How to Be a Better Copywriter

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I was sitting at my desk the other day, and the phone rang as it does all day long.

I answered and it was my friend fellow network marketer Jeff Weisberg .  He had just read one of my recent blog posts and said, “Dude…I just read your last blog post.  Do you write all your own copy or pay someone to do it for you?”

I went on to explain that I write everything myself. 

He was like, “What?  Do you have a background in journalism or something?  That stuff is off the charts.  How’d you get so good at writing copy?”

While I don’t consider myself the best copywriter in the world, I have studied it pretty extensively and have gotten pretty decent at it. 

I thought I’d take some time with you today and share some tips on helping you get better at copywriting.

Do you have to be a great copywriter to be good at network marketing?  Not necessarily, although the skill does come in super handy on a very frequent basis. 

Again…as I referenced in a recent post, SKILL DEVELOPMENT is crucial to your success.  The more skills you acquire and put into action, the better result you’ll have. 

I may eventually conduct a training specifically on the subject of writing effective copy if enough of you request it, but for now I wanted to simply leave you with several tips on becoming better at it.  A starting point, if you will. 

Where would you use these skills? 

–       Writing emails to prospective distributors. 

–       Blog posts.

–       Website copy.

–       Direct Mail or Direct Response Marketing.

–       Advertising. 

–       Newsletters.

There are probably a few other places you might require these skills as well, but those are the ones that come to mind as I write this, specifically in the context of building a network marketing business.

How to Become a Better Copywriter 

  1. The Long and Short of it.  Remember this.  Your copy can never be too long.  Some of the best and most effective pieces are incredibly lengthy.  However, if your copy is extremely mundane and off the charts boring, and it is long…then that isn’t good.  Just remember, short doesn’t mean sweet.  Whether your copy is short or long, the important part to remember is that it must be engaging.
  2. Use Heads and Subheads to make your points.  Remember that some readers are scanners and some are more analytical.   Your headlines and subheads tell the story in brief, while the copy below each tells the story in detail.  That way, a reader who is scanning your copy can still get “most” of the story by simply reading the heads and subheads.  Also…be sure that when you do use a headline or subhead, that the copy below it tells the story in more detail.  I’ve seen writers who put a headline in their copy, but the copy below it isn’t actually relevant to what was said in the headline. 
  3. One Single Call to Action.  Typically, when you are writing any kind of direct response copy, you’ll want one clear, concise “call to action”.  Direct response copy is when you are writing something and you’re looking for the reader to respond in some manner, i.e. calling an 800 number or clicking on a website.  One of the biggest mistakes I see novice copywriters make is when they give their reader multiple choices.  Narrow down the “call to action” to a singular action and you’ll get better results. 
  4. Express your Point.  Feel free to use underlines, bold and italics to make specific words or phrases stick out.  It allows the reader to more clearly understand your point.
  5. Avoid super long sentences.   Writing long sentences that take forever to get the point across only frustrates the reader and makes them lose their focus and when they lose their focus their attention begins to wane and when their attention wanes you end up losing readers who would otherwise read the rest of your copy, but because you didn’t use periods or start other sentences it is as if the sentence literally goes on forever, much like the one you just tread.  Don’t do it.  Short sentences are effective.  Brief is good.  Some sentences may be longer, but don’t let all of them run on forever. 
  6. Split them up.  Long paragraphs are a strain on the eyes and hard to read.  One long paragraph isn’t good.  It is pretty easy to split them up as you write. 
  7. If it isn’t necessary to say, don’t say it.  Rambling isn’t cool.   If it’s important, say it.  If it isn’t don’t.  Be very careful not to ramble on and on and on and on.  If I kept saying on and on and on and on, you’d get irritated, wouldn’t you? 
  8. Speak and write alike.  I typically write exactly as I speak.  I’m taking the words and the phrases from my brain and putting them on paper.  You don’t have to worry about “sounding” educated or super cool.  Write as you’d talk and you’ll do just fine…that is, unless you talk like this, “and…um, well, dude, you know like, um, the last time, uhhh, dude.  You know. “  However, that sentence might do well if you’re talking to a teenager in a language they might more easily understand. 
  9. Tell stories.  Everyone loves a great story.  If you can incorporate a story that your reader can personally relate to, use it. 
  10. Ask and engage.  Using questions that they have to answer makes sense, doesn’t it?  Think about this for a second.  What if you could become a super powerful copywriter and easily get loads of new business?  You’d want to do that as quick as you can, wouldn’t you?
  11. Create a swipe file.  A great way to get better at copywriting is to read copy.  I love reading website copy, emails, advertisements and other creative I can get my hands on.  If you find something you like that grabs your attention, print it out and put it in a file.  It’s called a “swipe file” for that reason, because your “swiping” ideas.  Don’t steal it and call it your own, just borrow from it.
  12. WITD-FM.  That stands for “what’s in the deal for me.”  When writing, you’re obviously doing so with a specific intention, right?  As you formulate whatever copy you are writing, make sure you are letting them in on the benefits they’ll receive by taking whatever specific action it is that you’re asking them to take.
  13. Make it personal.  Talk to them as individuals.   Write “as if” you’re having a one-on-one conversation with them, even if it will be read by thousands of people.  
  14. Don’t rush the subject line or headline.  The single most important part of whatever you write is at the beginning, usually the headline or the subject line.  You’ve got to get their ATTENTION.  Your headline can make or break your readership.
  15. P.S.  I love you.  If you’re writing something that is in “letter” style, then take liberal use of the opportunity to throw in a P.S. at the end.  People respond to P.S.’s at the end of a letter.
  16. Eliminate Hyperbole.  You want your copy to sound good and to have what you say capture their attention and keep their interest, but be sure not to go overboard and use absolutes.  An absolute is where you make a statement like this, “The Single Greatest Compensation Plan in MLM History.”  The only way you could actually make that statement and it be absolutely correct is if you conducted a study on literally every other compensation plan being offered by every company in the business.  You didn’t, so don’t write as if you did.
  17. Test and Split-Test.  This is going into a little more depth than I intended in this post, but worth mentioning.  How well do you know your copy is performing if you fail to test it?  The answer is that you don’t.  Split testing is essentially where you run a test where some element of the copy is different to your targeted audience.  You can split test headlines, the copy itself, or even calls to action.  You may have a different color headline that produces more than another.  Test.  Retest.  Tweak.  Then…go with what produces the best response and continue to test.
  18.  Research your Market.  You don’t have to own a Market Research company to conduct some basic research.  Who is your audience?  What is their lifestyle?  Demographics?  Where do they live?  What do they do?  Knowing a few of these things prior to writing your copy enables you to cater to them more specifically. 

 I could go on for days on the subject of copywriting, but I won’t.   Instead, I’ll leave you with this…


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Hope you’ve enjoyed this little lesson on copywriting.

Todd Falcone

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