Here’s why it’s so hard to write convincing copy

What is copy supposed to do?

We believe this: copy is your online salesperson. If it’s not selling, it’s not doing its job. If it’s not turning prospects into leads, leads into sales and sales into referrals, it’s honestly not doing its job. Which means that, generally speaking, copy is not doing its job.

Is copywriting broken?

The thing is that we’ve gone and made it hard for copy to do its job.

Check out what I mean – and tell me if you agree that these 2 problems are making it harder to write convincing copy. Let’s start with the first problem…

By focusing on “scanners,”
we’ve enabled bad-for-biz behavior

Back in 1997, Jakob Neilsen taught us this: “People don’t read online.”

And I’ll never forgive him for it.

Lemme back up: I’ve been writing copy for the last 13 years. To put that in perspective, most of today’s startup CEOs were taking eighth-grade algebra while I was writing home pages. I’ve been reading NN Group and quoting Don’t Make Me Think for a gajillion internet years. tldr: my opinions on reading vs not reading online aren’t crazy hunches but pretty decently informed by, like, years of studying and years of practice. Cool? Cool. Let’s continue…

So the arguments against reading online go like this:

  • Screens tire our eyes
  • The web is a user-driven medium (that is, our lizard brains like clicking shit)
  • All the other pages are calling to me!!!
  • Life is so hectic that no one can prioritize processing information

Let’s look at that first argument: screens tire our eyes.

I appreciate that reading on a screen is a different experience from reading a piece of paper. It is. Just like reading a piece of paper is a different experience from reading a stack of papers. And reading a stack of papers is a different experience from reading a novel. And reading a novel is a different experience from reading a newspaper. And reading a newspaper is a different experience from reading a teenager’s angsty love poem.

Everything written that can be read creates its own reading experience. Have you tried reading a novel while lying in bed? Your arms get sore; you keep turning your head back and forth as you switch from recto page to verso page; your thumbs even start to hurt from holding the book above you.

But people still read novels while lying in bed. It is a suboptimal experience, but we do it.

When I look at all four of those arguments above – chiseled into digital stone here – I can’t help but think they make web users sound like stunted, immature squirrels. Which maybe we are.

……But do we have to be?

Are we perhaps this way because our destructive inability to pay attention is enabled by the “best practice” that is to write for scanners, not readers?

Attention spans are certainly getting worse – there’s no denying it, and there’s data to support it (here, here). Author and researcher at Microsoft Research, Danah Boyd noted that young people in particular:

“are growing up in a world that offers them instant access nearly everywhere to nearly the entirety of human knowledge, with incredible opportunities to connect, create and collaborate. While most of the survey participants see this as mostly positive, some said they are already witnessing deficiencies in young people’s abilities to focus their attention, be patient and think deeply.”

Instant access to digital stimuli is harming our ability to focus and think deeply.

And it’s getting worse.

Y’know what else is getting worse?

Obesity in Asia. (Stay with me here.) Obesity in Asia is almost as bad as obesity right here in North America. Y’know what makes us fat? Doing the frictionless thing that feels good in that moment. This is not rocket surgery: if you sit in a chair gaming for 10 hours while eating processed foods, you will get fat. The more you sit in your chair gaming and snacking, the harder it is to stop. We all want to do the frictionless thing that feels good in that moment.

When our websites cater to the frictionless thing that feels good in that moment – like scanning for an image we can rest our eyes on – we shouldn’t be terribly surprised that people read less… and less… and less…. And we shouldn’t be surprised that they’re able to focus on getting something done (like starting a trial or going through onboarding) less… and less… and less….

Case in point:

Eyequant attention mapping click tracking
As seen on the Eyequant blog

See what people are reading and, more importantly, what they’re not? The only elements getting attention are the big shiny ones. But what about body copy? It’s so unread, it should just be taken off the page. But that would put all of the persuasion pressure on the headlines, crossheads, button and pictures. Which means the copywriter is asked to convince the prospect using little 6-word phrases scattered around the page.

It starts to feel like the job of the copywriter is to catch flies with chopsticks. Little bits of attention pop around the place, and the copywriter has to chase that attention with astounding soundbites. If you manage to convince 2% of visitors that way, you’re a fucking genius.

