I don’t have a straight yes or no answer.
Of course anyone can “do copywriting.”
I’ve had plenty of students and clients try and take the reigns from me during a project, and I guess they all technically did “write copy”…
I mean, it wasn’t GOOD, but it was copy.
But does the professional copywriter have certain skills that other writers as a rule don’t share? Yeah.
Copywriting focuses on different elements than fiction, poetry and other forms of writing. For example, writing headlines. That’s a skill all on it’s own. You’re writing a compelling business message with very few words. It’s probably 100 times more concise than novel writing.
But I think there’s about a 90% overlap between the skills of a highly experienced successful novelist, and a thriving copywriter.
I know, I know, I’m NOT SUPPOSED TO SAY THAT. But we’re both in the business of evoking emotions and driving you to action.
But that 10% difference, accounts for a catastrophic difference in terms of the work that’s produced.
I mean, we share 97% of our DNA with monkeys, but aside from a taste from bananas….
Anyway, the real dividing line is mindset, a focus on goals, and experience achieving those goals. Different specialists have different goals.
So no I don’t think that a longstanding best selling novelist could wake up like “okay, let’s take a break on the novels. Now I’m gonna do copywriting, I’m setting a goal to get three clients by a week from today.”
But I do think this person could start up the copywriting route ten times faster than some ordinary SCHLUB who just bumped into the game. It’s an on-ramp. Just like a person who knows five languages can learn the sixth much faster than most people would learn their second.
Copywriting ain’t rocket science. It’s it’s own art.
It’s writing a business message with the goal of getting a response out the people who read it. That is if the reader is the intended recipient. But even if they’re not the intended recipient I still want my message to strike them. So they can pass the word to a friend.
I want a message that sounds like it was written by the kind of guy anyone would want to do business with.
Let me toss a question onto the field. If you studied the top ten best copywriters ever, analyzing the ten best ads of each of them, what one key to success would you discover?
Sounds like a pretty straightforward question, because if you want to make a living writing ads, that’s the very first thing you’d want to know. Straight to point, no messing around. No running in circles.
If someone has already learned to do something, or let’s be realistic…..if hundreds of people have learned to do something already, is there any point to starting on a blank grid. The pen was invented a long time ago. Do you personally know any writers who spent the first chunk of their learning curve trying to invent a pen so they could store their Ideas in a stack of paper instead of trying not to step on their story written in the dirt floor of the basement.
I don’t, and if you do, then write an article about it. You could make some money off that one.
And why am I talking paper? Paper is already old fashioned. Although it’s statistically true that reading on paper increases retention of the information.
So. I’m going to stop reading books digitally already. Uhhhhh…Yeahhhh right. I bet you saw through that immediately.
OK. I confess. I asked a funny question.
It’s funny because I don’t think that if you went through the procedure I outlined, that you would find 1 key to their success. After all why are there so many books written on how to write effective copy. And yes beginning copywriters are encouraged to read each of them; not just pick any which of them, and run. If there were one key, you’d think a single book would do it.
I’d compare learning copywriting with learning to juggle. Real story about me – I did learn to juggle. I started with just two objects. One in each hand. I toss just the one in my right hand, and wait for it to come back down. Then I chunk the right, so I can catch the one from the left. I repeat hundreds and hundreds of times. Then I add the third object. I again struggle hundreds of times to get it down with three. And it’s the exact same motion as using two, but it’s way harder.
Each time an new lesson or element is added into the mix, you need to incorporate it, and the combined payload multiplies the work my mind has to put into it.
This business works much the same way.