So, true story. A copywriter once told me his client asked if he could type faster to produce a sales page sooner and cheaper. Um, that’s not how it works, people! This week, I’m counting down 10 of the most laughable myths about copywriting you need to stop believing ASAP.
Hey guys! It’s Alex. I’m really glad to have you here this week as I EXPOSE 10 of the most eye-rolling myths about copywriting…
And be sure to stick around to the end of this video because I will share my BIGGEST TIP of all on how to get started copywriting.
Now, I’ve had my copywriting business for over 8 years now, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. Something that would never have happened if I didn’t jump at the opportunity to move halfway across the world instead of going to law school, which was the original plan! But that’s another story for another time…
Since then, I’ve travelled all over the world, connected with amazing entrepreneurs, and have had countless unforgettable experiences that would’ve been almost impossible if I had a location-dependent, time-restricted J.O.B.
Copywriting can be done completely remotely. All you need is your laptop and great internet connection, of course.
But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows all the time! Despite the fact that copywriting is a skillset that every single business on the planet requires, it always surprises me how many misconceptions people have about what it is that copywriters do and how they work.
So I’m here to set the record straight!
This is for you aspiring copywriters out there who are looking to get into the game (those of you who have been freelancing for awhile will know exactly what I’m talking about lol)…
And this post is also for you entrepreneurs out there who are looking to hire a copywriter for your own business.
No matter which camp you fall into, be sure to hit subscribe to my YouTube Channel because my channel is 100% dedicated to helping you start and scale your business with copywriting. Every single week I provide tips and resources from my copywriting vault, so go ahead and browse the tutorials and guides I already have up and, after you subscribe, hit that little bell icon so you don’t miss any future videos from me!
Alright, let’s countdown the 10 copywriting myths you need to stop believing ASAP!
Myth #10: Copywriters Can Sell Anything
We are writers, not magicians! No, we can’t hypnotize people to hit the ‘buy now’ button, pull money from a black hat, or make an irresistible offer out of thin air.
Sometimes copywriters get a bad rap, like we’re using evil powers to convince the masses of unsuspecting consumers to buy stuff they don’t need. [Really?].
Of course, like in any industry, there are bad people who do crappy things, but I’m here to tell you that what good, authentic copywriters do is help great businesses sell great products with great solutions that solve real problems.
That’s how we convince people to buy. By actually helping them! Hmm. Interesting concept…
But, the truth of the matter is, not every single piece of copy or campaign we write is a success! We aren’t mind-readers, we’re highly-skilled best guessers. Writing a high-converting piece of copy takes practice, dedication and real customer feedback.
It’s about showcasing and communicating VALUE to the people who actually need it, without any filler, fluff or making stuff up!
Therefore, copywriters rely on the business owners they work with to give them all the relevant information needed to get their sales message across in the most concise and authentic way. So that includes case studies, product features and benefits, target market research and anything else required to formulate a compelling and value-driven offer.
But, copywriters, a word of caution… That’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card.
It’s your job to be discerning about the projects you choose and the clients you work with. Ultimately you need to ask yourself about the kinds of brands, people and products you’d feel proud to be aligned with. Alright moving on to myth #9…
Myth #9: Copywriting Is JUST Writing
If copywriting involved nothing but typing words into a document, everyone would do it.
The truth is, there’s a lot that goes into great copy before even a single word is even written.
The biggest chunk of copywriting time actually goes into research, customer and brand analysis and offer mapping.
In order to write compelling and effective copy, you must FIRST have a clear grasp of the brand voice you’re writing for, understand the target audience – their pains, fears and aspirations, identify the objective, context and deliverables of the campaign, and get all the specifics of the offer you’re writing.
Then you have to outline and write the copy, which will require many rounds of drafts and revisions before you end up with a version that’s worth presenting to the client or customer.
If you want to learn my writing process, from the first outline all the way to the final draft, you can check out my video here on How To Write A Sales Letter. Ok let’s move on to big fat myth #8…
Myth #8: Copywriting Price Equals Word Count
After myth #9, it’s probably no surprise to you that what you charge for copywriting has NOTHING to do with word count.
While charging by the word is a common practice for articles and blog posts, it’s not the same for copywriting.
