From the desk of Razvan Rogoz
Do you remember this scene from Karate Kid? (From the classic one, not the modern remake).
The student practiced basic moves again and again and again. These moves were not really fitting into the bigger picture. However, sooner or later he realized that he learned everything he needed to know about fighting.
Those moves, done 1000 times each became habits. And using just a few habits, he developed a practical fighting style.
There is a saying in Karate training. This is “you don’t need to do 1000 moves once; you need to do one move 1000 times”. And this applies in copywriting too.
You see, copywriting is not about being a complex writer. It is about finding those basic building blocks that make good persuasion and doing them again and again until perfection.
You don’t need to study 1000 strategies. You need to study maybe a dozen and practice them 1000 times. This is not really a popular approach though. Why? Because it is more fun to read 100 copywriting books and have 500 ways to write a headline than to find five ways to write a headline that actually work and write 500 headlines with each.
I guess that we all go through this in skill development, in a few stages.
- We don’t know nothing so we suck at it.
- We decide to get better at it.
- We find 1000 ways to do it and we want to know all 1000 ways.
- We are mediocre at all 1000 ways and we still suck at it.
- We keep searching for new methods, thinking that we haven’t found the right one.
- We realize that there is no perfect method.
- We have an “a-ha” moment when we decide to find one method and actually become good at it.
This is true in copywriting, this is true at the gym, this is true everywhere. At the gym, most beginners will try the complicated machines and exercises. Once they realize they are not going anywhere with this, they start to simplify. Sooner or later, they found out that body-weight exercises and free weights exercises done right and consistently are 1000 times better than that $5000 weight pulling machine.
This is my current approach. I’m just moving into the “Miyagi” system. Instead of reading book after book, I’ve decided to break copywriting down in functional parts. You have research, you have offer copy, you have headlines, you have bullets and so on. In total, I estimate that there are between 10 – 12 ingredients to being a very good copywriter.
And instead of trying to find 100 methods to do each, I’m building a method for each one that can be used every time with good results. I don’t want to make 50 different wheels, I want to make a good wheel that actually works.
“But wait, where’s the innovation if you want to stick to standard operating procedures?”. Well, the innovation can come only when you’ve mastered the basics. You know what is the first thing that many basketball coaches teach to their players? To tie their shoelaces. Once they can do this properly, then they can move to other more advanced stuff. But they start with the basics and they stick with the basics until they have achieved mastery.
Once you can write a headline in a way with your eyes closed and there is nothing more to add or to remove, you can learn a second method. But you must first master the first one and then move to the second. It is like in my habit building system – first, learn to wake up early and get out of bed. Then you can do other more advanced things in the morning.
Does it make sense?