Novice copywriters all sound the same…
(And I don’t care if you’re a freelancer or you write for your own products and services — still applies!)
If you’re a serious student of copywriting, you start off by reading all the important books on copywriting. (A good start: My Top 10 Best Copywriting Books.)
And you learn all sorts of different tips and techniques and best practices for writing sales copy.
Then, as you start to implement, you pull from all your sources.
You practice headline writing. You find the really interesting selling stories, and try to get good at them. You try to model how others write bullets, and offers, and guarantees, and closes.
And in all that, you start to sound just like all the other copywriters who’ve read the same books and followed the same gurus…
Here’s the thing… This can work in “B” markets…
If you’re a copywriter who is putting together marketing and sales pieces for a local market, maybe you can get away with this.
If you’re building out funnels in super-niche businesses where no other big copywriters play, this may be enough.
If your client has never heard of “beat the control” and doesn’t know who Claude Hopkins, Eugene Schwartz, or John Caples are… Maybe you’re good.
But if you’re in a more competitive market where there are top-notch professional copywriters competing for the same customers…
This doesn’t cut it!
You see, there’s no customer or client out there asking…
“Who else wants cookie cutter copy?!”
The answer is nobody! At least, nobody with experience and discretion in a sophisticated market.
Because that cookie-cutter copy that simply tries to fit the mold of successful ads of the past fails at the single-most important task of a piece of persuasive prose…
It doesn’t connect with the audience!
It doesn’t feel new or interesting. It doesn’t feel compelling.
It feels just like what it is. Cookie cutter, Mad Lib, paint-by-numbers child’s play!
You don’t get Shakespeare from a Mad Lib, and you don’t get Van Gogh when you paint by numbers…
Likewise, you don’t get Hopkins, Schwartz, or Caples by copying their work, either.
The only way to create real breakthrough copy is by embracing your own voice…
You may not sound like one of the greats.
But that’s okay, as long as you sound like YOU.
Tell your story. Speak from your own point of view. Share what you think is interesting. Speak one-to-one with your reader (or viewer/listener, depending on media).
Get to know your reader, and let them get to know you.
Speak to your shared experiences. Your shared ups, and your shared downs.
This sounds like empty platitudes, but it’s really not.
I had someone email me the other day telling me he wanted me to write more about how to “beat the control…”
It’s “what separates the men from the boys,” he told me. (Or the women from the boys, I might add!)
But here’s the thing.
He’s looking for gimmicks. You can beat controls with gimmicks, sure.
Write “Please respond by XXXXXX date” above your headline. That’s a gimmick that might beat the control — especially if the reader knows what they’re getting is an offer.
That might get you a 20% lift here, a 30% boost there.
But if you want breakthroughs, you have to go deep.
Want a breakthrough? Stop “writing copy” and start communicating one-to-one, in your voice…
When I sat down with Bill Bonner (founder of Agora) and he told me his most important lesson for new copywriters, that was it. Find the compelling story, tell it in your own compelling way.
I know only a few copywriters who’ve risen to great heights with a heavy focus on gimmicks.
Most of the great copywriters I know ($100MM+ in sales) have focused on message and voice above all.
Because that’s what moves the mass millions.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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