Yes, you read the title of today’s post correctly. It’s not a play on words. I have lifelong, free access to the world’s best marketing writers, and you can have it too.
This post started off with an email from Deborah.
My associate Deborah has a seemingly limitless capacity to ask great questions. The kind of question’s I’ve never asked myself before. Earlier today, Deborah asked me for book recommendations, to help her improve her writing. She’s already a great writer, and it’s easy to see why when she’s always seeking out ways to further improve.
That wasn’t the question that prompted this post. It was only her starter question.
Her follow-up was the kicker!
Just one book?
I recommended a book by Roy Peter Clark, called “How to write short” and it’s a classic from a master of the craft. He shows you how to write compelling messages and engaging content, using as few words as required. I don’t do book reviews. I don’t do affiliate links. You can search for it or find it on his website, using the link above. If it sounds like something you want to improve on, grab a copy. In my eyes he’s the boss of writing short, highly effective copy.
Back to Deborah’s question.
She thanked me for the recommendation. Then she asked me the question that inspired this post. She wondered why I only recommended one book!
Here’s my answer.
More importantly, here’s where you’ll discover how to have unlimited, free access to the world’s best marketing writers and communicators.
I study and practice my craft, daily
When I started out in this business, I learned everything I knew about sales and marketing, by studying the work of others. Initially I studied the work of colleagues, who were older and more experienced than me. Then I widened it out to all my inputs.
So, whenever I read or heard a powerful message, I’d write it down. Then, I would unpack the message to figure out why it was so powerful or motivating. I wanted to learn from it.
And I still do the exact same thing today.
I gather inspiration and rather than just swipe it, I swipe it and study it. The wordplay, the rhythm of the syllables. The mental imagery generated. The degree of urgency created… anything I can learn and grow from.
Here are some examples I noted and studied today. They’re all from leading companies and brands – – those with the financial resources to hire the greatest marketing writers in the world.
- High converting text from website buttons and contact forms.
- Powerful calls-to-action on store signs.
- High yield headlines.
- Motivating paragraphs from marketing emails and letters.
- Memorable straplines.
- Engaging tweets.
- Powerful slogans.
- The copy used on packaging and products.
- Social media profile copy.
- Instantly clickable email subject lines.
- … and everything else that attracts my eye or my ear.
Rolls Royce, Apple, Rolex, Disney… international brands of that size and influence don’t hire $100 an hour marketing writers. They hire the very best and money is no object. Their wording (like the examples on that tiny list) is worth a fortune to you and your business.
You don’t have to wonder if their copy works. Yes, it works!
You don’t have to wonder if the copy writer knows what they’re doing. Yes, they REALLY do know what they’re doing!
My task and yours, if you’re interested, is to look for the lessons. Let these masters of the art teach you with their examples of excellence.
Then, use your version of it. Put it into play. Test what you’ve learned and measure the results. Refine it, and then test again. It’s a great way to improve. Because I publish information very regularly, I’m able to test what I learn just as regularly. I can quickly discover what’s effective and what’s less useful. This is one of the many reasons I believe every professional should write a blog and / or a newsletter. It’s perfect for developing your skills and style.
Making your work stand out
By not reading the same books (or subscribing to the same publications, podcasts and Youtube channels) as others in my profession, I’ve been able to develop my own style. It’s a style that’s often rough around the edges. It’s unorthodox. It’s certainly not perfect.
It can’t be perfect.
The moment you’ve written something perfectly aligned with the style-guide, you’re camouflaged among the thousands who strive for that same version of perfection. Lost in an ocean of similar writing.
You’re no longer a voice. You’re an echo.
You’re no longer a signal. You’re a noise.
The way I write is imperfectly my style. And it constantly evolves, as the marketplace does.
You can learn a lot about written communication from the most effective and talented experts on the planet – – by way of non-obvious sources. The work of these genius writers is everywhere.
It’s on cereal boxes. It’s the book titles on the world’s best-selling books. It’s what catches your eye on magazine covers. It’s in movie trailers… it’s everywhere. And the people paid to write that material are among the best paid, most effective writers in the world. They’re really good. And worthy of our attention.
That’s not all.
By pulling from these priceless, non-obvious sources, different sources, you also give yourself the freedom to develop your own style and your own voice. Essential assets if you want your message, your work and your products or services to get the attention they need.
The world’s best are there for you to study and learn from. It’s free. And yours for life.
What an amazing opportunity.