Feeling overwhelmed by copywriting? Like you’ve studied the tactics, and all the best writers, but when it’s time to sit down and put words to page…nothing. Because you can’t get started. You’re stuck. Too many possibilities and directions. Like a 1990’s Macintosh upgraded to iPhone 8, you’ve got unlimited power at your fingertips but you don’t know how to use it. And that’s why…this post. Today I’ll show you how to get started when you are overwhelmed by copywriting!
Hang tight, because this article is a step-by-step path to ACTUALLY get started. It’s NOT just mindset stuff. If you do what I say in this post, not only will you start copywriting and stop feeling overwhelmed, you will build your first marketing sales funnel that you can add to your portfolio and even make money with! If that makes sense for you…let’s kick this shit into high gear!
Forget About Persuasive Tactics and Techniques
Before I outline the path, there’s one single rule. That rule is that until I tell you otherwise, you are to COMPLETELY FORGET about all the tactics. Forget the psychology. Forget the line breaks and hand shakes. Forget everything you’ve studied for now. I’ll tell you when to remember it.
You don’t need that stuff to get started. All you need is two hands, a keyboard, and a blank slate to write on. If you can just meet those simple requirements, then you can do this and I can show you how. All that other stuff is why you’re overwhelmed. So if you want to not be overwhelmed by copywriting, all you really have to do is get rid of the overwhelming stuff. BAM! Problem solved! But keep reading anyway because the rest of this article is about getting started.
Start a Free Blog So You Can Just Write, and Write in Your Natural Voice
Okay. Now that we don’t have to worry about you being overwhelmed, because you forgot all the overwhelming stuff…now we can go forward. Get started. To become a copywriter you have to write copy. But what is copy? Copy is any writing that is designed to influence someone in some way. That’s it. The words you’re reading right now are copy because they’re designed to influence you. Make sense?
Good. So your first task is to start a free blog. Start here with WordPress. Free. Set it up in one day. Do NOT take more than a day to set up this blog. It should be super simple. Pick a topic you’re interested in. Model airplanes. Cars. Cannabis. Whatever. Just get this thing up and launched in one day, and if you can’t do it in one day…quit. Entrepreneurship isn’t for you.
Don’t quit. That’s fucking lame. Just get it done. Once it’s live, create your first blog post. You’ll figure it out. Create a blog post. Go inside. Get in that blog and give it a title. I don’t care what that title is. Make it creative, clear, or both or neither. Doesn’t matter. Just give it a title. But make it a title that focuses on one single aspect of whatever it is you’re writing about.
- “How to Change a Tire”
- “How to Take the Lugs Off a Tire”
- “How to Use a Jack Stand”
Once you’ve titled it, go down to the body area. Start writing about that topic. Whatever comes to mind. Try to do it in an order that makes sense. If the topic is changing a tire, you would tell people to loosen the lug nuts, jack up the car, then pull off the wheel. Make sense? Alright, so just start writing about that. There’s no rules. No structure. No requirements.
When you’re done, read that beast back to yourself out loud. If you can read through it without getting hung up anywhere, then you’re a great copywriter! If not, take note of where you get stuck or trip over words. Go back afterward and rewrite those parts so they flow like water. You should be able to speak your blog aloud and it should sound like a conversation you’re having with a friend. If it doesn’t, then it needs a little more work.
Once you finish your first article, write another, and another. Keep writing articles until you start to feel a little more confident in your abilities. Just write. No tactics. No special persuasion techniques. Write like a human. Write in your natural voice. Write like you’re talking to a friend.
Start Sharing Your Posts in Front of Other People.
Once you have several articles finished, and you feel like what you have to say is valuable for other people, then it’s time to share your work. The only way you can become a REAL copywriter is to put your work in front of people so you can get some kind of response. In this step your goal is to get people to click and read your post with nothing but your words.
