You’ve probably read, “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” (Apologies to the vegetarians and vegans reading this.). That’s only partly true. You definitely have to deliver substance or people quickly realize your message is just hype or fluff.
First you have to capture people’s attention – no easy task in these days when everyone is hyperactive and multi-tasking. Next you have to keep your reader’s interest, and then persuade them to take the next step, which could be to click a link for more information, call your client for a consultation, or buy their product.
Writing to sell, writing that engages and persuades, is both an art and a skill.
Fortunately, you can learn the skills to become a top copywriter. As your writing improves, you’ll get more enjoyment out of it, and can command higher fees.
So where do you get these skills? Here are some resources.
1. Take courses.
AWAI, American Artists and Writers, offers copywriting courses for beginners and more advanced copywriters. They have a boot camp every October in Florida, and this is a great place to jump right in and learn about copywriting.
They also have a job fair when you can make connections and even land your first job. They have conferences on web writing and other types of copywriting, both live and online. If you have the budget to travel to Florida and attend the boot camp, this is well worth considering.
They sell the boot camp videos afterwards at a fraction of the price. But if you can attend the live event at least once, it’s a lot of fun and you’ll make great connections that can launch your copywriting career.
Important note: Please be aware that there are many more natural products companies out there. If you don’t land work from the AWAI job fair, the skills you learn will help you get work from other places, such as from LinkedIn or Natural Products Expo.
2. Follow the leaders.
Over the years, I’ve bought many books and courses on copywriting and marketing. I continue to hone my skills because the Internet is changing, and I have to know how the latest developments will affect my clients.
Internet marketing is an immense industry. Many people claim to be gurus, and want to sell you their secrets to making money online. Some are legit, and many are one-trick ponies. It’s important to know which is which.
Hint: If they try to convince you that you can make money overnight in your pajamas, run for the hills. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Here are a few of my favorite copywriting and marketing leaders to learn from.
Most of them have free newsletters along with free reports, which are an excellent way to launch your education.
Steve Slaunwhite: Steve is the coach who helped me discover my passion for writing about natural products. He’s a top-notch, highly sought-after copywriter who manages to walk the fine line of persuasive writing that pulls you in, without hype or superlatives – truly an art. Steve Slaunwhite offers a copywriting course and has written several books, including The Wealthy Freelancer, Start and Run a Copywriting Business and The Everything Guide to Writing Copy. Sign up for his free newsletter and buy his books. They are well worth it.
Ed Gandia: This top copywriter runs the International Freelancers Academy, a goldmine of resources for freelancers. You’ll get free podcasts and information on everything from pricing your services to how to close the deal.
Nick Usborne: Nick Usborne is a pioneer in writing for the web, and wrote a book on it before any other copywriters realized the opportunities. He offers programs, books and services to help copywriters.
2. Buy copywriting and marketing books.
Books are among my favorite things in the world. Where else can you get years of knowledge bundled into a handy package? Amazon.com has many books on copywriting. Some Kindle books are free or available for just a few dollars, while other books cost a little more. You can easily build a library of copywriting and marketing books that will improve your writing skills immensely.
Important tip: Don’t just read these books and take the courses. Actually put the ideas into action.
For example, when you read about how to write better headlines, choose a supplement from your own kitchen, and write 10 headlines for it. Show it to a friend, and ask,
“Would this persuade you to buy this product?” Keep practicing until you become convincing.