How to write copy

An easy and repeatable 6-step guide

Step Zero: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? TURN ON YOUR COMPUTER.

Hello. I have been a professional copywriter for a decade. This is how I write. Feel free to steal my system.

Step 1

Ask great questions during the project kickoff.
Doing this will save a bunch of time as you write. These are some of my go-to questions. A gifted account manager will be able to answer all of them.

  • Who’s the client?
  • Right. What do they do again? I mean, I obviously know, but just in case someone at the table isn’t sure.
  • When’s it due? HAHAHA. Oh wait. You’re serious? Okay. Not a chance.
  • Could it BE any colder in here? Be right back, gonna fix the temp.
  • What was that? Did anyone else hear that?

Step 2

Begin research immediately.
With the kickoff still fresh in your mind, now is the time to research. You can do this in many ways, but I prefer Google searches. They’re easy and they always return relevant information. I just checked my browser history, and here are some of my most recent searches.

  • how to not feel like a fraud at work
  • why does my toe hurt so bad ive literally just been sitting here
  • is it bad to steal headlines
  • best headlines to steal
  • david ogilvy quotes
  • why does pooping at work scare me

Step 3

Ignore the designer’s pleas for your copy until they are legit about to murder you.
I’ve worked hand in hand with amazing designers for a third of my life. I know them better than they know themselves. Ignore statements like “Layout takes time.” They’re just messing with you. Here’s a handy guide of things you’ll often hear from designers, followed by how much time you actually have before you give them your copy.

  • “Yo! What’s the word on that copy? Think I can get it soon?” You have: two weeks
  • “Luke. Come on. Give me your copy. Please be a professional and take some pride in your work.” You have: one week
  • “Please. I’m begging you. I haven’t seen my kids since Memorial Day.” You have: three days
  • “Hey. Do you like my gun? Turn around. Look at it. What, specifically, do you like about it?” You have: precious little time. Submit your copy.

Step 4

GAHHHHHHH LAST-MINUTE PANIC.
The most essential step. Reckless procrastination is the key to inspired creativity. Congrats on crafting yet another miraculous headline.

Step 5

Against all odds, submit amazing work.
Internal kudos abound. The designer no longer wants to kill you and merely wishes harm upon you. The heartfelt compliments you receive are quite honestly better than food. Instead of eating lunch, you re-read the glowing email from your boss over and over again.

Step 6

The client hated it. Go back to Step 1.
Great career choice. You should have been an accountant, moron.


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