Today, I’m attempting to talk myself out of new clients while talking you into creating your own kickass copy…
…and if you’ve got the cojones – money for life.
This copy primer was originally published on my old marketing blog as a single article, but I’ve updated it, expanded it, and broken it up into 8 parts as it’s easier to digest that way.
It’s designed to be followed in order, but you can link to each section below, or download the entire PDF for your reading pleasure here: (coming soon)
- Part #1 – Introduction And A Big Promise
- Part #2 – A Pro-Writers Greatest Tool (… And Where To Get Yours)
- Part #3 – How To Start Writing Copy That Sells Today (coming soon)
- Part #4 – The Secret To Great Sounding Copy (coming soon)
- Part #5 – Why Copywriters Use Software NOT Skill To Get Results (coming soon)
- Part #6 – The Dirtiest Word In Copywriting (coming soon)
- Part #7 – Why Real Copywriters Sell With “The Godfather Technique”(coming soon)
- Part #8 – Conclusion: You Don’t Have To Be A Great Copywriter To Make Great Sales (coming soon)
Have you ever noticed there’s a seething mass of copywriters who seem to think they’re some kind of rockstar-combo of Hemingway, Elvis, and Hunter S. Thompson?
If you’ve not spotted them yet, go check out disgracebook.
They can be spotted hanging around in packs, massaging each others’ fragile egos, often sharing memes instead of useful content while suckling at Halbert’s holy teat – all while projecting an air of refined mystery.
9 times out of 10 if they need to answer a question that’s got a more complicated answer than “AIDA” you’ll get nothing but tumbleweeds in reply.
And yet, they’d have you think they’ve got a bunch of arcane tricks so far beyond the capacity of the mortal mind to understand that surely you’d be crazy to try and write Copy yourself.
If you plan on having any success selling your stuff, you’d better not be so foolish as to try and write ‘words’ onto ‘paper.’
I mean, we’re talking about a difficult skill here. It’s not like you’ve been doing it every day since graduating from pencil to pen sometime around 1st grade.
Writing words onto paper and speaking in full sentences is hard. Scrap that, it’s dangerous. Better to pay someone a bucket load of money and get them to write words and sentences for you. Much safer.
Because, if you do attempt to write words, you’ll fail miserably.
Seriously. Just try it. I dare you.
I DOUBLE DARE you.
Try and write words onto paper, or if you’re going to go totally berserk, then type them onto a screen.
And. Then. Just. You. See. What. Happens.
If false copywriting prophets on Disgracebook are to be believed, the S will defo H The F!
The humiliation will be worse than the time your mum walked in on 13-year-old you and the lingerie section of her Sears catalogue.
I know. I know. You tried to forget.
But there it is. That’s what you get for even contemplating writing words and sentences.
Everything you’ve worked so hard for
will be ripped away from you.
Your hopes of a better future will vaporise into a puff of smoke spelling out the words “I told you so” before vanishing with your dreams, for good.
Then, you’ll be dragged out into the town square and put into stocks so small children can see what becomes of people who try to write words and sentences without being initiated into the arcane secrets of copywriting.
And it doesn’t end there.
It’s only after the bankruptcy and the divorce, at around the same time you begin to realise the dog doesn’t even like you anymore, that you truly start coming to terms with the disaster that is now your life.
And only then, will you begin to understand what a crazy idea it was to try and write your own copy.
Much better to stick to patting backs and hero-worshipping the false idols on disgracebook through the medium gifs and memes.
I mean, dude. seriously, what were you thinking?
Copywriting is hard, and it’s complicated, and it’s way too complicated for the likes of you.
Hug your children, feed the dog, and pay the fancy man to do the hard work for you.
OK, I feel like I’ve spent enough time thinning the herd.
If you’re still here. Welcome to the Copy Primer 🙂 You’ve definitely got what it takes to see this through.
And now I’m going to let you in on a pro-secret so you never have to rely on another person to bring in leads and sell your stuff.
Writing Sales Copy Is As Easy As Spelling Out Your Name In Alphabet Soup.
You need a bowl, a spoon, and a basic grasp of English.
And no matter what you hear, you don’t have to invest any more in your copy than you would on a can of Campbell’s soup.
At least not until you’ve earned enough from what you learn here to make a worthwhile investment.
… like paying a genuine pro to take your copy (and your profits) to another level entirely.
(Bonus: what you learn in the copy primer will also let you spot a copy-pretender from a working copy pro at a thousand paces.)
Copywriting is nothing more than a jumble of words, spewed forth onto paper, then mixed around until they make sense to an 11-year old.
When I was 16 I was at a house party. I was very high.
Not “I’ve climbed a ladder and now I’m on the roof” high…
… more “I’ve been on this space elevator for 3 hours and I’ve just passed Timothy Leary on the way down” high.
One of the girls at the party was 11, and her responsible adult (a paranoid schizophrenic called Psycho Max) had gone walkabout. So she was kinda just chillin’ with us big kids.
… and like all good 11-year-olds she gorged herself on sugary treats and drinks, which led suddenly and violently to her spewing forth the most amazing technicolour rainbow vomit I’ve seen to this day.
It was not a good rainbow.
It was also not good that all my mates decided this was the perfect time to climb into the attic and retreat from the clean-up.
In truth it would’ve been a worse situation had they tried – multiple rainbows I suspect.
So long story short – Psycho Max was nowhere to be seen, and being the self-appointed adult in the room, I cleaned up the Technicolor rainbow vom from the toilet, bath, walls, shower curtain, floor.