When we write for scanners, we are enabling and encouraging an increasingly poor ability to concentrate ON OUR VERY OWN MESSAGES.

If people don’t read the copy, they can’t consume the message. Copy is broken.

Case in point: the Copy Hackers course page. When some fabulous person signs up for our course, we tell them that they’ll need to be signed into their Copy Hackers account before they can access the course. Pretty straightforward. We explain this important point to them in an email; and we repeat it on the course sign-in page:

Scanning eyes

Yet even with very clear directions given repeatedly, we receive “help me – I can’t sign in” emails on a rather regular basis. People try to go straight to a course without signing in first. (Side note: yes, we’re changing our course delivery system. 🙂 )

Failing to read instructions often means that our users fail to complete tasks. Those failures are not their fault. They’re ours, and they’re the fault of every site that panders to scanners and rewards low attention spans. …Which is not to say that we need to put our visitors to work. That’s not the solution. But we do need to ask important questions before we jump to “people don’t read online.” Those questions are:

  1. Are our best prospects scanning for bite-sized information?
  2. If they are, do they ever reach a stage where they switch from scanning (or light foraging) to reading (or consuming)?
  3. If they do, at what stage in the funnel do they make that switch? – and are our pages and emails at that point optimized not for scanners but for readers?

Writing for scanners may be effective when those scanners are 1) prospects with 2) lower awareness of our brand, product or offer.

But should we still write for scanners when we’re deeper in the funnel?

Which brings me to Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is the king of pandering to the scanners. You might recall that, after Obama’s final State of the Union address, Trump tweeted that it was “boring” and “too slow”:

Is ol’ Drumpf an idiot with no attention span? (Don’t answer that.)

Or is he perhaps pandering to scanners because he’s still at the top of the funnel in the race to be POTUS?

Trump stages of awareness
Maybe he’s just, um, being really thoughtful about the whole thing?

When we communicate for scanners, we’re more likely to hit more of them.

But are those masses actually the decision-making prospects we want to “hit”?

Is it wise to write for everyone when, in fact, everyone is not the same? When each individual prospect changes as she moves from unaware to pain to solution to product to most aware? When the lead that didn’t even know your software’s name a month ago is now talking to his manager about starting a trial?

Which brings me to the second big reason I believe it’s harder than ever to write convincing copy…

The home page sucks up every marketer’s attention.

I’d be hard-pressed to find a prospective client that hasn’t asked me to rewrite their home page.

Home pages get tons of traffic – often the most traffic of any page on a site. So they seem like the perfect starting point when it comes time to optimize our copy.

But here are three reasons why home pages are a total pain in the ass to try to write killer copy for:

  1. They welcome – and have to try to connect with – an extremely diverse range of visitors.
  2. Those visitors are in any of the five stages of awareness.
  3. We don’t really know what a home page exists to do. So, short of looking at bounce rates, we don’t know how to be sure if it’s working or not.

Let’s explore that last point for a moment: why do home pages even exist?

I had a really hard time finding an answer to this problem. Seth Godin says they don’t need to exist. And according to this site, home pages exist for these two reasons:

  1. To establish trust
  2. To move people off the page

…Which really means home pages exist to establish trust. (Because I find it hard to believe anything needs to exist just to move people away from it.)

So we have this page that a ton of our traffic goes to, and it exists to build trust so people will go find the right page to be on…

…Well why the fuck don’t we just put them on the right page to begin with?

Why do home pages exist?

Okay, well, while I picket outside websites for the mass removal of The Superfluous Home Page, there are two other [related] problems to address: 1) home pages get tons of diverse traffic that 2) runs the length of the awareness spectrum:

Unaware –> Pain aware –> Solution aware –> Product aware –> Most aware

At each stage of awareness, your prospect needs different information. How her info needs change looks a bit like this:

How long does your page need to be?

So lemme get this straight: allllll those people in allllll those stages with allllll those different info needs are supposed to be fed the same information / copy on your home page… and then act? Really? Really? How could your home page copy possibly serve and convince so many people to act? What would your messaging hierarchy look like? What would you lead with? What features would you list, if any? What benefits or motivators would they ALL need to see? What would your headline look like?

