Ever done this one?
You block a day on your calendar to write sales copy.
You’ve pushed off starting a bit perhaps, but you know what you’re doing… there’s still plenty of time to get it done on deadline.
You sleep well, you pour a hot beverage, you kill distractions, you open a fresh, blank document, and…
Just the blinking cursor of death pulsing it’s annoying, off-beat pattern of intimidation like a taunting bully daring you to just TRY to write something good.
It’s a cruel torture reserved for those bold enough to declare themselves “writer.”
I suffered intensely with the curse of the blinking cursor for the first few years of my freelance copywriting career.
Entire days wasted in headtrash turmoil and first draft avoidance tactics like feng shui-ing desk drawers or waiting for those new brain enhancement supplements to kick in.
Tapping out those first few lines of draft copy was my Achilles heel as a copywriter.
I tried just about everything to get over it… starting with the headline (deadly, cuz it will change 40 times), the lead (mixed results, but when you fall in love with one it’s hard to let go), and the offer itself (good way to get writing, but doesn’t always spark creative flow)…
I’ve even written over-the-top “Onion”-esque style versions of the copy lampooning the product that I prayed would never be found, or worse, accidentally sent to the client (those actually helped me get going a few times).
But the curse of the blinking cursor continued it’s reign of terror until an unexpected shift in my workflow caused me to fix it.
I began working with a writing partner.
Ben was my first private copy student, and an incredibly talented copywriter.
He excelled through the lessons I gave him, and before long I was inviting him into some client projects to help him learn the process.
The lessons we’re about to become equally valuable to me as his mentor because doing this made me realize I didn’t really have a formal process for writing copy.
I had a series of tasks that had a natural linear pattern, like: product research, market research, developing customer avatars, preparing the first draft, etc… but it wasn’t an “official process”, and as a result, copy creation was at the mercy of my whims.
As creatives, we love to revel in the creative doing.
There’s a certain magic that happens in our brains when we dive into a new project…
It’s part introspective rumination, part performance art, with a dash of psychic channeling thrown in for good measure… all activities necessary to the process, but that have no concrete workflow or predictable outcome.
Therein lies the big problem:
When you match a unique, individual, non-repeatable, creative activity with a hard deadline and sales on the line… things can fall apart fast.
I was fortunate to keep a solid record of results with my clients in those early days, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few disappointments.
It happens, of course, this IS marketing, and unpredictability is baked into every campaign we launch.
But, it is painful to know I could have greatly increased our chances of success on more of those early campaigns if I’d only had an “official ad creation process” like the one I eventually created for Ben and I to use.
It took the need to coach Ben through the process of writing an ad for me to finally organize the concrete steps to do it right…
From research, to dreaming up hooks, headlines and big ideas, to writing and rewriting drafts, to finalizing designs, to testing and optimizing the ads…
Nine separate phases and a 30-point + checklist that go into repeatedly creating predictable winners.
Once I had the blueprint of the process complete, everything changed.
The work became more enjoyable, Ben’s first drafts got increasingly better and required less heavy chiefing from me, our collaborative brainstorms became super fun and productive – our Big Ideas were bigger, bolder, and really carried the campaigns now… (as opposed to “meaty hooks” trying to serve as Big Ideas.)
There were no more frustrating communication breakdowns within the process (“Oh, I thought YOU were writing that landing page this time?”), which meant we were working faster and writing more confidently than ever.
Needless to say, the results of the campaigns skyrocketed once we had the blueprint to guide our process.
Our already respectable reputations soared to new levels and we stayed booked 3-5 months in advance at a fifty thousand dollar base fee for writing campaigns.
So, assuming you’re properly sold on the benefits of a blueprint to guide your copywriting process, here’s a sneak peek at mine…
Sorry to have to tease you with the blur on the checklist, but that is proprietary stuff reserved only for members of Copy Chief.
I’ll be teaching this entire process with detail on September 16th as our monthly Copywriting Masterclass, so if you’d like to join, you can take advantage of our special all-access pass for just $97 right here. (50% savings offer expires Sept. 30)
Looking at that blueprint, you can see from the 9 phases alone how critical having this process is for ensuring an ad will convert. It’s too easy, as we get comfortable with our skills, to think we’ve got it down and skip a critical component.
For instance, diving into the Big Idea only after you’ve done the research makes all the difference in finding the inspiration, and having lots of different ideas to choose from…
Whereas trying to come up with it before then will leave you frustrated and worse, risk you falling in love with an uninformed Big Idea that you start building the copy around.
A fatal mistake that always dooms an ad to failure.
Inside our training dashboard, we have dozens of videos and templates for completing the entire checklist in the blueprint.
Of course, you don’t need every phase and checklist item for every kind of ad… but trying to write an ad without it as a guide is just begging for the blinking cursor of death – and ramping up the risk of your ad to be dead on arrival.
Join me live on Sept 16th to see the entire blueprint, plus all the checklists and templates that will serve as your trusted weapons for winning the battle for conversions for everything you write.
See you there.
Whenever you’re ready, here are a few other ways I can help…
Become a member of Copy Chief. It’s everything you need to sharpen your skills as a copywriter and build your freelance business – all with a killer support system at your back to help you do it. To learn more, check out this page here.
Mark your spot on the Freelancer’s Journey Timeline. Moving forward in your freelance business starts with identifying where you are right now. Go here to see the full Freelancer’s Journey Timeline and mark your spot.
Find out what the best in the business do differently with the Copy Chief Radio podcast. Every week we release a fresh new conversation with the top producers and change-makers in the world of marketing, copywriting, and business. Tapping into their minds won’t cost you a thang – listen here.