Copywriting for Beginners Part 1 of 5: Seven Vital Questions
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Copywriting for Beginners Part 1 of 5: Seven Vital Questions

Practical advice from a veteran copywriter on writing effective ads, brochures, sales letters, online copy and more.
5.0 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
8 students enrolled
Created by Alan Sharpe
Last updated 8/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
5 hours left at this price!
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Define what copywriting is
  • Describe the five main channels for copywriting
  • Explain the types of copywriting that require specialized skill
  • Understand the two main audiences for copywriting, and how they differ
  • Describe what copywriting is not
  • Understand the terms, jargon and buzzwords that every new copywriter must know
  • Discover what you are selling
  • Learn where you are selling (channel) and when (in the sales cycle)
  • Uncover vital facts and insights into your target audience
  • Discover why people buy (and don't buy) what you are promoting, so you can use this information to your advantage
  • Understand the five types of competition you must overcome with your copy
  • Focus your copy on one unique selling proposition
  • Research any product or service to uncover its unique selling features and benefits
View Curriculum
  • Fluency in reading and writing English
  • Ability to use a computer

The hardest thing about copywriting isn't knowing HOW to write. It's knowing WHAT to write. Your challenge as a copywriter isn't your ability to write compelling copy. It's your ability to discover insights into what you are selling and who you are selling to. The best copywriters are the ones who ask the best questions.

About me

I'm your instructor, Alan Sharpe. I got started as a copywriter in 1989. In the years since then, I've worked as a freelancer and as an in-house copywriter at an ad agency. I have written in all of the channels—offline, online, outdoor, mobile and broadcast. I have written print ads, radio commercials, email sales letters, banner ads, brochures, slogans and plenty more. I got married, bought a house, and raised two kids on my copywriting salary alone. I have been teaching copywriting since 1995. On Udemy, I teach copywriting to over twelve thousand students from one hundred and thirty-eight countries. I am one of the top-rated instructors in the copywriting niche on Udemy.

Why take this course

This course answers the two biggest questions that beginning copywriters have. Number one, what is copywriting, exactly? And number two, how do I discover what I should write about?

At the end of this course, you will know what is expected of you as a copywriter. And you'll know the questions you need to ask before you start any copywriting assignment.

Course structure

This course is divided into two sections. Section one defines copywriting, describes the major types of copywriting, and discusses specialized types of copywriting. It then introduces you to the two main audiences who will read your copy, and describes the types of writing that some people mistake for copywriting. Section one ends with a handy glossary of common copywriting and marketing terms that you need to know before you offer your services as a copywriter.

Section two goes into great detail about the seven questions you must ask before you can write great copy. We'll cover what you are selling, where you are selling, who you are selling to, why they should buy, who your competition is, the most important thing to say in your copy, and what you want prospects to do after reading your copy. Section two ends with a lesson on how to research a product or a service so that you can sell it with effective copy.

This course is filled with practical, step-by-step advice, tools, tips and tricks that I've learned over the years as a professional copywriter. I use dozens of examples from the real world of copywriting to help you understand what copywriting is, and how to get started on any copywriting assignment.

Ideal student

I designed this course for writers who want to write compelling advertising copy, but don't know where to start. If the thought of having to write one thousand words of promotional copy each day before lunch time fills you with dread, then this course is for you.

Enroll now

Learn more about the course by reviewing the course description and course outline below. Watch the free preview lessons. Read the reviews from my satisfied students. Then enroll today.

Who is the target audience?
  • Aspiring copywriters, with zero experience at the craft, who want to learn a step-by-step method, taught by a veteran copywriter, for writing effective copy.
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Curriculum For This Course
16 Lectures
About Copywriting
6 Lectures 21:17

What copy is, what copywriting is, and the one thing that makes copywriting different from other kinds of writing.

Preview 02:56

Copywriting is words that sell in any medium, including offline, online, mobile and broadcast. Copywriting includes the written and the spoken word. Copywriting is also a profession.

Copywriting Defined: Part 2

As a copywriter, you may be asked to write copy for any of the five main channels: print, outdoor, online, broadcast and branding.

Preview 03:04

Search engine optimization, direct response, radio & television, and business to business are types of copywriting that require specialized skills.

Specialized Copywriting

You will be writing for consumers or businesses. Learn the main differences between these two audiences.

Your Two Audiences for Copywriting

Some writers confuse content marketing, technical writing and public relations writing with copywriting. Learn the differences between these types of writing. And discover what makes copywriting unique.

What kinds of promotional writing are not copywriting?

