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.

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Published: April 14, 2015

5 Responses to “Great Teachers Are Just Waiting for You to Find Them”

  1. While not a copywriter, Stephen King is The Master at telling a story--something we all do when writing sales materials. He treats each story like it was a fossil that must be reclaimed from the ground: sometimes you can hammer off great gobs of rock and dirt, while at other times you must be very careful, tapping and brushing away the smallest of pieces, as you tease the shape into the bright sunlight of the day. This process, which I have used to write many stories and novels, seems like it would be a great thing to keep in mind when looking for the right words for a sales letter or a blog page or just about anything story related that requires some finesse at times and some hammer blows at others.

    Clayton ByeApril 14, 2015 at 12:31 pm

  2. Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer. The opening chapter sets the tone for the book. It's titled - "Why They Buy". Fits in perfectly with AWAI and copy writing concept of emotion.People want to buy rather than be sold. How to overcome objections. Make the client feel comfortable about their purchase. This information fits glove in hand with copy writing.

    Mike SApril 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. My favorite writing advice is a quote I saw on Facebook by prolific novelist Nora Roberts. Though we aren't working in that genre, the advice definitely works in this arena too: "My top three pieces of writing advice? Stop whining and write. Stop f**king around and write. Stop making excuses and write." When I am stuck, this gets me putting words down on the page.

    gracieApril 17, 2015 at 11:23 am

  4. While knowing is great, doing is better. I heard it best in an AA meeting where we were told, keep bringing the body around and someday the head will show up. If we just do it, the mind will fill in the blanks.

    Dr Bill February 4, 2016 at 8:54 am

  5. “Writers write.” Stephen King

    ChanningFebruary 27, 2018 at 8:58 pm

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