Carline Anglade-Cole studied Clayton Makepeace…
Clayton Makepeace studied Gary Bencivenga…
And Gary Bencivenga studied John Caples.
The common thread?
If you want to become a great copywriter, learn from one. In fact, learn from as many as you can.
Because often, great copywriters supply priceless lessons that can accelerate your growth.
So, what I did was gather three key ways to learn copywriting — according to the masters. These methods are simple but do require some elbow grease for effective usage.
That said, let’s dive in!
Your First Resource: Devour Copywriting Books
By reading copywriting books, you digest the hard-earned wisdom taught by the authors. And likely, these authors have emotional scars from spending a fortune learning from their mistakes. Therefore, books offer us the opportunity to avoid similar scars.
As Joseph Sugarman once said, “By reading other perspectives on advertising and copywriting, you can further your education and avoid costly errors that many before you have made.”
The problem is there’s a mountain of copywriting books out there nowadays! You can get lost trying to extract the precious gems.
But want to know a shortcut?
Grab the books that Master Copywriters recommend. If the masters benefit from them, you can as well.
Interestingly, you’ll discover that certain books keep popping up on your radar. That’s what happened to me when I went on my treasure hunt for copywriting books.
Here are some of the books I found. Which were recommended by Master Copywriters like Gary Halbert, Ted Nicholas, and Clayton Makepeace:
- Victor O. Schwab’s How to Write a Good Advertisement
- Claude C. Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising
- David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising
- John Caples Tested Advertising Methods
And you know what?
Most of the Master Copywriters advise that you read these books multiple times, plus take notes. Which makes perfect sense.
Think of it like this…
When we hear an orchestra for the first time, it’s almost impossible to catch every single melody. Often, it takes numerous listens.
Likewise, to catch every golden nugget within a book requires numerous readings.
Your Second Resource: Study Successful Sales Letters, Then Handwrite Them
Interested in having a Master Copywriter mentor you, but don’t have access to one?
Just grab a successful sales letter, read it multiple times, then handwrite it. In doing so, you’ll get to observe a master in action. And while concentrating on their copy, you can dissect their strategy, and reverse engineer their techniques.
In other words, by handwriting sales letters, you’re forcing yourself to focus on the microscopic, the subtleties. And how each tiny detail combines to form persuasive copy.
In fact, handwriting sales letters is a practice recommended by Master Copywriters like Mark Ford and Gary Halbert.
Without question, the process is labor-intensive. And after you finish, your index finger may feel sore and stiff.
But guess what?
You’ll feel relief once that surge of copywriting wisdom transfers from your aching hand to your inspired brain.
Your Third Resource: Ask a Master to Review Your Copy
Fact is, you can practice writing copy from sunrise to sunset. But if you don’t have another set of eyes examining it, you’re working within an isolated bubble.
Remember that phrase: “practice makes perfect”?
Well, that’s not always true. Rather, as neurologist Judy Willis once said, “practice makes permanent.”
Therefore, what you practice matters.
And by having a master review your copy, you’re ensuring that you’re practicing the right habits. The type of habits that’ll boost your copywriting skills.
In fact, David Deutsch once said:
“I’ve probably read a hundred books on copywriting. And taken dozens of courses on copywriting, persuasion, and anything else I thought could improve my writing. But you know what’s the one thing that has helped me the most by far? Talking to, getting coached by, and having my copy reviewed (a nice way to say “torn apart”) by great writers. Like Rutz. Carlton. Halbert. Abraham. Kennedy. Punkre. Makepeace. Those are the times my eyes opened, and my writing transformed.”
If Mr. Deutsch had only worked within a secluded bubble, he likely wouldn’t have become the master that he is.
In fact, one of the benefits of AWAI’s Circle of Success program is access to professional reviews through Simulated Training. You can even collaborate with an “A-level” copywriter on one sales letter a year as part of your membership. Why does AWAI offer that level of review? Because they also know this is one of the best ways for you to improve your writing.
Become a Master Student
Even as your skills elevate, don’t settle. Always look for ways to improve. Why?
Because as a copywriter, unlike some professions, you’re not confined by the limits of your body. Instead, you’re liberated by the infinite depth of your mind.
So, always hunt for new ways to strengthen your copywriting muscle. It’s what the copywriting masters do. They remain master students.
In short, the greatest copywriters understand, and live by, this powerful truth:
The best fuel for mastery is relentless dedication to your craft.