In Great Leads, copywriters Michael Masterson and John Forde teach us what to lead with on a page based on the visiting prospect’s stage of awareness:

  • If the visitor knows your product, then lead with your product.
  • If the visitor knows not your product but rather what he wants, then lead with his want.
  • If the visitor knows his pain or problem but not much more, then lead with that problem (and turn it into a specific need).

…So what do you lead with on a page that welcomes everyone in every stage? How are you supposed to write your home page headline? You’d have to lead with everything. 

Little wonder we get so many requests for home page copywriting help.

“Here, copywriter – write our home page.”

Value propositions are often the go-to for home page headlines. For good reason (i.e., value props are big for conversion). But not for great reason (i.e., why do home pages exist?!!).

One of the best solutions I’ve been part of coming up with for a home page is this one:

Four Eyes copywriting

It’s not a home page. It’s a streamlined view of the app that’s hosted on the brand domain (in this case You don’t read or scan marketing copy; you just start doing what you came there to do. Is this sort of home page the best solution for lower-awareness visitors? Nope! But a please-everyone home page headline is, as I’ve mentioned, impossible. And this solution is fantastic for any visitor in any stage of awareness that’s tasked with creating a survey. …And that brings us briefly to jobs to be done. Which brings us briefly to the need to think of the actual a job your visiting prospect wants to complete on your home page.

(Side note and bonus points: That FourEyes home page is an incredible demonstration, which is the secret tool of any copywriter.)

Home pages as they are today suck.

Home pages are broken.

And they’ve taken copywriting (and design and UX) down with them.

Instead of working on the hub that brings in vast ranges of traffic, I encourage my clients and students to write better copy for more landing pages that are targeted at prospects in each stage of awareness.

Every business needs more and better emails than it’s got.

Every business needs more and better landing pages than it’s got.

Every business needs more and better demonstrations than it’s got.

Ecommerce businesses need to work on the copy for each and every product description they’ve got.

And yet…

Most businesses treat email as a set-it-and-forget-it-thing, rarely rewriting older drips and rarely planning new ones.

Most businesses reuse existing landing pages or drive ad traffic to their home page.

Most businesses rely on easier-to-create static photos, testimonials and marketing copy alone to “demonstrate” the product.

Ecommerce businesses complain that they have too many SKUs to write custom copy for each one.

The copywriting work that is most likely to pay the bills – that is, emails, landing pages, demos and custom sales copy – gets deprioritized. Why? I assume it’s because it takes work to customize a lead-gen page for X audience; it’s easier to drive X, Y and Z to one page (and it’s extra-easy to make that page your home page – it’s already written!). Even though we can duplicate any of our landing pages and quickly customize them in any landing page solution – like Unbounce, Leadpages and Kickoff Labs – we don’t. And worse yet: our copywriters don’t urge us to. And they absolutely should urge us to because they’re the ones that put fingertips to keyboard and actually try to bring ideas to life on the page. If those ideas are too vague because they’re trying to serve too many masters, your copywriter knows. (Or should know.) And your copywriter needs to tell you. And you need to listen.

To fix your copywriting:
Join my mastermind or enrol your copywriter in it

But let me leave you with a little optimism. A lot, actually.

Because for all the places copywriting is broken, I think there are a ton of places where it’s better than ever.

There’s room for optimism… if we could just solve the scanning thing and the home page thing.

Here’s why I think we’re just scratching the surface of what copy can do for startups. Have a read (not a scan):

delightful copywriting

If you use Slack, you’ve read the light, easy and fun copy Anna is responsible for writing / overseeing. It’s a combination of creative and moving. It’s the best of conversion copywriting.

The thing about most copywriters is that we started out as writer-writers. We still wake up at 4am to get a few hours of writing in before the workday begins. We go on writing retreats. And we read everything we can get our hands on. All that to say this: we are very creative people. Even though we respect and practice the science of copywriting, we also respect and practice the art of it. We could bring a lot more creativity to the table… which could do cool shit for your business.


About the author

Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe - Copywriter and author of "Copyhackers"

  • agree , the homepage must be well crafted and must serve as the interval converting of first comers

  • Geofrey Crow

    So… it’s landing pages that are the problem?

