Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but don’t copy copywriting tricks outright

by Angela on July 16, 2007

Every copywriter I know keeps a swipe file of headlines and copy that inspires. But your swipe file isn’t a “steal this” file. It’s just a motivational tool, and a how-to.

It’s a way to model successful copy.

In “Innovation or Imitation?” Clayton Makepeace says it well:

When you model, you look deep into the structure of what the writer has done and use that to structure your sales piece. Think of the process like the framing of a house. You can wrap whatever you want around the structure to make it unique.

Unfortunately, today many writers are simply creating imitations — knockoffs, if you will.

You can steal the ideas, but don’t steal the words. After a while, you’ll start to think like a professional copywriter: you’ll create your own copy which others imitate. :-)

When you’re looking at copy you want to model, keep asking yourself WHY? and WHAT? “Why did the copywriter choose this sentence?” and “What does the reader feel?” Successful copy is all about emotion. You need to understand your own emotions, and what emotions you’re trying to arouse in your readers.

[tags]copywriting, copywriter, modeling, swipe file[/tags]

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