If nobody clicks, it’s fine. That’s normal. That’s also a response. It tells you that you haven’t said the right thing. Something needs to be changed. It’s either your article title, the excerpt or it’s what you said in the social post. Change one of those areas and try again. Keep trying different things until you get someone to respond and click to your page. Use a WordPress plugin or Google Analytics to track this and find out how many people clicked.
(Personally, I prefer ThriveThemes for split testing and tracking results, but it costs money. Start with Google Analytics, and upgrade to Thrive once you have momentum. Or don’t. It’s totally up to you.)
Eventually, if you keep testing different things, someone will click. When that happens, you will know that something you said worked. Pay attention to that. You’ll learn to use it again in the future. Once you get your first responses, then you must KEEP TESTING to try and improve your results. Use these positive results as a new baseline, and begin your testing again to find out what brings even MORE people to the blog. In this process you’ll discover a lot about what does and doesn’t work. You’ll get real practice, and real numbers you can use in a case study for your portfolio!
Start a Free MailChimp Email Account and Set Up a List
Now that people are reading your blog, it’s time to move them to the next step in any good sales funnel. That step is to an email list. Email lists are money makers. So go over to Mailchimp and set up a free account. Then create a list and an opt-in form where you can send people.
After you’ve set up your email system, you can immediately add links to your sign up page from your blog. So go back to your blog, and either write a new post, or use old posts to link to your subscription form. You’ll want to give people a reason to sign up. So consider offering some kind of lead magnet. Maybe a free video, or a free course, or a checklist or whatever. The point is, give them a reason to join.
Once you have that reason, build it into your post. This can be a simple text link. Try getting people to click on that link with your words. For instance, “The best way to avoid getting screwed by your mechanic is to ask the right questions. Here’s a checklist of questions I like to ask…” If I’m someone who is worried about that problem, I’ll gladly click the link, and opt-in to your list for that checklist of questions.
The key is to test different ways of saying this. Try different things. Just be natural about it. Natural voice. Get results. Test more to improve those results. Moving on…
Start Writing Emails to Your List Every Day
After people start opting into your list you need to write to them every day. It’s just like how you wrote your blog post. They signed up for something you had that they wanted. Now you just give them more of what they want. If they’re reading your blog posts, you know they like what you say. So think about how you can expand on those topics a little bit each day.
Be thinking about questions you can answer…
- What problems does your audience face?
- What is hard about those problems?
- What tips do you have to help solve those things?
- What stories can you tell about how you overcame those problems?
- How have others dealt with similar situations?
- Who can you quote to mix things up?
These are just prompts to help spark ideas. It really doesn’t matter what you talk about or what your headline is. You just want to get in a habit of writing every day. Beyond that, you want to check your analytics on MailChimp or whatever email service you’re using (personally, I recommend ActiveCampaign). Check your stats to see which emails got opened, what percentage of people opened them, and what specifically was the subject line and topic?
As you pay attention to this info, you’ll start to learn more about what your audience likes, and what is important to them. Then you can start to deliver more of what they want and less of what they don’t want. By doing this, you’ll keep your list more interested, and engaged. This is how you start to get serious results with email marketing. It’s also how you get shared, go viral, and ultimately get people to buy your shit.
For now just start writing. Talk to people like they’re your friend. Use the first name tag so you can automatically insert the readers first name in your emails. It’s more personal that way.
Set Up a Digital Product on Your Blog and Link it to a Free PayPal Account
At this point you’ve got a blog. You’re writing every day. You’re sharing your blog posts. You’re earning readers. You’re sending readers to opt-in to your email list. You’re writing to those people every day (even if the email just leads to that day’s blog post).
If you’ve made it this far, you have all of the makings of a simple sales funnel except one thing. You need a product to sell. So the next step is to create a product and set it up on your blog.
