How To Teach Yourself Copywriting

The Zen Of WritingIf you can write a sales letter you will make a lot of money.

Learning how to write sales letters, or copy, is easy. I started in 2014. Within 12 months I was putting out bestselling eBooks, building profitable niche sites, and running a successful freelance business. I also visited two different continents and learned a bunch of new skills.

While copywriting is great, there is a lot of misinformation about the subject. Hucksters sell bloated $997 persuasive writing courses, and weirdo “gurus” pollute the Internet with stupid marketing blogs that are full of bad advice and stupid jargon.

To save you some time, money, and frustration, I’ve created a quick little guide to teaching yourself the art of copywriting. If you follow the steps below, you will see noticeable improvement as both a writer and a businessman.

Read One Book Every Week

How To Teach Yourself Copywriting

(A $12 book often contains $120,000 worth of advice)

The easiest way to learn about copywriting is to read books by great copywriters. Silly as it may sound, but most people are unsuccessful in their ventures simply because they take their advice from bad sources.

Numerous studies have shown that the average person is more trusting of advice given by their family or friends than they are of expert information. To put it more bluntly, mediocre people are mediocre because they get all their advice from other mediocre sources.

When you want to get better at something, listen to someone who is already a master. Their advice can take you to levels you’d have never even dreamed of.

Stay away from copywriting courses and ClickBank eBooks. Most of these are pretty skimpy in terms of information. And, at best, you’re just getting content that’s been rehashed from a better, and more in-depth, book.

While this post isn’t “show and sell,” and I have no intention of talking your ear off with various book recommendations, I do have five great sales book suggestions to get you started:

  1. Triggers by Joe Sugarman

  2. Selling 101 by Zig Ziggler

  3. Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso

  4. Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy

  5. This Book Will Teach You To Write Better by Neville Medhora

If you read each of these books and apply what you learn, you will become better at sales. You’ll also discover a lot of “trade secrets” that can significantly boost your income. Web Copy That Sells and Triggers have both helped me to launch several successful websites, and both books have paid for themselves a thousand times over.

Write 1,000 Words Every Day

How To Teach Yourself Copywriting - Study The Greats

(Hand copy great authors to master their style)

To become a better writer you must be willing to write every single day. Otherwise you aren’t going to improve.

A good goal is to write one thousand words a day. Doing so will teach you how to fully develop your ideas and how to articulate them to your readers.

There’s an old joke that goes: “Everyone wants to be a writer but nobody actually wants to write.” Not only is this true, but it’s also really silly. Compared to other jobs (being in the military, mining coal, etc…) writing isn’t that hard. It takes about one hour to write a thousand words. That’s not a lot of time. Even if you have a busy schedule you can still meet your word count.

On top of writing original content, you should also hand copy great literature and ultra successful advertisements. Do this for an hour every morning and quickly learn how to write like one of the greats.

There’s a website called “Swiped” where you can freely download famous sales letters. Go there, pick out one advertisement a day, and write it out by hand. You’ll expose yourself to a lot of great ads and sales techniques.

On days that you don’t want to copy ads, find a classic short story and write it out. A lot of selling is done through storytelling. While you can read theoretical books on story structure or pacing, copying out an existing tale lets you experience these skills firsthand.

Start A Website

BADNET Website

(Victor Pride helped me out with some web design tips)

Launching a website is pretty inexpensive. A handful of domain names and hosting costs less than a dollar a day. Even if you didn’t make a lot of money, you could easily cover your start-up costs.

While I won’t tell you what you should write about or who you should sell to, I will give you a few pieces of advice:

  • Focus on selling a product instead of giving advice away

  • Women buy more than men, this is true in almost every single niche

  • Your site should be themed around a subject (i.e. “Best Watches Under $50”)

  • It’s easier to sell fun (video games, jewelry, etc…) than it is to sell information (books)

  • Selling physical products is infinitely easier than trying to promote eBooks or digital goods

  • When selling to men, choose a niche where your customers will be making $100,000 a year or more

  • If you try to sell to the “average man,” you’ll have nothing to show for it but a headache (it may sound like I am belittling men, but they are the hardest, and least profitable, demographic to sell to)

My final piece of of advice is on web design. When you start your website, make it crisp and easy to navigate right from the get-go. When your site gets to a certain point, redesigning it can be tough.

A few months back, I tried to change the theme here. Unfortunately, I had so many plug-ins and widgets that my new design would constantly break. With my new sites I use a high-quality theme right out of the gate.

Ease of navigation does have an impact on your profits. While the difference isn’t huge, it does add up over time.

If you don’t have a website or hosting yet, I’d suggest ordering through BADNET (no affiliate link). The owner, Victor Pride, gave me some design tips for my own sites and it has had a pretty big effect on my earnings over the course this year.

My StudioPress Themes

(Buying the Genesis Framework really helped my sales)

If you do already have a website, I would suggest investing a measly $59.95 into the Genesis Framework. This is what I use on my niche sites. Once you buy the theme, you can install it on as many of your sites as you’d like. Additionally, you can use your purchase as a tax write-off, making it practically free.

Set Realistic Goals

SEO Day #2

(Small money can add up quickly)

In all honesty, there’s very little chance that you’ll ever have a smash hit. You probably won’t build a website that makes you famous, or write a timeless book. However, you can still do well for yourself without ever becoming a household name.

Back in November I decided to write some product reviews for a little SEO niche site I had started. I bought some products, wrote sales letters about them, and then added a few Amazon Affiliates links to my content.

Building the site and writing product reviews took seven hours total. So far I’ve made about $200 profit from my endeavor, and I’ll continue earning sales commissions all throughout the year.

Amazon Earnings December 31st

(My Amazon Affiliates earnings from this morning)

Instead of paying to learn copy, or reading sales books and never implementing anything you’ve learned, why not start some affiliate sites? You’ll hone your copywriting skills and get paid to do so.

After a month or two of reading sales books and studying great advertisements, find a product and start selling it. You’re going to get a lot of “hands on experience” and you’ll gain an incredible amount of insight into how consumers think.

Lastly, set a measurable goal for every sales letter that you write. “Bill yourself” for the work and try to make back the amount you set. When I started writing sales letters, my goal was to make $15 from every piece of copy I wrote. This small but doable goal gave me something to work towards.

As the old saying goes,“what gets measured gets done.” Giving yourself a reachable goal will do more for your progress than unfocused writing ever could.

Closing Thoughts

In order to become grow as both a writer and salesman, you need to constantly work on bettering yourself. Read books on selling. Write one thousand words a day. And build websites where you can challenge yourself by testing your salesmanship skills.

Start teaching yourself copywriting now and stick with it for a full year. Your writing style will improve drastically and your profits will soar through the roof. Following a program like this a tiny investment to make, but the payoff is enormous.

P.S. To learn more about sales, check out “How Much Do Independent Authors Make?” and “How to Make Money Online.”