What’s the biggest secret to becoming a highly-paid creative genius of a copywriter?…
Well, it’s the same secret to becoming an all-star NBA player, winning an Emmy for best actor, or attaining any other “desirable skill, trait, or career”…
Sure, there’s a bit of natural talent and inherent skill that’s needed in the beginning. But what long-term success REALLY comes down to is…
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE… and some more practice!
And in this article, I’m going to share with you 5 simple exercises and practices that you can easily do every single day to help you master the ever-evolving art of copywriting.
Hey, Posse! What’s up? It’s Alex.
I’m excited about this article because it’s something that’s very practical, easy to implement, and can literally help every single copywriter out there improve their skills, increase their confidence, and ultimately—become a copywriting master.
Whether you’re brand new or have been in the business for a decade like I have… Practice is something that never goes out of style.
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It goes without saying that there are literally hundreds of different practices you could implement into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine to help you stay fresh with your copywriting skills…
But I find that sticking to a few go-to’s—rather than trying ALL THE THINGS—helps me to stay consistent with my practice AND makes it super easy to practice whenever, wherever I’m at.
With that said, let’s dive right into some of my personal favourite practices.
#1- Wear Your Copywriter Cap – Everywhere You Go.
You’re a copywriter—act like it!
Because the truth is, copy is literally everywhere you go. Billboards, product packaging, bus ads, and even those cute little A-frame signs that sit outside your favourite café or restaurant. Once you start appreciating and recognizing the copy that’s hidden in plain sight—you’ll naturally get better and better at writing your own copy.
Something I almost always do when I see something that catches my eye is simply taking a moment to stop and REALLY read the copy…
I like to think about:
- What is it trying to accomplish?
- Who is it targeting?
- Why did it grab my attention?
- And how could it be even better?
And if I don’t have a lot of time, because I’m trying to catch a flight or make it to an appointment, I’ll snap a quick picture of it, add it to a “Copy In The Wild” folder on my phone and analyze it later on in the day when I have more time.
I love this one because it takes almost zero effort on my part. I’m simply going about my day, with my copywriter cap on, and seeing what I see.
Easy. But incredibly powerful. Okay, now on to number two…
#2 – Re-Write Headlines
I honestly think that re-writing copy is one of THE BEST ways to sharpen your copywriting skills.
It’s easier than just sitting down and “practicing headlines” because you’ve already got something to go off—and all you have to do is make it different and hopefully, better!
When it comes to finding headlines to rewrite, here’s what I like to do…
I’ll visit different websites that are notorious for their majorly click-worthy headlines—Buzzfeed, Refinery29, and Cosmopolitan are some of my favs—and then I’ll just pick the very top Headline that shows up on each site, and sit down to recreate it into something totally different.
Now, to make this super practical for you, make it a goal to rewrite 3 headlines a day… and when rewriting them, ask yourself:
- Who is the target audience here?
- What hook are they using?
- And where’s the open loop?
Remember that all great headlines should speak directly to the target audience, start with a strong hook, and include an open loop to pique curiosity. So when you’re rewriting your headlines try to switch up these three factors.
Direct YOUR headline to a different audience, use a different hook and a different open loop.
So this way you’re not just changing out a word or two… you’re completely reworking the entire headline into something new.
Which will seriously help you build up those copywriting skills!
If you want to practice with the Posse, follow me on Instagram @Copyposse and wait for my next headline edition of “Make It Hotter!” where you can submit your re-written headlines in the comments section and see if the Posse votes for them!
Okay, now number three…
#2 – Re-Write Ads That Are Working TODAY
I know, I know… everyone loves to “handwrite famous ads” from the copywriting legends of the direct response era—and sure, you totally could do that. But personally, I think that advice falls a little flat. Because honestly…
how is that really considered “practice”?
Not to mention ads that worked decades ago, may not be that effective today.
Sure, maybe hand-writing proven ads word for word is a good way to put yourself in a copywriter’s frame of mind. But you’re not really sharpening your own skills when you rewrite something word for word. That’s just my opinion and I’m sticking to it!
Instead, what I like to do is similar to exercise two. I like to go out there and find Ads that are top-performing and relevant TODAY and then completely rewrite them in my own words.
One of my favourite resources to find current ads is Facebook’s Ad Library. This is a literal gold mine for finding current and relevant ads. You could simply scroll on Facebook and pick the first Ad that pops up on your feed…
Or if you have more time, you could actually research the ads that are being run by your favourite brands or businesses.
To do this, go to the brand’s Facebook page, scroll down to the “Page Transparency” section on the left-hand side, select “See All.”
Then scroll down and select “Go To Ad Library.”
From here you can scroll through and see all the ads this brand is currently running, then select one that you want to rewrite!
Another great resource for finding Ads is Swiped.Co. Just type in “ad” or “ads” in the search bar and take your pick from the hundreds of ads that’ll populate.
Now once you find the Ad you want to rewrite, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s the hook?
- What’s the solution?
- What’s the level of customer awareness?
- What’s the open loop?
- What’s the CTA?
Then go through and change up all of these factors into something totally different…
And because Ads take longer to write than headlines, I would aim to practice 1 of these a day.
#4 – Check Your Email Everyday
Something we’re probably ALL doing already… is checking our email once a day—or 5, 10, or 20 times a day…
But instead of mindlessly going through your inbox, you can turn this daily habit into a full-blown copywriting exercise.
Something I do every day when I check my email is scroll through and simply notice the emails that capture my attention and get me to actually open them.
Of course, this probably won’t apply to your business email, because I’m sure we ALL open emails from our clients, no matter what the subject line is. But if you have an email that’s separate from your business email—one where you sign up for all those newsletters, notifications, and updates from your fav brands—that’s where this exercise can really be useful.
Now, this exercise is super simple, because like in exercise number 1… all you’re doing is wearing your copywriter’s cap and NOTICING the subject lines that get your attention.
Simply asking yourself—why? What was the hook or open-loop that made you click?
All you’re doing is turning an everyday mundane “chore” into a mindful copywriting exercise. And just like with exercise number one, the more you bring awareness and attention to the copy that works on YOU, the better you’ll naturally become.
I like to save all my favourite emails into a folder in my Gmail account called “INSPO” – so I can go back anytime I need it when writing emails!
Okay, now onto the fifth and final exercise on the list…
#5 – Dedicate 30 Minutes To Learning Everyday
Okay, now admittedly this is something I don’t always do every single day, but it is something I strive to do once a week – at a minimum.
Whether you’re studying free tutorials (like this one) on the internet, listening to a Podcast, taking (or re-taking) a course, or reading a relevant book…
Carving just 30 minutes out of your day, and dedicating it to learning something is one of THE BEST WAYS to stay relevant in your writing, freshen up old skills, keep your mind active, or gain a brand new perspective!
I love this exercise because it doesn’t pressure you to always be learning something new…
You could simply retake a course you took 5 years ago… or re-read that marketing book you devoured last year, if you want to! Honestly, even listening to 30 minutes of my favourite true-crime podcast is one of my favourite ways to get my creative juices flowing.
That’s because for me, listening to well-crafted, and well-delivered, stories teach me A LOT about human psychology and the art of capturing, and retaining, attention—which of course is ESSENTIAL in copywriting.
The key of this exercise is to find what ticks for YOU, figure out how YOU learn best, and then make it a point to dedicate time to expanding your mind a little bit every day.
I want to know what YOUR favourite way of learning is… so make sure to drop that in the comment section below.
Until next time, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!