Every piece of copy needs to go through the planning process I just mentioned and the shorter it is the longer it takes to write! And that’s because it’s HARD to pack a punch in just a few words.
Think about it. What is harder… Describing yourself in one sentence or getting five minutes to ramble about yourself? How long do you spend writing the perfect tweet compared to a heated Facebook rant?
There’s a reason why short copy pieces like headlines, ads and calls-to-action have the biggest measurable results when they are split-tested. These few words have the BIGGEST impact on your conversions, which is why I like to say, the right phrase pays!
But it’s also why you can absolutely NOT price or pay for copy based on word count.
Even Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician and philosopher famously said — “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
With that, I’m moving right along to myth #7…
Myth #7: Copywriting Is Blogging
Copywriting isn’t just writing. And writing isn’t only blogging. I know, it can be confusing. So let’s nip this in the bud shall we?
There is one major difference between copywriting and other common forms of writing, such as journalism, blogging and creative writing…
While we are all indeed in the same business of capturing and HOLDING attention, the purpose of copywriting is to create a singular conversion, or in other words to activate a most-wanted response, such as a click, signup or conversion.
So this might be copy for an ad, webinar script, a sales letter, a video sales letter, or email.
Blogging, and other forms of content writing, are still very important in business for creating rapport, adding value and starting conversations!
For a quick breakdown on these two commonly mixed up writing types, check out my video on the 3 Differences Between Content Writing and Copywriting. Alright, let’s expose another myth shall we…
Myth #6: Editing Copy Is Easier Than Writing It
Not enough writers talk about this one! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a message like…
“Hey Alex, can you just take my existing copy and inject some marketing lingo into it?”
Or “Hey, I’ve already written copy but can you just review it quick to make sure it sounds ok?”
Or, “Do you mind just glossing over this sales page to make sure it hits all the points on your Hot Offer Checklist?”
Guys, editing work is HARD work. It’s why I charge $500 for a simple copy critique, before I ever start editing or re-writing.
When a copywriter is asked to “spruce up” copy that requires extensive editing or refining, it’s like asking an interior designer to reorganize or redecorate a room using whatever furniture or mess is already inside it. Every interior designer would prefer to have a blank slate to work their magic… And the same goes for writers.
So unless your copy was previously written by another great copywriter and really DOES only need simple optimizing, editing takes a lot time to review, understand, process, and restructure before we even get to the re-writing part.
So copywriters: be sure to review the copy you’re being asked to edit before you set your fee. It might be that it really does only need a few small edits, but if a complete overhaul is needed, you need a gameplan!
And business owners, sometimes it’s simply better to hire a copywriter to write something from scratch that you can test against your current control. That’ll make sure you’re getting something fresh and not a convoluted mix of different copywriter’s works. It also gives you a great chance to really test a copywritier’s skill level. Ok we’re halfway there, copywriting myth #5
Myth #5: Copywriters Only Work In Advertising
Copywriting may have been glamorised by the world of advertising and shows like Mad Men, but it’s needed by more than just big name brands looking to come up with a catchy slogan or award-winning Superbowl campaigns.
The truth is, we’re needed everywhere. There are many copywriters who work directly with small businesses or specialize in mediums like email marketing or brand storytelling.
So copywriters, get really clear on what type of copy you want to write and look for brands and businesses that use that medium and therefore have a need for your work!
And for business owners looking for a copywriter, remember to specify the type of copy you need and ask for relevant samples to attract the right writer for your project. Ok, moving along to myth #4…
Myth #4: Copywriters Need To Write In English
You guys, I get asked all the time if someone who doesn’t speak English can be a copywriter. To which I say… OF COURSE! Just not in English. You’re going to have a hard time finding clients to pay you for writing anything if you can’t even communicate with them effectively.
But here’s the good news. Copywriting is needed by businesses all over the world, in every language in the world. 80% of people speak a language other than English and millions of businesses around the world cater to audiences that speak another language.
So, if you don’t speak or write nearly perfectly in English, you can start your copywriting business in your mother tongue! The exact same tactics and principles apply. So take what you learn, and use it in whatever language you speak! I have friends who are excellent copywriters in Spanish, French, Malay, and the list goes on…. Cool right? Ok next up, myth #3…
Myth #3: Copywriters Need A Formal Writing Degree
“But Alex, I never learned writing in school…”
Cool, neither did I! I went to business school and stayed as far away from Literature and English Writing classes as I could. Ironically, I hated those classes in school! Not because I didn’t enjoy writing, but because I didn’t like the subjectivity of it and struggled to get straight A’s in those classes!
Ha! Maybe that’s why I love copywriting so much. You get immediate feedback and data from your audience on how well it converts, so you can continually learn and improve.
Some of the best copywriters I know of come from unrelated backgrounds, even computer programming! Formally trained writers sometimes have an even harder time grasping copywriting because they have to UNLEARN all the “proper” writing habits and knowledge they have on how to, say, write a white paper or shakespearean play lol.
To be a copywriter, all you need is a flair for written words, empathy and passion for marketing. And of course — you need to be fluent in the language you’re writing in, but definitely not a perfect speller!
Actually copywriters are some of the WORST spellers. Not because we don’t know HOW to spell, but because we’re often moving so quickly in our creative brains that we don’t pay attention to the tiny little details that a proof-reader can fix later anyway. Copywriting is about broad strokes and the linking of strategic and persuasive ideas, not minutia grammar or spelling.
So, I love it when you guys respond to my emails and point out typos. I’m the first to admit that I need help proofreading! So thank you!!
And when writing, remember, the average audience responds better to copy written on a 7th or 8th grade level! So keep it simple and persuasive!
For some super helpful tricks on how to train your copywriting mind — check out my video on 5 Copywriting Exercises here. Alright, we’re getting closer to the top of the list.
Myth #2: Copywriting Can Be Fully Automated
So you just take a bunch of powerful words and phrases, slap them on a template and call it a day, right?
Uhh… No. Sales and direct response copywriting is still human and rooted in real life emotions, like connection, empathy, and belonging.
So hear this: a memorable brand is not built with automated copy.
To convince people to take action, you need to ensure you are writing copy that appeals to their unique needs and evokes an emotional response. No robot can do that!
Could you just imagine if every business used the exact same copy? LOL. Something tells me people would take notice…
Sure, there are many proven templates and formulas that can help you START writing persuasive copy, like the ones I share in my video tutorials, and I do encourage you to use them… But you must always customize your messages for your audience, brand and offer.
You are much more likely to attract clients and create conversions if you can demonstrate great empathy and storytelling in your portfolio. Alright, and that brings us to myth #1….
Myth #1: All Copywriters Are Created Equal
I hate to break it to ya, but not all copywriters are the same. It’s like saying a dentist is the same thing as doctor! Sure, while they both have medical degrees you wouldn’t go to the dentist if you had the flu!
A copywriter specializing in one area does not mean that they’re good at them all! We are a diverse breed of creatives, with different specialities, niches and mediums.
So here’s the takeaway. if you’re starting or scaling your copy business, think about what niche you want to write in and for what mediums.
Do you prefer to write for real estate? Parenting? Tech? Lifestyle? Do you want to specialize in emails? Video scripts? Sales letters? ads?
Get clear on the type of copywriter you want to become!
And guys, here’s my biggest piece of advice when it comes to getting started…
While I highly recommend you dedicate time to learning and studying the art of copywriting, in order to become a true blue copywriter you need practical writing experience! So, regardless of how much you’ve learned, if you haven’t yet been paid to write, what you have is a hobby. At some point you have to trust it’s time to start writing and building your portfolio so you can go out there get your first client!
I know it can be scary but I’m telling you, your first piece of copy won’t be great. Your second piece of copy won’t be great. But you gotta start somewhere. In order to call yourself a copywriter, you need to go through the process of trial and error, and get as much feedback and guidance as possible in the process, whether that comes from clients or a mentor.
And I might be able to help…
My Copy Posse Launch Pad program is designed to give you all the high-converting copywriting skills you need to scale your business and build your portfolio… So you can confidently approach new clients and customers.
Click the link here to find out more about my program and stay tuned for another post coming your way very soon on simple ways to start building your portfolio!
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Please drop me a comment below if you found this post helpful. And, as always guys thank you for reading!
Until next week, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!