How To Build Copywriting Templates

By Jamie McSloy / September 19, 2017
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How To Build Copywriting Templates

There’s the old adage about teaching a man to fish versus giving him the fish.

I prefer to teach you all to fish. I’m not sure how successful I am at that, but at the very least my articles say, “Here’s the rod” and “Here’s a river, go fish!”

This article is going to be one of those times. We’re going to discuss how you can make your own copywriting templates that’ll be good for you and you can use over and over again. These copywriting templates will make writing sales pages quicker and more effective.

Let’s get to it.

Copywriting Template Step One:  Swipe File

You aren’t going to become a good copywriter if you don’t read copy on a regular basis.

Your first task then, if you don’t already, is to create a folder of materials that consists of examples of good copywriting. This is what’s called a swipe file, and is used by copywriters to draw inspiration and ideas from when they come to write their own copy.

I personally like to create a folder structure that’s something like this:

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  • Best copywriting examples
  • Market specific copywriting folder
  • Product/Service examples
  • Specific instances of specific types of copywriting

Most people don’t go so deep – and they make life harder for themselves. There’s very little crossover between selling women’s cosmetics and financial advice to billionaire preppers, so whilst the techniques and framework are the same, you’re better splitting the copy up so when you need something specific, you can find it.

Step 1.5 Swipe File Of Facts

In every niche, there are going to be stories, anecdotes and facts that are relevant to the niche. Whether it’s something like “HIIT is 87% more efficient than steady state cardio and burns 232 calories as opposed to 115” or “women over 42 experience 37% more angst about their appearance…”

(I made both of those examples up)

The facts are already out there and someone has done a lot of the research for you. That’s not to say “Don’t do your own research” because god do you have to do research, but there’s no point in reinventing the wheel.

Keep a swipe file of facts.

Step Two For Copywriting Templates: Take Out The Specific Information

Alright, let’s talk about the fact that you’re now doing the same process that tens of thousands of copywriters have used for years to make billions of gold coins in every currency.

You don’t think we’re stopping there, do you?

Most copywriters just have a folder and then they read it and hope through some process of osmosis that they’re going to create the best copywriting ever just by reading the things.

Uh-oh.

We can be a lot more efficient than that.

Let’s say you’ve got a sales letter and it’s brilliant. Some other guy has written it though, and you don’t want to steal his work. That said, it’s obviously selling a single product.

“Dear Patriot…

Are You Ready For The Coming Collapse Of The US Dollar?

The Feds are looking to steal your lunch money… and your retirement.

(So on and so forth.)

That’s why in this letter, I’m going to reveal to you how you can keep your money away from the evil socialist insurgents who have taken over the federal reserve!”

Here’s what you do in this step. The above is a poor example of a financial sales letter. You’ve probably seen them if you’ve done step one. The problem is that it’s designed for a specific product with a specific audience.

So step two is to take out all that specific stuff and end up with something like this:

“Dear [audience]…

Are You Ready For The [Really bad thing] Of The [thing they care about]?

The [bad guys] are looking to [do a bad thing]… and [something even worse].

(So on and so forth.)

That’s why in this letter, I’m going to reveal to you how you can [retain something you care about] away from the [bad guys] who have [secretly done something bad]!”

Step Three: Put The Copywriting Template Pieces Into Order

Now you’ve got a lot of disparate pieces if you’ve done the above step, but make no mistake about it, those little fragments are gold.

We don’t just stop at unrefined gold though. We’re going deeper and getting to the point where we’re almost building copywriting templates.

At this stage, you’ll have lots of disparate pieces of information with a load of [square brackets] in them.

You’ll have headlines, lead-ins, product descriptions, nightmare stories and the like.

This step is easy. Put them into order.

I use Scrivener for ordering all these things into a single file with many documents in. However, you can use Evernote and when I started out I just used Wordpad and folders.

By the end of this step, you want to have a set of snippets that you can create a sample sales letter (or whatever ad) from. These are in essence your copywriting templates.

Step Four: Controlled Exercise With Potential Copywriting Templates

At this point, you have what are basically copywriting templates.

This isn’t the end of the article though.

Now what I want you to do is this:

Depending on your niche, market or what you intend to do, go and find examples of products/services/clients in your niche. Then use your copywriting template pieces to create a set of fake sales letters for those products (these can become real if you are selling stuff yourself.)

For instance, if you are a health and fitness copywriter, you could go onto ClickBank, see the ten biggest sellers and use your copywriting templates to build your own sales letters for those products.

Or, if you want to master crowdfunding copy, head on over to Kickstarter and write some pitches for the products you find.

So on and so forth. The point here is that you’re writing to a random spec. which is essentially what you have to do whenever you get a client or a big opportunity comes along.

When most people practice, they inevitably practice stuff they are good at or want to do – and this leads to gaps in their skills and knowledge. Do the above and you won’t have that.

Step Five: Free Practice With Copywriting Templates (And Use The Things)

This is pretty self-explanatory. You get better at something by doing it, and if you routinely add to your copywriting templates, use them and refine them, then you’ll get better at doing so.

Now, undoubtedly some people reading this (not the regular readers – you’re a smart bunch) are going to have scrolled to the end hoping that there’d be some magical copywriting templates, but alas there aren’t.

Just do the process above and you’ll have something that’s tailored for your use, unique to you and it will be worth its weight in gold.

2 comments
Dennis - September 24, 2017

Jamie,

Am I understanding these correctly?

Best copywriting examples – Best examples, regardless of niche. This is a general folder where you dump swipes, right?

So say my niche is supplements, but I see a sales letter I like for high-ticket coaches, that would go in this folder, right?

Market-specific copywriting folder – Examples for specific niches, like health & fitness (or even more specific, like the weight loss niche)

Product/Service examples — Physical or information products OR services like coaching, wealth management or real estate agents

For example, a landing page that does a good job of getting people to sign up for a webinar selling high-ticket coaching.

Specific instances of specific types of copywriting – Upsells, cross-sells, down-sells, Thank You pages, the Lead of a sales letter, etc.

Reply
    Jamie McSloy - September 25, 2017

    Hey Dennis,

    That’s exactly right.
    I have one folder in Scrivener where if I’m just browsing the net and see something good, I’ll dump it in there.
    Then I have specific folders for the niches I work in. Again, you can have a general one, but it’s best to sort down.
    So say you work in health and supplements. You could do it by product type – so protein powders or online nutrition coaching folders, because those are big categories that’ll have quite different sales pages.
    you’re right on splitting it up. What I have is a folder for each of the following:
    – Ads (FB, Banner, etc.)
    – Lead Gen Pages
    – Email Sequences (You could split this further if you wanted)
    – Sales pages
    – Upsells
    – Webinars

    There’ll be other stuff which I just slot in (and sometimes tag.) Stuff like thank you letters and the like I just put in the funnel thing. If you tag the file, then if you get a ton of the same thing, then you can build a different folder.

    I also have a folder for the specific bits of a sales letter – call to action, bullets, headlines etc.

    That all said, this is just how it’s organically developed for me. If you have a different way of storing it or selecting the info, then that’s cool too. The important thing is having it all to hand so when you’re stuck you can access the swipes and use them to get out of the hole quickly.

    Hope this helps!

    Jamie

    Reply
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