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Copywriting Books to Read in 2021The best copywriters are the ones who read, so if you want to become a better copywriter, you need to read. There are no shortcuts.
If you want to become a better copywriter, you need to read. There are no shortcuts.Click To Tweet
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph SugarmanIn his heydays, Sugarman used the power of copywriting to introduce electronics, like the digital watch and pocket calculator, that later became mainstream. In his book, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook, Joe Sugarman writes real-life examples of ads and the thought-process behind ads that helped him generate millions for himself and his students. From the book, you’ll learn how to use copywriting processes, like “the first sentence”, “copy as emotion”, and “the slippery slide” to improve your copy and business sales.
Ogilvy on Advertising by David OgilvyCopywriting legend. Father of advertising. Original “Mad Man”. These are some of the words used in describing David Ogilvy — and rightly so. Ogilvy & Mather’s founder, David, created some of the best ads in advertising history that helped many brands become household names and make millions while doing so. He wrote the famous "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock" Rolls Royce ad and “The man in the Hathaway shirt” ad. In his book, Ogilvy goes behind the scenes to show, with practical examples, what it takes to create copy and ads that sell. He also writes about conducting market research and how to treat readers with respect.
The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert BlyRobert Bly is a prolific copywriter and poet. For years, he has consistently created copy that sells. With this book, Robert distills copywriting and sales techniques to help you become better at writing copy. Although the original version of The Copywriter’s Handbook is pretty dated, the latest edition contains copywriting wisdom to help you write emails, print adverts, landing pages, and other marketing materials. Robert Bly has also written other copywriting books like Secret of a Freelance Writer, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Business-to-Business Direct Marketing. We told you he was prolific, didn’t we?
Persuasive Copywriting by Andy MaslenIf you want to learn about how the mind works, then Persuasive Copywriting from Andy Maslen is a must-read for you. How can you make your messaging stand out from the ones already out in the world? You'll find the answers in this book, as well as detailed techniques you can use to persuade your reader to buy from you without coming off as an annoying salesperson. There’s more. Unlike the books that talk about writing direct mails and print ads, Persuasive Copywriting contains sections dedicated to writing for the web and social media.
The Boron Letters by Gary HalbertMany expert copywriters swear by The Boron Letters as the number one book that helped them start writing copy. It’s a collection of letters Gary Halbert wrote while serving in Boron prison to his son, Bond. In these letters, Gary talks about everything from healthy living to writing copy that influences a customer’s mind and translates to sales. You should especially read these letters if you’re a newbie copywriter. You can find other resources from Gary Halbert here.
Everybody Writes by Ann HandleyAnn Handley is one of the most brilliant marketers today. In this fantastic book, she shows how you can create excellent sales copy for your business — no matter where you want to write. As a beginner or expert marketer, you can always find a writing tip or technique that’ll help you create simple, yet effective, copy.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert CialdiniThis book is filled to the brim with gems that will teach you how to get more of your customers to say ‘Yes’ to your offers. For example, it shows that customers often relate price with quality, and social proof helps build credibility and trust. You need to read the book if you want to uncover the remaining buried treasures.
Tested Advertising Methods by John CaplesEven though the book was written way before the introduction of social media, these principles still apply today. Throughout the book, John recommends that copywriters test elements of their ads, like the ad’s headlines and position — what you now know today as A/B testing. You should pick up this book if you want to become a better direct-response marketer.
by Claude HopkinsLike Tested Advertising, Scientific Advertising is another copywriting classic you need to read. In this book, copywriting legend, Claude Hopkins, shares findings on how customers behave and interact with ads. Even though advertising channels and mediums had changed since 1920, customer behaviors haven’t changed a lot since he wrote the book. If you’re looking for what goes on in a customer’s mind, then this book is for you.
This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better by Neville MedhoraNeville Medhora has a way of making complex topics so simple and easy to understand. In this short book, Neville shows how you can write blog posts, emails, and more using the AIDA formula. The book also contains examples of how simple wording tweaks can improve conversions. Total beginners can use this book as a fresher course, while expert copywriters could use it as a good refresher.
Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric WhitmanCa$hvertising contains hundreds of tested and proven methods to help you understand your customers and write copy that makes them convert. Every copywriter — whether you’re a beginner or a veteran — should add this book to their collection.
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke SullivanFrom this book, you’ll learn the power of storytelling, authenticity, and how you can use them to create emotional connections with your audience. You’ll also learn what mistakes to avoid to make your campaigns successful. This book is an excellent read if you’re just starting and looking for work in the advertising industry. Although many things have changed since Luke wrote Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, the principles still work tremendously today. The latest edition of the book contains additions from digital expert, Edward Boche, who writes about using the knowledge found in this book in today’s digital media.
How to Write Seductive Web Copy by Henneke DuistermaatYour website has only a few seconds to grab a visitor’s attention before they decide whether or not they want to stay. Because of this, you need to learn how to write seductive web copy. In this book, Henneke introduces a 6-step process that helps you write copy that nails your sales message every time. The book’s content includes tips on writing headlines, what to avoid, and editing checklists. If you ever want to write copy that turns your website visitors into leads and customers, then you need this book.
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan HeathIt’s often hard to make good ideas and stories stick — at least when compared to bad ones that spread like wildfire. In Made to Stick, the Heath brothers explore what it takes to make good ideas stick and spread and share stories and principles that help refine how you communicate. Even though it’s not a copywriting book per se, you can still learn a lot about human or customer psychology that will help you create winning sales letters and ads. Do you want to tell stories that stick in the mind of your readers? Read this book.
Wired For Story by Lisa CronGood stories grab our attention. In today’s world — where attention is in short supply — it’s vital, as a copywriter, to learn how to tell good stories. Sure, many people have natural storytelling skills, but you can develop the skill, just like them. Wired for Story teaches its readers how to grab and hold a reader’s attention by revealing secrets on sparking curiosity. You should have this book on your list if you want to learn how to be a better storyteller.
Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly by Bernadette JiwaThis book is more than a business book; it contains powerful insights on how to create customer-centric products and messaging that boosts business growth. After all, part of your job as a copywriter is to create messages that resonate with your audience. Meaningful shows you how you can create a message so distinct that you have dedicated fans and advocates instead of just customers. It’s a must-read, if you want your ideas to fly.
The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan KennedyAnybody can write a sales letter, but what about writing sales letters that work? That’s an entirely different ballgame. Of course, you could try spending time and money running different trials, or you could read The Ultimate Sales Letter from Dan Kennedy to get a proven system for writing effective sales letters. You can also use what you learn to write landing pages and ads.
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene SchwartzBreakthrough Advertising is the most in-depth copywriting book on our list. It covers everything you need to know about writing ads and persuading people to buy. You’ve probably heard of the stages of awareness. Well, Eugene was the first person to write about it. You can bet that there are more copywriting gems and techniques to be discovered in the pages of this classic masterpiece. It’s truly worth every penny.
On Writing by Stephen KingWhat does the author of horror novels have to teach you about copywriting? Well, not a lot, as this book is not about copywriting, ads, or customer behavior. Instead, in On Writing, Stephen King shows how simple it is to write. He also writes about how writers can handle rejection — being his book was rejected over 30 times. This book is best for beginner copywriters or marketers who often overcomplicate writing.
Elements of Style by William Strunk and WhiteGrammar and style are essential elements to consider when writing a copy. Without them, your sentences would become hard for your readers to understand. If you haven’t done so already, you should read Elements of Style to polish your sentence structures, style, and grammar. It’s a small book, so you can keep it handy for easy references.
Nicely Said by Nicole Fenton and Kate LeePretty websites don’t sell things, words do. In this book, Nicole and Kate focus on teaching you how to write conversational and engaging copy. It also contains a guide that helps you learn how to use content to build communities, find your brand voice and tone, write micro-copy, among many other things.
