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What is the most important part to copywriting?

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Copyking
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What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Copyking »

Hi,
I am hoping someone here can give me good advice.
I have been learning sales letter copywriting since this year and there is so much conflicting advice on Facebook and Youtube, and everywhere I look. Some advice is the same and some is opposite of other advice. Its very confusing to know what is right.
I know there are some real copywriters on this site and I am hoping someone here can give good advice about real copywriting.
What is the most important thing I should focus on to start getting good?
Thank you in advance.
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Wordsmith
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Wordsmith »

Hello Copyking,

Your frustration is highly warranted.

Today's advice on multiple forums, job boards, and gurus is extremely conflicting.

But the #1, most important part of copywriting is RESEARCH!!!

It is your backstory, foundation, protagonist, antagonist, solution, and distilled details that give your writing the edge and advantage it needs.

It is an area most don't want to address. Why, because most won't go the extra mile because it looks like work.

Unfortunately, there is a strong belief that research can be accomplished within 30 minutes, and the copywriter will turn out a masterpiece.

There is no truth in that. They may get lucky, but luck can only take you so far.

Content may be king, but research is the Emperor, and A-List copywriters rely heavily on in-depth research.

The more you know about a topic, the greater chance of writing a good piece.

The deeper you dig into that topic, there is a monumentous chance of crafting a converting piece.

After 28 years of writing sales copy, in-depth research has never, never, ever failed me.

When I took shortcuts because an agency thought research should be fast, my copy sucked.
Copyking wrote: April 14th, 2021, 5:42 pm Hi,
I am hoping someone here can give me good advice.
I have been learning sales letter copywriting since this year and there is so much conflicting advice on Facebook and Youtube, and everywhere I look. Some advice is the same and some is opposite of other advice. Its very confusing to know what is right.
I know there are some real copywriters on this site and I am hoping someone here can give good advice about real copywriting.
What is the most important thing I should focus on to start getting good?
Thank you in advance.
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SARubin
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by SARubin »

Copyking wrote: April 14th, 2021, 5:42 pm I have been learning sales letter copywriting since this year and there is so much conflicting advice on Facebook and Youtube, and everywhere I look. Some advice is the same and some is opposite of other advice. Its very confusing to know what is right.
Yes, unfortunately a lot of so called gooroos out there (as I'm sure you've already discovered) spend a lot of time repeating stuff they heard from someone, who was repeating something they heard from someone else.

By the time it trickles down you end up with a mixed batch of opinions and hollow platitudes posing as gospel.

It can be very confusing and frustrating for someone trying to learn the true craft of copywriting.
Copyking wrote: April 14th, 2021, 5:42 pmWhat is the most important thing I should focus on to start getting good?
I'm with Wordsmith on this one...

When you learn how to do proper research you'll be ahead of 90% of the people calling themselves copywriters these days.

Of course the more we know about a niche the easier the research becomes. But sometimes research can be 3/4 of our job, before we ever put a single word on the page.


Market research - We want to become intimate with our target market (hang out where they hang out) and find out what they want to achieve, or what they want to avoid.
Also what kind of language they use in their daily lives will help us use some of the same language in our copy.


Product research - We want to dig deep into our (or our clients) product to find a way we can tie some feature or benefit into what our market wants.
Example: If our market is concerned about the environment, and our product has any environmental benefits, then we want to highlight it in our copy


Competitor research - We need to know what the competition is doing so we can find a unique hook for our offer that separates us from the competition.


All of these things are important. And when we get it right sometimes our copy practically writes itself.

If I had to choose one as most important it would be a tough call. But I choose market research as a first priority.
Because knowing what people want, makes it a whole lot easier to sell them what they want

Of course you still need to learn the basics of copywriting structure and salesmanship. But once you learn proper research habits the rest is mostly just practicing and testing different things to see what works with a particular audience.
A good marketer knows how to think like a marketer - A great marketer learns how to think like the customer...
SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Conversion Flow Specialist
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Copyking
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Copyking »

Thank you both for the advice.
I have heard others talk about research but hearing it from two professionals makes it more real to me.
Can you tell me how do I learn proper research methods.
Thank you in advance.
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Wordsmith
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Wordsmith »

Hello Copyking,

Steve has given you a perfect 3-Step outline above.

Based on his recommendations let's assume you are asked to write a sales letter about Heinz Ketchup.

Step 1. Do your Market research - Find out everything you can on who buys, uses, and refuses to use the product.
Step 2. Do your Product research - Go to the source, the manufacturer to discover how it's made and any legal or regulatory issues.
Step 3. Do your Competitor research - Search other brands of Ketchup makers and see what you can uncover about them good or bad.

Bonus Step. If it's possible buy the product and 3-5 competitor brands and use them. Then take copious notes about the products. What did you uncover that makes Heinz Ketchup better than the competition's product. What did you uncover that makes Heinz Ketchup worse than the competition's product.

Treat the research exercise as though you were a research scientist and you cannot leave any stone unturned. Dig and dig and dig.

