You have heard me say it before… The secret to writing great copy? First, write bad copy… And then fix it. And here’s how… Hey guys, welcome! It’s Alex and over the next few minutes, 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…
And I frequently use these exercises to improve my copy.
And with a few of these exercises, I’ll even let you look over my shoulder and show you a couple of really, really cool copywriting tools that I use almost every single day on my laptop.
So guys, if you’re an entrepreneur or freelance writer looking to grow your business with crazy good copy, be sure to hit subscribe below 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… 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.” Boom. I 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! 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”.
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.
But guys… 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.
This actually happened to one of my clients. Someone copied nearly every single word from their landing page, INCLUDING CLIENT TESTIMONIALS! Are you kidding me? So, be copy writers and not copy cats, alright? Give me a thumbs up below if you’re with me on this one… And then lets move on to Exercise #2… I swear I haven’t haven’t had anything to drink today.
But seriously, 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 quick challenge… I’d love to hear your genius twists on the word “Great”…
As in “Wow, this video is really great!” Comment below… And let me hear from you.
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! And let’s move onto, Exercise #3… And I love this one.
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… So how do you do this? 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.
You don’t need to get all fancy with this. You can easily set up Facebook ads. It’s super easy to do and can save you a ton of time and money on writing an offer based on a hook that just doesn’t work.
Ok, now let’s move onto exercise #4.
So you’ve heard me say before that the average person reads at the 7th-grade level.
One copywriting tool that I use all the time 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. So common, let me show you how to use it.
Ok so to use the Hemingway Editor just go to Hemingwayapp.com and you’ll come to the free web version of Hemingway Editor. Now, the Hemingway app makes your writing bold and clear as it says here.
But it’s really cool! Essentially you just copy in any copy that you’ve written, and the Hemingway Editor immediately will tell you the readability of your piece.
So, here are the 5 things that the Hemingway Editor will highlight in your piece of copy.
The first thing and the most obvious is the red and yellow sentences.
So, essentially a red sentence is anything that the Hemingway Editor deems to be complex.
The yellow sentences are hard to read but not entirely complex… Still something worth looking over to see if there’s anyway you might be able to easily simplify those sentences.
The purple words are words that you can replace with a simpler version.
It also highlights the adverbs which are overly descriptive, might not add that much to the copy… Which you can consider omitting.
And then it will also highlight the green passive copy which could probably be written in a little bit stronger, direct tone.
So I’m going to show you a quick example here. One of my clients Numeologist.com send out weekly newsletters.
So I want to show you the first version of a newsletter that was written to go out sometime last month.
So you can see here immediately this copy is written at an 11th grade level… So now remember if someone’s reading your copy and they reach a point where there's no longer cognitive fluency they will leave because brains like simple information that’s easy to process.
So, this piece of copy I worked though… I changed some of the sentences made it a little bit simpler for the average person to read, and this is the new version of the copy that I came up with.
Essentially not changing any of the essence of the message, just simplifying and removing words and also breaking the longer walls of text or paragraphs into shorter sentences.
So overall a much more effective piece of copy.
So I highly recommend you check out Hemingwayapp.com and put it to use. Comment below and let me know if you found this helpful.
And with that let's move onto Exercise #5…
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.
Feature: Low-Calorie 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’m going to show you how to use right now.
Alright guys, so what you see here is the Feature To Benefit Converter spreadsheet.
I will link to this in the description below. You can download it and then re-upload it to your Google Drive or whatever is easiest for you.
You’ll see that you start here in column “A” with listing the feature.
Then the five questions you want to ask yourself are “Why is this feature notable?” “What problem does this feature solve?” “What is the core pain point this problem creates?” “When does this matter most?” and “Why does your customer need this?” as in the feature. Then finally write your final benefit.
So I already pre-populated this Feature To Benefit Converter with a couple of examples that I gave earlier in my video.
You’ll see here a one terabyte hard drive. Ask yourself, why is this feature noteable? Well, more storage space, more backup. Right? That's really why you're listing this as a feature.
What problem does this feature solve? I mean it probably solves a few but think of the core problem…
The biggest problem that someone might have if they don't have a one terabyte hard drive… Lost files, right? Now what is the core pain point that this problem creates? So maybe sadness, disappointment… that might be a big one, but really the loss of memories. I mean, that's huge. Now when does this matter the most? Well, vacations, baby's first steps… think about all of those times where this problem is actually a really big frickin’ deal.
Then you want to ask yourself why does the customer need this? So I like to think of this in terms of desired emotions… A one terabyte harddrive is sort of a hard thing to tack emotions to but when you go through these 5 questions, all of a sudden the emotion behind why someone might need a one terabyte harddrive becomes evident. So peace of mind, right? Trust. I won't lose any more memories.
Okay, then you can write the benefit. Once you're in that place of thinking of the desired emotion the benefit becomes a lot more evident.
Never forget the day your child took their first step. Boom, benefit.
It can be simple here and then of course when you work it into your copy you can add a little bit of finesse. Add in a few more emotional words or power words like I talked about earlier.
But there you will have so many juicy benefits that will be much more compelling to your audience. Ok guys, there you have it! 5 copywriting exercises that’ll have you writing like a pro in no time! Please give me a thumbs up below if you found this video helpful! And next up, check out my video on the 5 biggest copywriting mistakes you could be making. You can watch that video right here. And please subscribe to catch my video next week! Till then, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!