Copy Primer – Part 2

A Pro-Writer’s Greatest Tool (…And Where To Get Yours).

Welcome back to this copywriting primer. It’s about to get real.

If you missed Part #1 you can (and probably should), catch up on what you missed below.

Over the next 6 articles, you’re going to be given 6 of the most important strategies, techniques, and tools for getting started selling products successfully.

Which means you’ll be able to make money, without being forced to pay people like me and The Hat tens of thousands of dollars to do it for you.

But make no mistake – I have an ulterior motive.

My goal here is to give you the skills
to make enough money to be able to
afford ‘people like me’

And when that happens I hope to have built up so much faith and goodwill, that ‘people like me’, will inevitably become, simply ‘Me’.

… or be more exact me and The Hat.

Because why have one multi-million dollar writer working with you on your business when you can have two?

Now, it’s time to strap on your training wheels and go for your first tentative ride around the block.

Copy Strategy 1

A Copywriter Is Only As Good As Their Swipe File

In the previous article, I savaged those (may or may not actually be working) copywriters on disgracebook who told you to use a swipe file and “fake it ’til you make it.”

Now I’m telling you to use a swipe file. That makes me a hypocrite. And that’s fine. I am. But not about this.

(Also, a question you SHOULD be asking “is the Beard a working copywriter or not?” Short answer: I’ve been writing copy almost every single day since October 13th 2013, you can find out more about me here)

My problem isn’t with having and using a swipe file. It was with the people telling you to use other peoples’ copy, without telling you how to do it ethically.

I reckon at least 99% of people do it wrong and end up ruining their copy and their reputation before they’ve had a chance to see if copywriting is for them.

And while broken copy can be fixed…
a broken reputation can often be fatal.

Especially, to a new writer, affiliate, or product vendor.

Niches are smaller than you think. We all know who the liars, cheats and plagiarists are. Online, that stink will stick to you tighter than a pissed off skunk with a glue gun.

The good news is, you’re about to get your mitts on a swipe file that I’ve personally used to sell well in excess of $2,000,000 worth of products.

(I’m serious, I don’t mind telling you, over the last few years, the “Hat & Beard” have made people a whole bunch of people a crap ton of money, multiple, multiple millions using a bunch of the techniques and strategies you’re getting here.)

Armed with a world-class swipe file like this your basic plan of attack should be:

  • Open the swipe file.
  • Find some amazing copy.
  • Swipe it.
  • Change it up.
  • Use it to sell your own stuff.

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Using A Swipe-File Like A Pro (… Not A Chump).

1/ Everything you need to write has already been written, and way better than anything you could do (yet).

This is great by the way because it releases you from the pressure of trying to out-paint Rembrandt on your first attempt, while you’re still mastering stick figures.

2/ Good ads are seriously tough to get rid of.

The beautiful thing about learning to write sales copy is that it’s everywhere.

Because if it’s good, it’s selling product.

And if it’s selling product, then Mr. Marketer ain’t pulling down that sales copy any time soon.

And here’s what’s important for you…

Those ads that stick around, they’re the articles, ads, and emails you want to be reading, re-reading, post-it noting, tattooing on your forearms, and saving to your swipe file.

But before you go off and start obsessing over every John Carlton ad you can find, then copying it out, changing a few verbs, and then trying to pass it off as your own, let me make one thing very clear…


It’s a sucker’s play, and it’ll ruin your reputation in the blink of an eye. Even if you escape the short-term fallout, the long term will hit you harder than Mike Tyson in his prime.

You might think you have a plan for dealing with the inevitable backlash. You don’t. It’s like Iron Mike said “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Don’t let yourself get knocked out of the game by starting the fight like a sucker.

Don’t swipe the copy.
Swipe the template.

Swiping isn’t stealing.

Swiping isn’t copying word-for-word.

Swiping isn’t plagiarising.

What you’re doing is discovering what works best, and then using the ideas, the tone, the feeling, and the tactics in the copy as your inspiration.

Here’s an example of a headline and lead we wrote for an MMO product using a famous headline swiped from the golf niche as inspiration.

You can Google search for “One-Legged Golfer Letter” or find a copy in our swipe file here

See a copywriter that knows his templates, will instantly see this as a rework of John Carlton’s 1-legged golfer headline (and lead) and yet nothing about it, apart from its pulling-power 🙂 is the same.

For one thing, none of the words are the same.

Also, we’ve reworked JC’s sub-script as a lead for multiple reasons.

The main one being that JC was writing for a magazine, and we were writing for a webpage with sales video.

And yet there’s so much similarity to the trained eye in these 2 headlines.

