You have to love to write. You'll be writing over and over. You'll be editing. Clients will look at a piece you spent 5 hours and in 2 minutes will put red lines through it.
You'll feel like a failure, but that's what you deal with when you get into the "creative" world. Everyone has an opinion.
As Don Draper says in one of my favorite interactions talking about copywriting and its process, "People think monkeys can do this"
Does Sex Sell? (youtube)
When talking about writing copy, "They can't do what we do, and they hate us for it."
Point is? You need thick skin because what you do will get changed by everyone from the CFO to the janitor. Be ready to stand behind your work. Writing can be one of the most vulnerable things you do.
How do I become a Master?
Read and learn from the best:
Read: Gary Halbert, John Carlton, David Ogilvy's books, Joseph Sugarman's book, Bob Bly has a great (long) book on all the tactics of copywriting.
It doesn't stop there. Keep going.
Reading a book is only 5% of it. Look at ads you see in magazines, newspapers, on TV. Is what is written interesting and making me want to act?
Open your junk mail (yes all those Time Warner Cable bulk mails sent out) and read their copy.
Typically, it's horrible. Alot of flash and huzzah without any substance. The reason for all this?
You see what others are doing and what NOT to do (and what you should be doing).
That's another 10% (notice we're only at 15%).
If you don't absolutely love reading copy others do to learn from it, you're not going to enjoy this profession. Gary Halbert typically tore out ads he thought were great and kept them in a "Swipe" file. Every time he wrote copy, he pulled them all out for inspiration.
Pick up a Pen
For every new piece of copy, start with a brain dump. Look at the product or service, describe the benefits, what does a customer feel when using it, WHY should they buy it.
Write down every reason a customer will say "NO" and then in your writing, subtly, answer those questions.
This is the brain dump process. You aren't editing. All ideas are "good" at this point.
Step away. You need time for your brain to organize thoughts. Go read, go walk, go play, go have sex. Anything but thinking about what's written. It's called the Incubation period.
What you'll find is you'll be taking a shower, walking, having sex, then EUREKA, an idea will hit that will connect different ideas together.
You'll jump out of shower (or the bed) and go and write some more. Here you are still not editing yourself, but developing your flow.
Write your Headline
This is the most important piece. Have you ever caught yourself flipping through a magazine and realize you've skipped most of it?
Sure. Want to know the reason?
Because the headlines didn't GRAB you. They didn't reach out of the page and catch your attention to tell your brain "Hey, this is interesting."
You'll have this same issue unless you develop a grabbing headline. Here's 38 headline ideas/templates: Professional copywriter and marketing communications expert.
The last step in the process is to edit down everything. Take out words. Replace words with ones that have deeper emotion.
Trim the fat. Read everything out loud and hear how it sounds. Normally, you'll find the awkward phrases, the weird sounding words etc.
You become a Master when you understand how to do all this over and over and over and perfecting it over and over.
Soon, your writing gets better. Ideas come faster. Your hourly rate goes soaring.
Mastering is simply taking something (much like a shooting movement in basketball) and repeating it until you know how to do it very well.
Mindset. Know you will Fail
Must love writing (and editing)
Read from the greats. Read copy you see all around you (paper mail, company emails, tv and radio ads. etc.)
Start with brain dumps of every idea in your head. Stretch your mind. Soon more ideas will come all the time.
Incubate all the time (looks like you aren't working, but your brain is. Endure the taunting comments from the non-creatives)
Put Eureka idea in action. Make each sentence compelling enough they want to read the next one.
Create a headline that catches (but doesn't lie)
Learn to edit yourself (I still struggle with this), but edit edit. It's tough to read your own writing. Everything sounds like crap at first. As you get better, you'll feel more confident.