During the Fall of 2014, I was frustrated beyond belief.
This was at least my 5th attempt at trying to build an online fitness business selling workout programs for men.
Being in one the most competitive markets in the world, I knew I was going to have a hard time. But if you would have told me 4 years earlier that it was going to be as difficult as it ended up being, I probably would have never done it.
No matter how much I tried, I just could not sell a single copy of my workout program
Fortunately, my “optimism despite all odds” attitude wouldn’t let me quit. I had to find a way to sell my products. Even just 1 sale would have given me the momentum I needed.
By this time, I had already been writing copy for some clients. However, I never actually studied it seriously. I just modeled after similar pieces of copy so I could get paid and fund my fitness businesses.
But then, in a weird turn of events, I was “sold” by a copywriter that I should put all of my time and effort into getting good at copywriting because it was the “oxygen” of my business.
And so, that’s what I did.
The Copywriting Challenge That Changed My Life
Like I said, while I was already writing copy for some clients and had some idea how to do it, I was still extremely bad at it. I’m actually too embarrassed to even read my first sales letters.
So when I finally decided to get serious about copywriting, I decided to go all in.
I bought and read all the copywriting classics, I read a ton of old-school direct mail pieces, and I modeled after competitor ads that I heard did well in fitness so I could write my own based on them.
After 6 months of doing this, my copywriting skills made a complete 180.
All of a sudden, I went from someone who could barely write a headline to someone who could right killer sales pages.
And I knew I got good because my clients made more money, they were much happier with the quality of my copy, my ability to identify good copy improved, my confidence skyrocketed, and finally understood what made winning ads worked.
The “Immersion” Secret To Learning Copy Fast
There are plenty of ways to learn a new language.
You could read grammar books, read regular books written in that language, watch shows in that language, practice reciting phrases, memorize vocabulary words, and more.
All are great ways and are pretty much required the entire time until you are proficient enough to communicating in that language.
However, those who you’re really serious about learning a new language take it up a couple of notches by applying to immersion programs.
For example, instead of a staying in Seattle to do the above stuff and learn French, you would actually go and live in France for a semester or more.
Students who go through these programs learn the language at a rate that’s impossible for non-immersion students to even come close.
That’s because instead of being exposed to the language from time to time, their entire world and survival in it depends on their ability to learn the language.
By going all in, you learn the language a lot faster and a lot better than someone who does it, period.
The same goes for copywriting.
Sure, you won’t become a master copywriter. But by setting aside a few months to immerse yourself in it, you’ll learn what took most professional copywriters years in just a fraction of the time.
Why A 90-Day Challenge?
My original copywriting challenge took me 6 months and it was done on the fly with no structure at all.
Looking back, if I had a given myself a structure to do it, I could have learned the same in even less time.
With that said, there is a limit to how short you can make the challenge.
If you go out there right now, there are a couple of 30-day copywriting challenges. However, I don’t believe that’s enough time to make a real, lasting difference.
It’s like trying to lose weight. Sure, you could go on a 30-day program, but it’s not going to do to much for you in the long-term. You’ll almost certainly just get fat again and end up becoming a yo-yo dieter.
However, by going on a 90-day program, things change. By being forced to change and keep your habits for a longer period of time, you are going to see life changing results and be better able to keep them.
This is the same reason why I prefer 90 days. It’s not too short like a 30-day challenge, but it’s not that long either. It’s just perfect.
The 90-Day Copywriting Challenge Explained
I believe that the best way to learn direct response copywriting during this challenge is to learn from every medium possible, from multiple perspectives, and from multiple markets (but with a big emphasis in your current market).
This 360 view of copy does a lot of things…
First, you’ll learn how direct response principles don’t change based on the medium. Second, you’ll learn how to sell products in ways that you wouldn’t have if you just saw how things were done in 1 market. Third, you’ll retain a lot more of what you’ve learned by consuming everything in multiple mediums. Last, you’ll see how direct response copywriting legends wrote copy as well as the type of copy that is working today.
This is why the challenge is made up doing 3 different activities: Reading, watching, and writing.
Each method has their pro’s and con’s, but they are all vital if you want to seriously get good at copywriting fast. So with that said, lets get right into it.
Part #1) Read One Classic Copywriting Book A Week
If you don’t own them already, go and buy these 4 books.
Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
Great Leads by Michael Masterson & John Forde
I want you to read 1 a week in this order and cycle through them after you have finished each one. For example:
Week #1: Read Scientific Advertising
Week #2: Read The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
Week #3: Read Breakthrough Advertising
Week #4: Read Great Leads
Week #5: Read Scientific Advertising
Week #6: Read The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
Week #7: Read Breakthrough Advertising
By reading these 4 books, you will have learned 80% of what there is to know about direct response copywriting that can be applied to your business.
And while I do recommend you read the other classics once you’re done with the challenge, by making sure you go through each of these books multiple times guarantee that you will master the most important principles of copywriting.
Read these books and you’ll understand copywriting, advertising, and even marketing in ways you will have never had before.
Part #2) Watch 3 Infomercials A Week
I don’t think there’s a better way to learn direct response copywriting and marketing than to study the world’s best performing infomercials.
Ideally, you should go out and find the best performing infomercials that sell similar products to your market and then watch at least 3 of them every week.
With that said, there is a chance you might not find any or you won’t find enough to watch for the 12 weeks, so here is a list to get you started.
Anything by Beachbody (Start With The P90X Series)
Anything by Bowflex (Start With The Original Bowflex)
Anything by Guthy Renker (Start With Proactive)
George Foreman Grill
The key is to not just watch them, but to analyze them by identifying how they are persuading you to buy and identifying how they are applying everything you’ve been learning from the reading and writing portions of this challenge.
For example, I want you noticed how Showtime Rotisserie infomercials generally start with a lot of proof elements or how Beachbody commercials stack up bonus after bonus only to seal the deal with a guarantee that lasts as long as the product does (EX: 90 day programs have 90 day guarantees).
Part #3) Write Copy Every Single Day By Modeling After Successful Ads
This is the most important part of the entire challenge and it’s also the most labor intensive.
Here’s what you’re going to do:
1) Identify The Top 5 Competitors In Your Market
2) Collect The Top 10 Sales Letters That Sell Products Similar To Yours
3) Collect The Top 5 Sales Letters You Like From Other Markets
4) Model After Them To Write A Sales Letter For Your Business
5a) Keep Writing New Sales Letters To Be Used In Your Business
If you can send traffic to your sales letter, here’s an alternative.
5b) Publish & Send Traffic To These Sales Letters To Get Real Data And Fix Them Until They Convert
In other words, look and analyze their headlines so you can brainstorm your own for your product. Then repeat until you complete your sales letter.
The key to making this work is that you should be writing something every single day.
It will take you anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks to write a sales letter using this method. So you will have to continue by either writing more sales letter, re-writing the first one until it converts, or both.
Even if you only write for one hour every day, after 90 days you would see huge gains in your copywriting skills along with usable sales letters.
The same can be done with emails, however I find that most marketers are not very good when it comes to writing emails.
For that, I suggest you follow:
CopyMonk (of course)
This challenge will take up a lot of your time, but that’s how immersion programs work.
If you take the next 90 days to put immerse yourself into everything direct response copywriting and marketing, you will learn what would have taken you years.
With that said, the goal isn’t to turn you into a copywriting master. For that, you’re going to have to continue spending years deliberately studying and practicing.
Instead, the goal is completely to “rewire” your brain to become fluent in copywriting. By the time you’re done, you won’t be a notch or two above your current skill level…
No, you’re going to be at least 10X better than where you are today, guaranteed.