Mastering a Skillset: Copywriting

A while ago I mentioned Mike Dillard’s excellent advice for starting entrepreneurs.

Here’s the clip again. Pay attention to what Mike says about copywriting:

“Learning how to sell through the written word…is literally the golden ticket…”
– Mike Dillard

I remember Dan Kennedy (the big daddy of copywriting) saying that being an excellent copywriter is like having a super power. You can sit down and write yourself a new yacht.

BUT…he stressed…don’t underestimate how difficult it is to be an excellent copywriter.

It is not an easy skill. It takes years of dedication. It takes the mindset that Mike Dillard spoke of in the clip above:

“When I say master a skillset, I really mean master it. Don’t watch five videos on YouTube and think that you’ve got this whole thing figured out. It’s going to take you 2-3 years to do that. …Go unbelievably deep, to where you could literally write the next book on the subject matter and have it be the biggest source of authority in that industry.”
– Mike Dillard

That reminds me on this gorgeous quote from Beethoven:

“Do not only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets…”
― Ludwig van Beethoven

This brings us to how to learn copywriting, and learn it ferociously.

I heard a long time ago some advice from John McIntyre on how to get “mad skillz” at copywriting:
Copy out successful sales letters for an hour every day. 

He got it from Gary Halbert, (an old-time copywriting legend).

Apparently Ramit Sethi got his skillz (which are decidedly mad, btw) with the same practice.

In The Foundation, Dane Maxwell and Andy Drish gave a similar prescription, with the added step of deconstructing the sales letters. You copy it out word-for-word, then you break it down into bullet points. Then you re-construct it from the bullet-points, and compare it to the original.

…Maybe I’m getting mixed up…that sounded more like how a teenaged Benjamin Franklin taught himself how to write well excellently.

My Syllabus

I picked up this practice a number of years ago.

It helped me land an interesting job as a copywriter for Triathlon Research, a brand run by James Cook Media.

The busyness of the job took over, and squeezed out the practice. I figured I was practicing it at work anyway, I wanted to have more time for other things. Looking back, that was a bad call. I hadn’t mastered it yet. The practice must never end until you master it, and then, it’s time to practice some more.

I’m going to pick it up again today, only this time, I’ll do the deconstruction steps too.

I want to force myself into the secrets of copywriting.

My syllabus will be simple, starting with everything Gary Halbert suggests, and evolving from there.

I feel like I allowed myself to get side-tracked before I had the chance to truly master this skillset – the most valuable skillset on Earth that plays to my natural talents – copywriting.


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