  • News
  • Incongruity
  • Benefits
  • Curiosity/Secret
  • Promise
  • Ease and speed of achieve desired results

And here’s the point.

I’ve now got a mental map of the tactics and strategies at play in this headline that I can apply to just about any niche. But it’s not the words and phrases I’m using, it’s the strategy.

Master the map,
and you win the ball game.

You can’t help but re-use words and phrases. That’s the nature of language, communication and cliche.

But most people (even alleged disgracebook pros) just copy/paste entire sections of copy and add in their names, product details, and swap a few verbs here and there.

We’ve had multiple people (and almost the entire industry) rip off one of our most successful letters in the Video Marketing niche.

One guy completely 100% ripped off our sales video for one of our million dollar letters. He hired some flunky to say the same words and sentences verbatim throughout the entire video. Things did not go well for him.

(Which is shame, because he could’ve just invested $47 in this review, and had the person who wrote it break down the tactics at such a granular level he could’ve written his own copy, and maintained all his credibility and contacts, instead he burned his reputation and the product flopped.)

But when you master the map and learn to see what’s happening in the copy, you’re able to swipe and deploy the tactics and strategies of the words best copywriters every-time you sit down to write.

Do that and YOU WILL SELL Product.

We’ll get to understating strategic templates so you can build your own mental maps soon, but right now it’s time to build your swipe file.

So, where’s all the
good copy hanging out?

Good question. Here are few names to Google to get you started:

  • Gary Halbert
  • John Carlton
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Ben Settle
  • Gary Bencivenga.

That’s a pretty solid starting place. If you jump on Google and research those guys you’ll soon have a much longer list to work with.

Get A Copy Of Our Million Dollar Swipe File

If you want to save yourself hours of web-trawling, you can download our million-dollar swipe filecontaining many ads from the world’s greatest copywriters.

Of course, if you’re like me and you want to get your hands’ dirty rummaging around the internet for the best ads… get after it!

Here’s how to open up that rabbit hole.

Do Not Under-Estimate This Tactic!

Your first plan of attack is to find all the best products in your niche, then read, dissect, and save the copy that’s selling them.

If you’ve got a hugely successful competitor like Frank Kern, Weight Watchers, or, then you can pretty much guarantee they’ve invested some serious wonga in the best market research, and the best copywriters their marketing budget can buy.

And they’ve probably split-tested the living crap out of it too.

Which means…

The information you’re gawping at could easily
be worth tens (even hundreds) of thousands
of dollars…in the right hands.

And the right hands, in this instance, are your hands, because you’re about to find out how to use it.

The next place to find some great copy for your swipe file is by signing up to all the most popular email lists in your niche.

Here’s what you do:

1/ Set up a new email address that you’ll only use for swipes, research, and marketing materials. This’ll avoid giving your everyday inbox a massive heart attack at the monumental amount of email it’s about to be hit by. It’ll also save your sanity.

2/ Take 30 minutes and go sign up to every decent email list in your immediate niche, and in a variety of related niches.

This way you get marketing materials specific to your niche, and a feel for what other niches are doing.

Occasionally, you’ll get a nice cross-over that can spark ideas, great hooks, and put a fresh face on your copy.

It’s around that time when you start making these connections, that you can start hitting home-runs.

A good place to stat here is –Agora, Philips, Weiss, Boardroom, Dan Kennedy… and the list goes on. Remember to get niche-specific.

3/ Spend a couple of hours reading through the promotions each week, follow a few links, look at the sales pages.

Remember, the ones that keep getting mailed to you are sure-fire winners.

Save these winners in a separate folder for deeper study, and maybe they’ll even make it into your master swipe file one day.

I won’t give you a system for storing and filing these, because filing systems are like diets, the best ones are the ones you stick to.

About now, you should be beginning to see the beauty of learning to write sales copy is that everything you need is right there in front of you.

It’s not hiding out.

It’s not gonna cost you $2997.00 to get the course.

It’s everywhere all of the time.

The secret is to stop eating up advertising like a wide-eyed consumer and start decoding advertising as a marketer.

It’s tough at first, but pretty soon you can’t help but do it.

When you find yourself shouting at TV ads for being stupid, and actually opening junk mail “to see what they’re doing”… it’s around about then that you’re past the point of no return.

So it’s probably a good idea to tell you what to do with all your newly-won marketing savvy, your inbox teeming with ideas and your new million-dollar swipe file

Which leads us to simple copy secret #2.

And it’s a goody.

So go get your swipe file ready.

Then come back here and click the link below to find out what’s next in your relentless drive towards never having to worry about putting food in your belly again.

[Click Here For Part #3] (Coming Soon)