I first started hearing about this a few months ago. Someone left a comment on a post asking if there was any use in hand-copying other people’s ads to learn copywriting.
Then, someone else sent an email through to us. And, after that, I found out that a few copywriting courses make hand-copying ads major pillars of their teaching.
Let me make something very clear:
No, there is NO benefit in hand-copying ads when you’re trying to learn copywriting.
(And I think that so many people are asking because they already suspect that’s the case.)
Unless your main goal is to improve your penmanship, you’re not going to learn anything from hand-copying ads!
Which makes sense, right? That’s like hand-copying War and Peace to learn novel writing.
When you’re copying other things, you don’t learn the principles and the strategies that went into creating that copy. When it comes to painting or drawing, there may be some benefits to copying someone else’s work to learn how it was created, but that’s not possible to learn by hand-copying copy.
The way to build and improve copywriting skills is to learn the basic principles, the advance principles, the way you need to organize messages, how to incorporate the brand voice and the other central tenets.
And, you need to practice by writing your own copy pieces—not hand-copying someone else’s!
Now, there absolutely is validity in learning from the copy that’s out there in the world, but it has nothing to do with copying it. Instead, as you learn the principles of copywriting, it’s very useful to take time to notice, read, and analyze the ads you’re seeing.
Based on what you’ve learned, is the ad effective? Why or why not? And, if it’s not written particularly well, how would you rewrite it?
It’s true that it’s necessary to learn how to write copy before you try to land clients. (It’s a career and it requires training.) But it’s worth being at least a little wary of anyone who tells you that it’s a valid learning method to hand-copy what someone else has written.
I’m not at all saying that our training is the only one or that we’re the right choice for everyone. But before you do commit to learning copywriting, first, make sure that you’re actually learning copywriting and, second, make sure that their “methods” will actually help you learn.
Your turn! What other weird “teaching” methods have you heard of? Let me know in the comments below!