It’s copywriting – not copy the writing!
I just had a long talk with one of my clients.
Turns out he’s refusing to rent his mailing list to several other companies. Why?
Because he’s tired of finding HIS copy in the pages of his competitor’s promotions!
Yep, his competitors are hiring copywriters (and paying them serious moolah!) who are doing nothing more than COPYING from my client’s successful promotions — many of which were written by yours truly! Now, that sucks on many levels:
Level One: The client is getting screwed. He’s paying a lot of money for the writer to deliver original copy — and getting nothing but swiped copy.
Level Two: The original writer is getting screwed out of royalties. After all, SHE wrote the copy in the first place — so SHE should get paid for it!
Level Three: The knock-off copywriter is making money from stealing!
Level Four: That lousy, no good so-and-so is giving the copywriting business a bad rap!
That just stinks!
So I thought I’d use this issue to not only vent — but to make sure you don’t get caught up in this racket. Because the truth is — if you steal someone else’s copy — you’re putting the nails in your own coffin. Here’s why…
This is a VERY small industry. Copywriters talk to each other. Designers talk to copywriters. Business owners talk to each other. It won’t be long before you get caught — and your career goes down in the toilet!
Case in point — no kidding this really happened to me!
Not too long ago, I was reading a promo that came in the mail. The more I read the copy, the more it “sounded” familiar. After a while, I could even predict what was coming next. As I kept reading, lo and behold — there were special reports that I distinctly remember creating the titles to. After a while, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. I looked to see who the mailer was and it turned out to be an old client.
So, I called the client and said, “hey, just checking to see when I’m going to get my royalty check.”
He didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.
Then I told him about the knock-off package. He said he was shocked. He wanted to talk to the copywriter to find out what the heck was going on.
Now, here’s where you need a little background info, CopyStar: The client hired and paid me to write the package. Due to some internal problems, they decided to kill the product. Six months or so later, they fixed the problems with the product, hired another copywriter and gave him my original package as “background” info.
That background info ended up on the foreground — as the theme of the new package – using the same premiums I created — and lifting chunks of my copy!
Have I used the word SUCKS lately?
Anyway, to make a long story short — the copywriter denied lifting my copy and said it was purely coincidence that we came up with the same theme. Poppycock!
Yeah, I thought about suing the client — and even consulted a lawyer. He felt I had a case but I decided not to waste any more of my time — or make the lawyer rich. However, I did let the client know if anyone ever asked me about his company — I would openly share my experience.
Turns out several copywriters — and designers — have called me, They knew I worked with the client and they were considering working with him. After I told them what happened to me — they backed off and to my knowledge – NONE of them accepted an assignment from the client! And get this…
Six months after that awful experience, one of the client’s own employees called to offer me a job. I simply told him I didn’t work with unethical people — and he should ask his boss for any further clarification. Then I kindly hung up the phone.
So what are some lessons you can learn from my experience, CopyStar?
LOTS! So listen up…
Lesson #1: Study the masters — but don’t steal the copy! You can learn a whole lot about writing style…powerful themes…and grab ’em by the eyeball headlines when you study controls. I highly encourage that type of learning. In fact, on my website, I have an E-Store where you can purchase real controls that are working right now — as well as some classics that stood the test of time: click here!
But the point is to study them: Figure out what makes them work. Get the feel of the copy — and imitate the style! A copywriter who steals copy is a soon-to-be out of work copywriter with a bad rep! I don’t want that to happen to you!
Lesson #2: Look and see what’s currently working in the market! For example, right now, skepticism is a huge hot button. Take a look at how I tapped into the skeptical market with this headline:
CoQ10, Garlic, Lutein, Gingko, Calcium, Bilberry, Probiotics, Vitamin C,
Magnesium, Chondroitin, Glucosamine, Low-fat diets, Omega 3 fish oil,
grape seed extract, Blood pressure drugs,
Weight-loss supplements and Cholesterol-lowering drugs
(Phew! That was a mouthful, huh? But it WORKED!)
You can see that package on the “Kick Butt controls” page on my website. click here!
Take a few minutes to look through my website — you’ll find REAL packages that are working RIGHT NOW. Take time to really study these packages. Look for the hot buttons I pushed. Get the gist of the package — and then write YOUR OWN package. You can do it!
Plus, in my E-Store, I’ve got great examples of how to shock your prospect with a surprising truth…talk about sensitive subjects in a headline…announce new discoveries… tap into your prospect’s frustrations… and so much more. It’s worth checking into: click here!
Lesson #3: Don’t be lazy. You’ve heard the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. But teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, right?
Well, I’m here to teach you to fish. Make the time to learn the art of copywriting. Don’t get lazy and just snatch a fish here and there. Because guess what? One day there won’t be a person handing out fish — then whaddaya gonna do? While I’m still in the mood to write these ezines — let me show you how to fish. That way you’ll be fishing (and writing your own copy) for decades to come!
Lesson #4: Respect the industry and yourself. Make it your goal to be known as a reputable copywriter. A person who puts in the work to do a good job for his clients. That way you won’t have to dread the day when you get a phone call from a client questioning whether you wrote the copy or not (and trust me, that day WILL come!)
Your reputation in this industry will determine if you fizzle — or sizzle! I want you to stand the test of time and be among the sizzlin’ hot veterans of this noble trade!
Ok, that’s it — no more lecturing…
I’ve got big dreams for you CopyStar — so don’t get cut at the knees by falling into the trap of those unscrupulous writers. Learn your trade. Be original. And write kick-butt copy that’s all YOURS!
I’ve got a date and a place to meet with my CopyStars attending the AWAI 2016 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp & Job Fair in October!
For those of you who took me up on the invitation for a special CopyStar session during this year’s Bootcamp. Here’s the info:
We’re meeting on Thursday, October 20th at the Coral Reef room from 6pm-7pm!
We’ve only got an hour together — so let’s make the BEST of it! Bring your questions, comments, concerns — and even any copy you’re working on! There will be less than 10 of us — so we can really make this a FUN and educational session.
If you haven’t signed up yet — but still want to join us — you must email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list! Don’t miss out on this special opportunity exclusively for CopyStar readers!
Yours for stellar results,
Million-Dollar Copywriter & Consultant