Hubspot has a great guide to get you started. Here is the link: How to Do Market Research: A Guide and Template

Your ultimate goal is to know more about Heinz Ketchup than the manufacturer.
Copyking wrote: April 15th, 2021, 10:54 am Thank you both for the advice.
I have heard others talk about research but hearing it from two professionals makes it more real to me.
Can you tell me how do I learn proper research methods.
Thank you in advance.
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SARubin
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by SARubin »

Wordsmith wrote: April 15th, 2021, 11:50 am
Bonus Step. If it's possible buy the product and 3-5 competitor brands and use them.
This is great tip.
I always insist on using the product I'm selling. And I always study what the competition is doing with their marketing. But I never really thought about actually buying the competitors products.

One of my favorite axioms is "the day I stop learning is the day I start dying".
And you just taught me something new.
So thank you for keeping me alive for one more day :)
A good marketer knows how to think like a marketer - A great marketer learns how to think like the customer...
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Wordsmith
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Wordsmith »

The thing about that bonus tip, it's what our parents taught us as kids.

"You Won't Know For Sure Until You Try It!"

As consumers, we are always testing new products on our own because we're curious and our current circumstances.

Perfect example: Today I shopped at Wal-Mart and they were out of my Planters Honey Roasted peanuts. So, out of curiosity, I bought the Great Value Honey Roasted Peanuts instead. When I get home I'll test them with the ones I have remaining. Based on what I uncover will determine if I buy this product again, or say goodbye to Planters.

How many times have we cast our judgment upon products from our personal findings:
  • That drink tastes better than that one because...
  • That car drives smoother than that car because...
  • That ketchup is thicker than the one I buy because...
  • Her Hoover vacuum picks up more dust than my Dyson does because...
Every day each of us is researching, not in an academic way, but in a comparison model. It's part of our DNA.
  • Should I turn left or right?
  • Do I want to wear a red shirt or the green shirt?
  • Should I call out sick or suck it up and go to work?
  • Do I want to drive the interstate or take the scenic route?
When one looks at research through this lens their curiosity grows and they uncover more.

It no longer becomes study, but experimentation.

Based on that, the copywriter can then pen a sales piece from their notes and personal findings.

SARubin wrote: April 16th, 2021, 11:51 am
Wordsmith wrote: April 15th, 2021, 11:50 am
Bonus Step. If it's possible buy the product and 3-5 competitor brands and use them.
This is great tip.
I always insist on using the product I'm selling. And I always study what the competition is doing with their marketing. But I never really thought about actually buying the competitors products.

One of my favorite axioms is "the day I stop learning is the day I start dying".
And you just taught me something new.
So thank you for keeping me alive for one more day :)
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Franklin
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Franklin »

I was going to say creativity and standing out in a crowded marketplace is important but I guess competitor research covered it.
SARubin wrote: April 15th, 2021, 1:06 am Competitor research - We need to know what the competition is doing so we can find a unique hook for our offer that separates us from the competition.
Steve and Wordsmith I have a question-

A lot of times I get bored doing research and want to get to the writing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. Any tips or tricks to make research more interesting?

Or do I need to suck it up and just do it?
Choose your words wisely because what you say is not always what the other person hears
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Wordsmith
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Wordsmith »

Hello Franklin,

If you're bored with research, step away.

We all get overwhelmed, especially if it's an industry we know little about.

I for one break up my research into digestible sections because that works for me.

Based on your past life experience, what's the quickest way you found you could learn quickly and easily?

If you know what it is, that is your research strength and process.

Use that to your advantage and be creative.

We all research differently, and there is no right or wrong in how we research.

Just make sure your research is thorough.
Franklin wrote: April 19th, 2021, 11:26 amSteve and Wordsmith I have a question-

A lot of times I get bored doing research and want to get to the writing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. Any tips or tricks to make research more interesting?

Or do I need to suck it up and just do it?
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SARubin
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by SARubin »

Franklin wrote: April 19th, 2021, 11:26 am A lot of times I get bored doing research and want to get to the writing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. Any tips or tricks to make research more interesting?
Yeah that's a tough one Franklin, sometimes I get bored too.

One thing that sometimes keeps me going is imagining I'm on a treasure hunt, researching the landscape in search of golden nuggets. Or maybe trying to find a diamond staring back at me from the sand.

I know another writer who fancies himself a detective looking for clues while doing research.

It may sound foolish but little mind games can sometimes help keep us entertained and make the research almost fun.


I see in your profile you like fishing?

Maybe on the days you get bored you can think about how research relates to a fishing analogy (or is it a metaphor? I always get those two mixed up)

When you go fishing you need to get your tackle and gear together. Then you need to find the right bait for the fish you want to catch. And figure out which lake or river you want to try, and study the water to find the best fishing spots.

You put the bait on the hook and drop it in the water. It's a bit like finding a hook for your headline.

And if the fish don't nibble on the hook you may need to go back to the tackle shop and find some different bait.


I don't know if it'll work for you but it might be worth a try.
A good marketer knows how to think like a marketer - A great marketer learns how to think like the customer...
SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Conversion Flow Specialist
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Franklin
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Re: What is the most important part to copywriting?

Post by Franklin »

Thanks for the advice guys :)
Choose your words wisely because what you say is not always what the other person hears
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