13 Observations After Reviewing 138 Copy Submissions in 48 Hours

Good Morning 🙂

A few months ago, I created 60 jobs out of thin air.

If you haven’t heard the story, here’s the short version:👇

I simply posted on FB asking for offer owners in my network to put up $15,000 each…💲

I said I would then turn around and hire 10 copywriters from my Copy Accelerator LITE mastermind to write copy for each client (paying the writers $1,500 each)….

And that Justin Goff and I would then copy-chief the top 2-3 writers for each client…

Leaving them with a polished final draft they can test and start profiting from.

Copy Submissions in 48 Hours

I capped it at 6 offer owners…

We were “full” within 20 minutes…

And there’s currently a waiting list of 10+ offer owners who want to take me up on this same deal.📩

It’s pretty damn amazing: 

I love that offer owners stepped up to the plate, especially knowing that these gigs would give opportunities to up-and-coming writers…

And I’m thrilled for the members of our Copy Accelerator LITE mastermind, who are the ones who were able to apply for these gigs.

The whole campaign is a massive win-win for everyone…

And it’s also providing a lot of interesting insights to me.

You see, here’s the breakdown…

Total there were 138 submissions to the 6 writing jobs…

And each submission included:

  1. A Cover Letter.
  2. A Request for the Candidate to Write Sample 3-5 Headlines for the Writing Gig
  3. A Request for the Candidate to Write the First 100-200 Words of a “Lead” for the Writing Gig.

And that’s it.

You’ll note that I didn’t ask them for their portfolio, or their work history, or their resume…

Because that stuff is less important…

What’s much more instructive is the samples they provided for the specific project…

Especially since those samples give me an idea of how the candidate will actually do on the project if hired.

So anyways, I had 138 submissions to review over the weekend…

And I finished going through them yesterday afternoon, then made the hiring decisions.

What’s absolutely remarkable…

Is that I was able to find jobs for A LOT of the people who applied…

Plus, a few people even got hired for multiple projects.

And yet…

While I’m really stoked about having been able to create these opportunities for these writers…

I also noticed a LOT of mistakes, patterns, and missed opportunities from the applicants…

Which is why I felt compelled to write this post and share those with you.

So here we go…

Copy Submissions in 48 Hours

1. Passion = Better Copy

A lot of writers applied for multiple gigs, and this was a good strategy. One thing I noticed though, is that the quality of their samples varied dramatically between projects.

And even more interestingly, for the gigs where they had indicated being really passionate about the offering, I noticed their copy tended to be much stronger.

So this is a good reminder that, whenever possible, try to write for things you’re passionate about. Not only will you get more satisfaction out of doing so, but it’ll often translate to better performing copy that gets your clients better results too.

2. There’s a Difference Between Copywriting and Creative Writing.

One beginner mistake I often see is that writers confuse copywriting and creative writing.

You get to be creative when writing copy…

But you are not a creative writer.

With copy, you need to be following a proven structure, and every word and sentence has a specific purpose…

Which is to drive the prospect closer to taking an action (ie. buying the product, opting-in, etc).

I see a lot of beginners who don’t quite get this…

So instead of a compelling lead, that answers the prospect’s question of “what’s in it for me if I read this”…

The lead is just full of literary flourishes and flowery descriptions of people and places.

That’s not effective copy, so please don’t confuse the two.

3. Let’s Talk About Cover Letters

This one is tricky, because different clients have different philosophies…

But I found it fascinating that while most writers would send really personalized cover letters that read like a mini sales letter…

Others took the traditional approach of:

“Dear Stefan, I read with great interest your posting for the _____ copy job. I believe my skills, passion, and work ethic make me a wonderful fit for this project. Blah. Blah. Blah.”

I get it, we’ve been trained to write like that…

But if I’m hiring you for a copywriting project…

Your selling process starts in the cover letter.

If you’re boring me there, why would I expect your copy to be any different?

So, when applying to copywriting gigs, I think it’s important to really inject personality and treat it as a sales opportunity.

4. Let’s Talk About Grammar.

Josh Albanese put up a great post on Facebook after reviewing a ton of copywriting applicants.

In this post, he mentioned his observations on cover letters and he also mentioned grammar.