Here are some ideas of digital products:
- How-To Book
- Recipe Book
- Video Course
- Text Course
- Email Course
- Musical Track
- Paid Email List for Insiders
- Collection of Guides
- Paid Blog Posts
- Checklist or Spreadsheet
The key is to create some kind of product that COSTS YOU NOTHING to make. For instance, you can write an ebook in Google Docs or in Canva 100% for free. You can create a free private course on Udemy. If you want to get a little advanced you can set up a membership system and charge for a paid email list or paid blog posts that go into more depth about your topics than your normal posts.
Personally, I recommend keeping it simple and sticking with the free options. If you choose to go the membership route, then Memberium + ActiveCampaign is awesome (it’s what I use) although there is a bit of a learning curve when you first get started. Don’t let yourself get distracted. The goal here isn’t to get caught up in creation. It’s to get practice writing while building a REAL sales system.
So create your digital product. Once it’s ready, then you’ll need a way to sell it. With WordPress you have several options to do this. Probably the best free option to do this is:
Woocommerce + PayPal
Woocommerce is a free WordPress plugin that offers lots of paid upgrade options. The basic free version is all you need to start selling your product. PayPal is a free payment processor. Alternatively, Stripe is another free payment processor. Either will work fine. Just pick one. PayPal is the most well known.
Install the plugin on your blog. Link it up with PayPal. Add your product. You’re ready to sell!
Try to Move People from Your Email List to the Product Page with Your Words
This is the final step in your core process. With people reading and engaging with your emails, it’s time to MAKE THEM AN OFFER! All that means is you’re going to write emails like normal, and somewhere in those emails you’re going to link to your product page.
You can do this directly: “Want My 10 Step Guide on How to Kickass? Click Here!”
Or you can do this indirectly: “Last week I was working on my new ebook to help people kickass and I had a real ‘aha’ moment as I wrote.
There’s no wrong way to do it. Write it into the content. Add it as a call to action. Put it in your P.S. statement. As usual, the key is to TEST TEST TEST. Try different things. Pay attention to your results. Which methods caused people to unsubscribe from your list? Which methods got clicks to your product page?
Once people reach your product page, you’ll need a little bit of copy there too. It should focus on the benefits of your product and talk about the pain it helps the customer overcome. Just write. Write product descriptions. If you’re getting clicks to the page, people are interested. If people are clicking from your emails, they’re interested. So the ONLY thing left to do is tweak that product page until you get your first sale!
By the way, you don’t have to send people to a product page. You could also just send them directly to PayPal for checkout and have PayPal re-direct them to a free Dropbox or Google Docs link with the product once they’ve sent you money!
Start First. Study as You Go. Momentum Over Mastery.
So there you have it! You got practice writing copy AND you got practice with building a website, setting up an email system, split testing for conversion optimization, email marketing, sales funnel structure, and how to create digital products to put for sell in a live ecommerce store!
Even better is once you get those first sales, you will have a clear path to create income ANY TIME YOU WANT as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
So let’s review the key takeaways real quick…
The only way you can make progress is by taking action. So you need to just get started. Start writing. Get moving.
Study as You Go
You WILL run into obstacles along this path. There will be things you don’t know and times when you need help. So what? When you run into those things, just go to Google, search for the answer, and figure it out!
Momentum Over Mastery
With any entrepreneurial path you take, your goal should not be mastery. Mastery takes 10,000 hours. Do you have 10,000 hours to spend GETTING READY to act? No. You do not. The thing is, mastery is gained through a combination of learning and experience. If you aim for mastery before movement, you will never make a dime. So what you want is momentum. Get started. Get moving.
Momentum builds with every new blog you post and every new email you send and every new sale you earn. Momentum builds up over time and eventually reaches a point where you have so much momentum you become unstoppable. At that point it doesn’t matter if you’re not an expert because your momentum carries you forward through ANY challenge no matter how hard. Besides, the path to mastery is much faster through momentum than by learning alone.
Lex is your super villain freelance writing overlord! He’s trained 1,000’s of people to write for pay, and he’s on a mission to train hundreds of thousands more to Escape Corporate Prison and Build a Freelance Empire! You can check out his Freelance Courses here.