The #1 mistake many of my copywriting students make.

Every week I have at least 2-3 coaching calls with students. I enjoy them because I get to see what techniques they’re using, what’s working for them and what’s not.

One of the things I see that never ceases to amaze me is that people submit work on a particular topic, and yet they have not even read the chapters in the manual that relate to that very topic. For example, the topic might be ‘how to write headlines’ and yet their work does not reflect any of the principles outlined in the chapter.

Not reading the chapters is counter-productive for budding copywriters. Here’s why:

1. It takes them longer to write copy because they are relying on their instinct or experience, both of which may be limited.

2. Their work does not meet professional standards because they are not using the basic principles laid out in the manual.

For example, one of the first things we always do when preparing to write copy is list the product’s features and its corresponding benefits. We use the ‘which means that…’ link phrase, which teases out the key benefits. From there, we add headlines, sub-headlines, an offer, link words etc, to build the copy up. Of course, it goes without saying we know what market we are targeting to start with – we can see them, hear them speak, and understand their needs and concerns.

Yet on so many occasions, this first step – listing features and benefits, gets overlooked. It is the most basic step and the one that helps us write great copy, but because it requires some sustained thinking and research, people often skip this step.

I encourage you to use this information when writing copy for clients. Don’t waste time struggling to find your own method for writing copy – use the templates and formulas. They work.