To me, small grammar issues aren’t a huge deal…

If the writing is really good overall, that’s more important.

That being said though, it was surprising how bad some of the typos from people were…

And the reason that can be an issue is because, if it seems like you obviously didn’t proofread what you wrote…

That demonstrates a lack of care.

From the client’s perspective, a lot of them will be thinking:

“If you don’t care about my project when applying for it, why should I think you’ll care more once I’ve hired you?”

5. Stop Talking About the Product So Early On!

This one was a bit surprising because it’s long-form 101…

But in longer sales copy, you rarely want to be talking about the product in the headline or the lead.

Some applicants for all 6 of the opportunities made this mistake in their samples…

Copy Submissions in 48 Hours

But it was especially common for the submissions to Trugenics.

Alvin, the owner, had mentioned the star ingredient for the supplement that writers will be writing a sales letter for…

And about 90% of the applicants then mentioned that ingredient in both their headline and their lead.

In fact, many writers actually built their whole sample around it…

Which to me, was kind of weird…

Because they had an opportunity to tell a compelling, emotional story…

So why focus on one ingredient being hidden in the jungles somewhere?

Because here’s the thing: 

When your promo for a health offer is built all around some mystery ingredient…

The prospect is generally thinking:

“Okay so they are trying to sell me some product with this ingredient”…

Or…

“I’ve seen this before.”

That’s why, for the lead (aka intro) of your health sales copy…

It’s much better to go with an emotional story…

Or a deeply curiosity driven story.

6. Systems and Processes Work, Use Them.

Not to sound cocky, but it was super obvious who has studied my RMBC Method and who hasn’t.

Same thing goes for the trainings in the Copy Accelerator member’s area.

Those who wrote consistently strong and engaging samples had clearly studied this stuff…

Those who hadn’t wrote samples that were all over the place clearly hadn’t.

For example, I share a headline checklist of 7 items in both The RMBC Method and in Copy Accelerator…

And yet some of the headlines read more like email subject lines.

This was a little frustrating because I mentioned in the postings for each job that the applicants should go study the headline module in the Copy Accelerator Member’s Area…

Yet it was apparent that many did not.

And then same thing for the “leads” that people wrote…

Some were super spot on…

While in some cases…

The writers tried to basically sell the entire product in 200 words.

So they had a few intro sentences, then moved into the story, then talked about discovering the product, then went “and I lived happily ever after!”

I don’t know what the hell that is…

But it’s not how you write a lead…

And it’s not what a sales letter looks like…

So, while I know those folks are super new…

These writers better study The RMBC Method and the other trainings available to them in a hurry…

Because it’ll make a massive difference in their careers.

7. Swiping Works. Copying and Pasting Doesn’t. 

I found this to be interesting:

When applicants swiped an offer that was similar to the one they were applying for…

It almost always led to me giving them a higher rating on their samples.

The one exception though, was when instead of using similar copy as an inspiration…

It felt like they were just copy-and-pasting someone else’s offer into their sample.

Then it hurt their score DRAMATICALLY…

Because from the client’s perspective:

“If you’re not even going to give me an original idea, why am I going to give you my money?”

Copy Submissions in 48 Hours

8. Have A Big Idea

Speaking of ideas…having a big idea is really crucial.

I’d say a good Big Idea was lacking in about 60% of the applications I went through…

Maybe more.

And here’s the thing:

Many of the samples without a big idea where still pretty good, especially if the writer swiped what was working, and employed curiosity…

But the ones that REALLY stood out to me…

Where I thought “oh man, this writer is super talented, I would hire him/her for my own stuff”…

All had a unique Big Idea in them.

It’s what separates the “special” writers from the “fine” writers…

So if you want to work your way into the very top tier of the copywriting profession…

Put effort into coming up with a Big Idea for your promos.

9. Copywriting isn’t Journalism…

Just like copywriting is different from creative writing…

It’s also different from journalism.

I got a handful of submissions for these projects that were written like a newspaper article…

AKA they were cold, indifferent, with lots of stats being thrown around…

And while that would be great if you were a reporter for the Wall Street Journal…

It’s not so exciting when you’ve been tasked with writing compelling, emotional sales copy that gets the prospect to take action.