  • I’ve been really looking into copywriting and this blog is awesome. I like how you’re honest about this.

  • Daniel Davidson

    I get so much joy from your one-liners. Sorry. I know it’s not really the point of this article, if not the complete opposite, but lines like this “We all want to do the frictionless thing that feels good in that moment” and this, “It starts to feel like the job of the copywriter is to catch flies with chopsticks” are just pure little slivers of gold that I just love so much!

  • Great article Joanna. I think the purpose of a home page is to gain affinity with your customer in less than 6 seconds. From there it’s up to you to design where customers go next. It’s the most common element we’re not discussing properly: Site Architecture.

    Most businesses I know ignore this aspect online – but we could all ‘IKEA-ize’ our websites and control navigation one experience at a time.

    As an example why do we show pricing immediately in the top menu, when we haven’t had an opportunity to present any real value for our product beforehand? What if the pricing pages were only found after the product tour?

    How many times did you purchase something from IKEA that you never intended to buy before you visited? Forcing a customer to walk through 4 departments, BEFORE reaching the desired department gives them 10 minutes to observe, discuss, consider IKEA products on their way to their chosen department.

  • Your point about superfluous homepages is spot on. I’ve been worrying over this problem all year. I haven’t been able to convince a client NOT to have a homepage, but I have used a work-around that brings pop-ups into the equation.

    We all know pop-ups are great for list-growth, but I’ve found them invaluable for traffic redirection.

    For example, if a start-up wants to hire more engineers (welcome to San Francisco everyone), a pop-up with a killer headline about company perks could redirects visitors from, say, Indeed or Glassdoor. Then, a big CTA directs them to the Teams page—getting them off the homepage and into their job application flow.

    Or, say a company is looking to get more press mentions. They might create a pop-up targeting visitors from Local Newspaper X. A headline with a killer pullquote could encourage journalists to download their media kit.

    The options are limitless and I’ve seen some awesome results lately using this tactic.

  • Dee Platt

    you killed me with the “rocket surgery” 🙂
    And the mastermind is a dream come true (asuming I will get in)

    • Joanna Wiebe

      ha! Glad to hear it. 🙂

  • Nikolay Makarov

    Joanna, loved your article. Quick question. Do you think that conversion of scanners is possible? Many years ago people learned that you should ignore banners. People never look at those. Now its the text. Most sites now look the same just because people don’t want to waste time on looking for things. Unique designs are dying like once dinosaurs did. I wont be surprised if Google will eventually pull all data from our sites and make sure we never leave Google, cause we’ll be able to read quick notes from the most popular sites in the search. This is scary to me.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      That scares me, too – and I can’t imagine why Google wouldn’t go that route. I hope they won’t. But it’s already happening…

      …and in the meantime, we’re still writing sites and blog posts. 🙂 I don’t think we’ll stop writing for scanners, and I also don’t think we should stop. I think we should just get a lot better with online readability. Isn’t it kinduv sad that we rely so much on bolding and bullets? Isn’t the act of reading online completely not-optimized? We try to guess at the way people read using our kinduv sad pre-set formatting (e.g., H1 is this big and in this font, H2 is this big and in this font), but that’s not an optimized reading experience. That’s a workaround. And it’s sloppy.

      I just saw Rand Fishkin talk about machine learning and Google’s ability to identify a picture of a cat without alt text or other user-generated data about “cat”, and it made me think of how silly it was that we marketers had been writing our own alt text, etc. to tell Google what it was looking at. Along the same lines, I can’t help thinking we’ll soon look back at the fact that we used such sloppy, simple ways of “optimizing reading online” as bolding and bullets. At least, I hope some smart startup somewhere will solve the problem of reading online so we can actually write persuasively.

      • Mayank Batavia

        Joanna, that was a great post, and your reply here was pithy…. My concerns were the same as Nikolay’s and you’ve set me thinking. Thanks

  • Morris Burch

    Brilliant article – answered some very important questions I had about landing pages and lead pages. I use LeadPages – great service.
    Very useful. Like many of your popsts.
    Thanks Jo

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Thanks, Morris. It raised more questions for me than it answered – but sometimes you just need to get an idea out of your head so you can move onto the next iteration of that idea.

  • I just had an orgasm reading this whole thing.

