The secret to writing great copy?
First, write bad copy… And then fix it.
Hey guys, welcome! It’s Alex, today I’m going to walk you through 5 super simple copywriting exercises that you can start doing right away to turn your copy from good to great!
Now, these exercises are crazy valuable! Whether you’re a brand new copywriter just starting out or a seasoned vet, they can be used throughout your entire copywriting process.
BTW, if you’re an entrepreneur or freelance writer looking to grow your business with crazy good copy, be sure to hit subscribe over on my YouTube Channel so you don’t miss a single copywriting tutorial from me!!
Okay now, let’s dive into the 5 copywriting exercises for writing killer copy…
Exercise #1: Create An Inspo-File
All the great copywriters and marketers I know have an Inspiration File – essentially of collection of screenshots, emails, sales pages and products from other people, businesses and brands!
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve signed up for something online and I think “Oh, nice! I like what they did there.” And boom, take a screenshot and I add that to my Inspo File.
It’s a Dropbox Folder that I can easily access or add to from my phone or my Laptop because – hey you never know when inspiration will strike – and I have it split into different subfolders – like Emails, Landing Pages, Sales Pages, Upsells, Products etc. This makes it way easier to go back later when you’re looking for ideas for future pieces.
I frequently buy other people’s products to see WHAT they are doing behind the gate, it’s one of the best ways to learn!
And another tip… I like to sign up for a bunch of email lists from related businesses. And then rather than just let those emails clog up my inbox, I add a filter in Gmail that skips the inbox and tags them with “INSPO”.
(Click that little gear icon in your Gmail >> Settings >> Filters & Blocked Addresses >> Create New Filter >> Set Conditions (i.e. emails from a particular address/person >> Create Filter >> Choose “Skip Inbox” and “Apply A New Label”).
Then, anytime I’m looking for a subject line or an email on a particular topic, say a webinar replay… I can just search “webinar replay” in my inbox Inspo file and see all the other emails that people have written on that topic.
I have one BIG FAT FREAKIN’ DISCLAIMER HERE. The point of this exercise is to find INSPIRATION. NOT COPY WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING. I’ve seen this happen so many times and it’s just not cool. Plus if someone finds out that you’re copying, your reputation is GONE. These days it’s really not hard at all to find duplicate content online.
So, be copywriters and not copy cats, alright? Ok lets move on.
Exercise #2: Be A Try-A-THESAURUS-Rex
As a copywriter if an online thesaurus is not your best friend who knows all your deepest darkest secrets, you’re DOING IT WRONG!!
I like to bring in the thesaurus into the final step of my writing process. After I’ve written the copy, I’ll go through it and sprinkle in some more interesting and compelling language.
Use POWER words that evoke emotion or action.
For example, replace scary with bone-chilling.
Or boring with mind-numbing.
Unaccepted with controversial.
You get the idea.
Now, one very important thing to remember here is that the words you use should be more INTERESTING, not complex or confusing. Just because a Thesaurus says amalgamation is a synonym of mix doesn’t mean you should use it!
So mix it up, and don’t amalgamate it up if you catch my drift!
Exercise #3: Test Your Hooks FIRST
Just because we’re copywriters, doesn’t mean we always KNOW what hook or angle will convert the best…
So, TEST YOUR HOOKS to your audience before you commit to any one in particular in your sales copy…
One of the best ways to test this EARLY on is to spend a few dollars running multiple paid ads – either on Facebook or Google – with different hooks to a pre-launch landing page where you can give something of value to your audience. But, remember, the goal here first is not to track lead or sale conversion rate, but ad CLICK-THROUGH-RATE.
It shouldn’t take too much time or money to spot a clear winner. You can’t lie with data – your ads will tell you what hook is more compelling to your audience. Or in other words, what hook garners more attention and drives more CLICKS. Then, make sure to use that same hook throughout your entire sales funnel and messaging.
Exercise #4: Write Like Hemingway
So you’ve heard me say before that the average person reads at the 7th-grade level.
One of my favorite copywriting tools is the Hemingway Editor. Named after the master of literary brevity himself, the super simple tool aims to tighten up your words and make them more concise and impactful. And yes, more easy to read by everyone.
To use the Hemingway Editor just go to www.hemingwayapp.com and you’ll come to the free web version of Hemingway Editor. The Hemingway app helps make your writing bold and clear. Essentially you just copy in any copy that you’ve written, and the Hemingway Editor will immediately tell you the readability of your piece.
So, there are 5 things that the Hemingway Editor will highlight in your copy.
Red Sentences. A red sentence is anything that the Hemingway Editor deems to be complex.
Yellow Sentences. The yellow sentences are hard to read but not entirely complex. These are still something worth looking over to see if there’s anyway you might be able to easily simplify those sentences.
Purple Words. Words that you can replace with a simpler version.
Blue Words. Adverbs which are overly descriptive and do not add that much to the copy. These are words you can consider omitting.
Green Words. The passive copy which could probably be written in a little bit stronger, direct tone.
Remember, if someone’s reading your copy and they reach a point where there’s no longer cognitive fluency, they will leave. Brains like simple information that’s easy to process. So, work though your copy to make it simpler for the average person to read.
This will create a much more effective piece of copy.
Exercise #5: Turning Your Features Into Benefits
One of the most powerful things you can learn as a marketer and copywriter is the difference between features and benefits.
So here’s a quick distinction:
A feature is something that your product has or is. It is planned, built, and executed in order to directly solve a common problem. In sales copy, features are factual statements about what your product or service is, and they are NOT what entice your customers to buy.
Benefits, on the other hand, are why someone is purchasing your product. They are RESULTS expressed through desired emotions and answer the question “What’s in it for me?”
So here are a couple of examples…
Feature: 1 Terabyte Hard Drive
Benefit: Take hours of video worry-free! Never forget the day your child took their first step.
Feature: Batteries Included.
Benefit: Ready to use! No disappointed child on Christmas morning.
Benefit: Look better than Heather at the high-school reunion. Obviously.
So, if you’re stuck on how to turn your product features into super juicy benefits, I actually created a simple 5-question Feature to Benefit Converter that I’ll walk you through how to use in my video below!
After using this tool, you will have so many juicy benefits that will be much more compelling to your audience.
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Ok guys, there you have it! 5 copywriting exercises that’ll have you writing like a pro in no time!
Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel if you found this helpful. More videos coming your way every week!
Till then, I’m Alex, Ciao for now!