After reading this article, you'll never have the white page syndrome ever.
And you'll never write a copy that does not convert ever.
I know those promises sound coming out of a dream.
Well for once on the Internet, you won't be disappointed.
This is probably one of the most valuable articles on my site.
Structure is the rail of copywriting
To write killer copy, you need killer structure.
What most copywriters do—including myself—is that they pick out battle-tested structure that's proven to work well and reuse it for their new copy.
No need to reinvent the wheel, that's the best way to fail in business.
However, when you're starting to get your stripes, you think you can detach from the structure and improvise.
But therein lies the rub.
That's at this exact time your ego takes a hit.
Your improvised copy is such a miserable failure and does not convert at all...
Probably because like all junior copywriters, you used structures without understanding the logic behind them.
Some might retort me:
"I know this YouTuber who wrote his copy à l'instinct and was able to convert a lot of his audience into buyers."
B.S. (as our good ol' Dan Kennedy would say).
Those guys are not copywriters.
They just happen to talk to a hot audience they know very well from inside out.
They could as well put an order form on a white page—they would still make sales.
Ask them to sell something to another cold audience—they won't make any sale.
So how do you create your own copy structures when you're still a junior copywriter?
That's exactly the problem Agora tried to solve with their copyboarding system.
Copyboarding: the Agora system to build your own rail
The first time I've heard about copyboarding was during an interview of Joe Schriefer, Head of Copy at Agora Financial.
For those who don't know them, it is a famous publishing company that generates more than $100M every year... out of copy.
Since they write a huge volume of copy every year, they had to develop a system to structure their process of creation.
Basically the idea is quite simple: it's like a storyboard... but for copywriting instead of movies.
The idea is to break down the process of writing a copy into little doable pieces to come up with an effective copy.
Here's are the 5 steps:
- Find your big idea and state a short sales pitch.
- List all the possible objections (at least 40) that could prevent your audience to buy the offer.
- Re-order the list of objections and categorize them in 3 parts: lead, body and close.
- Write your headlines from the most important objections.
- Finally write the full copy by answering all objections.
I won't go into the details of each step here since this article is public.
Objections are the new gold
If you understood the copyboarding process, you'll notice that it's easier said than done.
Indeed, if you miss an important objection then even if you respected all the steps of the process, your copy will be a miserable failure.
So yeah you get my point: being able to brainstorm the right objections is key in the copyboarding process.
Let's see how to come up with the right objections for your copy.
First we need to split objections in 2 parts:
- Generic Objections
Those are the objections you will always have to answer, independently of your niche or your audience. For example: "Why would I listen to you?" or again "Why should I trust you?" are pretty common objections we need to address in our copies.
- Specific Objections
Those are the objections that are either specific to your audience or your offer. That's where copywriters that have a strong understanding of their niche make a difference. That's also where sometimes junior copywriters kill themselves. A classic example is to forget specifying the dimensions when you sell a physical product. Many prospects need the dimensions to know if this table will fit in their living room for example.
So here is you're gonna do:
Create your own document where you put down all the generic objections you can think of.
The bigger this document, the less work you'll need to do when you start a new copy.
Indeed, you'll start by questioning each of these objections to see if it's important for your offer and audience.
With this trick, you'll probably have half of the work done without thinking too much.
If you don't want to miss any important generic objections, I'm selling my own document that lists all of them if you're interested.
My second hack is then to create a document for all the niches you're writing for that lists all the objections you could think of.
Then when you start a new copy, you can check out the niche-specific list of objections in order to have the last part of the job done.
With this method, you only have to think of the [ audience, offer ] specific objections to get your copy right.
This is actually the true gold for a copywriter and if it's easy to come up with the common objections, it takes time, effort and experience to come up with your [ audience, offer ] specific objections.
You should allocate a lot of your time gathering this information since the success of your copy will depend on it.
This article is pure gold, but how many of you are really being able to apply what we've seen?
I already know the answer.
And it's sad.
But on the other hand, it comforts me in the idea that there is no real competition for top copywriters.
Procrastination is your best friend, embrace it.
It keeps your neighbors from coming over to your greener grass.
For the rare who've understood the unlimited scope of what I introduced to you, then you might be interested in watching the full copywriting process in front of your eyes.
For the others, well I'm happy if I could entertain you.
For the people that are used to sharing my articles, please don't share this one, I'd like to keep it for a small circle of privileged people.
PS : If you don't know Joe Schriefer, there is this nice interview where he talks about finding great big ideas.