Four Copywriting Legends Help You Heighten Your Writing Skills

Copywriting StrategiesYou’re facing a blank page, ready to write copy for your landing page, email message or website. Your mind goes blank too. Where do I begin?

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned copywriter, there’s always something new to learn. And, some of the best role models to learn from are the seasoned veterans who came before us.

Here are four books I suggest you read to uncover important copywriting tips from four legends in the industry.

1. Breakthrough Advertising: How to Write Ads that Shatter Traditions and Sales Records by Eugene M. Schwartz (Prentice Hall, 1966; Boardroom Reports, Inc., 1984, Instant Improvement, Inc. 2004). Martin Edelston, founder of Boardroom Inc. called this “the most sought after direct marketing masterpiece.”

Open the pages of this book and discover:

  • 38 ways to strengthen your headline. Chapter 4
  • How to make your prospect believe your claims before you state them. Chapter 9
  • How to verbally prove that your product does what you claim. Chapter 11
  • How to draw your reader deeper and deeper into your copy. Chapter 14

“Your headline has only one job – to stop your prospect and compel him to read the second sentence of your ad.” Page 14

1. Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy (Atheneum, 1963). In 1962, Time called David Ogilvy the “most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” In this book, he explores:

  • Ten criteria for getting clients. Chapter 2
  • Four steps to take to reduce client turnover. Chapter 3
  • How to write potent copy – 10 headline-writing guidelines. Chapter 6

“Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy…” Page 106

3. Winning Direct Response Advertising: How to recognize it, evaluate it, inspire it, create it by Joan Throckmorton (Prentice Hall, 1986). In Joan’s own words, “this book gives you the solid basics of direct response advertising – and then some. It offers you a solid grounding (the formulas, rules, and rules for breaking rules). . . . it will guide you through the creative process from beginning to end and set you on the way to creative reasoning.

Turn the pages of Ms. Throckmorton’s book and uncover:

  • Direct response technique: how to get it and where to start. Chapter 3.
  • Eight basic human needs to increase mailing response (don’t’ worry, these can be applied to your online marketing). Chapter 5
  • Nine helpful rituals that can help you get your creative juices flowing. What do you write first? Chapter 6

“Use your headline as a teaser that leads into the copy.” Page 286

4. On the Art of Writing Copy by Herschell Gordon Lewis (Prentice Hall, 1988). Herschell Gordon Lewis was a filmmaker, known as the “Godfather of Gore.” I did not know (or watch) his flicks. However, after retiring from the world of “horror” movie making, he published more than twenty books, one of them being “on the Art of Writing Copy.”

  • One rule that can be a moneymaker for you. Chapter 2
  • 27 words/phrases you should never use in copywriting. Chapter 3
  • 50 profiltable rules and tips for direct reponse copywriting. Chapter 13
  • 30 nuggets (a tip a day) to help you write powerhouse copy. Chapter 24

“If your copy leads the reader into visualizing himself in a predicament and then leads him out, you’re writing a winner.” Page 50

Do you have a favorite copywriting legend? Perhaps it’s one of the four highlighted here. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million and here’s to your sweet success.