Great Teachers Are Just Waiting for You to Find Them
This week we’re talking about reading and how it can improve your writing skills.
Yesterday, I talked about how to use promotional sales letters to hone your copywriting skills. Today, we’ll look at another source of essential reading material — books, programs, and anything else designed to teach you about writing. The benefits of this kind of reading are straightforward.
“Reading-to-Write-Better” Tip #2: Programs, blogs, and books – take advantage of all the great teachers out there.
When you read educational materials, you expose yourself to new ideas about writing and marketing. These types of resources also usually give you examples of good and bad writing, which is extremely valuable.
And, if you focus on educational reading that comes from reputable sources, you’ll know you’re reading about what works. Experienced professionals test the strategies they share.
To get you started, these are some of my favorite online resources for copywriters:
- AWAI and Wealthy Web Writer (no surprise these top my list) both have immense archives packed with tips and techniques for improving your writing. And, their programs are the industry standard for learning copywriting skills.
- Top-level copywriters like Bob Bly, Gary Bencivenga, and John Carlton all offer free e-letters and archives focused on improving your copywriting.
- Copyblogger, Content Marketing Institute, Write to Done, Unbounce, Bufferapp, and many others have great blogs that regularly feature advice on better writing.
- And books … so many books. Fortunately John Forde has a list of 10 to get you started right here.
When you’re reading educational materials, it’s a little different than reading samples of sales copy. You aren’t reading to emulate. You’re reading to learn something directly and then to apply.
But, like I recommended yesterday, it’s best to spend just 15 or 20 minutes reading and then pick one idea you’ll carry as your main takeaway. A powerful way to solidify what you learn from educational reading is to apply it right away. Here are a few easy ways to do that:
- Write a new home page for your website. (You can do this even if you don’t have a website yet — it will just give you a jump on things when you decide to take that step.)
- Take a promotional email you received today and rewrite the first couple of paragraphs using what you learned.
- Open a project you’re currently working on and use what you’ve learned to make it stronger.
I’ll bet you already have a growing list of experts you like to read. In fact, I’d love to hear what your favorite writing advice is and who you received it from. Share in the comments below.
Remember, it just takes 20 minutes a day of reading to give your writing skills an almost effortless boost. And, you don’t need to do every kind of reading each day. Just pick one today and maybe a different one tomorrow. It all adds up.
Join me again tomorrow, and I’ll show you some of the best reading you can do to set yourself apart in your niche.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »