Let’s start with a very simple analogy.
DRAGONS : SHEEP :: BAD COPY : SALES
Yes, that’s right. Bad copy eats and destroys sales… which is exactly why you need a copywriting knight in shining armour to save your sales. You need a knight to fight off all the copy dragons from your sales sheep. (Sheep sales?)
And so, if you’ve seen the film How to Train Your Dragon, we’re going to take a “leif” out of our viking friend Hiccup’s book and teach you how to train your bad, bad copy dragon.
1. Capture it in a net
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul tells us to take captive every thought and make it obedient. That’s the first thing you have to do with your copy dragon so that it doesn’t take advantage of you.
Metaphors aside: Be in control of your writing. With self-discipline and a positive attitude, you can craft any copy into a winner. Don’t settle for anything less than the best… if you do, the copy has won. Whip it into shape!
2. Set it free
Wait. I just went through all that work of capturing my copy dragon, and now I have to set it free? What gives? …Well, yes. In order to establish a kind of respect with your copy dragon, you need to let it know that even though you won’t allow it to control you, you still respect it.
Metaphors aside: Give the craft of copywriting its respect. Treat it like a two-hundred year old grandmother, with much ancient wisdom, because that’s what it is. Know that you’re the young whipper snapper in this case and that you don’t know it all. Because of that, learn from the masters, like Michael Masterson, Bob Bly, Eugene Schwartz, and so on. However, don’t be afraid to throw a new twist into the mix. Just because he’s an old dragon, doesn’t mean he can’t learn new tricks.
3. Learn to smile
In the film, Hiccup teaches the dragon Toothless to draw in the sand, dance, and smile. The point here is that if your copywriting isn’t making you smile, if it isn’t a joyful part of your life, then you need to make it a happy part of your life or ditch it. Sure, there’ll be times where your dragon is rough and tough and would rather roll over you than take you flying, and those are times you have to work through as an independent businessperson of any sort.
Metaphors aside: Do what you love. I love copywriting. It makes me smile. If you know copywriting is for you, but it doesn’t make you smile… learn!
4. Put out your hand
There’s always been a kind of romance in the air about knights and dragons and whatnot. The same goes for writing. By putting your whole heart and personality (here represented by your hand), you thus craft your voice into the copy letter. One of the most important parts about writing successful copy is that it sounds conversational. It sounds like your best friend sitting next to you in a Starbucks, talking about life.
Metaphors aside: Put your personal fingerprint on every word you write, and your copy will be far more conversational and therefore, successful.
5. Ride it into the sunset
Finally, finally, finally… after hard work, sweat, dedication, leaps of faith, and all that other hard stuff… your copy dragon will let you ride him into the sunset. That’s success. That’s the “glicken” as Michael Masterson would say. That’s when the paycheck comes in the mail (or shows up in your PayPal account) and you feel that soaring feeling.
Metaphors aside: Put in the hard work. Take a leap of faith. Follow the gurus; study hard; and write, write, write… reap the rewards. Soar, baby, soar!
Don’t let your dragon copy eat your sales sheep.
Train it. Then ride it into the sunset!