    “Even though we can duplicate any of our landing pages and quickly customize them in any landing page solution – like Unbounce, Leadpages and Kickoff Labs – we don’t. And worse yet: our copywriters don’t urge us to.”

    We don’t even need those fancy tools to duplicate pages, craft a targeted message, and hit publish because most of the time it’s pretty easy to do. If copywriters don’t fight for better conversions, who will?

    • Joanna Wiebe

      “If copywriters don’t fight for better conversions, who will?” = YES!!

  • David C. Smith

    Awesome article Joanna. You made some great points – and are so right about home pages. After reading (not scanning) I’m still left with the unanswered question: Can you really make a scanner stop and read copy? That sounds as impossible as improving attention spans.

    Our species is being re-wired (in a negative way) by our on-line behavior – I agree. But I didn’t think it would copywriters who would come to the rescue, saving us from our shallow thoughts and shiny object wandering.

    I hope it is. That would be a great story to read.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      I’m not saying any one group can “save” us. But if we keep insisting on making copy scannable, then we can’t be too surprised when the copy doesn’t perform as well as it would if we instead trained / encouraged visitors to read in a non-sporadic way.

  • Thibault Vincent

    Waw ! Joanna, that’s brillant! Just brillant!

    • Joanna Wiebe

      haha – thanks, Thibault! 🙂

  • Ashley Hockney

    So. many. virtual high fives! This post is perfection and so true. Also loving the use of the word “fuck.” Get it!

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Thanks, Ashley. Ah, the F word. I got a few emails about that. 🙂 What can I say? It’s le mot juste!

  • Mack Garces Rubio

    Preach…really Every Online Interaction Should Be “Personal” – Isn’t That What Businesses Are/Should Be? Well, there are 7.4 Billion Convincing to do- now target your audience and get to it!

    • Joanna Wiebe


  • raypryor3

    Hi Joana, great post. Have you considered the theory of converting scanners into readers the same way a headline coverts to the subhead, then to the first paragraph? In the same way, shouldn’t the home page (general) convert prospects to the appropriate landing page (specific)?

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Yeah, but did you see the eye tracking? There are thousands of examples of people losing attention when they encounter body copy. That’s problematic. How are we supposed to convert people if we can only speak in grand statements like headlines?

      • raypryor3

        Hmmm, I’d love to see how that eye tracking data links to $ales. If people *really* don’t care, they won’t pull out their credit cards. Even if people are in fact reading less, does that mean they’re buying less? Don’t get me wrong, copy is extremely important and I’m sure attention spans are indeed getting shorter. But if you want to know what’s *really* going on, “follow the money”. In the end, I agree that the copy landscape is changing; it needs to do more with less, and therefore copy skills need to be that much sharper. >>> It’s time to tighten up folks.

      • Joanna Wiebe

        You’re assuming that a “tight” message is what sells. Where does that idea come from? True, we should be very certain and sure in our messaging… but the idea that we can write compelling copy in fewer words than ever before – presented in short bursts on the page – could not possibly be informed by experience in sales or copywriting. People in a hyper-aware state may only need a few words to get them to take out their credit card. But if we want to move people from unaware to paying customers, we need prospects to read more of our words, not fewer.

      • raypryor3

        “We need prospects to read more of our words, not fewer.” I guess the big problem I have with this is we can’t control that. We can’t force people to read more. What we CAN control is being super effective with the time, words, attention that we do get. From what I’ve seen, this is the type of training that you teach, right? That’s what makes good copywriters worth their salt. At the same time, at the end of the day, people pay attention to what they care about. If a message doesn’t get attention, it’s because people don’t care about it, or it’s presented in a way that doesn’t connect. If I’m interested in buying a Harley, I guarantee you I’m going to read that page, despite what some (possibly unrelated) eye-tracking data might say. Or I’ll at least as much as I need to make a buying decision or a decision to click the CTA, or whatever. And this is why I said, “Follow the money.” People don’t pay for things they don’t care about. So in the same way, people don’t “pay” attention to things they don’t care about. As copywriters, it’s our job to find out what those things are, and then communicate as effectively and efficiently as we can – but we can’t force people to read more.

