6 Weeks to Masterful Copywriting
Master Persuasive Writing to Promote Your Stuff or Clients’
Through hands-on practice, learn to turn words into money.
Whether you write to promote your own business, the company you work for or firms that hire you to write copy, dramatically improve your skills quickly by taking my self-study course, Six Weeks to Masterful Copywriting.
Practical assignments and insightful discussions guide you through the most critical aspects of persuasive marketing writing.
The EASY format: Home-study course with written text material, homework assignments, 8 hours of audio teaching and discussion, and homework “answers”
Your instructor: Marcia Yudkin, author of Persuading on Paper, Web Site Marketing Makeover and nine other books
Results: Ability to write copy that generates leads and sales, in both corporate and hard-sell situations
The Why, How and Who of This Course
Minute for minute, wizardry with words dependably earns more for you, for your company or for your clients than just about any other skill. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and try your hand at practical assignments, in six weeks – or spaced out at your own pace – you’ll have the fundamental principles of copywriting down cold and know many advanced techniques of orchestrating words for profit.
What You Learn in the Copywriting Course
Based on a live, interactive course with a small group of students, the course provides plenty of practice in how to analyze poorly written or misdirected sales copy, and what to add, take away or change to improve its effectiveness. You end the course with a much richer ability to turn words into leads and orders, along with a deeper understanding of the nuances of words. Among the points you absorb:
- Whether cute and catchy is more powerful than simply factual, or vice versa
- Two techniques that bring even the most complicated abstract concept down to earth
- Questions that help you tell whether or not you've dug down far enough to reach the advantages that make the greatest difference to buyers
- Ways to make copy that's already full of appealing benefits even more targeted
- The most powerful verb tense on the planet - not the one you'd predict
- How a literal-minded reading helps you catch missing or confusing information so you can plug gaping holes in copy
- Why trying to be all things to all people dooms promotional efforts
- A five-step process for meaningfully differentiating a business or an offering
- Ten ways to make points of difference come alive for the reader
- Examples of using a theme to make the reader smile while reading and become more predisposed to buy
- How to rise above the worse-than-useless "Hello, I exist" approach
- The difference between one-step and two-step marketing, and the world of trouble you enter when you confuse them
- Seven criteria that help you evaluate an offer
- Doubts and wonderings that can make free giveaways flop
- Why photos matter in helping readers understand - or misunderstand - what you mean
- A seven-step process for gathering juicy ingredients for bullets - including getting at crucial things to say that are nowhere in your source material
- Eight before-and-after bullets illustrating the transformation from plain to jazzy
- How seemingly straightforward bullets can be wildly off base or mind-numbing
- Why covering the basics in your sales copy is not anywhere near enough
- Thirty credibility builders that many web sites, catalog descriptions and sales letters overlook
- Eight credibility killers to avoid
- Criteria to use in assessing the usefulness of testimonials
- Common pitfalls in business bios that make credentialed backgrounds less impressive
- A discussion of credibility building efforts that backfire - and those that succeed
- Five factors that contribute to tone, and examples of quite distinct tones requested by or suitable to different clients
- Ways to create an impression of approachability or empathy
- Hidden dangers of the hard sell - and when it's most appropriate
- Practice in tuning up or toning down hype in headlines
- A step-by-step demonstration of how to slim down a bloated document and edit it for effectiveness
Each Lesson Focuses on One or Two Crucial Skill Areas
Week 1: Articulate the what and the "so what"
Simple clarity - what are you selling? - can sometimes require prodigious efforts to achieve. Beyond clarity, powerful copywriting makes explicit what a product or service does for the reader and how the reader is better off with than without it.
In this week's assignment, you take fuzzily described offerings and bring them into sharp focus. You also practice putting into words the hidden (sometimes very hidden) advantages and implications of what's for sale.
Don't imagine you already know everything there is to know about turning what copywriters call "features" into "benefits"! Practice in this always helps - it's the equivalent of singing scales for an opera soloist.
Week 2: Differentiate and dramatize
In my reviews of brochures, web sites and sales letters, one of the most common omissions is information that answers the questions, "How is this different from what else is on the market?" and "Why should I do business with you rather than your competitors?" Sometimes you need to dig for differentiating points, and sometimes you need to invent a way to make the same thing sound different.
This week's assignment asks you to identify and rectify this flaw in several kinds of marketing materials and to come up with ways of making standard, boring offerings come across as distinctive, fresh and enticing.
Week 3: Devise strong, clear offers
So what's the deal? Effective copywriting includes well-explained, exact descriptions of what's for sale and appealing sales propositions. Learn how and why to try turning a suggestion like "buy an X, get a Y free" upside down, backwards and sideways for the richest response.
This week, the assignment involves adjusting, slimming down or fattening up crucial sections outlining "the deal" for products and services in a variety of industries.
Week 4: Captivate and tantalize
Now we get to the heart and soul of copywriting with ways to make the reader smell, want and decide to have the morsels you have for sale. You may already know how to add salt and pepper, but you can enhance your tools of temptation with cardamon, ginger and peppermint.
While the imaginative use of words is never an end in itself in copywriting, this week's assignment challenges you to flex your creativity and inject fun and intensity into your reader's experience.
Week 5: Bolster credibility
All of the skills so far lead to a sale only when the copy paints a believable picture, adds evidence and proof when needed and addresses - actually, heads off - probable doubts. Discover when this requires a couple of added words here and there and when a substantial chunk of additional text must be tossed into the pot.
The assignment this week gives you an opportunity to turn a shifty-eyed sales letter into an upstanding one and vague, unconvincing copy into trustworthy testimony.
Week 6: Tweak the tone, smooth the flow
Finally, master the process of fine-tuning by getting rid of extra words, unnecessary repetitions, inconsistencies and poorly phrased or boring passages, while adjusting paragraphing, subheads and other formatting elements for greatest readability. Adjust tone and word choice, too, for a certain audience.
Your final assignment invites you to polish copy to a warm, lemony shine. Find out which wordsmithing skills from other kinds of writing apply to getting marketing material ready for a crowd.
Additional Input: Answers to your questions
Besides the class sessions listed above, you receive a hefty, well-organized compilation of my answers to questions about copywriting and the copywriting business.
Learn by Doing, Listening and Reading
In this course, you have a rich educational experience that includes:
- Six 80-minute interactive audio lessons covering the topics above, for you to listen to at your convenience - and review as you like
- Six homework assignments, highly recommended for you to complete for a full learning experience while listening to the lessons
- Extensive handouts containing several versions of each homework assignment, including my version, so you can compare what you wrote with what others produced
- Answers to collected questions about the craft and business of copywriting
- The full text of the book Persuading on Paper and a PDF copy of Secrets of Mouthwatering Marketing Copy and Shorter: Say It in Fewer Words