Is This The Best Copywriting Exercise?

handcopying the best copywriting exercise

How To Make A Simple Copywriting Exercise More Valuable Than Gold

If you have been involved with copywriting for more than a minute or two, then you are probably going to know already that copying out famous adverts by hand is one of the quickest ways to improve your skills as a copywriter.

It isn’t the only thing that you need to do to ensure you’re a good copywriter, but it is-in my opinion-a fantastic way to practice copywriting and it will make you better.

That said if you want a complete training programme, then you could do a lot worse than following my guides on, “how to start copywriting,” and, “how to make copywriting gains with this daily routine.”

There is a problem with handwriting out famous adverts as a means to practice copywriting. I’ll talk about that in the next section.

After that, I’m going to tell you how you can take handwriting great adverts and turn that into a valuable tool, a valuable skill and a better use of your time. Essentially, we’re going to take this decades-old technique for learning and take it to the next level.

The Problem With Handwriting

Handwriting is a great way to improve your copywriting. But you know that already. Hopefully, you’ve tried it. If you haven’t, then you’ve already read what I’ve written above which is that it is one of the quickest ways to imprint upon your mind the things that go into a good sales letter.

But copying out adverts by hand is time-consuming and you’re left with a lot of paper that’s not very useful.

That’s no problem in itself, because a lot of skills to take a long time to learn, and in the beginning stages, you do not have anything to show for those either.

However, I like to optimise things. That’s why I have taken the handwriting exercise which top copywriters like Gary Halbert, David Ogilvy, and John Carlton have suggested that you do. I’ve then worked out how to make the exercise more productive in terms of how you can use it in your future endeavours. I’m going to tell you that now.

However; do not think for a minute that this is a shortcut. You still need to do your handwriting. It is still very important that you learn from the best, and you take your time and really absorb the lessons you can learn from top copywriters.

(Side note: the best way to do this is by enrolling in the Copyhour course. The structure has changed, so you might have to go on a wait list, but you can join copy hour by following this link. I’ve done the course and recommend it one hundred percent.)

How To Take Handwriting Adverts To The Next Level

Something I like to do for all my projects is to do a dry run before I create any material that is going to be published or go live on a website.

I use this dry run to create template files and folders.

For instance, when I first started doing email marketing, I created a “fake campaign” and created a bunch of text documents with just the basic headlines and basic information that I wanted to include. I then was able to copy this basic information into every future email auto responder I created.

This ensures that you don’t make any mistakes in your final run, and it also means that you save a lot of time in the long run because you have a set of templates to work from so your brain doesn’t have to engage to create something original every time you want to do something.

This is the key to getting the most out of hand copying your adverts. By all means, hand copy adverts out. However, don’t leave it there when it comes to using great adverts to improve your copy.

Jamie McSloy’s Extreme Hand Copy Writing Exercise

Once you have hand copied an advert, I want you to go and start at the beginning and copy out the letter again. Except this time you are going to take out any of the product specific information. You are also not going to write it out in full.

Instead, you’re going to create a barebones template from each advert that you read and copy. For instance, your template sales letter might look like this:

Product Review: Why Product Is Better Than Anything You’ve Ever Tried Before!

Ten years ago, I was in trouble. That’s because…

Then, I happened upon something which would change [X] and my life.

That something was [Product X].

If you are suffering from [Ailment X], then you should probably look into [Product X] too. The reason is [benefit.]

That’s just a quick example of the technique. Obviously, when you are talking about hand copying an article which is a thousand words long, it becomes a lot more complex very quickly. I’m not going to do that here though because it’s time-consuming, and you already get the point of the exercise.

Why Would You Do This?

When you do this, you are creating a set of documents which you can use in the future. More than that, when you take out the specific benefits and the specific product information, you are going to get a better understanding of the underlying mechanics physics out of. You’re going to see that there are techniques which are universally used in every sales letter by every writer. Also, you’ll probably find that every sales letter that you write- and anyone else writes- can be broken down into specific sections and modules which are completely interchangeable.

When you come to write sales letters for your own products in the future, firstly, you’re going to get the benefit of having these templates which are ready to use.

But later on, you are going to get the benefit of a better understanding of the structure and techniques used so that you can mix-and-match the different constituent parts of a sales letter to build your own sales letters which will work every single time. This is worth more than gold. Literally.

Closing Thoughts

I’m not sure how many people are actually going to try this exercise. However, I meant what I said in the section above. If you do this exercise, you will be gaining more from what is already an exceptional exercise.

You will be gaining skills which will make you immensely more valuable as a copywriter and businessman, and you will be learning things that are beyond most copywriter’s reach.

Added to that, you will also have a folder of templates which will act like a magic book of spells, where you can go to it at any time you want and pull out a sales letter template which will help you make money from nothing.

P.S. I mentioned Copyhour above. If you are in doubt as to where to start with copy now adverts by hand – and turning them into your own sales templates – you could do worse than starting with Copyhour. It’s a whole year course which will give you access to hundreds of the best performing sales letters of all time.


About the author

Jamie McSloy

My name is Jamie McSloy. I'm a writer from the UK. This site is about the business of being a writer. Copywriting, Content Marketing, Publishing and all forms of writing will be discussed here. Learn More About Me


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