  • Hey Joana 😉 I’m afraid my scanner turned on at “The home page sucks up every marketer’s attention.” Furony or what?

    I liked your beginning. I guess your point is we shouldn’t panda to goldfish (unless they are buyers), but of course I never got to the end, this time around.

    After scanner mode I skimmed over some highly gratuitous animated gifs (obviously you aren’t appealing to any goldfish there – lol).

    I’m with you in that copy needs to be as long as it needs to be and copy needs to have the balls that it needs to have. But copy also needs to be consistently engaging, else a novel turn in to a magazine, or worse a newspaper, or worse still, a blog, or worse still Google search, or twitter for the drip feed version.

    BTW I should have had porridge for breakfast, but I didn’t! SO now your life is richer 😉

    I think there’s a reason why storytellers use devices to lead people to the next and build climax and release. I think there’s a reason why formatting and layout matter, and more to the point I think that’s why the Grammar God invented sub headlines and precis and summary.

    As writers our top duty is to keep the reader engaged so we even get the chance to tell our story. For sure that shouldn’t mean appealing to and writing for goldfish. On the other hand a precis and leading the reader constantly along, is not really goldfish-writing either, is it?

    I think I’d feel more impacted if you had NOT included an animated gif of fly eating chopsticks to illustrate your copy of fly eating chopsticks. It did nothing for me emotionally or intellectually or message wise, and lost credibility in its distraction. Then more “Pop” imagery came 😉

    So maybe THAT Is your point. When we panda to goldfish, even the goldfish aren’t happy. But it’s OK. They don’t know and they can’t remember. What? What are you doing in my garden? OH it’s your blog? Oh OK then…

    Any great copy I can even remember is always storytelling. Some of the very best can tell a whole story in one or 2 lines. Other greats just keep zinging it along for pages and pages. But what does that is in not losing sight of the emotion and the message.

    So if there is a vote, not that ever is only one option or formula or fad, I vote for sub headlines and precis to calm the scanners in all of us and to make and get to, and lead to the point.

    Because having a point, is the ultimate challenge in copywritng imho.

    I feel at a disadvantage in that I can’t insert an animated bumble bee, country dancing around a diamond ring on a gezels finger, right here, and I’m only stuck with words 😉

    Anyway. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention – that I have a very small attention. And that has very small rewards.

    I now feel like the “girl” in this video –
    It’s an ad for a 3D printer, where they’ve tried to use a human interest story to the “solution” versus the feature (it can print AND scale). I liked the ad – I watched it all! I didn’t buy the printer. I want to slap the girl for being so superficial. And put the boy out of decades of misery trying to appeal to women with a thing (a feature).

    Bottom line, I agree with everything you’ve said, except the middle, the end and the beginning. Other than that, OH and I HATE the animated pictures, even as a goldfish. Other than that. Spot on!

    We should all raise the bar a bit and have a point.

    Our job is to inspire action. So whatever that takes. Right?

    BTW maybe you should get a kindle and read in a chair, to save your thumbs and not to un-train yourself to sleep in bed.

    I’d like to say I’ll come back to read the other half of your article to read your conclusion. But there are mountains to climb. Blogs to google. And I may even need to write something soon…


    • Joanna Wiebe

      In the event that you return not to read the post but to see if anyone read your comment, here is a reply comment for you.

      • What a strange little interaction that was… I’m not sure if that comment was satire… or…???

  • Omg sing it, sister. Trying to help a client fix a homepage this very section [ sound of blood and brains splattering on the wall ]

    Also: See you in Austin, yo!

    • (Yeah that’s right – I’m replying to myself). Another thing businesses need ask themselves more often when it comes to their homepage:

      “What will keep the lights on for our biz and help it grow: more leads/conversions or a lower bounce rate?”

      Had a client show me test results where putting a (previously buried) lead form directly on the homepage significantly increased their lead gen rate (which is the bread/butter of their biz model), but they were wringing their hands over the homepage’s higher bounce rate/reduced click-through rate.

      I was like “I don’t see what the problem is here … More leads = good, remember? Remember??”

