Copywriting secret of the masters 10 speed-copy secrets - john forde


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Copywriting secret of the masters 10 speed-copy secrets - john forde

  1. 1. Copywriting Secret of the Masters: 10 “Speed-Copy” Secrets by: John Forde
  2. 2. 10 “Speed-Copy” SecretsThe better you get at writing good copy, the more clients will want access toyour time.In the beginning, you‘ll want to give it to them.But as time goes by, you won‘t be able to.You‘ll try to cherry pick projects, taking on only those that won‘t bog youdown disproportionately to what you‘ll get in return.But what happens when you have no other choice than to just… write…faster?You can try these tips… 1. Really DO Cherry-Pick Projects It‘s great to be eager. But you‘ll find there really are some copywriting jobs that just aren‘t worth it. Which ones? Be wary, for instance, of poorly baked products with no clear audience or no clear benefit for the audience they‘re meant to target. Likewise, look out for projects without a passionate champion on the client side. If there‘s nobody who can sell you on what you‘re supposed to be selling, there‘s a good chance you‘ll have a hard time selling it to prospects, too. And finally, look out for projects that don‘t have at least 85% of the pieces in place before you get started. Unless, that is, you‘re also being paid to help develop the product… a different and more involved job than just writing the sales letter. 2. Know Your Load Four solid hours of writing, day in and day out, with rest of the day for calls, meetings, and email is actually a pretty solid pace. Sure, one can go longer when needed. But writing can be physically draining, if you‘re doing it right.
  3. 3. Copywriter Bob Bly once told me that, while he also logs only aboutfour hours on eachprojectper day, he stays fresh by keeping twoprojects going at once and switching to four hours on the secondproject in the afternoon.I‘ve tried that. And sometimes it works. But frankly, once I startworking on something – anything – I get too caught up in it to let itgo. So I actively try to avoid other projects until I‘ve got the first onecompleted.Your style will be up to you. 3. Gather Your Resources, Part IOne of the best ways to accelerate the pace on any writing project is tofeed it the nourishment in needs to get started. That nourishment isinformation.Read up, interview, discuss.Call the most central figure for the product that the client can offer anddo a phone interview. Record it and start typing as you play it back.You‘ll need other resources along the way. But this is where you‘ll needto begin, if you want to make sure you burst out of the gate with asmuch power as possible. 4. Build Your FrameworkOnce you‘ve got a grasp on the general direction you‘ll need to take inthe promo, you‘ll want – no, need – to make an outline. Too manyearly writers skip this step. Many say they don‘t need it.Yet, for all but a rare few, unstructured writing shows. The benefit ofan outline is that you know where you need to go. But you also know,as you pile up research and ideas, where you DON‘T need to go.And that‘s equally important. 5. Gather Your Resources, Part IIOnce you‘ve pulled together a rough outline of where you‘re headed,you‘ll immediately start to see the additional holes you‘ll need to fill.