Best Free and Paid Copywriting Courses in 2021Books are great, but sometimes you need a course that pushes you to learn copywriting faster. Here are 10 of our favorite free and paid copywriting courses to choose from in 2021.
The Landing Page Conversion Course by UnbounceIf your landing pages don’t convert visitors into customers or email subscribers, then there’s a problem. In this course, Unbounce takes you through lessons that help you remedy your ailing landing pages. Oli Gardner, Unbounce’s Co-founder, and other copywriting and marketing experts, like Peep Laja; Joanne Wieber; Brian Clark; and Roberta Rosenburg, share their knowledge in this landing page course. The course contains nine videos and 11 episodes that teach you everything from landing pages and CTA designs, lead capture forms, landing page optimization, and testing. The best part is that all this knowledge is available for free. This course is best for beginners who know nothing about landing pages, and pros who need a quick refresher.
Copywriting Course by Neville MedhoraNeville’s Copywriting Course is for any business owner, marketer, or copywriter who wants to test the copywriting waters. Neville promises his students unlimited copy critiques and unlimited help with projects, among many other benefits on the course’s landing page’s header. Just like in the text we mentioned earlier, This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better, Neville keeps the training videos in this course short, sweet, and straight to the point. That’s not all. Copywriting Course has an active community where students share wins and challenges. Neville also offers live hours (normally $850/hour) and a certificate after completing the course. The course has two pricing plans — $267 for every three months or $999 for a year.
Conversion Copywriting 101 by CopyhackersJoanna Wiebe, the original conversion copywriter, is one of the best in the copywriting game. In this course, she helps you lay a solid foundation for learning conversion copywriting. This video-based course is a compilation of discussions Joanne is having with other copywriting experts, like Joel Klettle, Sam Woods, Kira Hug, and Amy Posner. In these discussions, they talk about writing landing pages, format web copy for readability, and why you should use calls-to-value instead of calls-to-action. The Conversion Copywriting 101 course is free, and like every other 101 course, it is perfect for beginners.
Copy School by CopyhackersRun by Ry Schwartz and Joanna Wiebe, the Copy School is a full-blown copywriting program that helps business owners and freelance copywriters learn how to master the art of selling with words. The Copy School contains over 150 video lessons as well as workbooks, templates, and checklists. Copy School includes the following copywriting courses or programs that have a combined value of over $8,000:
- 10x Sales Pages
- 10x Web Copy
- 10x Funnels
- 10x Emails
- 10x Launches
- 10x Landing Pages
- 10x Facebook & Instagram Ads
Pixar in a Box: The Art of Storytelling by Khan AcademyWhat do animations like Soul, Coco, and Toy Story have in common? I’ll tell you. First, they were all created by Pixar. Second, they all have exciting and memorable storylines that made them instant hits at the theatres. Certainly, you can be sure to learn a ton of storytelling wisdom from a course created by storytelling masters, like Pixar. You should give it a look, if you need to improve your storytelling skills.
The Internet’s Best Copywriting Course by Jacob McMillenJacob McMillen created this course to help freelance copywriters learn how to write copy that sells and find high-paying clients. Jacob is qualified to teach this course because he’s not just another “guru” without experience. He has written for companies, like KlientBoost; HubSpot; and CoSchedule, while charging upwards of $1,000 for an article and ranking for the “copywriter” keyword. This copywriting course contains five modules with 24 detailed lessons where students have to complete assignments as part of the course. Jacob offers three pricing tiers for the course. The course edition, the Forever edition, and the Coaching edition cost $599, $698, and $997, respectively.
Laws of Copywriting by Dave GerhardtDave is Privy’s current CMO. In this course, he teaches marketers how to write better copy and communicate better — whether you want to sell something or send that uncomfortable email to your landlord or your kid’s teacher. The course contains 182 slides along with video walkthroughs. As a bonus, Dave throws in seven of his email secrets, and you can get all of it for $100.
Conversion Class micro-course by VeryGoodCopyEddie Shleyner launched VeryGoodCopy on Product Hunt and got 21% of the visitors from that launch to join his email list. If you’re new to marketing, you should know that a 21% conversion rate is not regular. In this mini-course, Eddie shows marketers how he did it, so they can replicate his success. Lessons from the course include knowing when to launch a product and the effective use of CTA buttons — all for free.