Copywriting is not journalism, so please don’t confuse the two.

10. Don’t Forget, It’s A Numbers Game

Some writers applied to all 6 positions…

Some applied to only one.

The writers who applied to multiple positions gave themselves a HUGE advantage…

Because even if I couldn’t justify hiring them for one particular project…

It was possible for me to justify hiring them for another.

In some cases, writers even got hired twice.

In comparison…

The writers who only applied to one position were much more likely to come up short…

Because if their submission wasn’t one of the Top 10…

That was it, I couldn’t hire them and they didn’t get a job.

Play the field.

This same principle should be applied to all freelancers who are out there grinding for work too…

You can’t just apply to one or two gigs…

Sit around waiting to hear back…

And then get bummed when you don’t.

Sales is a numbers game…

This is true whether you’re selling widgets over the phone…

Selling eBooks through a sales letter…

Selling yourself to the opposite sex…

Or selling your services to prospective clients.

The ones who are most prolific win.

Copy Submissions in 48 Hours

11. Most Writers are Inherently Pretty Good. They Just Need the Right Mentorship.

One really encouraging takeaway is that almost every single one of the writers who applied for the position was talented.

In fact, I can’t think of a single submission I read where I went “oh this person is a bad writer.

To me, this fact is super important:

Because a lot of aspiring writers have all of these insecurities about whether or not they are “good enough.”

My belief is that virtually every writer is good enough to produce really high level sales copy consistently…

Their problem isn’t with writing, it’s with not having a system or a process.

That’s why the RMBC Method I created gets such crazy, predictable results.

Take a raw but talented writer…

Show them the structure and processes they need to be successful…

And if they actually start following that stuff…

It’s practically impossible for them not to start writing winners.

It may not happen every single time, especially at first…

But it’ll happen often enough that they get a good reputation, get repeat clients, grow their careers, start charging more, and ultimately end up in a great place.

So if you want to get ahead – use RMBC.

Or if you don’t want to use RMBC, use someone else’s system (I guess)…

But for goodness sake, use some kind of system please.

12. If You’re Asked to Beat A Control, Don’t Copy It. 

This one is uber important.

I’ve seen so many writers make this mistake:

They get hired to beat a control (control = a business’ current piece of sales copy that is live and making sales)…

And instead of coming with original ideas…

The writer lacks self-confidence…

So they do this weird thing where they kind of mimic the control…

Acting like a thesaurus…

Where they rewrite the control but are just saying the same thing.

To give you a concrete example: 

One of the 6 copy gigs was for a beat your control…

And this control has a headline that is WAY too long.

I’m talking, the headline is 6+ lines of dense copy…

And when you look at it, you immediately get anxious, your eyes roll back in your head, and you think “I’m not going to read this.”

So as a writer who has been tasked with beating the control…

The most immediate opportunity here is to simplify and bring clarity to the headline…

And yet for a few of the applicants…

They turned in sample headlines for the project that were SUPER LONG.

This was remarkable, because these same writers had often applied for other gigs…

And for the other gigs, they had normal length headlines…

Yet for this “control” that had a long headline, they felt like they had to write a super long headline too.

Copy Submissions in 48 Hours

That’s a HUGE mistake. 

Remember: if a client hires you to beat their current copy…

It’s usually because they aren’t happy with how their current copy is performing…

So the last thing you should do is to just give them more of the same.

13. BONUS. For Clients: Don’t Be Withholding About the Job Details.

This one is for all the business owners on my list.

Most of the offer owners for these projects gave a lot of details, enough for the writers to provide very good submissions.

One of the business owners was pretty withholding though, and didn’t want to share too many details.

Well look at this:

Client 1: Got 26 Applicants

Client 2: Got 22 Applicants

Client 3: Got 28 Applicants

Client 4: Got 8 Applicants

Client 5: Got 30 Applicants

Client 6: Got 24 Applicants.

Can you guess which one got 8 applicants?

The withholding client.

So I actually had to ask some of the people who submitted for other opportunities if they wanted to write for Client #4 instead of another gig they applied to.

Okay, this was a long post…

But I think there’s a lot of gold in it…

So hopefully you got some value out of this.

Hope you have a great day as well 🙂

– SPG

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Stefan Georgi

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