship.
Each one of us encounters it in our daily life. It can be a landing page for a software or a course, a Facebook ad on your timeline, a Google text ad on your SERP, big real estate banners on the road to your office, the Description of your new smartphone on the Flipkart or Amazon page, the text on the wrapper of a beauty soap or Sanjay Shenoy introducing the SEO Internship on Zoom to his prospects.
The Secret Psychology of Becoming a Copywriter
The following is a summary of the talk given by Mike Palmer, who is the head copywriter for Stansberry Research and was voted AWAI 2009 Copywriter of the Year. You can watch the YouTube video below.
Anytime you start learning a new skill, you go through an emotional rollercoaster. To learn copywriting is no different. The neat thing is that when you know in advance where this rollercoaster is going, you will feel much better about the entire process. You will not get easily discouraged, you know the phrases, and you will see that you will get through it and have to keep going. This transition curve applies to any skill project.
The learning curve goes as follows:-
- Uninformed optimism: This point comes in the initial learning phase. It shows an ostentatious future of a cozy life and lots of money, but it is not so.
- Informed pessimism: The next stage is informed pessimism. This means that it is not as easy as I thought. So you have to find some way to get going.
- Crisis of meaning: This is the point of giving up. This is the point where if you do not take the necessary steps, you will crash and burn.
- Informed optimism: The next and the final stage is informed optimism. Here you become optimistic about our abilities. It is not that you become a master but become confident in our learning progress.
This is an emotional curve and depicts what is going on in our head and may not be the perfect picture of our actual skill level.
A copywriting internship may be the perfect opportunity to start acquiring the necessary practice and the portfolio needed before you get your first copywriting gig. Whenever you approach someone, you don’t have to tell them that you can change their business. You have to say that,
- You are just starting off.
- You are gonna work really hard.
- You are gonna do whatever they say. That’s all they want to hear.
If Copywriting had been easy, anyone would do it, and it wouldn’t be as lucrative. So you should be thankful that it isn’t easy; it is hard and be grateful to go through this process. The most significant test is that you have to push through at the lowest stage.
Two things you got to do when you start writing the first copy.
You have to do more research about the thing service person that you are writing about that you read a book or you talk to the person or client it is not writing it is researching, and reporting get the others smart people read it.
Today’s copywriter is a marketer + copywriter. Copy plus marketing knowledge is a great combination. You can directly see what the advertisers are doing. Just find a niche and start exploring. It is not like an Apple computer.
Finding a group to learn together
The Faculty Innovation Centre of the University of Texas states: “Group learning is more effective than traditional methods in improving critical thinking.” Finding a group to learn by working with people who have been doing this can be one of the most effective processes of accelerating your learning.
Well, if you decide to walk the solo learning path, then you may consider a few copywriting courses to bring out your copywriting skills. You may begin with free ones like the one offered by Neville Medhora’s free copywriting course. His YouTube videos are also pretty informative.
You may also consider studying a few books by copywriting and marketing legends.
Best Books to learn copywriting
The following is a list of the best books to learn copywriting. This, in no way, is an exhaustive list but will definitely help you get off the ground.
- The Boron Letters: A series of letters by history’s greatest copywriter Gary C. Halbert, explaining insider tactics and sage wisdom to his youngest son Bond.
- Advertising Secrets of the Written Word: Joseph Sugarman has been recognized worldwide for his ability to create persuasive advertising copy that turns a prospect into a customer. Advertising Secrets of the Written Word is a comprehensive textbook that teaches you the step-by-step techniques you can follow to write advertising copy – the same lessons taught at his exclusive $3,000 seminars.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: In this highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Dr Robert B. Cialdini—the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion—explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these principles ethically in business and everyday situations.
- The Wizard of Ads: Filled with provocative ideas and soaring inspiration, this book presents short, compelling, information-packed chapters that tell readers what works, what doesn’t, and why, when it comes to turning dreamers into millionaires.
- Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They’re systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.
- Save the Cat: This book is actually not about copywriting. It is about Screenplay writing. So this book revolves around telling stories. As as we know that a good copywriter is a great storyteller, so this book is a must-have for all aspiring copywriters.
Copywriting exercises to twitch your copywriting muscles
- Mental Ad Re-Writing: You can make use of your creative powers to make an ad you see anytime, better.
- Keep a swipe file: Keep a folder of the most interesting adverts and pieces of copy that you encounter.
- State the Benefits of a product, not the features. The features may not be comprehensible will all of your target audience.
- Hand copying famous ads: Hand copying gives you a visceral feel which you can use to learn a specific way of copywriting.
- Read your copy out loud: This helps to write your copy in a way you talk. Copy need not always be formal. It should be written in a way that relates to your audience.
- Wear earplugs: Helps avoid distraction and write with absorption.
- Learn complementing skills: Additional skills that complement your copywriting skill can come handy to enhance your written copy.
So, first, learn to write copy, figure out how you can best learn the skill. That emotional curve will always be there.
All the Best! Happy Learning