Sales Copywriting & Product Messaging by CXLCXL is a household name when it comes to conversion rate optimization and A/B testing. Aside from offering CRO services to clients, they also have a rich resource of marketing courses. One of such courses is the Sales Copywriting & Product Messaging course. You’ll learn how to craft compelling, unique value propositions and optimize your sales pages for conversion in this course. At the end of the course, CXL offers certification to boost your online profiles. This course is for any marketer who wants to create better landing pages. You can get this course and 50 other courses when you join CXL as a member. The membership costs around $150/year, but you can start a 7-day trial for just $1.
Persuasive Copywriting 101: The Evolution of Copywriting by CopybloggerThis is a course for anyone who wants to sell without sounding like a used-car salesman. The course is run by Sonia Simone and Chris Garrett, both OGs in the copywriting game. In the course, you’ll learn how to create offers, price your services, and troubleshoot campaigns that aren’t working. You can pay a one-time $397 fee for the course or spread the payment across three months at $147/month.
Best Copywriting Websites and Blogs in 2021What if you’re looking for a copywriting resource that gets updated regularly? Here are ten of the best, active copywriting blogs and websites you should check in 2021:
CopybloggerCopyblogger was founded in 2006 by Brian Clark. On the blog, Brian, alongside other copywriting experts, teaches marketers and business owners how to write persuasive copy. As you might have noticed, Copyblogger also offers copywriting courses for marketers. Top articles for Copyblogger:
- Do You Make These 7 Mistakes When You Write?
- Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well
- 13 Timeless Lessons from the Father of Advertising
Enchanting MarketingRun by Henneke Duistermaat, Enchanting Marketing is a fantastic writing blog that teaches business owners how to write words that hook readers and turn them into customers. Henneke’s writing style is compelling because she uses analogies to drive her points home. Spend enough time on her blog, and her style would rub off on you. Top articles from Enchanting Marketing:
- 31+ Best Books on Writing for Copywriters, Storytellers, and Business Bloggers
- A 61-Point Website Checklist to Avoid Pesky Content Failures
- 9 Simple Tips for Writing Persuasive Web Content
CopyhackersYou would have a difficult time finding any other blog that teaches conversion copywriting the way Copyhackers does. Whether you are a freelance copywriter, a small business owner, or a marketer for the world’s biggest brands, there are many copywriting gems waiting to be uncovered on the Copyhackers blog. Top articles from Copyhackers:
- SaaS Websites: Is shorter copy really better?
- How to write a landing page for problem-aware visitors
- The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever)
VeryGoodCopyWhat if you don’t fancy 1000+ word blog posts? Then you would find Eddie’s VeryGoodCopy a treasure. VeryGoodCopy contains micro-articles that sharpen any marketer’s copywriting skill without saying too much. The copywriting lessons are brief and focus on one technique at a time. Along with the micro-articles, the blog also contains micro-interviews and micro-courses. Top posts from VeryGoodCopy:
- 26 words you can almost always simplify
- Get anyone’s attention with this proven headline formula
- Copywriting: pain & pleasure
Copywriting CourseNeville Medhora makes another appearance on our list, this time with his copywriting blog. Medhora shares wisdom that helps beginners become expert copywriters using stick figures and an informal writing style on this blog. Read Neville’s top posts:
- What Is Copywriting and What Is Its Purpose?
