Jerry West's Blog

I don’t want to know what you would choose … but making you laugh opens you up to sage business advice, so here you go…

WRITING DOESN’T HAVE TO SUCK

Great writers and copywriters aren’t born, they are created and forged according to David Ogilvy. The habits I have as a copywriter are things I have stolen from others and modified them to my liking.

So feel free to steal mine and make your own modifications so you can kick ass too.

It’s not that hard. Just do this…

  1. I don’t write in an office. Never have and never will. Offices are stuffy and full of distractions. It isn’t just the interruptions, it just saps the creative energy out of a person.

    My best copy is written on my patio or at the pub. Find your spot.
  2. I heed to the words of Ernest Hemingway, “Write drunk and edit sober.”

    I have a BAC and if I can keep myself in the .11-.13 range, the copy is utterly fantastic. I hit .12 and pounded out the copy for Stompernet.com in 12 minutes, which is some of the best copy I’ve written. Check it out.

    Great copy does not need to take a long time, but it does need the perfect environment.

    Don’t drink? No problem. Find something that will put you in a relaxed and creative mood.
  3. If the copy is for a big project, I will take the time and study competitor’s copy. I will use my Kitchen Table Copy technique to make this process quicker and more productive.

    I focus mainly on paid search results as those landers typically have the best copy since they are paying for the traffic.
  4. I don’t write headlines. I perform surveys based on techniques I learned more than a decade ago.

    The results of the surveys pinpoints trigger words which I use in headlines and sub-heads in order for the reader to feel as if I am talking directly to them.

    The headlines naturally write themselves and the conversions almost always beat the expectation.
  5. Storytelling is powerful. Leading with a story or ending witho a story makes good copy great. The Stompernet example doesn’t have a story, but it has pieces of nostalgia, and that is as good as a story.

One of the biggest takeaways to becoming a great copywriter is practice: Writing every day.

You do this by writing the minimum 2,000 words every day. It doesn’t matter if you use what you write, you are doing this for practice, to sharpen your skills, open up new areas of your mind, and you can get into “your zone” faster when there is a deadline looming.

I learned this from Colin Theriot, and if you don’t follow him or belong to his Cult of Copy group, you should.

When I get lazy and don’t write every day when I do have to write copy it is a painful process and usually ends badly.

Takeaway: Stop being lazy and write every day. Your business will only improve.

Note: This doesn’t mean that you have to be drunk every day to write, that is only for when you have to write an epic piece such as a sales letter.

Rock on.

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