      • Joanna Wiebe

        Egads! So true! There is sooooo much to figure out about home pages. We’re scratching the surface here, to be sure…

        (See you on the taco bus tomorrow?! 🙂 )

  • Eric

    One issue that was not addressed, maybe for good reason, is pill use. Namely Benzoates and Opiates. They are creating a zombie apocalypse. There are hoardes of undead in the world that cannot process new information. They are not getting R.E.M. sleep, which is vital for retaining new memories. They are irritable and unreceptive to knowledge. According to the CDC, there are 6000 new addicts EVERYDAY. I would say, “Screw them.” But, they make money, they make lot’s of it. I suppose I’ll continue to appeal to the living who still view life through clear, untinted glasses.

    • Yeah seriously! Joanna WHY did you not cover this?

      • Eric

        Probably because it’s such a sensitive subject. Instead of being bitter about it, I should realize that a good copywriter changes with the crowd. There’s always a solution.

  • Abso-effing-lutley brilliant piece Jo. This is some big picture stuff that helps answer the question of – what’s wrong with the way we market? What’s wrong is that we’re not designing and writing with the user in mind. Keep it comin’!

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Thanks, Brian. I can’t help getting stuck on some of the bigger stuff that seems to be breaking copywriting. Scanning eyes. Pointless home pages. Those make the life of the copywriter very, very hard.

      • Well keep doing what you’re doing because you’re making a dent in the world. A much needed one at that. Say hi to Lance for me too!

  • Very good article; I even enjoy the heat map of that Amazon page!

    It’s a shame but I think my age demographic fuels “no effort” media because our attention spans really are getting shorter. Look at Buzzfeed, a site focused on bite-sized videos and worthless articles. It’s just crap to fill our day and distract us from REAL work.

    On a side note, Joanna, please save our country from Trump. Go write compelling copy for Bernie/Hillary!

    – Signed, a concerned American 🙂

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Indeed… and then the conspiracy theorist asks why we’re being trained to be distracted….

Copyhackers Tutorial Tuesdays training calendar

Copywriting tutorials

How to write a long-form sales page using survey data
SEO copywriting
Why good copy performs badly
Conversion copywriting defined
How to use VoC to create outlines
How to validate your copy
How to make your writing sound good
Getting creative with conversion copy
How to write headlines
How to be specific in your copy
How to write great bullet lists
How to write a long-form sales page
How to write compelling “agitation” copy
How to write holiday copy
3 essential copy techniques to use daily
How to write a sales page
How to optimize crossheads/subheads

How to optimize Facebook ad copy
How to write an Adwords ad
How to write Facebook-compliant ads

How to evergreen your course sales
How to use SEO landing page
How to get more subscribers
How to script the first sales video
How to script the second sales video
How to script the third sales video

How to write welcome emails
How to write a launch-day sales email
How to write a last-day launch email
How to write a cold email
How to write cold emails for services
How to write a trial-ending SaaS email
How to write a post-welcome SaaS email
How to write TOFU emails

How to shift the way you think about money
Think you’re not ready for a VA?
How to get paid to write proposals
Creating and selling packages
How to write a project proposal
How to present your copy to clients
How to get more proposals approved
How to wireframe your landing pages
The art & science of pestering
How to pitch your copywriting services
How to create a biz-worthy home office
How to handle awkward client convos
How to master customer interviews
How to keep your copy reviews on track

How to write a long-form sales page using survey data
A super-speedy formula to find VoC
How to Marie Kondo your VoC data
Optimize your email sequence with Trello
How to research a blog post
How to plan a SaaS onboarding funnel
How to use Amazon review mining
How to do a content audit
How to know what your visitor’s thinking
Creating a launch command center
A 3-part copywriting process for newbies

Likes to leads
SEO copywriting
How to optimize a headline
How to optimize a SaaS sequence
How to optimize content for SEO
How to validate your copy
How to optimize Facebook ad copy

Breakthrough blog post topics
How to write an epic blog post
How to write a mass-appeal blog post
How to write funny content
How to keep readers reading
Blog post formula for authority building
How to write an ultimate guide

Sweep 1: The Clarity Sweep
Sweep 2: The Voice + Tone Sweep
Sweeps 3 & 4: The Believability Sweeps
Sweep 5: The Specificity Sweep
Sweep 6: The Heightened Emotion Sweep
Sweep 7: The Zero Risk Sweep