The problem when you’re just starting out as a copywriter is all copy looks great. And you think to yourself I’ll never come up with something as good as that.
So how do you start practicing to become a copywriter, especially if you can’t afford expensive courses?
Copywriting Exercise #1: Practice Making Other Peoples Ads Better
One of the best exercises you can do to ‘get the ball rolling’ is to mentally re-write ads. It doesn’t matter whether they’re relevant to your niche or not. Pick short ads so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Start with the headline and work down through the subhead (if it’s got one), the deck copy and the offer. It can be any ad. Just go through the process of trying to make it better.
It might be a bill board you pass on your way to work. It could be a banner ad on your favourite site or a display ad in a newspaper or magazine. Take a quick picture of it and spend 5 or 10 minutes trying to make it better in your head. Then put your phone away and forget about it.
Wait a few hours and whip it out for another 5 or 10 minute burst. Repeat this exercise two or three times during the day. Then sleep on it. See what pops into your head in the morning. You may well find you have a dazzling new headline for the ad you were working on. Write it down there and then. Don’t think you’ll remember it later. Flashes of genius vaporise as quickly as they appear.
When you successfully repeat this process on two or three ads you realise writing persuasively isn’t as hard as you thought and your confidence soars.
Copywriting Exercise #2: Start Your Own Swipe File
Every aspiring copywriter needs one. I know pro-copywriters and marketers who have entire book cases for swipe files. But isn’t copying other people’s ads illegal? Providing you don’t copy them word for word—no!
A swipe file is a simply a place where you keep cool ads or sales messages for future inspiration. Your swipe file can be physical or digital. I have both.
My physical one is double draw suspension filing cabinet. I also have tons of sales letters for every niche imaginable on my PC. I also use Evernote whenever I see something I want online. Evernote is super cool—even a technophobe like me can work it! Plus the basic version is free.
Go here: https://evernote.com/ and sign up to the free version right now. By the way, that’s a cracking headline and subhead on Evernote’s home page. I’d swipe it if I was you! Add it to the list of 15 Proven Headlines I gave you when we met.
When you sign up for Evernote a little green elephant icon appears at the top right of your browser. Whenever you see a web page you like, click on the icon. It photos the page and stores it for you.
You should have all sorts of stuff in your swipe file. Ads, web pages, landing pages, price pages, order form pages, email sequences—anything that makes you:
- Click on a link
- Signup to something
- Or just think wow! That’s amazing…
Copywriting Exercise #3: Hand copy a successful sales message from top to bottom
Pick a known successful sales message and handwrite it or type it out (whichever you feel most comfortable with.) You identify a successful sales message by the number of times it’s repeated or remains in use.
If you’re not sure how to find one, Google ‘top 10 world famous sales letter ’and pick one of the classics to copy.
In case you’re short of time here’s one of the most famous sales letter of all time by Martin Conroy:
It doesn’t matter that it’s nearly a 100 years old. It ran between 1918 and 1921 and sold over $2billion worth of The Wall Street Journal! Imagine that in today’s money?
It contains every element of persuasion all great sales letters contain. Plus it’s short, so it won’t take you long to write or type it.
Copy it out every day for 30 days until you get a ‘feel’ for his writing style. Don’t worry about the old fashioned language. Feel free to modernise it by shortening words or phrases. For example it’s okay to say ‘it’s not’ instead of ‘it is not’.
Notice how he uses punctuation, word order, sentence construction, length of paragraphs, bullet points and how he ‘talks.’ One of the things you’ll notice is how short and easy to understand, his sentences are.
Unsurprisingly Conroy got the idea for his $2billion Wall Street Journal Letter (‘The Tale of Two Young Men’) from another sales letter by Bruce Barton for a business success book. His ad’s headline was ‘The Story of Two Young Men Who Fought in The Civil War.’ So you see how copywriters copy each other’s ideas and apply them to different areas? And that’s what you should do.
You can see a complete analysis of each ad and why they work here, but if you’d like to skip the history lesson and start writing more persuasively now take a look at my new course Persuasion Shortcuts.
It’s a 2.5 hour direct-response copy writing intensive for beginners. Even if you’ve never written a word of ad copy before, you’ll know how to write compelling sales messages by the end of it.
Direct-response ‘copy writing’ is the key to Internet Marketing success. Once you understand it, it will provide you with all the sales, growth and cash resources you need to compete in today’s business environment.
Want to learn more? Click here