Brian Kurtz admits that copy is the least important part of what you sell. Until it’s not. Once you have the right lists of people to market to, and your offer is dialed, then it’s everything. Then the messaging and creative can take you over the top. Brian doesn’t consider himself a copywriter, but he’s learned a lot working with the top copywriters of the last fifty years. He came up with the seven aspects that all good copywriters have. I’ll summarize them below.
Copywriting is not a commodity. It’s a specialty. You can’t just go do it, even if you’re a decent writer to begin with. You’ve heard it takes ten thousand hours of intense practice to master a complex skill; Brian believes copywriting may take more like fifteen thousand. In studying all the A-List copywriters, the first characteristic he noticed they all seemed to share was hunger. A strong desire to stick with it, work at it, become better over the long-term.
Second was insatiable curiosity. Great copy is the result of a sickening amount of research. Something you’ll never do if you aren’t relentlessly curious. Third, feedback loops. High-level colleagues to run your ideas by, get some outside direction from. What was unclear? What was left out? What was unnecessary? Fourth is passion. If you are passionate about what you’re writing about, it makes a huge difference.
Number five is knowledge of direct marketing. RFM. Recency, frequency, monetary value. LTV. Lifetime value. Also, the forty-one, thirty-nine, twenty rule. In terms of overall results, lists carry the most weight at about forty-one percent. The offer is a close second at thirty-nine percent. A distant third is copy at twenty percent. The sixth trait of excellent copywriters is humility. Maintaining a growth mindset.
Seventh and final, for lack of a better term, would just be your work. Everything you’ve done so far. The winners but also the losers. With thought given to why those pieces didn’t perform as well. Brian puts this last because only when the previous six are in place will it show through in your copy. Another thing he points out is that some of your best stuff can be found on the cutting room floor. Bits and pieces you thought you couldn’t even use for whatever reason.
You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk, too. If you say you’re going to partner with a client and handle all the copywriting, you really have to be all-in. Are you willing to interview the product creator for two days straight? Listen in on customer service calls? Meet with marketers, media buyers, sales reps, anyone else who’s involved? Go the extra mile to dig up insights you otherwise would have missed?
Because that’s what it takes to go from good to great. To get one hundred, two hundred, three hundred percent lifts in conversion. Use this new understanding to become or hire a better copywriter. Or join Brian’s mastermind, which is chock-full of them. Perhaps he can pair you with someone who has these seven copywriting attributes he just reviewed. Maybe even someone who’s written extensively for your industry.
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