  4. 4. Now it‘s time to go out again and start digging. Pile up links, magazineclippings, notes from studying the product and the customer base.Notes from talking to the client.Just for the record, the research part of your copywriting processshould almost always take the most time. How much longer?A fair breakdown, if you‘re working with a product you don‘t know well,is about 50% of your total time available spent on research. And then30% on writing the first draft. Plus another 20% for polishing andrevision. 6. Try Writing in 3DYou would think that writing the beginning first, the middle second,and the end last would be the best way to go. And for many writers,that‘s precisely the path the follow. However, I‘d personallyrecommend creating a writing system that‘s a little more non-linear.What do I mean?Research, ideas, phrases… tend to arrive in a disorderly fashion, justlike a conversation that leaps from one topic to another entirely.So what I do is write in sections. I actually create separate, labeledparts of my file in Word. These sections match my outline or ―mind-map‖ of the message I‘d like to deliver.Then, as I research and revise, I jump back and forth betweensections, adding to one, tightening another, copying and moving piecesof ideas.Each area fleshes out at roughly the same time, then I reorganizethem to fit the more logical, linear outline that will underlie the finalpiece. 7. Write Your Close FirstHere‘s an interesting idea – start at the end. And I can give you atleast two solid reasons to do this.First, because the offer you write will, word for word, have moreimpact on the prospect than any other section of the promo – save for
  5. 5. the headline and lead. If the offer stinks, you haven‘t got a chance nomatter how brilliant your copywriting.Second, because knowing specifically how you‘ll close the sale givesyou a target to shoot for. This, too, is a great defense against thetangents that can knock you off the trail of your sales message all tooeasily. 8. Give Your Lead Room to BreatheI know perfectionism is a killer problem for a lot of new writers. Getover that. Really.Why?Because you‘ll kill yourself and your career trying to get the right wordline-by-line. Especially when you sacrifice writing the bulk of the rest ofthat promo while you tinker and tinker… and tinker… with the lead.Here‘s an alternate idea… put the headline and lead copy in a separatedocument or somehow cordoned off from the rest of your promo. Openthat alternate writing area whenever you‘re working on the maindocument.Whenever you have an idea about how to make the lead stronger, dipinto that alternate writing window, make the changes and then jumpback to the rest of the piece.I do this a dozen or more times while I‘m writing, with the headlineand lead changing 10… 20… or more times before I‘m through. 9. Learn to “Copyify” Your Notes As You ResearchThis takes practice. But you‘ll write your copy much faster if, when youtake notes from resources you‘ll use, you record the notes directly intocopywritten form.For instance, not ―Mention last year‘s booming commodity market tosupport resource buying op‖… but rather ―Last year‘s boomingcommodities market is the perfect example. Had you subscribed to my‗Dirt, Rocks, and Other Investments‘ advisory service then, you‘dalready be up XXX% on Mud Futures alone by now.‖
  6. 6. You get the picture. If you can record your ideas quickly in a form that‘s close to the sound you‘ll want for the final draft, obviously that cuts back future writing time. 10. Use Markers and Shortcuts This last one is a small thing. But very, very handy. Let‘s say you‘re writing and you need to cite a stat you don‘t have at your fingertips, try just dropping in ―XX‖ where that falls. Or let‘s say you need a subhead to transition between sections but the perfect one escapes you at the moment. Don‘t get stuck. Instead, drop in ―[SUBHEAD HERE]‖ and keep moving. The idea is to preserve the momentum at all costs. Just make sure you search the replacement phrases and fill things in after the writing is done.This list could go on, of course. But that‘s a pretty good start.John Forde will be sharing the secrets that have made him a modern daycopywriting legend at the AWAI 2011 Bootcamp and Job Fair
  7. 7. John Forde:A Master at WritingMore Controls More Often"If you write copy … how many chances to sell your talents to the businessesyou know and trust have you overlooked? Company websites … local salesbrochures … online ads and sales letters … print ads in local papers … evenP.R. pieces or ezine editorial.It might be the small gigs that get you started. It might be the bigopportunities that let you smack the cover off the ball at your first at bat.Either way, I’ve met plenty of people who had no grasp about what rolecopywriters play.Masterson‘s [Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting] offers themost thorough and well-organized approach to the subject I’ve seenanywhere. There’s not a technique or secret in there that I haven’t foundhelpful over the years. I owe a great deal of my own success to MikeMasterson. And I tell him so regularly. As for the program, I’d recommend itto anybody – not just direct-mail copywriters, but anyone who’s trying to geta grip on what makes marketing work."— John FordeJOHN FORDE has been writing winning controls for going on two decadesnow. He‘s made untold millions for clients in the financial, health, and travelindustries. John also works as a copy coach, hosting intense seminars fortwo or three hundred marketers and copywriters at a time.John Forde also writes the successful and very useful eletter, TheCopywriter‘s Roundtable.