Why Learning the "Boring" Side of Sales Copy is More Important Than Ever
Since the arrival of AI, I've adapted my approach to copywriting. Without a doubt, it's making me better.
Here's what I mean. It's my belief that copywriters are either more intuitive or more analytical.
Intuitives have natural writing talent, so they're able to grok the essence of copywriting style almost by osmosis. They can crank out quality copy, without really understanding how they did it, or why they structured the copy the way they did.
They just know what a good copy looks and sounds like.
Analyticals, on the other hand, are not naturally talented. For them, learning copy is more difficult. They can't just soak up the styles of people like Gary Halbert or Eugene Schwartz through reading and hand-copying advertisements.
They have to break things down in a more methodical way, understanding each little chunk one at a time, then fitting it into the larger puzzle.
I'm firmly in the intuitive camp. For me, learning to write copy felt natural and fun. That may seem like an advantage at first glance. After all, who wants to slog through learning the dry logic and structure part of copywriting?
I surely didn't. But while struggling to write prompts for ChatGPT, something became crystal clear:
Just because you can write good copy yourself, doesn't mean you can write good prompts that output good copy.
Which is why, in the age of AI understanding the "boring" part of sales copy is more important than ever.
In 2023 and beyond, it doesn't matter if you can crank out good copy on autopilot. Because AI can crank out good copy too... and about 50 times faster than you can.
What matters now is being able to "program" AI effectively with well-designed prompts. And to create those prompts, you have to understand the underlying structure and logic of copywriting.
But what if you're an intuitive like me? How do you start?
First, read more sales copy. Set aside 30 minutes every day to read proven winners from the greats.
And as you read, pay close attention to how they structured the message. Identify the specific persuasion elements they used, and in what order.
Take longform leads, for example. As you read, consider:
- What kind of headline structure did they use? Is it formulaic, or more unorthodox?
- Is the lead an emotional first-person story, or a more logical 3rd person sales argument?
- What was the big promise? How soon did they make it?
- Is there a big idea or theme presented?
- Did they tease a unique mechanism?
- Did they weave in proof, credibility, intrigue?
Reading copy this way takes more effort.
But as your mental model becomes clearer, you'll be able to translate it to effective inputs for AI. And the extra thinking time you invested will be paid back, over and over again.
In the near future, I believe the best-paid copywriters will be more like copy programmers.
Instead of taking 3 weeks to write a sales letter, they'll use AI to do it in 3 days. And the finished product will be better than if they'd written it themselves, by scratch.