5 Copywriting Takeaways From A World-Class Marketing Event

Rob Marsh and Kira Hug, hosts of The Copywriter Club Podcast, put on their first live event last week known as TCC IRL (The Copywriter Club In Real Life). They've built a community of over 7,000 copywriters focused on supporting each other, sharing resources, and facilitating a 'rising tide' for all copywriters. Here’s the link to their show http://www.thecopywriterclub.com (I highly recommend it if you’re a copywriter or business owner) 

Between the information shared by the presenters, the opportunities to connect and hang out with ​fellow copywriters, marketers, and folks from the prestigious Agora Companies, and living it up all around NY City, many are still ​going through their notes.

​For those who didn’t attend, or those who want a glimpse into the presentations, here are 5 copywriting takeaways you can ​use today.

The 5 Takeaways

Out of 16 world class presenters from marketing, branding, and copywriting it’s a challenge to pick just 5 takeaways. But effective copy is more about removing the unnecessary than blasting a fire hose of information, so it’s only right drill down to the top 5. Understand, with folks like Brian Kurtz, Joanna Wiebe, Marcella Allisson, Laura Belgray, Kim Krause Schwalm, Parris Lampropoulos, Hillary Weiss, Kevin Rogers and many more, this wasn't easy. 

Takeaway # 1 - The 40/40/20 Rule

Brian Kurtz kicked off the event as the first presenter. And with decades of experience in direct marketing, learning from and working with some of the greatest marketers and copywriters of all time, the room was all ears.  

One topic Brian broke down was the 40/40/20 rule. After running Boardroom (massive direct ​resonse publishing company) for decades, he knows a thing or two about marketing.

​The 40/40/20 rule says 40 percent of your sales and marketing campaign is based on your list. 40 percent is based on your offer. And 20 percent is based on the creativity, messaging, and/or copy.

When you launch a campaign, no matter how big or small, you need to reach the right people, with the right offer, using the right message. If you’ve launched an unsuccessful campaign, chances are (roughly 80%) that your offer isn’t irresistible or time sensitive to a list of people responsive to buy it.

It comes back to the fundamentals of marketing - know your market, position an offer they want, and have clear and compelling messaging. If it’s not selling, see which one of these ratios aren’t adding up.

You can find out more about Brian at https://www.briankurtz.me/ (I recommend getting on his email list).

Takeaway # 2 - Avoid Placeholder Words

This next takeaway is from Ry Schwartz. There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Ry because he stays hidden in the dark confines behind successful online marketing launches. Even his Facebook profile pic hides him in the dark ​shadows.

I absolutely love Ry’s approach to copywriting. He and Joanna Wiebe have launched a couple copywriting courses focusing on freelancing, email copy, and launch copy. And they’re well worth it.

The takeaway from Ry’s presentation is to avoid using common words we might think illicit a reaction, but rather they’re ‘placeholders’ for actual experiences. Some of these placeholder words, as Ry called them, are struggle, pain, problem, and desire. These are generic, vague, and ambiguous words that are easy to overlook.

To avoid using these ‘placeholder’ words, Ry suggests getting very specific. Describe specific experiences rather than general situations.

For example, “when you’re trying to write your own copy you may struggle to find the right headline. Don’t you wish there was a better way?”


“Headlines can make or break your promotion. After staring at your screen for hours, and after you’ve exhausted all excuses to take yet another break, every headline you write looks and sounds the same. When your reading comprehension reverts back to that of a 4-year-old, and when every headline you’ve written is like an echo of the previous 10, it’s time to find a new approach to writing headlines.”

Anytime you’ve used a placeholder word, you’ve got to describe an experience instead.

You can find out more about Ry at http://www.ryschwartz.me/about/ or Copy School where he and Joanna Wiebe teach at https://copyhackers.com/copy-school

Takeaway # 3 - Know Your Voice

​​This next takeaway blew my mind. So much that it feels like a secret I shouldn’t be sharing. Seriously, not like the ‘marketing secrets’ that are all hyped up. But an actual secret that most people don’t know about.

Abbey Woodcock has written for some well known business and marketing people. Most notable, in the online business and marketing space, is probably Ramit Sethi.

Abbey’s ability to capture a client’s voice and persona is remarkable, and she’s done it repeatedly with drastically varying personas. So how does she do it? And what does it mean for you (even if you’re not a copywriter)?

One of the biggest challenges with voice is not realizing how you sound to someone else. This applies to business owners and copywriters alike.

What if you had a voice analyzer that gave you an objective analysis and report on the tone, vocabulary, and cadence of your voice? What if you knew your tone was angry or impatient before you hit publish or send? Well, you’re in luck...

There are 3 resources I want to point you to​: Tone analyzer, Writing Analyzer, and a voice guide called “What they hear when you write” by Abbey. You can find them all at the link below, under the “Voice Tools” section at the bottom of the page - http://businessofcopy.com/all-the-software/

Takeaway # 4 - Never Write Alone

​This takeaway was echoed a few times throughout the event. ​And Kevin Rogers hit it a couple times in his presentation. If you don’t know ​who Kevin Rogers is, you’re missing out.

Before the event I'd heard of his Copy Chief community, but it never got on my radar. Well, after meeting him and hearing his presentation, I’m all ears.

Some people exude mentorship and that’s Kevin for sure. The insight and value you can get from just a few minutes from people like Kevin can save thousands of dollars and countless hours. 

The takeaway I want to highlight from Kevin is simple, yet powerful. All too often we write in a bubble, lacking perspective and objectivity. To fix this, we should “never write alone.”

Kevin suggested finding both a peer network and trusted mentors to get your copywriting critiqued, whether it’s for your own business or you’re doing client work. And aside from just presenting better copy, ultimately this will stretch ​you and push you to write better.

You can find out more about Kevin Rogers at https://copychief.com/.

Takeaway # 5 - “This Changes Everything

This last takeaway, and the presentation itself, reminded me of watching the Matrix. Sam Woods is another behind-the-scenes copywriter who has made his clients millions of dollars. Sam’s wicked intelligent (and humble so you wouldn’t know it).

He presented an in depth and elaborate mental construct of the human mind. I won’t attempt to describe it here, nor would I do it justice.

​However, I will attempt to describe ​step # 1 ​of Sam’s approach to writing copy, which is to “Start with the transformational moment when they use your product.”

Once you’ve identified this moment you want to work backwards to everything a person needs to feel, believe, and know leading up to it. And when done correctly, when they think about your product or service, they should have a “this changes everything” epiphany. This is the magic phrase they should say to themselves.

So consider and figure out ​how your product can ​help your audience working backwards. And what's the unique angle it uses so ​when they hear about it for the first time they think, “OMG, this changes everything!”

To learn more about Sam go to https://samueljwoods.com/.

Until The Next TCC IRL Event

Rob and Kira, hosts of The Copywriter Club podcast and the ultimate copywriting community connectors, did a phenomenal job at putting together a live event full of valuable information and a sense of community to create meaningful connections. I can’t wait for the next event, and many more takeaways to ​follow.

If you found these helpful, you’ll want to get these 5 ​more ​insights from more A-List copywriters like:

  • Kim Krause Schwalm - who shared the driving force behind millions of dollars in long running copywriting campaigns
  • Parris Lampropoulos - who gave up how one of his coaching client’s copy outperformed everyone else (and English isn’t his first language)
  • Joanna Wiebe - who shared a little insight to check if your copy is edgy enough
  • Marcella Allison - who revealed how to make any piece of copywriting almost impossible to ignore
  • Rob Marsh - who made some disturbing comparisons to cults, society, and copywriting (but how you can use them for good in your business) 

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