- Make Your First $100 As A Freelancer (with instructions and scripts to follow)
- The AIDA Model in Marketing (Why It’s Important, And What It’s Used For)
Honey CopyIf you’re looking for words that read like poetry and sell like Ogilvy, then this is the blog for you. Cole Schafer, the blog owner, is a poet and copywriter. He shares copywriting and persuasion techniques learned from greats, like Hemingway, John Lennon, and Bukowski. Top posts from Honey Copy:
- Kurt Vonnegut's “8 rules of writing a short story” are good rules for writing anything
- 17 Examples of Killer Copywriting
- This Rolls Royce Ad sports David Ogilvy's greatest headline
The Content Strategist by ContentlyThis is a great blog to bookmark if you’re a freelance writer. The Content Strategist contains resources that’ll help you become a better marketer and find high-paying clients that will value your work. Top articles:
- Why Tension Is the Most Important Element of Any Story
- Why Social Impact Storytelling Will Be 2021’s Hottest Content Trend
- Why Jargon May Be Damaging Your Content
Marketing ExamplesHarry Dry is the brilliant marketer behind Marketing Examples. He shares case studies and examples of real-life marketing efforts that yield results. The blog also contains landing page teardowns and copywriting tips. Great articles from Marketing Examples:
- Rewriting landing pages with a pro copywriter
- 17 tips for great copywriting
- How to write a landing page title
American Writers and Artists Association (AWAI)AWAI is one of the oldest websites dedicated to helping freelance writers. The site is full of unique resources that teach writers how to use their writing skills to start and scale an online business. Top resources from AWAI:
- State of the Industry Report on Copywriter Rates and Top Performing Marketing Methods
- 5 Ways to Hold Your Reader’s Attention Through to the End
- 3 Ways to Make Blogging Work for You as a Copywriter
Marketing Bullets by Gary BencivengaBencivenga’s marketing bullets are 28 free lessons that can help any marketer improve their conversion rates.
Copywriting Podcasts to Give a Listen in 2021Reading books and blogs might not alway work because of time constraints. If that’s the case for you, then you should consider listening to copywriting podcasts. You can easily slide in one or two podcast shows into your playlist to listen to — even while you’re busy.
You can easily slide in one or two podcast shows into your playlist to listen to — even while you’re busy.Click To Tweet
Hot CopyKate Toon and Belinda Weaver host the Hot Copy podcast. In each episode, they share tips and resources that can help you build a successful copywriting career. They don’t do all the talking, as they also invite and interview other copywriters, too. Although the last podcast episode was in August 2020, there are still many resources that you can find on the Hot Copy podcast show.
The Ray Edwards ShowRay Edwards is an expert copywriter with a long list of clients with big names, like Tony Robbins and Jeff Goins. His podcast’s focus is on the business side of copywriting, and new episodes drop every Wednesday morning.
The Copywriting Club PodcastKira Hug and Rob Marsh host the Copywriter Club Podcast. They ask successful copywriters to spill the beans about their processes, habits, highs, lows, and inspiration. They also discuss topics, like using social media as a copywriter and how much you should be charging for your work.
High-Income Business Writing PodcastAuthor and copywriter, Ed Gandia, hosts the High-Income Business Writing Podcast. Ed shares insight into how you can build a thriving copywriting business from the ground up on his podcast episodes. The topics often discussed include — but are not limited to — finding your niche, pricing your work, and finding high-paying clients.
Copyblogger FMCopyblogger FM is an excellent copywriting podcast for anyone who wants to write better copy. The last aired episode was in March 2020, but given that the podcast started in 2016, you can still find valuable information on marketing and copywriting.
Good Copy Bad CopyDo you want to write B2B copy that doesn’t sound like you’re talking to robots? Then the Good Copy Bad Copy podcast from Radix communication is for you. On this podcast, Lizzie Cresswell analyzes current events in the B2B space and helps you create creative B2B content.
Copywriters PodcastDavid Garfinkel runs the Copywriters Podcast show, where he shares copywriting tips and interviews with other expert copywriters.
Yeah, That’s Probably an AdThe news team at Adweek runs this podcast. The team running the podcast analyzes ads, technology, and current happening in the media. This is the podcast for you, if you’re looking for a general overview of the advertisement industry.
Best Copywriting Tools and Software to Use in 2021Carpenters have their hammers and nails. As a copywriter, you need the right tools and software for the trade, too.
Carpenters have their hammers and nails. As a copywriter, you need the right tools and software for the trade, too.Click To Tweet