I tell you this story for 2 reasons.
- Cleaning up someone else’s vomit while hallucinating is a situation you should try to avoid at all costs. If there is an attic, use it.
- A lot of the copy I see and get sent to review reminds me of this experience.
It’s too long. It’s trying to be too clever. It’s stealing copy on toilet training puppies in the dog training niche and using it to sell meditation secrets in the martial art niche. It’s a complete mess. Total rainbow vom.
But if you believe the disgracebook posse, the only way to write to successful copy is to swipe copy from the masters, then write it out by hand until you develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
You have to “fake it ’til you make it.”
But no-one tells you how to do this ethically without hurting yourself, your clients, and your customers.
No-one’s there to make sure you maintain your integrity and protect your reputation – presumably because there isn’t a mere for that.
But tons of people lap that shit up, following that advice blindly off a cliff.
Which is good news for you, because the copy you write with this copy-primer is guaranteed to be significantly better than most of the drivel your competition is currently using to torpedo their future.
Plus, you won’t have to pay a complete stranger $10,000 and 5% of your profits to get it written.
This primer will show you how to build and use a proper swipe file, but before we get to that, get this…
If an 11-year, jacked-up on too much sugar and standing in a pool of technicolour vom can grasp your sales message you’ve nailed it.
Even better, if a 16-year-old who’s as high as a kite can understand your words and sentences, then you’re writing copy at the perfect reading level.
You can actually check this, you don’t need to crash kids birthday parties (so that’s a definite bonus).
Instead, you can use the Flesch Kincaid score to check the readability of your copy.
This handy little scale was originally developed in 1975 for the US Navy to make sure critical information was conveyed as efficiently as possible.
Makes sense, right?
You don’t get many loquacious textbooks effusing over the power, velocity, and sound of missiles leaving the tube.
Just release the catch. Load the missile into the tube. If it’s tight, something’s wrong. Remove the missile. Check carefully, and start again. Once successfully loaded the missile is ready to launch. Press the big red button.
… or something.
I have no idea about loading missiles, but you can bet the manual would’ve made it clear as day.
Because while I might not know much about missiles, I do know having confused sailors in charge of missiles is problematic.
(Honestly, I feel like everyone knows that, and yet history would suggest otherwise.)
So when you’re writing, just imagine your readers are confused sailors in charge of loading missiles.
Alternatively, you can use the FK score to check how complex your copy is, and therefore how difficult (or easy) it is for people read.
The reason is simple enough. You don’t want people struggling to read your copy. You don’t even want them thinking about your copy. And, if you’re trying to explain something complicated, it needs to be double-easy to read.
And writing in short sentences. The kind a high school kid might write. Like this. Is the best way to do it.
There’s a bunch of cool apps that can help you achieve this low-level-high-level writing
Grammarly and the Hemingway App are two that spring to mind. I think it’s even built into Microsoft Word now.
And if you think this low-level writing is too simple for your niche, that your snowflakes are extra special – think again.
I just checked a lead article in the New Yorker and it came back a the level of a 9th grader would read. So it turns out we’re not as highbrow as we think we are, and it’s unlikely the vast majority of the people reading your copy will be either.
According to the Washington Post, 32 million adult Americans can’t read. And 50% of adult Americans can’t read to an 8th-grade level, which is where your average 13-14 year old should be at.
Putting aside the horrifying social and global implications of the world’s leading military power suffering from spiralling mass illiteracy and stunted ability to self educate…
… it also has immediate and profound effects on your copy.
Because if your customers can’t quickly and directly FEEL your message, you’ve lost them to the meme.
This is where many new copywriters go wrong.
People aren’t reading your stuff to be impressed by your writing.
It’s not about you. It’s about THEM.
It’s like Perry Marshall says:
“When your copy reads at a 5th grade level, it’s a primal gut level impact. It sails right into your reader’s brain and sticks. Your reader spends his brain cells digesting your ideas, not your sentences”.
They’re reading it to get something they NEED. Don’t make them work for it. And most of all as the Great John Carlton says, “don’t be boring”.
Side note: John Carlton is on Facebook, and he’s one of the few people you should absolutely follow and read on a daily basis.
Look at the quality of what he’s saying and doing vs. the almost everyone else.
He also has some of the world’s best A-list copywriters in his comments. These are old school pros, who got hip to social media. Notice what they’re not doing, they’re not bandwagoning, they’re not me too-ing, and they’re not boasting or selling their services.
Just in case you’re still thinking “buddy, I can’t even write gudenuff for’n leven-yer-old,” let me make this even easier for you.
You Can Write Your Own Copy Without Doing Any ‘Real Writing’ Yourself
I’m not talking about outsourcing or anything that’ll cost you money. You see, you don’t have to spend hours, weeks, or months staring at a blank screen, stressed out, and hating on – Words.
I’m about to show you how to write copy that converts with no prior experience, no money down, and not even a single book read.
If you follow this simple advice you’ll know how to:
- Create your own copy for your own products and make sales.
- Boost conversions on your squeeze pages, affiliate emails, sales letters, pre-sells and blog posts
Plus, as hard as this might be to believe right now… if you actually use the information in the rest of this copy primer…
You’ll Never Be Without A Way To Make Enough Money To Live
Big claim? Maybe. But I’m proof of concept, and I’m not dead yet.
So long as there is advertising, marketing, and people scared to death of writing, copywriters will stay a rare and valuable commodity.
Which is why the 6 simple copywriting secrets I’m giving you in the following post can set you up for life.