No matter if you're trying to become a copywriter or just trying to improve the way you write, this article is for you.
Here's the exact advice I give all copywriting newbies in video format (transcripts and details below):
I get asked this question allllll the time from newbies asking about business or copy and they ask, "What are the materials that I should read? Should I start reading some blogs or some books?"
I've given out a lot of answers over the years but what's happened is I notice that the people that I give certain answers to end up doing better than others. So here’s the answer that I give out now and it is a standard answer that I give everyone looking to either start a business or learn copy and I use those two because they are very, very similar in what they teach.
The very first test requires some printing; I know printing out on paper.....Who would have thought? What you are going to do is go to thegaryhalbertletter.com
okay? The Gary Halbert Letters. This is Gary Halbert. He is a great copywriter. He is also dead. So all of his stuff is online for free basically. So you are going to go to the Gary Halbert Letters, Google it, find it however you find it and go to the archives and in there there is a series called the Boron Letters, B-O-R-O-N, the Boron Letters, and there’s 25 chapters.
I want you to go through each one of these, get an extra printer cartridge and get an extra ream of paper and print them out. I’m not kidding. You have to print these out.
::Speaker Pops From Another Place::
Hey, Neville here. Now I know what you are thinking: "I’m not actually going to go through this and print out 25 chapters on a printer….I’ll just read these online."
Whenever people actually go and print these out and read them like I am about to suggest, they succeed. Whenever they don’t; they never really get anywhere. So go do yourself a favor and actually print them out. Now what you are going to do is grab a pen and lay in bed and you are going to sit there reading these for many nights in a row. You are going to learn a lot about business and copy; not just one or the other, both.
One of the reasons I want you to actually physically print out the Boron Letters and not read them online is because they were originally sent as mailers. These were back in the 70s and 80s that he would send these mailers out; this newsletter. Watch what he does. Watch how he makes you turn the page. Watch how he tells cheesy jokes sometimes to keep you interested. Watch how he tells stories that are serious yet humorous at the same time. Watch how without even knowing it, he is teaching you. The next step is you are going to go on Amazon.com and buy Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugarman.
This is a really, really good intro to how to write copy, the ways to do it. He’s not as rough as Gary Halbert is so if you don’t like Gary Halbert you will probably like Joe Sugarman but this is the end of your journey right here.
The reason I say that is because if you go through and do these two things; print out the Boron Letters chapters 1-25 and take notes on them and then take notes on Joseph Sugarman’s book Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, if you do just those two things, the floodgates will open.
You see I can go and recommend a bunch of other things that you should do but I’m not going to do that now. I’m just going to let those lessons run their course and you will start moving in that direction. Everyone I’ve told this advice to that has taken it now has a business and is doing pretty damn well. The people that don’t take it they still email me and they call me with questions like oh but what about this. I’m like did you read the Boron Letters? Did you read Joseph Sugarman’s stuff? Uh no, I’m getting around… (claps hands). I don’t even talk to them anymore.
So unless you do this, I’m not going to talk to you so do that first; Gary Halbert Letters and the Boron Letters chapters 1-25 and Joseph Sugarman’s Advertising Secrets of the Written Word. This will start you well off into your journey about learning about copy or business. Good luck and go do it.
Here's my recommendations for becoming a better copywriter. If you say "I don't want to read these!" ....then I cannot help you my young student.
If you're a total newbie at copywriting, here's the course of action I would suggest you take:
1.) Print out "The Boron Letters" by Gary Halbert:
These are the set of letters than originally got me started in copywriting. They were written by the famous copywriter Gary Halbert who wrote these letters to his son from jail (you'll hear more about that inside the letters).
I would stay up till 6am every night going through these letters. It's a great beginners guide to copywriting and business.
Chapters (free): 1
(Now don't be a sneaky monkey and just read these online, make sure you print them out)!!
In book form: Here
2.) Read The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook:
This book by Joseph Sugarman used to be called "Advertising Secrets of the Written Word"....but was later renamed (no idea why).
This is a FANTASTIC book that breaks down 29 different "triggers" that cause someone's brain to buy. These are super helpful, and till this day I re-open this book to go through them.
Joseph Sugarman has a much more gentle style than Gary Halbert did, so it's quite a different type of read.
3.) That's it, you're done!
Look....I can give you a bunch of recommendations on how to get started as a copywriter right here.....but it'll just overload you. I want you to take JUST THOSE TWO RECOMMENDATIONS ABOVE and start on those.
If you do the two steps above, and you're not interested in what Gary Halbert or Joseph Sugarman have to say about copywriting....you probably won't be interested in the rest of it.
At least knowing this we've saved everyone a lot of time.
EXTRA CREDIT HOMEWORK:
If you've already completed my two recommendations above, and want to still studying copywriting, then I'll give you a few extra credit assignments to read:
-- Recommended Copywriting Books -->
-- How To Become A Copywriter -->
-- What is copywriting? -->
-- Copywriting Exercises -->
-- Copywriter Salary Ranges -->
-- Get your first freelance writing job -->