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Who's Your Favorite Copywriting Teacher?

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Who's Your Favorite Copywriting Teacher?

Postby Bensettle » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:48 pm

Thought it'd be fun (and instructive) to name your most influential copywriting teacher. Let's say the top three and why.

Here's my list:

1. Gary Halbert. There's no question. I remember sneaking his books and newsletters into work and studying his stuff when nobody was looking. He was sort of my unofficial "coach" -- even though I never had the chance to meet him :( His were the only ads I would copy out by hand and even today, I love reading his ads for both the educational and entertainment value.

2. Gary Bencivenga. Gary Halbert may have taught me how to "write" copy, but Gary Bencinvenga taught me (through his course, as I have never met him personally) the psychology behind copywriting. And it's making a huge difference in response. Funny story: Back in my early college days -- late 1995 -- I got a couple "bookalogues" in the mail. I held on to them for years (this was back before I cared about advertising or knew what copywriting even was) and I could never bring myself to throw them out. There was "something" about them. Anyway when I bought GB's DVD's last January, lo and behold -- I found out they were two of his biggest control-busting blockbusters. All this time I had them in my swipe file and didn't even realize it. Sheesh!

3. Eugene Schwartz. This was tough. Studying John Carlton's stuff was also extremely influential. But Schwartz's speeches (to Phillips Publishing and Rodale) and his book "Breakthrough Advertising" went so deep into the subject -- especially chapter 7 -- that I have to give it to Gene. His teachings on organizing the different elements of an ad, writing bullets, writing copy to the different "stages" of your market, and using what he calls "identification" is just extremely potent when you use them.

Who else wants to give it a shot?

Ben
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Halbert - For Sure

Postby mitchpowell » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:32 pm

Gary Halbert undoubtedly inspires the greatest today.

Jason Fladlien, an exceptional copywriter also, sent out an offer the other day when I was in the middle of other things and I wanted to go back and consider buying it. It's a big ol' package containing 800MB of a Gary Halbert copywriting swipe file with 53 video critiques.

I really enjoy what Brian McElroy has to offer in his Freelance Profit Blueprint. We got an interview with Jaime Mintun that was priceless, and he also interviewed Rob Toth and Kyle Tully. Everything about this program has been excellent and I only regret I'm over my spending quota because he now is launching "Overnight Product Creation."

I have to say too, that Chris Rempel has a style I really relate to, and I can't help myself when he sends out an offer I just can't refuse.

Robert Plank, while being primarily a PHP programmer also puts together some excellent copy.

So, those writers give me a lot of inspiration.

I like Michel Fortin, and I get a lot out of Bob the Teacher too.

Thanks for starting this post.

Mitch
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Postby Dr Beck » Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:41 am

I learn quite a bit from Clayton Makepeace and his free e-zine.
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Postby Publisher-For-You » Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:09 am

Ok, you guys are in to copywriting, maybe you can help me find the copywriting teachers that would become my personal favorites.

I sell stuff, not to copywriters specifically, but to internet business people in general.

So, it's key for me to understand what kind of sales copy internet business people want to read. Makes sense so far, right?

Here's the problem I always encounter.

EVERYBODY, and I mean everybody, :-) wants to tell me what kind of sales copy will "work" on somebody else.

But, I'm not interested in what "them", some anonymous group of theoretical people want.

I'm interested in what YOU want to read when you land on one of my sites.

Not what you want to read as a student of copywriting, but what you want to read as a shopper for net business related technical services.

If you know of copywriters who talk frankly about what they themselves like to read when they are the shopper, an expert who can still make that psychological leap from seller to buyer, I'd welcome your advice.
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Postby Bensettle » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:03 pm

Publisher-For-You,

One thing you can do is slap a survey up on your site asking what they want, what they most recently bought, what their most pressing problems are, etc.

Check out Glen Livingston's work on this, it's awesome and should help you with this:

http://www.freemarketingaudios.com

Ben
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Michel Fortin's Copywriter's Board

Postby mitchpowell » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:29 pm

I only became aware of this discussion forum recently:

http://www.copywritersboard.com/

I've begun reading there when I get the time. It's fascinating; maybe it's just what you're looking for, some post in there; I can't know if I'm telling you something you already know, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Hope that helps.

Mitch
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Postby Publisher-For-You » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:48 am

Thanks for your replies guys, appreciated.

Hmm. Please feel free to ignore this of course.

But, if you want something a bit different, here's a question.

What kind of sales copy do YOU want to read? You personally.

If you can, pretend you'll never write another word of copy for the rest of your life. Pretend perhaps that instead, your job is to buy things for your company, so you spend a lot of time online shopping.

Or, here's another angle. Let's say I make widgets. So I come to you and ask what kind of features do you want in a widget. Just tell me, and I'll make it. So you tell me, I want XYZ, but not ABC. This is question is simple, when we're talking about the product.

So now, let's transfer this same process to the sales copy. I'm a merchant. I'm going to write something on my sales page. What do you want to read? Just tell me, and I'll write it.

Here's a survey, right here in this thread.

I sell to guys just like you. What do you want to read?

Thanks!
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Postby Kyle Tully » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:42 pm

Publisher-For-You wrote:What kind of sales copy do YOU want to read? You personally.


