How to Get Your Copy to a B+ or A- Faster

Both beginning and experienced copywriters struggle with "When am I going to break through?” … "Is there a shortcut to success?” … "How do I get paid the fees I deserve?"

The Image, Exclusive, and Credentials Checkpoints will put you on the road to overcoming these challenges.

Today's checkpoint addresses an underlying fear that permeates almost every writer I know in some way. "Am I good enough?"

In other words, are you good enough to make a living at this? Good enough to make six figures and beyond? Good enough to build a solid reputation so you don't have to chase business forever?

Here's the problem. It's hard to get honest feedback.

If a client only works with you once, you assume it's because you're not good enough, right? It's possible, though, that they don't have ongoing needs. Maybe it just wasn't a good match for whatever reason.

On the other hand, even if you continue to work with a client, they may not give you a good, thorough copy critique (AWAI is an exception.) You probably don't want your client to be your teacher or coach anyway. At some point you need someone to tell you how you're doing and how to get better. Someone to affirm that you're "good enough" to move to the next level and take on bigger projects.

The key is to seek out the Objective Opinion Checkpoint.

Where do you find someone to honestly assess your writing? Stay away from family and friends. They'll both blow smoke at you and tell you how great you are, or not understand it and critique it for grammar and academic style.

Even copywriters will often give vague comments that don't offer anything constructive. What you're aiming for is clear, specific, uplifting feedback that doesn't over-analyze. Peer Review hits the mark on all of these.

Mark Ford introduced this concept at Bootcamp a few years ago, and I also used it over the course of two years of classes with the Circle of Success. If you're not familiar with Peer Review, here's a good description.

You don't need to do this in a structured setting. Find a few copywriting colleagues in the AWAI Member Forum or connect with other writers on Facebook, and set up an informal arrangement to review each other's copy.

Instead of writing in a vacuum on your own, week after week, you'll get constructive criticism to move you forward. Will Newman says it's the fastest way to improve average copy.

Even better than Peer Review? The trainers for the Circle of Success classes are some of the best copywriters around. They'll tell you exactly what you need to do to improve. Look for the Objective Opinion Checkpoint with peers, Circle of Success, or on your own with a master copywriter, and grab the opportunity.

I'm curious … what is the best copywriting advice you ever got? When did you realize that you were "good enough"? Tell me in the comments.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: May 9, 2013

2 Responses to “How to Get Your Copy to a B+ or A- Faster”

  1. Here's the best writing advice I've ever received. And I'm paraphrasing:

    "Writers write. Otherwise, you don't deserve the privilege of calling yourself a writer."

    When did I know I was good enough? When I won my first writing contest. The amount of money didn't matter. Just the fact that someone I didn't know paid me to write the way I talk sealed the deal for me...

    Thanks for the great article, Steve!


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