Copywriting Q&A: How to Learn from the Greats

How to learn from the masters of copwitingOne of the surest ways to improve any skill set is to identify the people who are the best at doing what you want to do. If you’re an actress, watch other great actors and actresses perform. If you’re an artist, study the works of other great artists. But where do you go if you’re a copywriter? Read on…

Today’s question comes from Lashawn P. who asks, “I got asked on an interview, ‘Who are your favorite copywriters working right now?’ I had no idea how to answer that! What should I have said?”

So, one of the interesting things about copywriting is that it’s kind of a “behind the scenes” job. The work that we do is out there in the world, and might even become pretty famous, but we usually stay pretty anonymous.

That said, though, there are still ways to find out who are behind the ads you love—and, therefore, there are ways to learn from the copywriting greats (and have an answer to that arguably unfair interview question).

Here’s you pro tip for learning from the, well, pros: Start by finding an ad you really like. It could be a magazine ad, commercial, direct mail piece or anything else.

Then, the Google-ing begins. You need to find out which agency is doing the work for the company that ad represents. Google the company and then “ad agency.” You might also want to check AdAge.com or AdWeek.com to see if they have info about which ad agency is working for that company.

Then, dig down deeper. First, check out the agency’s website. You’ll probably find some other pieces of creative from that campaign, as well as plenty of other examples of their work.

Next, find out who the creatives are on that account. Who actually wrote the copy for the ad you love? Back to the old Google—now find that copywriter’s online portfolio. (Because all real professional copywriters have online portfolios, remember? You think I’m making this up every time I say it. I’m not!)

Hey, guess what? You just found some new favorite copywriters and ad agencies! Start collecting their work and analyzing what you really like about it. What makes it so effective? Or clever? Or funny? Or emotional? And then, of course, ask yourself how you can apply some of what you’ve learned to your own ads.

Your turn! Who’s writing your favorite ads? Which are your favorite ad agencies? (And how did you find them?) Let us know in the comments below!

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