6 questions
Start with a Creative Brief
10 Lectures 48:34

The prospect of starting each day with a blank page and having to fill it with one thousand words before lunch fills some copywriters with dread. Writing copy from scratch is tough enough. But writing copy to deadline is even harder. So, here's the secret. You don't have to sit in front of your keyboard until drops of blood appear on your forehead. Instead, you have to ask seven simple questions. 

Preview 05:30

Whenever a client asks you to write copy to sell something, always take the time to discover what you are selling. Go beyond the obvious specifications and features to discover what the customer is really buying. And always discover the problem that the customer is looking to solve by buying the product or service that your copy is promoting.

Q 1. What are you selling?

You can't write good copy in a vacuum. You need facts, and you need insights. You get these by asking questions. And one of the first questions you ask is this: Where are we selling? This simple question gets you started towards writing great copy. Ask your client, "Where are we selling?" and you'll discover the scope of your project, the mechanics of what you are going to write, and the context of where your copy is appearing in the sales cycle.

Q 2. Where are you selling?

Spend your time, energy and creativity only on the people who are likely to buy what you are selling. When you know who you are selling to, and when you know what they are looking to buy, you are ready to start writing great copy.

Q 3. Who are you selling to?

Your prospects are likely to resist your sales pitch. If they are doing nothing, they are likely to continue doing nothing. If they are walking past your ad in a straight line, they are likely to continue walking past in a straight line. That's the problem with inertia. Your copy has to overcome this inertia. And the most effective way to do so is to answer the question, "Why should my prospective customer buy what I am selling?"

Q 4. Why should they buy?

Before you sit down and write a single line of copy, you need to discover who you are competing against. Every product and every service has competition. Your job as a copywriter is to learn as much as you can about your competition so that you can explain why your product or service is better. You face four kinds of competition: other brands, other options, your own brands, and those who do it in house.

Q 5. Who is your competition?

The main difference between copywriting and just about every other kind of writing is that copywriting is designed to make people do something. Good copywriting doesn't just inform people. It motivates them to take action. Such as download a white paper, call a toll-free number, visit a website or buy a product.

If you want your copy to be successful, give your copy a goal. Make that goal specific. Make it measurable. And then tell your prospective customer what to do, and how to do it.

Q 7. What do you want your prospect to do?

Should you spend three weeks writing a headline? Probably.

When David Ogilvy landed the Rolls-Royce account, he spent three weeks learning about the car. In his reading, Ogilvy came across this statement, written by an engineer: “At sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.” Ogilvy made that elusive fact the headline for what became the most famous car advertisement of all time.

All great copy contains a big idea well executed. But how can you find that elusive big idea for the product or service you are promoting? Through exhaustive research. Here's how.

How to research a product or service so that you write great copy

The sweetest sound in any language is the sound of your name. That's why the most important word in copywriting is "you."

Since your prospective customers care about themselves more than they care about you or what you are selling, your copy should make your prospects the hero.

Which means your prospect is more important than what you are selling. You can commit to memory every feature of your product, but if you fail to discover who your prospect is and what she wants and why she buys, you will walk home without a sale.

So, study your prospect more than your product.

Study your prospect more than your product

7 questions
About the Instructor
Alan Sharpe
4.6 Average rating
694 Reviews
12,098 Students
4 Courses
Veteran direct response copywriter

Are you reading my bio because you want to improve your copywriting? Bonus. That makes two of us.

Are you looking for a copywriting coach who has written for Fortune 500 accounts (Apple, IBM, Hilton Hotels, Bell)? Check.

Do you want your copywriting instructor to have experience writing in multiple channels (print, online, direct mail, radio, television, outdoor, packaging, branding)? Groovy.

If you had your way, would your copy coach also be a guy who has allergic reactions to exclamation marks, who thinks honesty in advertising is not an oxymoron, and who believes the most important person in this paragraph is you? 

Take my courses.

I'm Alan Sharpe. Pleased to make your acquaintance. I'm a 27-year veteran copywriter who has been teaching people how to write persuasively since 1989.

Through my conference workshops, copywriting classes, telephone seminars, webinars, trade journal articles, newsletters, blog posts and in my many books, I have helped thousands of copywriters on four continents master the craft of persuading on paper and in pixels.

I taught myself the craft of advertising copywriting, and worked as a freelance copywriter as well as a senior copywriter for two advertising agencies. I sold everything from pump parts to utility trailers to digital video transmission systems and insurance services, working in every media. I even helped a client use direct mail to sell a coffee table book about Elvis Presley. Don't ask.

After working for a decade as a copywriter, I narrowed my focus to two specialties: writing direct mail letters for businesses, and fundraising letters for non-profits.

Now I'd like to help you write copy that gets noticed, gets read, and gets results. Let's get started.