In case you don’t know who Alex Haley is, he is the author of “Roots,” probably the number one best seller of all time. Did you know that before he wrote this masterpiece, he spent YEARS rewriting the best books he could find…
Oh, and books weren’t as short as they are today. Books were thick and long, and this dude would take the good ones and copy them word for word – in his own handwriting – one by one.
As a result, he himself became a prolific writer (because he was already “good”) and produced what we know today as Roots.
Now, what does this have to do with copywriting?
Well, if you want to become a great, if not the BEST copywriter, you must learn from the best. You must do what the great ones before you have done. In fact, this exercise is one of the most prevalent fundamentals of the skill of copywriting…
You have to rewrite million-dollar ads and letters by hand.
Want to know about some of the best books to learn copywriting? Check out the blog: The 5 Best Books To Read For Learning Copywriting.
Why Rewrite Million-Dollar Sales Letters By Hand?
So why would you want to spend your time rewriting sales letters by hand? Gary Halbert puts it this way:
“…you see, what happens when you actually write out a good ad in your own handwriting is that the words, the flow, the sentence structure, the sequence of information, and everything else about the writing of that ad becomes a part of you.
This isn’t just an empty experience. This is a way of internally imprinting on your mind and body, the process of good writing. If you do this often enough, you will soon have a deep “inside out” understanding of what it takes and what it feels like to write a good piece of copy.” (Ch.17).
When you rewrite ads, you’re subconsciously training your brain how to write them yourself. On top of this, it makes the best practice. The only way you’re going to get better at writing copy is to practice writing copy every day. When you’re rewriting a successful ad every day, you’re constantly practicing how to write money-making ads on a daily basis.
Don’t make this one mistake in a sales letter! Check out the blog: This One Mistake Can KILL Your Entire Sales Pitch (Rant Included)!
Infusing With The Great Ones
When I landed a copywriting internship, the CEO was very big on educating yourself and bettering your craft. He took me to my very first marketing summit, where I met a ton of great like-minded people. It got me so fired up that I wanted to spend the rest of my free time perfecting my craft.
Here was the thing: I hated being an intern.
Not that I hated being the company’s intern. Just being an intern in general. I wanted to find a way to boost my skills in a short amount of time so I could prove to my CEO that I was worth investing more time and projects in…
That’s when I came across the exercise of rewriting sales letters and ads by hand (Shout out to COPYHOUR! YOU GUYS ARE DOPE!). After spending a few months along with tons of hours, I was able to get the idea down. It felt like I was writing the ads myself. Before I knew it, the internship had ended and I was on Upwork collecting 5-star reviews. It was all thanks to my understanding of how copy works.
If it wasn’t for the time I put in writing these successful ads (some of them written by Halbert himself), it would’ve taken me MUCH longer to learn how to write copy!
So if you want to write some awesome ads by hand, Halbert recommends that you rewrite these ones:
How To Burn Off Fat Hour By Hour
The Original Family Coat-Of-Arms Letter
How To Collect From Social Security At Any Age
How To Get What The U.S. Government Owes You
He Famous Dollar Bill Letter From The Robert Collier Letter Book
The Amazing Blackjack Secret Of A Las Vegas Mystery Man
The Original Astrology Today Ad Written By Ben Suarez.
To use, or not to use cliches? Find out in the blog: Should You Use Cliches In Sales Copy?
For more copywriting tips and secrets, check out the blog at joshwrotethat.com