English Professors Need Not Apply

“I’ve always been fascinated by copywriting,” an old college buddy remarked. “But there’s no way I could do it!”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Hello? I was a math major,” she said. “Not an English major like you.”

You may be suffering from the same misunderstanding.

You see, there’s no rule that says you must be an English major to become a copywriter. You don’t have to be a great writer – or even a very good one. In fact, sometimes an above-average grasp of the language can hinder you.

Take this famous example from copywriting master David Ogilvy: “I once used the word ‘obsolete’ in a headline, only to discover that 43 percent of housewives had no idea what it meant. In another headline, I used the word ‘ineffable,’ only to discover that I didn’t know what it meant myself.”

Copywriting isn’t about writing skill. It isn’t about flowery prose and five-syllable words. It’s not even about good grammar and complete sentences.

It’s about knowing how to sell. About delving deep into your customer’s heart, and rooting out the overpowering emotion inside her that makes her want your product or service.

Some copywriters are masters at selling AND writing. Clayton Makepeace. Bob Bly. Michael Masterson. And our own Charlie Byrne.

But others write copy that would make any editor cringe. And manage to make boatloads of money anyway.

Master the art of persuasion – the art of using words to convince people to buy – and you, too, can become a world-renowned copywriter… no English degree required.

[Ed. Note: You can get a crash course in copywriting from some of the best copywriters in the business at ETR’s 2008 Info-Marketing Bootcamp. Charlie Byrne, John Forde, Bob Bly, and Michael Masterson will all be presenting some of their top ideas.]