The copy I want to read is no different than the copy any other consumer wants to read... NONE.

No one want's to read copy.

They want to solve problems.

How does your product solve my problems?

Write about that and I'll read it.
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Good Answer!

Postby mitchpowell » Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:27 pm

True, Kyle.

No one want's to read copy
(sic)

But that's begging the question.


:wink:

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Postby Publisher-For-You » Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:04 am

Kyle Tully wrote:The copy I want to read is no different than the copy any other consumer wants to read... NONE.

No one want's to read copy.


Ok Kyle, that sounds right to me.

So, if true, this raises a question perhaps.

Why are so many folks studying how to write stuff that nobody wants to read? If nobody wants to read copy, why is there a field called copywriting?

Kyle Tully wrote:How does your product solve my problems? Write about that and I'll read it.


Ok, this makes sense too. I like the way you said it, to the point, concise.

Are you saying you don't really care HOW I write it? Just give you the facts in some reasonably organized manner, and leave you to your decision?

Personally, I'm quite agreeable to this, you know, programmer type here. But I'm guessing we just flunked the copywriting course. :-)

I'm trying to feel my way through the difference between what folks say they want, and what they say other people want. Thanks for playing.
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Postby karynsolo » Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:08 am

The thing I despise the most is to land on a sales page that rambles on and on before telling me how it will solve my question or problem. I want to know with as little fluff as possible, will it benefit me in the direction I need it to go?

Basically I want it to ask the question, bullet point the benefits, tell me why it is that I need that solution and then give me the darn price. To weed through pages and pages to find the price at the end gets me bored and I usually click off of the page and go to a different site that hopefully will cut the fluff and get down to business.

Another big turn off I have come across is when google searching a solution for example: free software solutions and I come across a description that says " Absolutely FREE" that is what I would expect it to be, then I land on the page and it tells me that I can download a free trial of the software but that the full version is say $59.99. I at this point feel mislead, lied to and roped into coming to a site. That kills any thought of doing business in the future in my mind. Truthfulness goes a long way.
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It's a Jungle Out There

Postby mitchpowell » Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:14 am

It's how they do it. I'm afraid it's all part of the game.

I agree with you totally, but even the big companies resort to that form of marketing. TechSmith's Camtasia, Adobe, just to name two.

You have to weed through it.

What I hate is when you get bored and just want to know the price, and it's not at the bottom paragraph; it's not above that; it's not in the Johnson boxes anywhere; and finally when you're about to presume they aren't even telling you, you decide to go back up to where you started getting bored, and there it is, very unassumingly tucked into a short sentence in the middle of a long paragraph!

Sometimes, when it's nowhere to be found on the page, I click over to see if it's on the order page; as long as I didn't have to join a list just to get there.

If the price is reasonable, and I knew it right from the start, then I probably would read through the rest of the copy, as long as it reinforced my hopes about what the product would do for me.

I hate being tricked.

Unique, funny, clever - that's one thing; tricky and sneaky is quite another.

That's just my $0.02

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Re: It's a Jungle Out There

Postby Publisher-For-You » Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:01 pm

mitchpowell wrote:You have to weed through it.


No, actually, you don't. :-)
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Postby Kyle Tully » Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:53 pm

Publisher-For-You wrote:
Kyle Tully wrote:The copy I want to read is no different than the copy any other consumer wants to read... NONE.

No one want's to read copy.


Ok Kyle, that sounds right to me.

So, if true, this raises a question perhaps.

Why are so many folks studying how to write stuff that nobody wants to read? If nobody wants to read copy, why is there a field called copywriting?


I didn't say no one actually reads copy -- billions of dollars are sold every year because of long copy -- I just said no one wants to read copy... they just want the end result.

Publisher-For-You wrote:
Kyle Tully wrote:How does your product solve my problems? Write about that and I'll read it.


Ok, this makes sense too. I like the way you said it, to the point, concise.

Are you saying you don't really care HOW I write it? Just give you the facts in some reasonably organized manner, and leave you to your decision


That's exactly right. It doesn't matter HOW you write it -- good copy is good copy.

Sometimes that means an advertorial approach with lots of content and a subtle pitch, other times it means a big red screaming headline and tons of BIG promises.

I've bought from both types of copy in the past and will again in the future.

There's no one "type" of copy that works every time -- but there is one constant... GOOD copy.

I could tell you that I want to read low-hype, value-packed copy that doesn't insult my intelligence. And in a way that would be the "right" answer... But my credit card statement tells another tale. One that, as a marketer, you'd be much more interested in hearing ;)
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Postby Publisher-For-You » Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:10 pm

Kyle Tully wrote:I didn't say no one actually reads copy


Me either. So, no problem.

It doesn't matter HOW you write it -- good copy is good copy.


Ok, so what is good copy for you?

What do you personally WANT to read?

You're on a site.

You can push a button to choose this:

I could tell you that I want to read low-hype, value-packed copy that doesn't insult my intelligence.


Or, you can push a button to choose this:

But my credit card statement tells another tale. One that, as a marketer, you'd be much more interested in hearing.


Or, perhaps you'd like something else?

As the merchant, I'm pretty agreeable, I'm just trying to fill your copy order. In order to do that, I need to know what your order is.

I have the same simple question about copy that I have about the product.

Please tell me what you want, so I can give it to you.
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