How To Get Better At Copywriting
I’ve been studying a sales letter everyday for the last few weeks by writing them by hand.
Been doing this to break down what made them work.
By doing this, I hope other copywriters, DR marketers and sales & marketing enthusiasts learn something.
So, here’s what I noticed:
I’ll start with To People Who Want To Write But Can’t Get Started by the Newspaper Institute of America.
Ultra specificity: “To people who want to write”
Targets a problem/pain point while also alluding to a solution: “…but can’t get started”
But the power of this headline is the fact it tackles a common problem most people who want to write have: STARTING.
This is how you get into the conversation going on already in your prospect’s head.
Using the problem-agitate-solution (PAS) style of writing copy, emphasises the problem: the fear of a beginner.
The common fear almost every beginner writer has.
Conversation going on in your prospect’s head?
Intro: “then listen to what Edward Weeks, an editor of the Atlantic Monthly has to say”
The use of an authority figure here is brilliant.
Nobody knows if the Atlantic Monthly is even a small newspaper.
But the fact that this guy is the editor of a paper makes him an important person.
An important person worth listening to.
He talks about the need for new writers. But he does it from two angles:
1. The opportunity for newcomers at the Atlantic.
2. The need of readers.
He also slyly highlights the fact 8/24 (1/3) of writers making their debut in the Atlantic are new writers.
“The Newspaper Institute of America offers a FREE Writing Aptitude Test.”
That’s a lead gen before the advent of lead gens.
Expert use of the word FREE to disarm the readers.
“The Writing Test is a simple but expert analysis of your latent ability, your powers of imagination, logic etc.”
The use of the word SIMPLE makes it sound easy taking away any fear or doubt from the prospect.
EXPERT ANALYSIS shows sophistication.
“Your powers of imagination” will play at the ego of prospects.
All writers, even the bad ones believe they have a strong power of imagination.
Result? More signups 😁
“All applicants do not pass this test.”
A classic use of negging (from PUA) to tap into their prospects ego.
I’ll bet most people who signed up for this program did because of this line.
Because it subconsciously challenges them.
It asks them “are you good enough?” without being direct.
No writer wants their ability questioned 😁
Result? More signups.
“Those who do are qualified to take the famous N.I.A course.”
A classic use of framing. But in this case, double framing.
“Those who are qualified” says this course isn’t for everyone – only the best.
A filtering mechanism.
“The famous N.I.A course” claims it’s a prestigious institution – not for everyone.
Another filtering mechanism.
“This is the New York Copy-Desk method which teaches you to write by writing!”
This tells you what the program is about.
But it also plays at what the prospect wants – to write.
“You develop your individual manner instead of trying to copy the style of others”
Every beginner/old writer knows this all too well – impostor syndrome.
Every writer wants to write in their voice – even when their voice hasn’t been developed yet.
Another shot at the ego😁
“You “cover” actual assignments” says you’re going to be treated with respect, not like an intern or IT student.
Something writers want.
Another cheap shot at our egos 😁
(I’m crying right now 😭😭😭)
“Although you work at home, on your own time”
Remember one of the reasons why some people can’t get started is because they don’t have time.
But instead of stating it as a hindrance, it alludes to it as a benefit of working with them.
“You are constantly guided by experienced…”
The promise of mentorship – something writers live and die for.
“It’s a really fascinating work. Each week you see new progress.”
Benefits. Benefits. Benefits.
The promise of enjoyable work + the promise of growth.
No writer can resist these two.
“In a matter of months you can acquire the coveted ” professional” touch.”
This reduces the timeframe it would take to become a good writer in the eyes of the prospect.
But what always makes me laugh is the use of words here to hide how long it might take.
You know 12 months is 1 year, yeah?
24 months is also 2 years, yeah?
“In a matter of months” sounds short, but the truth is it could be anything from 2 months to 24 months plus.
In case, you decide to complain or ask for a refund 2 months in, this simple line covers them 😁
“Then you’re ready for market with greatly improved chances of making sales.”
No writer wants to starve.
Every writer lowkey seeks fame – we all want to be known, whether dead or alive.
That’s the beginning of immortality.
Another classic way to get into the conversation in your prospect’s head.
Testimonials (Always Use Them)
“I’m able to live on the money I earn by writing”
*Every. Writer’s. Dream.
“It’s not yet ten months since I began the course.”
Remember when I told you above how the use of a matter of months makes it seem easy, yeah?
Well, this part of the testimonial reinforces that.
But it also does something:
It plays at the ego of the prospect subconsciously.
“If he took up to 10 months, then he probably isn’t bright enough. Maybe I could do it in less” – The Prospect thinking to themselves
“Until a few months after beginning studying with you I had never had a line published”
Meaning I was a failure until I met you. In essence, your shit works.
“What more can I say for a course which has enabled me to earn a livelihood by the most congenial work I have ever done?”
Check your dictionary for the meaning of congenial 😁
The next person’s testimonial talks about how they’ve been getting paid and published.
Every. Writer’s. Dream
But you might have missed something else, I almost did.
Both testimonials were from 2 different people with 2 different lifestyles.
One a man, the other a woman (married).
Subconsciously, the prospect thinks “Well, if she can do it even as busy as she is as a married woman (with kids most likely), then I should too.”
This reinforces the fact most people will buy it because they’ve seen it work for someone else.
“If it worked for her, then maybe it could work for me too” – Your prospect when they see a testimonial.
It’s what makes us humans – social proof.
“It requires but a FEW minutes and COSTS NOTHING.”
Make it easy for your prospect.
“Make the first move towards the most enjoyable and profitable occupation – writing for publication.”
Every. Writers. Dream – to write, be published, enjoy the process & profit from it 😁🙌🏿
Even the coupon says “Send me without cost or obligation…”
And most of us don’t like cost or obligation. Especially to strangers.
PS: This is my breakdown of this sales letter. I probably missed some things too and you’re free to point them out.
P.P.S: As much as I call myself a copywriter, like other copywriters, I miss some of these things while writing too.
My breakdown of this letter isn’t to tell you how to write or what to do.
It’s simply to reinforce what I’ve been hearing for the last year.
And hopefully get better at this thing of ours.
I hope this helps you.
If this post gets serious engagement, I might be tempted to do this kind of breakdown every week.
So, like, comment and share so other people can learn.
Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.
Go here: twitter.com/ucheokorolive
That’s where I drop other powerful insights in sales and marketing you won’t find here.
If you’re interested in this letter, here’s a link to it: